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to explain them as they were written in the book of musical division': to compose a leffon, pronounced faultless by the proficient Bards, and to show all its properties, its divisions, and subdivisions, its licenses and rests, the diatonic notes, all the flats, and sharps, and every change of movement through the several keys. If the Pençerdd was a Harper, he was required to know the three famous Mwchwl, which were equal to the four colovn ; and the three new Mwchwl were equal to the four cadair. All this he was obliged to know and perform in a masterly manner, so that the Doctors of Music Could declare him competent to be an author, and a teacher of his art.
The Eisteddvod was a rigid school. The poetical, or the musical disciple, who at the expiration of his triennial term could not obtain a higher degree, was condemned to lose that which he already poffeffed.
Every chief Bard, or Bardd Cadeiriawg, who had acquired the honours of the chair, wore a gold, or silver chair, pendent on his breast, as a badge of his superior dignity; but after the time of Prince Gruffydd ab Cynan, the musical Bards wore a separate order. See page 89; where there is an engraving of the filver Harp, which is in the possession of Sir Thomas Mostyn, in Flintshire, and has been from time immemorial in the gift of his ancestors, to bestow on the chief of the faculty *. This badge of honour is about fix inches and a half long, and furnished with strings equal to the number of the Muses, and was worn by the chief Musician, as the filver chair was by the chief Poet, or the golden tongue by the chief Singer.
The revenues of the Bards arose from presents at princely and other nuptials, and from fees in their annual circuits at Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, and in their triennial Clera, or grand circuit. Their fees and presents were regulated with proportion to their degrees : and the number of visitants to the condition of the person that received them. Likewise, in order to encourage the clérwsr to keep up the language, and the memory of the exploits, and pedigrees of the Britons, they were allowed a certain fum out of
every plough-land, and in proportion out of every half plough-land of their district. A month before each festi. val, the pupils enquired of their teachers what routs they should take in their approaching circuit, left too many should resort to the same part of the country. A Pencerdd was not licensed to visit the commonalty, unless he chose to accept a fee beneath his station and dignity: nor could any Bard of an inferior degree appear before the gentry, and nobles. The Bards were not suffered to request presents beyond a certain value, under penalty of being deprived of their musical instruments, and practice for three years : when this happened, the present illegally requested became forfeit to the prince.
The Eisteddvod was followed by the grand triennial Clera, which was not limited, as the circuits of the festivals, to commets, and cantreds, but extended through all Wales. Such was the benevolence of the Wellh institutions, that Bards amicted with blindness, or any such natural defect, were indulged with the privilege of Clera, as well as the four poetical, and the five musical graduates. At a wake or festival, a circuiting Bard was not suffered, during its continuance, to depart from the house he had first visited, without the consent of the master of the house, or invitation given him by another. If he rambled from house to house, or became intoxicated, he was deprived of his Clera fees, which were applied to the use of the church. If he offered any indecency to mistress, or maid, he was fined and imprisoned, and forfeited his Clera for
Every art has its subordinate professors. Besides the four classes of regular, or graduated Bards, I have recounted, there were four other classes of inferior and unlicensed Songsters, which were called Clér y dom, or the meaner, and more unskilful itinerant musicians, and poets”; also, they were called Bón y Glér, or the lowest class; but properly termed in English, Minstrels. These were Pipers, Players on the three-stringed Crwth, Taborers, and buffoons. Of the pipe, the three-string Crwth, and the tabor, the reader will find some mention near the trophy of the musical instruments of the Welsh. The performers who used them, were looked upon among Bards, as weeds among flowers ; they had no connection with the Eisteddvod and their estimation and profits were equally inconsiderable. One of their number, the Datceiniad Pen Pajwn, was a minstrel who rehearsed only, and played no instrument : on occasions of festivity, he stood in the middle of the hall where the company were assembled, and beating time with his staff, sung a poem to the sound. When any of the regular Bards were present, he attended them as a servant, and did not presume to fing, unless they fignified their affent.
? This MS. called Llyvr Dofparth, I fear is not now extant, * Of the Bardic, or Druidic Institution mentioned in de Dignitatibus Baroniæ de Kemes
, that is, of the Dignities of the Barony of Kemes, the 16th peculiar honour annexed to it occurs in these words, “The Disposal of the Silver Harp belongs to that Barony, as if to the Mansion of the Prince, which in the absence “ of the lord, is delivered to his Monastery of St. Dog wael's to be kept."
• The English word Bungler, is derived from Bon-y-Glêr ; and particularly the French term Jongleur, is a corruption from Bón-y-Glór, or Bongler.
OF THE STATUTES OF THE BARDS.
The only connexion that existed between the Bards, and the lower order, or Minstrels, we discover in the appointment of Cf Clér *, at the marriage of a prince, or any person of princely extraction. A year and a day before the celebration of the nuptials, notice was given to a Pencerdd, or Doctor of the Art, to prepare himself to support that character. When the time came, he appeared in the hall; and a facetious subject being proposed, the Rhapsodists surrounded him, and attacked him with their ridicule. In these extempore satyrical effusions they were restrained from any personal allusion, or real affront. The Cf Clér fat in a chair in the midst of them, and filently suffered them to say whatever they chose, that could tend to the diverfion of the assembly. For this unpleasing service he received a considerable fee. The next day he appear. ed again in the hall, and answered his revilers, and provoked the laughter and gained the applause of all who were present, by exposing them in their turn, and retorting all their ridicule upon themselves :.
At Chritmas, in the year 1177, Rhys ab Gruffydd, Prince of South Wales, gave a magnificent entertainment with deeds of arms, and other shows, in his new castle of Cardigan, or Aberteivi, to a great number of illustrious natives, and foreigners; notice of which had been given a year and a day before, by proclamation through all Britain, and Ireland. The musical Bards of North Wales, and South Wales, who had been expressly invited to the festival, and to a musical and poetical contest, were seated in chairs with much ceremony in the middle of the great hall of the castle. Animated with their usual emulation, the presence of their noble audience, and expectation of the rich rewards promised to the victors, they pursued to a great length their generous strife, which terminated with honour to both parties, the pre-eminence in Poetry being adjudged to the poetical Bards of North Wales ; and in music to the domestic Musicians of Prince. Rhys. In thus regaling his guests with poetry, and music, the Welsh prince (as Lord Lyttelton remarks in his History of Henry II.) kept up the ancient custom of his country, and, by the number and skill of the Poets and Musicians he assembled together, did undoubtedly much excel what Henry could exhibit in the same way to him, and to the other chiefs of Wales, when he entertained them in his royal castle of Oxford *.
At this feast, the Bards were confirmed by the prince's authority in the franchises and privileges granted them by former statutes. They were also recompensed with fees, settled by prescription, and proportioned to the order of their profession, and the degree they had obtained in it s.
Though the age of Rhys was thus propitious to the Bards, we should have remained unacquainted with the nature of the poetry and music, for which they were so highly valued, if they had not found in Giraldus Cambrensis“, an historian worthy of their fame. He was a native of the country, and travelled in it in search of information with such an industrious and philosophical spirit of learned curiosity, as very rarely occurs in those early times. The manner in which the subject of Welsh Music is treated, in the following quotation from his Description of Wales, will sufficiently justify its length.
“ By the sweetness of their musical instruments they footh and délight the ear : they are rapid, yet delia cate in their modulation; and by the astonishing execution of their fingers, and their swift transitions from discord to concord, produce the most pleasing harmony. This cannot be better explained than by what I have said in my Topography of Ireland concerning the musical instruments of the three nations. It is remark, able, that in all their hafte of performance they never forget time and musical proportion; and such is their art, that with all their inflection of tones, the variety of their instruments, and the intricacy of their hara mony, they attain the perfection of consonance and melody, by a sweet velocity, an equable disparity, and a discordant concord, as if the strings founded together fourths, or fifths : they always begin with B flat, and afterwards return to it, that the whole may be completed under the sweetness of a grand and pleasing found. They enter into a movement, and conclude it in so delicate a manner, and play the little notes so sportively under the blunter found of the base strings, enlivening with wanton levity, or communicating a deeper internal sensation of pleasure, that the perfection of their art appears in the concealment of it. For,
Art profits when conceald,
Disgraces when reveal'd.” • Cyf Clér, is the Butt of the Cler; and Clar, are Musicians, s Powel's History of Wales, p, 205, Dr. J. D. Rhys's Poets, or Minstrels. From the Celtic Cler, came Clergan, to Wella Poetical Grammar, p. 295. fignify Church Singers, afterwards used for the body of the Sylvester Giraldus, or Giraldus Cambrenfis, of a noble Fle. Clergy, to distinguish them from the Laity: also, Cleiriacb, is mish family near Tenby, in Pembrokeshire, was born in 1145. a Clergyman in Irish.
He was fecretary to Henry II. tutor to King John, and Bishop : Dr. Rhys's Institutes of the Welsh Language, p. 296, &c. of St. David's. 'In 1187 he accompanied Baldwin, archbishop Rhydderch's Grammar, p. 179, &c. and Caradoc's History of of Canterbury, into Wales, to preach the Crusade. He wrote Wales, augmented by Wynne, p. 205.
an Irish and Wellba Itinerary, and other works. He died and * History of Henry II. 4to. vol. III. p. 302,
was buried at St. David's, about the age of 70.
Here I cannot refrain from interrupting this curious narrative of Giraldus, for the purpose of introducing, from one of Philips's pastorals, fome lines which are beautifully descriptive of those effects which the harp is peculiarly capable of producing, and for which it is universally admired :
“ Now lightly skimming o'er the strings they pass,
“ And give the swelling tones a manly grace.
They do not fing in unison, like the inhabitants of other countries; but in many different parts. So that in a company of fingers, which one frequently meets with in Wales, as many different parts and voices are heard, as there are performers; who all at length unite, with organic melody, in one consonance, and the soft sweetness of B flat.
In the northern parts of Britain, heyond the Humber, and on the borders of Yorkshire, the inhabitants use in singing the same kind of symphonious harmony; but with less variety, singing only in two parts, one murmuring in the base, the other warbling in the acute or treble. Neither of the two nation has acquired this peculiar property by art, but by long habit, which has rendered it familiar and natural : and the practice is now so firmly rooted in them, that it is unusual to hear a simple and single melody well sung. And, which is still more wonderful, their children, from their infancy, fing in the same manner.”
After the account that has been given of the musical constitutions of the Welsh, the testimony of Giraldus was not wanted to prove that they highly esteemed and cultivated music, and that harmony must have existed among them in considerable perfection. But, from the passages I have quoted concerning their art, we may collect, from the fairelt presumption of certainty, that they possessed an improvement of it, the first invention of which has always been attributed to Guido'. They either were acquainted with counterpoint, and the method of singing in parts, or Giraldus himself must have invented it, and given them the merit of his discovery. I cannot, without feeling a repugnance, contradict the opinion of so diligent an historian, and so ingenious a critic as Dr. Burney "; but I am persuaded, that if he had previously enquired into the musical ftudies of the Bards, and their public establishment, in the preceding centuries, he would not have suffered his unfavourable opinion of Giraldus's veracity to prevail against the strong light of his evidence. If that the C ds understood counterpoint requires further proof, it is to be found in the Four and Twenty ancient Games of the Welfa "; of which Canu Cywydd pedwar, ac accenu ; Singing a Song in four parts, with accentations, is among the number: and in the MS. to which I have referred in p. 28, and 29; which con. tains several Welsh tunes in full harmony, that may be ascribed with certainty to fo early a date as the eleventh century, and some of them to much remoter periods. Also, see a passage from Senecat: and of The Three Men's Songs I.
· Cambria Descriptio, ch. 11.
read of Kor Alun, Kor Aedan, Kor Elvyri, Kor Ffinwr, &c. & Ibid. ch. 12 and 13.
which fignifies a body, on number of voices, and instruments 9 " It is well known that Guido's new invented counterpoint joined in harmony;" was expressed in long notes to protract and lengthen out his A Letter from the Rev. Mr. Evans, of Llanymynech, with harmonious sounds; and that his movements were slow. But
which I was favoured in answer to my enquiries. Giraldus Cambrenfis, his contemporary, gives ns an amazing Also the name of the ancient and famous monastery of account of the celerity, rapidity, execution, and correctness, Bangor, in North Wales, seems to be derived from Bann.gør, or with which the Britons played in parts their intricate and com- famous choir. See p. 11. plicated music on their harps. If Guido's invention had then Likewise, we read of Kán Afaph, The Chant of Asaph. This reached Wales, would they have been so expert fo soon in the St. Asaph dicd A, D. 596 ; and the cathedral is named after practice of it, or would they have written their music in the him to this day. See Brown Willis's Survey of St. Afaph, rude, old-fashioned manner of the MS. you allude to, when a p. 131. much better method had been found out? It may therefore 10 History of Music, vol. II. p. 10S, &c. be inferred that the Britons performed music harmoniously in " I annex an accurate copy, and translation of these celeparts, before the Italians.
brated games, consisting of twenty-four kinds of exercises, used by the “ The characters in the Welsh MS. were probably chants ancient Britons, as they are printed in Dr. Davis's Welth, Latin, or recitatives, used in bands of music, concerts, Iymphonies, and and Latin and Weith Dictionary, folio, London, 1632. choruses in great houses, or perhaps in divine worthip. We
† “ Dort
THE FOUR AND TWENTY ANCIENT BRITISH GAMES, &c.
Even at this day, our untaught native harpers, who are totally unacquainted with modern music, retain fomething of that skill for which the Bards were famous. For, like their great predeceffors, from whom they have received their tunes by tradition, they perform, however rudely, in concert; they accompany the voice with harpegios, they delight in variations, and without deviation from their subject, indulge the sportive excursions of musical fancy. Quales fuêre, cum tales fint reliquiæ "? !
The Poetry, as well as the Mufic of the Bards, has received much illustration from the pen of Giraldus: and of its adherence to truth, and its use in recording events to posterity, he has transmitted to us a me. morable example. In his time the veracity of the Welsh Muse was made known by an extraordinary discovery to the world. Henry II. about the year 1187, was led to the church-yard of Glastonbury in search of the body of Arthur, by some lines of Taliesin (describing the manner of his death, and the place of his interment) that had been repeated in his presence by a Welsh Bard, (if I may borrow from Drayton, one of his beautiful apostrophies :)
“ To Pembroke call'd before the English king,
He found that man of men: and what thou faidít was true 13."
The Four and Twenty games.
6 Feats of
Swimming 6 O rym Corph. Y mavael.
Riding, or feats in chariots of war.
Display of strength,in supporting and hurting weights, such as Cryvder dan bwysau.
(pitching thebar,oralarge itone , throwing the fledge, orquoits. Saethu.
Archery, throwing the javelin, and to hurl with a fling. 4 O rym arvau. Chwareu cleddyv a tharian. 4 Exercises of Fencing with a sword and buckler.
Chwareu cleddeu deuddwrn. weapons. Fencing with the two-handed sword.
Playing with the quarter staff.
3 Rural sports. Fishing
Playing the Harp.
7 Domestic Reading Welsh. Gamp Deuluaidd Canu cywydd gan dant.
and literary Singing a song with the Harp, or Crwth, Canu Cywydd pedwar, ac accenu.
games. Singing an ode in four parts, with accentations.
4 Inferior Draughts, and Shuffle-board.
games. Dice, or Back Gammon. Cyweirio telyn.
Tuning the Harp, + « Dost thou not observe how a chorus is made up of many Edward the Third, has the following passage : voices? And yet the whole forms but one found. Some of these “ At that feast were they served in rich aray, voices are grave, fome acute, and some between both. Women's
Every five and five had a cokeney; voices are added to men's, and with these flutes are inter
And so they fat in jollity all the long day, mingled; the voices of all are heard, but each particular voice is
Tyb at night, 1 trow, had a simple aray: undistinguishable. I speak of the chorus which was known
Mickle mirth was them among ; * Six-men's fong, i. e. the ancient philosophers. , We have more singers in our assem.
In every corner of the house song for fix voices. Dr. blies than there were formerly spectators in the theatres: for
Was melody delicious,
Percy's Reliques of Ancient all the passages are filled with singers,and the inside of the places
For to hear precious
Englifo Pretry, vol. II. p. is lined with trumpeters: the upper part of the stage resounds
Of six men's song
13, 24. of the 3d edition. with every kind of flutes, and organs, and harmony is made to arise Likewise, Shakespears ufes, “ Three-man, fong-men all,” in his from diffonant sounds.
Winter's Tale, to denote men that could fing catches, composed You teach me how grave and acute voices are brought into in three parts. See more confirmation in Dr. Pepusch's letter to agreement, and how harmony proceeds from strings which ren- Mri de Moivre, published in the Philosophical Iranfallions, for der unequal sounds.29 Seneca, Epift. 84.
Allo, in Hawkin's Hift. of Music, vel. I. p. 408. † Among their pastimes formerly in Cornwall, it appears In Pot er's Observations on the present State of Music and Mulithey had songs in three parts.
cians, 8vo, p. 11. 12. And in Dr. Smith's Harmonics, 2d. ed. p. 34. « Three men's songs, cunningly contrived for the ditty, and plea 12 Phedrus. Jantly for the note?"
Carew's Hist, of Cornwall, p. 72. second 13 Drayton's Polyolbion, the 6th Song. See also the notes Ed.
of the third fong. Froiffard says, that King Arthur first built Also the old Ballad, called the Tournament of Tottenham, the castle of Windsor. K. Arthur died on the ait of May, in which is said to bave been written before the reign of King A. D. 543.
3 Helwriaeth. S Hela & Migi.
This is not fiction. The success of the investigation was not ungrateful to the monarch's poetic faith: and Henry had the satisfaction to view the stupendous remains, and to count the glorious wounds, of the last of Britons
To these incidents Mr. Warton (with his usual skill and ingenuity,) has given a new and poetical form, in an Ode called The Grave of Arthur, which possesses many beauties.
“ I find a curious circumstance mentioned in Enderbie's History of Wales, of a public charter of privileges and immunities of King Arthur, to the School and University of Cambridge *, where among other memorable things he declareth that his Christian predecessors, Kings of Britain, had been instructed there in learning and religion, and in particular, speaking there of King Lucius, what immunities he granted to that university, and that this our first Christian king did receive the faith of Christ, by the preaching of the learned scholars of Cambridge. This charter was dated at London, the 7th day of April, in the year of Christ
The three principal palaces, or Courts of King Arthur, were at Caer-lleon, on the river Ulk ’, in Monmouthshire ; Ceiliwig, in Cornwall; and Penrhyn Rhionedd, in Cumberland.---British Triads, No. 57.
Aethai heb Dant, a Chantawr, Had it not been for Music, and Poetry, " Ar goll, hanes Arthur
Even the feats of Arthur would have been inevitably lost. The use of our poetry in preserving the memory of events, and the aid it has lent to history, is proved by another example; viz. of the celebrated Madog ab Owen Gwynedd, and his discovery of America, about the year 1170 4. This we gather from the poems of Cynurig ab Gronw, and Sir Meredudd ab Rhýs, and the more express declaration of that learned hérald bard, Guttyn Owain ; who all preceded the expedition of Columbus, and relate, or allude to the expedition of Madog, as an event well known and universally believed, that had happened three hundred years before.
If Geoffrey of Monmouth, when he translated Tysilio, had known the works of Taliesin, and Llywarch Hén, he might have found in them abundance of historical passages that would have served better to enlarge and embellish that venerable, and authentic history, than those prophetick tales he has adopted.—Juvat integros accedere fontess.
But left the purity of these genuine sources yet unexplored should be doubted, let it be remembered that the descendants of the Celts could never be brought to think with the Greeks, and Romans, on the subject of heroic Poetry, which was held in such reverence by that primitive nation and its posterity, that fable and invention (the essence of the classical epopee) were never suffered to make any part of it. From this cause neither the Britons, the Irish, the Erse, the Cornish, nor the Armoricans, have ever to this day produced a poem similar in its structure to the Iliad, or Æneid ; though most other nations have shown an inglorious pride in imitating them. What in one country is called an heroic poem, and the grandest performance of human art, is despised in another as a fabulous empty song, calculated to please a vain and boastful people, who have no actions of their own virtue and courage to be recorded, but are constrained to have recourse to fiĉitious gods, fi&itious heroes, fiétitious battles, and such anachronisms as a grave British writer would have blushed to own. Historians, who are acquainted only with the compositions of this character, may well regard Poetry with the contempt they have usually testified, as a vain art, that draws its materials more from fancy than from nature, and delights in fiction rather than truth. But widely different, is the Poetry of the British Bards, which has ever been from the first of times, the sacred repository of the actions of great men.
The period which interfered between the reign of Gruffydd ab Cynan, and that of the last prince, Llewelyn, is the brightest in our annals. It abounds with perhaps the noblest monuments of genius, as well as valour of which the Welsh nation can boast. It will be sufficient for me to mention a few illustrious names, who with veneration derived from their great predecessors the Arts of Poetry, and Music, and transmitted them with augmented honours, to their posterity. I wish the limits of this essay would suffer me to give more than their names; or that my learned countrymen would shew some of that enterprising spirit, for which their ancestors were famed, and publish their remains to the world. The poems of Meilir, the Bard of Gruffydd ab Cynan; Cynddelw Brydydd Mawr; Owen Cyveiliog, Prince of Powys; Gwalchmai ab Meilir; Gwrgant ab Rhýs; Guthrie's History of England, vol. I. p. 102.
(tain. King Arthur founded there an University, which con* Cambridge was first built by Gwrgant Varvdrwch, (about tained 200 learned Philosophers and Astronomers : and there 375 years before Christ,) and was called from him Caer-gwrgant, he instituted that celebrated order of Knighthood. Lewis's Hif. as well as the river called Cant. He made this town hisregal feat, of Britain, p. 51, &c. and so did his son Gwythelin after him. Lewis's Hift. of Britain, - For a candid enquiry into this subject, fee Lord Lyttelton's p. 55:
notes on the 5th book of his Hift.of Henry II. See also Owen's • Enderbie's History of Wales, p. 187.
British Remains, Svo. London, 1777. Likewise Carte's Hift. of * Caer-ar Wysg, in Monmouthshire, was once the metropolis England, Vol. I. p. 638; and Powel's Hift. of Wales, p. 227. of all Wales, and, for beauty and extent, the third city in Bri Lucretius.