Englyn (and it’s 8 types)


An Englyn is a traditional Welsh and Cornish short poetry form. It has been found in the earliest Welsh literature, from the 5th century AD, and the earliest were found written in the margins in a tenth century Juvencus Manuscript. Although there is speculation that it’s creation can be sourced in Latin poetry and hymns, most consider it more a possibility that it was developed within the Brittonic poetic tradition


There are at least 11 types of Englynion (plural form). The base Englyn structure uses quantitative meters, strict syllable count, a rigid rhyming/half rhyming pattern, and each line contains repeating patterns of consonants and accents known as Cynghanedd, which is a Celtic concept of sound arrangement within a line using stress, alliteration and rhyme. It is a Celtic specific concept, working gorgeously within that language family, and makes writing Welsh/Cornish/Celtic poetry with it in basic clumsy English much like trying to catch a cat who’s covered in grease and weaponed with wolverine’s claws. Good luck, god speed. Let’s nerd out on the specific Englyn types:

Englyn Penfyr: 

  • known as the short-ended englyn, also categorized widely as a triplet along with the Englyn Milwr
  • one stanza of three lines
  • line 1 has 10 syllables, line 2 and 3 have 7 syllables each
  • lines rhyme A•A•A with capitals signifying the main rhyme
  • anywhere between 1 and 3 syllables come in line one AFTER the main rhyme
  • these syllables are “echoed” by either assonance, alliteration or secondary rhyme in the first few syllables of the second rhyme

Englyn Milwr:

  • fairly straight forward for a Celtic form
  • one three line stanza
  • each line is 7 syllables
  • one rhyme or consonance
  • the rhyme changes for each stanza if using multiple stanzas
  • called the soldier’s englyn

Englyn unodl crwca

  • stanza of 4 lines, 7-7-10-6 syllables respectively
  • lines 1, 2 and 4 end with a main rhyme
  • in line 3 the main rhyme is followed by between 1-3 syllables that are echoed by alliteration, assonance or secondary rhyme in the first part of line 4.

Englyn unodl union

  • is essentially the Englyn unfold crwca but the two couplets are flipped
  • syllable count is 10-6-7-7 respectively
  • lines 2,3 and 4 rhyme
  • line 1 has the main rhyme followed by 1-3 syllables that are echoed in the first part of line 2

Englyn cyrch

  • quatrain stanza (4 lines), each line 7 syllables
  • line 1, 2 and 4 share a main rhyme
  • final syllable of line 3 cross-rhymes in the beginning of line 4

Englyn proest dalgron

  • quatrain, four lines
  • 7 syllables each
  • turns on a single half-rhyme ending each line (where the final sound of the words rhyme)

Englyn lleddfbroest

  • identical to the englyn proest dalgron except that the half rhymes must use the ae, oe, wy, and ei diphthongs.
  • since these might be hard to reproduce in English, Ye Noble Grandmaster Lewis Turco says that any similar diphthongs can be used

Englyn proest cadwynog

  • four line stanzas (quatrains)
  • seven syllables each
  • lines 1 and 3 rhyme, lines 2 and 4 half rhyme with line 1 and 3 and with each other on the vowel
  • so


Sources claim there are three more types, the Englyn proest cyfnewidiog, Englyn toddaid, and a Englyn cil-dwrn, but details on the structure are dodgy and trusted sources don’t mention them so we’re still looking into it. If you have any more information on the Englyn, comment below!






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