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nor their entertainments in their perambulation allowed unto them but upon good cause and reason. And all the histories and arts of the Kings and Nobilitie were collected by them, all the battells were recorded by them, and expressly remembered upon the Cerdd foliant of such noble persons as had performed the service in field, and upon there Cerdd farunad, soe that there could be no mistaking of truth in setting downe histories from three yeares to three yeares : and there was a great punishment inflicted by the law upon the Bards, with long imprisonment, loss of place and dignitie, with great disgrace, if any of them should sett downe for truth but the truth, in any historie all treatie whatsoever.
For no man did treat of any battell, but such as was an eye-witnesse thereof; for some of the chiefest of the Bards were the marshalls of all battells, and for counsell in the field, and the king's or generall’s intilligencers how the battells went on, soe that they could not be ignorant of any passage or things done in the field; they did not write of battells by hearsay a farr of by relation, unlesse it were some suddaine fight or skirmish unexpected, for in all battells of moment they were present; as I shall expresse it at large in another place, and my warrant and authority to prove the same.
Our histories were not written by schoolemasters, that travailed no further for their knowledge then a child's journey from his breakfast to his lesson; nor by any muncke, that journied noe farther then from masse to meat; nor by any prentice, that had noe other education but from shopp to markett; nor by any base person of birth, condicion or calling; but by noble bards, nobly descended barons, and followers to lords and princes. King Arthur, and two of his knights, Sir Tristam and Sir Lanbrocke were bards, as testifieth these few verses:
Artur aesden a Tristan
A Lywarc henn cyfarc can. And the Pencerd, or Bard Teylu, was of soe high a vocation, that he sate at meat next to the Penteylu (which is called princeps familie); and had such respect and honour done unto him, that it was the office of the Penteylu, being the fourth person of the land, to lay his hand upon his harpe, to hold it him while he did play uppon it a song to the king, in presence of the king, at the festivall times of the yeare, Christmas, Ester, and Whitsontide, to grace him. And the chief bards were very often of the king's counsell;
and the chief bard was to sitt in a chayre in the king's
Collais a gerais o gar ag argluyd
Ae haelion wirion oer eu galar.
sonns, and Goch, Lewelyn, and David, the three sons of Griffith ap Lewelyn; and soe did Cyndelu, the great Bard or Poet, when he called Maddock ap Meredyth, the Prince of Powis, his lord and fellow, or fellow lord, uppon his poemes made in commendation of the said Maddoc. Thus, profi prydy:
Cyfarchaf im ri rad f'obeit
Ym argluyd cedymdeit. And, in like manner, Iolo Goch did challenge his kindred with Ithel ap Robert of Coed y Mynyd, in Tegeingle, uppon his poem made to the said Ithel, wherein he writeth the kindred thus :
Eyd ar un tro clo clod
Vum ag ef yn dolef dalm. And thus you may understand that the Ancient Bards, in the time of kings and princes, were there kinsmen; and for the next age, after the princes, they were kinne to the nobility of the country, as Iolo Goch, to Ithell
ap Coed y Mynyd ; and Lewelyn Goch ap Meuricke hen, to the noble familie of Nanneu. Neither should
person, in the times of kings of Brittain and Cambría, presume to study or to enter into the learning or profession of a Bard; but when the law fell, the limitation of the law fell alsoe, and other meane men of birth having good qualities were admitted to study the doctrin of the Bards, and to proceed in their profession to their graduation, but under the title and vocation of prydiddion. After the dissolution of the anncient Brittish
government of Cambria, and the reducement thereof under the king of England, in Edward the First his time, who not respecting the honour nor the dignity of the Brittain nation, law antiquitie, or rights, but endevoured by all the means he and all his successors could, untill Henry the Seventh's time, to destroy and extinguish both them, their honour, and antiquitie.
All which time the nobilitie and barons of Cambria did receive such old Bards, after the death of their princes, (as were then being,) into their protection, and encouraged them to take disciples unto them that were fitt and apt to that profession; and gave unto them, after the subversion
of the law, all their stipends, rights, privileges, and entertainments, amongst them, as fully, and as large, as when the law was in force.
And all this, all the great knowledge of the Bards, their creditt and worth, is altogether decayed and worne out, soe that at this time they are extinguished amongst us.
And the Prydyddion at this time likewise are of noe estimation, for diverse reasons; neither did the Bards write any continuance of the aforesaid Historie att all sithence the law was extinguished by the death of the princes, whose arts they were bound to preserve; so that there is noe history written by the Bards sithence the death of Lewelyn ap Gruffyth ap Lewelyn, the last prince of Cambria ; for they had noe princes of their owne to sett forth their arts. And all the worthy arts of the Cambrians, since the death of their princes, and their annexation to the crowne of England, were all assumed by the kings of England, and by the Englishmen, with whom they did serve as subjects to the kings of England: soe that all the accions and deedes of the Cambrians were drowned under the English title, and shadowed by the English baner; and thereby the Englishmen got and assumed to themselves the honour due to the Cambrians, and the reward for their deserts, as Virgill saith:
Hos ego versiculos feci, tulit alter honores,
Sic vos non vobis, &c. But as for the arts of some of our countrymen, since the time of the reigne of our princes (I will, God willing), another time, and in another place, sett it forth.
And in respect, the language of the Brittains is one of the Tri chof, and part of the antiquitie of Brittain; I will write a little concerning the same, for you to understand how to read it perfectly, and understand it rightly, and then I will proceed to the history of the kings of Brittain and Cambria, as I have found it in some of our ancient bookes, one whereof I have sett forth at this time for a foundation of a greater work,* hereafter to be set forth, which must have his chief dependance upon this booke; and therefore, before
do enter that part of antiquitie which treateth of the arts and deeds of the kings and princes of this land of Brittain and Cambria, I will begin with the foundation of grammer, and treat of some things of the letters and characters, and the true and perfect sound, tone, and accent thereof, that is used in our modern language.
The only work contained in this ms. is the present article, which is much to be regretted. .
APOSTROPHE TO SLEEP.
* From al, and garm; i.e. a cry of great distress.