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Every unexposed scar, four pence.
The cranium, four pence.*
For every broken bone, twenty pence; unless there be a dispute as to its diminutivness; and if there be a dispute as to the size let the mediciner take a brass basin, and let him place his elbow upon the ground, and his hand over the basin, and if its sound be heard, let four legal pence be paid; and if it be not heard, nothing is due."+
This singular test is made more clear in another place :-thus
"Four curt pennies are to be paid to a person for every bone, taken from the upper part of the cranium, which shall sound on falling into a copper basin."‡
If the mediciner was insulted while inebriated he was not entitled to saraad, as "he knew not at what time the king might want his assistance."
He was "free to travel the road, and out of the road-along with the messenger of the sick," and, as stated in legal fragments entitled "Elucidation," any one might take another's horse to procure a medical man for a person in danger without being required to make amends.
We have no reason to suppose that there was any material difference either in the position of the physicians, or in the attention paid to the study of medicine during the succeeding ages, until we come to the era of Rhys Gryg, when the Physicians of Myddvai flourished.
Rhys Gryg|| was the son of Rhys ab Gruffydd, prince of South Wales, and lived in the former part of the 13th century. He was a distinguished warrior, and fought with varied success in the wars which were carried on in Wales almost without intermission during his life. According to old usage he had his domestic
Ancient Laws and Institutes of Wales, vol. 1. p. 41, &c. + Ib. p. 315. #p. 507. i.e. Rhys the Hoarse. This surname would seem to indicate that Rhys was afflicted with some disease of the Larynx, or his hoarseness may have been the result of a wound in that part.
Physician, namely Rhiwallon, who was assisted by his three sons, Cadwgan, Gruffydd, and Einion, from a place called Myddvai, in the present county of Caermarthen, whose rights and privileges, as enjoined by law were worthily maintained and upheld by the prince. Under his patronage these men made a collection of valuable medicinal recipes applicable to the various disorders to which the human body was then subject. But though this collection bears their name, we are not to suppose that all the prescriptions contained therein were the result of the studies and experience of the Physicians of Myddvai. Some no doubt had been in the materia medica of Wales long before; a few indeed may perhaps be traced up to the time of Howel the Good, if not to the sixth century. Such, however, do not seem to have been reduced to writing, until the Physicians of Myddvai took the matter in hand, and produced the work, which is now for the first time printed. The original manuscript is supposed to be the one lately transferred from the library of the Welsh Charity School, in London, to the British Museum. Of this there are several copies; the one adopted as the basis of the present volume is from the Red Book, in Jesus College, Oxford, which was carefully collated by the Rev. Robert Owen, B.D., Fellow of the said College, with a transcript made by the late Mr. Saunders, from Mr. Rees of Tonn's copy; which MS. was, moreover, copied about 1766, by William Bona, of Llanpumsant, from another belonging to Iago ap Dewi of Llanllawddog. The various readings of the Tonn copy are all arranged at the foot of each page, and referred to under the letter T.
A knowledge of medicine was preserved in the descendants of this family, and they continued to practice as physicians at Myddvai, without intermission, until the middle of the last century.
The second portion of this volume purports to have been compiled by Howel the Physician, son of Rhys, son of Llewelyn, son of Philip the Physician, a lineal descendant of Einion, the son of Rhiwallon, from the Books of the first Physicians of Myddvai. William Bona made a transcript from the Book of John Jones, Physician of Myddvai, the last lineal decendant of the family, A.D. 1743. The late Iolo Morganwg took a copy of this MS. in 1801, and it is his copy, now in Llanover Library, that forms the text of our volume.
Besides these collections, several fragments, some indeed of considerable lengths, but of uncertain date, may be often met with in MSS. having for the most part, perhaps, been made by individual practitioners for their own private use, before the art of printing became general. Some medical prescriptions assumed a proverbial shape, and in that form clung firmly to the public mind. We subjoin a few of these; and as proverbs loose much of their point when translated, we give them first in their original form.
(O Lyfr Iaco ab Dewi.)
A gysgo'n ddigwynos, nid rhaid iddo wrth Rhiwallon Myddfai.
Genau oer a thraed gwresog fydd byw'n hir.
I farchnad y pysgod y boreu, a'r gigfa brydnhawn.
Dwr oer a bara twym a wnant fol afiachus.
Tair cynneddf dwr ; ni ddug afiechyd, dyled, na gweddwdod.
Bwytta wyau heb halen a bair afiechyd.
Nid sarhad dwyn cwynos hen wr.
Llysowen mewn pastai, a llamprai yn yr halen.
Cryd neu dwymyn ar gwympad y dail sydd bob amser yn hir, neu'n farwol.
Mynn mis, oen tri mis.
Traed sychion, genau îr.
Gleisiad a phregeth y Grawys.
Fe ladd cwynos fwy nac a wellhawyd erioed gan Feddygon Myddfai. Prydnawnfwyd ysgafn, cwynos lai, cwsg da, hir oes.
Na flysia laeth wedi pysgod.
Iechyd ieuengetyd, afiechyd henaint, yw cysgu llawer.
Iachach arogli twym na'i fwytta.
Clefyd byr i'r corph, a rhew byr i'r ddaear, a iachânt, ac a gryfhânt; pob un o'r ddau yn hir a ddinystriant.
Tra phiswyf yn loyw, cardotted y meddyg.
Gwell yw blys na glothineb.
Digon o fara, ychydig o ddiod.
Y bara ddoe, y cig heddyw, a'r gwin y llynedd, a bair iechyd.
Torr dy syched lle cyrcho golchyddes ei dwr.
Tri dyn a fyddant hiroesoeg, aradwr sychdir, hafottwr mynydd, a physgottwr môr.
Tair gwledd iechyd, llaeth, bara, a halen.
Tair meddyginiaeth Meddygon Myddfai, dwr, mel, a llafur.
Tri chymhedroldeb a barant hir oes, ymborth, llafur, a myfyrdod.
Ni thorro ei gythlwng ym Mai, cyfrifed ei hun gyda'r meirw. Yr hwn a welo ffunegl a'r nis casglo, nid dyn namyn diafol yw.
O mynni farw, bwytta ddeilcawl yn Awst.
Na pha faint a fwytteych, yf deirgwaith.
E ddenfyn Duw fwyd i ddwylo wedi eu golchi.
Yf ddwr fal ych, a gwin fal brenin.
Cynhildeb yw un wy, bonheddigeiddrwydd yw dau, glewder yw tri, a dirhidra yw'r pedwerydd.
Pei gwypei rai ddäed iar yn Ionawr, ni adewid un ar y glwyd.
Tri enllyn iechyd, mel, ymenyn, a llaeth.
Tri enllyn afiechyd, cig, cwrw, ac aesel.
Na ddiosg dy bais cyn y Derchafael.
Os mynni fyned yn glaf, golch dy ben, a dos i gysgu.
Nid oes mewn cawl heb lysiau na daioni, na maeth.
O mynni farw, bwytta gig maharen, rhost, a chwsg yn fuan.
Os bwyttai beth drwg, bwytta ysgyfarnog rost.
Mwstard wedi bwyd.
A gartho ei ddanedd à blaen ei gyllell, gall eu carthu cyn bo hir â'r carn.
Udgorn angau yw peswch sych.
(From the Book of Iago ab Dewi.)
He who goes to sleep supperless will have no need of Rhiwallon of Myddvai.
A supper of apples-breakfast of nuts.
A cold mouth and warm feet will live long.
To the fish market in the morning, to the butcher's shop in the afternoon.
Cold water and warm bread will make an unhealthy stomach.
The three qualities of water: it will produce no sickness, no debt, and no widowhood.
To eat eggs without salt will bring on sickness.
It is no insult to deprive an old man of his supper.
An eel in a pie, lampreys in salt.
An ague or fever at the fall of the leaf is always of long continuance, or else is fatal.
A kid a month old—a lamb three months.
Dry feet, moist tongue.
A salmon and sermon in Lent.
Supper will kill more than were ever cured by the Physicians of Myddvai.
A light dinner, a less supper, sound sleep, long life.
Do not wish for milk after fish.
To sleep much is the health of youth, the sickness of old age.
Long health in youth will shorten life.
It is more wholesome to smell warm bread than to eat it.
A short sickness for the body, and short frost for the earth, will heal; either of them long will destroy.
Whilst the urine is clear, let the physician beg.
Better is appetite than gluttony.
Enough of bread, little of drink.
The bread of yesterday, the meat of to-day, and the wine of last year will produce health.
Quench thy thirst where the washerwoman goes for water.
Three men that are long-lived, the ploughman of dry land, a mountain dairyman, and a fisherman of the sea.
The three feasts of health, milk, bread, and salt.
The three medicines of the Physicians of Myddvai, water, honey, and labour.
Moderate exercise is health.
Three moderations will produce long life; in food, labour, and meditation.
Whoso breaks not his fast in May, let him consider himself with the dead.
He who sees fennel and gathers it not. is not a man, but a devil. If thou desirest to die, eat cabbage in August.