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OF THE IMMUNITIES OF THE WELSH BARDS. .
fion of the last 10. He had his land free. Every young musician within the district, when he laid aside his Telyn rawn, or hair-stringéd harp, and become a graduate in the art, paid him a fine of XXIIII pence. Every woman upon her first marriage paid him XXIIII pence. The marriage fine of his daughter was CXX pence. His heriot money was CXX pence. The recompence for an affront given him, was fix cows and CXX pence. The compensation or penalty upon whomsoever flew him, was CXXVI cows ". But what remains to be said of the manner of his election, and the nature of his office, I must defer, till the institutes of Prince Gruffudd ab Cynan enable me to speak more largely, and with greater certainty, of this dignified person.
In these constitutions we discover the first account of the Clera "?, or triennial circuit of the Bards, as we before traced the origin of the Eileddvod, their triennial assembly, in the annals of Cadwaladr. We likewise find that a vassal by the practice of Poetry and Music, which he could not adnpt without the permission of his lord, or prince, acquired the privileges of a freeman, and an honourable rank in society". Nothing can display more forcibly the estimation and influence which the Bards enjoyed at this early period, than their remarkable prerogative of petitoning for presents "4 by occasional poems. This custom they afterwards carried to such an excess, and such respect was constantly paid their requests, that in the time of Gruffudd ab Cynan, it became necessary to control them by a law, which restrained them from asking for the prince's Horse, Hawk, or Greyhound, or any other possession beyond a certain price, or that was particularly valued by the owner, or could not be replaced. Many poems of the succeeling centuries are now extant, written to obtain a horse, a bull, a sword, a chessboard, a harp, a rich garment, &c.
It appears that Music and Poetry were inseparably united in the same person, in the reign of Howel: nor is it clear at what period they were divided, till the time of Guffudd ab Cynan. Milton, elegantly fays:
Blest pair of Syrens, pledges of Heaven's joy,
Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd pow'r employ!
About the year 1100, the great Prince Gruffudd ab Cynan invited to Wales some of the best, musicians of Ireland 16; and being partial to the music of that iland, where he was born, and observing with displeasure the disorders and abuses of the Welsh Bards, created a body of institutes for the amendment of their manners, and the correction of their art, and practice'. Accordingly I find in an old MS. of Welsh Music's, in the library of the Welsh school, a curious account of so remarkable a
Leges Wallicae, p. 68, &c.
mans and Saxons, against Gruffudd al Cynan. We might perhaps leges Wallicae, or Howel's Laws, p. 68, &c. We find the have been convinced of Cellan's great abilities in the arts, had same respect paid to the mulicians, in other constitutions. “Who- he lived, and also of the beauty of his eloquence, as he could ever shall trike a harper, who can harp in a public assembly , shall have described the brave exploits and warlike achievements compound with him by a compensation of four times more than of his Prince, for which his fame was signalized in Wales, Irefor any other man of the same condition.” Leg: Ripuariorum land, the Danish Inands, and among other nations. A MS. et Wefinorum. Lindenbroc, Cod, LL. Antiq. Wifigoth. &c. A. D. History of Prince Gruffudd ab Cynan. 1613 Tit. 5: ult.
" Ibid. Also Powel's History of Wales, p. 115 and 191. Clarke's Howel's Laws, p. 37. 11. 12.
Preface to the Welih Laws, p. 25. and Rhydderch's Welb Gram. 13 Howel's Laws, p. 307. 31st Triad.
mar, p. 177, &c. 14 Howel's Laws, p. 37: $ 12.
18. Some part of this MS. according to a memorandum Llewelyn's Bard had such a high opinion of his prince's gene- which I found in it, was transcribed in the time of Charles the rosity, that he exclaims,
First, by Robert ap Huw of Bodwigen, in the isle of Anglesey, from “ Were I to ask my prince a boon,
William Penllyn's book" Dr. Burney's History of Music; Vol. II. • Even if it were the full-orb'd moon,
p. 110.. William Penllyn is recorded among the successful candis “ He'd give it-prince of gen'rous foul !
dates on the harp, at an Eisteddvod at Caerwys,in 1568. where he " He'd give his faithful Bard the whole !”
was elected one of the chief Bards and Teachers of instrumental " Dr. Rhys's Grammatical Inftitules of the Welle Language, fong. Pennant's Tour to North Wales, printed 1778, p. 438. p. 295.
This MS. Dr. Burney informs me," contains pieces for the harp 1o Dr. Powel, in his notes on Caradoc, informs us, that either that are in full harmony, or counterpoint: they are written in our Music came hither with Prince Gruffudd's Irish musicians, or a peculiar notation, and supposed to be as old as the year 1100. was composed by them afterwards, Mr. Wynne, the other at least. Such is the known antiquity of many of the songs editor of Caradoc's History, miftaking this passage in Dr. Powel, mentioned in the collection.” History of Music, ibid. and not distinguishing instrumental music from musical instru The 24 measures of Muhc are here annexed from the MS, in the ments, bath miled his readers by asserting that the Harp and original Welsh, for the purpose of affisting future enquiries, and Crwth came from Ireland, See Wynne's History of Wales. edit. Thewing, by the variety of its technical terms, what perfection 1774, p. 159 Further information may be seen in the next page. the art had formerly acquired. As they have never been ex
It is recorded, in the life of Prince Gruffudd ab Cynan, that plained, I forbear attempting a translation, from apprehension Celian, Pencerdd Telyn, his chief musician of the harp, fell in a of mistake, and mileading the reader. battle which was fought in Anglesey between the invading Nor. 2
revolution, beginning with these words :-Here follow the Four-and-twenty Measures of Intrumental Music, all conformable to the laws of harmony, as they were settled in a Congress by many Professors, skilful in that science, Welsh, and Irish, in the reign of Gruffudd ab Cynan, and written in books by order of both parties, princely, and principally, and then copied, &c'.
This grand reformation of the Bards was effected by dividing them into classes, and assigning to each class a distinct profession and employment. We have hitherto viewed them in a very various and extensive sphere. It was their office to applaud the living and record the dead : they were required to poffefs learn. ing and genius, a skill in pedigrees, an acquaintance with the laws and metres of poetry, a knowledge of harmony, a fine voice, and the command of an instrument. This diversity of character is well expressed by Drayton, in the sixth song of his Polyolbion :
« Mufician; Herald, Bard, thrice may'st thou be renown'd,
“ And with three several wreaths immortally be crown'd!” Such variety of excellence was unattainable by human capacity. The Bards were now therefore distributed into three grand orders, of Poets, Heralds, and Musicians ; each of which again branched into subordinate distinctions.
Neither of these orders or distinctions was any longer compatible with those with which it had been connected, or with any other profession.
« One science only will one genius fit;
The first class of the Poets consisted of historical, or antiquarian Bards ?, who sometimes mixed prophecy with their inspiration : they were also critics and teachers: and to them belonged the praise of virtue and the censure of vice. It was their duty to celebrate the gifts of fancy and poetry. Of them it was required to address married women without the air of gallantry, and the clergy in a serious strain suitably to their function, to satirise without indecency, and without lampooning to answer and overthrow the lampoons of the inferior Bards. The second class was formed of domestic, or parenetic Bards 3, who lived in the houses of the
great, to celebrate their exploits, and amiable qualities : they sung the praises of generosity, contentment, domestic
happiness, Llyma'r Pedwar Mesur ar hugain cerdd Dant, (ability
of each being consonant to one another towards forming gnol rheoi vefur oll, val y cyvansoddwyd mewn Eisteddvod &c. MS. it with correctness. The names of the four chief musicians
Mac y mw'n bär. Côr. Vinvain. Trwsgwl Mawr. were, Alban ab Conan, Rhydderch the Bald, Matholwch the Cor-finiwr.
Tudyr Bâch. Gwythelian, and Alav the Song fter. The audience were Henry Cors golof. Carfi. Mac y mwynvaen.
Redback, Carh the Harper, and many others, affitting with their Rbixiart. Bråb yn ysgol. Toddyv.
advice and scientific knowledge. And by the counsel of those Côr - Aldan. Flam Gwrgan. Hatyr. learned men, the skill of the Doctor of Music, and the four
proMac y mwn byrr. Macy Delgi. fessors of the art, and by the unanimous agreement of all, were Wnfach. Calchan.
Tr Alban Hyvaidd. made the twenty-four measures ; and to give itability to those, the Cordia tytlach. Brut Odidog. Alvarch.
erventy four Canons were formed. They were made for three
reasons: the first, for composing a piece; the second, for In the fame MS. are preserved the five principal Keys of Welsh knowing the merits of it, and the third, for preserving it in Mufic, established by the fame authority.
memory; as their names follow further on, in the Welth and Is gywair, the Low Key, or Key of C.
Hibernian language. And Mwrchan the Gwyddelian was Lord Cras gywair, the Sharp Key, or D.
of Ireland at that time; by whom they were confirmed in a Lleddv gywair, the oblique Flat Key, or F.
place called Glyn-Achlach, through his power and offices; and Go gywair, the third above the Key-note is flat.
he further decreed, that every person thould sanction them.” Bragod gywair, the Mixt, or Minor' Key
That was about the year 1096, when Gruffydd ab Cynan, and A manuscripts belonging to Sir Watkin Williams Wynne, Cadwgan ab Bleddyn, were retreated to Ireland: Hugh, Earl of contains fome curious information respecting the Welsh Music; Cheler, and Owen ab Edwyn, having taken polietion of their which I have given here, literally translated.
lands, and of the Isle of Anglesey: – Cerdd Dannau.
· Prydydd, or Pofvardd. • This book is called the Preservation of Instrumental Music;
3 Teuluwr, or Family Bard. that is to say, the Harp, and Cwrth, within the three principalities
When the king rode out of his castle, his attendants were 36 of Cambria ; formed of the science of Music, through the know. men: that is to say, the 24 officers, and 12 guests, besides his ledge and invention of a Doctor of Music, aflisted by four chief family, his gentlemen, and his Bards. Leges Wallica, p. 11. profeffors of the Harp, and Cwrth; and the good will and
“ We find the King had always a civil jndge to attend him, I
happiness, and all the social virtues : and thus eminently contributed to enliven the leisure of their patrons. It was also their province to request presents in a familiar easy vein, without importunity.
The third class, though last, was probably not least in esteem, was the Arwyddveirdd, which consisted of Herald Bards “, who were the national chroniclers, were also well versed in pedigrees and blazonry of arms, and the works of the primary Bards, such as Taliesin Pen Beirdd, Myrddin Emrys, and Myrddin ab Morvryn. According to the account of them which Giralduss has given in the fucceeding century, they were admirably qualified for Poetry, if invention be one of its principal requisites : for he affirms that they could trace back the descents of their princes and nobles, not only to Roderic, but to Beli, Sylvius, Æneas, and even to Adam himself. But their Poetry was of an humbler kind: it was usually confined to subjects of jocularity, mimickry, invective, and reproach.
Of the musical Bards, the first class was appropriated to the performers on the Harp. Athraw, a Doctor, or Master of Music should know the 3 excellent Niwchwl, which were deemed equal to 4 Coloun ; and each Colovn was equivalent to 10 Cwlwm. The 3 new Mwchwl were ranked equal to the 4 Cadair; and the 4 Cadair were 5 Cwlwm eacho. Concerning the musicians, the reader may collect further information in pages 32 & 84 of this history, and from an account of the Welsh musical instruments further on in this volume.
The second contained performers on the six-stringed Crwth ; concerning whom also I refer the reader to the same places for information.
The third consisted of singers, whose employment was to sing to the harps of others, the compositions of the poetic Bards; but from whom a variety of other qualifications were expected. “ A singer, said the Laws, should know how to tune a Harp, or Cróth, and to play several essays and embellishments, two preludes, à cwlwm, a caniad, and the 13 principal tunes with all their flats and sharps. He should understand likewise the 13 principal styles of expreslion, and'to execute them with his voice, &c. in several songs ; he should know the 24 metres of Poetry, and the 24 measures of Music, and be capable of composing in two of the Engyln , metres ? and in one of the Cywydd metres. He should read Welsh with propriety, and write it with exactness, and be skilful in correcting and restoring any old poem or song that has been corrupted by transcribers.”
and one of the chief lords to consult with upon all emergen- I would be thrown on this intricate subject. Till that desirable
Caniad, a tune, or fong.
Deiur, a diverting air, or divertisement. Query, whether • These technical terms of Welsh 'music are very obscure, and this was a species of National Melody, so called from the county are too unintelligible to admit of a positive translation. If I of Durham should hereafter be able to decypher the notation of the ancient Mwchil, this scientific piece of music, it seems, was acand very curious MS. which I have quoted before, much light |quired only by a pencerdd, or Doctor of Music of the Harp.
? Y Pedwar Mesur ar hugain Cerdd Davod.
The 24 Metres of Poetry, or of Vocal Song.
At the nuptials of the prince, or any of the princely blood, the finger attended on the illustrious Bride, and at those entertainments was expected to carve dextrously every kind of fowl that might come before him.
Such, and so various, were the regular Bards, who by a noviciate and probation of an appointed term of years, and the performance of poetical and musical exercises, acquired degrees in the Eisteddvod. As that venerable assembly existed long before the period I am describing, a description of it ought, perhaps, to have been already exhibited : but I chose to wait till, under the auspices of a prince to whom our. Poetry and Music are for ever obliged, I am enabled to display it to the eyes of the curious in its most perfect form.
The Eisteddvod was a triennial assembly of the Bards, (usually held at Aberffraw', the royal seat of the Princes of North Wales, formerly situated in Anglesey ; likewise Dinevawr, the royal castle of the Princes of South Wales, in Caermarthenshire ; and Mathravael, the royal palace of the Princes of Powis, in Montgomeryfoire ;) for the regulation of Poetry, and Music, for the purpose of conferring degrees, and of advancing to the chair of the Eisteddvod, by the decision of a poetical, and musical contest, some of the rival candidates; or establishing in that honourable seat the Chief Bard who already occupied it.
Wishing to convey to my readers a clear idea of this important subject, I annex an extract, faithfully translated, from the statute of Prince Gruffudd ab Cynan, concerning the manner of holding an Eisteddvod.
When the congress hath assembled, according to notice and summons previously isued, at the place appointed, they fall choose as umpires twelve persons skilled in the Welsh Language, Poetry, Music, and Heraldry; who Jhall give to the Bards a subject to sing upon, in any of the 24 metres; but not in amabean carols, or any such frivolous compositions. The umpires shall see that the candidates do not defcend to satire, or personal invective, and shall allow to each a sufficient interval for composing his Englyn, or Cywydd, Music, or other task that they shall alsign. They shall moreover take down the names of the several Bards present intending to exbibit, that every one may be called by his name, in order, to the chair to perform his composition. The unsuccessful candidates, fall acknowledge in writing that they are overcome, and shall deliver their acknowledgment to the chief Bard, that is, to him who fall obtain the honour of the chair: and they all shall drink health to the chief Bard, and all fail pay him fees : and he shall govern them till he is over come in a future Eisteddvodo.
From this injunction it appears, that the duties which upon this occasion, in the reign of Howel, belonged to the judge of the palace, were afterwards held in commillion.
What served greatly to heighten the emulation of the Bards, if they wanted any additional incitement, was the presence of the prince, who usually presided in these contests. Their compositions delivered upon these occasions are frequently upon historical subjects, and are valuable for their authenticity; for it was the business of the Eisteddvod, not only to give laws to Poetry and Music, but to extinguish falsehood, and establish certainty, in the relation of events, “ A custom so good (says Drayton) that, had it been judi
ciously observed, truth of flory had not been so uncertain : for there was, we suppose, a correction of " what was faulty in form, or matter, or at least a censure of the hearers upon what was recited. Of which “ course some have wished a recontinuance, that either amendment of opinion, or change of purpose in
publihing, might prevent blazoned errors to."
Before any person could be enrolled in the Eisteddvod, the permission of the prince , or lord, within whose jurisdiâion he lived, was necessary. If he desired to proceed to degrees in Poetry, he was obliged at his presentation to explain the five Englyn Metres, and to sing them in such a manner, that one of the principal Bards would declare upon his conscience that he was competent to be admitted. He then became the pupil Of all these Metres, specimens are exhibited by Dr. Rhys, John junrivalled lustre.” Walter's Differt. on the Welsh Language, Rhydderch, and the Rev. Mr. Gronw Owen, (sce Beirdd Môn, by p. 51. Hugh Jones, 18mo. London, 1763 :) also in the constitutions s'Roderic the Great, King of all Wales and the Isle of Man, of the Society of Cymmrodorion, reprinted 1778. There are other changed the royal residence from Caer Segont, in Caernarvon, metres, now accounted obsolete and irregular; such as Triban Dhire, to Aberffraw, in Anglesey, about the year 870. He dior Englyn Milwr, the Warrior's Song ; Englyn o'r hen ganiad, vided his dominion into three principalities, which he left to the Song of the Arcient Strain ; Englyn gar-hir, the Song of his three sons. Groynedd, Venedotia, or North Wales ; Deheue the Long Thigh ; Englyn cildwrn, the Song of the Clinched barth, Demetia, or South Wales; and Mathraval, or Powis ; Fist.
which, betore the year 793, the royal refidence was kept at The 24 Metres were probably antecedent to the 24 measures of Pengwern Poris, or Shrewibury. Afterwards there were Five Music, for the latter seem to have been adapted to, and found. Royal Tribes of Wales · Prince Griffith ab Cynan, of Aberfraw, ed upon them.
in Anglesey, A. D. JO O; Prince Rhys ab Tudor, of Dinevawr', “'The Cambro-British Muse hath, at the instance of her vo. Caermarthenshire, 1080; Prince Bleddyn ab Cynvyn, of Mathra. taries, condescended to put on various other garbs wherein the val, in Montgomeryshire, 1070 ; Elustan Glodrødd, of Maes yved, hath appeared not only not ungraceful, but even with some de Radnorshire, Prince of the Marches; and Prince Ieflyn ab gree of dignity and eale ; yet the robes she hath ever gloried in, Gwrgant, of Dindryval, Glamorganshire, 1090. are the Twenty four celebrated ancient British Metres, unknown to , Yohn Rhydderch's Welsh Grammar, p. 188, 189. every Muse belides, and wherein she hath always thone with to Notes on the Fourth Song of the Polyolbion.
THE STATUTE OF PRINCE GRUFFUDD AB CYNAN. of some one of the principal Bards, whom he was obliged to attend annually in Lent, without whose approbation he could make no composition public; and during three years, that is, till the next Eisteddvod, remained a non-graduate, and was called Disgybl 1fpas cerdd davod, a probationary student of Poetry.
At the next Eisteddvod, three years having expired, Disgybl Yspas was examined for the degree of - Disgybl Disgyblaidd, or Bachelor of the Art of Poetry, and was required to be versed in the five Englyn Metres, the four Cywydd Metres, and three Awdl Metres; and to produce, in a scholar-like manner, compositions of his
own, free from the 15 common errors.—After the fame interval, the Bard took the degree of Disgyul Penceirddiaidd, or Master of the Art of Poetry, for which he was required to understand the rules of Grammar and Rhetoric, and analize and explain the alliterative concatenations of the language ; to escape all the
errors; and to sing melodiously, in parts, 21 of the metres. To the Pencerdd, or Professor of Poetry, who obtained his degree at the end of the same period, belonged the whole mystery of the art. He knew to sing in harmony, or concord, and was well versed in transposed alliteration. Among his qualifications are enumerated, fertility in poetical subjects, a store of matter and invention, authority of decision, and a facility in composing in praise of the great, what would be heard, or read with most delight, and longest retained in memory.
If a Disgybl, or disciple of any degree, was discovered in taverns or secret places playing for money at dice, or any other game, any person was authorised to take from him whatever money was found in his purse. For mockery and derision, and the invention or propagation of falsehood, the disciples were also punished with fines, and imprisonment. For, say the laws, the Bards shall be easy and peaceful in their manners, friendly in their dispositions, and humble in their services to the prince and his adherents.
Those Bards alone who had acquired the degree of Pencerdd were authorised to teach: nor were more than a single pupil allowed to each Pencerdd. The pupils were expressly enjoined to refrain from ridiculing their teachers, for that absence and inattention which is natural to a contemplative mind. But the most valued privilege of the Penceirddiaidd was their exclusive right to the chair of the Eisteddvod. All those among them who aspired to the honour of presiding over the Bards, came forward (as the statute prescribes) at the triennial assembly, and contested it with each other, and with the Chief Bard who already possefled it. The successful candidate was seated in a magnificent chair, and was hence called Bardd Cadeiriawg, the Chair-Bard. He was at the same time invested with a little silver, or gold chair, which he wore on his breast as the badge of his office. As his rank was high, his emoluments were considerable : they arose from the Disgyblion, or students, when they laid aside the hair-strung harp, at the expiration of three years study, and were admitted to the practice of their art ; from brides on their nuptials; and the marriage-fine of the daughters of all the Bards within his jurisdiction, &c.
Whoever desired to proceed to degrees in Music, was presented to the Eisteddvod by a musical Pencerdd, who vouched for his capacity. During his noviciate of three years, he was called Disgybl y/pás heb rádd, a probationary student of Music without a degree : and, if he learnt to play the harp, was only suffered to use that instrument strung with horse-hair, that he might not (as I conjecture) by his rude attempt at harmony, torment the ears of the principality, and might pursue his studies with greater diligence, incited by the hope of relinquishing it for one furnished with strings of a more audible and pleasing sound.
His next step, after three years study, was to the degree of Disgybl y/pás graddol, a graduate probationary student of Music, for which he was obliged to know ten cwlwm, one colovn, five cwlwm cydgerdd, one cadair, and eight caniad, or Songs.
His second degree, after six years ftudy, was Disgybl Disgyblaidd, or Bachelor of Music, but was previously required to be master of twenty cwlwm, two colovn, ten cwlwm cydgerdd, two cadair, fixteen caniad, and the twenty-four measures of Music; and to play them with facility and correctness.
At the expiration of nine years he became Disgybl Penceirddiaidd, or Master of Mufic, a degree which implied a preparatory knowledge of thirty cwlwm, three colovn, fifteen cwlwm cydgerdd, three cadair, twenty-four caniad, and four goteg; and skill in defining them properly, and distinctly.
The fourth degree, he was admitted Percerdd, Athraw, or Doctor of Music*, and was obliged to know forty cwlwm, four colovn, twenty cwlwm cydgerdd, four cadair, thirty-two caniadau, and four gosteg ; to understand all the laws and modifications of harmony, especially the twenty-four Measures of Music, and
* According to another manuscript, a Pencerdd might challenge any other to perform, or to sing for the prize, after giving a year and a day's notice. If he succeeded, he carried it off ; if not, he loft his degree ; and the viétor kept the prize for lists but was obliged to produce it triennially at the Eifteddved, or Congress of the Bards.