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The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg, Volume 2
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Pages (PDF): 78
Publication Date: 1874
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This is volume II of the Barddas of Iolo Morganwg. This volume, which ends abruptly mid-sentence, is essentially a set of bylaws for the organization of Welsh Bards. While it does not have the depth and curious lore of the first volume, it is of some historical interest.
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THIS is the Voice of Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, in which may be seen the Privileges and Usages of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, as originally exercised and confirmed. With them also are the Triads of the Bards of the Chair of Glamorgan,, and other matters intended for Bardic instruction.
The Cymry first came into the Isle of Britain with Prydain, son of Aeddan the Great. And when they were safely settled in the country, there arose among them three men, whose names were Plennydd, Alawn, and Gwron, each of them having Awen from God, and who consequently were Bards. These were the first who devised the Privileges and Usages of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, which they appointed for instruction, custom, and law in the Isle of Britain; nor were there any Bards previous to these men. The Bards maintained these usages, and improved them by means of Awen from God, so that the Bardism of the Bards of the Isle of Britain became the supreme learning and wisdom; and many of the wise men of distant countries desired to learn it, but they impaired and corrupted it by means of Awen which was not from God, until at last there was no pure Bardism in any country or place in the world, but among the Bards of the Isle of Britain, who were of the nation of the Cymry. The following treats of the Privileges and Usages, which the Bards of the Isle of Britain ought to preserve by means of the memorial of vocal song, and to recite with the Voice of Gorsedd: that is to say;--
1. The principal usages of the Bards of the Isle of Britain are to 'maintain the memory and teaching of peace, truth, and justice in a country, and to bestow praise upon the good, and dispraise upon the bad; and all this by means of Awen from God.
2. They are not to bear a naked weapon in the presence of, or against any one; and it is not lawful for any one to bear a naked weapon where there is a Bard.
3. There are three kinds of Primitive Bards. The Bard positive, of original appointment, or a Poet, in virtue of discipleship, whose duty it is to preserve order and rule, in respect of the Privilege, Usage, and Voice of Gorsedd, so that Bardism be not lost, but be maintained and preserved, in right of original usage, uncorrupt and unchanged. And it is incumbent upon a Poet to sing praise and dispraise, according to what is just and requisite, and, by means of song and oration, to preserve the memory of the Privileges and Usages of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, and their appurtenances. A Poet is adjudged to be one of presidency after three Chairs, that is, when he shall have gained the privilege of three Chairs; and every office and employment, in respect of song and Bardism, are free to him in virtue of his Chair; and he may exercise the function of Poet, Ovate, and Druid, as he pleases, in virtue of occasion, without a degree, without a grant. In this particular he is the chief of the Bards, and no one can be made master of song who is not a presiding Bard. His dress is to be of serene sky blue, and unicoloured, for unicolour is of the same hue as truth, and the serene sky blue is of the same hue as peace, a Poet, or a privileged Bard, being a man of peace and truth;--he is also called a Licensed Bard, a privileged Licentiate, and Primitive Bard positive. Nor is it lawful for him to bear arms, nor for any one to bear a weapon, where he may be in his unicoloured vestment, by which he is to be distinguished. The second of the primitive Bards is the Ovate, and it is incumbent upon him to be acquainted with literature, that is, to read and write, and to know the kinds of arts which may be beneficial to Bards and to the world, and to exhibit them in their authenticity before a Gorsedd or Chair, or a Bard of presidency. It is incumbent upon him, also, to collect and to search for knowledge, and to impart instruction in it, after it shall have obtained the judgment and privilege of Gorsedd; he is not bound to do more, except in virtue of a degree and grant. The dress of an Ovate is to be green, being of the same colour as knowledge and learning, which grow like the green vegetation of spring; and in the attainment of knowledge the Ovate is the chief of the Bards. The third of the primitive Bards is the Druid, and it is incumbent upon him to teach, according to reason, nature, obligation, and choice, what he sees to be true, of the original learning, usages, and judgment of the Poets, as preserved in the memory and by the voice of Gorsedd, and of the learning, art, and attainment of the Ovate-bard. And his principal function is to teach divine knowledge, and justice, truth, and peace; and in respect of learning and knowledge, according to reason, nature, and obligation, the chief of the Bards is the Druid. From knowing how to sing and exhibit a song of his own composition before a Gorsedd, which shall confer upon it the privilege of a Chair, he will be entitled to the privilege of a Poet, that is, a Bard of privilege, without either a degree or a grant. The dress of a Druid is to be of unicoloured white, being thus of the same colour positively as the sun and light, and consequently of the same colour as holiness of life, purity of godliness, and sanctity. If he cannot com- pose a song, a Druid has nothing to do with the function of a Bard of Privilege, except by grant and courtesy; but he is privileged, without either a degree or a grant, to perform what may be necessary, and what may seem good to him, in the employment and office of an Ovate. Should a Druid be an original Bard of Privilege, he has no need of either a degree or a grant, but will act according to privilege.
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