Mynd i'r prif gynnwys
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Ffynonellau ar gyfer Uned 1

Ffynh 1A

Since the revival of learning in Europe, most nations have been emulous of bringing forward their respective stores of ancient memorials, in order to enrich the common stock; but a vast treasure is contained in the Welsh language, in manuscripts, and the oral traditions of the people, of which barely a notice has hitherto been given to the world.

To investigate this hidden repository, and to bring to light whatever may be deemed most rare and valuable, is the primary object of the following work.

(William Owen Pughe’s editorial preface to the first volume of The Cambrian Register, 1796).

Ffynh 1B

Who do you think I have at my elbow, as happy as ever Alexander thought himself after a conquest? No less a man than Ieuan Fardd [Evan Evans], who hath discovered some old MSS lately that no body of this age or the last ever as much as dreamed of. And this discovery is to him and me as great as that of America by Columbus. We have found an epic Poem in the British [Welsh] called Gododin, equal at least to the Iliad, Aeneid or Paradise Lost. Tudfwlch and Marchlew are heroes fiercer than Achilles and Satan.

(Hugh Owen (ed.) Additional Letters of the Morrises of Anglesey, 1735–1786, London, 1947, vol. 1, p. 349)

Ffynh 1C

The existence of very ancient Welsh Manuscripts, in prose and verse, has been announced considerably more than two centuries ago: many respectable English writers have expressed a degree of surprise, and even regret, that these valuable remains of antiquity have never been consigned to the press; and so long have their expectations been disappointed, that hints, and even assertions, have of late been thrown out, that we have none, or none that are authentic; we will however advise such as entertain this opinion to suspend their judgment until the completion of this publication.

(Iolo’s introductory essay to the first volume of The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, London, 1801)

Ffynh 1D

I travelled over eighty miles from the furthest part of South Wales, in high hopes of meeting most of the poets of Wales who had some talent in Verse. But not half a dozen came in all, or at least it did not appear more. Be that as it may, as I saw there only signs of apathy, faint-heartedness and cowardice. And because of lack of help and aspersions to the art, I fear that some failing, or rather, as it were her decline from the language and art of our grandfathers, the noblemen of which were formerly very helpful to the matter, as it plainly appears by the number of them who were in the great eisteddfod at Caerwys [1567], and many other eisteddfodau. For my part, I shall not bother my head any more about such a thing ...

(Siôn Rhydderch’s [John Roderick’s] introduction to his Almanac for 1735)

Ffynh 1E

The old customs are now held in low regard, because they are so uncommon. However, the crowd which came together were well pleased with the clumsy poesy that was there, so much that they ordained another eisteddfod at Corwen in Merioneth to be on May 12th next, expecting more bards to come there, and many promise to come there, but what stops many is poverty. Many are held back by worldliness, others by faintheartedness, for there is neither profit nor advantage from such a custom, so everyone is very slack and dragging their feet, and slow to build or to beautify or to extend the bounds of the Welsh language, and now we, the few natives here, greet you and believe that there is in you some remains of the spirit of Fraternity. We would beg for your patronage if you would be pleased to give us some small present, out of goodwill to those who are trying to crawl after their Mother tongue ... Perhaps we may bit by bit come to walk – for children are enticed to walk by a few toys.

(Translation of a letter sent by Jonathan Hughes of Llangollen to the Gwyneddigion Society of London on 25 February 1789, quoted by G.J. Williams in ‘Llythyrau ynglyn ag eisteddfodau’r Gwyneddigion’, Llen Cymru, vol. I, 1950, p. 29)

Ffynh 1F

[The meeting at Corwen] ... gave a zest to the encouragement of native talent, and another [meeting] was immediately advertised to be held, by the Society [Gwyneddigion], at Bala, on the 29th and 30th September following. Here they offered two medals, one for an awdl on ‘Ystyriaeth ar Oes Dyn’ [The Life of Man], and the other for the best penillion singer with the harp.

(William Davies Leathart, The Origin and Progress of the Gwyneddigion Society of London, London, 1831)

Ffynh 1G

Saturday, Sept. 21 (1792). This being the day on which the autumnal equinox occurred, some Welsh Bards, resident in London, assembled in congress on Primrose Hill, according to ancient usage, ... The wonted ceremonies were observed. A circle of stones formed, in the middle of which was the Maen Gorsedd, or altar, on which a naked sword being placed, all the Bards assisted to sheathe it. This ceremony was attended with a proclamation, the substance of which was, that the Bards of the Island of Britain (for such is their antient title) were the heralds and ministers of peace ... On this occasion the Bards appeared in the insignia of their various orders. The presiding Bards were David Samwell, of the primitive, and claimant of the ovation order; William Owen, of the ovation and primitive orders; Edward Jones, of the ovation, and claimant of the primitive order; and Edward Williams, of the primitive and druidic orders. The Bardic traditions, and several odes, were recited. Two of the odes, one by David Samwell, on the Bardic discipline, the other by Edward Williams, on the Bardic mythology, were in English; and the first that were ever in the language recited at a congress of Ancient British Bards. This was with an intention to give the English reader an idea of what, though very common in Wales, has never yet been properly known in England. The Bardic Institution of the Ancient Britains, which is the same as the Druidic, has been from the earliest times, through all ages, to the present day, retained by the Welsh ... [and] is now exactly the same that it was two thousand years ago ...

(Iolo Morganwg’s letter to The Gentleman’s Magazine, 1792, vol. LXII, pp. 956–7)

Ffynh 1H

I perfectly agree with you in your Sentiments of Mr Owen’s Bardism. It is a made Dish, cooked up from obscure scraps of the ancient Bards, and the Cabala [the pretended arcana] of the modern ones; a superficial acquaintance with the Metempsychosis; and these ingredients spiced with an immoderate quantity of wild Invention.

(Letters of Edward Davies, Cardiff Central Library, MS 3, Collection 104, vol. VI, letter 3)

Ffynh 1I

As we, the Remains of the British Nation, who have sole Interest in the honour of this antient Celtick Tongue, are forever obliged to that great Light of our British Antiquities, the learned Pezron, for his extraordinary Pains and Industry ... so we ought to be no less grateful to the Memory of the late exquisitely learn’d and judicious Mr Edward Lhwyd ... These two now mentioned Gentlemen, having by different Methods open’d a Way of resolving diverse Tongues in Europe, to one Mother-Language, which language indeed Mr Lhwyd leaves modestly undecided, but by Monsieur Pezron is determin’d to be the Celtick ...

(Henry Rowlands, Mona Antiqua Restaurata, Dublin, 1723, pp. 316–17)

Ffynh 1J

They [the Druids] had their groves, the till then inseparable concomitants of the Druidish priesthood, which the sacrilegious Romans immediately cut down and demolished. And to this day here are places retaining the ancient name of Llwynau or groves, as Llwyn Llwyd, Llwyn Moel, Llwyn On, Llwyn Ogan, and Llwyn Coed, in or near every one of which may be remarked some remains of Druidish worship; either broken altars, pillars, or remains of a Carnedd. And no doubt there were many more groves, whose names are lost and quite forgotten.

It being now made somewhat apparent on the evidence produced, that the Chief Druidical residence was in the Isle of Mona, and particularly in and about the place now called Llanidan parish; it may then be expected that that place of all the island, must be at that time most plentifully adorned with a variety of formed groves, containing in them mounts, pillars, heaps, altars, and other appurtenances of their superstitious worship. And that although the groves surrounding them be now quite gone and perished, and the ancient names of them be utterly lost, yet it may be justly expected that many of the more lasting erections (on the supposal I offer) should remain there, as standing monuments of their long forgotten superannuated uses. And indeed in that respect there are of such enough to answer the end, and to give sufficient satisfaction to a just and reasonable enquirer.

(Henry Rowlands, Mona Antiqua Restaurata, 2nd edn, London, 1766, p. 87)

Ffynh 1K

I now enter on classical ground, and the pious seats of the ancient Druids; the sacred groves, the altars, and monumental stones. A slight mention of what I saw must content my reader; who is referred to the works of the celebrated and learned Mr Henry Rowlands, the former vicar of this place [Llanidan].

(Thomas Pennant, A Tour in Wales, MDCCLXX, London, 1783, vol. II, p. 229)

Ffynh 1L

Thursday, December 2 1802. We left Capel Cerig early this morning on horseback with the design of examining the Celtic remains in the Isle of Anglesea the Harper of the inn accompanying us in the capacity of interpreter.

(Revd John Skinner, ‘Ten days’ tour through the Isle of Anglesea’, Archaeologia Cambrensis Supplement, 1908, p. 9)

Ffynh 1M

In the parish of Nolton is a village called Drewson, corruptly for Druidstown, near which on the road leading from Fishguard to Dale there occurs a remarkable inclosure, occupying near an acre of ground, called Drewson chapel. The stones that composed the druidical circle were removed in 1740 to build with, so that there is scarce any thing left to mark the situation of the spacious Gorsedd, or place of convention for various purposes.

(Richard Fenton, A Historical Tour Through Pembrokeshire, London, 1811, p. 157)

Ffynh 1N

On a rock, whose haughty brow

Frowns o’er old Conway’s foaming flood, Robed in the sable garb of woe

With haggard eyes the Poet stood; (Loose his beard and hoary hair

Stream’d like a meteor to the troubled air) And with a master’s hand and prophet’s fire Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre:

‘Hark, how each giant oak and desert cave Sighs to the torrent’s awful voice beneath!

O’er thee, O King! their hundred arms they wave,

Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe:

Vocal no more, since Cambria’s fatal day,

To high-born Hoel’s harp, or soft Llewellyn’s lay.

(The second verse of Thomas Gray’s ode ‘The Bard’, 1757)

Ffynh 1O

The Welsh have a tradition, that these uncouth and savage mountains [of Snowdonia] formerly abounded with woods, and that they were felled by Edward I ... There may be more truth in another tradition, that this king ordered all the bards of Wales to be destroyed. It was a necessary policy, without which, he could not secure his new conquest. By these means, he eradicated the first principles of resistance, which always arose from the inflammatory and prophetical songs of those turbulent and enthusiastic poetasters. If some should regret the poems, existence of which the massacre obstructed, they may find some comfort on the reflection, that, it has given birth to one of the finest odes in the English tongue [Gray’s ode].

(Henry Penruddocke Wyndham, A Tour Through Monmouthshire and Wales, made in ... 1774 & 1777, 2nd edn, 1781, pp. 148–9)

Ffynh 1P

Having washed and taken tea we roamed out in the village [of Beddgelert], a very pretty romantic place at the foot of Snowdon. It takes its name from Gelert, the greyhound, Bethgelert the grave of Gelert. The story of the hound destroying a wolf that came in to a cottage whilst human assistance was absent and saving the life of Prince Llewellyn’s child and afterward being slain by the Prince who supposed too hastily the dog had killed his son, is known to everyone. The poor dog’s grave is in a field by the Church and marked by a large stone and the Master of the Inn where we put up has a fine large greyhound in memory of the event which is honoured by the name of Gelert.

(Dafydd Tomos (ed.) Michael Faraday in Wales, Gwasg Gee, n.d., p. 75)

Ffynh 1Q

Not having an opportunity of coming to the Society to-night, I thought it would be agreeable to the members to be informed that Gwilym Owain [William Owen Pughe] and myself had an audience with General Bowles [a Cherokee Chief] this morning and that his information places the existence of a race of Welsh Indians beyond all manner of doubt however extra-ordinary it may appear in the History of our Country, I am now clearly convinced of its being a fact. Genl. Bowles describes them as very numerous and the most warlike nation on the American Continent. They are situated on the river Missouri exactly as they are laid down in the best Maps under the name of Padougas, by which it is clear that they have preserved the name of Madog to this day. He supposes that they landed about the mouth of the river Mississippi. He says that they have books among them tho’ they can’t read them. A Welshman not long ago passed through the middle of their country who escaped from the Mines of Mexico whom he thinks is the only white man who has been among them for a great length of time. They keep unmixed in general, are different in complexion from the Aboriginal Inhabitants, and many of them have Red Hair. He has not been in the country himself, but has been on the borders. His people the Creeks know them very well, it will not be a difficult matter for anyone to get into their country.

(David Samwell’s letter to the Gwyneddigion Society, 23 March 1791, British Museum Add. MS 14957)

Ffynh 1R

Mr E. Williams [Iolo Morganwg] and myself have collected a great deal of information lately. About six weeks ago we had interviews with two merchants one living in New Orleans at the mouth of the Mississippi, and the other at St Louis, a little above the junction of the Missouri and the Mississippi. They have had continual accounts of the Madogion for many years which put the truth of their existence to those gentlemen beyond all doubt, and all agree of their being in a state of considerable civilization compared with the Indians ... Mr E. Williams has made a collection of all the material accounts between 30 & 40 in number respecting the Welsh Indians ... A great many Gentlemen are willing to subscribe to support people going over ... Mr E. Williams and a young man from Caernarvonshire [John Evans] will set off towards the latter end of the year, whether they meet with encouragement or not.

(William Owen Pughe’s letter to Paul Panton of Plas Gwyn, May 1792, National Library of Wales MS 9072E).

Ffynh 1S

The Revd William Gilpin’s description of the town of Brecon:

Brecknoc is a very romantic place, abounding with broken grounds, torrents, dismantled towers, and ruins of every kind. I have seen few places, where a landscape-painter might get a collection of better ideas.

Gilpin’s description of Dinefwr Castle, Carmarthenshire:

The woods, which adorn these beautiful scenes about Dinevawr-castle, and which are clumped with great beauty, consist chiefly of the finest oak ...

The picturesque scenes, which this place affords, are numerous. Wherever the castle appears, and it appears almost everywhere, a landscape of purely picturesque is generally presented. The ground is so beautifully disposed, that it is almost impossible to have bad composition. And the opposite side of the vale often appears as a back-ground; and makes a pleasing distance.

(Revd William Gilpin, Observations on the River Wye, and Several Parts of South Wales, &c. Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty; made in the Summer of the Year 1770, London, 1782, pp. 51 and 63)

Ffynh 1T

Daniel Defoe’s observations on the Welsh landscape in 1726, which are in complete contrast to the opinions of the romantic travellers of the late eighteenth century, such as William Gilpin:

Brecknockshire is a mere inland county, as Radnor is; the English jestingly (and I think not very improperly) call it Breakneckshire. ’Tis mountainous to an extremity ... Entering this shire [Glamorgan], from Radnor and Brecknock, we were saluted with Monuchdenny-Hill on our left, and the Black- Mountain on the right, and all a ridge of horrid rocks and precipices between, over which, if we had not had trusty guides, we should never have found our way; and indeed, we began to repent our curiosity, as not having met with any thing worth the trouble; and a country looking so full of horror, that we thought to have given over the enterprise, and have left Wales out of our circuit.

(Pat Rogers (ed.) Daniel Defoe: A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain, 1724–26, 1971, pp. 376–7)