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Having now conducted nearly to our own time the short history I intended ; I make a little pause before I bring it to its conclusion, to examine somewhat more minutely the causes that conferred such peculia. rity 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 impe. tuous ; 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 fublime. 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 lei sure 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.
6. Love first invented verse, and form'd the rhime,
“ The motion measur'd, harmoniz'd the chime." Another cause, which operated with equal power on our poetry, was the strength and beauty of the lan. guage 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 Janguage, have been so well displayed in a dissertation on the subject by the Reverend Mr. Walters,' that I am unwilling to make use of his sentiments in any other words than his own.
“ The Welsh language (he observes,) is possessed 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 expresliveness, of an infinite variety of compounds, and deserves the praise which has been given it by an enemy', 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 Ni phrovais, dan ffurvaven,
On the Parnaslian hill, Gwe mor gaeth a'r Gymraeg wen*.
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 perspicuous 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 them the most melodious numbers, the most poetical diction, the most nervous expression, 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 Cambro-British dialect to the Druids. From this opinion I dissent ; because I observe that Taliefin and his contemporaries, by whom they were followed and imita ted, do not afford such 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 Welsh as the guardians of their language, and the conservators of its purity.
The metre of Welsh poetry is very artificial and alliterative ; possessing such peculiar ingenuity, in the selection and arrangement of words, as to produce a rhythmical concatenation of sounds in every verse. To an English reader it may seem a laborious way of trifling: but every language has peculiar laws of harmony.
Lord Lyttelton from Giraldus Cambrenfis. Hift. of Henry II. o Dr. Llewelyn ingeniously refers the curious and delicate vol. IIp. 6.
structure of the Welih language to its peculiar property of vary: A Differtation on the Wellh Language, 8vo, Cowbridge, ing artificially, euphonia gratiâ, its mutable initial consonants ; 1771.
making it fuperior in this respect to the Hebrew, and the Greek. 3 The author of the Letters from Snowdon.
See Historical and Critical Remarks on the British Tongue, * Edmund Prys, D. D.Archdeacon of Meirionydh.
8vo. London, 1769, p. 58, &c. Likewise Antiqua Lingus s See allo Cyvrinach y Beirdd, or the Secred of the Poets, in Britannica, by Dr. Davies, 8vo, London. 1621. Carte's tistory of England. vol I. page 33. and in the 2 vol. of
The this work, or Dardic Museum, p. 8.
HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE WELSH POETRY, AND MUSIC.
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 made their metre consist in quantity, or the artful distribution of long and short syllables. The old British 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 harsher consonants, so intermixing them with vowels, and fo adapting, repeating, and dividing, the several founds, 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 Bard, but that there is, in the language itself, a particular aptitude for that kind of alliterative melody, and is as essential 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 Cynghanedd, or rhythmi, in the poetical remains of the Druids. It was known to the Bards of the fixth century, but they used it fparingly, and were not circumscribed by the rules, that were afterwards adopted. From the Norman conquest to the death of Llywelyn the last, they were more strict. ' 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 prosody. Not content with the mellifluence of this
Within the concave of its womb is found,
The magic scale of soul-enchanting sound :
O’i wiw ziy i weu e á, a'i weuau
“ I perilh 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 noniau-ein lón,
Something now remains to be faid of the Welsh Music. Though the supernatural power and effects, fabu. lously 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 melody, 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.
There is a certain style of melody peculiar to each musical country, which the people of that country
& The Welth had fix or seven different kinds of this contonant vowels by the Rer, Mr. Gronw. Owen; Diddanwch Teuluaidd,
1 Walters's Differtation, p.53.
ancient manners and conviviality of our ancestors. There are others that recal back to our minds, certain incidents which happened in our youth, of love, rural sports, and other pastimes ; 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 national tunes, when once established, instead of offending by repetition, is always upon the increafe. 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 3.
And where could the 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 astonished 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 Rosa’s extravagant fancy never indulged itself in grander, or more wild prospects! Nor has Claude Lorraine's inimitable pencil ever delineated scenes that excelled fome of the valleys of Wales!
It is not to be wondered at, that the venerable Cambrian songs possessed such influence on the minds of our ancestors, when we consider their beautiful, and various change of style, and time ; transitions abrupt as the rocky prospects of the country, and sudden as the passions of the people :
66 Mankind it forces to be gay, or grave,
“ Amorous, Religious, Efeminate, or Brave." The most ancient style of Welsh music is the grave, and folemn, which was consecrated to religious purposes 4. The next, distinct from the former, is strikingly martial and magnificent". Another is plaintive, and expressive of forrow, 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 poflefling 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 former ages have been already realised.
The trembling strings about her fingers crowd,
Touch'd by that hand, who would not tremble too? Waller.
EDWARD JONES. 13 Whoever defires to see this idea pursued to some length, 1 r Vayna'n Vyw, Merch Mogan, Pen Rhaw, Mentra Gwen, Bimay find it ingeniously and philofophically developed, with veriad y Gerwyn, Erddigan Caer-Waun, Abfen Dón, Croeso 'n reference to the native music of Scotland, in Dr. Beattie's Er- Wenynen, &c. Dadl Dau, Mwynder Meirionydd, &c. says on Poetry and Music.
13 Hoffedd Modryb Marged, Ceffylyn Rbygyngog, Gyrru'r Byd 14 The fine old Psalms, which are chanted in some of the o'm blaen, Fiddie Fadale, Tri hanner Tón, Confet Davydd ab churches in Wales, particularly in those where modern finging Gwilym, Hob y Dyliv, &c. is not introduced. Likewise, Côr-Aedan, Côr vinvain, Cór. 1916 The harp is the favorite instrument of the fair sex, and wrgog, Côr-Alchan, Côr-Ffiniwr, Côr y golovn, Cór-Elvy w Hob- nothing should be spared to make it beautiful : for, it should be y deri Danno, Hai Down, &c. Some specimens of these Chorala principal object of mankind to attach them by every means Songs, are carefully diiplayed from an ancient manuscript in to music, as it is the only amusement that may be enjoyed to the original musical notes, supposed to be Druidical, which excefs, and the heart fill remain virtuous and uncorrupted.” the reader will see a specimen engraved on a bock, delineated Dr. Burney's History of Music, vol. I. in the print, or trophy of the musical instruments, further on “ Their bufinefs should be to practise merely for the amusein page 89, of this volume.
ment of themselves, their own family, and particular friends, is Triban, or the Warrior's Song, Triban Morganzug, Gor- or rather for domestic comfort, which they were by Providence hoffedd Gwyr Harlech, Rhyvelgyrch Cádfcn Morgan, Dowch i'r designed to promote; vix. To calm the boiiterous paffionVrwydr, Erddiyan troi'r tant, Shenkin, Syr Harri Dda, Sibyl, to relieve the anxieties and cares of life-to inspire chearful
Ffar wel trwy'r Froll, Torriad y Dydd, Cudyn Gwyn, Blodau'r nefs to appease the nerves, when irritated with pain, sickness,
orlabour of mind or body--to soothe the peevishness of infancy 10 Morva Rhudilan, î Galon Drom, Davydd Garreg wen, and old age-and to raise the mind to a feeling and love of Gorddinen, Diddanwch Gruffydd ab Cynan, Cwynvan Brydain, order. She who shall improve the natural talents, with Anhawdd ymadael, Mwenen Món, Symien ben Bys, Ir Hên Dón, which women are born, of doing all these things, will not have Gadael y 7 ir, &c.
mis-spent her time by applying a few years to music.” - 17 Nas Galan, Tôn y Ceiliog Dů, Maynen Cynwyd, Winifreda,
Stillingfleti's Irinciple and Power of Harmony, p. 151. Yr Eos lais, tir lyd y Nós, Codiad yr Hedydd, Blodau'r Dyffryn, 20 Cybelyn, and Cadwgan, were celebrated performers on the Creigiau 'r Eryri, Difiyli y Donn, Serch Hudol, Ffarwel Viengčiid, Harp, and composers of Welsh Music, See p. 38.
THREE MEMORIALS OF BRITAIN.
For thee I dare unlock the facred Spring,
And Arts disclos'd by ancient Sages fing! The following curious narrative, describing the principal profession of the Bards, is extracted from an ancient folio manuscript which was pointed out to me in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, by the Rev. Mr. Price ; marked KKK, and page 207, &c. - I did not think myself at liberty to make any alterations in this transcripts, further than to modernize the old uncouth orthography, so as to make it more intelligible to the generality of readers.
THE "HE office, or function of the British or Cambrian Bards, was to keep and preserve y Tri Chóv Ynys Pryse
-dain : that is, the Three Records, or Memorials of Britain, otherwise called the British Antiquities; which consist of three parts, and are called Tri Chóv: for the preservation whereof, when the Bards were graduated at their commencements, they were trebly rewarded; one reward for each Cóv, as the ancient Bard Tudur Aled recites, and also his reward for the same, at his commencement, and graduation at the royal wedding of Evan ab Davydd ab Ithel Vychan, of Northop in Inglefield, Flintshire, which he, in the Cerdd Marânad of the said Evan ab Davydd ab Ithel Vychan, records thus : Cyntav neuadd i'm gräddwyd,
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! Which shews that he was exalted, and graduated at that wedding for his knowledge in the said Tri Chóv, and was rewarded with three several rewards.
The first of the three Cóv, is the history of the notable acts of the Kings, and Princes of Britain, and Cambria.
The Second of the three Cóv, is the language of the Britons, of which the Bards were to give an account of every word, and syllable therein, when demanded of them ; in order to preserve the ancient language, and to prevent its intermixture with any foreign tongue, or the introduction of any foreign words in it, to the prejudice of their own, whereby it might be corrupted or extirpated.
The Third Cov, consisted of the pedigrees, or descents of the nobility, their division of lands, and the blazoning of arms 21,
The * Arms took their origin from the example of the Patri- duty was to declare the genealogy, and to blazon the arms of archs: for, holy writ informs us, that the 12 Tribes of Israel nobles and princes, and to keep the record of them ; and to were distinguished by signets. Sce Exodus, chap. 28, and chap. alter their ar.ns according to their dignity and deserts. Who 39; Numbers, chap. 2; Psalm 20; and Daniel, chap. 6.
were with the kings md princes in all battles and actions. As Coats of Arms were in use among the Old Britons from the for their garments, I think, they were such as the Prydyddion remotest period; although arms were not generally diffused had ; that is, a long apparel down to the calf of their legs, or among different nations until the Holy Wars.
somewhat lower, and were of divers colours. Also, the Song The Cymbri,or Britons, had their bodies and shields decorated of Victory describes, that the Ancient Chiefs wore divers co. with various colours, animals, birds, &c. which at first de- lours. Judges, chap. 5, ver. 30. noted valour, afterwards the nobility of the bearer; and in According to the primitive law of Dyunwal Moelmûd *, the process of time, gave origin to armorial ensigns. See Tacitus IV. Ancient Britons divided this land according to this manner; Cafar's Commentaries, Book V. chap. 10; and Plutarch's Tri hyd y gronun haidd, or thrice the length of one barley.corn, Life of Marius. Also it is recorded that K. Arthur bore on maketh a modvedd, or inch; three mod zedd, or inches, maketh his shield, in the battle of Goed Celyddon, the image of the Vir- a palv, or palm of the band; three palv, or palms, maketh a gin Mary. See Letvis's Ancient Hip. p. 182; and pp. 7, 8, troedvedd, or foot; three feet, or troedvedil, niaketh a cam, 9, and 10, of this work ; alto Gwilym's Heraldry.
pace, or stride ; three cam, or (trides, to the naid, or leap The Arwyddvardd, Enfign-Bard, or Herald at Arms: his three naid, or leaps, to the grwn ; that is the breadth of a buic
Dywnwal Moelmud, (or Dunwallo Molmutio,) was supreme king of Britain and the first monarch that constituted laws in chis island, and the first that wore a crown of gold. He reigned about 440 years before the time of Christ. Ponticus Verunnius says, that Dyonwal was a very comely perfon, and had yellow hair, curling down to his thighs. Lewis's Ancient Hif. of Britain, p. 39: and Brompton Menasb. 3o. v. inter Hift
. Angl. Script, Aniig, Col. 956.5.
The ancient Bards had a stipend out of every plow-land in the country, for their maintenance; and also a peram bulation, or a visitation, to make once every three years, to the houses of all the gentlemen in the country, which was called Cylch Clera, being for the preservation of the said Tri Chóv: 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 :.
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 Voliant, 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 actions, and to lament the death of renowned persons.
Those men, that are termed above by the name of gentlemen, are called Gwyr Bonheddig ? ; and there is no man by the law entitled to the appellation of Grør Benheddig, but he that is paternally descended from the Kings, and Princes of Britain ; for Bonheddig is equivalent to Nobilis in Latin : and the paternal genealogy of every gentleman must ascend to some royal personage, from whom he orignally held his land, and his arms. A gentleman, so descended by father, and mother, is styled, or entitled by the law, Bonbeddig Cynhwynawl, which fignifieth a perfect nobleman by father, and by mother. This title, Bonheddig, is the highest that a man can have; and remaineth in his blood from his birth to bis 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 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; thele, however, being only personal, and Bonhedd being permanent. You may understand hereby that the gentry of the country had a special interest in the Tri Chóv, or the histories where the acts and deeds of their ancestors and kinsmen, and the preservation 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 caufe ; nor their entertainments in their perambulations allowed them without good reason ; as all the histories and of land, or tầr : and mil of those tir, maketh a milltir, that is, a goeth to Powys, which is the name of another country and thousand tir, or a mile: and that was their measure for length, prince's dominion, which containeth ten other cantreds, he is which has been used from that time to this day : and yet, and gone from one country, or dominion, to another, and the law for superficial measuring, they made three hyd gronun haidd, or cannot be executed upon him ; for, he is gone out of the barley-corn length to the modvedd, or inch; three modvedd, or country. Tegings is a country, and containeth but one caninches, to the palv, or hand's-breath; three palv to the troed- tred; and Dyffryn Clwyd was a country, and did contain but vedd, or foot ; four troedvedd, or feet, to the veriau, or the short one cantred. And when any did go from Tegings to Dyffryn yoke ; eight troedvedd, or feet, to the mai-iau, and twelve Clwyd, for to fly from the law, he went out from one country troedvedd, or feet in the gefeiliau ; and fixteen troedvedd in the to another : and so every prince or lord's dominion was biriau ; and a pole, or rod so long, that is, fixteen feet long, is Gwlad, or country of that lord or prince ; fo that Gwlad is the breadth of an acre of land ; and 30 poles, or rods of that Pagus in my judgment. Sometimes a cantred doth contiin length is the length of an erw, or acre by the law; and four two comots, sometimes three, or four, or five ; as the Cantrev erw, or acre, maketh a tyddyn, or messuage ; and four of that of Glamorgan, or Morganwg, containeth five comots. And after tyddyn, or messuage, maketh a rhandir ; and four of those rban- that the Normans had won some parts of the country, as one diredd maketh a gavel, or tenement, or hould ; and four gavel lord's dominion, they constituted in that same place a Senescal, maketh a trev, or township, and four trev, or townships, or Steward, and that was called in the British tongue Swy. maketh a maenol, or maenor ; and twelve maenol or maenor, and ddog, that is, an Officer; and the lordship that he was steward dwy drev, or two townships, maketh a cwmwd, or Comot ; and of, was called Swydd, or Office, and of these Swyddeu two cwmwd or Comot maketh a cantrev or cantred, that is, a hun were made shires. And Swydd is an Office, be it great, or dred towns, or townships : and by this reckoning, every tyddyn small; and Swyddog is an Officer alfo of all states, as a Sheriff containeth four crw; every rhandir containeth fixteen erw; is a Swyddog, his Sheriffalty, or Office, and the thire whereof and every gavel containeth fixty-fourerw. Every town or town- he is Sheriff is called Swydd : fo that Swydd doth contain as Thip containeth two hundred and fifty-fix erw, or acres; these well the sħire as the office of Sheriff, as Swydd Amwythig crws being fertile arable land, and neither meadow, nor paf- is the shire or office of the Steward, Senescal, or Sheriit of ture, nor woods; for there was nothing measured but fertile Salop, &c. arable land, and all others were termed wastes. Every maenol See
33, of this work. containeth four of these townships ; and every cwmwd con. * The greatelt and highest degree was Brenin, or Teyrn that taineth fifty of these townships; and every cantred a hundred is, a King; and next to him was a Twyfog, or a Duke ; and of these townships, whereof it hath its name. And all the next to him was a larll, or an Earl ; and next to him was an countries and lord's dominions were divided by cantreds, or Arglwydd, or a Lord; and next to him was a Barwn, or Baron; cantreo ; and to every one of these cantreds, comors, maenors, and next to that is the Breir, or Uchelwr, which may be called towns, gavels, were given some proper names. And Gwlad, or the Squire ; next to this is a Gwr-cäng, that is, a Yeoman ; and country, was the dominion of one lord or priace, whether the next to that is an Alltud; and next to that a Caeth, which is a Gwlad were one cantred, or two, or three, or four, or more; Slave, and that is the meanest amongst these nine several de. so that when I say, he is gone from gwlad to gwlad, that is, grees. And these nine degress had three several tenures of from country to country, is meant, that he is gone from one lands, as Maerdir, Uchelardir, Priodordir. There be also other lord or prince's dominion to another prince's dominion ; as, names and degrees which be gotten by birth, by office, and by for example, when a man committeth an offence in Gwynedd, dignity; but they all are contained under the nine aforesaid deor North Wales, which contaiacth ten canfredi, and fleeth or grees. See Leges Wallicae, P 155, and Silas Taylor, on Gavel-kind.
pp. 26, and