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" Praise the Lord with chearful voice,” in Esther : “ Hark! he firikes the golden lyre,” in Alexander - Balus : and " Fly, malicious spirit," in Saul, &c.
Having now conducted nearly to our own times the short history I intended; I make a little pause, before I bring it to its conclufion, and examine somewhat more minutely the causes that conferred such peculiarity and excellency on the Poetry and Music of Wales. The laws, manners, and fortunes of nations have a principal influence in giving an original character to national arts. The first care of the Welsh laws was the freedom of the people. They were free, and their manners accordingly were at once generous and impetuous; gentle, hospitable, and social among their friends, and full of resentment and revenge against their enemies. They inhabited a country where they found, in the works of nature, what they afterwards copied into their own, the beautiful and the sublime. They were equally addicted to love and war : when they forsook the camp, they did not return to agriculture, commerce, or the mechanic arts, but past their leisure in hunting, and other manly sports and games, in converse with the fair', and in recounting their exploits, amidst libations of mead, at the tables of lords and princes. Hence they learnt to write verse and found the Harp
Another cause, which operated with equal power on our poetry, was the strength and beauty of the language in which it was conveyed; if it may not with greater truth be said, that by the Poetry those inherent properties of the language were called forth. The character of Welsh Poetry, and its dependence on the language, have been so well displayed in a differtation on the subject by the Reverend Mr. Walters", that I am unwilling to make use of his sentiments in any other words than bis own.
“ The Wellh language (he observes,) is poffessed of native ornaments and unborrowed treasures. It rivals the celebrated Greek in its aptitude to form the most beautiful derivatives, as well as in the elegance, facility, and expressiveness, of an infinite variety of compounds, and deserves the praise which has been given it by an enemys, that, notwithstanding the multiplicity of gutturals and consonants with which it abounds, it has the softness and harmony of the Italian, with the majesty and expression of the Greek.”
Of all the tissues ever wrought
On the Parnassian hill,
Fair Cambria's web, in art and thought,
Displays the greatest skill. “ The glory of a language is a copious rotundity, a vigorous tone, and a perfpicuous and expressive brevity; of which a thousand happy instances might be produced from the Cambro-British MSS. Their compass reaches from the sublimity of the ode to the conciseness of the epigram. Whoever explores these ancient and genuine treasures will find in then the most melodious numbers, the most poetical diction, the moft nervous expreslion, and the most elevated sentiments, to be met with in any language.” "
A language, however fortunate in its original construction, can never attain such perfection without a very high degree of cultivation'. It is evident therefore that at some remote period the Welsh themselves were highly cultivated, and had made great progress in learning, arts, and manners; since we discover such elegance, contrivance, and philosophy, in their language. Some authors have attributed this refinement of the Cainbro-British dialect to the Druids. From this opinion I dissent : because I observe that Taliesin and his contemporaries, by whom they were followed and imitated, do not afford fuch specimens of polished numbers and diction as the Bards who lived under the later princes have exhibited. The Eisteddvod was the school in which the Welsh language was gradually improved, and brought at last to its unrivalled perfection. “ The Bards,” says the ingenious critic I have before quoted, “ have been always considered by the Well as the guardians of their language, and the conservators of its purity.”
The metre of Welsh poetry is very artificial and alliterative ; poffeßling such peculiar ingenuity, in the selection and arrangement of words, as to produce a rhythmical concatenation of sounds in every verse. To
+ Lord Lyttelton from Giraldus Cambrenfis. Hift. of Henry II. • Dr. Llewelyn ingeniously refers the curious and delicate vil. Il. Poto
structure of the Welth language to its peculiar property of vary3 A Differtation on the Welsh Language, 8vo, Cowbridge, ing artificially, euphoniæ gratia, its mutable initial consonants;
making it fuperior in this respect to the Hebrew and the Greek.
See Historical and Critical Remarks on the British Tongue, 8vo, * Eunurd Prys, D. D. Archdeacon of Meirionydb.
London, 1769, p. 58, &c. Likewise Antiqua Lingua Britannica,
3. The author of the letters from Socwdon.
an English reader it may seem a laborious way of trifling: but every language has peculiar laws of harmony. The ancient languages of Greece and Rome were not clogged with a superabundance of consonants, and were chiefly composed of polysyllabic words and vocal terminations. Their poets therefore niade their metre consist in quantity, or the artful distribution of long and short fyllables. The old Britif, language abounded with consonants, and was formed of monosyllables, which are incompatible with quantity; and the Bards could reduce it to concord by no other means than by placing at such intervals its barner consonants, so intermixing them with vowels, and so adapting, repeating, and dividing, the several sounds, as to produce an agreeable effect from their structure. Hence the laws of poetical composition in this language are so strict and rigorous, that they must greatly cramp the genius of the Pard, but that there is, in the language itself, a particular aptitude for that kind of alliterative melody, and is as effential as harmony in Music, which constitutes the great beauty of its poetry. To the ears of natives, the Welsh metre is extremely pleasing, and does not subject the Bard to more restraint than the different sorts of feet occasioned to the Greek and Roman Poets? There are traces of Cyngbanedd, or rhythm, in the poetical remains of the Druids. It was known to the Bards of the sixth century, but they used it sparingly, and were not circum. scribed by the rules, that were afterwards adopted. From the Norman conquest to the death of Llywelyn the last, they were more frict. From Llywelyn to Elizabeth the laws of alliteration were prescribed and observed with the most scrupulous exactness. A line not perfectly alliterative was condemned as much, by the Welsh grammarians, as a false quantity by the Greeks and Romans.
The Bards, like other poets, were oftentatious of their wealth; for, they had no sooner learnt the extent of their power than they began to wander at will through all the mazes of Cynghanedd.
They gave other relative proofs of an unrivalled prolody. Not content with the mellifluence of this
Within the concave of its womb is found,
The magic scale of foul-enchanting sound:
O’i wiw wy i weu é á, a'i weuau
“I perish by my art; dig mine own grave:
“I spin my thread of life; my death I weave."
The roaring thunder, dreadful in its ire,
Is water warring with aërial fire.
Unwn enynwn yn noniaus mein lón,
Something now remains to be said of Welsh Music. Though the supernatural power and effects, fabuloudly ascribed to the Music of antiquity, are now held in just derision; it is not difficult to conceive, that (notwithstanding its known fimplicity) by its association with poetry, which it rendered more articulate and expressive, it might operate with much greater success, on the mind and affections, than the artificial mielody and complicated harmony of modern times. The ancient fragments of melody and poetry are beautiful, because they resemble the beauties of nature; and nature will ever be beautiful while it resembles those beauties of antiquity.
7 Northern Antiquities, 8vo, London, vol. I. p. 401, &c. niously answered in another, composed in like manner of vowe's,
• The Weish had lix or seven different kinds of this confonant by the Rev. Mr. Grorw Owen; Didilanwch Teuluaidd, Graits harmony. Northern Antiquities, vol. II. p. 197, &c.
Beirdd Mon, 8vo, London, 1763, p. 35. 9 Walters's Differtation on the Welsh Language, p. 52.
11 Walters's Differtation, p. 53. 1. Tlysau yr hen Oefoedd, by Lewis Morris. See this Englyn inge
13 From a Manufcript.
There is a certain style of melody peculiar to each musical country, which the people of that country are apt to prefer to every other style. Some of the dignified old Welsh Tunes convey, to our ideas, the ancient manners and conviviality of our ancestors. There are others that recal back to our minds, certain incidunts which happened in our youth, of love, rural sports, and other pastinies; they likewise excite in us a longing desire of a repetition of those juvenile pleasures; and perhaps it is on account of these effects they produce, that they are so well remembered, and continue to be sung with such delight by the natives. The attachment to nacional tunes, when once established, instead of offending by repetition, is always upon the increase. The music, as well as the poetry, of Wales, derived its peculiar and original character from the genius of the country: they both sprang from the same source; its delightful valleys gave birth to their soft and tender measures, and its wild mountainous scenes to their bolder and more animated tones 13.
And where could che Muses have chosen a happier residence? Here the eye is delighted with woods and valleys at once wild and beautiful: in other parts, we are allonished with a continued tract of dreary cloud-capt country, “ hills whose heads touch heaven"--dark, tremendous, precipices--rapid rivers roaring over disjointed rocks--- gloomy caverns, and rushing cataracts. Salvator Rofa's extravagant fancy never indulged itself in grander or more savage prospects ! Nor has Claude Lorraine's inimitable pencil ever delineated scenes that excelled some of the valleys of Wales !
It is not to be wondered at, that the venerable Cambrian songs poffeffed such influence on the minds of our ancestors, when we consider their beautiful and various change of style and time; transitions abrupt as the socky prospects of the country, and sudden as the pasions of the people.
The most ancient style of Welsh music is the grave and folemn, which was consecrated to religious purposes 14. The next, distinct from the former, is strikingly martial and magnificent "s. Another is plaintive and expreljive of sorrow, being appropriated to elegies and the celebration of the dead 16. Another is of the pastoral kind, and of all perhaps the most agreeable; coming nearest to nature, and possessing a pleasing melancholy and soothing tranquillity, suitable to genial love"?. There are also, dancing Tunes, or jigs, which are extremely gay and inspiring ".
Of these ancient melodies I have recovered some genuine remains; and their effects are not wholly lost or forgotten. A new era of Cambria-British harmony has risen in our times, and the wonderful things related of it in fornier ages have been already realised.
The trembling strings about her fingers crowd,
EDWARD JONES. 13 Whoever desires to see this idea pursued to some length, may iaily Gerteyn, Erddigan Caer-Waen, Absen Dón, Croeso 'r Wenyfind it ingeniously and philofophically developed, with reference
Dull Dinu, Meynder Meirionydd, &c. to the native music of Scotland, in Dr. Beattie's Efrays on Poetry 18 Hofledd Ledryb Marged, Ceffylyn Rbygyngog, Gyrru'r Byd o'm and Music.
blaen, Fiddle Fadale, Ti i banner Tôn, Confet Davydd ab Gwilym, 14 The fine old Psalms, which are chanted in some of the Hoby Dyliv, &c. churches in Wales, particularly in those where modern singing 19 “ The harp is the favourite instrument of the fair sex, and is not introduced. Likewise Cór-Aedan, Cór-vinvain, Cór-wrgig, nothing thould be spared to make it beautiful : for, it should be Cór- Alchan, Cór Fhinrur, Côr-y-golovn, Côr Elvytu, Hob y deri a principal object of mankind to attach them by every means to Danno, Hai Durun, &c. Some specimens of these Choral Songs, mulic, as it is the only amusement that may be enjoyed to are carefully displayed from an ancient manuscript in the ori. excess, and the heart iiill remain virtuous and uncorrupted.” ginal mufical notes, supposed to be Druidical, which the reader I'r. Burney's Hißory of Music, vol. I. will fee engraved on a book, delineated in the print of the mu • Their balineis should be to practise merely for the amuse. fical infiruments, farther on in this volume.
ment of themielves, their own family, and particular friends, 15 Triban, or The Warriors Song, Iriban Morganug, Gor or atler for domefiic comfort, wbich they were by Providence koffedd Cwyr Harlech, Ryvelgyrch Cádpen Morgan, Dowch in detign d to promote; viz. To calm the boisterous passionVrwydr, Érddigan troi'r tant, Shenkin, Syr Harri Dilú, Sibyt, to relieve the anxieties and cares of life to inspire cheartul. Ffarwel trovy's Prull, Torriad y Dydd, Cüdyn Gwyn, Blolaus nets-to appease the nerves, when irritated with pain, ticknels, Grig, Ursula, Tyb y Tywysog, &c.
of labour of mind or body-to foothe the peevithness of in16 Morva Rbudillan, 1 Galin Drom, Davydd Garreg wen, fancy and old age and to raise the mind to a feeling and love Gordilinen, Diddanwch Gruffudd ab Cynan, Cwynvan Brydain, or order. She who shall improve the natural talents, with Anbawld ymadael, Muynen Mon, Symlen ben B's, Yr Hen Don, which women are born, of doing all these things, will not have Galael y T'r, &c.
mis-spent her time by applying a few years to music.” 17 Nôs Galan, Tón y Ceiliog Dú, Mwynen Cynwyd, Winifreda,
Stilling fleet's Principle and Porver of Harmony, p. 151. 1. Eos lais, Ar byd y Nos, Codiad yr Hedydd, Blodau'r Dyffryn, 20 Cyhelyn, and Cadwgan, were celebrated perforıners on the Creigiau'r Eryri, Diftyll y Donn, Serch Hudol, Ffarmell Viengetid, Harp, and comp_fers of Weltha Mulic. See p. 38.
Payna 'n l'yw, Merch Megan, Pen Rhaw, Mentra Gwen, Diver:
The following curious narrative, describing the principal profession of the Bards, is extracted from an ancient folio manuscript,
HE office or function, of the British or Cambrian Bards, was to keep and preserve Tri Chov Ynys Pry
dain: that is, the Three Records, or Memorials, of Britain, otherwise called the British Antiquities;
The first Hall wherein I was initiated,
Was the Court of the Grey Eagle;
For by the Tri Chóv I was elevated,
In the Nuptial Feast : behold the three gifts !
The First of the three Côv is the history of the notable acts of the Kings, and Princes of Britain and
The Second of the three Côv is the language of the Britons, of which the Bards were to give an
The Third Cóv confifted of the pedigrees, or descents of the nobility, their division of lands, and blazoning of arms 21.
The 21 Arms took their origin from the example of the Patriarchs: , duty was to declare the genealogy, and to blazon the arms of for, holy writ informs us, that the 12 Tribes of Israel were distin nobles and princes, and to keep the record of them; and to guined' by fignets. See Exodus, chap, 28, and chap. 39; Nume alter their arms according to their dignity or deserts. These bers, chap. 2; Psalm 20; and Daniel, chap. 6.
were with the kings and princes in all battles and actions. As
somewhat lower, and were of divers colours. Also, the Song
pace, or stride; three cam, or strides, to the raid, or leip;
* Dyunwal Meehnud, (or, Dunwallo Melmutio,) was supreme king of Britain, and the tirst monarch that constituted laws in this isand, and the first that wore
. Hiji. .Ingl. Sc.ipt. Antig. Col. 956. $.
The ancient Bards had a stipend out of every plow-land in the country, for their maintenance; and also a perambulation, or a visitation, to make once every three years, to the houses of all the gentlemen in the country, which was called Cylch Clcra, being for the preservation of the said Tri Clóv: at which perambulation they collected all the memorable things that were done and fell out in every country that concerned their profession to take notice of, and wrote them down; so that they could not be ignorant of any memorable acts, the death of any great person, his descent, division or portion of lands, coat of arms, and children, in any country within their district'. At these perambulations, the Bards received three rewards, being a fixed and certain stipend, from every gentleman in whose house they were entertained; and this reward was called Clera,
Cerdd l'oliant is a poem of laud, or praise, composed in commendation of a gentleman or lady in his or her life-time.
Cerdd Varwnad is an elegiac poem, composed to record the aâions and to lament the death of renowned persons.
Those men, that are termed above by the name of gentlemen, are called Greyr Bonheddig; and there is no man by the law entitled to the appellation of Gør Bonbeditis, but he that is paternally descended from the Kings, and Princes of Britain; for Bunkeddig is equivalent to Nobilis in Latin : and the paternal genealogy of every gentleman must ascend to some royal personage, from whom he originally held his land and his
A gentleman, su descended by father and mother, is styled, or titled by the law, Bonheddig Cynhwynawl, which signifieth, a perfect nobleman by father and by mother. This title, Bonbeddig, is the highest that a man can have ; and remaineth in his blood from his birth to his death; and cannot be conferred by any man whatever, nor any, that hath it really, be deprived of it. All other titles may be taken from man; may become extinct by his death, or other casualties; but this cannot; for, he inherits it from his birth, and it is not extinguished by his death, but remaineth in his blood to his posterity, so that he cannot be severed from it. Common persons of late years have taken upon them the title of Bonhedd, or Noble; but they are not really so, though so called by courtesy, by reason of their wealth, offices, or merit; these, however, being only personal, and Bonbedd being permanent. You may understand hereby that the gentry of the country had a special interest in the Tri Chúv, or the histories where the acts and deeds of their ancestors and kinsmen, and the prelervation of the language, arms, descents, and divisions of lands, were recorded; and, therefore, the stipend paid by them to the Bards was not instituted without good cause; nor their entertainments in their perambulations allowed them without good reason; as all the histories and of land, or tír: and mol of those tir, saketh a milliir, that is, a to Powys, which is the name of another country and prince's. shouland tír, or a nie: ard that was teir n taille for length, dominion, which contaireih ten other cantreds, he is gone froin which has been uitd from that time to this day: and yet, and one country, or durinion, to another, and the law cannot be for superficial mea:uning, they made three hyd grorun hauli, or executed upon him; for, he is gone out of the country. Teging's barley-corn length to ihe mudoedd, or inch; three modarde, or is a country, and containeth but one cantred; and Dyffryn Cizáyd inches, to the palv, or hano's-breadeh; three palv to the iroed was a country, and did contain but one cantred. And wnen vedi, or foot; four prodredi, or feet, to the veriau, or the any did go from Tegings to Duffryn Clyd, for to fly from the theit yoke; eight trievedd, or feet, to the mai-iau, aud twelve law, he went out from one country to another; and so every troedvedd, or feet in the gefeiliau ; and fixieen troedvedit in ihe prince or lord's dominion was Gwlad, or Country, to that lord biriau; and a pole or rod 10 long, that is, fixteen teet long, is or prince; 10 that Gwlad is Pagus in my judgement. Somethe breadth of an acre of land ; and go poles or rods of that times a cantreil doch contain two comots, fometimes three, or length is the lengih of an erw, or acre by the law; and four four, or five; as the Contrev of Glamorgan, or Morganwg, conerw, or acre, niketh a ryddyn, or mefiuage; and four of that taineth fve comots.
Aud after that the Normans had won some tyddyn, or mesfuage, maketh a zhandlir ; and four of those rhan parts of the country, as one lord's doininion, they constituted in diredi maketh a gatti, or tenement, or hoult; and four gavel that fame place a Senescal, or Steward, and that was called in the naktth a trev, or fownthip; and four rrey, or townthips, British tongue Swydilog, that is, an Oflicer; and the lordship maketh a matnil, or maenor , and reive maenel or maenor, and that he was iteward or, was called Swydd, or Office, and of duy driv, or two townthips, maketh a cwmwd, or Comot ; and thele Swydden were made fires. And Swyd:1 is an Office, be it two cwmwd or Comot inaheih a cantrev cr cantrel, that is, a hun great or linall; and Swyddog is an Officer also of all states; as dred towns or townips: and by this reckoning, every tyddyn con à Sheriff is a Swyddog, his Sheriffalty, or Office, and the shire taineth four erw; every rhandir containeth fixteen erw; and every whereot he is Sheritt is called Swydd: so that Swydd doth con. gavel conta'reth tixtr-four erw. Every town or township contain tain as well the fire as the office of a Sheriff, as Swydd eth two hundred and fifty-fix erw, or acres; thele eru's being fer- | Amwythig is the Muire or office of the Steward, Senescal, or tile arable land, and neither neaców, nor pallure, nor woods; for Sheriff of Salop, &c. there was nothing mtatured but fertile arable land, and ail o: hers " See pp. 26, and 33, of this work, were termed watics. Every maenel containeth four of these town 2 The greateit and highest degree was Brenin, or Teyrn, that is, a ft.ips ; and every cwmnd containeth fifty of these townthip; and King; and next to him was a Twyfog, or a Duike; and every cantrel a buodied of these tow nihips, wherent it bachiis next to him was a Jarll, or 20 Earl; and next to him was an name. And all the countries and lord's doninions, were divided Arglarydd, or a Lord; and next to him was a Barwn, or Baron; by cantreds, or cantav; and to every one of these cantreds, comots, and next to that is the Breir, or Ucheluit, which may be called maenors, towns.gaze!s, were given fome proper pames. And Gwlad, the Squire; next to this is a Gwr-eang, that is, a Yeoman; and or country, has the dominion of one lord or prince, whether the next to that is an Alltud; and next to that a Caeth, which is a Gwlad were one contred, or two, or three, or four, or more; Slave, and that is the meanest amongit these nine several de so that when I lay he is gone from gwlad to gwlad, that is, from grees.
And these nine degrees had tliree several tenures of country to couniry, it is meant, that he is gone from one lord lands, as Maerdir, Ucheloritir, Priodordir. 1 here be allo other or prince's dominion to another prince's dominion; as, tor names and degrees which be gotten by birth, by office, and by dig. example, when a man connitteth an offence in Gwynedd, or nity; but they all are contined order the nine aforesaid degrees. North Wales, which containeth ten cantreds, and ficeth or goth See Leges llicae, p. 155, and Silas Tay'or, on Gavel-kind.