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1137.] This year (says Powel) died Gruffudd ab Rhys ab Tendern " the light, honor and support of South Wales ;” who by his wife Gwenllian, the daughter of Gruffudd ab Cynan, had Rhys his sont who succeeded.
Our Chroniclers are encomiastic of this character. The Lord Rhys ab Gruffudd, say they, “ was no less remarkable in courage, than in the stature and lineaments of his body, wherein he excelled most men.” In 1143 he distinguished himself against the Normans, aid Flenish, in Dyfed. His life was a continued warfare, too much engaged against his countrymen and relations; exhausting the national strength in domestic hostilities. On the submission of North Wales to the Second Henry, and in the pacification which ensued, Rhys was not included, but alone supported himself against the Eng. Jish, and obtained terms from them. In the absence of Henry in Normandy, Rhys renewed the war, encouraged by the Welsh prophecies, that the King would not return. Henry however was soon in South Wales, and Rhệs, unable to resist, submitted to do him honiage, and gave hostages for his obedience. This ceremony was performed at Woodstock, and Rhys swore fealty to the English King, and to Henry his son.'
We are told, p. 66, that Cyfeiling, a prince of the third royal tribe, • Was a distinguished Bard * also, as what he left +
testify; and in our Augustan $ age of Welsh poetry. The Saxons, at least
for • * Mr. Andrews has well observed, that the tale of Edward the First's cruelty to the Bards, in the next century, has no foundation, but an obscure tradition, and a hint in the Gwydir history. Edward hath been also accused of having destroyed all the ancient records and writings in Scotland. This is ably refuted by Sir David Dalrymple. But an order at that time subsisted to silence the Welsh Bards. Our countrymen were more severely treated by the Fourth Henry, when the Welsh were rendered by an act of parliament incapable of purchasing lands, or of performing any office in any town, or of having any Castle or house of defence. English Judges and Juries were to decide disputes between English and Welsh : Englishmen that mar. ried Welshwomen disfranchised, and Welshman might bind his child to any trade, nor breed him up to literature. The absurdities of these ordinances counteracted their virulence; and the moderation of the Fifth Henry having laid them to sleep; if not repealed, they 'were at least forgotten.'
• + His poem, called HirlAS OWAIN, (finely translated into Enge lish verse by the Reverend Mr. Williams of Fron,) affords a specimen of his martial spirit, as well as of his poetic talents.'
• $ Poetry and good language was in greater perfection in Wales, a little before and a little afier the Norman Conquest, than it hath been since; and the historical part of our Poems is a great light to
• * Henry no doubt was jealous of the charms of our countrywomen, and fearful of their influence on his English subjects.'
for some time, were no poets; they landed here, without an alplibet. The Normans had their Jongleurs *, Troubadours, and Pro. vencial songs; the Monks jingled their Latin do grel; but until the days of Gower, Chaucer and Lydgate, native English numbers were in a manner unknownt; the scholar since hath excelled his master;
Historians, both English and Welsh, Irish and Scotch. Goronwy Owaiu on this subject says,
" I find the old metres were, what all Compositions of that nature should be, that is, Lyric verses adapted to the tunes and music then in use. Of this sort were the several kinds of Englynion, Cywyddau, Odlau, Gwawdodyn, Toddaid,
Trybedd y Myneich and Glogyrnach, which appear to have in their composition the authentie stamp of genuine Lyric poetry, and of true primitive antiquity. As to the rest, I mean Gorchist y Beirdd, Huppynt hir and byrr, being the newest, they were falsely thought the most ingenious and accurate kind of me tres.
But I look upon them to be rather depravations than improvements in our poetry. What a grovelling, low thing that Gorcl.est y Beirdd is ! And I would have an impartial answer, whether the old, despised, extermi. nated Englyn Milur hath not something of antique majesty in its composition. Now, when I have a mind to write good sense in such a metre as Gorchest y Beirdd, and so begin, and the langua e itself does not afford vords that will come in to finish with sense and Cynghanedd too, what must I do? Why, to keep Cynghanedd (i.e. the alliteration) I must write nonsense to the end of the metre, and cramp and fetter good sense ; whilst the dictionary is overturned and 'tormented to find out words of a like ending, sense or nonsense; and besides, suppose our language was more comprehensive and signifi. cant than it is, (which we have no reason or room to wish) what abundance of mysterious sense is such an horrid, jingling metre of such a length able to contain! In short as I understand that it and its fellows were introduced by the authority of an Eisteddfodd, I wish we had an Eisteddfodd again, to give them their dimittimus to some peaceable acrostick land, to sport and converse with the spirits of deseased Puns, Quibbles, and Conundruins of pious memory; then would I gladly see the true primitive metres reinstated in their ancient dignity, and sense regarded more than a hideous jingle of words,' which hardly ever bear it.”
• The Welsh poetry had great compass and variety. Dr. Jo David Rhys the physician and grammarian, who took his degree in Italy, introduces a comparison between the Welsh and Italian poetry, and inserts a whole Italian poem, marked in the manner he has done the Welsh. In Metastasio is a poem similar to a very favorite mea. sure in Welsh poetry ; viz.
. Sopra il Santissimo. Natale Ode, Vol. 9. In this, the end of the first line rhimes to the middle of the second, and the end of the second to the middle of the third.'
• * This species of Minstrels ended in the conjuring art; hence our Jugglers. • 7 We must not wonder, if the English verse in those çarly cenNosque ubi primus equis Oriens afflavit anbelis,
Illic sera rubens accendit lumina Vesper.' The Britons had taught the Saxons to read, and given them the first of all things in Christianity itself, which they spread and adorned with ten Cathedrals.'
turies appear uncouth. The bard had to do with a harsh, though nervous language, frowned on by the Court, neglected by the Gentry, and disguised by a most unintelligible mode of spelling.–J.P.A.
• The son of Owain Givynedd, Hywel, (who fell in the contention for his father's throne) brother to Madog the navigator, bath written his own battles in verse, and some love verses in a most ele. gant manner, of which we have several copies in Wales. Our Princes and chieftains continued this custom of writing their own actions, as late as Henry the Second's time, the age of Hyvel. Poetry was so sacred with these people, that they never suffered in. vented fables, the chief ingredient in heroic poetry, to have a footing in it, which is the reason that neither the Gauls, Britons, Irish, Picts, Cornish or Armoricans, ever had to this day a poem in the nature of the Iliad or Eneid. Poetry,” says Mr. Morris," hath been with us the sacred repository of the actions of great men; and it hath been so, from the most ancient times, in other nations ; as the song of Moses, among the Jews, of the defcat of the Egyptians. Taliessin's historical poem of the Tombs of the Warriors of Britain is a noble piece of antiquity, and strikes great light on the events of those tiines, when compared with the Triades, the Brut y Brenhinoedd, and the succeeding writers. The book of Triades, in Bris ; tish Trioedd Yns Prydain, or the Threes of the Island of Britain, seems to have been written about the year 650, and some parts of it collected out of the most ancient monuments of the kingdom, but not from the same fountain as Brut y Brenhinoedd ; as there are facts and matters in the Triades not to be found in the Brut, and also several things which the author of the Brut never would have omitted, if he had met with them. The Triades hath always been quoted by our British poets from age to age, though Geoffrey of Monmouth, the Latin translator of Tyssillio, never saw it, or else he would have embellished his translation with its contents, instead of the ridiculous things which he hath added to it from Myrddyn Emrys, and oral tradition." It is called by some writers, and by the translator of Camden, the Book of Triplicities. The Britons, as well as other nations of old, had a particular vencration for odd numbers, and especially for that of Three. Their most ancient poetry consists of Three lined stanzas, called Englyn Milwr, the Warrior's Versę. Their most remote history is divided into sections, being combina tions of some Tliree similar events. All men of note, whether famous or infamous, were classed together by Threes; Virtues and Vices were tripled together in the same manner; and the Druids conveyed their instructions in moral and natural philosophy to their people, in sen. tences of Three parts,'
The sovereigns of North Wales preserved their title of Princes till 1282, on the death of the last Llywelin. The kingly title ended with Gruffudd ab Cynan. However, there was no representation for Cheshire or Wales in the English House of Commons, till the Welsh incorporating acts of Henry the Eighth.'
At p. 84, Mr. Yorke has clearly traced the Genealogy of his present Majesty :
• From Ann, Countess of Cambridge, the heiress of England and Wales, and to whom our gracious Sovereign, in every rule of right, the Catholic line necessarily excluded, is lawful heir and lineal suc.
. George the Third, the eldest son, by Augusta of Saxgotha, of Frederick, Prince of Wales, the son of George the Second, the son of George the First, the son of Ernest Augustus, Elector of Ha: Rover, by Sophia, the daughter of Frederick Elector Palatine, and Elizabeth, the daughter of James the First, the son of Lord Darnley, and Mary, Queen of Scotland, the daughter of James the Fifth, the son of James the Fourth by Margaret, the eldest daughter of Henry the Seventh by Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of Edward the Fourth, the eldest son of Richard Duke of York, the son of Richard of Conisburg Earl of Cambridge, by Anne daughter and heiress of Roger Earl of Marche, the son of Edmund, Earl of Marche, by Philippa daughter and sole heiress of Lionel Duke of Clarence, the third son of Edward the Third. This Edmund was the son of Ed. mund Mortimer, the son of Roger, the first Earl of Marche of this family, the son of Edmund, the son of Roger, the son of Ralph by Gwladys Ddu, or the Black, the heiress of her brother Dafydd ab Llywelyn, the son of Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, or Leclinus Magnus, Prince of North Wales, the eldest son of Iorwerth drwyn-dwnn, the eldest son of Owain Gwynedd, the son of Gruffudd ab Cynan, the son of Cynan, the son of Iago or James, the son of Idwal, the son of Meurig, the son of Idwal foel, the son of Anarawd, the eldest son of Rhodri fawr, or Roderick the Great, the son of Merfyn frĝch, and Esyllt, the daughter and heiress of the last Prince Cynan Tindaethwy, the son of Rhodri Molwynog, the son of Idwal iwrch (or the roe) the son of Cadwaladr, the last King of the Britons, who abdicated, and died at Rome in 683. His present gracious Majesty is right heir, in lineal succession, to the Britisli, Cambro-British, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, English and Scottish Kings.'
There appears to be some mistake in the author's chronology, in saying, p. 86, that Petrarch, attributes the defeats suffered by the French, about this time, (that is, during the victories of Henry Vth,) to their drunkenness.
Their suca cess under Dumourier of late is said to have arisen from it.' Now Petrarch died 1374, and the Vth Henry began his reign in 1414. How is this?" Petrarch, being contemporary with Rey. Nov. 1799.
66 Oh yes,
our Edward IIId, may liave spoken of the French defeats during that reign.
Mr. Yorke tells us, in the note to p. 90, that James the First was not personally unknown to the Welsh :
• He had progressed to Chester in 1617, and was attended by great numbers of our countrymen, who came out of curiosity to see him. 'The weather was very dry, the roads Justy, and the King almost suffocated. He did not know well how to get civiliy rid of them, when one of his attendants, putting his head out of the coach, said, “ It was his Majesty's pleasure, that those, who were the best Gentlemen, should ride forwards.” Away scampered the Welsh; and one solitary man was left behind. " And so, Sir,” says the King to him, “ and you are not a Gentleman then ?” and please hur Majesty, hur is as good a Shentleman, as the rest; but hur Keffyl, God help hur, is not so good.”
Speaking of the Herbert family, p. 92, the author has given the following short and accurate character of the wild and eccentric Ed. Herbert, Baron of Cherbury ;-—whom lie calls, 'the historical, the philosophical, that right whimsical Peer, Edward Herbert, first Baron of Cherbury; a man at once and together, the negociator, the scholar, statesman, soldier ; the genius and absurdity of his time and nation.'
On the whole, we have found considerable entertainment, as well as information, in the perusal of this work; and the portraits of illustrious persons, natives of the Principality, admirably engraved, are elegant embellishments. The paper and typography also in spite of a copious list of errata) are such as do credit to the provincial press of Wrexham in Denbighshire, near the author's charming residence. The work is terminated by the following
« ADVERTISEMENT. · The Author of this small work would attempt to enlarge it through the Fifteen Common Tribes, and would hazard another publication (correcting the errors of this) with some additional En. gravings, if the Families descended from them were pleased to communicate their Pedigrees, and what biographical matter and anecdote belong to them. This is the more necessary, nay indispensable, as the Founders of these Tribes have little, or no notice taken of them in History.'
We hope that the persons, to whom this Advertisement is addressed, will pay speedy and proper attention to it, for their own honour, and for that of their country.