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The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg Vol. I

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Majir
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« on: April 26, 2009, 01:03:59 am »

The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg
J. Williams Ab Ithel (editor)

Vol. I
[1862]




Druids Cutting the Mistletoe on the Sixth Day of the Moon, by Henri Paul Motte [ca. 1890-1900] (Public Domain Image)
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2009, 01:05:10 am »

The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg is a collection of writings, largely forged, about ancient Welsh Bardic and Druidic beliefs. Although the author of this work is cited as J. Williams Ab Ithel, he was actually the editor, who pieced it together from manuscripts written by Iolo Morganwg. Iolo Morganwg (1747-1826), itinerant poet and scholar, was a key figure in the Druid revival of the 19th century. He was personally responsible for reviving the Welsh national poetry contest, the Gorsedd. On June 21st, 1792, Midsummer evening, Iolo and a dozen other Welsh poets gathered on Primrose Hill in London and held the first Gorsedd in hundreds of years. Iolo was a Welsh patriot and held revolutionary views; he was a personal friend of Tom Paine, and George Washington subscribed to his first volume of poetry. He is said to have influenced both William Blake's poetry and Robert Grave's White Goddess. He revived the concept that the Welsh explorer Madoc discovered America. This led to an expedition to Mandan territory in the Great Plains, which found no trace of the Welsh, but was one of the inspirations for Thomas Jefferson's Lewis and Clarke expedition.

Iolo Morganwg's contributions to world culture are still with us today; there is an extensive neo-Druid movement; and the Gorsedd (and Welsh nationalism) are still going strong. The Gorsedd is held annually during the Eisteddfod in Wales, a festival of Welsh culture. Two other Celtic regions, Cornwall and Brittany, have also adopted the Gorsedd.

Iolo Morganwg, born Edward Williams, a native speaker of both English and Welsh, spent his entire life collecting and transcribing mediaeval Welsh documents, as well as writing poetry under his own byline. He was also a first-rate literary forger of ancient Welsh; some have commented that his forgeries were as good or better than the real thing. Furthermore, he wrote much of the Barddas under the influence of laudanum (an opium-based medication which he took for asthma). Scholars have spent two centuries trying to establish which parts of his extensive writings purporting to be based on ancient manuscripts are genuine, and which he wrote personally. Our understanding is still very murky. For these reasons, Iolo's writings are considered highly controversial.

Because Druidic beliefs were exclusively transmitted orally, we have no primary accounts of it, so there is practically nothing to compare this text with. What we do know is summarized neatly in the Preface to this work, and consists of a few excerpts from classical authors. The longest account is from Julius Caesar, who was more interested in exterminating Druids, so he was hardly a disinterested observer.

However, this is one of those visionary texts which is worth reading for its own merits, irrespective of whether it is 'genuine' or not. Taken at face value, the Barddas remains a fascinating text. It has resonances with the Upanishads, Kabbalah, and Freemasonry. The Bardic alphabet presented in the 'Symbol' section is completely invented, based on Runic and Ogham, and has utility as a magical alphabet. However it is about as genuine as the alphabets of J.R.R. Tolkien. The 'Theology' section appears to be based on Iolo's peculiar Christian views (he described himself as a Unitarian Quaker). 'Theology' also contains a great number of Triads, some of which may be from authentic ancient Bardic lore. The 'Wisdom' section has a great deal of mythopoetic information, some of which is authentic, some not. The Barddas is great reading if you are at all interested in the ancient Druids, as long as you keep in mind the background of its creation.

Production notes: I have omitted the Welsh text of this book, which was printed on the even numbered pages, but retained all page numbers. The English footnotes often started on the facing (preceding) page and occasionally continue on for several pages, so I have taken care to document page numbers in footnotes. I have omitted sporadic footnotes which were only relevant to the Welsh text, except in a few cases where they also impact the understanding of the English translation. These footnotes use asterisks instead of numbers.

John B. Hare, November 6, 2005.


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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2009, 01:06:31 am »



Y GWIR YN ERBYN Y BYD.
BARDDAS;
OR, A COLLECTION OF ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS, ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE THEOLOGY, WISDOM, AND USAGES OF
The Bardo-Druidic System
OF THE ISLE OF BRITAIN.
WITH
TRANSLATIONS AND NOTES.
BY
THE REV. J. WILLIAMS AB ITHEL, M. A.,
RECTOR OF LLANYMOWDDWY, MERIONETHSHIRE;
AUTHOR OF "THE ECCLESIASTICAL ANTIQUITIES OF THE CYMRY." &c., &c.
PUBLISHED FOR
The Welsh Mss. Society
VOL. I.
LLANDOVERY:
PUBLISHED BY D. J. RODERIC; LONDON: LONG IAN & CO.
MDCCCLXII.
[1862]
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2009, 01:07:20 am »

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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2009, 01:07:59 am »



Y GWIR YN ERBYN Y BYD.
I’R

BEIRDD, DERWYDDON, AC OFYDDION,

Y CYFLWYNIR

Y CASGLIAD HWN O WYBODAU A DEFODAU

Barddas yr Hen Cymry

GAN EU FFYDDLAWN WASANAETHWR,

AB ITHEL, B. B. D.

YN ENW DUW A PHOB DAIONI.
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2009, 01:09:00 am »

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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2009, 01:10:31 am »


"OES Y BYD I’R IAITH GYMRAEG."



Patroness,

HER MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY QUEEN VICTORIA.

Patronized also by

HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY THE EMPEROR OF RUSSIA,

AND

HIS IMPERIAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE LOUIS LUCIEN BONAPARTE.

President,

THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE EARL OF POWIS.

Vice-presidents,

His Grace The DUKE OF BEAUFORT, K.G.

His Grace The DUKE OF NEWCASTLE, K.G.

His Grace the DUKE OF SUTHERLAND, K.G.

The Most Noble The MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE, K.G.

The Most Noble The MARQUESS OF CAMDEN, K.G.

The Right Honourable The EARL OF SHAFTESBURY

The Right Honourable The EARL OF DUNRAVEN

The Right Honourable The EARL OF CAERNARVON

The Right Honourable The EARL OF CAWDOR, F.R.S.

The Right Honourable VISCOUNT EVERSLEY

The Right Honourable VISCOUNT FEILDING

The Right Reverend The LORD BISHOP OF ST. DAVID'S

The Right Reverend The LORD BISHOP OF ST. ASAPH

The Right Reverend The LORD BISHOP OF LLANDAFF

The Right Reverend The LORD BISHOP OF BANGOR

The Right Honourable LORD DYNEVOR

The Right Honourable LORD CARBERY

The Right Honourable LORD MOSTYN

The Right Honourable LORD LLANOVER

The Honourable T. LL. MOSTYN, M.P.

The Right Honourable CONSEILLER JOUKOVSKY

SIR WATKIN WILLIAMS WYNN, Bart. M.P. Wynnstay

SIR STEPHEN GLYNNE, Bart. Hawarden Castle, Flintshire

SIR EDWARD BULWER LYTTON, Bart. M.P. Knebworth, Hertfordshire

SIR THOMAS PHILLIPPS, Bart., F.R.S., F.S.A. &c., Middle Hill

SIR HUGH WILLIAMS, Bart., Bodelwyddan

BERIAH BOTFIELD, Esq. M.P., F.R.S., F.S.A., &c., Norton Hall

WILLIAM ORMSBY GORE, Esq. M.P. Porkington

OCTAVIUS MORGAN, Esq. M.P.. F.R.S., F.G.S. Friars, Newport

W. W. E. WYNNE, Esq. M.P. Peniarth, Merionethshire

SIR GARDINER WILKINSON, F.R.S., D.C.L.

W. A. WILLIAMS, Esq. of Llangibby Castle, Monmouthshire

 

His Excellency MONS. VAN DER WEYER, Belgian Minister

His Excellency BARON BENTINCK, Netherlands Minister

p. viii
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2009, 01:10:50 am »

Committee,

The Right Honourable Lord Llanover, Chairman

Octavius Morgan, Esq. M.P., F.R.S., F.G.S., Friars, Newport

J. Bruce Pryce, of Dyffryn, Esq. Cardiff, Glamorgan

J. Arthur Herbert, of Llanarth, Esq.

The Rev. Illtyd Nicholl, M.A. of Ham, Cowbridge, Glamorgan

Editors, Translators, and Collators of Manuscripts,

The Rev. J. Williams Ab Ithel, M.A. Rector of Llanymowddwy*

The Rev. E. Owen Phillips, M.A., Vicar of Aberystwyth*

The Rev. Hugh Williams, M.A. Chancellor of Llandaff*

John Pughe, Esq. F.R.C.S. Penhelyg, Aberdovey

William Rees, Esq. of Tonn, Llandovery*

Those marked thus* are also Members of the Committee.

 

Corresponding Members,

WALES.

The Right Hon. Lady Llanover, (Gwenynen Gwent) Llanover, Abergavenny

Lady Charlotte Schreiber, Dowlais, Glamorganshire

George Grant Francis, Esq. F.S.A. Cae’r Baily, Swansea

Major Herbert, Llansanffraed, near Abergavenny

Rev. Dr. James, (Dewi o Ddyfed,) of Pantêg, Monmouthshire

Arthur James Johnes, of Garthmyl, Esq. Judge of Local Courts, North Wales

John Johnes, Esq., Dolaucothy, Caermarthenshire

Rev. T. Jones, M.A. Llanengan, Caernarvonshire

The Very Rev. Dr. Lewellin, Dean of St. David's, & Principal of St. D.C.L.

Thomas Wakeman, Esq., The Graig, near Monmouth

W. W. E. Wynne, Esq. M.P. Peniarth, Merionethshire

Rev. Sir Charles Salusbury, of Llanwern, Bart.

Miss Williams, of Ynyslâs, Glamorgan, South Wales

Miss Jane Williams, of Ynyslâs, Glamorgan, South Wales.
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2009, 01:11:53 am »

ENGLAND, &c.

Rev. A. B. Clough, B.D., F S.A., &c. Braunston, Northampton

Rev. Robert Jones, M.A. All Saints Rectory, Rotherhithe, London

Rev. R. H. Lloyd, M.A. of Owersby, Lincolnshire

J. Whitefoord Mackenzie, Esq. F.R.S., F.S.A. &c.

Edinburgh Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bart. F.R.S. Middle Hill, Worcestershire

The Lady Charlotte Schreiber, Roehampton, Middlesex

Secretary,

Mr. William Griffith, 4, Sidmouth Place, Gray's Inn Road, London.

HONORARY FOREIGN SECRETARY FOR GERMANY.--Mr. J. G. Sanerwein, Asiatic Society's Office, London.

HONORARY FOREIGN SECRETARY FOR FRANCE.--Monsr. Rio, Paris.

Treasurers,

Messrs. Bailey, Gratrex & Co., Bankers, Abergavenny.

Publisher,

Mr. D. J. Roderic, Llandovery, South Wales.

p. ix
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2009, 01:12:27 am »

The Welsh Mss. Society,
HAS been formed for the purpose of transcribing and printing the more important of the numerous Bardic and Historical Remains of Wales, still extant in the Principality, and other parts of the world, that have hitherto been allowed to continue in a state of obscurity, without any effective measures being adopted to lay their contents before the public, and secure them from the various accidents to which they are liable. In addition to the general decay which, from their perishable nature, these venerable relics have been for ages undergoing, whole collections have, within a short space of time, been destroyed by fire; and of those MSS. dispersed throughout the country, numbers known to have existed a few years ago, are now no where to be found.

Besides the interest which these ancient documents possess, as objects of antiquarian curiosity, and as contributing to the elucidation of British History, they have a claim to attention of a far more general character, as being intimately connected with the origin and progress of modern European Literature; for it is among the legends and traditions of the Welsh that many of the materials are to be found, which supplied the nations of the Continent with their earliest subjects of composition, and produced those highly imaginative works that continue to exercise so powerful an influence to the present day.

A great mass of Historical information, relating to the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, is contained in the unpublished Poetry of Wales; from which an intimate acquaintance with the state of society during those periods may be obtained; the Welsh Bards being the Chroniclers of the times in which they lived, and their Poems chiefly addressed to the leading men of the day. Besides Poetry, there is still existing unpublished a large collection of Prose, both Historical and Legendary; persons of affluence are therefore solicited to contribute larger Donations and Subscriptions, than are required by the Rules of the Society, in order to enable the Committee to proceed with greater rapidity in carrying on the publication of Manuscripts.

The first Work that was published by this Society, was the LIBER LANDAVENSIS, or LLYFR TEILO, comprising nearly 700 Royal 8vo. pages; gratuitously edited and translated by the late Rev. W. J. Rees, M.A., F.S.A. &c. Of this Work only a few Copies remain to be sold to persons becoming Members of the Society at £1 2s. 0d.--Non-members, £2 2s. 0d.

The second Work of the Society consisted of a MISCELLANEOUS SELECTION OF ANCIENT WELSH MSS. in prose and poetry, from the originals collected by the late Edward Williams, (Iolo Morganwg) for the purpose of forming a continuation of the Myvyrian Archaiology, and afterwards proposed to be used as materials for a New History of Wales. Edited with Notes and Translations, by his son, the late TALIESIN AB IOLO, of Merthyr Tydvil. This work is of the same size and price as the Liber Landavensis, and a few copies remain still in the hands of the Publisher.

The third Work, The HERALDIC VISITATIONS OF WALES AND ITS MARCHES, Temp. Elizabeth, and James I. in two Imperial 4to. Volumes was printed under the gratuitous and able superintendence of its Editor, the late SIR SAMUEL RUSH MEYRICK, K.H., LL.])., F.S A, &c., of this Work only 240 copies were published which were all engaged by Subscribers; it is therefore out of print and has become extremely scarce.

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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2009, 01:12:44 am »

The LIVES OF CAMBRO BRITISH SAINTS, was next published, from Ancient Welsh and Latin MSS. in the British Museum and elsewhere, comprising 680 pages Royal 8vo., and was gratuitously edited and translated by the late Rev. W. J. REES, M.A., F.S.A., &c. Some copies of this Work are still to be had of the Publisher, price £1 1s. 0d. to persons becoming Members of the Society,--Non-members, £2 2s. 0d.

The ANCIENT WELSH GRAMMAR made by EDEYRN DAFOD AUR, by the command of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, (prince of Wales from 1254 to 1282,) Rhys Vychan lord of Dynevor and Ystrad Towy; and Morgan Vychan, lord paramount of Morganwg,--together with Y PUM LLYFR KERDDWRIAETH, Or Rules of Welsh Prosody, by Simwnt Vychan, in the 15th Century. Edited with Translations and Notes, by the Rev. John Williams Ab Ithel, M.A. A few

p. x

copies only remain on hand, to be sold at £1 1s. 0d. each,--Non-members, £2 2s. 0d.

The MEDDYGON MYDDFAI, or a Compendium of the Medical Practice of the celebrated Rhiwallon and his Sons, Cadwgan, Gruffydd, and Einion, of Myddvai, in Caermarthenshire, Physicians to Rhys Gryg, lord of Dynevor and Ystrad Towy, son of Gruffydd ap Rhys, the last Prince of South Wales, about the year 1230; from Ancient MSS. in the Library of Jesus College, Oxford, Llanover, and Tonn; accompanied by an English Translation, To the whole is annexed the curious Legend of THE LADY OF THE LAKE, called LLYN-Y-FAN, from whom the above Physicians were said to be descended, and a copious Herbal; Edited by the Rev. J. Williams ab Ithel, M.A., Rector of Llanymowddwy; Translated by John Pughe, Esq., F.R.C.S., Penhelyg, Aberdovey. Price £1 1s. 0d.

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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2009, 01:13:01 am »

To be ready early in 1863, the Second Volume of


BARDDAS; OR BARDISM, a Collection of Original Documents, illustrative of the Theology, Discipline and Usages, of the Bardo-Druidic System of the Isle of Britain, with Translations and Notes, by the Rev. J. Williams Ab Ithel, M.A., Rector of Llanymowddwy.

 The curious matter brought to light for the first time in this Work, cannot fail to attract the particular attention of scholars, and to open a new and interesting era in the History of Welsh Literature.

 It is intended henceforward to bring out a Volume of about 400 pages every Twelve Months, to be supplied to Members of the Society only, free of all expense. Those Works already published, and not out of print, can be had by payment of the additional price affixed to each.

RECOMMENDED FOR PUBLICATION.

The inedited matter of the LLYFR COCH O HERGEST, in the Library of Jesus College, Oxford.

ANCIENT RECORDS, Temp. Edward III. belonging to the Manor Court of Ruthin.

WELSH CHARTERS.

Y DAROGANAU, or VATICINATIONS of the middle ages.

A complete and correct edition of the BARDS of the 6th and 7th centuries.

Y DIARHEBION CYMREIG, or WELSH PROVERBS.

The HISTORICAL TRIADS.

The Life of GRUFFUDD AB CYNAN.

The GREAL; in the Hengwrt Collection.

Rules of the Society
I. That the objects of the Society shall be to procure copies of any interesting Manuscripts relating to Wales and the Marches thereof, and to publish them with English Translations and Notes.

II. That Subscribers of at least One Guinea annually, become members of the Society.

III. That all Subscriptions being considered due for the ensuing year, notice must be sent to the Secretary, before the 1st of January, of any Member's intention to withdraw his name.

IV. That the Society's Publications are to appear yearly in parts or volumes, to be delivered free to Subscribers not in arrear with the subscriptions.

V. That there shall be only a limited number of copies printed of each Work beyond the number of Subscribers, which copies the Committee are empowered to dispose of to persons becoming annual subscribers.

VI. That the management of the affairs of the Society be vested in the Chairman and Committee, and that the funds of the Society be disbursed in payment of the necessary expenses incident to the production of the Works of the Society, and that the accompts of the receipts and expenditure be audited annually by two Members.

 Subscribers' Names, Donations and Annual Subscriptions are requested to be forwarded to the Secretary, Mr. Griffith, 4, Sidmouth Place, Gray's Inn Road, London.



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« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2009, 01:13:37 am »

p. xi

ADVERTISEMENT,
IN preparing the present work for the press, it has been deemed advisable to place the Welsh and English on opposite pages, as an arrangement more convenient for the scholar, who may wish to test the accuracy of the translation by a reference to the original.

Except to supply some of the headings, no liberty whatever has been taken with the text. Even obvious and glaring errors, whether in the orthography or punctuation, have been transferred to our pages exactly as they were found in the manuscript.

The translation has been rendered as literal as possible, short of becoming obscure. This was considered expedient, not only with the view of exhibiting the style and idiom of the original, but in order to guard against any misapprehension of the sense, which a free construction is too apt to produce.

Notes, historical and explanatory, have been added, which, without being cumbersome, it is to be hoped, will prove of considerable service to the reader.

Our thanks are especially due to the Right Honourable Lord and Lady Llanover for their kindness in allowing us free access to the MSS. of Iolo Morganwg, from which the present Collection has been for the most part made.




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« Reply #13 on: April 26, 2009, 01:14:21 am »

p. xiii

PREFACE.
THE promoters of the National Eisteddvod, which was held at Llangollen, in the autumn of 1858, conscious of the increased attention that was being paid by foreign scholars to the literature and usages of our Cymric ancestors, and desirous, at the same time, of facilitating their inquiries in that direction, as well as of effectually rescuing from a precarious existence the traditions of the Bards, offered a prize of £30, and a Bardic tiara in gold, for "the fullest illustration, from original sources, of the theology, discipline, and usages of the Bardo-druidic system of the Isle of Britain." Only one compilation was received, which, nevertheless, received a very high encomium, accompanied with a recommendation that it should be published, in the following adjudication, which was read at the meeting by Myvyr Morganwg, 1 one of the three judges appointed for the occasion.

"On this very important and interesting subject only one composition has been received, which bears the feigned signature of PLENNYDD. It is a very extensive collection, for the most part of unpublished


p. xiv

[paragraph continues] MSS., consisting of 287 folio pages, clearly and beautifully written, and exhibiting indications of being carefully and accurately copied, for the writer, following herein the example of the late Iola Morganwg, has suffered even errors, which were obvious in the manuscripts before him, to remain unaltered.

"The compiler has been very diligent, and remarkably successful in obtaining access to such a vast number of ancient MSS. bearing on Bardism, many of which had seen but little light for several years before. With respect to their genuineness, PLENNYDD justly observes,--'though their authors cannot in many instances be named, any more than we can name the authors of the Common Law of England, yet the existence of the peculiar dogmas and usages, which they represent, may be proved from the compositions of the Bards from the era of Taliesin down to the present time.'

"This collection contains a great many of the Rules and Usages appertaining to the Gorsedd of the Bards, several valuable fragments on the Natural and Moral Philosophy of our ancestors, together with the ingenious Theology of the ancient Bardism of the Cymry; also curious extracts on Astronomy, Arithmetic, the Bardic Coelbren, and a vast quantity of Triads. Every fragment that can thus be made public, of what once related to the primitive Gorsedd or Throne of the Bards, is truly valuable, inasmuch as it was this simple, moral, and sublime system, that constituted the very foundation of the primitive worship, legislature, and scholastic institutes of the nation, and was the living means of promoting learning and morality among all classes of the people, in early times. And when we consider that the Gorsedd of the Bards was but a continuation, in the White Island, of the circular temples of patriarchal times, we may feel assured that it is among the remains of Bardism, or the religious system connected with those primitive temples, we may hope to discover, if at all, that Golden Key, concealed and secured, which can open the mysteries, or esoteric doctrine, of ancient nations.......

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« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2009, 01:14:32 am »

"We had no right to expect that we should find the 'Secrets of Bardism,' or the 'Mysteries of Maen Arch,' introduced into a compilation, which was intended to be made public; for such have been, and ought to be a sort of mute tradition, and tradition only, to be communicated solely to such as have proved themselves worthy to receive the.......

"Nevertheless, there may be found in this collection, some fragments which contain, as is very clear to every initiated Bard, the remains of that sublime learning, as it existed in the Isle of Britain anterior to Christianity; such as those extracts about the elements--the migration of the soul from the point of extreme evil in Annwn to the point of extreme good in heaven--the mystic Name of God--the nature of Cythraul, &c. In order to prove the genuineness and

p. xv

great antiquity of these particulars to one who is not initiated in the mysteries of Bardism, it may suffice that they are also discoverable, though in a more corrupt form, in the ancient bardism of Hindoostan. They are old dogmas, at present neither preserved nor existing amidst the antiquities of any nation under the sun, except the Indians and the Cymry.

"But we have in the present collection some pieces of mixed Bardism, which may be called Monkish Bardism, or Bardism and Christianity mixed together, which could easily take place after the introduction of Christianity, owing to the remarkable--very remark-able coincidence which exists between the two systems.

"The Compiler assures us that he is in possession of more documents, which would have been added, if time had permitted. We trust that he will hereafter kindly make the addition, and that the whole will be published in one or more volumes. It will make a valuable Book, not only as aid in the management of the Gorsedd of the Bards, but also, and especially, because the time is undoubtedly coming, as is proved by certain signs, when every fragment of the primitive Bardism of the Cymry will be treasured as gold, and subjected to the severest criticism by men of learning and research.

"I know not what the literati of the Continent will say, when the Book is published, but I presume that their curiosity will be much excited by its contents, and that they themselves will be highly pleased with the labour and industry of the Compiler.......

"The three judges are of opinion that the writer deserves to have the prize presented to him by acclamation, and with the full and joyful approbation of the nation, as represented in this Great Eisteddvod." 1

The compilation thus referred to is that, which, with omissions and additions, somewhat re-arranged, and accompanied with an English translation, is now offered to the public. With very few exceptions, the several documents used on the present occasion, have been collected from the manuscripts of the late Iolo Morganwg, Bard according to the privilege and usage of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, and one of


p. xvi

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