The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg
Volume 1

J. Williams

First published in 1862.

This online edition was created and published by Global Grey on the 4th June 2023.

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Table of Contents


Julius Cæsar, B.C. 99-44

Strabo, B.C. 54

Diodorus Siculus, B.C. 44

Cicero, (Slain) B.C. 43

Pliny, (Born) A.D. 23

Pomponius Mela, A.D. 45

Diogenes Laertius, (Died) A.D. 222

C. Suetonius Tranquillus

Ammianus Marcellinus, A.D. 380

C. Cornelius Tacitus

Druids and Bards

Llywelyn Sion





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 It is a very extensive collection, for the most part of unpublished MSS., consisting of 287 folio pages, clearly and beautifully written, and exhibiting indications of being carefully and accurately copied, for the writer,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.......

“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 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.”[2]

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 the two that constituted the only members of the Bardic institution, when it was revived at the close of the last century.[3]  But though they are thus in his handwriting, if we set aside some brief and unimportant notices, which, whether original or otherwise, may have been couched in his own language, there is every reason to believe that they are transcripts of older manuscripts. In the first place we may remark, that they are interspersed, without method or order of any kind, among the private and casual entries of the Bard, which he made on loose scraps of old letters, bills, and placards--bound together only after his death, and that they were thus evidently not intended to be published. This fact of itself would remove the notion of any design on his part to impose upon the credulity of his countrymen. Moreover, we have had an opportunity of examining fully and carefully those papers, and thus seen the Bard, as it were, in his most private and unguarded moments, and can, as the result of our observation, unhesitatingly pronounce him to be incapable of perpetrating literary deceit or forgery, particularly with the view of upholding a theory. Integrity of purpose is apparent throughout all his works. Strong feelings, indeed, he had, amounting almost to prejudice, but they were founded in jealous concern for the due preservation of the traditions of the country, and never displayed, except when he beheld a disposition to oppugn or disparage what he considered ancient and national. It was on this ground, for instance, that he so strenuously advocated the claims of Dosparth Morganwg, or the Glamorgan system of versification, in preference to the twenty-four new canons of poetry, which were sanctioned at the famous Eisteddvod, held at Caermarthen, under the patronage of Gruffydd ab Nicholas, in the 15th century. Secondly, the style is in general too archaic for the 18th century, exhibiting occasionally terms of such an obsolete character as to baffle the skill of the etymologist. Nor must it be asserted that they were fabricated for a purpose, with a view of imparting to the documents the appearance of antiquity, for even Iolo Morganwg himself professes not to fully understand some of them. Thus, in reference to a Triad entitled, “Tri phrif anaw Beirdd Ynys Prydain,” he remarks, “the meaning of this word (anaw) has not hitherto been satisfactorily given,” and proposes the query, “whether it may not signify an original genius?” and soon after, “whether anaw may not signify a philosopher?” Again, after an extract, to which the name of Llywelyn Sion is attached, relative to “Cadair Tarannon,” he asks, “Tarannon and Teyrnon--were they one and the same thing? Qu. whether Cadair Teyrnon in Taliesin be not one and the same thing, and also the same thing as gorsedd gwlad ac arlwydd?” The word obryn is not to be met with in the Dictionaries; it may, and probably does, signify a state in Abred corresponding with man’s turpitude at the time of his death, which is the meaning given to it by Iolo Morganwg; but assuredly if he had been driven to coin for himself a compound which should express the above idea, instead of the very unusual prefix ob, he would naturally have adopted cyfcyd, or cyn, as in the case of cydfil, which occurs in the same Triad. Sometimes, when the language is not obscure, he seems to misunderstand the import of a word, and to suggest an interpretation, which, on due examination of the Bardic doctrine, appears to be erroneous. Thus when, referring to light in the Triad--”There are three cognates: man; liberty; and light,” he observes, “intellectual light is here probably meant,” he forgets that it is distinctly stated in other documents that man sprang into existence simultaneously with the resplendent appearance of the triple form of God’s Name, which was the first manifestation of material light. These facts clearly prove that Iolo Morganwg had no hand in forging the documents in question. Thirdly, the different readings, which abound in them, demonstrate that the Bard had frequently even more than one manuscript before him, when he made his transcripts--a fact, which shows, moreover, that their contents were then better known than they are in our own day. Fourthly, whilst the general subject is the same, there is a want of uniformity in some of the details, as in the directions given for constructing a Peithynen, and the formation of a Gorsedd--the explanation of the Divine epithet IAU--and the enumeration and names of the elements. This circumstance, whilst it indicates a variety of sources, whence the different expressions of opinion must have been derived, at the same time excludes the idea of a collusion. Had Iolo and some of his friends entered into a conspiracy to palm upon the public, as an ancient system, a theory of their own invention, they would doubtless have taken care that there should exist an exact agreement between the several parts of their joint production. It is of the essence of forgery to endeavour to avoid varieties in matters of detail--whilst truth, and integrity of purpose, having a greater regard for the main subject, are generally indifferent to these particulars. Lastly, Iolo Morganwg refers to the actual existence of some of the documents, which he alleges to have copied, and gives, with very great minuteness, the address of the owner. Thus, in relation to certain extracts which he made from “Trioedd Barddas,” “Trioedd Braint a Defod,” “Trioedd Doethineb,” and “Trioedd Pawl,” which contain the very essence of Bardism, as exhibited in our pages, he remarks;--”The Triades that are here selected are from a manuscript collection, by Llywelyn Sion, a Bard of Glamorgan, about the year 1560. Of this manuscript I have a transcript; the original is in the possession of Mr. Richard Bradford, of Bettws, near Bridgend, in Glamorgan;” and as if this were not sufficiently particular, he adds in a note, “son of the late Mr. John Bradford, who, for skill in ancient British Bardism, left not his equal behind.” Nor does this statement occur among the private papers of the Bard, but appears in his published work--his “Poems Lyric and Pastoral,” where also the selections alluded to are printed.[4]  If the reference had been untrue, it could easily have been refuted, nor would his enemies, of whom he had several, have been slow to take advantage of the circumstance to expose the whole as a tissue of falsehood and deceit. But nothing of the kind took place. It is fair, however, to observe that the existence of the manuscript in question at the present moment is open to doubt--the prize offered at the Eisteddvod failed to bring it forth. Still we are in hopes that it is not irretrievably lost, and it may be in the possession of some person who “careth for none of these things.”

We trust that these reasons are sufficient to justify us in our conclusion, that Iolo Morganwg had nothing whatever to do with the original compilation of the main documents, which form the present collection, and that he merely transcribed older materials, which from some sources or other had fallen into his hands.

Failing the attempt to convict Iolo Morganwg as a literary impostor, the sceptics of the present day profess to discover the sources in question in the Eisteddvodau, which were held subsequently to the beginning of the 15th century, more especially those of 1570, 1580, and 1681. A body of curious matter is found to exist, purporting to have come down to us, through the medium of the Chair of Glamorgan, as genuine remains of the theology and usages of the Bards. This is an incontrovertible fact. Again, history notes with equal sternness the authorization, at the above mentioned Congresses successively, of what was likewise called Bardism: and the not unnatural inference is, that they are one and the same. But, apparently for no other reason than that the code thus promulgated was not formally committed to writing before, a higher origin is denied to it, and of course the Bards of those periods, Ieuan ab Hywel Swrdwal, Gwilym Tew, Lewys Morganwg, Meurig Davydd, Davydd Benwyn, Llywelyn Sion, Davydd Llwyd Mathew, Edward Davydd, and others, are boldly charged with being its sole inventors. As they were not all contemporaries, and as they held various positions in life, and were also members of different religious communions, it would be difficult to account for the unanimity with which they adopted the strange and curious system, which these volumes present to our view. To accuse them of being under the influence of that spirit, which led to the overthrow of the monarchy, and to the establishment of the commonwealth on its ruins, merely because their system represents the three orders of Bard, Druid, and Ovate, as co-equal in rank and privilege, is, to say the least, not warranted by facts. History does not point out a single Bard of those times as mixing in any political intrigue. On the contrary they, one and all of whom we have any knowledge, appear to have led quiet lives, paying due and just homage of loyalty to the existing government of the day, without opposition, and without complaint. Besides, it may be interesting to know, why the Bards in question should have selected this particular form, whether as the embodiment of their own creed, or as the representation of ancient Druidism? There was nothing in the prevailing philosophy of the day to suggest it; and to say that they derived it from the traditions of the Brahmins, would be to give them credit for a greater extent of knowledge than their positions in life would warrant. Could they, then, have compiled the whole system--ingenious, complex, and yet harmonious and symmetrical as it was, out of the mere allusions to it, which are contained in the works of the earlier Poets? The Rev. Edward Davies observes,--”It does not appear, from their own profession, nor from the research of Llwyd, and other antiquaries, that this society possessed a single copy of the works of the ancient Bards, previous to the eighteenth century.”[5]  If the inference, evidently intended to be drawn from this guarded form of expression, be well founded, of course a direct negative must be returned to our inquiry. But we are not prepared to endorse the opinion, favourable as it may be to our present argument. We believe that the Bards of the 15th and 16th centuries were, to some extent, acquainted with the poetical productions of their predecessors, but at the same time we boldly maintain that it was next to impossible they should agree upon any system drawn from those sources. And in proof of our assertion, we need only refer to those who are known to have made the trial. What two persons have been found to agree in their views of the mystic allusions of the Bards? What an interminable distance there is between the respective theories of Davies and Nash!

Whilst, however, we deny that the contents of these volumes could have been derived immediately from the metrical compositions of the medieval and early Poets, we believe that they can be abundantly proved by them. There are numerous allusions, which, otherwise obscure and unintelligible, become by means of the light thrown upon them from Bardism, as clear as day. As an example; Rhys Brydydd, between 1450 and 1490, has the following lines on Hu the Mighty:--

The smallest of the small
Is Hu the Mighty, as the world judges;
And the greatest, and a Lord to us,
Let us well believe, and our mysterious God;
Light His course, and active,
An atom of glowing heat is His car;
Great on land and on the seas,
The greatest that I manifestly can have,
Greater than the worlds--Let us beware
Of mean indignity to him who deals in bounty.[6]

Even supposing Hu the Mighty to signify the Supreme Being, it would be difficult to explain how He can be “the smallest of the small,” and at the same time “the greatest,” or to show how His chariot is composed of “an atom of glowing heat.” Accordingly, the interpretations given by Davies, Archdeacon Williams, and Nash, varied though they be, are extremely vague and unsatisfactory, leaving us in a greater state of bewilderment than if we had never received them. And yet how simple is the illustration which Bardism affords--”Hu the Mighty--Jesus the Son of God,--the least in respect of His worldly greatness whilst in the flesh, and the greatest in heaven of all visible majesties.” Or, which also explains the nature of His car;--”the particles of light are the smallest of all small things; and yet one particle of light is the greatest of all great things, being no less than material for all materiality that can be understood and perceived as within the grasp of the power of God. And in every particle there is a place wholly commensurate with God, for there is not, and cannot be less than God in every particle of light, and God in every particle; nevertheless God is only one in number.”

In like manner, there are various allusions to annwnabredmanredbyd mawrbyd bachpair Ceridwen, the Coelbren, and many other particulars of a similar kind, which, while they are in themselves insufficient to constitute an intelligible groundwork on which to raise a superstructure such as our pages contain, bear strong testimony to the fact of its existence from the 16th up to the 6th century. The transmigration related by Taliesin is not identical in detail with that of Bardism, for in the latter the soul is not supposed to enter inanimate objects, such as a sword, a star, a word, a book, a boat, a shield, a tree, an axe, and a grain of wheat, which form some of the gradations in “Cad Goddeu” and “Angar Cyvyndawd;” and we infer from this discrepancy that the Bardic doctrine was not directly founded on the poet’s language. Still we may regard it as a valuable testimony to the actual existence among the Cymry, at the time when the poems were written, of a doctrine of metempsychosis, whether believed in, or preserved merely as a matter of curiosity. To notice in detail all the passages, which might be culled out of the works of the Poets, as referring to the principal tenets and usages of Bardism, would swell our Preface to an unnecessary length, especially since many of them are inserted in the body of the work as footnotes; to then, then, we would beg to direct the attention of our readers.

Further, the philosophical features of Bardism may be traced even in the language of the Cymry, and the testimony, which it thus affords, is the more valuable, because it is indirect and unexpected. If we allow it possible that the Bards of the 15th and 16th centuries should have actually drawn their system directly from the works of their predecessors, no one can for a moment entertain the thought that they were capable of drawing it from the language, whether solely, or in conjunction with the poetry of different times. Independently of Bardism, it would be difficult to explain why advyd, a term signifying re-world, or a beginning of the world over again, should in common use stand for adversity, but “Rhol Cof a Chyfrif” informs us that it was originally applied to the state of retraversing abred, which, being a punishment for sin, was of course a state of hardship and adversity. Again, we find that the word gwydd means both wood and knowledge, which cannot be accounted for except on the supposition of a common origin, or that there was a mutual connection between the one and the other from the earliest times. This affinity is explained by the Coelbren. In like manner, the doctrine of eneidvaddeu alone can satisfactorily account for the double meaning of maddeu, and show us how a word, which properly means to liberate, or to dismiss, came also to signify to forgive, which is its common import at the present day. Angauaberthhuannefoedd, and a host of other words might be enumerated, which clearly refer to the mythology of the ancient Cymry; hence it is manifest that no Welsh philologist can effectually succeed in his investigations, unless in the first instance he makes himself acquainted with Bardism.

What, then, shall we say? Did the Bards in question model their system according to the description, which Julius Cæsar, and other foreign writers, have given of Druidism? There is prima facie a wide difference between the two systems. Cæsar speaks of a plurality of gods, of an archdruid, who had superior authority over the others, and also of the immolation of human sacrifices; whereas the unity of the Godhead is the very soul and centre of Bardism, which also strongly insists upon the co-equality of its orders, and seems to discountenance altogether the notion of the sacrifice of living beings, in the strict acceptation of the term, whether they were men or beasts. This circumstance, therefore, is fatal to the hypothesis which would regard classical Druidism as the groundwork on which the fabric of Bardism has been raised. Still, if the latter is, as it professes to be, the genuine remains of the primitive worship and philosophy of Britain, there must be a possibility of harmonizing the two systems--they must in principle be identical. To this subject we will now address ourselves.

Julius Cæsar, B.C. 99-44

It is necessary that we should, at the outset, bear in mind the following observation made by Cæsar, as to the comparative merits of the Continental and British systems:

“The institution is thought to have originated in Britain, and to have been thence introduced into Gaul; and even now those who wish to become more accurately acquainted with it, generally repair thither, for the sake of learning it.”

It is clear from this statement that Druidism, in Cæsar’s time, was not considered as pure and as well understood on the Continent as it was in the British isle, its genuine home; an hypothesis, moreover, exactly in accordance with the traditions of the Bards:--”Bardism originated in the Isle of Britain--no other country ever obtained a proper comprehension of Bardism. Three nations corrupted what they had learned of the Bardism of the Isle of Britain, blending with it heterogeneous principles, by which means they lost it: the Irish; the Cymry of Armorica; and the Germans.”[7]

According to this view, we must not expect that the two systems should agree in all matters of detail, but only in principle and substance.

Cæsar’s description refers solely to the Druidism of Gaul. How he acquired his information, he does not tell us; it might have been in part from personal observation, and in part, if not wholly, from his friend Divitiacus, who was a Druid among the Ædui. It is possible that his narrative in this respect is correct; still his general character for veracity does not bind us to believe implicitly every word that he says. Suetonius tells us, that Asinius Pollio, who was a contemporary of Cæsar, was of opinion that his assertions are not altogether worthy of credit;--”Asinius Pollio,” he remarks, “thinks that they [the works of Cæsar] were composed with but little accuracy, and little truth, since Cæsar used to believe rashly respecting the deeds of other men, and also to relate erroneously the things done by himself, either of set purpose, or through failure of memory, and he is of opinion that he intended to re-write and correct them.”[8]  We shall not, however, take the benefit of this opinion, but proceed at once to notice the principal points of Druidism, as actually related by Cæsar himself, and to compare them with the views of the Bards, in order to see how far they may be reconciled one with the other. The whole account, as given by Cæsar of the Continental Druids, is as follows:

“They preside over sacred things, have the charge of public and private sacrifices, and explain their religion. To them a great number of youths have recourse for the sake of acquiring instruction, and they are in great honour among them. For they generally settle all their disputes, both public and private; and if there is any transgression perpetrated, any murder committed, or any dispute about inheritance or boundaries, they decide in respect of them; they appoint rewards and penalties; and if any private or public person abides not by their decree, they restrain him from the sacrifices. This with them is the most severe punishment. Whoever are so interdicted, are ranked in the number of the impious and wicked; all forsake them, and shun their company and conversation, lest they should suffer disadvantage from contagion with them: nor is legal right rendered to them when they sue it, nor any honour conferred upon them. But one presides over all these Druids, who possesses the supreme authority among them. At his death, if any one of the others excels in dignity, the same succeeds him: but if several have equal pretensions, the president is elected by the votes of the Druids, sometimes even they contend about the supreme dignity by force of arms. At a certain time of the year, they assemble in session on a consecrated spot in the confines of the Carnutes, which is considered the central region of the whole of Gaul. Thither all, who have any disputes, come together from every side, and acquiesce in their judgments and decisions. The institution is thought to have originated in Britain, and to have been thence introduced into Gaul, and even now, those who wish to become more accurately acquainted with it, generally repair thither for the sake of learning it.

“The Druids usually abstain from war, nor do they pay taxes together with the others; they have exemption from warfare, and the free use of all things. Instigated by such advantages, many resort to their school even of their own accord, whilst others are sent by their parents and relations. There they are said to learn thoroughly a great number of verses. On that account, some continue at their education for twenty years. Nor do they deem it lawful to commit those things to writing; though, generally, in other cases, and in their public and private accounts, they use Greek letters. They appear to me to have established this custom for two reasons; because they would not have their tenets published, and because they would not have those, who learn them, by trusting to letters, neglect the exercise of memory; since it generally happens, that, owing to the safeguard of letters, they relax their diligence in learning, as well as their memory. In particular they wish to inculcate this idea, that souls do not die, but pass after death from one body to another; and they think that by this means men are very much instigated to the exercise of bravery, the fear of death being despised. They also dispute largely concerning the stars and their motion, the magnitude of the world and the earth, the nature of things, the force and power of the immortal gods, and instruct the youth in their principles.

“The whole nation of the Gauls is very much given to religious observances, and on that account, those who are afflicted with grievous diseases, and those who are engaged in battles and perils, either immolate men as sacrifices, or vow that they will immolate themselves, and they employ the Druids as ministers of those sacrifices; because they think that, if the life of man is not given for the life of man, the immortal gods cannot be appeased; they have also instituted public sacrifices of the same kind. Some have images of immense size, the limbs of which, interwoven with twigs, they fill with living men, and the same being set on fire, the men, surrounded by the flames, are put to death. They think that the punishment of those who are caught in theft or pillage, or in any other wicked act, is more acceptable to the immortal gods; but when there is a deficiency of such evil doers, they have recourse even to the punishment of the innocent.

“They chiefly worship the god Mercury; of him they have many images, him they consider as the inventor of all arts, as the guide of ways and journeys, and as possessing the greatest power for obtaining money and merchandise. After him, they worship Apollo, Mars, Jupiter, and Minerva. Concerning them they have almost the same opinion as other nations, namely: that Apollo wards off diseases; that Minerva instructs them in the principles of works and arts; that Jupiter holds the empire of heaven; and that Mars rules wars. To him, when they have determined to engage in battle, they generally vow those things which they shall have captured in war. When they are victorious, they sacrifice the captured animals; and pile up the other things in one place.

“The Gauls declare that they have all sprung from their father Pluto, and this they say was delivered to them by the Druids.”[9]

The principal topics, which demand our attention in this extract, are:

1. The religious function of the Druids. The two systems are perfectly agreed in this respect, that the priestly office belonged to the Druidic order. Cæsar, indeed, does not mention either of the other two orders, but his silence is no proof that they did not exist in Gaul as well as in Britain. It is very probable that the Druids were, in respect of their office, the most conspicuous among the Gauls, and that Cæsar’s attention was especially drawn to their deeds, so as to overlook the Bards and Ovates, or that he considered the functions of these as absorbed in that of the Druids. We have the evidence of Diodorus Siculus and Strabo that there were Bards in Gaul, and the latter says there were Ovates (Οὐάτεις) also.

2. The respect in which they were held. The Druids of Britain were, likewise, highly esteemed by the people. According to the laws of Dyvnwal Moelmud, “the Gorsedd of Bards” was “the oldest in its origin” of “the three privileged Gorsedds of the Isle of Britain.” Its different functionaries had a right each to five free acres of land in virtue of their office--were entitled to maintenance wherever they went--had freedom from taxes--no person was to bear a naked weapon in their presence--and their word was always paramount. These privileges, as well as others, to which they had a right, are distinctly specified in the present volumes, and they show the great respect and honour in which they at all times stood in the community. The consequence was that many persons were usually candidates for the office, not only among the nobility and gentry, but also among those of low rank, for the bondsman became free on his assuming the profession of Bardism, though he could not learn it “without the permission of his proprietary lord, and the lord of the territory.” Cæsar regards the Druids and Knights as of a higher rank than the common people, and as being distinct from them, and though he does not say that the former could have arisen, and gained their nobility by means of their office, yet it is not improbable that the teachers of Gaul were, in this respect, similar to the Bards of the Isle of Britain. At any rate, every Bard among the Cymry was according to his office a free and honourable man, whatever his position might have been previously. In this matter, therefore, we perceive no substantial difference between the Druidism of Britain and the Druidism of Gaul.

3. The arbitration and settlement of disputes. It appears from the Laws of Dyvnwal Moelmud that there were “three Gorsedds according to the privilege of the country and nation of the Cymry,” having their respective duties and functions with a view to the improvement of society.

“The first is the Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, and their foundation and privilege rest upon reason, nature, and cogency; or, according to other teachers and wise men, upon reason, nature, and circumstance. And the privilege and office of those protected by the Gorsedd of Bards are to maintain and preserve and diffuse authorized instruction in the sciences of piety, wisdom, and courtesy; and to preserve memorial and record of every thing commendable respecting individuals and kindred; and every event of times; and every natural phenomenon; and wars; and regulations of country and nation; and punishments; and commendable victories; and to preserve a warranted record of genealogies, marriages, nobility, privileges, and customs of the nation of the Cymry; and to attend to the exigencies of other Gorsedds in announcing what shall be achieved, and what shall be requisite, under lawful proclamation and warning: and further than this there is nothing either of office or of privilege attached to a Gorsedd of Bards.......Second, the Gorsedd of the country and common weal; or the Gorsedd of judicature and decision of law, for the right and protection of the country and nation, their refugees, and their aliens. These Gorsedds act severally; that is to say, the Gorsedd of federate support makes a law, where an occasion requires, and confirms it in a country and federate country; and that is not allowed to a country distinct from a federate country. The Gorsedd of judgment and judicature decides upon such as shall transgress the law, and punishes him. And the Gorsedd of the Bards teaches commend-able sciences, and decides respecting them, and methodically preserves all the memorials of the nation to insure their authenticity. And it is not right for any one of these Gorsedds to intermeddle with the deliberation of either of the other two, but to confirm them, and to support them regularly. The third Gorsedd, or that of federate support, in its original and determinate purpose, is to effect what may be necessary as to any thing new, and as to the improvement of the laws of a country and federate country, by a federate jury of chiefs of kindreds, wise men, and sovereign ruler. A sovereign prince, or ruler of paramount right, is the oldest in possessive title of the kings and the princes of a federate community: and he is to raise the mighty agitation; and his word is superior to every other word in the agitation of the country.”

According to the tenor of this extract, it was “the Gorsedd of judgment and judicature” that possessed the special right of determining national and social disputes, in conformity with the law that was enacted in a “Gorsedd of federate support.” They were matters of a literary character mainly that came under the supervision of the Bards. Nevertheless, there was some connection between the three institutions--they were “to confirm, and support” each other “regularly.” The Bards were required more particularly to register the events that occurred in country and nation, to preserve the records of genealogies, marriages, nobility, privileges and customs, of the nation of the Cymry, and to attend to the exigencies of other Gorsedds in announcing what shall be achieved, and what shall be requisite, under lawful proclamation and warning. So far, then, it might be said that they settled matters appertaining to inheritances and boundaries, as the Druids of Gaul did in the time of Cæsar. The Roman captain might easily be mistaken with respect to the extent of the authority and power of the Druids, attributing to them more than in reality they possessed. After all, he does not admit that the entire authority was in their hands--his observation is, “they generally settle all their disputes, both public and private.” And even if things were exactly as he relates them, it is not difficult to suppose that this was a natural corruption of the primitive custom. Inasmuch as the Druids generally were possessed of more learning and knowledge than any other class of people in the country, it was quite natural that they should increase in political and social authority, especially where the other establishments were not as orderly and well defined as they were in Britain. We see this principle at work in relation to the Church, during what is called “the dark ages,” when more than necessary of temporal and political authority fell into the hands of ecclesiastics.

Cæsar says of the Druids of Gaul that the greatest punishment which was inflicted upon evil doers was, to keep them from the sacrifices. It must be admitted that there was nothing, as far as we know, in the institute of Britain, which altogether answered to this interdict. Perhaps the nearest approach to it was the refusal of the protection of the Gorsedd to any member of the community, who, for some fault or other, was announced to be exposed to a “naked weapon.” The Bards, however, had a peculiar mode of degrading their convicted brethren. It took place at a Gorsedd, and the act was called “to bring the assault of warfare against” him who was to be thus disfranchised. After the Bards had agreed in their decision, they covered their heads, and one of them unsheathed the sword, named the person aloud three times, with the sword lifted in his hand, adding when he was last named, “the sword is naked against him.” He could never after be re-admitted; and was called “a man deprived of privilege and exposed to warfare.” There is some resemblance in this custom to what Cæsar says of the excommunicated, “that no legal right was rendered to them, nor any honour conferred upon them;” and the resemblance is sufficient to show that the usages of the two countries had sprung from the same root.

4. The Archdruid. Among the Cymry the three orders, Bard, Druid, and Ovate, were co-equal, one with the other, in point of privilege and dignity, whilst they were different in regard to duties. For thus it is stated in “Trioedd Braint a Defod:”—

“The three branches of Bardism: Poetry; Ovatism; and Druidism; that is to say, these three branches are adjudged to be of equal privilege, and equal importance, for there can be no superiority to one of them over another--though they are distinct in purpose, they are not distinct in privilege.”

“There are three Bards of equal importance, that is, the three worthy primitive Bards, namely: a licensed native Bard, or a Poet according to privilege and usage; an Ovate-bard, devoted to genial learning; and a Druid-bard, devoted to theology and morality;--and they are said to be of equal importance, because one cannot be better than another, or supreme over the rest;--though one is distinct from another in respect of office and movement, still they are equal and of like dignity in respect of obligation, effort, and object, which are, learning, truth, and peace.”

In this sense, then, it may be said that the system of the Cymry varied from that of the Gauls. Nevertheless, occasionally, that is, when they met in Gorsedd, “one presided,” even among the British Bards. He was called chief-Bard, or Gorsedd Bard; and if he were of the Druidic order, he might be easily regarded as an Arch-druid, not only because he presided, but because in doing so he stood on the “maen arch,” in the centre of the sacred circle. Every chief-Bard had a right to preside at a Gorsedd, but still nothing could be decided without the consent of the majority of Gorsedd Bards--the former was merely a kind of chairman primus inter pares, for the time.

Cæsar seems to imply that one only presided during life, and when he died, that another was elected in his stead. This is not altogether in unison with the custom of the Cymry. Nevertheless, if such in truth was the usage of Gaul, it might easily have been derived from our own country. Whilst the people of the Continent did not properly understand Bardism, there was nothing to prevent them from falling into a mistake as to the nature of the authority, which the Bard president possessed, deeming it to be personal, and intended to continue for life, whereas it was official only--belonging to several, and to be exercised as occasions required. The Cymry never had recourse to the sword in order to settle the question of supremacy, as we learn from Cæsar was the case sometimes on the Continent. This was quite an abuse--and thoroughly inconsistent with the spirit of Bardism.

5. The place of meeting. According to Cæsar, the Druids of Gaul had a fixed place and time for meeting; he mentions not the time, but the place he says was on the confines of the Carnutes, in the middle of the country, as was supposed. “Thither,” he says, “all, who have any disputes, come together from every side, and acquiesce in their judgments and decisions.” In like manner, the Bards or Druids of Britain had their appointed times and places for meeting in Gorsedd. Their times were the Albans, namely, Alban Eilir, Alban Hevin, Alban Elved, and Alban Arthan, that is, the equinoxes and solstices, or the commencement of the four seasons of the year. The principal places are recorded in the following Triads:--

“The three principal Gorsedds of the Bards of the Isle of Britain: the Gorsedd of Bryn Gwyddon at Caerleon-upon-Usk; the Gorsedd of Moel Evwr; and the Gorsedd of Beiscawen.

“The three Gorsedds of entire song of the Isle of Britain: the Gorsedd of Beiscawen in Dyvnwal; the Gorsedd of Caer Caradog in Lloegria; and the Gorsedd of Bryn Gwyddon in Cymru.”

There was thus one special Gorsedd in each of the three principal provinces, where the native mind chiefly predominated. The Gorsedd was a sort of national temple, to which the majority of persons within the province resorted at the appointed times, in order to worship God, and to receive instruction. All were invited, except such as were “deprived of privilege, and exposed to warfare,” and no impediments were allowed to be put on their way, as they travelled “under the protection and peace of God.”

“Three common rights of federate country and border country: a principal river; a high road; and a resort of worship; and those are under the protection of God and His peace; since a weapon is not to be unsheathed by such as frequent them against those they may meet; and whoever shall do so, whether a native or a stranger, a claim of galanas against him arises on the plaint of the lord of the territory.”[10]

6. The derivation of the Druidic system. We have already noticed the coincidence between the notion which prevailed in Gaul on this head and the drift of the Cymric traditions.

7. Memorials. “They are said,” observes Cæsar, “to learn thoroughly a great number of verses; and on that account, some continue at their education for twenty years.” One of “the three memorials of the Bards of the Isle of Britain,” was “the memorial of song.” This was one of the oldest vehicles in which events and sciences were handed down among the Bards, and it is supposed that the particular form which they used was the metre called “Triban Milwr,” or the Warrior’s Triplet. The name of Tydain, the father of Awen, is especially associated with the memorial of song; and “the poem of Tydain” is prominently alluded to in the account of the establishment of Bardism. He was a contemporary of Prydain.

As time rolled on, accumulating events and sciences, we may easily suppose that “twenty years” would not be more than sufficient to enable a man to treasure in his memory the “great number of verses” necessary to contain and embody them. Generally, however, nine years was the time during which a pupil was required to be under discipline previous to his being graduated as a Chief Bard.

“They do not deem it lawful (fas) to commit those things to writing,” i.e. the things appertaining to the system. Neither did the British Bards countenance the habit of writing their traditions. On the contrary, it was their custom to recite them publicly in every Gorsedd, until they became deeply rooted in the memory of the people. This is what they called the “voice of Gorsedd,” and it was in this manner that their traditions have come down to us. Cæsar’s opinion respecting such a practice coincides exactly with the reason which influenced the Bards of Cymru. “They appear to me to have established this custom for two reasons; because they would not have their tenets published, and because they would not have those, who learn then, by trusting to letters, neglect the exercise of memory.” The Bards had a “Cyvrinach,” or Secret, which they did not consider it lawful for any one to know out of their own order; such were the Name of God, and the Ten Letters. All this secrecy related especially to the institute, and the candidate for admission into it took an awful vow that he would not divulge the cyvrinach to any one, who was not a regular Bard. They likewise considered that the use of writing tended to weaken the memory, not only in respect of the disciples, but also of the people generally; or rather, with regard to the latter, they considered that the voice of Gorsedd was the easiest mode of teaching them, and the most effectual for preventing every kind of falsehood and corruption.

With respect to the voice of Gorsedd, and its connection with the discipline of the Bards themselves, we have it thus stated in “ the Book of Lewys Morganwg, which he compiled from many of the old Books:”

“There is no other than the memorial, voice, and usage of Gorsedd belonging to the privileges and usages of the primitive Bards, for they spring from primary and original right, before there was any Book knowledge; therefore, they were submitted only to the memorial of the voice, and usage of Gorsedd; or, as others say, to the memorial of song, voice, and usage. And they have no permanent privilege and authority, but what we know by these means.”

Nevertheless, the Bards had a knowledge of letters from the beginning. It is said that Einigan, the first man, “beheld three pillars of light, having on them all demonstrable sciences, that ever were, or ever will be,” and that “he took three rods of the quicken tree, and placed on them the forms and signs of all sciences, so as to be remembered.” People misunderstood these, and “regarded the rods as a God, whereas they only bore His Name. When Einigan saw this, he was greatly annoyed, and in the intensity of his grief he broke the three rods, nor were others found that contained accurate sciences. He was so distressed on that account that from the intensity he burst asunder, and with his [parting] breath he prayed God that there should be accurate sciences among men in the flesh, and there should be a correct understanding for the proper discernment thereof. And at the end of a year and a day, after the decease of Einigan, Menw, son of the Three Shouts, beheld three rods growing out of the mouth of Einigan, which exhibited the sciences of the Ten Letters, and the mode in which all the sciences of language and speech were arranged by them, and in language and speech all distinguishable sciences. He then took the rods, and taught from them the sciences--all, except the Name of God, which he made a secret, lest the Name should be falsely discerned; and hence arose the Secret of the Bardism of the Bards of the Isle of Britain.”[11]

The first ten letters were derived from the creative Name of God, and represented a, p, c, e, t, i, 1, r, o, s; and “they had been a secret from the age of ages among the Bards of the Isle of Britain, for the preservation of memorials of country and nation. Beli the Great made them into sixteen, and divulged that arrangement, and appointed that there should never after be a concealment of the sciences of letters, in respect of the arrangement which he made; but he left the ten cuttings a secret.”[12]

According to some authorities, the alphabet of the sixteen letters was formed, and divulged in the time of Dyvnwal Moelmud. The original Abcedilros, or alphabet of the ten letters, was quite different to that of the sixteen and its augmentations; and whilst these were known to the public, the former was known only to the Bards.

The Druids of Gaul had a knowledge of letters, though they did not commit to writing the things that pertained to their institute. “Generally,” says our author, “in other cases, and in their public and private accounts, they use Greek letters.” The alphabet of the sixteen was at this time open to the public in Britain; could it have been the one which the Continental Druids used, mistaken by Cæsar for Greek letters?

The Druids of Gaul had letters of their own, which were similar to the letters of Greece; it is, therefore, not impossible that Cæsar confounded one series with the other. Mr. Astle, who is well skilled in ancient letters, gives a series of Gaulish characters, which are somewhat similar to those of Greece. They were taken from the monumental inscription of Gordian, the messenger of the Gauls, who suffered martyrdom, in the third century, with all his family. “These characters,” he says, “were generally used by the people, before the conquest of Gaul by Cæsar.”[13]

Another author remarks:--”There are those who think the Druids had ancient characters, which were both elegant, and similar to those of the Greeks. For according to the testimony of Xenophon, and Archilochus, the figures of those letters, which Cadmus brought out of Phoenicia into Greece, resembled Gaulish, rather than Punic, or Phœnician characters.”[14]

He who compares the ancient Greek Alphabet with the Bardic Coelbren, will find a remarkable similarity between them, so that a stranger might easily mistake the one for the other.

The Druids of Britain as well as those of Gaul, made use of letters under many circumstances. The “memorial of letters,” or the “memorial of Coelbren,” was one of their “three memorials.” This is clearly seen in the Laws of Dyvnwal Moelmud. It would, therefore, not be difficult to harmonize Cæsar’s narrative respecting the “memorial of voice” and the “memorial of letters” of the Gauls, with what we know to have been the usage of the Bards of Britain in these matters.

8. The transmigration of souls. The Bardic dogma on this head was, that the soul commenced its course in the lowest water animalcule, and passed at death to other bodies of a superior order, successively, and in regular gradation, until it entered that of man. Humanity is a state of liberty, where man can attach himself to either good or evil, as he pleases. If his good qualities preponderate over his evil qualities at the time of his death, his soul passes into Gwynvyd, or a state of bliss, where good necessarily prevails, and from whence it is impossible to fall. But if his evil qualities predominate, his soul descends in Abred into an animal corresponding in character to the disposition he exhibited just before he died. It will then rise as before, until it again arrives at the point of liberty, where it will have another chance of clinging to the good. But if it fails, it must fall again; and this may happen for ages and ages, until at last its attachment to good preponderates. It was believed, however, that man could not be guilty twice of the same sin; his experience in Abred, whilst undergoing punishment for any particular sin, would prevent him from loving that sin a second time; hence the adage, “Nid eir i Annwn and unwaith.”

The views of the Gaulish Druids, as far as they are expressed by Cæsar, do not appear to differ from the above. “They wish to inculcate this idea, that souls do not die, but pass after death from one body to another.” The only thing that may be supposed to be different is the passing from one body to another, which, in the original Latin, seems as if it meant from one human body to another human body, “ab aliis--ad alios.” But in reality there is no inconsistency between the two systems, even in this respect; for, though the soul of a good man was considered in general as entering an angelic body in the circle of Gwynvyd, and the soul of a wicked man as entering the body of a beast, a reptile, or a bird, in Abred, yet, it was thought that occasionally the good soul returned from Gwynvyd to inhabit a human body, and that the soul of one punished by death, against his will, for an injurious evil, passed to another human body. There is no doubt that this, with the Cymry as well as with the Gauls, acted as a strong incentive to bravery, especially as they considered that to suffer in behalf of truth and justice was one of the greatest virtues, and was sure to bring the soul to everlasting bliss.

9. Astronomy. “They dispute largely concerning the stars and their motion,” says Cæsar, and herein the Druids of Gaul were similar to those of Britain. We have evidence enough to prove that the latter paid particular attention to the doctrine of the stars. Testimony is borne to their knowledge of the revolution of the stars even by the very word, which they used to denote time, amser, compounded of am, round, and ser, the stars. They themselves, also, not unfrequently went by the name of sywedyddion, that is, astronomers, or men versed in the science of the stars.

Talhaiarn y sydd
Mwyaf sywedydd.

It will be seen that the names given by our ancestors to the different constellations, as enumerated in these volumes, are thoroughly Cymric, and radical, thus indicating early and profound knowledge on their part “ concerning the stars and their motion.”

10. Cosmology. The Bards believed that all the visible creation sprang into existence simultaneously with the pronunciation of God’s Name; and this article occupies a very prominent place in their religious creed. From other fragments in this Collection we find that they professed to know something of the laws of nature; why water rises to the surface of the earth, and descends from the clouds, and why the sea is briny. And, if we take Taliesin as a proper representative of Bardism, we may have abundant proof from his poems that they reasoned much in his days “concerning the world, the earth, and the nature of things.”

11. Theology. “And about the force and power of the immortal gods.” Let GOD be substituted for “gods,” and this statement would apply equally to the Cymry, and no difference whatever would exist between the two systems on the subject. Nothing is oftener, and more positively insisted upon in the Bardic creed than the doctrine of ONE GOD; and it is remarkable that all the testimonies of archaiological research, though they are for the most part of a negative character, tend to confirm the antiquity and genuineness of that creed. The Bards were careful to inculcate this truth above all, and brought it to bear upon the several rites and ceremonies, which distinguished their national worship. The ideas they had, also, of the nature and attributes of the Deity were truly sublime and eminently magnificent, not to be equalled perhaps by any other race of the Gentile world, prior to its adoption of the more divine religion of Christ.

12. Sacrifices. The views of the Bards on the subject of “aberthau,” or oblations, are clearly and distinctly quoted in these volumes, so that we need not give a summary of them here. What we have to do is to harmonize the account, which Cæsar gives of the sacrifices of the Continental Druids with the Bardism of the Cymry. The Roman captain might easily fall into a mistake about those matters. When he saw malefactors being put to death, under the supervision of the priests, he would naturally infer that they were thus dealt with as sacrifices, to propitiate the gods. He saw men, perhaps, giving themselves up voluntarily to suffer the punishment due for their transgressions, and he would reasonably suppose that they were “vowing to sacrifice themselves.” It is quite possible that he should, also, have seen good men suffer in the cause of truth and justice, and his inference would be, that they were being sacrificed for want of a sufficient number of evil doers to take their place. But, if we grant that Cæsar gives a correct account of the sacrifices of the Gaulish Druids, it is very easy to perceive that the rite in question originated in the doctrine of eneidvaddeu, which prevailed among the Cymry. “They think that if the life of man is not given for the life of man, the immortal gods cannot be appeased.” Life for life was required by the laws of the Cymry; but we do not find that our ancestors viewed the retaliation as what would propitiate God, further than that to benefit the man himself, who was put to death, might be taken as a sign of his reconciliation with God. If a murderer died a natural death, his soul would descend low in Abred, but the fatal punishment inflicted upon him by the public officers was considered, according to the order of providence, as equivalent to that degradation, and his soul passed simultaneously to another human body. In this sense, then, the punishment of eneidvaddeu propitiated God; that is, God did not, on that account, place man in such a miserable position as He would otherwise have done. Since the Divine Being wishes every man to be saved, it may be said, that whatever is done to facilitate that object, and to bring about its speedy consummation, must be pleasing to Him.

It is very probable that the prisoners of the wicker image were no other than the malefactors who would not surrender themselves voluntarily; we can hardly see the necessity for the scheme in the case of the others. We do not read of anything of the kind in connection with our own island; most likely it was peculiar to the Continent.

Cæsar observes that it was the opinion of the Gaulish Druids “that the punishment of those who were caught in theft or pillage, or in any other wicked act, was more acceptable to the immortal gods” than that of the innocent. It is difficult to withstand the supposition that these were the words of the commentator himself, used by him as a reason for the want of proportion, which he observed in the number of the bad and good, that were immolated. If, on the contrary, it was really the opinion of the Druids, then they must in this respect have differed much from their Cymric brethren, who considered that the offenders, who gave themselves up willingly to be punished, were more acceptable than those who were punished against their will, and that the good, who suffered in behalf of truth and justice, were still more so. Besides, there was something in the above opinion inconsistent with the idea which mankind in general entertained respecting the qualities of a sacrifice, and which sets forth the immaculate, the obedient, and the innocent, as the one which is most pleasing to God.

It appears from Cæsar that the agent, which the Gauls used for consuming their sacrifices, was fire. Fire might in like manner be employed among the Cymry for the punishment of those who were adjudged to be eneidvaddeu. “There are three eneidvaddeu punishments: beheading; hanging; and burning; and it is for the king, or lord of the territory, to order which he willeth to be inflicted.”[15]

13. The Names of God. We must again express our conviction that Cæsar might have mistaken the several attributes, which belonged to the one true God, for as many distinct and independent divinities, just as it is said that some of the Cymry, in the in-fancy of the world, deified and worshipped the rods which only bore the Name of God. Not at once did men forget the great and primitive doctrine of the unity of the Godhead, setting up in the imagination of their hearts “gods many, and lords many.” Even the names, by which the gods of the Gentiles were designated, had been invented, and were used to denote the several properties of the Deity, before that great corruption took place. As an old poet observes,--

“Pluto, Proserpine, Ceres, Venus, Cupid,
Triton, Nereus, Tethys, and Neptune,
Hermes, Vulcan, Pan, Jupiter, Juno,
Diana, and Apollo, are ONE GOD.”[16]

The same doctrine is also taught in the hymns, which historians ascribe to Orpheus. It is quite probable, therefore, that Cæsar, when he observed the several parts of the Gaulish worship, concluded that they were adorations offered to distinct gods, and that those gods were similar to the gods of Rome and Greece, with whom he was best acquainted.

“They chiefly worship the god Mercury.” This character is almost the chief in every religious system; it is the same as to its original nature with the Gwyddon of the Cymry, the Budha of the Indians, and the Woden of the Saxons--that is, the Bard presiding at Gorsedd. It was the office of this Bard to instruct men in various kinds of knowledge, and to lead them along the ways of morality; therefore, his auditors might easily consider him as “the inventor of all arts, the guide of ways and journeys, and as possessing the greatest power for obtaining money and merchandise.”

“Of him they have many images.” Perhaps the maen crair, on which the presiding Bard stood, and the meini gwynion, at which his assistants took their station, were these supposed images. But, granting that the inhabitants of Gaul, in Cæsar’s time, did worship the god Mercury, it is easy to see that such was merely a misapprehension of the primitive views, which were entertained respecting the Bard in Gorsedd. The same properties, but more suitably adapted to the character of a divine being, were ascribed to Mercury, as were supposed to belong to the Bard. The first, and most natural step in this corruption, was to view the president of Gorsedd as the representative of a Divine Gwyddon, and doubtless the people fell into this mistake sooner than did the Druids themselves. Inasmuch as the principles of Bardism were never so thoroughly understood in Gaul as they were in Britain, it was not difficult to fall into error on the point in question.

We know not whether Mercury was a name which the Druids themselves gave to their president, or their god, or whether it was one that Cæsar invented, from noticing the similarity that existed between their views and worship and those of his own countrymen. If it be a Celtic name, what does it mean? Is it MERCH-WR, (woman-man,) because the Gwyddon looked straight before him along the line of the East--”Dwyrain,” i. e. dwy rain, the two rays--the ray of Eilir and the ray of Elved, which in nature represented the two sexes, male and female? Or is it MARCH-WR, (horse-man,) because he mounted, or, as it were, rode the maen crair, whilst he presided in Gorsedd--the word march again being originally derived from my--ARCH, i.e. the ARCH, or maen ARCH, being another name of the stone on which the Bard stood?

“After him they worship Apollo,” who is supposed “to ward off all diseases.” He is the same undoubtedly with the SUN in the Bardism of the Cymry, which was regarded as the natural or physical representative of the Sun of righteousness, or the Supreme God. Wherefore, many of the rites and ceremonies of the Gorsedd were regulated with reference to this luminary. The days for holding the Gorsedd were the four Albans, when the rays of the orient sun converging to the maen llog delineated the creative Name of God. The Bard thus standing in “the face of the sun, and the eye of light,” when he taught the people, literally “spoke in the Name of the Lord.” No Gorsedd could be held except when the sun was above the horizon.

Since it is the property of the sun to warm, cheer, and revive, it may well be said to “ward off diseases;” and when deified, the same attribute would of course still belong to it, but in a more eminent degree.

Having lost sight of the true position of the sun in the system of Bardism, it was not difficult to fall into error, and to worship the creature more than the Creator. It would appear that the Gentiles had made gods of “the heavenly host” sooner than of any other parts of the creation; and if the Gauls were to some extent idolaters in the time of Cæsar, we may be sure that they worshipped the Sun.

The next god, whom Cæsar says they worshipped, was MARS, “the ruler of wars.” The British Bards were pre-eminently men of peace; no one was allowed to carry a naked weapon in their presence, nor did they ordinarily unsheath the sword against any one. We say ordinarily, for there were occasions, on which they were required to act in a different manner, as may be seen from the following Triad:--

“The three necessary, but reluctant duties, of the Bards of the Isle of Britain: secrecy for the sake of peace and public good; invective lamentation required by justice; and to unsheath the sword against the lawless and depradatory.”[17]

It was not for the purpose of acquiring unlawful possessions, and of oppressing other people and countries, that they “unsheathed the sword;” “they would not have country and lands by fighting and pursuing, but of equity, and in peace.”[18]  It was evil that they resisted even unto blood. Accordingly, on his way to the Gorsedd, the Bard carried the sword by its point, to signify his own readiness to suffer in the cause of truth; it was sheathed on the maen crair, for the people had been invited to attend, where there would be no naked weapon against them; but against “a man deprived of privilege, and exposed to warfare,” it was unsheathed. It may be that the rite of the sword in Gorsedd had created an opinion in the mind of Cæsar, that the Druids were at the time worshipping Mars, the god of war; or it may be that the Druids themselves, having forgotten its original import, had come to regard it as referring to the same god, whom, they no doubt had heard of as existing in the religious system of their neighbours. The accompanying offerings and sacrifices seem to have been derived from this view of Mars, since nothing of the kind can be traced to the usages of the Cymry; unless the burying his horse and arms with a warrior had been a sort of foundation for the custom.

After Mars, Jupiter is mentioned, as the god, who “ held the empire of heaven.” IAU [19] was one of the names, which the Cymry gave to the supreme God, and it signified the last or most recent manifestation of the Godhead, such as that which occurred in creation as contrasted with the preceding vacuum--after that in the incarnation of His Son. Perhaps the word is the same with (symbol), the unutterable Name of God, by which He created all things--the Word of His might. There is, however, another meaning given to the name in question in the traditions of the Bards:--

“Disciple. Why is Iau (yoke) given as a name for God?

“Master. Because the yoke is the measuring rod of country and nation in virtue of the authority of law, and is in the possession of every head of family under the mark of the lord of the territory, and whoever violates it is liable to a penalty. Now, God is the measuring rod of all truth, all justice, and all goodness; therefore He is a yoke on all, and all are under it, and woe to him who shall violate it.”[20]

This meaning bears a close relation to the opinion that the owner of the name “held the empire of heaven.” Nevertheless, the name, even in this sense, might have been founded upon (symbol), or, according to a further development, (symbol), which signifies preservation, creation, and destruction.

The Gauls could not fall into the error of inventing an additional divinity in the person of Jupiter, for he was the principal god, or god in his primary character--though their formation of different gods out of his attributes necessarily encroaches upon, and abbreviates his greatness and authority.

MINERVA. The Druids of Gaul, according to Cæsar, were of opinion that it was this goddess who “instructed them in the principles of works and arts.” It is very likely that she was the same originally with the Awen, (A wen,) the Word of God, that proceeded out of His mouth, even as Minerva is said to have sprung out of the brain of Jupiter. It was from the AWEN that all knowledge was derived--in like manner Minerva was considered as the goddess of wisdom. One of the objects of AWEN is to produce peace--Minerva produced the olive, the symbol of peace. In several other respects, also, a remarkable similarity between the characteristics of the Bardic Awen and the goddess Minerva, may be pointed out, though in matters of detail this is not necessary, because Cæsar observes that the opinion of the Gauls was but almost the same as that of the other nations concerning the above divinities.

14. Origin of the people. “The Gauls declare that they have all sprung from their father Pluto, and this they say was delivered to them by the Druids.” There can be no doubt that this sentiment is perfectly identical with that of the Bards relative to the procession of man from Annwn.

“Whence didst thou proceed? and what is thy beginning?
“I came from the Great World, having my beginning in Annwn.”[21]

We have thus gone through the testimony of Cæsar, the principal classical authority on the subject of Druidism; we will now proceed to examine the statements of the other ancient authors, who have touched upon the same point, though not so largely and minutely; namely, Strabo, Diodorus Siculus, Cicero, Pliny, Pomponius Mela, Tacitus, Diogenes Laertius, and Ammianus Marcellinus.

Strabo, B.C. 54

The description, which this author gives of Druidism, refers entirely, like that of Cæsar, to Gaul, and is as follows:--

“And among the whole of them [the Gauls] three classes more especially are held in distinguished veneration, the Bards, the Ovates, and the Druids. The Bards are chaunters and poets. The Ovates are sacrificers and physiologists. The Druids, in addition to physiology, practise ethic philosophy. They are deemed to be most upright, and, in consequence, to them are committed both public and private controversies, insomuch that on some occasions they decide on battles, and stop the combatants on the eve of engaging. Matters pertaining to murder are more especially entrusted to their decision, and when profit accrues from these, they think fertility will attend their country. These and others say that souls are immortal, and that the world is so too; yet that ultimately fire and water will prevail. To their simplicity and ferocity are superadded much stupidity, vain boasting, and love of ornament. They wear gold, having collars thereof on their necks, and bracelets on their arms and wrists; and dignified persons are clad in dyed garments embroidered with gold........

“Having stricken the man destined for sacrifice on the back with a sword, they augur from the palpitation. They never sacrifice without the Druids. Other kinds of human immolation are spoken of: some victims they slay with arrows, or crucify for their offerings; and having prepared a colossus of hay, and thrown wood upon it, they bum together oxen, all sorts of wild beasts, and men.”[22]

Strabo and Cæsar both agree with respect to some things, such as, 1stly, that the Druids were in great esteem among the people; 2dly, that they decided disputes; 3dly, that their presence at the sacrifices was necessary; 4thly, the immortality of the soul; 5thly, human sacrifices. There is no occasion, therefore, that we should make any further observation on these subjects in the main. We will only notice the variations and additions made by Strabo, and compare them with the Bardism of the Cymry.

1. The three degrees. These, according to the privilege and usage of the Isle of Britain, were the Chief Bard, the Ovate, and the Druid, the three being co-equal in dignity, though their offices were distinct. Strabo calls his three classes exactly by the same names, but he does not ascribe to them their respective functions quite in accordance with Bardism, at least, as regards the Ovate, who, he says, was the sacrificer, though he says again that they never sacrificed without the Druids. It was not difficult to incur misapprehension with reference to the duties of the several orders, for on special occasions one might enter upon the office of another.

2. The justice of the Druids. Justice was a virtue greatly inculcated by the members of the Bardic College.

“The three foundations of Bardism: peace; love; and justice.

“For three reasons ought a man to hazard his life, and to lose it, if necessary: in seeking for truth; in clinging to justice; and in performing mercy.”[23]

3. Their influence in war. The Bard, in his blue robe, was the herald of peace. He was privileged to pass from one country to another in safety and unharmed, for not only it was the law of Bardism, but also the law of nations, that no person was to unsheath a sword against him. He was a man of peace, according to his office, and if he thus went between two armies on the field of battle, they immediately ceased from fighting. The privilege of protection belonged in the same manner to the Druid and Ovate.

4. Sacrifices. It is very probable that Strabo refers to the rites of eneidvaddeu, when he speaks of murder as being entrusted to the decision of the Druids.

The Bardic traditions contain no record of what is here said concerning “the fertility of the country,” or of the particular mode of stabbing or slaughtering the men who. were sentenced to death, unless it was done in a manner similar to that to which the lord of the territory had recourse, when he drew blood from a degraded Bard, namely, “from his forehead, his bosom, and his groin, that is, from the seats of life and soul.”

5. Vaticinations. Our ancestors very generally professed to foretel events, though it is not said that they founded their predictions upon any particular appearance, which the men, whom they put to death, exhibited. Meugant, in the 6th century, observes:--

“Trust to God that the Druids will not prophesy,
When the privilege of the hill of legislature shall be broken.”

6. The eternal duration of the world. The British Bards, likewise, believed that every existence and form of life would continue for ever--purged from evil. The opinion, which prevailed about the increase or prevalence of fire and water, seems to be founded on the Bardism of the Cymry:--

“There are three things on their increase: fire, or light; understanding, or truth; and the soul, or life; these will prevail over every thing, and then Abred will cease.”[24]

Elsewhere it is said, that life proceeds from “a conjunction of waterfire, and nwyvre;” hence, if life is on the increase, it follows that its component elements also acquire continual strength.

7. Ornaments. The several members of the Bardic College wore proper vestments, which were emblematic of their respective offices. The Bard wore a sky blue robe, to signify peace; the Druid wore white, denoting holiness; and the Ovate green, which was an emblem of progress. Each colour was also uniform, to signify truth, which is one.

Nevertheless, it was lawful for them to introduce silver and gold, which, not being subject to rust and stain, were signs of honour. “Therefore, a gold fringe may be properly added to a Bard’s robe, of whichever of the three colours it is, or a gold girdle be put round him, for it is right to honour truth, peace, godliness, and knowledge.”

Diodorus Siculus, B.C. 44

His description also is confined to the Druidism of Gaul, and is to the following effect:--

“And there are among them [the Gauls] composers of verses, whom they call Bards; these, singing to instruments similar to a lyre, applaud some, while they vituperate others. There are also certain philosophers and priests surpassingly esteemed, whom they call Druids. They have also soothsayers, who are held in high estimation; and these, by auguries and the sacrifice of victims, foretel future events, and hold the commonalty in complete subjection: and more especially, when they deliberate on matters of moment, they practise a strange and incredible rite; for, having devoted a man for sacrifice, they strike him with a sword on a part above the diaphragm: the victim having fallen, they augur from his mode of falling, the contortion of his limbs, and the flowing of the blood, what may come to pass, giving credence concerning such things to an ancient and long-standing observance. They have a custom of performing no sacrifice unattended by a philosopher, For they say that thanksgiving should be offered to the gods by men acquainted with the divine nature and using the same language, and by these they deem it necessary to ask for good .things; and not only in the concerns of peace, but even of war, not friends alone, but even enemies also, chiefly defer to them and to the composers of verses. Frequently, during hostilities, when armies are approaching each other with swords drawn and lances extended, these men rushing between them put an end to their contention, taming them as they would tame wild beasts. “[25]

This description is somewhat similar to that which Strabo gives, as the reader will easily perceive. Both authors agree as to the number of the different orders--the esteem in which they were held--their custom of predicting events by means of the sacrifice--and the influence of the Bards in restraining armies from fighting.

1. The names of the orders. Whilst Strabo gives the same names as those used by the Cymry, that is, Bards, Ovates, and Druids, Diodorus calls them Bards, Soothsayers, and Druids, making a soothsayer and an ovate to be of the same import, and both are of opinion that this functionary had to do with the act of sacrificing. They, likewise, agree as to the office of the Bard, that he was a singer and a poet, and in respect of the devotion which was paid by the Druid to philosophy, and the necessity of his presence at the sacrifices.

2. Vaticinations. Strabo mentions only one thing from which they augured future events, namely, “the palpitation” of the victim; Diodorus adds two other particulars, namely, “his mode of falling” and “the flowing of the blood.” There is no allusion to these matters in the Bardic traditions.

3. The mediation of the Druids. According to the declaration of Diodorus, the common people regarded the Druids as mediators between themselves and the gods, and grounded their competency and fitness for that purpose upon the fact that they were acquainted with the divine nature, and used the same language. We have already seen that the Druids of Britain, as well as those of Gaul, studied and taught much respecting the nature and attributes of God. Using “the same language” seems to imply that the language of divine worship was unchangeable, whatever might be that of the people. And since the acts of the Gorsedd in Britain were to be performed at all times in Cymraeg, we may reasonably infer that it was in the old Celtic tongue Druidism was administered on the Continent--there was not much difference between the Cymraeg and the native language of Gaul.

Cicero, (Slain) B.C. 43

“This method of divination has not been neglected even amongst barbarous nations. For there are Druids in Gaul, with one of whom I was acquainted, namely, Divitiacus Æduus, who enjoyed the hospitality of your house, and spoke of you with admiration. This man not only professed an intimate knowledge of the system of nature, which the Greeks call physiology, but also foretold future events, partly by augury, and partly by conjecture.”[26]

Cicero does not speak here from vague report; but declares the profession of a man who was personally known to him, who had been his guest, and with whom he had familiarly conversed. And all that he says of him coincides almost exactly with the statements of Cæsar, Strabo, and Diodorus Siculus. The only new fact that we are made acquainted with is, that the Druids sometimes foretold future events “by conjecture;” but perhaps we should not take the word to mean simply a guess, but as synonymous with inference--to signify that they had some foundation for all their vaticinations.

Pliny, (Born) A.D. 23

This philosophic but credulous author speaks of the Druidism of Gaul, in his “Natural Philosophy,” as follows:

“The Druids (so they call their wise men) hold nothing in greater reverence than the misletoe, and the tree on which it grows, so that it be an oak. They choose forests of oaks, for the sake of the tree itself, and perform no sacred rites without oak leaves; so that one might fancy they had even been called for this reason, turning the word into Greek, Druids. But whatever grows upon these trees, they hold to have been sent from heaven, and to be a sign that the Deity Himself has chosen the tree for his own. The thing, however, is very rarely found, and when found is gathered with much ceremony; and above all, on the sixth day of the moon, by which these men reckon the beginnings of their months and years, and of their cycle of thirty years, because the moon has then sufficient power, yet has not reached half its size. Addressing it in their own language by the epithet of all healing, after duly preparing sacrifices and banquets under the tree, they bring to the spot two white bulls, the horns of which are then for the first time garlanded. The priest clothed in a white dress ascends the tree, and cuts the misletoe with a golden knife; it is caught in a white cloak. Thereupon they slay the victims, with a prayer that the Deity may prosper His own gift to them, to whom He has given it. They fancy that, by drinking it, fertility is given to any barren animal, and that it is a remedy against all poisons.”[27]

“Like to this Sabine herb is that called selago. It is gathered, without using a knife, with the right hand wrapped in a tunic, the left being uncovered, as though the man were stealing it; the gatherer being clothed in a white dress, and with bare feet washed clean, after performing sacrifice before gathering it, with bread and wine. It is to be carried in a new napkin. According to the tradition of the Gaulish Druids, it is to be kept as a remedy against all evil, and the smoke of it is good for all diseases of the eyes. The same Druids have given the name of samolus to a plant that grows in wet places; and this they say must be gathered with the left hand by one who is fasting, as a remedy for diseases of swine and cattle, and that he, who gathers it, must keep his head turned away, and must not lay it down anywhere except in a channel through which water runs, and there must bruize it for them who are to drink it.”[28]

“There is another kind of egg in high repute in Gaul, although the Greeks make no account of it. A great number of snakes in summer time are artificially twisted and rolled together into a mass by the saliva of their jaws and the foam of their bodies. It is called snake’s egg. The Druids tell you that it is thrown into the air with hisses, and must be caught in a cloak that it may not touch the ground; that he that catches it must fly on horse-back, for that the snakes pursue him until hindered by the intervention of some river; that the test of it is, if it flows against the stream, even when tied with gold. And, according to the common craft of wizards, shrewd to conceal their cheating, they pronounce that it must be taken up at a particular time of the moon; as though it rested with man’s choice, whether that proceeding on the part of the snake should take place or not.”[29]

Pliny says that he has seen one of these eggs, and that the Druids used them as a distinguishing badge.

In the above description there are several new things, that present themselves to our notice, in connection with the Druidism of Gaul.

1. One God. It is remarkable that Pliny speaks of the Gauls as professing one God; for though he had occasion to refer twice to the Deity, he uses the singular number each time. In this matter he differs from Cæsar, and we may be allowed to believe that though much ignorance and error had crept upon the Continent, in later times, relative to the Divine Being, the unity of His nature was to some extent acknowledged. But Pliny, after all, may be only referring to one god in particular, out of many, that is, the one that was interested in the circumstance to which he refers, and therefore names him in the singular number.

2. The oak groves. Though Pliny is undoubtedly mistaken as to the etymology of the name Druid, yet we have the testimony of the Cymric traditions that our remote progenitors did sometimes choose to worship under the oak. This usage they seem to have derived from Seth, who “first made a retreat for worship in the woods of the vale of Hebron, having first searched and investigated the trees, until he found a large oak, being the king of trees, branching, wide-spreading, thick-topped, and shady, under which he formed a choir and a place of worship.”[30]

3. The misletoe. All admit that this plant was in great repute among the Ancient Cymry. From remote times it has been used by the Bards to decorate their tribunals on Alban Arthan, and even to this day traces of that custom may be found in the country during the Christmas festivities.

Three persons, Tydai, the Bard of Huon, Rhuvawn the Bard, and Melgin, the son of Einigan the Giant, are recorded in a Triad as having worn around their heads a garland of misletoe, “darllys awelvar.”

One of the names by which the Cymry called this plant was Holliach, which answers completely to the “omnia sanantem” of Pliny.

We know nothing of the rites which attended its gathering in Britain; and therefore we are not in a position to say in what consisted the resemblance or difference, as the case may be, between them and the ceremonies mentioned above.

4. The white garment of the Druids. Of the same description, as we have seen, was the official dress of the British Druids.

5. The offering of bread and wine. This seems to have come down from Patriarchal times--from Melchizedec, who “brought forth bread and wine,” type of the Blessed Eucharist, that “pure offering” which was to take place under the Gospel; and though nothing is positively said of such a rite as existing in the Bardism of the Cymry, it is likely enough that it was practised. The reader is referred to the description given in these pages of the sacrifices of the Bards.

6. Adder’s stones or beads--glain nadroedd. The three orders used to wear these beads, of a colour uniform with that of their respective robes; and they generally regarded them as possessed of rare virtues. It is questioned whether they are the production of nature or art. Be that as it may, they are always found in great numbers; and there are people who search for them, and from whom they may be had, but they maintain that they are only to be met with at one season of the year, and that they are blown by a knot of snakes. “Ai chwythu y glain y maent?” “Are they blowing beads?” is a proverbial inquiry applied to persons who lay their heads together in conversation--an expression involving an opinion similar to that of Pliny.

But our author is not altogether silent respecting the Druidism of Britain, for he says:--

“Britain even now celebrates it [Magism] wonderfully, with so many ceremonies, that it may seem to have imparted it to the Persians.”

There is here, however, no mention of any doctrine or usage in particular--Pliny merely intimates that there were many ceremonies in connection with the Druidic worship, which view is not inconsistent with the traditions of the Bards. The Persian, as well as the Gaulish system, might have been received from Britain, both of them, however, being greatly degenerated. Or it may be, that the resemblance, which Pliny perceived between the Druidism of Britain and the Magism of Persia had grown from the same root--the patriarchal religion.

Pomponius Mela, A.D. 45

His description is as follows:--

“They [the Gauls] have an eloquence of their own, and their Druids as masters of wisdom. These profess to know the magnitude and form of the earth and the world, the motions of the heaven and the stars, and the will of the gods. They teach the most noble of the nation many things privately, and for a long time, even for twenty years, in a cave, or in inaccessible woods. One of their precepts has become public, namely, that they should act bravely in war, that souls are immortal, and that there is another life after death. Therefore along with the dead, they burn and bury things which belonged to them while living. Their debtor and creditor accounts were transferred below. Some even went so far as to ascend the funeral pyres of their friends of their own accord, as though about to live with them.”[31]

Mela agrees with Cæsar as to the knowledge which the Druids were said to possess concerning the universe, and as to their being in the habit of training their disciples for the long space of twenty years. live may conclude from the only specimen of their precepts, which he succeeded in obtaining, that they were inculcated in the Triadic form:--

“To act bravely in war;
That souls are immortal;
And that there is another life after death.”

1. Interment. The remains discovered in ancient sepulchres sufficiently prove that the Cymry in former times buried with their princes and great men those things to which in their life-time they had been particularly attached, such as their steeds and arms.

2. The debt of the deceased. Undoubtedly this is a remnant of the ancient doctrine of the metempsychosis, according to which the man, after his fall in Abred through death, was regarded as suffering punishment, or paying the debt which he had contracted in his life-time.

3. Voluntary death. It is, likewise, very probable that there is some connection between the custom, which some of the people in Gaul adopted, of throwing themselves on the funeral pyres of their relatives, and the doctrine of eneidvaddeu, already spoken of.

Diogenes Laertius, (Died) A.D. 222

This author has preserved one of the Triads of the Druids, which is as follows:--

“To worship the gods;
To do no evil;
And to exercise fortitude.”

Now, it is remarkable that we have one Triad in the series called “Trioedd Doethineb,” which very much resembles the above, so much so as to impress us with the belief that it was the original model after which the Greek Triad was compiled. It runs thus,

“The three first principles of wisdom--
Obedience to the laws of God;
Concern for the good of mankind;
And bravery in sustaining all the accidents of life.”

Diogenes says, moreover, that the Druids among the Britons were the same as the Philosophers among the Greeks, the Magi among the Persians, the Gymnosophistæ among the Indians, and the Chaldæans among the Assyrians; and so undoubtedly they were in respect of the origin and substance of their religion.

C. Suetonius Tranquillus

Suetonius flourished in the beginning of the second century. He describes “the Druidic religion among the Gauls as one of terrible cruelty.”[32]  We presume that he here refers to their practice of sacrificing men, which, as we have already noticed, seems to have sprung from the Bardic doctrine of eneidvaddeu.

Ammianus Marcellinus, A.D. 380

Ammianus Marcellinus says that “the Bards record the exploits of heroes, in poems, which they sing to the soft sound of the lyre,”[33]  which is quite in accordance with the practice of the Cymric Bards. He also observes that the Druids were similar to the Pythagoreans, as indeed they were with reference to the doctrine of the metempsychosis.

C. Cornelius Tacitus

We have left this author to the last, because he speaks of the Druids of our own country. Tacitus lived in the time of Nero and his successors until Hadrian. Though deemed in general a skilful and correct historian, yet we have evidence enough to prove that he could occasionally run counter of the truth; consequently we ought to be cautious how we receive his statements. He utters a glaring falsehood when he treats of the history of the Jews; declaring that they fled from the island of Creta into Egypt, and received the name Iudæi from mount Ida in that island--that Moses obtained water in the wilderness by following a herd of wild asses, and that the Jews religiously preserved in their houses the image or picture of a wild ass, in grateful memory of the event. Tacitus had no excuse whatever for falling into these errors. There were a great many Jews in Rome, and the Scriptures had been translated into the Greek language long before his era; besides, St. Paul himself actually visited the city, and preached the Gospel there in his time. If then, Tacitus, erred so egregiously, in the face of so many opportunities of learning the real truth concerning a renowned nation like the Jews, why might he not have fallen into similar mistakes with regard to the Cymry, though he received his account from his father-in-law, Agricola, who was governor of Britain?

But what says Tacitus of the Druidism of Britain? In speaking of the invasion of the isle of Mona, or Anglesey, by Suetonius Paulinus, he says:--

“There stood apart on the strand an army, thick with men and arms, and women ran to and fro after the manner of Furies, clad in funereal dresses, with dishevelled hair, and carrying torches before them. The Druids, also, pouring out terrible prayers around them, with hands raised towards heaven, struck the soldiers with awe by the novelty of the sight; so that, as if their members clung to the spot, they offered their unmoved bodies to the wounds. Afterwards, by the exhortations of their leaders, and by their own mutual encouragements, not to be afraid of a womanish and fanatical troop, they lead on the standards, overthrow their opponents, and involve them in their own fires.

“A guard was afterwards placed over the conquered, and their groves were cut down, which had been consecrated to their cruel superstitions; for they considered it lawful to offer the blood of captives on their altars, and to consult the gods by means of the nerves of men,”[34]

The historian has unquestionably coloured the above sketch as black as possible; but, even if we grant that it is tolerably correct, there is nothing in it, after all, which is inconsistent with the ancient Bardism of the Cymry. Patriotism was a great virtue with them--and aggressive war was looked upon as a dire crime--a crime that exposed its perpetrators to the punishment of death. What wonder, then, is it, if the Cymry sentenced to death the Roman soldiers, who chanced to fall into their hands? But, it may be objected, they were slain by the Druids, as sacrifices to their gods. There is no doubt that the Druids did superintend their execution, and that this in a certain sense partook of the nature of a sacrifice. Their death was a punishment for the offence, which they had committed, but at the same time it was regarded as a sort of atonement, which made up for the degradation they would have been subject to in Abred, if they had died a natural death. If Tacitus had known something of the doctrine of eneidvaddeu, he would have considered the act of the Druids on this occasion as a just and merciful one; just, in that it punished the transgressor, merciful, in that it placed him in a better state; for, according to their creed, his soul would pass immediately into another human body, totally cleansed from the guilt of the crime for which he had died. So easy is it to misunderstand the nature and object of men’s actions, when viewed from a point which is external to their own religious sentiments!

Druids and Bards

We have entered upon this subject at some length, because the supposed antagonism between Classical Druidism and British Bardism, is one of the principal grounds on which our literary sceptics found their denial of the genuineness of our traditions, and hence it becomes our strict duty to examine how far their position in this respect is really tenable. It is to be hoped that our comparative analysis will convince every unprejudiced person that, whilst the apparent discrepancy, which existed between the two systems, precludes the idea of one being considered as a mere copy of the other, taken in recent times, there is sufficient identity of principle observable in them both, subject to the qualifying character of the Gaulish tradition, to suggest a common origin. On this account, then, the tenets and usages of Bardism, as given in our pages, may well be considered as the genuine remains of Druidic lore; that is, if we have further reason for believing that they were effectually preserved and handed down through the different ages, which followed the introduction and establishment of Christianity.

The machinery principally adopted by the Bards for this purpose was, “the voice of Gorsedd,” which is amply explained and described in these volumes. Under favourable circumstances, indeed, it might be considered as highly efficient; but such circumstances, we all know, did not at all times exist. Under the Roman domination, we may be assured, that the ancient institute of the country, opposed as it was, both in spirit and practice, to all foreign usurpation, would not be allowed to give public expression to its views. The Bards could not meet in Gorsedd without incurring great personal danger. Consequently, they would have recourse to “cyvail,” which was the second “assembly of the Bards,” and created especially to meet the requirements of the case; that is, a cyvail was a group of three persons, who met “where and when they could, for fear of the assault of depredation and lawlessness.” By this means the old traditions might be preserved, though they would not be known out of the circle of the fraternity. That there were Bards and Bardism during this period, is undoubted. All the Bardic privileges and immunities were recognized by law until the reign of Lucius, A.D. 173-189. Gorwg, son of Eirchion, two generations later, is described not only as “a very wise and religious king,” but also as “ a good Bard.”[35]  And it is supposed that Bardism formed the principal ingredient in the Pelagian heresy, which spread so rapidly and extensively among the people, towards the end of the fourth century.

About A.D. 383, when the Roman power was fast declining in the island, Macsen Wledig, (Maximus,) with the view of resuscitating the ancient system, submitted it to the verdict of country and nation, as in the time of Prydain, “lest the primitive Bardism should be lost and forgotten; when it was found in its integrity, and in accordance with the primary privileges and usages. And thus it was submitted to the judgment and verdict of country and nation, and the ancient privileges and usages, the ancient meaning and learning, and the ancient sciences and memorials were confirmed, lest they should fail, become lost and forgotten; and this was done without contradiction or opposition.”[36]

In the reign of Gwrtheyrn Gwrthenau, however, about a century later, Bardism was greatly corrupted, owing to “the divulging of the Name of God, introducing falsehood into vocal song, and distorting the sciences of Bardism.” To remedy this state of things, king Arthur, in the sixth century, established the system of the Round Table, which was “an arrangement of the arts, sciences, usages, and privileges of the Bards and men of vocal song; and improved, and committed to memory, where there was occasion, every thing commendable in what was old, and authorized every thing new that was adjudged to be an augmentation and an amplification of desirable sciences, with a view to the wisdom and requirement of country and nation.” The two Merddins, Taliesin, St. Mabon, and others, presided at this Chair.

Upon the death of Arthur, the Chair of the Round Table was removed to the court of Urien Rheged, at Aberllychwr, where it went sometimes by the name of Taliesin’s Chair, and sometimes by that of the Chair of Baptism. “Under the privilege of the institute of the Round Table, Gildas the prophet, and Cattwg the Wise from Llancarvan, were Bards, and also Llywarch the Aged, son of Elidyr Lydanwyn, Ystudvach the Bard, and Ystyffan the Bard of Teilo.”[37]

It remained at Aberllychwr about two hundred years; after that, it was transferred to Caerwynt,[38]  where it continued for more than a hundred years. It was then removed to Maes Mawr, by Einion, the son of Collwyn; and afterwards by Iestyn, the son of Gwrgant, to the court of Caerleon-upon-Usk, which was held at Cardiff Castle. Here it was shortly disturbed, owing to the war that broke out between Iestyn and Rhys, the son of Tewdwr; nor was it again restored until the time of Robert, earl of Gloucester, grandson of the latter, “who endowed this Chair with privilege and maintenance in Maes Mawr in Morganwg, and gave the name of Tir Iarll, or the earl’s land, to the portion which he conferred upon the Bards for their maintenance, whilst he gave the other portion for the maintenance of the Monks.......The Chair of Tir Iarll was enjoined to investigate the ancient sciences of Bardism; and after the search, recovery, and confirmation, the primitive Chair, Gorsedd, sciences, privileges, and usages of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, were restored thoroughly and altogether.”[39]

Geraint, the Blue Bard, had, in the beginning of the tenth century, established a Chair at Llandaff, different to the one of the Round Table. It afterwards went by the name of the Chair of Morganwg, and enbosomed that of Tir Iarll, itself being enbosomed by (ynghesail) the Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain.

This Chair, whether we call it the Chair of Tir Iarll, or the Chair of Morganwg, was well protected as long as the lords of Glamorgan retained sovereign authority over that territory; and the rights and immunities of the Bards were renewed from time to time, but always on condition that they should investigate and preserve the sciences of Bardism.

Llywelyn, the son of Gruffydd, was slain Dec. 11, 1282, and with him fell the ancient independence of Cymru, which henceforth became subject to the kings of England. In consequence of the opposition, which the Bards offered to the claims of Edward, they were rigorously persecuted by that monarch, and of course were prevented from meeting publicly in Gorsedd. Neither did they any longer enjoy the trwydded or maintenance, which had been conferred upon them by their own native princes. Nevertheless, they kept up the old system, and from A.D. 1300, at least, down to Iolo Morganwg’s time, they managed to hold a Gorsedd occasionally for Morganwg, as the following “Bardic Succession,” or list of the Bards of the Chair of Glamorgan, and the order in which they were the Awenyddion, or disciples, taken from a manuscript of the late Mr. John Bradford,[40]  will shew. The dates denote the times when they presided.


His Awenyddion.

Gwilym ab Ieuan Hen,
Ieuan Tew Hen,
Hywel Swrdwal.



Hywel Swrdwal,
Ieuan ab Hywel Swrdwal,
Ieuan Gethin ab I. ab Lleision,
Hywel ab Davydd ab I. ab Rhys.



Gwilym Tew, or G. Hendon.



Huw Cae Llwyd,
Hywel ab Day. ab I. ab Rhys,
Harri o’r Gareg Lwyd,
Iorwerth Vynglwyd.



Iorwerth Vynglwyd,
Ieuan Deulwyn,
Sir Einion ab Owain.



Iorwwerth Vynglwyd,
Lewys Morganwg,
Harri Hir.



Lewys Morganwg,
Ieuan Du’r Bilwg.



Meiryg Davydd,
Davydd Benwyn,
Llywelyn Sion o Langewydd,
Thomas Llywelyn o Regoes.

MEIRYG DAVYDD (died in 1600) 1560


Watcin Pywel.



Llywelyn Sion,
Sion Mawddwy,
Davydd Llwyd Mathew.

LLYWELYN SION (died in 1616) 1580


Watcin Pywel,
Ieuan Thomas,
Meilir Mathew,
Davydd ab Davydd Mathew,
Davydd Edward o Vargam,
Edward Davydd o Vargam.



Davydd Edward,
Edward Davydd,
Davydd ab Davydd Mathew.

EDWARD DAVYDD (died in 1690) 1660


Hywel Lewys,
Charles Bwttwn, Esq.
Thomas Roberts, Offeiriad,
S. Jones o Vryn Llywarch, Offeiriad,
Evan Sion Meredydd,
Davydd o’r Nant.



Hopcin y Gweydd,
Thomas Roberts, Offeiriad,
Davydd Hopcin o’r Coetty.



Rhys Prys, Ty’n y Ton,
William Hain,
Sion Bradford, yn blentyn.

DAVYDD HOPCIN, o’r Coetty 1730


Davydd Thomas,
Rhys Morgan, Pencraig Nedd,
Davydd Nicolas,
Sion Bradford.

SION BRADFORD (died in 1780) 1760


Lewys Hopcin,
William Hopcin,
Edward Evan,
Edward Williams.

However, as their meetings were not always regular, and as the number of members was continually dwindling, there was danger that the traditions of the institution would suffer loss in consequence. Hence such of the Bards as were anxious for their preservation, began, more than before, to make collections of them in Books. We say more than before, because some few, like Geraint the Blue Bard, had previously committed to writing many things concerning the Bards and their system. With a view to consolidate those collections, several Gorsedds were held from the beginning of the fifteenth century, under the sanction of Sir Richard Neville and others. One was held for that purpose in 1570, under the auspices of William Herbert, earl of Pembroke, the great patron of Welsh literature, and the founder of the celebrated Library of Welsh MSS. at Rhaglan Castle, which was afterwards destroyed by Oliver Cromwell. What was done at those meetings received considerable improvement at one held by Sir Edward Lewis of the Van, about 1580, from the arrangement of the venerable Llywelyn Sion of Llangewydd; and lastly, a complete revisal of the former collections was made by Edward Davydd of Margam, which received the sanction of a Gorsedd, held at Bewpyr, in the year 1681, under the authority of Sir Richard Basset; when that collection was pronounced to be in every respect the fullest illustration of Bardism.[41]

Part of the said collection, namely, “Cyfrinach Beirdd Ynys Prydain,” which is a most excellent treatise on the Ancient Versification of the Cymry, was published in the original by Iolo Morganwg, A.D. 1829. What is now offered to the public, it is but reasonable to infer, constitutes the remainder, or, at any rate, a great portion of the remainder, for many of the documents profess to have been taken out of the Books of Trahaiarn Brydydd Mawr, Hywel Swrdwal, Ieuan ab Hywel Swrdwal, Llawdden, Gwilym Tew, Rhys Brydydd, Rhys Brychan, Lewys Morganwg, Davydd Benwyn, Davydd Liwyd Mathew, Sion Philip, Antoni Pywel, and principally Llywelyn Sion, Bards who flourished from the 14th to the 17th century. Llywelyn Sion tells us that he made his collection out of the Books of Taliesin, Ionas Mynyw, Edeyrn Davod Aur, Cwtta Cyvarwydd, Einion Offeiriad, Davydd Ddu Hiraddug, Sion Cent, Rhys Goch, and others in the Library of Rhaglan, by permission of the lord William Herbert.

There is no doubt that these Bards viewed the traditions of the Gorsedd as the genuine remains of Ancient Druidism; and there is every reason to believe that in their main features they were so. The variations observable in minor points would indicate in what direction, and to what extent, they suffered in their passage from the Christian era downwards.

But a question offers itself,--Did the Christian Bards receive and believe these traditions as articles of faith; or did they preserve them merely as curious relics, or specimens of the primitive theology and wisdom of the Cymry? We think that to act on the former theory was impossible, in the face of two facts. First, they were members of the Chair of Baptism, in which “no one had the privilege of a teacher, who was not baptized and devoted to the faith in Christ.” For, be it observed, it was this Chair alone that enjoined its members to preserve the ancient traditions; and it was for that reason that we omitted all mention of other Chairs, such as those of Powys and Gwynedd. Secondly, several individuals of distinguished orthodoxy, piety, and position in the Church, were admitted members of Bardism from time to time. It is said that Arthur, when he was about to institute the Chair of the Round Table, summoned to his aid three prelates, two of whom are mentioned by name, that is, Dyvrig, archbishop of Llandaff, afterwards of Caerleon-upon-Usk, and Cyndeyrn, bishop of Llanelwy, “lest he and his knights should do any thing contrary to the Holy Scripture and the faith in Christ........And Arthur enjoined St. Teilo to baptize the three Bards,” Taliesin, Merddin Emrys, and Merddin Wyllt, who arranged its discipline and usages on the occasion. St. Teilo, Cattwg the Wise, and St. Pryderi, were members of the Bardic College, being “the three blessed Bards of Arthur’s court.” St. David, the patron saint of Wales, Padarn, the bishop of Llanbadarn, Deiniol Wyn, the first bishop of Bangor, and Gildas, were also Bards. So also were Geraint, the Blue Bard, supposed by some to be the same person as Asser Menevensis, about 900, Einion the Aged, domestic chaplain to Sir Rhys the Aged, of Abermarlais, 1300-1350, Sion Cent, priest, 1380-1420, Meurig Davydd, 1560, Thomas Roberts, priest, 1680, S. Jones, Bryn Llywarch, priest, 1680, and Bishop Burgess, who was graduated Druid by Iolo Morganwg.

We cannot conceive that these men, some of whom were ornaments to the Christian religion, should yet believe in tenets that were inconsistent with that religion. We may mention St. David in particular, as one who took a very active part in suppressing the Pelagian heresy, which in many respects exhibited the lineaments of Druidism. Padarn subscribed the decrees of the Council of Paris, which was held in the year 557, and is commended both as an abbot and a bishop in the writings of Venantius Fortunatus, a Latin poet of Gaul, who was his contemporary; sure proofs that he also was sound in the faith. These considerations force us to conclude that the Bards in Christian times preserved and handed down the traditions of their institutes, merely as curious speculations, illustrative of the religion and philosophy of the primitive inhabitants of the island.

It may be remarked in addition that some of the Bardic Chairs were occasionally held in churches and religious houses. The Chair of Tir Iarll was at one time held alternately in the Church of Bettws and the Church of Llangynwyd. The Chair of Morganwg was held at Easter in one of the chapter houses of Llandaff, Margam, Glyn Nedd, or in the Church of Llanilltyd; at Whitsuntide, among other places, in the Church of Pentyrch; on St. John the Baptist’s day in the Church of Llancarvan, and in the Monastery of Penrhys. Surely, the ecclesiastical authorities would never have allowed the inculcation of heresy to desecrate places that were pre-eminently dedicated to the service of the Christian religion. Bardism, then, was not regarded as constituting the faith of all who professed to know it.

We doubt riot, however, that individuals would be found now and then to cherish the traditions of the Bards as saving truths, just as in our own days there are persons, who entertain strange and erroneous doctrines, and yet have no mind to abandon their Christian profession.

Llyr Myrini endeavoured to reconcile Bardism with Christianity, and to mould them into one system, but his efforts resulted in Pelagianism; and there are traces in our volumes of other developments of a similar nature in respect of the Incarnation, which, however, took a Sabellian direction.

It is not meant that the principles of Bardism were incompatible with the Christian religion; but that heresies, having arisen from the attempt to harmonize them, prove the attempt to have been made by individuals without the aid or sanction of the great body of Bards, who were, we may presume, good and honest Christians. In our opinion, the following Triad seems to express the judgment of Gorsedd on the comparative merits of the Bardic and Gospel dispensations:--

“There are three special doctrines that have been obtained by the nation of the Cymry: the first, from the age of ages, was that of the Gwyddoniaid, prior to the time of Prydain, son of Aedd the Great; the second was Bardism, as taught by the Bards, after they had been instituted; the third was the Faith in Christ, being THE BEST OF THE THREE.”

The Bards believed that all things were tending to perfection; when, therefore, they embraced Christianity, they must on their own principles have viewed it as a stage in advance of their former creed. The more advanced in religious knowledge would, doubt-less, recognize it in its true character, as the fulfilment of Druidism, that is, as far as the latter was identical with the patriarchal religion of Noah--as “the mystery which hath been hid from ages, and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints; to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles.”

The Gospel of Christ is “the truth”--the realization of types and shadows; it is the “Truth against the world,” which Bardism was continually searching for. We, therefore, not only in virtue of our clerical office, but also as a Bard according to the privilege and usage of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, under the privilege of the Chair of Morganwg, embosoming the Chair of Baptism, beg to enter our most energetic protest (gwrthneu) against all attempts to impose upon any one as articles of belief the tenets of Bardism, where they are inconsistent with Christianity, as found in the Sacred Scriptures, and defined in the creeds of “the Holy Church throughout the world.”


Alban Eilir, 1862.

Llywelyn Sion

INASMUCH as Llywelyn Sion of Llangewydd was the person, by whom principally the present Collection of Bardism was made, the following brief Memoir of him may not be out of place here, or unacceptable to our readers.

He was born in the early part of the 16th century, and became at the usual age one of the disciples of Thomas Llywelyn of Rhegoes, and of Meurig Davydd of Llanisan, both eminent Bards of the Glamorgan Chair--the latter having presided in it A.D. 1560. His numerous compositions show him to be a poet of vigorous and lofty thoughts, which he, moreover, clothed in pure, correct, and elegant language. According to Taliesin Williams, who professes to derive his information from ancient manuscripts, he was also an antiquary of great research and ability.

Sion Bradford describes him as a man well to do in the world, accumulating wealth by the sale of transcripts of manuscripts, both poetic and prosaic, by which means also he obtained great respect among all classes of people. From the Cywyddau, that passed between him and Sion Mowddwy, it would appear that he held a subordinate office--that of crier--in the law court of Glamorgan. This position brought him into contact with many of the gentry and men of influence in the country, who invited him to their houses, and, by allowing him access to their libraries, afforded him facilities of gratifying the literary bent of his mind. He was in particular acquainted with Sir Edward Mansell, who, about 1591, wrote an excellent “account of the conquest of Glamorgan.” Sir Edward speaks of him under the name of “Lewelyn John,” as a painstaking and respectable writer. It would appear that Sir Edward himself was a diligent collector of old Welsh MSS. According to Sion Bradford, he was also in much esteem at Rhaglan Castle; he says that it was from thence that he copied most of his writings, Sir William Herbert having made there a collection of the most valuable Welsh MSS., which were afterwards ruthlessly destroyed by fire in the time of Oliver Cromwell. Indeed, Llywelyn Sion himself, at p. 224 of the 1st volume of this work, confesses as much, and expresses his unbounded obligation to “the lord William Herbert, earl of Pembroke,” for giving him permission to make extracts from ancient and rare Books in the Castle of Rhaglan.

He presided in the Chair of Glamorgan A.D. 1580, and it was then that his arrangement received the sanction of Gorsedd. His “Cyfrinach Beirdd Ynys Prydain,” which formed a part of his Collection, is beyond question an excellent and invaluable treatise on Welsh versification, and one which ought to be widely known beyond the limits of the Principality. Indeed, a New Edition, with a translation, of this work, would form a very appropriate sequel to BARDISM.

Sion Bradford says that he was an excellent teacher to many of the poets of his time, as well as to other Welsh literati. It would seem from some Englynion, which he composed, that, when far advanced in years, he gave his Books to his young disciple Edward Davydd of Margam. At the end of one of his collections, entitled “Llyfr Hir Llanharan,” is written, “Fy llaw i, Llywelyn Sion, o Langewydd, hyd ymma, Tach. y 27. 1613;” after which follows the handwriting of Edward Davydd.

According to Watkin Powell, he composed a Book, which he designated, “Atgofion Gwybodau yr Hen Gymry,” being a treatise on the poetry, genealogy, memorials, medicine, agriculture, law, handicraft, and chemistry of the Ancient Cymry. This he sent to London to be printed, but meanwhile the author died, and the Book was lost. According to one authority, his death took place in 1615, but two other documents place it respectively in 1616 and 1617, when he had attained the venerable age of about 100.


The Origin Of Letters, Roll, And Paper.--The Virtue Of Letters

MAY it please your information, my beloved teacher; pray, tell me who was the first that made a Letter?

Einiged the Giant, son of Huon, son of Alser,[42]  son of Javan,[43]  son of Japheth, son of Noah the Aged, after the death of his father, for the purpose of preserving a memorial of what he did, and of his praiseworthy actions, warranted in respect of credibility and information. And because it was on wood (pren) that such belief was first placed, both the letters, and what they were inscribed on, were called Coelbren.

Who was the first that made a Roll in connection with letters?

Bran the Blessed,[44]  son of Llyr of Defective Speech, learned that mode at Rome, and brought it with him to Britain, where he taught it to the Cymry, as well as the manner of dressing the skins of kids and goats, so as to be suitable for written letters. And that mode became customary, so that the Bards alone practised, as it were by bare rescue, the old style of inscribing letters on wood, for the purpose of preserving the memorials of the old and primitive sciences of the nation of the Cymry; thence it came to be called Coelbren of the Bards. At present there are only the Bards that keep it in memory, by engraving their songs and records on wood, according to the ancient art, with the view of preserving in reliable memory the primitive sciences of the nation of the Cymry.

Who was the first that made paper?

A man from Constantinople, named Moran; he ground flax, which on its being thinly spread out, became paper.

What is the virtue of letters?

They are mute organs that speak--a body without a soul, and without life, guiding thought--dead ones, knowing more than the living--a hand speaking better than the tongue--an eye hearing better than the ear, without either noise or sound--speech without a tongue--hearing without an ear--language without words--form of voice--a messenger uttering the truth, without knowing it--the dead teaching the living--memory with no one guiding it--the understanding of the dead--the principal skill of the art of the living--the preservation of all arts and sciences--and the demonstration of all that is demonstrable.

The Origin And Progress Of Letters.--The Name Of God.--The Bardic Secret

Pray, my skilful and discreet teacher, if it be fair to ask, how was the knowledge of letters first obtained?

I will exhibit the information of men of wisdom and pro-found knowledge, thus;--When God pronounced His name, with the word sprang the light and the life; for previously there was no life except God Himself. And the mode in which it was spoken was of God’s direction. His name was pronounced, and with the utterance was the springing of light and vitality, and man, and every other living thing; that is to say, each and all sprang together. And Menw [45] the Aged, son of Menwyd,  beheld the springing of the light, and its form and appearance, not otherwise than thus, (symbol), in three columns; and in the rays of light the vocalization--for one were the hearing and seeing, one unitedly the form and sound; and one unitedly with the form and sound was life, and one unitedly with these three was power, which power was God the Father. And since each of these was one unitedly, he understood that every voice, and hearing, and living, and being, and sight, and seeing, were one unitedly with God; nor is the least thing other than God. And by seeing the form, and in it hearing the voice--not otherwise--he knew what form and appearance voice should have. And having obtained earth under him coinstantaneously with the light, he drew the form of the voice and light on the earth. And it was on hearing the sound of the voice, which had in it the kind and utterance of three notes, that he obtained the three letters, and knew the sign that was suitable to one and other of them. Thus he made in form and sign the Name of God, after the semblance of rays of light, and perceived that they were the figure and form and sign of life; one also with them was life, and in life was God, that is to say, God is one with life, and there is no life but God, and there is no God but life.

It was from the understanding thus obtained in respect of this voice, that he was able to assimilate mutually every other voice as to kind, quality, and reason, and could make a letter suitable to the utterance of every sound and voice. Thus were obtained the Cymraeg, and every other language. And it was from the three primary letters that were constructed every other letter,--which is the principal secret of the Bards of the Isle of Britain; and from this secret comes every knowledge of letters that is possible.

Thus was the voice, that was heard, placed on record in the symbol, and meaning attached to each of the three notes:--the sense of O was given to the first column, the sense of I to the second or middle column, and the sense of V to the third; whence the word OIV. That is to say, it was by means of this word that God declared His existence, life, knowledge, power, eternity, and universality. And in the declaration was His love, that is, coinstantaneously with it sprang like lightening all the universe into life and existence, co-vocally and co jubilantly with the uttered Name of God, in one united song of exultation and joy--then all the worlds to the extremities of Annwn. It was thus, then, that God made the worlds, namely, He declared His Name and existence.

Why is it not right that a man should commit the Name of God to vocalization, and the sound of language and tongue.

Because it cannot be done without misnaming God, for no man ever heard the vocalization of His Name, and no one knows how to pronounce it; but it is represented by letters, that it may be known what is meant, and for Whom it stands. Formerly signs were employed, namely, the three elements of vocal letters. However, to prevent disrespect and dishonour to God, a Bard is forbidden to name Him, except inwardly and in thought.

Pray, my beloved and discreet teacher, show me the signs that stand for the Name of God, and the manner in which they are made.

Thus are they made;--the first of the signs is a small cutting or line inclining with the sun at eventide, thus, (symbol); the second is another cutting, in the form of a perpendicular, upright post, thus, (symbol); and the third is a cutting of the same amount of inclination as the first, but in an opposite direction, that is, against the sun, thus (symbol); and the three placed together, thus, (symbol). But instead of, and as substitutes for these, are placed the three letters O I W. And it was in this manner that the Bard inserted this name in his stanza, thus,

The Eternal, Origin, Self-existent, Distributor,--holy be the lips
That canonically pronounce them;
Another name, in full word,
Is O. I. and W--OIW[46]  the word.--Ieuan Rudd sang it.[47]

This name God gave to Himself, to show that He is in existence, and that there is no one but Himself, except by gift and permission; for truly all of us men, and other living beings, are and exist only by the gift and permission of God. It is considered presumptuous to utter this name in the hearing of any man in the world. Nevertheless, every thing calls Him inwardly by this name--the sea and land, earth and air, and all the visibles and invisibles of the world, whether on the earth or in the sky--all the worlds of all the celestials and terrestrials--every intellectual being and existence--every thing animate and inanimate; wherefore none that honours God, will call Him by this name, except inwardly.

The three mystic letters signify the three attributes of God, namely, love, knowledge, and truth; and it is out of these three that justice springs, and without one of the three there can be no justice. Which one so ever of the three stands up, the other two will incline towards it; and every two of them whatsoever will yield precedency and pre-eminence to the third, whichever of the three it may be. It was according to this order and principle that three degrees were conferred upon the Bards of the Isle of Britain, and each of the three was invested with privilege, precedency, and pre-eminence, in respect of the particularity of necessity, over the other two, whichsoever they might be. Out of the three attributes of God spring every power and will and law.

It was out of the knowledge and understanding of the vocalization of language and speech, by reason of the three principal letters, that sixteen letters were formed, constructed from the primary columns, namely, the three principal letters in the form of rays of light. And it was thus that form and appearance could be imparted to every vocalization of language and speech, and to every primary sound, and symbolic forms of memory be made visible on wood and stone. Accordingly the memory of seeing could thus take place simultaneously with the memory of hearing; and, by means of signs, every sound of voice could be rendered visible to the eye, as far as the ear could hear what the tongue spoke, and what awen from God was capable of. Then when sixteen letters were constructed out of the principal columns, namely these (symbol)--since no letter can be found on the Coelbren, or in the Secret of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, that has not its elements and modifications derived from one or other of the three principal columns--and because these signs were cut on wood, they were called llythyrau.[48]  And when every one of the letters was cut on wood, each of them received a name and meaning in respect of sound and voice, warranted and systematized; that is to say, each had its own peculiar vocalization, confirmed by art. Thus were obtained the signs and rudiments of war-ranted speech, which is called Abic,[49]  but others call it Abcedilros.[50]  Thus was ocular and manual art applied to speech and thought, whence arose ocular memorials and the materials of knowledge. Then wise men and aspirants engaged themselves in improving sciences and language and speech, and in discriminating vocalization and the variety of sound with greater skill and minuteness; and they elaborated them, until they were able to make two more letters, so that the Alphabet consisted of eighteen letters. After that the need of two more was observed, until they became twenty;[51]  then twenty-two; and to complete the work, twenty-four principal letters; nor are there more in the Alphabet of the Coelbren that are simple, that is to say, of primary sound. Nevertheless, there are others that are compound letters, significative of the mutation of voice, and of the accentuation of letters, of which, according to highly skilful teachers, there are sixteen in number, whilst others will have them to be eighteen. Some of them cannot have authority or warrant, at least they cannot have necessity, in virtue of indispensable reason; nevertheless it is not allowable to forbid the improvement of sciences, whilst every awen and art are free, provided they do not injure, obscure, or confound laudable sciences.

It is by means of letters that sciences and history are committed to rational memory. The three foundations of sciences are memory, understanding, and reason, and without the memory little is the utility of memory, understanding, and reason. After the discovery of the knowledge of letters it was that every understanding, and consideration, and every meditation of awen were committed to the memorial of letters; and from long acquaintance therewith room was seen for improving, amplifying, and varying the order and system of language and speech, and the art of letters, that letters might be warranted, which should be suitable to every circumstance of language and speech, and for the purpose of showing visibly every sound and utterance of word, voice, and speech, that they might harmonize with the ratiocination of the art of language and letters, and that speech might agree with speech between man and man, in respect of the sound and meaning of a sentence, the effort of language, and the encounter of the art and sciences of language and letters. Hence easy and warranted became the understanding, and understanding arose from understanding, and all men became of one judgment in respect of the meaning of word and sentence, and in respect of the sense, accent, and signification of letters. And hence fixed confirmation was bestowed upon the sciences of letters, and upon all sciences that were committed to the memory and under the auspices of letters; and it became easy, also, to learn and understand what was thus arranged systematically and with a fixed meaning; and it was easy for all men to be of one judgment, and of one sense in respect of such. That is to say, from the long co-reasoning of wise men and aspirants,[52]  and men of art, improvement and fixedness of meaning and system, are obtained, in respect of all sciences, and in respect of every one of them. After letters had been improved and amplified, as occasion required, in respect of meaning and number, there were exhibited twenty-four primaries--in the opinion of others, the three nines, that is to say, twenty-seven; nor is there any need or occasion for more primaries, for, say they, there cannot be symbols of every sound of word and speech in the Cymraeg under twenty-seven letters--but they formed secondaries and two primary letters.

Pray, my far knowing teacher, why is it said that only a Bard of thorough secrecy knows how the Name of God is to be spoken audibly, that is to say, by means of the three principal columns of letters?

Because only a Bard of secrecy knows properly the old system of letters, and their meaning, accent, and powers, in respect of their stability in the system of the eighteen letters; for when the system of the eighteen was established, new letters were employed for the Name of God, namely O I U, but previously, during the era of the sixteen, no letters stood for the Name of God, other than the three columns of primary letters, that is (symbol), which was called the system of God and light, and only a Bard of thorough secrecy now knows properly either the one or the other of the two old systems, which I have mentioned.

Why is not that secret[53]  committed to letter and audible speech, that it may be known of all?

Because it is misjudged by him who would have credence from another for more than he knows, and it is the wicked man, with the view of pillaging belief from the ignorant, that does so, and that bestows unjust imaginations upon a letter, and its meaning, accent, pronunciation, and sound, rather than the true and just. It is by such men that divine sciences are and have been corrupted, therefore the secret ought not to be divulged to other than to him who, in the judgment and sight of man, is warranted as having awen from God. Nor is there any other who knows the vocalization of the Name of God, without telling a falsehood, and the greatest falsehood is to falsify God and His Name.

Why is it not free from falsehood to commit the Name of God to speech and the hearing of the ear?

Because that cannot be done without its being falsely spoken, by any man or living being and existence possessed of soul and intellect, but by God Himself;--to exhibit and pronounce it in speech otherwise is falsehood, and the devastation and spoliation of God, for there is no being but God and in God, and whoso says otherwise speaks falsehood, which is falsehood against God, and depredatory usurpation over Him. But he who possesses awen from God will perceive the secret, and will know it, and wherever a man may have awen from God, warranted in respect of reason and conduct, it is not unjust to divulge to him the secret, but it is not just to do so to any other, lest the Name of God be spoken erroneously, falsely, and through unjust and vain imagination, and thereby be mocked, disparaged, and dishonoured. There is also another cause, namely, to induce a man to excercise his understanding and reason upon just and firm meditation; for he who does so, will understand the character and meaning of the primitive system of sixteen letters, and the subsequent system of eighteen, and hence will perceive and understand the Name of God, and the just reverence due to Him; for he who does truth will do justice.

When the system of letters was improved in respect of number and pronunciation, (symbol) was employed where there could be no proper vocalization of (symbol), and Ll as producing L, or (symbol) as producing (symbol); and by observing kind and quality, one could well perceive the priority of Ll, that is, (symbol), inasmuch as that letter is the root, and a primary word, which cannot be the case with (symbol), according to the fixedness given to the Cymraeg by wise and clear sighted teachers. And where the Cymraeg stands on the eighteen, the three vocal letters OIV, written variously by some thus (symbol), were fixedly and authoritatively arranged; and, without the violation of secrecy, there cannot be another system arising from the improvement of the three letters, and their accent and meaning.

It was from these three things that they began to exhibit sciences in Triads, that is to say;--

The three principal signs of sciences, namely,--the three rays of light, for from them were obtained appearance and colour and form--the three voices of light, and from them were obtained hearing and speech and vocal song--and the three symbolic letters, and from them were obtained the memory of sight, and the form of voice, visibly, and.. mental understanding in regard to what can have no colour, or form, or voice. And it was from these three that fixedness and authority were obtained for sciences and art.

The First Inventors Of Letters.--Improvers Of The Alphabet.--Invention Of The Roll And Plagawd.--Obligation Of A Bard To Hold A Chair And Gorsedd

Who was the first that made letters?

Einigan the Giant,[54]  or, as he is also called, Einiget the Giant; that is, he took the three rays of light, which were used as a symbol by Menw, son of the Three Shouts, and employed them as the agents and instruments of speech, namely the three instruments B. G. D. and what are embosomed in them, the three being respectively invested with three agencies. Of the divisions and subdivisions he made four signs of place and voice, that the instruments might have room to utter their powers, and to exhibit their agencies. Hence were obtained thirteen letters, which were cut in form on wood and stone.[55]  After that, Einigan the Giant saw reason for other and different organs of voice and speech, and subjected the rays to other combinations, from which were made the signs L. and R. and S., whence there were sixteen signs. After that, wise men were appointed to commit them to memory and knowledge, according to the art which he made; and those men were called Gwyddoniaid, and were men endued with awen from God. They had no privilege and license warranted by the law and protection of country and nation, but only by the courtesy and pleasure of the giver. The Gwyddoniaid are called the principal sages of the nation of the Cymry. When the Cymry came to the Isle of Britain, and seisin of land and soil was appointed for every innate Cymro, and each had his dwelling and position, and when sovereignty was arranged, and was to be conferred upon him who should be found to be the bravest and wisest and most powerful, being an innate Cymro, they resorted to Gorsedd by their heads of kindred, and conferred the sovereignty upon Prydain, son of Aedd the Great, for he was found to be the bravest, most powerful, wisest, and the brightest of wit. And Prydain, son of Aedd the Great, assembled the heads of kindred, sages, and men of knowledge of the nation of the Cymry in a conventional Gorsedd. Then were Bards appointed, namely, of three degrees, that is to say, primitive Bards, to uphold the memorial of national voice and vocal song, and Ovates, to uphold the memorial of symbols, whence they were called herald-bards, and Druids, whose duty it was to impart instruction and sciences to the nation of the Cymry, namely divine sciences, and sciences of wisdom, according to what was known by means of the memorial of the voice of Gorsedd and vocal song, in right of the primitive Bard, and the memorial of symbol and letter by herald-Bards. And when the offices incumbent upon the three degrees were appointed, license and privileges in respect of protection and reward were assigned to them. And raiment was given to each of the three degrees, namely blue to the primitive Bards, green to the Ovate-Bards, and white to the Druid-Bards. Thus every one was to bear his badge and honour by authority, that every Cymro might know his privilege, protection, and reward; and security was given them that none besides should bear those vestment badges.

When was the augmentation of symbols as far as twenty-four brought into knowledge and use?

Rhuvawn the Golden-tongued,[56]  introduced two symbols. namely W and Ff, whereupon eighteen letters were used, and thus they continued until the time of Talhaiarn of Caerleon-upon-Usk, who introduced six letters different to what had been before him, which were Ch. F. C. T. P. Ll., whence they became twenty-four letters. After that, others were invented as ancillaries to the signs which required them, for the sake of confirming the vocalization of word and sign, until those which now exist were arranged, namely, thirty-eight signs, as the signs of wood and stone; and they are in use by the herald-bards of the Isle of Britain under the privilege of the sciences of the nation of the Cymry.

When were the sciences of the writing of Roll and Plagawd[57]  obtained?

By Bran, son of Llyr the Blessed, it is said; but others relate that it was by Gwydion, son of Don [58] the Irishman, of Arvon, who brought them from Ireland. That, however, is not true in reference to the nation of the Cymry, for certain is it that Bran the Blessed first brought them into the Isle of Britain from Rome, where he learned the art, and the mode of manufacturing plagawd with the skins of lambs and calves and kids. It was Gwydion that first introduced them into Ireland, after the Irish of Mona and Arvon had obtained the faith in Christ; hence the knowledge of letters and the writing of Roll and Plagawd.

Why should a Bard, in virtue of his oath, hold a Chair and Gorsedd?

Because there can be no country and nation without good sciences under the protection of God and His peace, and there can be no prepared[59] sciences without teachers, and there can be no teachers without the ordering of privilege and usage, and there ought to be no privilege without actual usage; wherefore nothing can become actual without prudent order, and established practice, and obligatory office on the part of those who are entitled[60]  to privileges and immunities. The three functions of Chair and Gorsedd are to teach sciences from God and goodness, in respect of what is found to be wisdom,--to preserve the memory of the privileges, usages, and praiseworthy actions of the country and nation of the Cymry,--and to uphold order and known dates in respect of the learning of masters.

Origin Of Letters

Einigain, Einigair, or Einiger, the Giant, was the first that made a letter to be a sign of the first vocalization that was ever heard, namely, the Name of God. That is to say, God pronounced His Name, and with the word all the world and its appurtenances, and all the universe leaped together into existence and life, with the triumph of a song of joy.[61]  The same song was the first poem[62]  that was ever heard, and the sound of the song travelled as far as God and His existence are, and the way in which every other existence, springing in unity with Him, has travelled for ever and ever. And it sprang from inopportune nothing; that is to say, so sweetly and melodiously did God declare His Name, that life vibrated through all existence, and through every existing materiality. And the blessed in heaven shall hear it for ever and ever, and where it is heard, there cannot be other than the might of being and life for ever and ever. It was from the hearing, and from him who heard it, that sciences and knowledge and under- standing and awen from God, were obtained. The symbol of God’s Name from the beginning was (symbol), afterwards (symbol), and now OIW; and from the quality of this symbol proceed every form and sign of voice, and sound, and name, and condition.

The Inventor Of Vocal Song.--The First Recorders Of Bardism.--Its First Systematizers.--Their Regulations.--Mode Of Inscribing The Primary Letters.--Origin Of Their Form And Sound.--The Three Menws

Pray, who was the first that made a vocal song in Cymraeg?

Hu the Mighty, [63] the man who first brought the Cymry into the Isle of Britain; and he made the song to be a memorial of what happened to the nation of the Cymry from the age of ages. And he inserted in it the praise of God for what the Cymry had received at His hand, by way of protection and deliverance, also the sciences and regulations of the nation of the Cymry. It was from that song that instruction in vocal song, and the understanding of just memorials, were first obtained. After that came Tydain, father of Awen,[64]  who improved the sciences and art of vocal song, and reduced it to an artistic system, that it might be the more easily learned, understood, and remembered, and be the more pleasantly recited and listened to.

Pray, who were they that first preserved the memory and sciences of Bardism, and gave instruction in wisdom?

The Gwyddoniaid, namely, the sages of the nation of the Cymry; they preserved the memory in vocal song of the sciences and wisdom of Bardism, and gave instruction in them; nevertheless the sciences of the Gwyddoniaid possessed neither privilege nor license, except by courtesy--neither system nor chair.[65]

Who were the first that conferred system and chair on Bards and Bardism, and on Poets and vocal song?

The three primary Bards, namely, Plennydd, Alawn, and Gwron, [66] who lived in the time of Prydain, son of Aedd the Great, and in the time of Dyvnvarth ap Prydain, his son. That is, they devised a Chair and Gorsedd, and regulated teachers and aspirants, and pupilage; and introduced instruction in sciences, and fixed and just memorials in respect of the knowledge of Bardism, and vocal song, with its appurtenances, and in respect of usages, that, of justice, and according to the requirements of wisdom, were suitable to Bards and Poets, as would be most requisite for the benefit and praise of the nation of the Cymry.

Pray, my accomplished teacher, instruct me as to the regulation and system of Chair and Gorsedd, which the three primary Bards introduced in respect of Bards and Poets?

Prydain, son of Aedd the Great, did, of his acute and sagacious sense and meditation, what he saw the best in every act and event for the benefit and praise of the might of the nation of the Cymry. He then called to him the Gwyddoniaid, and requested judgment by ballot as to the three who should be found to be the wisest and best of them in respect of sciences, when Plennydd, Alawn, and Gwron, were found to be the best in respect of sciences, and wisdom, and secrecy, and the art of vocal song. Then they conferred the privilege of country and nation upon those whom they perceived to be the best in respect of the sciences, and art of Bardism and vocal song, and upon the instruction which they gave, and which was regulated by system and art. And these are the order and system which they devised.

Pray, on what were letters first made, and in what manner?

They were first made on trees, that is, wood was hewn into four sided staves, on each of which were cut small notches, and it was by means of as many notches as were necessary, that letters were formed. After that, on a slate stone, that is, letters were engraved on it with a steel pencil, or a flint. When it was done on wood, it was called coelbren, and hence the grooves of the letters were called coelbren; and the lettered stone was called coelvain.[67]  There was a different way in which letters were made on wood, other than by means of notches, namely, with black or any other colour that might be most ready at hand. And this was practised by the Cymry for ages before memory. When this island was won by the men of Rome, they brought over here a plant, called plagawd, that is, a sedge, which was obtained from the land of Asia, and the land of Canaan, and wrote upon it. After that, art was applied to the skins of calves, the skins of goats, and the skins of sheep, and plagawd was made from them, and it is the best of all manufactures for books. Nevertheless, the Bards of the Isle of Britain retain in memory and history the mode of making the ancient books, in order to rescue the Cymraeg from the misunderstanding, to which it would otherwise be liable. Another reason is, that wood and stone can be procured where and when plagawd cannot; wherefore there is no proper Gorsedd or Chair, where the ancient usages and the ancient sciences, according to understanding and art, are not exhibited. On that account there ought to be wood in every Gorsedd and Chair, and besides a Roll of plagawd; that is, there ought to be an exhibition of all the sciences of letters in the Gorsedd and Chair of the Bards of the Isle of Britain; and where there is no wood, then lettered stones.

Pray, how were letters first understood in respect of form and sound?

Thus, God, when there was in life and existence only Himself, proclaimed His Name, and co-instantaneously with the word all living and existing things burst wholly into a shout of joy; and that voice was the most melodious that ever was heard in music. Co-instantaneously with the voice was light, and in the light, form; and the voice[68]  was in three tones, three vocalizations, pronounced together at the same moment. And in the vision were three forms and colours, which were the form of light; and one with the voice, and the colour and form of that voice, were the three first letters. It was from a combination of their vocalizations that every other vocalization was formed in letters. He who heard the voice was Menw the Aged, son of the Three Shouts; but others say that it was Einigan the Giant that first made a letter, the same being the form of the Name of God, when he found himself alive and existing co-momentaneously and co-instantaneously with the voice.

Pray, my eloquent and learned teacher, how many men, that were Menws, have there been in the nation of the Cymry, for I find mention and account of others of the name of Menw?

Three persons, within memory and knowledge, have been of that name, that is to say, Menw, son of the Three Shouts, the second was Menw the Tall from the North, and the other, Menw, son of Menwad, of Arvon, the man who was the first of the nation of the Cymry that made dramatic representations.

The Principal Elements Of Various Things.--The Gogyrvens

The three principal elements[69]  of every thing: power; matter; and mode.[70]

The three principal elements of sciences: life; intellect; and affection.[71]

The three elements of wisdom: object; mode; and benefit.

The three elements of memorials: understanding from affection; distinctive sign; and reverence for the better.

The three elements of letters, (symbol); that is to say, from a combination of one or other of the three are letters made. They are three rays of light. And of these are made the sixteen gogyrvens, that is, the sixteen letters. According to a different arrangement there are seven gogyrvens and seven,[72]  the seven words and seven score [73] in the Alphabet of the Cymraeg being no other than a sign of worthiness; and it is from them that every other word proceeds. Others say seven score and seven hundred words.

The Invention Of Letters By Einigan And Menw.--The Secret Of Bardism

Einigan the Giant beheld three pillars of light, having in them all demonstrable sciences that ever were, or ever will be. And he took three rods of the quicken tree, and placed on them the forms and signs of all sciences, so as to be remembered; and exhibited them. But those who saw them misunderstood, and falsely apprehended them, and taught illusive sciences, regarding the rods as a God, whereas they only bore His Name. When Einigan saw this, he was greatly annoyed, and in the intensity of his grief he broke the three rods, nor were others found that contained accurate sciences. He was so distressed on that account that from the intensity he burst asunder, and with his [parting] breath he prayed God that there should be accurate sciences among men in the flesh, and there should be a correct understanding for the proper discernment thereof. And at the end of a year and a day, after the decease of Einigan, Menw, son of the Three Shouts, beheld three rods growing out of the mouth of Einigan, which exhibited the sciences of the Ten Letters, and the mode in which all the sciences of language and speech were arranged by them, and in language and speech all distinguishable sciences. He then took the rods, and taught from them the sciences--all, except the Name of God, which he made a secret, lest the Name should be falsely discerned; and hence arose the Secret of the Bardism of the Bards of the Isle of Britain. And God imparted His protection to this secret, and gave Menw a very discreet understanding of sciences under this His protection, which understanding is called Awen from God; and blessed for ever is he who shall obtain it. Amen, so be it.

From the mouth of Adam, like blessed trees, three crosses, &c.
Rods of fine growth were obtained, being trees from the mouth of Adam.[74]

Cuttings.--Foundations Of Awen

(symbol) It was from the three signs that Einigan the Giant obtained so good an understanding of letters, which he cut on staves. He devised the mode, and made twelve [75] principal letters, if the books of the wise are true, which are called the ten radicals. As to what they are, and what their forms, it is a secret in the mystery of the Bards of the nation of the Cymry, namely, the Gwyddoniaid, who are called the primary Bards. They are three of the primary radicals, that is, the three cuttings; and they are called cuttings, because they are cut out of the dark into three rays; and for the same reason we say, the break of dawn,[76]  to cut a field, to cut or break out. The third break out was the voice of a song of triumph, that is, the first voice was a voice of triumph.

The three foundations of Awen from God: to understand the truth; to love the truth; and to [maintain] the truth, so that nothing may prevail against it. From these three things may the question be correctly answered--Why wouldest thou be a Bard? And from correctly answering the question is the degree of Chair obtained or refused. The answer is between the aspirant and his conscience, and between his conscience and God, not between him and his teacher.

Origin And Progress Of Letters.--Einigan The Giant.--The Gwyddoniaid.--Systems Of Letters

a. e. i. o.--b. c. t. l. s. r. p.

It was Einigan the Giant that first understood letters; and he made the principal cuttings, which were eleven, that is, the four vowels, and the seven consonants. And he inscribed on wood the memorial of every object he beheld, every story he heard, and every honour he understood. Others considering the things that Einigan did, concluded that he was a devil, and banished him. Upon this he came to his father’s kindred in the Isle of Britain, and exhibited his art, and they adjudged him to be the wisest of the wise, and called him Einigan the Gwyddon, and all, who learned the art of letters, they called Gwyddoniaid, which Gwyddoniaid were the principal sages of the Isle of Britain, before Bards were systematically distinguished in respect of privilege and usage. When Bards and Bardism were arranged, they were required to keep the memorial of the eleven cuttings. After this the art was improved, and sixteen cuttings were obtained, which were called the sixteen letters; subsequently, eighteen, and thence until twenty-four, to which were added the fourteen secondary letters, as they are now seen. This is preserved in the memorial of voice and letters, and the usage of the Bards of the Isle of Britain. The system of eleven is called the system of Einigan; the one of sixteen, the system of Edric; the one of eighteen, the system of Alawn [77] ”and the system of the Bards;”[78]  the one of twenty-four is called the system of Arthavael; and the one now in use is called the new system, and the system of Idnerth the Artist. It was in the time when Gruffudd, son of Llywelyn, son of Seisyllt, exercised prerogative over Cymru universal, that this Idner lived.[79]  Thus are shown the origin of letters and the sciences of books in the memorials of the Bards of the Isle of Britain.

The Origin Of Letters And Books.--Their Introduction Into Britain--The Coelbren

Who was the first that obtained understanding respecting letters?

Adam first obtained it from God in Paradise, and his son, Abel the Innocent, learned it of his father. Cain the Murderer, Abel’s brother, would have fame from the good things of the world, but Abel would not, except from sciences that were pleasing to God, and from understanding and learning relative to what God did or desired. Wherefore Cain envied his brother Abel, and slew him feloniously and treacherously.[80]  Then the sciences, which Abel caused to be understood, were lost. After that, Adam had another son, whose name was Seth; and he taught him the knowledge of letters, and all other divine sciences. And to Seth was a son, whose name was Enos, who was educated by his father as a man of letters and praiseworthy sciences in respect of book and learning. It was Enos who was the first that made a book of record, for the purpose of preserving the memory of every thing beautiful, commendable, and good, that is, of what God the Creator did, and of his works in heaven and earth; and he enjoined this to man as a law and ordinance.[81]  This knowledge was preserved by the posterity of Enos until the time of Noah the Aged; and when the water of the deluge had ceased, and the ship had come on dry land, Noah taught the knowledge of books, and all other sciences, to his son Japheth, and our nation, the Cymry, who were descended from Japheth, son of Noah the Aged, obtained this knowledge, and brought it with them to the Isle of Britain, and they maintained, amplified, and enlarged the sciences of book and learning, and placed them on record until Christ came in the flesh.

What were the first books that were first known to the nation of the Cymry, and what were their materials?

Wood, that is, trees, and that mode was called Coelbren, from which comes the Coelbren of the Bards, as it is still on record by the nation of the Cymry. There was no other mode of dealing with letters known to our nation before Christ came in the flesh.

Pray, my teacher, is it meet that thou shouldest show me orally the instruction how to make the Coelbren of the Bards, and the art that ought to belong to it?

I will show it, by the grace of God,--The Coelbren of the Bards is made with the genial wood of oak plants, split into four parts, that is, of greenwood as thick as a boy’s wrist. These are hewn square, that is, into four sides, a cubit in length, their breadth and thickness being equal one to the other, namely the length of a barley corn, which is the third of an inch. After[82]

The Primary Letters.--Improvement Of The Alphabet

Before the time of Beli the Great,[83]  son of Manogan, there were only ten letters, which were called the ten signs, namely, a, p, c, e, t, i, l, r, o, s. After that m, and n, were invented; and after that four others, and they were made into sixteen by the divulgation, and under the proclamation of country and nation. After the coming of the faith in Christ, two other letters, namely u and d. In the time of king Arthur [84] there were introduced twenty primary letters, as at present, by the counsel of Taliesin, the chief of Bards, and domestic Bard of Urien Rheged.[85]  Under the system of the eighteen were arranged O. I. U. which is the unutterable Name of God; whereas previous to that arrangement it was O. I. O. according to the sixteen. Of the principal signs there are not, to this day, more than twenty letters, or twenty signs. Geraint the Blue Bard appointed twenty-four letters, as it is at present; but the four are auxiliaries. After that, through the argumentative consideration of Bards, and Teachers who were chair Bards, there were brought into use and privilege, by the improvement of the Coelbren, thirty-eight letters on wood; but there are in black and white [86] only the twenty-four signs.

Primary Cuttings.--Improvement Of The Coelbren.--Its Restoration

In the early times of the nation of the Cymry letters were called cuttings; and it was after the time of Beli, son of Manogan, that they were called letters. Previously, there were no letters but the primary cuttings, which had been a secret from the age of ages among the Bards of the Isle of Britain, for the preservation of the memorials of country and nation. Beli the Great made them into sixteen, and divulged that arrangement, and appointed that there should never after be a concealment of the sciences of letters, in respect of the arrangement which he made; but he left the ten cuttings a secret.

After the coming of the faith in Christ, they were made eighteen; and after that twenty,[87]  and such they were kept until the time of Geraint the Blue Bard, who made them twenty-four.

They continued such for long ages, even until the time of king Henry the Fifth,[88]  who forbade schools, books, and the materials of books for the Cymry. On that account the Cymry were obliged to betake themselves in a body to the Coelbren of the Bards, and to cut and blacken letters on wood and rods; and every owner of a house and family, that wished to know the sciences of letters and reading, took Bards into his house. And from this was appointed the endowment of land, and tilth, and fold for the Bards. And the Bards became numerous in Cymru, and the knowledge of letters was greater than before the prohibition; where-fore Llawdden the Bard[89]  sang:--

Beware of being wrong; see and observe--the throw
And course of every privation;
And the adage of this world,
“That is not evil which produces good.”

That is to say, where there was no school to be had, but an English one, and no teacher but a Saxon, the Cymry would study their own language and sciences more than ever, and they improved and augmented the number of letters and cuttings, until they completed the number, of which they now consist.

Recovery Of The Old Cymraeg

It was in the time of Owain, son of Maxen Wledig, that the nation of the Cymry recovered their privilege and crown. They took to their primitive mother tongue instead of the Latin, which had well nigh overran the Isle of Britain; and in the Cymraeg they kept the memorials and history and systems of country and nation, restoring to memory the ancient Cymraeg, with its original words and expressions. Because the ancient orthography of the ten primary letters was forgotten and misunderstood, they became lost, and thus arose a disagreement respecting several old words, that is, the putting of two letters, where only one was required, as caanbraanglaan, instead of cânbrân, and glân, and digerth instead of dierth, and phlegid instead of phlaid, with many others; also putting t for dd, and i instead of e, and instead of y, and u instead of e. It is not necessary to show the whole, but this much is given in memory of him who made the amendment, namely, Talhaiarn the Bard,[90]  of Caerleon-upon-Usk, under the protection of the Round Table. After him Taliesin, Chief of Bards, arranged the Cymraeg, from a right understanding of the meaning and merit of the ten primary letters, and their modes, and changes, and proper inflections; and from this the ancient Cymraeg was restored and recovered.

The Primary Letters.--Their Augmentation.--Restoration Of The Coelbren

This is what I, Llywelyn Sion,[91]  took from the Book of Davydd Benwyn,[92]  which is called the Coelbren of the Bards.

Here is the system of the symbols of letters, or the symbols of language and speech, as it was arranged by Gwilym Tew,[93]  Bard and Chair Teacher, and exhibited at the Eisteddvod of the Chair and Gorsedd of Pen Rhys Monastery,[94]  when Owain Glyndwr and the Cymry were prevailing against the Saxons.[95]

There were ten symbols of letters in the possession of the Cymry from the beginning, before they came into the Isle of Britain, which ten are now kept an undivulged secret by the Bards of the Isle of Britain, and therefore no man can radically understand the Coelbren of letters, who is not under the obligation of the vow of the secret of the Bards of the Isle of Britain. In the time of Dyvnwal Moelmud, son of Dyvnvarth, son of Prydain, son of Aedd the Great, the symbolic cuttings of language and speech were augmented to sixteen in number, and they were mutually divulged, and to each was given a new form, other than what the ten symbolic points that are secret and undivulged have. In the time when Bell the Great, son of Manog,[96]  was king paramount of the Isle of Britain, the sixteen symbols were laid open to the nation of the Cymry, and security was given that there should be no king, judge, or teacher of country, without knowing the sixteen signs, and being able to reduce them into proper art. It was ages after that, before understanding respecting the symbols of Plagawd, that is, dressed skins, was obtained, and when that took place, the Roll was invented, and after that, the Books that are now seen in use. The number of the symbols was augmented until they were found to be eighteen in the time of Taliesin, chief of Bards, who employed them in his canons, hence the improvement of vocal song. After that the number of the symbols was raised to twenty, that is, the primaries, as at present. After that Geraint, the Blue Bard, began to use auxiliary symbols, which he invented, and which others, after him, improved, and the Bards kept memorials of them. When Owain Glyndwr was lost, plagawd and paper were prohibited in Cymru; and the Bards and Teachers, and all others who were required to keep memorials, were obliged to restore into sight and use the symbols of the Coelbren of the Bards, until the making them ready for the cutting became an art. Then they became infinitely numerous by the hands of sieve and basket makers, who sold them to any one that sought for them, and so they continued down to the days of those who are now living. It is Davydd Benwyn that says it.

The Bardic Secret

O I W are the three letters, and in very old books O I U, because U was used instead of W, in the olden times. It is the secret word of the primitive Bards, which it is not lawful to speak or utter audibly to any man in the world, except to a Bard who is under the vow of an oath. The letters may be shown to any one in the world we like, without uttering the vocalization, which, under the protection of secrecy, is due to them, though he be not under an oath; but should he utter them in speech audibly, he violates his protection, and he cannot be a Bard, nor will it be lawful to shew him any more of the secret, either in this world that perishes, or in the other world that will not perish for ever and ever.[97]  Sion Bradford.[98]

The Sacred Symbol

(symbol). That is to say, they are called the three columns, and the three columns of truth, because there can be no knowledge of the truth, but from the light thrown upon it; and the three columns of sciences, because there can be no sciences, but from the light and truth.

The Primary Letters.--Improvement Of The Alphabet

Before the faith in Christ was obtained, no other than twelve letters were used, namely, a, e, i, o, b, d, g, l, m, n, r, s. After the coming of the faith, sixteen were put in use, then the art of the twelve letters was lost, nor is there at present any one that knows it, except from conjecture. After the coining of Taliesin eighteen letters were used; and it was according to the art of the system of eighteen that O I U was appointed for the Name of God. Before that arrangement it was O I O according to the sixteen. After the time of Taliesin the use of twenty letters was obtained,[99]  which continued until the time of Geraint the Blue Bard, who made an arrangement of twenty-four letters. After that, from reasoning to reasoning, the Bards improving the Alphabet, increased the number to thirty-eight on wood; but in black and white[100]  no other than twenty-four were used.

Gogyrvens.--Writing With Ink

Before the time of Belief and Baptism a letter was called gogyrven (from corf [101]); and its right name is still gogyrven on the Coelbren--others call it cyrven. The old men--the primitive teachers--inserted in vocal song the number of the rays of every cyrven, and thus kept the memory and knowledge of them.

After plagawd had been obtained, that is, the dressed skins of animals, writing with black, or ink, came into use; and thence was introduced the practice of writing with ink on the Coelbren and its staves, instead of cutting cyrvens, which is still seen in places that are not visited, and are not much known. And thus were memorials and computation kept on wood and boards, and on stones, where it was possible to get them.


The three primary gogyrvens are (symbol).


There were sixteen gogyrvens before the faith in Christ; after that eighteen, then twenty.


Talhaiarn appointed twenty gogyrvens.

The Three First Words Of The Cymraeg

Sulw/Sul = The Sun


The three first words of the Cymraeg: the Name of God, that is O I U; the name of the Sun, perception, and sensation, that, is SULW; and Bo, others say, BYW.

The Name of God is a substantive verb; the sun is a substantive noun; and sulw is a substantive adjective--which was clear before the perfect Cymraeg was lost.

The Primary Letters.--Names Of The Coelbrens

Here are the primaries,--


which were fifteen. After that (symbol) was made, and therewith (symbols). After that (symbol) and (symbol), and then the letters were eighteen, thus,


being eighteen. After that, twenty; thus,--


being twenty.

And thus the Coelbren continued until the time when the Latin was lost in the country, so that only book students and scholars knew it. Then, with the view of shortening the work on wood, and of softening the Cymraeg, secondary letters were invented, such as are now in the Coelbren of the Bards.

The ancient extraordinary character of the Coelbren of the Bards, or mystic letters, which, it is said, were the first known, was thus,--




and so with as many as one likes. Wherefore it is said, that with one letter, by modifying it as occasion required, the Bards of the Isle of Britain wrote whatever they liked in secret and mystery.

From what has been exhibited are seen the modes of the Coelbrens, as they have been in various ages and times; they have also borne the names of those who taught them; thus,

1. The old Coelbren, called also the primitive Coelbren, which was known to the Cymry before strange nations arrived in the island of Britain.

2. The Coelbren of eighteen, which is called the Coelbren of Taliesin, or the one of Talhaiarn.

3. The Coelbren of twenty, which is called that of Ithel the Tawny.[102]

4. The Coelbren of twenty-four, which is called that of Howel the Good.

5. The Long Coelbren, which is of three or four ways and modes.

6. The Coelbren of Ystudvach;[103]  and the Coelbren of Iorwerth the Gray-haired,[104]  &c.

7. The Coelbren of the Monks, after divers modes.

Classification Of The Letters


The above Alphabets are from Llywelyn Sion.[105]


Abcedilros; so were called the ten primary letters, because they are put in one word of four syllables, being arranged according to the word, thus,

A. B. C. E. D. I. L. R. O. S.

After that M and N were invented, and thence there were twelve letters, which were called Mabcednilros, the letters being thus arranged--

M. A. B. C. E. D. N. I. L. R. O. S.

making twelve letters. After that four other letters were devised, namely, G. T. P. F. And then there was a new arrangement of the letters; all that were partially co-vocal being placed next to each other, as if of one family in respect of sound. That is to say, firstly, the simple ones, namely,

A. E. I. O.

Then the labials, namely, M. B. P. F.

Then the dentals, namely, D. T. N.

Then the palatals, G. C.

Then the non congeners, namely, L. R. S.

And thus were they arranged,--

A. E. I. O. B. M. P. F. D. T. N. G. C. L. R. S.

and were called after their primitive name Abcedilros, though the authentic letters might, in respect of kind and number, be more than what are found in the special word.

After that, two other letters were devised, namely (symbol) or (symbol), and (symbol) or (symbol), then there were eighteen letters. After that, two others, which made twenty, namely, (symbol) and (symbol). After that, four other letters, namely, (symbol). (symbol). (symbol); [106] which were arranged on the Coelbren according to their families in respect of sound and vocalness, and mutual relation. After that secondary letters were devised, which are (symbol). (symbol). (symbol). (symbol), &c., as far as thirty-eight. Still their old designation is retained, which is, Abcedilros. An old Book calls them, Abcednilroswm.

The Bardic Secret.--Formation Of Letters

It is very remarkable that the Druidical secrets consisted in the use of the letters (symbol) or (symbol); anciently (symbol), of the twelve letters [107],(symbol);or thus (symbol), A. E. I. O, and where (symbol) was made, it was cut fully across the Coelbren; or thus, (symbol), which were five vowels. With them in the second age there were seven strongly vocal letters, namely (symbol) or (symbol). Instead of M there were two (symbol).’s together, as (symbol); and instead of P, (symbol) upside down, thus (symbol); and instead of Mh, two (symbol)’s, thus, (symbol); and instead of F, (symbol), and an aspirate thus (symbol), and subsequently, thus (symbol); and instead of (symbol), (symbol) fully across, thus, (symbol). And (symbol) A. E. I. O; and then (symbol) A. E. I. O. W. Some persons maintain that there were only three vowels from the beginning, namely, (symbol). O. I. W; after that, (symbol); in other books, (symbol) and (symbol) making (symbol) E.

The Vowels

There are eight vowels or sounds, A. E. I. O. U. W. Y. Y, (wy,) so called because it is the mutate of W.

(symbols); and after that, thus, (symbols), which continued mostly in use by the Bards and Teachers, until the time of Addav, son of Davydd, of Gilvai, called in some books Adam Davi,[108]  who introduced five long vowels into the Abcedilros, namely, (symbol); and, asserting that there was no occasion for (symbol), he abolished it, and appointed twelve vowels. Nevertheless, it was not that Addav who devised these five, for they had been long retained in memory, even for upwards of three hundred years; but they had no authority of Chair and Gorsedd. It was this authoritative privilege that was bestowed upon them in the time of the said Addav, who also restored to memory much of the primitive learning. His books were warranted by the authority of ancient memorial and art.

Thus, according to others, (symbols), which is called the New Coelbren.

The Primary Letters

Sixteen principal letters have been from the beginning; namely, (symbol), (others say, (symbol),) (symbol) (or (symbol)) (symbol) (or (symbol)) (symbol) ( (symbol)) (symbol) ( (symbol)) (symbol) ( (symbol).)

And in respect of others, letters were doubled, trebled, or quadrupled; as man, ei mman, maan, maab, gwen, gween, rhen, byr, myyr, llyyr, tor, moor, crwn, crwwn,

baad, ei bbaad, dyydd, ei ddydd, fy (symbol) dddydd, &c. (Llywelyn Sion.)

Whence the doubling of d and dd, and l and ll, still retained. (symbol) n for d; (symbol) m for b.

These are the ten principal letters, which Einigan the Giant made,

A. P. C. E. T. I. L. R. O. S. [109]

That is to say, they are the ten powers of sound produced by the ten organs of speech. Others call them the ten organs of speech; and so also are the ten principal letters named.

Variations Of Letters

(symbol) turned on its side, with its base to the right, (symbol), stood for E; when turned thus, (symbol), it stood for V, which being doubled thus, (symbol), stood for O; and from (symbol), were produced (symbol) and (symbol). And in this way the letters were varied from nine to twelve, and sixteen, and eighteen, and twenty, and twenty-four; and from thence to thirty-eight letters, that is to say, forty save two.

Introduction Of Letters.--Original Country Of The Cymry.--Their Arrival In Britain.--Augmentation Of The Alphabet

At length here is an account of symbols and speech, namely, letters and signs, according to their preservation by means of the memory, voice, and usages of the Chair and Gorsedd of the Bards of Glamorgan and Gwent in Tir Iarll,[110]  and previously at Caerleon-upon-Usk, since the first arrival of the Cymry in this island. They say that three privileged arts were introduced by the Cymry tinder the protection and guidance of Hu the Mighty[111]  into this island; namely, Bardism, Literature, and Agriculture; that is, they were brought from Asia, as it is now called. Deffrobani,[112]  however, or the Summer Country, was the first name of the primitive country of the nation of the Cymry, in which country were large and rich kingdoms without number. An usurping nation drove the Cymry out of their country into countries where for upwards of two hundred years they were roving from land to land under the oppression of devastative and predatory nations, until at last they landed in Scandinavia and the highlands of Italy, and the region of Gaul. It was from Scandinavia that they first came into the island [of Britain,] having landed at the river Humber.[113]  After that other clans of Cymry came from the land of Gaul into this island, landing at the fords of Pwyth Meinlas,[114]  but the usurping nation of the Coranians[115]  drove them to the South, whilst the Irish Picts drove the Cymry of the land of Deivr and Bernicia, who were derived from the Cymry of Scandinavia, to Venedotia; after that, the Irish of Ireland oppressed them in Mona and Arvon. Ten from the beginning was the number of the symbols of the Coelbren, and they were called Abcedilroes and Abcedilros, as they are called at present, that is, (symbol) (symbol) and (symbol). Subsequently, in the time of Prydain [son of ] Aedd the Great, others were added until they were sixteen symbols, and they continued of that number until the coming of Christ in the flesh; then eighteen, and after that twenty, or, as others say, twenty-one symbols primarily as at present, whilst others were invented as auxiliaries, in number as far as thirty-eight.

Coelbren Of The Bards, According To The Arrangement Of Llawdden

Llawdden, or Ieuan Llawdden, was a very eminent Poet, who flourished from about 1440 to 1480. He was at one time Rector of Machynlleth, but in his old age he retired to the place of his nativity, the Vale of Llychwr, where he died, and was buried in the Churchyard of Llandeilo Talybont. His elegy was written by his contemporary, Iorwerth Vynglwyd, from which we learn that he obtained the highest bardic honours.

But the best of all is the old Coelbren, as Gwilym Tew[116]  has arranged it in his Book of Vocal Song, and the easiest to cut, and of least labour.

Some have placed (symbol) without (symbol), but that is an error, for (symbol) has the weight of (symbol), and no more; therefore it ought to be (symbol), and not(symbol).

Here are other modifications of the Coelbren, which I have seen with Meurig Davydd. [117] [118]


The Symbols Of Literary Sciences.--Improvement Of The Coelbren.--Metrical Canons.--Dissolution Of The Monastery Of Pen Rhys

There are three series of symbols of literary sciences: the symbols of Coelbren;[119]  the symbols of music;[120]  and the symbols of number.

The symbols of Coelbren are the most ancient of all, and were known to the Gwyddoniaid from their first arrival in the island of Britain. The primaries were ten, and were under the secret of the Bards. After that, ten others were added, and the form and appearance of each of the sixteen were totally altered from those of the ten primaries, so that the secret could not be known. The sixteen were divulged in the time of Dyvnwal Moelmud; and in the time of Beli the Great, son of Manogan, they were included in the domestic instruction and sciences, and came under the office and art of the domestic teacher, who was a Chaired Bard, that is to say, a Druid; for the domestic Bards were called Druids in the early times of the occupation of the island of Britain; it being incumbent upon the nation of the Cymry to keep up the sciences of symbol and literature. In the time of Arthur the symbols of Coelbren were eighteen notches in number; and in the time of Geraint, the Blue Bard, twenty; nor are there more than twenty of the primaries. After that, mixed symbols were devised; that is to say, by means of a notch was made the sign of sighing or breathing; and these were improved from time to time until the time of Ieuan, son of the Dewless,[121]  the time when Robert, earl of Gloucester, was prince of Glamorgan; and from thence to the time of the last Clare but one, prince of Glamorgan. It was the monks of Pen Rhys in the vale of Rhondde that arranged them as they are at present, when Gwilym, son of Howel the Savage, called Gwilym Tew, bore the Chair of vocal song there in right of the primary Bards of the nation of the ancient Cymry. No other improvement of the symbols of Coelbren ever took place, nor did what was done there obtain the efficient judgment of active Chairs, as far as the third, or, if it might be obtained, as far as the ninth, but where nine cannot be had, as far as the seventh, and if seven cannot be had, as far as the fifth, and where five cannot be had, as far as the third, and when there are not three, as far as the one that there is; for individuals ought to be unequal in number in order to have the judgment of a majority, that is, the number that is above half, which cannot be the case, of irrevocable fixedness, but where individuals are of unequal number, when they are divided into two parts. Others of the ancient teachers say that a majority may be obtained where the individuals are of equal numbers, by conferring it as a privilege upon the first of the two halves that is counted, under the condition of giving and taking the same as a claim, before it is put to the verdict, and not otherwise. And it is in this manner that the judgment of Chairs has been had upon the number of the cut symbols of Coelbren,--that is, no judgment as far as the efficiency of nine active Chairs, has been obtained upon the last improvement of the cut symbols, and their number; nevertheless, the improvement has the privilege of time beyond the memory of the ninth generation, and it cannot be opposed. About the same time, namely, the time when Owain Glyndwr was opposing the king of London, that is, in the time of King Henry the Fifth, there was an Eisteddvod Chair in the monastery of Pen Rhys, where the canons of the metres of vocal song were settled, among which that of Gwilym Tew was adjudged the best, namely, the Ode which he composed to Mary of Pen Rhys.[122]  After that he improved the number and arrangement of the metres and consonancies. It was in it (the Ode) that, by privilege of Chair, parallel rhymes were first used. That Ode was exhibited in the first Eisteddvod Chair of Caermarthen, under the patronage of Gruffydd, son of Nicholas,[123]  and under the privilege of leave and license from Saint Henry the King, of Windsor, that is the fourth of the name; and it continued under the privilege of Chair and Country until the time of the second Eisteddvod there, where the canon of Davydd, son of Edmund,[124]  was pronounced the best, in the time of Henry, the fifth of the name. When the year of Christ was one thousand, four hundred, and fourteen, the monastery of Pen Rhys was dispossessed, and its property sold, because it sided with Owain Glyndwr.

The Pillars Of Memory.--The Symbols

The three pillars of memory and history: vocal song; letter; and symbol. A symbol is a form that is understood, and, being understood, shews at sight that that really exists which would require many letters, or much of vocal song, or speech and oration, before it could be properly understood.

There are three symbols: the symbol of number; the symbol of sound or tone, from which is justly shown the voice and tone of harmony; and the symbol of hieroglyphics, which is the form and sign that is understood by its formation; and the blazonry of the arms of nobility, and the arms of nation. The man who knows this art, and will show it authoritatively, is called a herald-bard, and his office and art is to represent history in hieroglyphics, even as the times of the moon are shewn by its visible delineations, and the number of year, month, and day.

The Birds Of Rhianon

“Rhiaint was a name given to the sixteen letters, and in the Ancient Secret the Birds of Rhianon:--one letter was called Rhïan, plur. Rhieinau.”--Iolo Morganwg, who refers to Llywelyn Sion.

Hwn a bryn win o’r gwinwydd
Hon fal Rhianon ai rhydd. 

He will buy wine from the vines,
She like Rhianon will give it.
Sion Brwynog, to Rhydderch ap Rhys
of Tregaian and his wife.

The Birds of Rhianon sang until the Angels of heaven came to listen to them; and it was from their songs that were first obtained vocal song and instrumental music; vocal song being that which is sung by the lips to melody and harp.

Evan Evans.

The Five Ages Of Letters

The first was the age of the three letters, which above all represented the Name of God and goodness, and which were a sign of goodness and truth, and understanding and equity, of whatsoever kind they might be.

Other things were exhibited under the sign of blazonry in respect of the art of a herald-bard. This is the mode in which they numbered ten according to the three letters, namely, (symbol), (symbol) being put for ten, and after that (symbol) for the second tenth, that is, a hundred, and (symbol) for the third tenth, that is, a thousand, and (symbol) for the fourth tenth, that is, a myriad, and for a million (symbol), and for buna (symbol), and so on to three (symbol), or four or more. According to this arrangement (symbol) stood for A, that is, the first letter, (symbol) for B, that is, the second, (symbol), the third, (symbol), the fourth, (symbols )and (symbol), the tenth letter, (symbol) the twelfth. This is the first age.

In the second age sixteen letters were arranged, whence literature became more clear.

After that, In the third age there were eighteen letters, for the improvement of literature; that is, (symbol) was put for the second sound of B; and then the three letters of God’s Name were made into (symbol); and the eighteenth letter was (symbol), or, according to another form, (symbol).

In the fourth age there were twenty-four letters; and the Name of God, according to the arrangement of the third age, was a secret.

The fifth age was, as it is now, that is, there were thirty-eight letters; and the Name of God, according to the arrangement of the third age, was kept a secret.

The Three Symbols Of Sciences

There have been three symbols of sciences in use by the nation of the Cymry from the beginning.

The symbol of word and speech, that is to say, a letter, ten fold, sixteen fold, twenty fold, and twenty-four fold.

The first of the three, in respect of privilege and origin, is the symbol of word and speech, that is to say, a letter.

The second, the symbol of harmony, that is to say, tone and music.

The third, the symbol of number, which is thus,--


That is to say, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, one-ten and one, one-ten and two, one-ten and three, one-ten and four, one-ten and five, one-ten and six, one-ten and seven, one-ten and eight, one-ten and nine, two-tens; and as before to three-tens, four-tens, five-tens, six-tens, seven-tens, eight-tens, nine-tens, a hundred; and to a thousand; and from thence to ceugant. It is a secret kept from the beginning by the voice of the Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain; and it was first appointed as a special art in the sciences of wisdom by Tydain, father of Awen, who also arranged the symbols of the art of musical harmony, in respect of voice, string, and bellows, as is exhibited in the memorials of the Bards of the Isle of Britain. (From the Second Book of the Secret of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, and from the Yniales. [125]) Let the following be added to the above system of symbols; X, 2 X, 3 X, 4 X, 5 X, 6 X, 7 X, 8 X, 9 X, <, or XX; but some put (symbol) for a hundred, and (symbol) for a thousand.

The Three Primitive Symbols.--The Three Coelbren Symbols

Here is the system of Symbols.

There have been three symbols remembered and preserved from the beginning by the Bards and Sages of the nation of the Cymry; namely,

1. The symbol of word[126]  and speech, that is, letter. It is from the symbols that a visible word is formed, and from the words a visible language, and visible vocality.

2. The symbol of harmony and tone, that is, the signs of the sound and utterance of vocal song, and instrumental[127]  song.

3. The symbol of number and weight.

The symbols of number are exhibited under the signs of the ten vocal characters of word and speech, that is, the ten characters of the primitive letters, which are kept secret by the Bards of the nation of the Cymry under the obligation of a vow, and may not be divulged to other than a Bard under the sworn vow of life and death. Nevertheless, for the purpose of instructing the common people, the sworn ten characters are not the means, but the trite signs of number, such as are in the memory and knowledge of a civilized country and nation, and in unison with the sense of civilization, and the three foundations of the sciences of learning, and the three signs of a civilized and scholastic nation.

Here is a description of the symbols, as they are exhibited under the trite signs of number in use by the civilized nations of Belief and Baptism.

1 one, 2 two, 3 three, 4 four, 5 five, 6 six, 7 seven, 8 eight, 9 nine, 0 ten, and placing before the 0 the number which it has, thus, 10 one-ten, 20 two-tens, 30 three-tens, 40 four-tens, 50 five-tens, 60 six-tens, 70 seven-tens, 80 eight-tens, 90 nine-tens, 100 hundred. 11 one-ten and one, or ten and one, 12 one-ten and two, or ten and two, 13 one-ten and three, or ten and three, 14 one-ten and four, or ten and four, 15 one-ten and five, or ten and five, 16 one-ten and six, or ten and six, 17 one-ten and seven, or ten and seven, 18 one-ten and eight, or ten and eight, 19 one-ten and nine, or ten and nine, 20 two-tens, 30 three-tens, 40 four-tens--and one, or two, and two-tens, &c., one being added for every other plurality of tens as far as a hundred; 101 a hundred and one,--a hundred and two, &c., or one and a hundred, two and a hundred, &c., and so for every additional hundred; 101 a hundred and one, 120 a hundred and two-tens, 125 a hundred and two-tens and five, &c., and so for every additional hundred as far as a thousand; and so for every additional thousand as far as a myriad, and for every additional myriad as far as a million, and for every additional million; and so on, in the same manner, as far as buna or mwnda; and on as far as cattyrva;[128]  and on as far as rhiallu;[129]  and from rhiallu to manred;[130]  and from manred to cyvanred;[131]  and from cyvanred to ceugant,[132]  which God only knows.

From the “Brith Cyvarwydd,” compiled by Anthony Powell of Llwydarth in Tir Iarll, about 1580.

In the Book of Llywelyn Sion thus;--

There are three series of Coelbren symbols, namely, the symbols of language and speech, being twenty-four symbols; the symbols of music and harmony, of which there are seven, namely, a, b, c, d, e, f, g; and they are called the symbols of tone, and the tones of music; and the five symbols of time, namely, (symbols), which signify the times of the tones. Where bare tones are exhibited, the times are put over them, but where staves are used, that is, the four staves of music, the times are represented on the staves and intervening spaces.


Why do arrangements require numbers?

To facilitate the memory, for where there is number, there is knowledge, but without number and weight and measure, there can be no knowledge of anything, therefore number is one of the three foundations of knowledge. That which is laid down in the system of numbers will be remembered, whatever number it may be; and every one of such numbers will be divided and re-arranged, for the regulation of the memory, because it is from order that the memorials of things and sciences are formed; wherefore it is said “there is no memory but order”--also “there is no order but system”--”there is no system but number, weight, and measure”--the same being known, fixed by nature, and confirmed by the judgment of wise men.

What number is the best for any system?

A natural number, where such is known, namely, that which will convey in itself the whole, in respect of kind and condition, of what is arranged by that number; and the best will be the least number, where it will admit of a division. There is no arrangement without number and its division, and this is called the primary number, having within it a division, from which comes an arrangement. But there are united numbers, such as is three, which has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and the least, greatest, and intermediate, also one thing, another thing opposite to it, and a third thing joining them together, as means, skill, and will, for if there be means, it may be there will be skill, and if there be means and skill together, they will be of no avail without what will join them, namely, desire or effectual will, that will bear upon the other two: the number mostly used for arrangements is three.

A number, natural in kind, is also four, which may be divided into two, that is, two halves, and four quarters; six also into three twos, and nine into three threes, are natural numbers used in arrangements. Ten is likewise altogether a systematic number, for it is in ten that the cycle of numbers terminates. Ten tens are a hundred,[133]  ten hundreds a thousand, ten thousands in the myriad, ten myriads in the rhiallu, ten rhiallus in the buna, ten bunas in the cattorva, ten cattorvas in the annant,[134]  ten annants in the trwn;[135]  and these are called the ten cycles of number. Those also which may be divided equally are called distributive numbers, such as four, and eight, and sixteen, and twenty-four; and twenty-four admits of more divisions than any other quantity, for it has two twelves, three eights, four sixes, six fours, eight threes, and twelve twos.

Why is the number three used by the Bards of the Isle of Britain in their lessons of instruction?

Because it is easier to remember three, and because the three principal conditions form the division of three, that is, one, and another, and conjunctive; and the easiest to remember is the best of every learning; and the shortest distribution is three, and the easiest to remember is the shortest that can be arranged. On this account the Bards of the Isle of Britain arranged their learning and wisdom in triads, that those who were unacquainted with books might easily learn and remember them, for the number of the illiterate is greater than that of the literate, and it is to the majority that learning, and wisdom, and institutional and domestic sciences, in respect of precise meaning, ought to be imparted.

The Nine Degrees Of Numerals

(From the Book of Ben Simon.)

One ten times will make ten, ten ten times will make a hundred, a hundred ten times will make a thousand, a thousand ten times will make a myriad, a myriad ten times will make a buna, a buna ten times will make a cattriv.[136]

After this the number is according to tens, thus; ten cattrivs, a hundred cattrivs, a thousand cattrivs, a myriad cattrivs, a buna cattrivs, cattriv of cattrivs, or cad-gattrivs, a hundred cad-gattrivs, a thousand cad-gattrivs, a myriad cad-gattrivs, a cattriv cad-gattrivs; then ten cattriv cad-gattrivs. After that, the nine circles of the nine degrees, for ever and ever; and at the end of such a circle, the renovation of all things to the end of the nine circles of the state of novation, which are called the nine degrees of heaven.[137]  And at the end of every circle a beginning anew.

The System Of Numerals

Here is the system of numerals, that is, the particulars of the art of Arithmetic, (from the Book of D. Richard, Llandochen.) They are removed from point to point according to this method, that is, every one of the points being itself a number, on whatever point it may be, will make the next to be above it. These are the names of the points:--One, ten, hundred, thousand, myriad, million, mwnt, rhiallu, buna, tyrva, catyrva, cadrawd.

That is, ten ones are ten, ten tens are a hundred, ten hundreds are a thousand, ten hundred thousands are a myriad, a myriad myriads are a million, a million millions are a mwnt,[138]  a mwnt mwnts are a rhiallu, a rhiallu rhiallus are a buna, a buna bunas are a tyrva,[139]  a tyrva tyrvas are a cattyrva, a cattyrva cattyrvas are a cadrawd,[140]  a cadrawd cadrawds are the number of lives from Annwn to Gwynvyd, &c. (Llywelyn Sion.)


One, five, ten, fifteen, twenty, hundred, thousand, myriad, million, bunav, myndav, breon, catyrva, gwrmwnt, rhiallu, and ceugant, which cannot be numbered.

The System Of Numerals



A hundred, ten tens,

A thousand, ten hundreds,

A myriad, ten thousands,

Mwnt, ten myriads,

Rhiallu, ten mwnts,

Mwnda, Buna, ten rhiallus,

Cattyrva, ten tyrvas,

Tyrva, ten bunas, or mwnda, to a

Cadrawd, ten cattyrvas.

From the Book of Mr. Cobb of Cardiff.

These are called the ten degrees of Numerals; and it is from being acquainted with every movement and treatment of the numerals that every truth in respect of number, measure, and weight is known.

The Three Symbols

There are three kinds of symbol: the symbol of letter, which the ancient authors called the symbol of cyrven; the symbol of number; and the symbol of blazonry, as a coat of arms, which belongs to the art of a herald-bard.

The Materials Of Language And Speech

The three materials of language and speech: letter; syllable; and word.

The three materials of speech: word; sense; and sentence.

There are twenty primitive letters, thirteen of which are called consonants; and from them seven secondaries are derived; and seven of the primitives are called vowels, but others call them scunds.

The Three Wreathed Bards

The three wreathed Bards of the Isle of Britain: Tydai,[141]  the Bard of Huon,[142]  who was the first that arranged the mode of dwelling according to clans for the nation of the Cymry; and Rhuvawn[143]  the Bard, who conferred system and privilege upon the co-aration of a township; and Melgin;[144]  son of Einigan the Giant, who was the first that made a symbol for language and speech. And a wreath was given to each around his head, that is, of the air-growing misletoe. (From various Triads, collected out of different manuscripts in Glamorgan.)

Coelbren Of The Bards

The Bardic Coelbren, according to the book of Llywelyn Sion.

The primitive Cymry, and their poets, and book-wise men, were accustomed to cut letters on wood, because in their time from the beginning there was no knowledge either of paper or plagawd, and here is exhibited the manner in which they constructed their books and the figure of the mode and manner.

The first thing made was the pillwydd,[145]  or the side posts, each post being in two halves.

That is, there is a number of holes in the post, the halves of the holes being in either half, and the other halves in the other, so that when the two halves are put together, there will be a row of perfect holes in a line from one end to the other, in the middle of the post, or pill.[146]  There will be also another post of the same kind and size. After that, other staves, called ebillwydd.[147]

At one end and the other let a neck be formed, as is delineated here, and let a closed and tied pill be placed round the necks of as many ebillwydd as may be required, at both ends. And thus let them be joined together, pillwydd and ebillion,[148]  in the form of a hurdle; the ebillion, each one of them, turning all round by their necks in the pillwydd, or posts. On the ebillion the letters are cut with an efficient knife, that is, on each of the four sides of every ebill; and when one side has been read, the second side is turned upwards, after that the third side, and after that the fourth side, each side being read as it is turned upwards.

The corners, along each of the ebillion as far as the necks, must be trimmed down, that the cutting of a letter on one face may not become one with, or break into the letters of the other face, and so with every one of the four faces.

There is another mode of constructing the Coelbren of the Bards, namely, by making the pillwydd, or the posts, entire, instead of their being in halves, having a row of holes along the middle, bored with a fire auger; the ebillion being pivotted at either end, and placed as to their pivots in the pillwydd. The two ends of each of the pillwydd likewise should be pivotted, the pivots passing into the holes of cross pillwydd, or transverse staves, made after this manner - each hole tightly encircling the pivot of the post; and thus are the whole firmly tied together, and conjoined, in the form of a hurdle. Bearing in mind the facility of turning and re-turning in respect of each one of the ebillion, the ends of the ebillion will be the length of a thumb’s joint through the posts, one end being a turning hilt, the other a place on which to cut the numerical mark of the ebill. The pivots of the posts will also be of the same length through the holes of the cross pillwydd, which connect them together; they will be somewhat necked too, and each neck will be tied with waxed thread or string, that the pivots of the pillwydd might not drop out of the hole. The neck should be tied until it be thicker than the pivot in the hole; and the pivots of each post should be quite tight in their holes, lest it might drop or shake.

The connecting pillwydd are called troslathau,[149]  and the pillwydd also are called cyffon hydlath or hydladd,[150]  their pivots passing into the transverse posts. Let the place of the string on each of the pivots of the longitudinal pillwydd be rounded, and let them be tied against the transverse staves, so that they do not become loose, or shaky. This mode is firm and steady, and in that respect better than the one which employs posts in two halves, though it is not as easy to undo and put together the frame which is made with an entire pill, as the one with a divided pill.

There is another method of connecting the longitudinal and transverse posts, that is, by cutting a semi-notch on each end of the longitudinal, and the like on each end of the transverse stave, thus, the notch in each reaching to the middle of the stick, and putting the notches of the transverse posts tightly in those of the longitudinal ones, and tying the conjoined notches across firmly with a waxed line, or the string of harp or violin. This method is fair and firm. Others make ebillion, and make a narrow hole with a fire auger at each end of the ebillion, and place them by those holes on a strong line or string; which some people consider the best way of all, because the ebillion may be rolled up in a bundle, and tied by the serial line. It is also, done in this way, easiest to carry with one, because it need not be unfastened in order to be bundled up. There must be a strong knot at each end of the string, that it might not slip through the holes of the ebillion, and there ought to be sufficient length in the string, that the ebillion might be shifted and turned so as to be easy to read, and that the string might be long enough to tie the Peithynen[151]  in one round bundle, where there is need and occasion. Nevertheless, this is the most difficult way for reading it, though it is the easiest of all ways for undoing it and putting it together.

It is easier to undo and re-set that which is framed together by means of halved pillwydd, than the one which is framed by means of whole pillwydd; nevertheless it is in-firm and unsteady.

It is more difficult to undo and re-set that which is framed in entire posts, but that is the strongest, though it is the heaviest to carry with one; it is also the best when persons write with ink on wide ebillion.

Some people make use of broad, thin, smooth ebillwydd, and form letters with ink by means of square pencils on the ebillwydd, having made string holes through them, that the ebillwydd might run together or apart on the string, as occasion required.

Another usage and mode in respect of wide ebillwydd is to make them oval at the transverse section, and to render the margins thin, not leaving the thickness of the edge more than about the thickness of a noble, or very little more. This lightens it, but the drawing together is less compact, because the ebillwydd will not lie firmly one on the other.

A few persons make use of ebillwydd of double thickness, that is, they modify them, so that there may be two thicknesses or two lines of inscribed letters on every face of the transverse section, and along the middle of every face a groove twice the width of the letter engraving; which is an excellent, ingenious way, troublesome to make, but better to read, than the one with the four-sided ebillwydd. And when the writing is done with ink, and not with a knife, it is not necessary to groove the middle of the surface of the ebill. Some have made the ebillwydd, in regard to the transverse section, and more, they say, is the breadth of the sides in this way, and on that account the letters are longer and larger, without increasing the weight of the Peithynen. Its superiority is equal to the trouble bestowed on it.

Some make necks on the ebillwydd that they may be inserted in side pillwydd, and, besides, they make holes in the ends of the ebillwydd, that a string may pass through them, for the sake of facility in carrying. That is, they are carried in a bundle on a string, instead of in side pillwydd. Let every one know his reason, and purpose, and awen.

Care must be taken that the pillwydd enclose firmly and wholly the necks of the ebillwydd, keeping all in a row together.

Rhill [152] is the name given to the quantity of ebillwydd framed together, most frequently twenty-four, but some put together twenty-six, others twenty-seven, that is, the three nines. A Peithynen has as many rhills as are required.

The two halved pillwydd are tied firmly with the strings of a violin or harp, as being the strongest. Some tie them with silk strings, or silk ribbons. And all books are carried in a bag of green silk.

Another form of book is the Roll, which is made of a round piece of wood, turned thin in the middle as long as may be required, having its two ends of the original thickness of the wood, the length of a thumb’s joint, or a thumb’s breadth, with three holes through the thin part, and a string passed through them, in order to secure the plagawd or paper, which may be placed to turn round the roll, as many leaves as may be required, or may be necessary; and together with the leaves, above them, a silk leaf longer than the paper leaves, to fold round the whole, as a covering for the writing, to keep it clean and free from damage. This method was discovered and brought to use after the knowledge of plagawd was obtained; and after that the knowledge of paper.

Subsequently to the Roll, the books now in use were devised, in the time of Lles, son of Coel,[153]  the first Baptismal King in the island of Britain. Nevertheless, the Bards and Poets keep in memory and use the old observance of books for the remembrance and preservation of every old art belonging to the nation of the Cymry, and the knowledge, as far as possible, of one thing or mode, which cannot be had of another thing or mode, through inevitable destiny; for no form of good sciences ought to be lost.

This is the mode, as regards form and aspect, in which the letters of the Coelbren of the Bards should be cut, that is to say, they ought to be cut with a sharp-edged knife, and the cutting should be distinct and ungulate.

Sixteen primitive letters have there been from the beginning--before the memorial of sciences, and these have been taught and practised by the old Cymry, who were Poets and Bards, and other learned men of letters.

After that, others were devised, and the Coelbren was completed as far as thirty-eight letters, warranted by the reason and authority of Gorsedds, and Bards, and learned men, and these are all of them.

There are twelve vowel letters, namely,


There are twenty-six consonants, namely, twelve primitives, as shewn before, and fourteen secondaries.

The primitives are,


The following are the secondaries, namely,


And thus in a series, according to the ancient art of the system of letters:


After the coming of the faith in Christ, the saints and monks intermixed another Alphabet, different from the Coelbren of the Bards, which was derived from the Latin; and this is the form and aspect which it presents,


and they are twenty-one, or twenty, according to others, by leaving out (symbol).

And when this was obtained, the old authors used to mix in their Coelbrens some of one and some of the other of the two Coelbrens above, which have been exhibited, that is to say, the Coelbren of the Bards, and the Coelbren of the Monks, as it seemed best to them, and according to reason and awen.

When the art of plagawd was obtained, writing on trees failed; nevertheless the Bards and Poets preserved the old art of using wood; and until lately there was not one in a hundred of the regular Bards who was not skilled in the Coelbren, and could not make it with his own hands, as the primitive usage of the Bards required; that is to say,--Three things which a Bard ought to make with his own hands: his Coelbren; his Roll; and his Plagawd. Many, besides the Poets, knew the Coelbren until within the memory of those now living; and many a one, in no remote times, used to keep their domestic accounts on wood, cut with a knife.

Coelbren Of The Bards

Thus says Llywelyn Sion.

After the intestine war of Owain Glyndwr,[154]  the king[155]  forbade paper and plagawd to be brought into Cymru, or to be manufactured there, in order that it might prevent epistolary correspondence between a Cymro and a Cymro, and between the Cymry and the people of a bordering country and of foreign lands; and this to revenge the siding with Owain, which was observed every where on the part of every man in Cymru. He also forbade the Bards and Poets to go their circuits, and to visit the different families officially. Then was remembered, and brought into use, the ancient custom of the Bards of the Isle of Britain; namely, the cutting of letters, which they called the symbols of language and utterance, upon wood or rods prepared for the purpose, called Coelbren of the Bards--and thus was it done. They gathered rods of hazel or mountain ash in the winter, about a cubit in length, and split each into four parts, that is, the wood was made into four splinters, and kept them, until by the working of time they became quite dry. Then they planed them square, in respect of breadth and thickness, and afterwards trimmed down the angles to the tenth part of an inch, which was done that the cuttings of the letters, that is, the symbols, which were cut with the knife on one of the four square surfaces, should not visibly encroach upon the next face; and thus on every one of the four faces. Then they cut the symbols, according to their character, whether they were those of language and speech, or of numbers, or other signs of art, such as the symbols of music, of voice, and string. And after cutting ten of such bars as were required, they prepared four splinters, two and two, which were called pill, planed them smooth, placed two of them together side by side across the frame, and marked the places for ten holes. After that, they cut the holes, that is, half of each of the ten holes, in one splinter, and the same in the other; and they did the same with the other two splinters; and these are called pillwydd. Then they took the symbolized or lettered bars, and made a neck at each of the two ends of every bar, all round, the breadth of a finger, along the bar. Then they placed the lettered sticks by their necks on one of the pillwydd at one end, and in like manner at the other end; and on that the other pillwydd at each end, hole for hole. And at both ends of two pillwydden they made necks, as places for strings to tie them firmly together at each end of the symbolized sticks. And when the whole are thus bound tight together, the book that is constructed in this manner is called Peithynen, because it is framed; the pillwydd at each end keeping all together, and the ebillion, or lettered staves, turning freely in the pillwydd, and thus being easy to read. That is, one face of the chill is read first, according to the number of its face, then it is turned with the sun, and the second face is read, and it is turned so for every other face, and thus from ebill to ebill until the reading is finished. A number from one to ten being on the turning face of each of the ebillion, the numbered face is the first that is to be read, and then the others in the order of their course with the sun.

There are forty sides to the ebillion in every Peithynen; after that, another Peithynen is formed, until the conclusion of the poem or narrative. And where more than ten ebillion are required, and less than twenty, as many ebillion as are required are placed altogether in one entire Peithynen. The reason of assigning ten as the particular number of succession, is, that ten is the division point of number, and under the number of decades are all numbers arranged, until language cannot give them names. Ten is a perfect circle, and ten within ten, or ten about ten, will be within and without the circumference, circle within circle, for ever and ever; therefore the best arrangement of number and numbers is ten and tens. And it is not possible by any other method to keep accounts in an orderly manner, in strong places, so that they may be read and understood, and recited, uniformly and consistently.

After having, for the reasons shewn, restored to memory and use the old primitive art of the Cymry in letters and symbols, it was submitted to the judgment and observation of the Chairs and Gorsedds of vocal song of Deheubarth and Morganwg, and the Eisteddvods of Gwynedd and Powys, that they might search out what had been lost of the sciences of the symbols of the Bardic Coelbren, and what improvement and extension had been made in the kind and number of the symbols. Then they confirmed sixteen characters as general ones from the beginning, and the additions, which had been made to that number from time to time until the era of the Blue Bard,[156]  when they were confirmed as twenty-one primary symbols, in respect of the vocalization of the Cymraeg. After that, they fixed the number of the common ones at twenty-four; nor were any more appointed for domestic learning and sciences; but the Bards had on their secret Coelbren thirty-eight, of ancient preservation and secret record, which they restored to use and practice. And it was not understood that more than ten of them, which were called the ten primitives, ought to be put under an oath of secrecy; these were put under the forms of sworn secrecy, whilst the whole thirty eight were left a secret, but without vow or oath; and from that they became common, as they are now.

After recovering the knowledge of the Coelbrens, that is, the one of the Bards and the one of the Monks, nearly every person, male and female, wished to learn and construct them. From thence they became the trade of sieve-makers and basket-makers, and upon them was cut the record of every thing that required the preserved memorial of letter and book. And thus it was until the time of Henry the Seventh, who, being a Cymro,*  took his countrymen under the protection of his courtesy, and placed them, at his own expense, under the instruction of the monks, and furnished them gratuitously with as much paper and parchment as was required; and they were taught whichever they would of the two languages, Welsh or English, and many learned both.

On that account the knowledge of letters was more frequent among the common people in Wales than it was in England; and from hence also there were more than enough of Poets, whom the abbots placed here and there as scholars, from which it happens that the Poets are domestic schoolmasters unto the present day, proceeding on their appointed circuits from house to house, and from family to family. The old Coelbrens are frequently to be seen and beheld, but now a Peithynen is not often made, except for a degree in Chair, or for the payment of money, or the value of money, from the person who might order it, according to the need of him ordering it. There are many now living who remember the use of the Coelbren of the Bards, and many a Coelbren may still be seen in the houses of the old noble families.

The account, according to old memorials and letters, and the memorials of the voice of Gorsedd, which have been preserved by Chairs from the beginning, is as follows, namely;--

Ten symbolic characters of utterance, in respect of language and speech, have been in possession of the nation of the Cymry from the age of ages before they came into the island of Britain, which were a secret under vow and oath among, the Gwyddoniaid, these persons being Poets and men of vocal song and sciences of wisdom before there were regular Bards. It was in the time of Prydain, son of Aedd the Great, about one thousand five hundred years before Christ was born in the flesh of the pure and blessed Mary, and in the time of Aedd the Great, that regular Bards were instituted, and authorized office and license assigned to them. After that, the Coelbren of the Gwyddoniaid was improved, as occasion required for its being understood and read, until there were sixteen symbols in the Alphabet. And it was in the time of Dyvnwal Moelmud, about six hundred years, by record and computation, before Christ was born in the flesh, that the sixteen symbols, and their order for the preservation of language and speech and every memorial of country and nation, were divulged, because no other method could be found so good for maintaining the memorials and sciences of wisdom, and the privileges and usages of the nation of the Cymry, and its appurtenances. And the ten symbolic characters are kept to this day as a secret by vow and oath; and no man, except those who have taken the oath, knows them. When the sixteen became generally open to all the nation, the Coelbren was further improved and extended, till it consisted of eighteen in the time of Beli the Great, son of Manogan; and after that of twenty; and, in the time of the Blue Bard, of twenty-one, or, as another record says, of twenty-two; and so many are there of primitive letters in the Cymraeg, such as are beyond this number, as far as thirty-eight, being called secondaries.

Coelbren Of The Bards

Here is shewn the mode of making the Coelbren of the Bards.

Take small pieces of wood, split into four parts, a cubit in length; render the four sides fair, and exact, and smooth, their thickness being about the fourth of an inch, or very little more than that, and the width and depth being of equal size, that is, about the length of a barleycorn each way in the thickness of the wood. When you have prepared them thus far, trim down a little of the edges or corners of the wood, to the width of the tenth or twelfth of an inch; so that, when the letters are cut on one of the sides, they may not appear on any other side, but in the rasped margin alone. After that, make necks on the staves within the length of two barleycorns of the end, round, and the thickness of a nail or cabbage leaf, deeper than the surface of the tree; and trim both ends neatly and smartly, that they may be beautiful to look at, and easy under the finger to turn. Then the stave will be ready, which is also called ebill, and in the plural ebillion.

And on this stave or ebill the letters are cut with a knife in small grooves the thickness of a leaf or small straw in depth, and as wide as a slender stalk of hay. Let every groove be cut fair and clear in its cutting. And when you have cut on one side, cut on the next, and so on the four sides; but take care not to cut deeper than the rasping of the edges. When you have cut on the four sides, proceed to another stave, and from ebill to ebill, until you shall have cut the whole of the poem or oration that was intended. Then take four pieces of wood for the pillwydd, for these sticks are called pillwydd, and with them make a frame, in which the lettered ebillion shall be arrayed methodically and securely. These are the delineations of the pillwydd; that is, in each is made a series of small semicircular notches, as large as half the necks of the ebillion, care being taken that the notch of one piece of wood is exactly opposite to its fellow in the other. And when two are finished, they are joined together, and afterwards the ebillion are inserted by their necks in the pillwydd, and the two pillwydd are tied round their necks at each end with a strong thread of silk, or with the small strings of a harp or violin, or with thin brass wires, or the small sinews of a hind. After this, construct the other two pillwydd in the same way, and place the ebillion, by their other necks, in them, tying them as at the other end. Thus will all the ebillion be strong and orderly, each one exactly in its place. And if there be occasion, because of the length of the poem or oration, make another framework, for it does not accord with convenience that there should be above from twenty-four to thirty ebillion in the same framework; therefore make two or three, or as many as may be required. When the framework is completed exactly, it is called Peithynen, and each of the ebillwydd will turn in it easily, for when one side of the ebill has been read, it is turned so that the other side may be read, and so with the four sides. The turning is made with the sun, or to the right hand. And when one ebill has been read, you proceed to the next below it, and so from one to the other until the whole be gone over. It should be remembered that the trimmed and ornamented end is to be towards the right hand, so that with it you may turn every one of them easily and dexterously. Others place the ebillion for the finger’s end alternately, one to the right hand, and the other to the left hand, every other turn. Let this be as is deemed best by the maker.

A sharp knife is required to cut the grooves fairly and clearly, with a skilful, dexterous hand.

The breadth of either half of the pillwydd will be the length of two barleycorns, or somewhat less, and the thickness of each the fourth of an inch; and it is not convenient that there should be more bulk than what I said in the wood materials, lest they should be too heavy, and inconvenient to carry and handle.

Care should be taken that every groove be exact in its form, the perpendiculars of every letter be in a right position, inclining neither to the one hand nor to the other, and that the obliques slant correctly, as they ought, according to the form of the letter.

On that end of the ebill, which projects through the pillwydd frame on the left side, is made its numerical groove, and so its number on every one, that it may be easy to put every ebill in its proper place, without being obliged to read it, whilst others are before and after it. These numbers are made in two ways, the one contains as many grooves as the number of the ebill in the peithynen, the other is the numeral letter that may be required.

Take care that every letter, in respect of its groove, be of uniform thickness, otherwise it will be unseemly to the sight.

The best wood wherewith to construct a Peithynen are young oak saplings, as thick as would leave the ebillion large enough, after the tree has been split into four parts, and the rind and epidermis have been completely chipped off from each quarter. They should be well dried before they are finished and lettered: the best time to cut the wood is the Feast of St. Mary.

The best wood in respect of the facility of chipping and grooving is hazel wood, split into four parts, or willow wood, split into four parts; and they ought to be well dried before they are lettered. The best of all willows is the yellow willow. The ancient Poets, however, sought the wood of mountain ash, regarding it as charmed wood, because worms do not devour or corrupt it, and because no vain spirit, or wicked fiend, will abide where there is mountain ash, and because neither charm nor enchantment can avail against mountain ash, nor injure it, nor him who carries it, and because no deadly poison can touch them.

This mode in regard to letters is the old mode of the Cymry before the coming of strangers into the island of Britain. But when they obtained the knowledge of the faith in Christ, writing on skin came to be understood in Cymru, as at present; and when that was known, a Roll was made, on which was placed the written skin, being folded and tied around the same. This is the form of the Roll, which is made of any wood you like, though mountain ash is considered the best, because of the charms attached to that tree.

It was around the thin part of the Roll, within the ends, that the lettered skins were put, as many skins as would go round the Roll, which were folded and tied about it. When paper was obtained, it was used instead of skins, as at present. The most convenient of all forms of book and writing is the Roll in respect of the facility and safety of keeping it; but it is not much used now, except at the exhibition of Gorsedd and Chair by such as are required to keep a Roll of the system of song, and the pedigrees and privileges of country.


The pillwydd will be in two halves each post, so that they may be opened and closed in order to receive and bind together the peithwydd, or ebillion. There are two posts, one at each end of the frame, and in each frame it is usual for the most part to have twenty-four of the peithwydd,[157]  though there may be any number required. Therefore eighteen or twenty are often seen, and not seldom thirty. And in the Peithynen as many fastenings as may be desired, but more than three fastenings are unwieldy. Some make a Peithynen with one long fastening, having perhaps forty, fifty, or sixty, or more peithwydd, but where that is the case, more than one fastening is not manageable. The peithwydd ought each to be four sided, with the edges or angles slightly taken off to the full depth of the letters, so that the letters of one side may not appear on the edge of the other side, and so with every side. The width of the sides of the peithwydd will be as large as the length of a barley corn or wheat corn; if larger, the Peithynen would be unwieldy and heavy, and would require much room in carrying.

Some put the peithwydd in the blue colour in which wool is dyed, letting them stand there until every one of them is of a blue colour; and having allowed them to dry, they cut the letters, which will be white, and clearer on the blue wood, than if it had not been coloured, the letters being of the same colour as the wood. Others use black, or green, or red colour, it matters not much what colour it may be, so that the letters sufficiently differ from the colour of the wood. The best of all wood for lasting is oak; the easiest to be worked is hazel, or willow, or alder. Birch is a good tree, so are the plumb-tree and the hawthorn; the old Poets formerly were fond of mountain ash; there need be no better for lasting and working than apple trees, where they may be had smooth. Boiling the pillwydd and peithwydd in sour lees, will keep them from worms, and heating them hot, and smearing them with beeswax, half roasting them until the wax penetrates into them from the heat, will keep them from decay and rot, whatever tree it may be.

Coelbren Of The Bards

Here is shewn the mode of making the Coelbren of the Bards. Small pieces of wood are taken, split, about a cubit in length, and squared, until they are four sided, the width of each side being less than half an inch, that is, its width will be about the length of a barley corn. On these sides the letters are cut; but before they are cut, it is requisite that the edges should be rasped, in order that, when the letters are cut on one side, their heads may not appear as characters on the other sides, except in the rasping.

Secret Coelbren.--Secret Coelvain.--Coelvain Of History

The mysteries of the Bards, that is to say, the secret Coelbrens, are small ebillion, a finger long, having notches [158], so that they may be used by two persons or more, who are confidants. It is by placing and joining them together, with reference to what is secret, that words and phrases are formed; and by bundling them into words, according to secrecy, missive epistles and secret books are constructed, the meaning of which no one knows but confidants; nor is it right, according to usage and troth, to divulge the same. They are called the Charms of the Bards, or Bardic Mystery.

Secret Coelvains are similar, made of small stones bearing the marks of mystery; and it is by disposing them, according to the arrangement and art of the Secret, that necessary sciences are demonstrated. And where such Coelbrens exhibit the number of the letters of the Historical Coelbren, let them be made secret by changing one letter for another, so that it be not ascertained except from the necessity and declination of the same letter twice in the same meaning and power.

The Coelvain of History will be, in respect of the historical letters, according to their authorized and fixed order; that is, instead of pillwydd there will be a Peithynen of slate, having on it the reading, inscribed with a steel spike, or a sharp flint.

Burning The Letters

It was in the time of Llyr of Defective Speech that the way of burning the cyrvens with an iron stamp was understood, that is, there was an iron for every letter, heated red hot, with which they burnt on an ebill or a board what was required; and sometimes they formed letters on wood with the small prickings of a hot fork.

Coelbren Of Simple Letters

Occasionally the Bards kept Coelbrens of simple letters, that is to say, one letter on each piece of wood; and by putting them together, according to the requirement of word and name, they mutually communicated one with the other, and understood and acquainted themselves with each other, without speech, and in secrecy. Every one of the pieces of wood was four sided, having six surfaces to each, and a letter on each surface, differently coloured, so that what was wanted might be obtained at sight without much searching. The arrangement of twenty-four was found to be the best for those Coelbrens; and from obtaining mutual knowledge by means of the said Coelbrens secrets were ascertained, which caused much astonishment as to how it was possible.

Palm Coelbren

The palm Coelbren is that where twenty-four are cut on small dice, that is, inasmuch as each die has six sides, and a letter on each side, there will be on the four dice twenty-four letters, besides what may be obtained otherwise, when the die is reversed, in order to show a different letter.

Thus, (symbol) and others, being reversed, will make (symbol), &c. that is, a, â, e, ê, ng, c, d, y, y, m, turned upside down will make w, ŵ, p, ff, ngh, d, dd, l, ll, w. By holding some of these in the palm of the hand, and putting them together in the presence of a man of secrecy, dumb conversation can be carried on.

Peithyn Coelbren.--Palm Coelbren

Peithyn, any thing ribbed or cogged, a term applied to the Wooden Book of the Bards.

The Peithyn Coelbren consists of staves placed regularly together in a frame.

The palm Coelbren consists of small squares of wood of the shape and size of dice, each containing a letter, and a small hole, through which a string is passed. There are as many strings as there are letters; that is, (symbol) is lettered on one string, (symbol) on another string, and in the same way with every string, each string having its own letter. And where knowledge is mutually communicated in secret, one man takes from his string what is necessary, and the other answers him back in the same manner; and thus from palm to palm as long as is required. This is called the palm Coelbren, and the palm speech, and the palm alphabet; and frequently has vocal song been lettered in this way, that is, the first verse on its own string, the second accordingly, and all the following verses to the end of the song. And between word and word, in order that each word might be distinctly evident, a round piece of wood is inserted. This is called the dumb Coelbren, and the dumb alphabet; and it is called the imparting of secrets, for it can be done in sight of all the world, without any body knowing it, except the privy friends alone.


Another mode for booking sciences were the Peithynvain,[159]  that is, they wrote with a steel pencil on both surfaces of the stones, and then put them on a strong cord, or on an iron or brass rod, which passed through the top of every Peithynvaen. These stones were called Coelvain. Another method was that of Howel the Good, devised by Blegywryd, his Clerk,[160]  which was this;--they faced the hall of the Prince’s court with stones, one side and another of the hall, and on the stones wrote in order, with a strong pencil, the laws which Howel imposed upon the country and nation of the Cymry, an open entrance being left for every man that needed, whatever man he might be, whether a native or a stranger, to proceed into the hall, and to read the law, or to have it read to him. Hence it became customary to inscribe a vocal song, a Roll, a poem, the memorial of praiseworthy deeds, and the narration of wisdom, on Peithynvain, and to place them on the face of walls and partitions, or on strings, or iron rods. It was from this also that the practice arose of giving the name of Coelvain to all sciences, of whatsoever kind they were, and to whatsoever things that were inscribed thereon.

King Arthur placed the system of the Round Table, and the praiseworthy deeds of its knights, on plates of brass and tin, in his three principal courts, namely, Caerleon-upon-Usk, Celliwig,[161]  and Penrhyn Rhionydd,[162]  written with a steel pencil.


Before the knowledge of letters was obtained, there was no other memorial than vocal song, authorized by three Chairs, and the voice of an efficient Gorsedd. There were three efficient Gorsedds that preserved memorials, namely, the Gorsedd of Bards, the Gorsedd of the court of lord and law, and a conventional Gorsedd of country and nation. And every memorial was efficient that received the countenance of three Gorsedds, of one or other of the three Gorsedds of country and nation; that is, the countenance of the same Gorsedd three times under the proclamation and notice of a year and a day.

When the knowledge of letters was obtained, the preservation of Coelbrens, authorized by an efficient Gorsedd, was imposed upon every Gorsedd whatsoever; and that memorial was called Cyvarwydd, also Cyvarwyddyd.

After that, a knowledge of Plagawd, namely, letter skin, called membrane from the Latin, was obtained. Then all the Gorsedds were required to preserve authorized Rolls, as at present; and, after that, Rolls and Books of paper. Nevertheless, the best is the memorial of the Voice of Gorsedd, because no one can know the usage except in the hearing of country and nation, and there can be no confirmed knowledge of what is stated by letter and book, because the memory and recollection of letters cannot have the warranty of the hearing of country and nation--one, any more than another, of the Rolls and Books, which do not agree in their records.


Plagawd was a plant of the lilly kind, which was brought over from India; and on it they wrote with black, or some other colour. After that Plagawd of skin was made, being manufactured by art.

The Three Principal Materials Of Knowledge

The three principal materials of knowledge of the Bards of the Isle of Britain: wood, that is Coelbren; and Coelvain; which two existed before the faith in Christ was obtained; and when that was obtained, knowledge and understanding was had of the third, namely Plagawd, that is, the dressed skin of a beast, which is called parchment. (Grawen.[163]  There are two grawens: one of wood, the other of a beast.)

The Herald-Bard

The sciences of a Herald-bard have been lost, except what is preserved in the art of armory. In primitive times the sciences of heraldry were honourable, and every innate Cymro bore the signs of his lineage, his privileges, and his praiseworthy deeds, and of the praiseworthy deeds of his ancestors; and on that account the bearing of lineage and gentility was called a coat of arms. And when Ovatism was appointed, the sciences of Letter, and the memorial of Coelbren, were improved, and the sciences of heraldry wore abolished, being sufficiently included in the art of a Primitive Bard, namely, Vocal Song, the voice of Gorsedd, and the sciences of Letter, Coelbren, and Coelvaen, and after that, the Roll of writing. That, namely, the Roll of writing,[164]  was obtained by those who first introduced the faith in Christ into this island; that is, it was at that time that the art of elucidating sciences on plagawd skins, in preserved Rolls, became general in the country and among the nation of the Cymry.

Dasgubell Rodd

“A gift besom;” probably in reference to its employment of clearing off what hides the bare truth, or of divulging the secret in which it is couched.

Question. What is the Dasgubell Rodd?

Answer. The keys of the primitive Coelbren.

Q. What is it that explains the primitive Coelbren?*

A. The Dasgubell Rodd.

Q. What else?

A. The secret of the Dasgubell Rodd.

Q. What secret?

A. The secret of the Bards of the Isle of Britain.

Q. What will divulge the secret of the Bards of the Isle of Britain?

A. Instruction by a master in virtue of a vow.

Q. What kind of vow?

A. A vow made with God.

(*Before we dismiss the subject of the Coelbren, it may not be uninteresting to notice a fact which, as far as it goes, clearly disproves the charge, which would palm upon the late Iolo Morganwg the invention of the Bardic characters. About six or seven years ago, during the process of repairing an old house, called “The Court,” at Merthyr Tydvil, a room, which had been closed for a period of time exceeding the memory of man, was laid open, and in it were found several pieces of oak furniture, of decidedly a Tudor character, on one of which, a bedstead, were engraved, in relief, the letters


that is, in modern orthography, M C L. Mr. Thomas Stephens, author of The Literature of the Cymru, who has examined the carving, and inquired into the history of the family that owned the bedstead, has kindly favoured us with the following remarks,--”As to the age of the letters, they are probably, and to all appearance, of the same age as the bedstead. Wood carving in England does not lay claim to any great antiquity. A taste for carving prevailed during the reigns of the Tudors as well as of the Stewards; and it seems to me that the bedstead in question may be about 250 years old, or perhaps 300; but certainly not more. If the true date is ever ascertained, I think it not unlikely that I shall be found to have overstated its age than otherwise. This, however, will be of service in determining the age of the Coelbren to be at least as old as the age of Llywelyn Sion, and in setting aside all imputations upon the character of Iolo Morganwg, as a setter forth of an alphabet of his own invention.”

This is a most important admission on the part of one who is in general extremely sceptical about the traditions of the Bards. Mr. Stephens proceeds to give some account of the family, thus:--

He lived at Van, near Caerphilly, and was the patron of Meyrig Dafydd, (See Cyfrinach y Beirdd, pp. 124, 127,) Dafydd Llwyd Matthew, and other Bards, The family, therefore, was one which must have been cognizant of Coelbren y Beirdd. Next in descent was

1. Thomas Lewis, of Van, also Sheriff of Glamorgan in 1569--died Nov. 2, 1594, 87th of Queen Elizabeth.

He had the following brothers and sisters, viz.,--

2. William Lewis
3. Edward Lewis
4. Mary Lewis
5. Elizabeth Lewis
6. Margaret Lewis
7. Jane Lewis
8. Blanch Lewis
9. Cicely Lewis

Thomas Lewis married Margaret, daughter of Robert Gamage of Coyty, and uncle of the Countess of Leicester, the great Gamage heiress; and as his eldest son was born in 1560, the marriage probably took place during the Shrievalty of Sir Edward Lewis in 1559.

We have here the material for the interpretation of M C L. If these letters are not the initials of any one of the three sisters--Mary, Margaret, or Cicely Lewis, then they are most probably those of the bride of Thomas Lewis--Margaret Damage Lewis--C being used as a radical instead of G. There are two carved bedsteads at the Court; one far more elaborately carved than the subject of these remarks. The former was probably the wedding gift of Sir Edward Lewis to his son; the latter, part of the dowry of Margaret Gamage. That at all events is my exposition of (symbol).”)


Triads Of Bardism

These Triads are printed in Edward Williams’s Lyric Poems, vol. second. Of the copy from which they were taken, he gives the following account;--”The Triades that are here selected are from a Manuscript Collection, by Llywelyn Sion, a Bard of Glamorgan, about the year 1560. Of this manuscript I have a transcript; the original is in the possession of Mr. Richard Bradford, of Bettws, near Bridgend, in Glamorgan. This collection was made from various manuscripts of considerable, and some of very great antiquity--these, and their authors, are mentioned, and most or all of them still extant.” They were published at Geneva, in 1856, by M. Pictet, under the title of “Cyfrinach Beirdd Ynys Prydain,” or “ Le Mystere des Bardes de l’Ile de Bretagne,” accompanied by a translation and a commentary in the French language.

1. There are three primeval Unities, and more than one of each cannot exist: one God; one truth; and one point of liberty, and this is where all opposites equiponderate.

2. Three things proceed from the three primeval Unities: all life; all goodness; all power.

3. God consists necessarily of three things: the greatest in respect of life; the greatest in respect of knowledge; and the greatest in respect of power; and there can only be one of what is greatest in any thing.

4. Three things it is impossible God should not be: whatever perfect goodness ought to be; whatever perfect goodness would desire to be; and whatever perfect goodness can be.

5. The three witnesses of God in respect of what He has done, and will do: infinite power; infinite knowledge; and infinite love; for there is nothing that these cannot perform, do not know, and will not bring to pass.

6. The three ultimate ends of God’s regulation in giving existence to every thing: to weaken the evil; to strengthen the good; and to manifest all discrimination, that what ought to be might be known from what ought not to be.

7. Three things which God cannot but perform: what is most useful; what is most necessary; and what is most beautiful of all things.

8. The three stabilities of existence: what cannot be otherwise; what need not be otherwise; and what cannot be conceived better; and in these will all things end.

9. Three things will necessarily exist: the supreme power; the supreme intelligence; and the supreme love of God.

10. The three characteristics of God: complete life; complete knowledge; and complete power.

11. The three causes of living beings: the love of God in accord with the most perfect intelligence; the understanding of God knowing all possible means; and the power of God in accord with supreme will, love, and intelligence.

12. There are three Circles of existence: the Circle of Ceugant,[165]  where there is nothing but God, of living or dead, and none but God can traverse it; the Circle of Abred,[166]  where all things are by nature derived from death, and man has traversed it; and the Circle of Gwynvyd,[167]  where all things spring from life, and man shall traverse it in heaven.

13. The three states of existence of living beings: the state of Abred in Annwn;[168]  the state of liberty in humanity; and the state of love, that is, Gwynvyd in heaven.

14. The three necessities of all animated existences: a beginning in Annwn; progression in Abred; and plenitude in heaven, that is, the circle of Gwynvyd; without these three things nothing can exist but God.

15. Three things are necessary in Abred: the least of all animation, and thence a beginning; the material of all things, and thence increase, which cannot take place in any other state; and the formation of all things out of the dead, hence diversity of existence.

16. Three things cannot but happen to all living beings by the justice of God: co-sufferance in Abred, because without that none could obtain the perfect knowledge of any thing; co-participation of equal privilege in the love of God; and co-ultimity, through the power of God, in respect of such as are just and merciful.

17. The three necessary occasions of Abred: to collect the materials of every nature; to collect the knowledge of every thing; and to collect strength to overcome every ad-verse and Cythraul,[169]  and to be divested of evil; without this traversing of every state of life, no animation or species can attain to plenitude.

18. The three principal calamities of Abred: necessity; forgetfulness; and death.

19. The three principal necessities before fulness of knowledge can be obtained: to traverse Abred; to traverse Gwynvyd; and the remembrance of all as far as Annwn.

20. Three things indispensably connected with Abred: lawlessness, for it cannot be otherwise; the escape of death from evil and Cythraul; and the increase of life and goodness, by being divested of evil in the escapes of death; and this from the love of God embracing all things.

21. The three instrumentalities of God in Abred for the subduing of evil and Cythraul, and escaping from them towards Gwynvyd: necessity; forgetfulness; and death.

22. There are three primary contemporaries: man; liberty; and light.

23. The three necessary obligations of man: to suffer;[170]  to change; and to choose; and whilst he has the power of choosing, the other two things are not known before they happen.

24. The three equiportions of man: Abred and Gwynvyd; necessity and liberty; evil and good; all equiponderate, man having the power of attaching himself to the one he pleases.

25. From three things will the necessity of Abred fall on man: from not endeavouring to obtain knowledge; from non-attachment to good; and from attachment to evil; occasioned by these things he will fall to his congener in Abred, whence he will return, as at first.

26. From three things will man fall of necessity in Abred, though he has in every thing else attached himself to good: from pride even to Annwn; from falsehood to a corresponding state of perception;[171]  and from unmercifulness to a similarly disposed animal,[172]  whence, as at first, he returns to humanity.

27. The three primaries of the state of man: the first accumulations of knowledge, love, and power, without death. This cannot take place, in virtue of liberty and choice, previous to humanity: these are called the three victories.

28. The three victories over evil and Cythraul: knowledge; love; and power; for these know, will, and can do, in their conjunctive capacity, what they desire; they begin in the state of man, and continue for ever.

29. The three privileges of the state of man: equiponderance of evil and good, whence comparativity; liberty of choice, whence judgment and preference; and the origin of power, proceeding from judgment and preference, since these must necessarily exist before any other action.

30. The three inevitable differences between man, or any other living being, and God: man is finite, which God cannot be; man had a beginning, which God could not have; man must needs change his condition successively in the circle of Gwynvyd, from not being able to endure the Ceugant, but God needs not, being able to endure all things, and that consistently with felicity.

31. The three primaries of Gwynvyd: cessation of evil; cessation of want; and the cessation of perishing.

32. The three restorations of the circle of Gwynvyd: original Awen;[173]  primitive love; and primitive memory; because without these there can be no Gwynvyd.

33. Three things discriminate every animate being from others: Awen; memory; and perception: these will be complete in every one, and cannot be common to any other living being; each will be plenary, and two plenaries of any thing cannot exist.

34. Three things has God given to every living being: namely, the plenitude of his species; the distinction of his individuality; and the characteristic of a primitive Awen as different from another; this is what constitutes the complete self of every one as apart from another.

35. From understanding three things will ensue the diminution and subjugation of all evil and death: their nature; their cause; and their operation; and this will be obtained in Gwynvyd.

36. The three stabilities of knowledge: to have traversed every state of life; to remember every state and its incidents; and to be able to traverse every state, as one would wish, for the sake of experience and judgment; and this will be obtained in the circle of Gwynvyd.

37. The three characteristics of every living being in the circle of Gwynvyd: vocation; privilege; and Awen; nor is it possible for two beings to be identical in every thing, for every one will be complete in what is characteristic of him; and there is nothing complete without comprehending the whole quantity that can possibly belong to it.

38. Three things none but God can do: to endure the eternities of Ceugant; to participate of every state without changing; and to ameliorate and renovate every thing without causing the loss of it.

39. Three things that can never be annihilated, from their unavoidable possibilities: form of existence; quality of existence; and the utility of existence; for these will, divested of their evils, exist for ever, whether animate or inanimate, as beautiful and good varieties of the circle of Gwynvyd.

40. The three excellencies of changing condition in Gwynvyd: instruction; beauty; and repose, from not being able to endure the Ceugant and eternity.

41. There are three things on their increase: fire, or light; understanding, or truth; and the soul, or life; these will prevail over every thing, and then Abred will end.

42. There are three things on the wane: the dark; the false; and the dead.

43. Three things acquire strength daily, there being a majority of desires towards them: love; knowledge; and justice.

44. Three things grow more enfeebled daily, there being a majority of desires in opposition to them: hatred; injustice; and ignorance.

45. The three plenitudes of Gwynvyd: participation of every nature, with a plenitude of one predominant; conformity to every Awen, and in one excelling; love towards every living being and existence, and towards one, that is, God, above all; in these three ones will the plenitude of heaven and Gwynvyd consist.

46. The three necessities of God: to be infinite in Himself; to be finite to the finite; and to be co-united with every state of animated beings in the circle of Gwynvyd.

Theological Triads

1. Three things cannot but exist: life;[174]  power; and truth.

2. God consists of three things: life; power; and knowledge.[175]  Otherwise--Three things that cannot be dispensed with in God, &c.

3. The three principal[176]  essentials of goodness: love; power; and wisdom; each one being perfect of necessity, and indispensable nature. Love; justice; and truth.

4. There are three Unities, and they cannot have[177]  seconds: one God; one[178]  truth; and one point of liberty; and in these three all goodness is rooted in respect of power, goodness, and knowledge.

5. There are three necessary distinctions between man and God: man has size and measure, which God cannot have; man has a beginning, which God cannot have; man is subject to the change of condition, which God cannot be.

6. The three kinds of existences: God; the living; and the dead.

7. Three things which God cannot be; feeble; unwise; and unmerciful. Others say,

8. Three things which God cannot be: folly; feeble; and unmerciful.

9. Three things which God cannot but be: whatever perfect goodness ought to be; whatever perfect goodness would desire to be; and whatever perfect goodness can be.

10. Three things, without which there can be neither God nor perfect goodness: perfect knowledge; perfect will; and perfect power.

11. The three tendencies of the order of God’s work in the formation of all things: to subdue the evil; to elevate the good; and to manifest every nature in respect of necessity and privilege--To weaken the evil; to strengthen the good; and to manifest every distinction.

12. Three things that God appointed supreme of every existence: love; truth; and knowledge.

13. The three supports of a moral man: God; his own conscience; and the praise of all the wise.

14. Three things that exhibit God: His powerful existence; His significant existence; and His necessary existence.

15. There are three necessary existences, which cannot but be: the greatest of every thing, that is, God; the least of every thing, that is, nothing; and the middle, that is, finiteness.[179]

16. Three things that cannot but be in some place or time: the most necessary; the most useful; and the most desirable;[180]  and this cannot but be God.

17. Three things God cannot but perform: what is most useful; what is most necessary; and what is most sought.

18. The three witnesses of God in respect of His works: His infinite power; infinite knowledge; and infinite love; for there is nothing that these attributes cannot accomplish; cannot seek; and cannot wish.

19. The three principal attributes of God: essence; knowledge; and power.

20. The three principal properties of knowledge: feeling;[181]  understanding; and seeking.[182]

21. The three principal properties of essence: substance; quality; and motion.

22. The three principal properties of power: love; purpose;[183]  and order.

23. The three principal manifestations of God: what can be done by perfect power; what is done[184]  by perfect love; and what perfect knowledge knows. Others say,--The three manifestations of God: fatherhood; sonship; and spirituality.

24. Three things that are one in will and tendency with all goodness: God in His might; an awakened conscience; and the judgment of wise men.

25. The three causes of animate beings in the hands of God: love desiring felicity to the utmost extent of perfect understanding; wisdom knowing the utmost means; and power to accomplish the utmost conception of understanding and love.

26. The three causations of all acts:[185]  necessity and contingence in the circle of Abred; choice by reason of liberty in the life of man; and choice from love in the circle of Gwynvyd.

27. The three co-operations of man with God: to endure; to consider; and to love; nor can man co-operate with God in any other thing. To endure is the chief of all, for the others cannot take place without it.

28. Three things that are discordant with God: misfortune; falsehood; and despair.

29. Three places in which there will be most of God: where there is most of what will love Him; most of what will seek Him; and least of self.

30. There are three things, and God is found where they are looked for: mercy; truth; and peace.

31. Three things that man knows not[186]  what they are: God; nothing; and infinity.

32. There are three circles of existence: the circle of Ceugant, which God only can traverse; the circle of Abred, which man has traversed; and the circle of Gwynvyd, which man shall traverse.

33. The three materials employed by God in making all things: love; wisdom; and power. (See Triad 25.)

34. The three excellences of the state of man: the end of Abred; liberty; and communion with the blessed.[187]

35. The three felicities of heaven: the utter subjugation of all evil; everlasting life; and the endless[188]  renovation of bliss.

36. The three primary contemporaries of the world:[189]  man; light; and liberty.

37. The three prominent features of the state of living beings: mortals; terrestrials; and celestials.

38. God consists of three qualities: what cannot be otherwise; what cannot be dispensed with; and what cannot be better.

39. The three plenitudes[190]  of Ceugant: God; justice; and love. [191]

40. Three things which cannot but be in God: supreme power; supreme wisdom;[192]  and supreme love.

41. There are three causes of death: ignorance; unrestrained[193]  love for the good; and inability to endure the Ceugant; that is to say, from love proceeds knowledge, and by knowledge may the obligation of Ceugant be avoided, that is, from knowledge proceeds the change of condition.

42. The three essential attributes[194]  of God: eternity; power; and love; and they are called impulsive attributes,[195]  because God cannot exist without them.

43. The three impulsive necessities of man: to suffer; to change; and to choose; and because of the third, it cannot be known when the two first will happen.

44. The three conditions of the necessity of humanity: the equiponderant commixture of Abred and Gwynvyd, and hence, consideration; the experience of good and evil, and hence, judgment; choice from judgment consequent upon consideration, and hence, liberty.

45. The three instrumentalities of God in Abred for subduing evil and Cythraul, and escaping from it towards Gwynvyd: death; necessity; and forgetfulness.

46. The three stabilities of Gwynvyd: the pleasure of God granting; the power of God strengthening; and the knowledge of God directing.

47. The three properties of knowledge: love towards the best, seeking it; judgment from experience, on obtaining it; and choice according to judgment, on seeing what is right.

48. Three things will prevail at last: fire; truth; and life.

49. The three places of the being and existence of all animation: with Cythraul in Annwn; with light in the state of man; and with God in Gwynvyd.

50. There are three oppressions[196]  and onsets on the circle of Ceugant: pride; perjury; and cruelty; because, of free will, and endeavour, and pre-arrangement, they force existence upon things that ought not to be, and that cannot accord with the indispensables of the circle of Gwynvyd. And by making this assault, man falls in Abred even to Annwn. The chief and most grievous is pride, because it is from this that the other two oppressions are derived; and it was from pride that the first fall in Abred occurred, after the original progression to the species and state of humanity in Gwynvyd.

51. Three victories will occasion an escape, namely: victories over pride; uncharitable hatred; and cupidity; for no one with these can attain to the circle of Gwynvyd, because they will not accord with Gwynvyd, and Gwynvyd cannot be obtained from their natures.

52. The three usurpations of pride: to distort every thing, so that the truth cannot be seen; to enslave every liberty, so that one cannot free himself from Abred; and to make a predatory onset on God and His prerogative, so that there can be no justice.

53. The three stabilities of pride: usurpation and theft; murder and ambuscade; and imposing belief upon what is false.

54. The three primary sins are: pride; cruelty; and falsehood.

55. There are three circles of existence: the circle of Ceugant, where there is neither animate or inanimate save God,[197]  and God only can traverse it; the circle of Abred, where the dead is stronger than the living, and where every principal existence is derived from the dead, and man has traversed it; and the circle of Gwynvyd, where the living is stronger than the dead, and where every principal existence is derived from the living and life, that is, from God, and man shall traverse it; nor will man attain to perfect knowledge, until he shall have fully traversed the circle of Gwynvyd, for no absolute knowledge can be obtained but by the experience of the senses, from having borne and suffered every condition and incident.

56. There are three occasions for death on the part of God: to better the condition in Abred; to renovate life for the sake of reposing from then on endurance of Ceugant; and to experience every state of the living and life, and what by nature and incident belongs to it, that is, in order to collect the particular kind of knowledge, and thereby obtain utter and complete knowledge respecting every animation and being, and every quality and essence, for otherwise than by means of this progression in Abred it is impossible to learn and be skilled in all the sciences, which can by nature and of necessity exist; and without them it is impossible to bear with the circle of Gwynvyd.

57. There are three things which distinguish all living beings, one from the other: what is nearest of all to God in respect of its particularity; distinctive Awen, which cannot have another of the same kind; and supreme bliss, being greatest of all of its kind.

58. Every living being has three things in respect of individuality and particular character, namely: plenitude of what he is, and it is impossible that there should be a second of the same, since there can be no two plenitudes of any thing; one entire uniformity in respect of order and mutual advantage; and one point of contentment, and no one seeks what is otherwise, since it was from ignorance of it that the pains of Annwn, and the cause of Abred, ensued.

59. There are three reasons for changing the state of existence and life in Gwynvyd: the instruction that is obtained therefrom; the beauty of novation; and repose from the non endurance of the eternity of Ceugant.

60. There are three things, each of which can have but one: one plenitude in respect of kind and Awen; one uniformity in respect of order and mutual advantage; and one supremacy, that is, God over all. (See the last but one.)

61. The three principal co-existences of the circle of Gwynvyd: love as far as the necessity of it requires; order until it can not be improved; and knowledge as far as thought and perception can reach.

62. Three things cannot exist in the circle of Gwynvyd: death; uncharitableness; and disorder. Others say;--need; uncharitableness; and disorder.

63. There are three judgments relative to duty, whereby it may be understood: what does another man forbid, and what would he himself forbid in another man; what does another man seek, and what would he himself seek of another man under the same circumstances; and what can be borne and desired for ever by all animations and existences in the circle of Gwynvyd, where neither uncharitableness nor injustice can exist, for whatever does not agree with that can be nought but undutifulness, disorder, injustice, and uncharitableness.

64. The three stabilities of Gwynvyd: to know the nature of evil, and to have endured it in Abred; to know the nature of good, and to experience it in Gwynvyd; and to know of every living form, its speciality, and individuality, as tending, by the pleasure, purpose, and will of God, to the general good. And in these things there is security and firmness, for God cannot otherwise support it out of love to truth and justice, and God can do nothing but truth and justice, and from truth and justice there can be nought but perfect love, and there can be no uncharitableness but from injustice.

65. From three things arises uncharitableness, that is: from doing injustice, and thereby causing uncharitableness in the one that suffers it; from suffering and receiving injustice at the hands of another, whence uncharitableness springs towards the one that does injustice; and from ignorance of the nature of uncharitableness, and the way in which it instigates anger, self-defence, and opposition in respect to it, whence enmity ensues alternately world without end.

66. The three stabilities[198]  of unity: one without another, and hence firm liberty; entirety without many, and hence firm power; and many in entirety, and hence firm knowledge; and from these three is formed firm unity; and there can be no firm unity but from God.

67. The three instabilities of many: non gregariousness, for there can be no individuality and speciality in respect of any one head or kind as distinguished from another thing or quality, or no place for the one and the other at the same period and time; finiteness, for there can be no infiniteness where there is another of the same kind and quality, however little he may be in respect of the kind and quality of his existence; changeableness, for, where there are two or many in number, one must bear the preference over another, and this can be changed, so that the one that was last may be first, and the place and time be altered, so that one can go from one place to another, and from one time to another, and from one state to another, such particulars being driven by one to the other. On this account God or gods cannot consist of many, nor can God be manifold or of many.

68. From three causes was there a fall in Abred: from pride that ventured into the circle of Ceugant, out of contempt and hatred of the circle of Gwynvyd, and out of desire for what was otherwise; hence violence was brought against God and goodness, and what indispensably appertains to Gwynvyd, that is, love, and all truth and justice; and from the fear of reason; and of duty.

69. The three principal states of created animations: Annwn, in which was their beginning; Abred, which they traverse for the sake of collecting sciences; and Gwynvyd, where they will end in plenteousness to the utmost extent of power, knowledge, and goodness, so much that more cannot possibly be had.

70. The three causes for disanimation: to deliver and be delivered from obligatory evil and worse; to approach and be raised towards Gwynvyd; and the non endurance of Ceugant and its want of repose, for there is none but God, Who, being infinite, can traverse it, and the finite cannot prevail against the infinite.

71. There are three kinds of death: punishment and pain for sin; the love of God in bringing all animation and existence from worse to better in Gwynvyd; and repose in Gwynvyd from not being able to endure the eternities of Ceugant.

72. The three blessed epochs of man: to receive life, such as having a soul at birth,[199]  or in the revival from a swoon; to give life, or to generate; and to change life, or to die, which is a going from worse to better.

Theological Triads

The Triads of Bardism, that is, the Triads of godly sciences, and of wisdom through Awen from God, which was given through the Holy Spirit to the primitive Bards of the Isle of Britain from the age of ages, according to the system and instruction of the three primary Bards and teachers of the Isle of Britain and the nation of the Cymry.[200]  And this instruction is adjudged as authorized by the memorials and voice of the Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, in right of the nation of the Cymry, and according to the privilege and usage of the Bards of the Isle of Britain.

1. There are three immeasurable unities: place; time; and life;[201]  that is, neither one nor other of them has either a beginning or an end.

2. There are three primary unities, and more than one of each cannot exist: one God; one truth; and one point of liberty, and that is, where all things, and all opposites, equiponderate.

3. Three things spring from the three primary unities: all life; all goodness; and all power.

4. The three attributes of God, being of primary co-existence: the greatest of all things in respect of life; and the greatest of all things in respect of might and power. Others say thus:

5. God is of three necessities, that is: the greatest in respect of life; the greatest in respect of knowledge; and the greatest in respect of might and power; and there can only be one greatest of any thing.

6. Three things which God cannot but be: what perfect goodness ought to be; what perfect goodness would desire-to be; and what perfect goodness can be.

7. The three primaries of all things: materiality; motion; and vitality.

8. The three characteristics of existence: time; place; and action.

9. The three stabilities of existence: nature; individuality; and continuance.

10. The three discriminations of existence: size; form; and operation.

Theological Triads

1. The three stabilities of unity, namely: completeness, for there can be no two kinds of one universality; infinity, for there can be no limit to one entirety; and immutability, for it cannot be that one completeness, universality, and entirety, should be other than they are. Therefore, there can be no God but from fundamental oneness.[202]

2. Three things united will produce power: I, Thou, and It; that is to say, the I willing, the Thou performing what the I wills, and the It becoming what is decided by the I, willing in union with the Thou. And they are called the three fundamentals, because from them in one are produced might and existence.

3. There are three judgments of duty, in which it will be understood; what a man forbids in another; what he seeks from another; and what is compatible with the circle of Gwynvyd.

4. Three victories will cause an escape: over uncharitableness; over coveteousness; and over disorder; for these will not accord with the circle of Gwynvyd.

5. The three principal co-existences of the circle of Gwynvyd: love as far as its necessity requires; order until it cannot be improved; and knowledge as far as it can be conceived and comprehended.

6. There are three things that cannot take place in the circle of Gwynvyd: death; uncharitableness; and disorder.

Theological Triads

1. The three stabilities of Gwynvyd: to know the nature of evil, from having suffered it in Abred; to know the nature of good, from having experienced it in Gwynvyd; and that every living being should know his appointment, according to the pleasure and purpose of God; and then there will be security and stability. For God cannot otherwise maintain it from love to truth and justice, and God cannot do other than what is true and just, hence comes perfect love.

2. The three virtues of unity: one without another; entirety without plurality; and plurality in entirety; and there can be no firm unity but from God.

3. The three instabilities of plurality: non-universality; finiteness; and changeableness; that is to say, non-universality, because the speciality of one thing or kind cannot belong to another, nor can the same place be for one and for another; finiteness, because there can be no infinitude, where there is another thing, however little it may be, of the same kind; changeableness, for where there are two or more, one will have the precedency over another, and hence there will be a capability of change, until the first becomes last.

Theological Triads

1. The three principal bodily perceptions of man: seeing; hearing; and feeling.

2. The three principal perceptions of the soul of man: love; hatred; and understanding.

3. There are three things from God, namely: what cannot be had as good without; what all see that they want; and what nobody else can satisfy.

4. The three residents of Ceugant: God; justice; and desirableness; and where God is, there are the other two.

5. The three impossibilities of God: to hate; to become feeble; and to become too great.

6. Three places where God cannot be found: where He is not asked to be; where He is not desired to be; and where He is not obeyed.

7. The three purposes of God in His works: to consume the evil; to enliven the dead; and to cause joy from doing good.

8. The three ways in which God works: experience; wisdom; and mercy.

9. There should be three agreements in every act of man: agreement with the nature of morality; agreement with the excellences of humanity; and agreement with what can exist in every thing for ever in the circle of Gwynvyd. Others say, agreement with the commandment of God; agreement with the excellences of man; and agreement with what can exist for ever, in respect of the godliness of its existence, in the circle of Gwynvyd. Others say; with the benefit of all living beings; with the justice of God; and with the love of the circle of Gwynvyd.

10. The three principal uses of all things in the hands of God: that they should be with a view to the greatest need; to the greatest utility; and to the greatest love.

11. The three principal properties of the Hidden God: power; knowledge; and love.

12. The three daily cares that should occupy the mind of every man: to worship God; to avoid injuring any one; and to act justly towards every living thing.

13. The three fears of a wise man: the fear of offending God; the fear of acting uncharitably to man; and the fear of excessive wealth and prosperity. Another version: the fear of God; the fear of sin; and the fear of excessive prosperity.

14. The three fears of the foolish man: the fear of man; the fear of the devil; and the fear of poverty. Al. worldly adversity.

15. In three things will a man resemble the devil: laying snares in the way; fearing a little child; and laughing at evil.

Theological Triads

Here are Triads which were found at Bewpyr, having been lost there by some one; or perhaps some person placed them of his own accord on the floor, where they were found.

1. The three occasions on which God rushed out of His infinitude: the first was, to make what never existed before, and that with a view to good, and for the prevention of all evil. Hence issued existence, or the work of His creation; and when it might have been otherwise, herein were shown infinite power and wisdom. The second was to deliver all emanations and existences from evil chance, and the assault of Cythraul [203], and to restore what had been lost, or become deteriorated, or to cast it off, and substitute a better in its stead. This will occur and happen to every existence, until all existence and creation shall have been improved to the utmost limits of goodness.

2. Three things indicate God: the placing good and evil face to face, in order that the one or the other may be known, with the view of attaching one’s self to the good and renouncing the evil.[204]


Disciple and Teacher.

This is the Druidism of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, with their opinion respecting God and all living beings, of whatsoever grade or kind they may be. It is rudimentally taught as follows:--

1. Question. What is God?

Answer. What cannot be otherwise.

Q. Why cannot it be otherwise?

A. Could it be otherwise, we should have no knowledge of any animation, being, existence, or futurity, in respect of any thing now known to us.

Q. What is God?

A. Complete and perfect life, and the total annihilation of every thing inanimate and death, nor can any species of mortality concur with Him. And God is life, full, entire, imperishable, and without end.

2. God is perfect life, which cannot be limited[205]  or confined, and, in virtue of His proper essence, is possessed of perfect knowledge, in respect of sight, sufferance, and intention, having His origin in Himself, without communion with any thing else whatsoever, and wholly free from all participation in evil.

3. God is absolute good, in that He totally annihilates all evil, and there cannot be in Him the least particle of the nature of evil.

4. God is absolute power, in that He totally annihilates inability, nor can power and will in Him be restrained, since He is almighty, and allgood.

5. God is absolute wisdom and knowledge, in that He totally annihilates ignorance, and folly; and therefore no event can by any chance happen, which He knows not of. And in view of these qualities and properties[206]  no being or animation can be conceived or contemplated other than coming from God, except natural evil, which annihilates all life and goodness.

6. What would utterly annihilate and reject God and life, and therein all goodness, is absolute and natural evil; which is thus in complete opposition, and of a contrary nature, and essence, to God, life, and goodness.

7. And by means of this direction, may be seen two things existing of necessity, namely: the living and dead; good and evil; God and Cythraul, and darkness in darkness, and powerless inability.

8. Cythraul is destitute of life and intention--a thing of necessity, not of will, without being or life, in respect of existence and personality; but vacant in reference to what is vacant, dead in reference to what is dead, and nothing in reference to what is nothing. Whereas God is good with reference to what is good, is fulness in reference to fulness, life in life, all in all, and light in light.

9. And from what has been said, it may be seen that there can be no existence of original nature but God and Cythraul, the dead and living, nothing and occurrence, issue from what is issueless, and existence from mutual union.

10. God mercifully, out of love and pity, uniting Himself with the lifeless, that is, the evil, with the intention of subduing it unto life, imparted the existence of vitality to animated and living beings, and thus did life lay hold of the dead, whence intellectual animations and vitality first sprang. And intellectual existences and animations began in the depth of Annwn, for there is the lowest and least grade, and it cannot but be that there and in that state intellectual life first began, for it cannot be otherwise than that the least and lowest grade of every thing should be the original and primordial one. The greatest cannot exist in an intellectual existence before the least; there can be no intellectual existence without gradation, and in respect of gradation there cannot but be a beginning, a middle, and an end or extremity,--first, augmentation, and ultimate or conclusion. Thus may be seen that there is to every intellectual existence a necessary gradation, which necessarily begins at the lowest grade, progressing from thence incessantly along every addition, intervention, increase, growth in age, and completion, unto conclusion and extremity, where it rests for ever from pure necessity, for there can not be any thing further or higher or better in respect of gradation and Abred.

11. All intellectual existences partake of good and evil, and that, more or less, according to their degree in Abred, from the dead in the depth of Annwn, to the living in the extremity of goodness and power, even so far as would not be at all possible for God to conduct them further.

12. Animations in Annwn are partakers of life and goodness in the lowest possible degree, and of death and evil in the highest degree that is possibly compatible with life and personal identity. Therefore, they are necessarily evil, because of the preponderance of evil over the good; and scarcely do they live and exist; and their duration and life are necessarily short, whilst by means of dissolution and death they are removed gradually to a higher degree, where they receive an accumulation of life and goodness, and thus they progress from grade to grade, nearer and nearer to the extremity of life and goodness, God, of His merciful affection for animated beings, preparing the ways along Abred, out of pure love to them, until they arrive at the state and point of human existence, where goodness and evil equiponderate, neither weighing down the other. From this spring liberty and choice and elective power in man, so that he can perform which ever he likes of any two things, as of good and evil; and thus is it seen that the state of humanity is a state of probation and instruction, where the good and evil equiponderate, and animated beings are left to their own will and pleasure.

13. In every state and point of Abred that is below humanity, all living beings are necessarily evil, and necessarily bound to evil, from utter want of will and power, notwithstanding all the exertion and power put forth, which vary according as they are situate in Abred, whether the point be high or low. On this account God does not hate or punish them, but loves and cherishes them, because they cannot be otherwise, and because they are under obligation, and have no will and choice, and whatever the amount of evil may be, they cannot help it, because it is from obligation, and not willingly, that they are in this condition.

14. After having arrived at the point of humanity in Abred, where evil and good equiponderate, man is free from all obligation, because goodness and wickedness do not press one upon the other, nor does either of them preponderate over the other. Therefore, the state of man is a state of will and freedom and ability, where every act is one of project and selection, consent and choice, and not of obligation and dislike, necessity and inability. On this account man is a living being capable of judgment, and judgment will be given upon him and his acts, for he will be good or bad according to his works, since whatever he does he could do differently; therefore it is right that he should receive punishment or reward, as his works require.


God is three things,[207]  and cannot be otherwise: coeval with all time; co-entire with all essence; and co-local with all mental purpose. Could what is called God be otherwise, it would not be God, since it could be surpassed, and no one is God that can be surpassed. He is also co-sentient with all animation.


Bardism recognises another principle of evil, which is called “DERA,” respecting which Iolo Morganwg has the following note:--”The old Bardic idea was that the DERA usurped the occupation of Cylch y Ceugant, and that he would suffer none but himself to occupy it, destroying all other beings;--that God, being more powerful, is able to dispossess him, and, with Himself to occupy it, creates beings highly susceptible of happiness, to enjoy it with Him to all eternity, on condition of joining with Him to resist evil. The common proverb is hence derived--’Myn y diawl y cwbl iddo ei hunan, fal y cybydd: mae Duw, fal yr haul, yn rhoi than i bob un arall.’”

There are three benefits to be had from Cythraul: the defection of evil; a view to goodness; and the triumph of victory over what is contrary to the beneficial.


Three things that are not capable of size or measure: Ceugant; duration; and God; because there can be no extremes to one or other of them--no beginning or end or middle to them.

The Three Imperceptibilities Of God

There are three things that are imperceptible in God: His origin, because there can have been no time in which He did not exist; the greatness of His love, for how much so ever He does, He will see no end to what He can in justice accomplish; and His power, because there is no end, size, or measure to what He can do after the utmost intention.

The Bards’ Enigma

These aphorisms are sometimes ascribed to Cattwg the Wise, in the sixth century.

There is nothing truly hidden[208]  but what is not conceivable;[209]

There is nothing not conceivable but what is immeasurable;
There is nothing immeasurable but God;
There is no God but that which is not conceivable;
There is nothing not conceivable but that which is truly hidden;
There is nothing truly hidden but God.

In some Books the Bards’ enigma is as follows:--

There is no God but what cannot be comprehended;
There is nothing that cannot be comprehended but what is not conceivable;
There is nothing not conceivable but what is immeasurable;
There is nothing immeasurable but God;
There is no God but what is not conceivable.

Here is the ancient Bards’ enigma:--

There is no God but what is not conceivable;
There is nothing not conceivable but God;
There is no God but what is immeasurable;
There is nothing immeasurable but God.

Here is another form of it.

There is nothing immeasurable but what is not conceivable;
There is nothing immeasurable but God;
There is nothing immeasurable but the greatest of all;
There can be no two of the greatest of all in any thing.

Here is a solution of the enigma.

What is not conceivable is the greatest of all, and the immeasurable of what is not in place;
God is the greatest of all, and the immeasurable of intelligence;
And there can be no existence to any thing but from intelligence;
And the non-existence of all things comes from what is not in place.

As the Bard says:

What is not conceivable is the greatest, and the immeasurable of all that is not in place;[210]
God is the greatest, and the immeasurable of all that are together in place.[211]

The Twelve Primary Negatives

“Cynnegolion,” the plural of “cynnegawl,” a word compounded of cyn, primary, and neg, adj. negawl, negation.

The twelve primary Negatives, called in some books the Lesson of the Gwyddoniaid, but in other books the Lesson of Tydain.

There is nothing sought after but what is precious;
There is nothing precious but what is beneficial;
There is nothing beneficial but possession;
There is no possession but Gwynvyd;
There is no Gwynvyd but knowledge;
There is no knowledge but what is new;
There is nothing new but what changes;

There is no change but what is advantageous;
There is no advantage but what is beautiful;
There is nothing beautiful but what is just;
There is nothing just but love;
There is no love but God.

And thus it ends.

Tydain the Father of Awen sang it, says the Book of Sion Cent.

Bardic Aphorisms

Thus says the Bard:--

There is no advantage but what can in no ways be dispensed with, that is, God;
There is no want but the want of God;
There is no enjoyment but the enjoyment of God;
There is no loss but the loss of God;
There is no sufficiency but God;
There is nothing immeasurable but God;
There is nothing knowing but God;
There is nothing in every place but God;
There is nothing powerful but God;
There is nothing in every thing but God;
There is no whole but God;
There is no God but what is whole.

The Divine Names

Some have called God the Father HEN DDIHENYDD,[212]  because it is from His nature that all things are derived, and from Him is the beginning of every thing, and in Him is no beginning, for He can not but exist, and nothing can have a beginning without a beginner. And God the Son is called IAU,[213]  that is, God under a finite form and corporeity, for a finite being cannot otherwise know and perceive God. And when He became man in this world, He was called JESUS CHRIST, for He was not from everlasting under a finite form and body. And the man who believes in Him, and performs the seven works of mercy, shall be delivered from the pain of Abred, and blessed for ever be he who does so. Jesus Christ is also called GOD THE DOVYDD;[214]  and He has also other names, such as PERYDD,[215]  and GOD THE NER, [216] and GOD THE NAV.[217]


“A yoke.” It would appear, rather, that the iau, or yoke, being the badge of power on the part of him who imposed it, was so designated from , (symbol) a combination of Bardic symbols, which indicates preservation, creation, and destruction, and which was one of the earliest forms of the Divine Name. Iolo Morganwg interprets “Iau” as meaning “the recent, or last manifestation of the Deity--Mithras, Mithra;” from the adjective, which literally signifies younger.

Disciple and his Master.

Disciple. Why is Iau (yoke) given as a name for God?

Master. Because the yoke is the measuring rod[218]  of country and nation in virtue of the authority of law, and is in the possession of every head of family under the mark of the lord of the territory, and whoever violates it is liable to a penalty. Now, God is the measuring rod of all truth, all justice, and all goodness, therefore He is a yoke on all, and all are under it, and woe to him who shall violate it.

Hu The Mighty

Hu [219] the Mighty,--Jesus the Son of God,--the least in respect of His worldly greatness whilst in the flesh, and the greatest in heaven of all visible majesties.[220]

The Circles

Some persons, and among them M. Henri Martin, the celebrated French Historian, are of opinion that the three Circles of existence are represented in the old stone enclosures of the Bards, such as Avebury, and in the wheels observable on ancient British coins.

The Circle of Abred, in which are all corporal and dead existences.

The Circle of Gwynvyd, in which are all animated and immortal beings.

The Circle of Ceugant, where there is only God. The wise men describe them thus, in three Circles.

The Book Of Bardism

Here is the Book of Bardism, that is to say, the Druidism of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, which I, Llywelyn Sion of Llangewydd, extracted from old Books, namely, the books of Einion the Priest,[221]  Taliesin, the Chief of Bards,[222]  Davydd Ddu of Hiraddug,[223]  Cwtta Cyvarwydd,[224]  Jonas of Menevia,[225]  Edeyrn the Golden-tongued,[226]  Sion Cent,[227]  Rhys Goch,[228]  and others, in the Library of Rhaglan, by permission of the lord William Herbert, earl of Pembroke,[229]  to whom God grant that I may prove thankful as long as I live. The first is a Treatise in the form of Question and Answer, by a Bard and his Disciple--the work of Sion Cent, which contains many of the principal subjects of the primitive wisdom, as it existed among the Bards of the Isle of Britain from the age of ages. In this Dialogue, the Disciple first puts the question, and the Bard, his Teacher, answers, and imparts to him information and knowledge. In the second place the Bard examines, and the Disciple answers.

The second examination.

Q. Prithee, who art thou? and tell me thy history.

A. I am a man in virtue of God’s will, and the necessary consequence that follows, for “what God wills must be.”

Q. Whence didst thou proceed? and what is thy beginning?

A. I came from the Great World,[230]  having my beginning in Annwn.[231]

Q. Where art thou now? and how tamest thou to where thou art?

A. I am in the Little World,[232]  whither I came, having traversed the circle of Abred, and now I am a man at its termination and extreme limits.

Q. What wert thou before thou didst become a man in the circle of Abred?

A. I was in Annwn the least possible that was capable of life, and the nearest possible to absolute death, and I came in every form, and through every form capable of a body and life, to the state of man along the circle of Abred, where my condition was severe and grievous during the age of ages, ever since I was parted in Annwn from the dead, by the gift of God, and His great generosity, and His unlimited and endless love.

Q. Through how many forms didst thou come? and what happened unto thee?

A. Through every form capable of life, in water, in earth, and in air. And there happened unto me every se-verity, every hardship, every evil, and every suffering, and but little was the goodness and gwynfyd before I became a man.

Q. Thou hast said, that it was in virtue of God’s love thou earnest through all these, and didst see and experience all these; tell me how can this take place through the love of God? And how many were the signs of the want of love during thy migration in Abred?

A. Gwynvyd cannot be obtained without seeing and knowing every thing, but it is not possible to see and to know every thing without suffering every thing. And there can be no full and perfect love that does not produce those things which are necessary to lead to the knowledge that causes Gwynvyd, for there can be no Gwynvyd without the complete knowledge of every form of existence, and of every evil and good, and of every operation and power and condition of evil and good. And this knowledge cannot be obtained without experience in every form of life, in every incident, in every suffering, in every evil and in every good, so that they may be respectively known one from the other. All this is necessary before there can be Gwynvyd, and there is need of them all before there can be perfect love of God, and there must be perfect love of God before there can be Gwynvyd.

Q. Why are the things, which thou hast mentioned, necessary before there can be Gwynvyd?

A. Because there can be no Gwynvyd without prevailing over evil and death, and every opposition and Cythraul, and they cannot be prevailed over without knowing their species, nature, power, operations, place, and time, and every form and kind of existence which they have, so that all about them may be known, and that they may be avoided, and that wherever they are they may be opposed,[233]  counteracted,[234]  and overcome, and that we may be cured of them, and be restored from under their effect. And where there is this perfect knowledge, there is perfect liberty, and evil and death cannot be renounced and overcome but where there is perfect liberty; and there can be no Gwynvyd but with God in perfect liberty, and it is in perfect liberty that the circle of Gwynvyd exists.

Q. Why may not perfect knowledge be obtained, without passing through every form of life in Abred?

A. On this account, because there are no two forms alike, and every form has a use, a suffering, a knowledge, an intelligence, a gwynvyd, a quality, an operation, and an impulse, the like and complete uniformity of which can not be had in any other form of existence. And as there is a special knowledge in each form of existence, which cannot be had in another, it is necessary that we should go through every form of existence, before we can acquire every form and species of knowledge and understanding, and consequently renounce all evil, and attach ourselves to every gwynvyd.

Q. How many forms of existence are there? and what is the use of them?

A. As many as God saw necessary towards the investigation and knowledge of every species and quality in good and evil, that there might be nothing, capable of being known and conceived by God, without being experienced, and consequently known. And in whatsoever thing there may be a knowledge of good and evil, and of the nature of life and death, there is a form of existence which corresponds with the attainment of the knowledge required. Therefore, the number of the kinds and modes of forms of existence is the sum that could conceive and understand with a view to perfect goodness, knowledge, and gwynvyd. And God caused that every living and animate being should pass through every form and species of existence endued with life, so that in the end every living and animate being might have perfect knowledge, life, and gwynvyd; and all this from the perfect love of God, which in virtue of His Divine nature He could not but exhibit towards man and every living being.

Q. Art thou of opinion that every living being shall attain to the circle of Gwynvyd at last?

A. That is my opinion, for less could not have happened from the infinite love of God, God being able to cause, knowing the manner how to cause, and continually willing every thing to exist that can be conceived and sought in His own love, and in the desire of every animation whilst opposed to evil and death.

Q. When will this condition happen to every living being, and in what manner will occur the end of the life of Abred.?

A. Every living and animate being shall traverse the circle of Abred from the depth of Annwn, that is, the extreme limits of what is low in every existence endued with life; and they shall ascend higher and higher in the order and gradation of life, until they become man, and their there can be an end to the life of Abred by union with goodness. And in death they shall pass to the circle of Gwynvyd, and the Abred of necessity will end for ever. And there will be no migrating through every form of existence after that, except in right of liberty and choice united with Gwynvyd, with a view to re-experience, and re-seek knowledge. And this will remain for ever, as a variation and novation of Gwynvyd, so that no one can fall into Ceugant, and thence into Abred; for God alone can endure and traverse the circle of Ceugant. By this it is seen that there is no Gwynvyd without mutual communication, and the renewal of proof, experience, and knowledge, for it is in knowledge that life and Gwynvyd consist.

Q. Shall every man, when he dies, go to the circle of Gwynvyd?

A. No one shall at death go to Gwynvyd, except he who shall attach himself in life, whilst a man, to goodness and godliness, and to every act of wisdom, justice, and love. And when these qualities preponderate over their opposites, namely, folly, injustice, and uncharitableness, and all evil and ungodliness, the man, when he dies, shall go to Gwynvyd, that is heaven, from whence he will no more fall, because good is stronger than evil of every kind, and life subdues death, prevailing over it for ever.

And he shall ascend nearer and nearer to perfect Gwynvyd, until he is at its extreme limits, where he will abide for ever and eternally. But the man who does not thus attach himself to godliness, shall fall in Abred to a corresponding form and species of existence of the same nature as himself, whence he shall return to the state of man as before. And then, according as his attachment may be to either godliness or ungodliness, shall he ascend to Gwynfyd, or fall in Abred, when he dies. And thus shall he fall for ever, until he seeks godliness, and attaches himself to it, when there will be an end to the Abred of necessity, and to every necessary suffering of evil and death.


Q. How often may one fall in Abred?

A. No one will fall once of necessity, after it has been once traversed, but through negligence, from cleaving to ungodliness, until it preponderates over godliness, a man will fall in Abred. He will then return to the state of man, through every form of existence that will be necessary for the removal of the evil, which was the cause of his fall in Abred. And he will fall only once in Abred on account of the same ungodliness, since it will be overcome by that fall; nevertheless, because of many other impieties he may fall in Abred, even numberless times, until every opposition and Cythraul, that is, all ungodliness, shall have been vanquished, when there will be an end to the Abred of necessity.

Q. How many have fallen in Abred? and for what cause have they fallen?

A. All living beings below the circle of Gwynvyd have fallen in Abred, and are now on their return to Gwynvyd. The migration of most of them will be long, owing to the frequent times they have fallen, from having attached themselves to evil and ungodliness; and the reason why they fell was, that they desired to traverse the circle of Ceugant, which God alone could endure and traverse. Hence, they fell even unto Annwn, and it was from pride, which would ally itself with. God, that they fell, and there is no necessary fall as far as Annwn, except from pride.

Q. Did all, who reached the circle of Gwynvyd after the primary progression of necessity from Annwn, fall in Abred from pride?

A. No; some sought after wisdom, and hence saw what pride would do, and they resolved to conduct themselves according to what was taught them by God, and thereby became divinities, or holy angels, and they acquired learning from what they beheld in others, and it was thus that they saw the nature of Ceugant and eternity, and that God alone could endure and traverse it.

Q. Does not the danger of falling in Abred, from the circle of Gwynvyd, exist still as it did formerly?

A. No; because all pride and every other sin, will be overcome before one can a second time reach the circle of Gwynvyd, and then by recollecting and knowing the former evil, every one will necessarily abhor what caused him to fall before, and the necessity of hatred and love will last and continue for ever in the circle of Gwynvyd, where the three stabilities, namely, hatred, love, and knowledge, will never end.[235]

Q. Will those, who shall return to the circle of Gwynvyd after the fall in Abred, be of the same kind as those who fell not?

A. Yes; and of the same privilege, because the love of God cannot be less towards one than towards another, nor towards one form of existence than another, since He is God and Father to them all, and exercises the same amount of love and patronage towards them all, and they will all be equal and co-privileged in the circle of Gwynvyd, that is, they will be divinities and holy angels for ever.

Q. Will every form and species of living existence continue for ever as they are now? If so, tell me why?

A. Yes, in virtue of liberty and choice, and the blessed will go from one to another as they please, in order to repose from the fatigue and tediousness of Ceugant, which God only can endure, and in order to experience every knowledge and every gwynfyd that are capable of species and form; and each one of them will hate evil of necessary obligation, and know it thoroughly, and consequently of necessity renounce it, since he will perfectly know its nature and mischievousness--God being a help, and God being chief, supporting and preserving them for ever.

Q. How are these things to be known?

A. The Gwyddoniaid, from the age of ages, from the time of Seth,[236]  son of Adam, son of God, obtained Awen from God, and thence knew the mystery of godliness.; and the Gwyddoniaid were of the nation of the Cymry from the age of ages. After that, the Gwyddoniaid were regulated according to privilege and usage, in order that unfailing memory might be kept of this knowledge. After that, the Gwyddoniaid were called Bards according to the privilege and usage of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, because it was after the arrival of the Cymry in the island of Britain, that this regulation was made; and it is through the memorials of Bardism and Awen from God that this knowledge has been acquired, and no falsehood can accrue from Awen from God. In the nation of Israel were found the holy prophets, who through Awen from God knew all these things as described in the Holy Scriptures, And after Christ, the Son of God, had come in the flesh from Gwynvyd, further knowledge of God, and His will, was obtained, as is seen in St. Paul’s Sermon.[237]  And when we, the Cymry, were converted to the faith in Christ, our Bards obtained a more clear Awen from God, and knowledge about all things divine beyond what had been seen before, and they prophesied, improving Awen and knowledge. Hence is all knowledge concerning things divine and what appertains to God.

Q. How is Awen to be obtained, where it is not, so that a Bard may be made of him, who would be a Bard?

A. By habituating one’s self to a holy life, and all love towards God and man, and all justice, and all mercy, and all generosity, and all endurance, and all peace, and practising good sciences, and avoiding pride and cruelty and adultery, and murder and ambuscade, and theft, and covetousness, and all injustice, that is, the things that will corrupt and destroy Awen, where it exists, and will prevent the obtaining it, where it does not exist.

Q. Is it in the way it was first obtained, that Awen from God is still obtainable?

A. It is in this way that Awen is obtained, that the truth may be known and believed. Some, however, are of opinion that the way in which the truth was first known, was, that the divinities, or holy angels, and the saints or godly men, who went to heaven, and especially Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came down from Gwynvyd to the Little World in the condition of man, in order to teach, warn, direct, and inform those who seek to be divine. That is, they came in the capacity of messengers sent by God in His infinite love, and in virtue of their own great love co-operating with the love of God, and as His obedient messengers. And we shall have what of Awen from God is necessary for us, by attaching ourselves to the good and godly with sincerity, and out of pure love for all goodness.

The Three States

1. According to the three principal qualities of man shall be his migration in Abred: from indolence and mental blindness he shall fall to Annwn; from dissolute wantonness he shall traverse the circle of Abred, according to his necessity; and from his love for goodness he shall ascend to the circle of Gwynvyd. As one or the other of the principal qualities of man predominates, shall the state of the man be; hence his three states, Annwn, Abred,[238]  and Gwynvyd.

2. The three states of living beings: Annwn, whence the beginning; Abred, in which is the increase of knowledge, and hence goodness; and Gwynvyd, in which is the plenitude of all goodness, knowledge, truth, love, and endless life.


Question. In what place is Annwn?

Answer. Where there is the least possible of animation and life, and the greatest of death, without other condition.

Q. What are the characteristics of life?

A. Lightness, light, heat, and incorruption, that is, unchangeableness.[239]

Q. What are the characteristic marks of death?

A. Heaviness, cold, darkness, and corruption, that is, changeableness.

Q. In what does the nature of death and mortality consist?

A. In its characteristics, where one is the cause of another, as heaviness is the cause of darkness, and both the cause of corruption, and corruption the cause of both.

Q. In what does the necessity of animation and life consist?

A. In its characteristics, that is, brightness, and light, and lightness, and incorruption, one being the cause of another--hence God and life.


To consociate with evil will make one the lowest and meanest of all animated beings; therefore a wicked man, when he dies, and his soul enters the meanest worm[240]  in existence, becomes better, and ascends in the migration of Abred. From this has arisen the saying,

“Trample not on thy better,” addressed to one who tramples on a worm voluntarily, and without a cause.

The Origin Of Man.--Jesus Christ.--Creation

Here are Questions and Answers from another Book.

Teacher. Dost thou know what thou art?

Disciple. I am a man by the grace of God the Father.

T. Whence earnest thou?

D. From the extremities of the depth of Annwn, where is every beginning in the division of the fundamental light and darkness.

T. How earnest thou here from Annwn?

D. I came, having traversed about from state to state, as God brought me through dissolutions and deaths, until I was born a man by the gift of God and His goodness.

T. Who conducted that migration?

D. The Son of God, that is, the Son of man.

T. Who is He, and what is His name?

D. His name is Jesus Christ, and He is none other than God the Father incarnate in the form and species of man, and manifesting visible and apparent finiteness for the good and comprehension of man, since infinitude cannot be exhibited to the sight and hearing, nor can there, on that account, be any correct and just apprehension thereof. God the Father, of His great goodness, appeared in the form and substance of man, that He might be seen and comprehended by men.[241]

T. Why is He called the Son of God?

D. Because He is from God in His essential works, and not from His uncreated pre-existence, that is, He is second to God, and every Second is a son to the primary First, in respect of existence and nature. That is to say, Jesus Christ is a manifestation of God in a peculiar manner, and every one is a son to another, who is primary, and the manifested is a son to him who manifests. And where God is seen or comprehended otherwise than as a species and existence beyond all knowledge and comprehension, such cannot take place except in what is seen differently to the attribute of God, in respect of the non-commencement and unchangeableness of His being, His nature, and His quality.[242]

T. Did man, and other intelligent beings, know anything of God before He was manifested and made comprehensible in Jesus Christ?

D. They knew that He existed by the creation of the world, and the whole being for good, because there can be no creation without a maker; and that would not be an act but a chance, which should not be thoroughly for good, as a heap of stones occurs by chance, whereas a house or a church is not built by chance.

T. How may what is made be known?

D. By unmaking what is possible of it, for where anything can be unmade, there must of necessity be a maker to what is thus unmade. For things which were never made, as place and space, without length and without breadth, cannot be unmade. In the same way, time cannot be undone, because it was never made, and it is said in St. Paul’s Sermon, that it is impossible to make without a maker.[243]

T. What is creation?

D. Every thing which can be otherwise, in respect of form and substance and essence, than what it seems. That is to say, it may be annihilated, in respect of what is seen or comprehended of it now; and its non-existence may be conceived. And nothing is made, of which its decomposition and non-existence cannot be conceived, as in the case of incorporeal length and breadth and depth, and immeasurable time, for it is impossible that they should not have existed always without a beginning, and it cannot be but that they shall always exist without end and without change. It cannot be judged differently of God, and His existence, because He is spiritual and not corporeal life, wherefore His spirituality can neither change nor end. Every thing changeable is made, in respect of what is capable of change and non-existence, as there is a change through burning and rottenness, and melting and hardness, and cold and warmth. That is, there can be non-existence in the change, but there can be no non-existence in the matter and mode, neither loss, except only in its changes.

T. What is imperishable matter?

D. There are two kinds: the one dead and lifeless, that is, the elements of the fundamental darkness, whence proceed all inanimation and dead corporeity; and the atoms or elements of light, whence proceed all living corporeity, and all intellect, and all spirituality and life, and all sensibility: for every thing dead is cold--every thing living is warm.

T. Why is it requisite to traverse Abred?

D. Because where there is a beginning there must needs be an increase and an improvement. And in order to magnify man in respect of vital goodness, and to improve and prepare him for Gwynvyd, God arranged it so. And this cannot occur to any thing in existence, without traversing the middle and intermediate space between the smallest small, and the greatest great. Nor can there be either good or evil, except by chance, in any immutable creation, nor can there be better or worse in what does not circulate, nor better in what cannot be worse, nor worse in what cannot be better. And where one enters upon evil, he cannot become worse by remaining in it for ever and ever; and it is the same with the better, where it cannot be better.

The Creation.--The First Man.--The Primary Letters

Disciple and his Teacher.

Disciple. Tell me, my kind and discreet Master, whence originated the world, and all visible, all audible, all sensible, and all intelligible things, and whence did they come, and were made?

Teacher. God the Father made them by pronouncing His Name, and manifesting existence. In the same instant, co-simultaneously, lo! the world, and all that appertains to it, sprang together into being, and together celebrated their existence with a very loud and melodious shout of joy; even as we see them to be now, and as they shall exist whilst God the Father lives, Who is not subject to dissolution and death.

D. Of “what, in respect of materials, were formed living and dead beings, which are cognizable to the human sight, hearing, feeling, understanding, perception, and the creation of the imagination?

T. They were made of the manred,[244]  that is, of the elements in the extremities of their particles and smallest atoms, every particle being alive, because God was in every particle,[245]  a complete Unity, so as not to be exceeded, even in all the multiform space of Ceugant, or the infinite expanse. God was in each of the particles of the manred, and in the same manner in them collectively in their conjoined aggregation;[246]  wherefore, the voice of God is the voice of every particle of the manred, as far as their numbers or qualities may be counted or comprehended, and the voice of every particle is the voice of God--God being in the particle as its life, and every particle or atom being in God and His life. On account of this view of the subject, God is figuratively represented as being born of the manred, without beginning, without end.

D. Was existence good or bad before God pronounced His Name?

T. All things were thoroughly good, without beginning, without end, as they are now, and ever shall be; though in Abred neither the mode, nor the thing that exists, is seen, except from learning by means of demonstrative hearing and seeing, or by means of reason making it comprehensible, namely, God and His peace in every thing, and nothing existing without God and His peace. Therefore, there was good in every thing,--a blissful world, and a blissful deliverance from every evil, as an unconquerable predominance. And where God exists in every atom of manred, evil is impossible; because there neither is, nor can be room for it, since God and all goodness fill the infinitude, which is without beginning and without end, in respect of place and duration of time. Therefore, evil or its like cannot exist, nor the least approximation to it.

D. What judgment is formed concerning the act of God in giving existence to the world, that is, heaven and earth, and all that are in and from them?

T. God, with a view to every goodness of which He is capable, branched Himself out of His majesty, incomprehensible to man further it was so. And from this there was an increase of all finite goodness, and all goodness cannot be had, without finite goodness in infinite space.

D. Who was the first man?

T. Menyw the Aged, son of the Three Shouts, who was so called because God gave and placed the word in his mouth, namely, the vocalization of the three letters, which make the unutterable Name of God, that is, by means of the good sense of the Name and Word. And, co-instantaneously with the pronunciation of God’s Name, Menyw saw three rays of light, and inscribed on them figure and form, and it was from those forms and their different collocations that Menyw made ten letters, and it was from them, variously placed, that he invested the Cymraeg with figure and form, and it is from understanding the combination of the ten letters that one is able to read.

D. My beloved Teacher, show me the power and mysteries of the three primitive letters, and the forms of the ten letters, which Menyw made from the varied combination of the three.

T. This is not allowed and permitted to me, for the ten letters are a secret, being one of the three pillars of the mystery of the Bards of the Isle of Britain.

And before the disciple is brought under the obligation and power of a vow, the mystery may not be revealed to him. And even then it can only be displayed to the eye, without utterance, without voice. It can only take place, when the disciple shall have gone through all the cycle and course of his pupillage.

Nevertheless, the sixteen letters are formed very differently, and I am at liberty to show and declare their names and their powers, before the cycle of the vow of pupillage shall have been traversed; and thus are the sixteen symbols, and the way in which they are enforced by usage.

The Discipline Of Bardism


Disciple. With what material did God make all corporal things, endued with life?

Master. With the particles of light, which are the smallest of all small things; and yet one particle of light is the greatest of all great things, being no less than material for all materiality that can be understood and perceived as within the grasp of the power of God. And in every particle there is a place wholly commensurate with God, for there is not, and cannot be less than God in every particle of light, and God in every particle; nevertheless, God is only one in number. On that account, every light is one, and nothing is one in perfect co-existence but what cannot be two, either in or out of itself.

D. How long was God in making all corporal things?

M. The twinkling of an eye; when existence and life, light and vision occurred, that is to say, God and all goodness in the act of contemning evil.[247]


Question. Of what materials did God make the worlds?

Answer. Of Himself, for existence having a beginning does not otherwise take place.


Question. How were animation and life obtained?

Answer. From God, and in God were they found, that is, from the fundamental and absolute life, that is, from God uniting Himself to the dead, or earthliness--hence motion and mind, that is, soul. And every animation and soul are from God, and their existence is in God, both their pre-existence, and derived existence; for there is no pre-existence except in God, no co-existence except in God, and no derived existence except in God, and from God.

The Creation.--Worship.--Vocal Song.--Gwyddoniaid

Disciple. From what did God make the world and living beings?

Master. From the particles, which He collected out of the infinite expanse in the circle of Ceugant, and collocated in order and just arrangement in the circle of Gwynvyd, as worlds, and lives, and natures, without number, weight, or measure, which any mind or intellect, but Himself, could possibly foresee or devise, even if it possessed the endless ages of the circle of Ceugant.

D. By what instrumentality or agency did God make these things?

M. By the voice of His mighty energy, that is, by its melodious sweetness, which was scarcely heard, when, lo! the dead gleamed into life, and the nonentity, which had neither place or existence, flashed like lightning into elementation, and rejoiced into life, and the congealed, motionless shiver warmed into living existence;--the destitute nothing rejoiced into being a thousand times more quickly than the lightning reaches its home.

D. Did any living being hear that melodious voice?

M. Yes; and co-instantaneously with the voice were seen all sciences and all things cognitive, in the imperishable and endless stability of their existence and life. For the first that existed, and the first that lived, the first that obtained knowledge, and the first that knew it, was the first that practised it. And the first sage was Huon, the son of Nudd,[248]  who is called Gwynn, the son of Nudd, and Enniged the Giant; it was he who first made demonstration visible and inceptive to the inferences of men.

D. Who was the first that instituted the worship and adoration of God?

M. Seth, the son of Adam; that is, he first made a retreat for worship in the woods of the Vale of Hebron, having first searched and investigated the trees, until he found a large oak, being the king of trees, branching, wide-spreading, thick-topped, and shady, under which he formed a choir and a place of worship. This was called Gorsedd, and hence originated the name Gorsedd, which was given to every place of worship; and it was in that choir that Enos, the son of Seth, composed vocal song to God.

D. Who was the first that made a vocal song?

M. Enos,[249]  the son of Seth, the son of Adam, was the first that made a vocal song, and praised God first in just poetry, and it was in his father’s Gorsedd that he first obtained Awen, which was Awen from God; hence has arisen the usage of holding the Gorsedd [250] of Vocal Song in the re-sort and Gorsedd of worship.

D. For what honourable purposes did Enos, the son of Seth, invent vocal song?

M. In the first place, for the purpose of praising God and all goodness; secondly, to commemorate good qualities, incidents, and knowledge; thirdly, to convey instruction relative to praiseworthy sciences in respect of God and man, that is, in such a way as would be easiest to learn, and re-member, and most pleasant to listen to.

D. What was the name that the wise men first had, whose employment was vocal song and laudable sciences?

M. One was called Gwyddon, and many Gwyddoniaid; and they were so called, because they followed their art in woods, and under trees, in retired and inaccessible places, for the sake of quietness, and the meditation of Awenic learning and sciences from God, and for the sake of quietness to teach the sciences to such as sought them, and desired wisdom by means of reason and Awen from God.

The Material Of The World

Question. What material did God use in the formation of the world, namely, the heaven and the earth, and other things known and conceived?

Answer. The manred, that is, the smallest of all the small, so that a smaller could not be, which flowed[251]  in one sea through all the Ceugant--God being its life, and pervading each atom, and God moving in it, and changing the condition of the manred, without undergoing a change in Himself. For life is unchangeable in all its motions, but the condition of that which is moved is not one and the same. Therefore, because God is in every motion, (ymmod,) one of God’s Names is MODUR,[252]  and the condition that is moved is called Moduransawdd.[253]

The Fall In Abred

God made all living beings in the circle of Gwynvyd at one breath; but they would be gods,[254]  and attempted to traverse the Ceugant. This, however, they could not do, wherefore they fell down to Annwn, which unites with death and the earth, where is the beginning of all living owners of terrestrial bodies.

Question. Where is Annwn?

Answer. In the extreme limits of the circle of Gwynvyd. That is, living beings knew not how to distinguish evil from good, and therefore they fell into evil, and went into Abred, which they traversed until they came back into the circle of Gwynvyd.

Q. What ignorance did they commit?

A. They would venture on the circle of Ceugant, and hence became proud; but they could not traverse it, consequently they fell into the circle of Abred.

God In The Sun

Question. Why is the face turned towards the sun in every asseveration and Prayer?

Answer. Because God is in every light, and the chief of every light is the sun.[255]  It is through fire that God brings back to Himself all things that have emanated from Him; therefore it is not right to ally one’s self to God, but in the light. There are three kinds of light, namely: that of the sun, and hence fire; that which is obtained in the sciences of teachers; and that which is possessed in the understanding of the head and heart, that is, in the soul. On that account, every vow is made in the face of the three lights, that is, in the light of the sun is seen the light of a teacher, or demonstration; and from both of these is the light of the intellect, or that of the soul.

God In The Light

Question. Why do we say, heaven above, and hell beneath, where there can be no highest in respect of any being, or lowest in respect of any existence? And why God in the highest, and Cythraul in the lowest?

Answer. Because the light is always highest, and above our heads, and it is in the light that God is found, and there can be no heaven, except in the light; and God and heaven always go together with light. And the darkness is always the lowest, and Cythraul and hell go together with it.

Triads Of Bardism

1. God made the world of three substances: fire; nature; and finiteness.

2. The three instrumentalities of God in making the world: will; wisdom; and love.

3. The three principal occupations of God: to enlighten the darkness; to give a body to nonentity; and to animate the dead.

4. Three things which God cannot be: unskilful; unjust; and unmerciful.

5. Three things required by God of man: firm belief, that is, faith; religious obedience; and to do justice.

6. The three principal temperaments of life: strength; vigour; and perception.

7. The three principal properties of life: temper; motion; and light.

God; And The Faculties Of The Soul

Question. What is conscience?

Answer. The eye of God in the heart of man, which sees every thing that is perceptible, in its right form, place, time, cause, and purpose.

Q. What is reason?

A. The revolving of the conscience, whilst it contemplates by means of sight, hearing, and experience, whatever comes before it.

Q, What is understanding?

A. The working of the conscience, whilst it exercises its energies and might for the purpose of acquiring and improving good sciences.

Q. What is wisdom?

A. Sciences acquired by the revolving of the reason, and the powerful working of the intellect, which obtain sciences from God and goodness,--and by success in the improvement of them.

Q. What is sense?

A. The exercise and rectification of wisdom, by studying the manner in which it has been obtained, and tasting the counsels of other wise men.

Thus thou knowest the correct saying of wisdom;--”Take as an answer, I know, and I do not know, and try to understand it. Ile who possesses wisdom, will correct himself, and will not stand in need of another.”

Q. Didst thou not say that wisdom may be rectified by the counsel of wise men

A. Yes; for trying the advice of wise men, and tasting that which is wise, causes one to improve in wisdom, that is, not by the acquisition of counsel and instruction, but by applying them to the taste, as if bodily food were given to the wretch that asked it. It is not the giver that feeds the body, but he that takes what is proper for him, omitting what is otherwise.

Q: What is God?

A. The life of all lives.

Q. What is the spirit of God?

A. The power of all powers.

Q. What is the providence of God?

A . The order of orders, and the system of systems.

Q. What is the power of God?

A. The knowledge of all knowledge, the art of all arts, and the agent of all agents.

Q. What is truth?

A. The sciences of wisdom preserved in memory by conscience.

Q. What is justice?

A. The art and office of conscience, regulated by reason, understanding, and wisdom, considering and acting accordingly.

Q. What is judgment?

A. God co-reasoning with man in his conscience, in respect of the knowledge which he possesses, after he has revolved in his mind what has been demonstrated.

Q. What is the soul?

A. The breath of God in a carnal body.

Q. What is life?

A. The might of God.

Sentences Of Bardism

Here are the Sentences of Bardism, from the Book of Ieuan, the son of Hywel Swrdwal.[256]

1. That does not but exist, from which a greater amount of good than of evil can be produced; since it cannot be otherwise in virtue of God’s power, wisdom, and love.

2. The existence of that, which does good to some, and does no harm to others, is safe; since there is more utility from it, than if it had not existed; and God will not permit possible good to be lost.

3. Of that which is neither good nor bad, neither the existence nor non-existence is safe for man, for nothing in reason is known of it. Others say, that it is the material of every thing. However, there is only God that knows its good and evil, its utility and inutility, and whether the good or evil be the greater.

4. Where a great good to all, without harm to any one, can be comprehended, it cannot be but that it is in existence, since otherwise the three principal attributes of God, namely, knowledge, wisdom, and mercy, would not stand without being opposed by distress and necessity: therefore Bardism is true.

5. Truth cannot be had from that in which every truth cannot consist, and which will not consist in every truth, for truth cannot be had from what will contradict or withstand that which is true.

6. It is true that, according to justice, there should be the best of all things.

7. It is true that, according to love, there should be the best of all things.

8. It is true that, according to power, there should be the best of all things.

9. It is true that, according to wisdom and knowledge, there should be the best of all things.

10. It is true that there cannot be in God other than all knowledge, all wisdom, all power, all love, and all justice, without restraint, without measure, without cessation, without end. Therefore, in respect of the power of God, it cannot but be that the best of all things are in existence; and it cannot be otherwise in respect of His knowledge; and it cannot but be, in respect of His love, justice, and wisdom, that the best of all things are in existence.

11. It is true that God can accomplish the best of all things; on that account, it cannot but be that the best of all things are in existence.

12. According to justice, there should be ability in justice; therefore, in respect of justice, there cannot but be that ability belongs to justice.

13. In respect of knowledge, there ought to be power in knowledge, and in knowing what is best; therefore there is power in knowing what is best.

14. According to love, there should be what is most merciful; therefore, by the love of God, what is most merciful is in existence in every essence.

15. God, in respect of His power, wisdom, knowledge, and love, can produce the best of all things, the most just of all things, and the most kind of all things; therefore, it cannot but be that the best of all things are in existence.

16. It cannot but be that the extreme limits of goodness, and of what is good, are in God; on that account, there cannot but be that the extreme of all goodness, and all that is good, is, and may be found, from God, and by God, through His infinite grace and love.

17. There cannot be a God, that does not possess all power, all love, all wisdom, all knowledge, all justice, and all goodness. And it cannot but be that whatever those, who possess these things, do, is found to be without distress, without necessity.

And thus it ends.

The Ten Commandments Of The Bards

Literally, “the ten words of the law,” which phraseology has been, also, retained in the Welsh Prayer Book, though it is not now popularly used. When the Cymry embraced Christianity, they manifested a special veneration for the Ten Commandments, as is evidenced by the fact that “the ten words of the law, the Gospel of John, and the blessed cross,” constitute a Triad of the instruments of swearing, which succeeded the more ancient forms which had been used by the Bards, and which shall be hereafter described.

When Taliesin took the Bardic vow “ on the Altar of St. Teilo at Llandaf,” among other things he is made to say,--

O dengair deddf Duw a’’m barno
Os datrin fy min man y bo.

From the ten words of the law may God judge me,
If my lips divulge where it is.--MS.

(From the Blue Book.)

1. God is one, and there is only Himself who is God. Love thy God with all thy soul, with all thy heart, with all thy strength, with all thy endeavour, with all thy understanding, and with all thy affections. For it is He, and no other being, living or existing, that made thee, and doth maintain thee, with all His might, and with all His mercy.

2. Do not love or seek an image instead of God, whether of wood or stone, of gold or silver, or of any other material, and whether it be represented in colour or in effigy; for thou hast never seen God; and who has seen Him? Do not take this world, or any other world, however glorious it may appear to thee, in the place of God; because they are not God, but the work of God, for thy great good, and for that of others, millions of times beyond the extreme limits of thy understanding and comprehension. Do not take riches or possession of any kind, or the regard and greatness of the proud and sinful world, in the place of God. Take not either relation or friend, male or female, for a God. Do not place thy aim, thy heart, thy intention, thy affections, or thy confidence, upon one or other of these things, or upon anything that will cause thee to trust less to God, because of the claim and possession thou hast in them, Always remembering and bewaring, do not seek or retain or love any one of these things, in such a way as will make thee cleave less to thy God than if thou wert without them. If thou doest so, God will turn His face from thee, and will leave thee to stand on thy own footing, and on the rotten foundation of the things which thou worshippest.

3. Swear not to the Name of God, and do not mention His name disrespectfully and lightly, nor deem it of no consequence to listen to such language from the lips of another without reproving and counselling him charitably, kindly, and in a friendly manner, at the same time fearlessly and boldly. If this does not avail, then dwell no longer where thou art compelled to hear the Name of thy God disparaged, and do not, without necessity and cause of importance, mention the Name of thy God at any time.

4. Remember to rest on Sunday, that thy family, thy man servant, and thy maid servant, thy labouring man and labouring woman, may rest, and cast off their fatigue,--that thy ox, thy horse, and every other beast of toil, may enjoy rest, as they require. Remember that both man and beast have a claim to the time of rest;--there is no health without it. Remember that there is need of a time for thee to reflect, to consider, and to learn thy duty towards God and man. Without this there cannot be that rotation, which ought to be, and which pleases God, in respect of man or property, of world or existence, of animation or life. God, in His six working days, made the worlds and all that are in them, consisting of heaven and celestials, of earth and terrestrials, of worlds, beings, and existences, of all essence and essentials. God rested on His seventh day, that He might consider His work; and on beholding it, He knew that all was good. Do thou, also, on thy seventh day, consider the work of thy six days, and review sharply, sincerely, and vigorously every particle of it, whether it be the work of thy hands, or the work of thy mind, or the work of thy affection, or the work of thy intellect; and then let thy conscience speak, according to its judgment, the language of God in its own undeceitful language, and it will be well for thee, and very well, if it can say that such work was good. Consider the work of thy next six days, with full purpose, and full resolution to do it better than thou didst that of the preceding. Try to bring every thing, whether it be the work of the body, or the work of the mind, or the work of the affection, or the work of the intellect, onward and on-ward, from better to better, as long as thy life continues, and at the end of it, thou shalt rest from all thy labour in a world and existence, where thou shalt see, and canst truly say of every thing, that “it is very good.”

5. Remember to love and honour thy father and mother, as thou wouldest that thy son and daughter should honour thee. They have seen and heard more than thou; give credence to them with respect and obedience. They have nourished and cherished thee with love and care; do thou, also, cherish them in their need, feebleness, and old age. They love thee sincerely, they love thee indeed more than any other persons do; therefore it is from their own mouths only that thou wilt obtain truth; though they should deceive all others, they will not deceive thee, because of the love they have for thee. Believe what they say, and act accordingly. Bear in mind the loss of losing the only ones that tell thee the truth. Bear in mind the love of the only ones that have suffered in truth for thee. Repay them; render love for love; render care for care; do unto them, as they have done unto thee. Run obediently at their bidding, as they have ran carefully, lovingly, and quickly at thy cries, when thou wert a feeble child. Thou wert not suffered to complain long; do not suffer them to complain long in their feebleness. By loving and reverencing thy father and mother, thou wilt love and reverence thy God, Who on that account will bestow upon thee His blessing. Thou shalt prosper in thy life and means; thou shalt increase in wealth and understanding; thou shalt have ease in thy conscience, and consequently ease in every thing else; and from this ease of mind, thou shalt have long health, and consequently long life. And these things God promises to add to thee immeasurably beyond what may be given to thee by any thing else, or through any other means hitherto endued with existence, other than what is in God Himself, and His infinite power, knowledge, and love. He says the word; He will do it.

6. Kill not, and do no murder upon any account whatsoever. Do not take away the life of either man or beast, except to prevent thyself from being killed, as when thou killest the enemy that would kill thee, when thou canst not escape, and leave him his life; or when thou killest an animal to obviate hunger, when thou canst not have food otherwise that will keep thee from dying. He that slays shall be slain;[257]  and though the body may not be slain, the soul shall be slain. If he escape in this world, he shall suffer grievously in the next world. Blood must be rendered for blood; God hath sworn it.

7. Commit no theft; take not from any man, or from any living or existing being, his own property, by forcible violence, whether it be done publicly or privately. Take not from any living being his property, by treachery, or cunning, or extortion, or oppression. Take not, in any of these ways, his goods, or understanding, or time, or opportunity, or memory, or art, or anything that belongs to one or other of these particulars.

8. Abstain from fornication, and do not commit adultery and concubinage. It is not lawful for any one to nourish the children of others. It is not lawful for any one to divert affianced affection from her whose due it is. Do unto the wife of another, as thou wouldest that another should do unto thy wife, Do unto the daughter of another, as thou wouldest that another should do unto thy own daughter and sister: and remember!

9. Tell no falsehood of any kind, nor on any account whatsoever. Be not a perjurer, or a traitor, or an unjust witness against thy neighbour, or any other man whatsoever. Bear no calumny against any man, or reproach, or satire. Do not love falsehood in another. Conceal not the truth, when it is required of thee, on any occasion whatsoever. Conceal not the truth by word, or deed, or behaviour, or appearance; because the lie that comes from these things is not less than that which comes from the tongue and speech. Though it may be against thy father or mother, against thy brother or sister, against thy son or daughter, against the wife of thy bosom, against thy own life, yet tell the truth. For the falsehood, of whatever kind it may be, will be against thy own soul--it will be told, exhibited, and performed against God and His truth.

10. Be not covetous of any thing, lest any one should give to thee what ought to be given to one who is poorer than thou--lest thou shouldest impoverish another by having what thou covetest--lest, from coveting any thing whatsoever, thou shouldest .commit injustice with the view of obtaining it--lest, by setting thy mind upon what thou covetest, thou shouldest forget thy God and His laws--lest thou shouldest omit from memory what is of greater worth, for the sake of what thou covetest. Covet not thy goods, or possessions, or any of thy own property, which can be dispensed with agreeably to the laws of God, lest thou shouldest refuse to the poor and needy what, out of charity and justice, ought to be given or done to them. But love thy neighbour as thou lovest thyself; this, however, thou canst not do, whilst there is covetousness in thy heart. Thou canst not love God above all, or love His laws more than the goods of the world, or love thy neighbour more than mortal and terrestrial things. Covet not the house or farm of thy neighbour, or his wife or daughter, or his man servant or maid servant, or his ox or horse, or any thing else that belongs to him, lest thou shouldest think of obtaining, or taking, or willing them, in a way that is not consistent with the will and laws of God. But seek of God what thou wantest, and thou shalt obtain it, if thou askest it by faith and sincere belief, and if the occasion be just, and thy necessity unavoidable, and if its acquisition be not injurious to thee.

Believe in thy God, and trust in Him with hope and faith, and thou shalt have from Him what, in His sight, is sufficient and useful for thee. He knows thy wants, and what may be for thy advantage, better than thou knowest thyself, and assuredly He will not fail to give thee anything but what may be disadvantageous and injurious to thee.

By keeping these laws incessantly, thou shalt obtain from God love and peace, in the world which now is, and in the world which is to come; and from man thou shalt obtain respect, advantage, good will, and abundance, without there being need in thy house, or an enemy to thy conscience--long life in the world which now is, and eternal life, and endless felicity, in the world to come.

The end.

The Ten Commandments Of The Bards

Here are the Ten Commandments of the Bards of the Cymry, from the Book of Joseph Jones.

1. Love thy God with the might of all thy body, with the might of all thy soul, with the might of all thy heart, with the might of all thy understanding, and with the might of all thy affection; and love no one but Him. He is one, and there is no God but He. Seek no other God but Him.

2. Beware of worshipping idols in the place of God--or any thing else whether in colour or effigy. Do not make an image of God out of anything in heaven or earth; and do not contemplate or invent any adoration to them, whatever they may be, whether they be in heaven, or in earth, or in the waters and seas of earth. Do no homage to any thing, which may be set forth in the form of God, for thou knowest not His form. If thou do, God will bring vengeance, on account of His dishonour, upon thee, thy children, thy grandchildren, and thy great-grandchildren. But if thou love thy God, with true veneration and obedience, He will love thee and thy posterity to the age of ages.

3. Take not the Name of thy God in vain, for he who does so is an immoral man. He who honours not God, will not honour His laws and commandments.

4. Remember to keep Sunday religiously. It is lawful for thee to work for six days; but on the seventh day thou shalt rest, and leave off all work and occupation, that all thy family and all thy beasts of labour may rest. The seventh day is the rest of thy God. In six days He made heaven and celestials, the earth and terrestrials, all the worlds and their inhabitants; and on the seventh day He rested, blessing and sanctifying it. From this springs a claim to a season and time of rest on the part of every man and beast,--of every living and animate being.

5. Pay just respect, honour, and love to thy father and mother, and to every one who may be head and lord, by just rights, over thee. Because from this thou shalt obtain the favour of thy heavenly Father, quietness for thy district and home, peace and long life in the world, and the rewards of the world to come.

6. He who slays shall be slain; therefore, do not kill or commit murder, on any pretence whatsoever, upon any man or other living being, except to prevent thyself from being killed by foe or famine.

7. Tell no falsehood or perjury, be not an unjust witness against another, and conceal not the truth by word, deed, or behaviour.

8. Steal not the property of another, by oppression, treachery, daring, intention, cunning, or any other possibility; but do justice, for God is just, and He will repay according to what is just.

9. Avoid adultery and fornication, and dishonour not the wife Or daughter of any man whatsoever; but let there be unto thee a wedded wife of thy own, and be faithful to her, and let her be faithful to thee. God will revenge Himself upon adultery and fornication.

10. Be not covetous of any thing you see, whether they be houses, or lands, or oxen, or horses, or any beast, or wife, or daughter, or man servant, or maid servant, or anything whatsoever that belongs to another. For from covetousness arise every oppression and pillage, every avarice and extortion, every niggardliness and sharpness, every uncharitableness and want of alms-giving, and every illiberal and disagreeable conduct.

And thus end the Ten Commandments, from the keeping of which every goodness and blessing, and the love of God and men, and every felicity in the present world, and in the world to come, will accrue to man.

The Rudiments Of Theology

1. Keep thy eyes upon God, worship Him, and do no dishonour to Him in His presence.

2. Justice and love, with peace and truth, are the materials of immortal life.

3. Avoid adultery and the violation of marriage.

4. Commit no depredation and pillage.

5. There is nothing just for any one, except what will suffice him in the face of death.

6. Impart the knowledge of God to all, and the instruction of man to such as will receive it.

7. Insert ........ [258] and the order of time in the memorials of theological sciences.

8. Do thy best, to the extent of reason and power, and leave the impossible excess to God, and His will.

9. Give of thy wealth and property an oblation to God and his poor, that thou mayest not be accursed, and that thou mayest not pine away; for God will have his own.

10. There is nothing which has not been made by God; there is nothing which does not belong to God, and not to another. Leave to God what He wills.

And thus end the Ten Commandments of St Paul, which he received from the mouth of Jesus Christ, the Son of grace.

The Triads Of St. Paul

Iolo Morganwg, whose transcript we have adopted on the present occasion, observes of St. Paul’s Triads, that they are found in MSS. of a date anterior to the Reformation. We embody them in our Collection, because some of them, as Series the Third, not only associate Bardism with their Pauline Title, but also contain unmistakable traces of pre-Christian doctrines. It would seem, as in the case of the Ten Commandments, that the early Christians of Britain held the memory of the Great Apostle of the Gentiles likewise in peculiar veneration. Besides “Trioedd Pawl,” or the Triads of St. Paul, allusion is frequently made to “Pregeth Pawl,” or St. Paul’s Sermon, and “Deifregwawd Pawl,” St. Paul’s distichs or verses. These, with “Efengyl Ieuan,” or the Gospel of St. John, seem to have constituted the only Cymric writings, which, in the infancy of the Church, contained the doctrines of Christianity. It is probable that the attachment of the Cymry to the name of St. Paul had some reference to the supposed share he had in the foundation of their Church. It is not necessary, in order to establish their claim to authenticity, that the Triads in question should have been actually composed by the Apostle himself; though it is quite possible that he might have dictated their substance to Bran the Blessed, who happened to be at Rome at the same time with St. Paul. Bran, being a Bard, would naturally p. 291 throw them into the Triadic form, as that which was best calculated at the time to impress them on the public memory. Or perhaps they were composed by the Bards, and received the sanction of the Gorsedd, after these had in general become converts to Christianity--the name of St. Paul being associated with then, because they were either derived from his writings, or supposed to be in unison with his doctrine. There is reason, indeed, to suppose that some of them were derived immediately from some Apocryphal Scriptures, such as those which refer to the Counsels of Lazarus. Though a Bardic tone runs through the whole, yet, as already hinted, it is more observable in the Third Series than in either of the other two. But whether that formed a part of the original compilation--afterwards separated from it as being of a too Druidic character, or whether it is altogether a distinct document, the work of a different school of Bards, we have no means of ascertaining.

1. The three principal duties of a Christian: belief in Christ; hope in God; and love to man.

2. The three dispositions of an unchristian man: pride; cruelty; and falsehood.

3. The three signs of a Christian: to love truth, however great may be the loss; to love one’s country, however great may be the suffering; and to love an enemy, however great may be his treachery.

4. Three things without which a man cannot be a Christian: holiness of life; divine counsels; and suffering without complaint.

5. The three friends of every true Christian: reason; patience; and conscience.

6. The three joys of a Christian: the love of God; the happiness of man; and the success of truth.

7. Three things which every good man will be: industrious; pacific; and benevolent.

8. Three things which God has given for the instruction of man: natural reason; the judgment of conscience; and the Gospel of Christ.

9. From three words will be one word of God:. love; truth; and justice; and these three words are one word with God, and there can be no other word from God than love.

10. Three questions that were put to Christ: the first, “What is truth?” and He said, “Love;” the second, “What is justice?” and He said, Love;” and the third, “What is love?” and He said, “God.”

11. God consists of three things: the most powerful of all that can be comprehended; the most just of all that can be comprehended; and the most merciful of all that can be comprehended.

12. There are three things belonging to God, the magnitude of which cannot be comprehended: His power; His justice; and His mercy.

13. There are three things, which, in virtue of the attributes and nature of God, cannot but exist: all justice; all love; and all beauty.

14. Three things without which nothing can be well known: the nature that ought to be; the reason of what is possible; and the commandments of God beyond every one of the two, and yet not opposed to them.

15. There are three views of God: what is greatest of all things; what is best of all things; and what is most beautiful of all things.

16. The three co-destinies of all men: the same beginning; the same course; and the same end.

17. The three excellences of God: being the first of all things; the chief of all things; and the most complete of all things.

18. There are three ways in which God can be seen: in Himself, in power; in Christ, by sight; and in the soul of man, as to His Holy Spirit.

19. There are three sufficiencies, from which will ensue life everlasting: sufficiency of truth; sufficiency of knowledge; and sufficiency of love.

20. From three sufficiencies there is every insufficiency: sufficiency of worldly riches; sufficiency of bodily strength;[259]  and sufficiency of idleness.[260]

21. The three words of advice, which Jesus Christ gave above all other advices: first, love thy God with all thy soul; secondly, love thy neighbour with all thy heart; and, thirdly, love thy own reputation with all thy wisdom; and no one can ask more of thee.

22. Three men that will please God: he who loves every living being with all his heart; he who accomplishes every thing that is handsome with all his strength; and he who seeks every knowledge with all his understanding.

23. A conscientious man will be three things: wise; amiable; and merry.

24. The three marks of non-conscientiousness: to be unwise; timid; and petulant.

25. Three things, it is not known which of them is the worst: the devil; a perjured man; and an unmerciful man.

26. There are three things of God: to desire existence to what can be the best of all things; to believe that there is existence to what is the best possible of all things; and to conduct one’s self in the best way possible in every thing.

27. Three things spoken to Paul from heaven: love thy God above all things; love thy truth as thy own soul; and love thy neighbour as thyself.

28. The three marks of a neighbour, by which he may be known wherever he is: to be poor; to be a stranger; and to be in the image of a man.

29. There are three duties towards God, without which there can be no godliness, or the attainment of heavenliness: belief; fear; and love.

30. Three things which the godly shall enjoy: union with God; perfect gwynvyd; and complete knowledge;--the whole for ever, without cessation, without end.

31. The three organs of the intellect: thought; word; and deed; and they are called the three faculties.[261]

32. The three exercises of the faculties, or the three organs, commanded by Christ, namely: do good with all thy energies wherever, and in whatever there may be cause and requirement;[262]  and be patient unto death, without repining, in behalf of goodness, whenever, and on what occasion so ever there may be need and requirement;--and all this with all thy power, with all thy affection, and with all thy understanding.

33. The three paths towards truth: to understand it; to love it; and to desire it.[263]

34. Three things, by the performance of which, all relating to godliness will be accomplished: to avoid the world;[264]  to deny the flesh; and to resist the Cythraul.

35. The three foundations of wisdom: understanding; love; and justice.

36. The three measuring rods of justice: what is adjudged right in another; what fears the opposition of what is not right[265]  from another; and what is sought, according to desire, in respect of what is adjudged right in another.

37. The three corroborations of justice: what is found right by experience, exercise, and understanding; what is taught as right, in respect of acquirement, judgment, and conscience, to another; and what is desired, in virtue of what has been acquired, judged, and learned, from another. What will oppose these primary characteristics can have no claim or privilege.

38. The three measuring rods of the understanding: the judgment of another; poise and counterpoise; and the guidance of meditation with[266]  affection; and, according as these things are, will be the extent and nature of the understanding.

39. The three marks of a godly man: to seek after truth; to perform justice; and to exercise mercy.

40. There are three things that are one whole, as to primary and original derivation: justice; truth; and love; for from one, namely, love, the whole proceeds as one right from God, inasmuch as there is only one right of the whole in being and existence.

41. For three reasons ought a man to renounce life, where[267]  there is occasion: seeking after truth; cleaving to justice; and performing mercy.

42. Three things that corrupt the world: pride; extravagance; and indolence.

43. The three principal qualities of godliness: to speak the truth in spite of him who may withstand[268]  it; to love all that is comely and good; and to suffer heartily in behalf of the truth and every thing that is good.

44. Three things which cannot be finite: God; expanse; and time.

45. Three things that make a sinner: fear; covetousness; and ignorance.

46. Three things that corrupt the world: pride; extravagance; and indolence.[269]

47. The three principal qualities of godliness: consideration; justice; and love.

48. In three things will a godly man be one with God: in knowing every thing; in loving every thing; and in freeing himself from every thing.

49. Three littles that will cause much evil: a little deceit; a little anger; and a little ignorance.

50. The three principal things[270]  which God requires reflection; justice; and love.[271]

51. Three things which, being disregarded, will draw down vengeance: the advice of a seer; rational judgment and the complaint of the poor.

52. The three unions that support every thing: the union of love with justice; the union of truth with imagination; and the union of God with contingency.

53. The three marks of godliness: to do justice; to be fond of mercy; and to behave obediently under every circumstance.

54. There are[272]  three things, God does not love those who love to see them: to see fighting; to see a monster and to see the pomp of pride.

55. The three principal manifestations of God: His works; His word; and His Spirit.

56. In respect of three things will a man have his object in unison with the will of God, namely: when he believes only his own senses; when he imagines only with his own consideration; and when he has to do only with his own conscience.

57. Three men who will speak differently, according to their nature and disposition: a man of God, who will speak the best part of the truth, for the sake of peace, advantage, and concord; a man of man, who will speak the whole of the truth, be it good, be it evil, come what will, whatever may ensue in consequence; a man of the devil, who will speak the worst part of the truth, in order to harm and cause misfortune--a ready devil will speak an assiduous falsehood for the sake of mischief and ruin.

58. Three things, wherever they are, there can be no godliness: revelling; pride; and covetousness.

59. The three marks of godliness: disinterested love; courageous obedience; and affectionate silence.

60. Three men who stand in the relation of brothers and sisters: an orphan; a widow; and a stranger.

61. The three blessed ones of God: the gentle; the peaceable; and the merciful.

62. The three characteristics of the children of God: a pure conscience; unostentatious demeanour; and voluntary suffering in the cause of truth and love.

63. The three principal commandments of God: love; justice; and obedience.

64. The three signs of a just man: to love truth; to love peace; and to love an enemy.

65. The three principal delights of a godly man: justice; mercy; and gentleness.

66. The three encouragements of mischief: voluptuousness; fighting; and inconstancy.

67. The three counsels,[273]  which Jesus Christ gave to His followers, namely, He counselled: first, perpetual poverty; because thereby all violence, usurpation, extortion, and covetousness, will cease, and consequently perfect justice will be obtained; secondly, voluntary obedience, for the sake of such as may demand it in every thing that is sin-less, and consequently there will be an end to all quarrelling, contention, and pride, and perfect peace and tranquillity will be obtained; thirdly, pure and perfect love, in the exercise of all affection, kindness, mercy, charity, mutual defence, and civility, towards such as may deserve them, and of all kindness, peace, quietness, and almsgiving, towards such as do not deserve, and in the endeavour to rectify whatever is not right, in respect of man, system, or usage, leaving to God what in his judgment he concludes to be just. From following these three counsels will the three special felicities be attained, which three felicities are: first, no goodness can be commanded, which will not be performed, kept, and completed; secondly, there can be no just and merciful deed, which will not be performed; thirdly, there can be no debt which will not be paid, and discharged, no request which will not be obtained, and no deficiency which will not be supplied. Thus also will be obtained the three deliverances, namely: there will be no transgression[274]  which will not be set right; no displeasure which will not be forgiven; and no anger which will not be pacified. And thence will be obtained the three excellences: first, there will be nothing ill-favoured, which shall not be adorned; secondly, there will be no evil, which shall not be removed;[275]  thirdly, there will be no desire, which shall not be attained. And from reaching this mark: in the first place, there can be nothing, which shall not be known; there can be no loss of anything beloved, which shall not be regained; thirdly, there can be no end to the gwynvyd which shall be attained. And it is not necessary that there should be in understanding might and love other than these things, with the careful performance of what is possible.

68. There are three men of different dispositions and qualities:[276]  a man of God, who does good for evil; a man of man, who does good for good, and evil for evil; and a man of the devil, who does evil for good.

69. There are three men, who will get what they seek from God: he who seeks to become better in his heart; he who seeks to know the truth; and he who seeks the benefit and good of his neighbour.[277]

70. The three counsels of Lazarus:[278]  believe thy God, for He made thee: love thy God, for He redeemed thee; and fear thy God, for He will judge thee.

71. Three things, if borne in mind, will keep one from sinning: the commandments of God; the joy of heaven; and the punishment of sin.

72. The three stabilities of godliness: faith;[279]  hope; and charity.

In another Book--The three foundations of godliness: faith;[280]  charity; and hope.

73. Three will testify of the commandments of God: necessity; utility; and beauty.

74. The three losses on earth that will bring gain in heaven: to lose riches out of love for man; to lose fame out of love for civilization; and to lose life out of love for the truth.

75. The three losses of the body that will bring gain to the soul: the loss of health; the loss of wealth; and the loss of hatred.

76. There are three kinds of falsehood: the falsehood of word and saying; the falsehood of deed; and the falsehood of demeanour.[281]

77. From three blessings will the blessing of God be obtained: the blessing of father and mother; the blessing of the poor and sick;[282]  and the blessing of the distressed stranger.[283]

78. The three manifestations of God: Fatherhood creating the world; Sonship teaching the world; and Spirituality supporting and governing the world.

79. Three things which a man ought to do with his heart: to feel it; to teach it; and to fear it.

80. For three reasons ought a man to part with[284]  life, if it be required: seeking after truth; cleaving to justice; and performing mercy.

81. The three supports of a godly man: God and His gift of grace; conscience itself; and the praise of every wise and good man.

82. The three counsels of Lazarus: obey God Who made thee; love God Who redeemed thee; and fear God Who will call thee to judgment for thy works.

83. Three things that concur in will and tendency with all goodness: God in His power and favour; a wakeful conscience; and the judgment of wise and godly men.

84. Three things that are united with the religious love; avoidance; and seeking.

85. Three things that are incompatible with God: misfortune; falsehood; and despair.

86. Three places where will be the most of God: where He is mostly loved; where He is mostly sought; and where there is the least of self.

87. The three godly qualities of man: patient endurance; sincere and disinterested love; and renunciation of what is temporal.

88. Three things it is desirable to see: the mischievous becoming happy; the miser becoming generous; and a sinner becoming pious.

89. Three things that will be obtained from poverty: health; prudence; and the help of God.

90. There are three falsehoods: the falsehood of speech; the falsehood of silence; and the falsehood of conduct. Each of the three will induce another to believe what he ought not.

91. Three things that a patient man will obtain: the love of good men; the approval of his own conscience; and the favour[285]  of God.

92. Three things that a merciful man will obtain: love; peace; and the good will of God.

93. There are three punishments for sin: the punishment of man, which is severe; the punishment of God, which is more severe; and the punishment of conscience, when it is awakened, which is the severest of all.

94. Three things that a man will have from believing in God: what is needful of worldly matters; peace of conscience; and communion with the celestials.

95. Three things necessary to a sinner: to acknowledge his sins; to repent of them; and to entreat forgiveness.

96. Three things that a humble man will obtain: ease of mind; the love of neighbours; and godly discretion.

97. The three punishments which a Christian inflicts upon his enemy: not to accuse him; to forgive him; and to do what is kind and good for him.

98. The three cares of a Christian: not to offend God; not to be a stumbling block to man; and not to become enfeebled in love.

99. The three luxuries of a Christian: what is possible from the predestination of God;[286]  what is possible from justice to all; and what can be practised in love towards all.

100. The three witnesses of godliness: to forbid selfishness; to behave generously; and to support every goodness.

101. The three chief requirements of God: justice; mercy; and obedience before Him.

102. The three co-endeavours of love: to worship God out of love towards Him; to benefit man out of love towards Him; and to please self out of love for God and man.

103. The three chiefs of the world that tend together towards love: the good will of God; the benefit of man; and the quality of nature.[287]

104. Three things that will invest every thing with godliness: to put man in order; to teach truth and justice; and to lessen pain and want.

105. The three utilities of every thing in the hands of God: that which refers to the greatest necessity; the greatest advantage; and the greatest love.[288]

106. Three things that are principally from God: truth; peace; and knowledge.

107. Three things that are principally from Cythraul: ignorance; falsehood; and contention.

108. The three characteristics of godliness: to be holy as God; to be merciful as God; and to perform justice as God does.

109. The three principal qualities of godliness: justice; love; and reflection.

110. With three things ought every goodness to be per-formed: with all the understanding; with all the power and with all the affection.

111. The three impious contentions: war for war; law for law; and disgrace for disgrace.

112. The three pious contentions: prudence for imprudence; favour for no favour; and love for hatred.

113. From three things comes godliness: love; justice; and truth.[289]

114. There are three different kinds of men: a man of man, who does good for good, and evil for evil; a man of God, who does good for evil; and a man of the devil, who does evil for good.

115. The three teachers appointed by God for man: one is contingency, which instructs one by seeing and hearing the second is consideration, which instructs by reason and understanding; the third is the grace of God, which instructs by instinct and genius.

116. Three things which mark a man of the devil: pride; envy; and violence.

117. The three materials of judgment: law from justice; mercy from love; and conscience from reason and understanding of the former two.

118. The three principal qualities of goodness: love; justice; and suffering bravely in their behalf.

119. There are three words of advice to every man: know thy power; know thy knowledge; and know thy duty; and knowing them, act accordingly.

120. From three blessings will the blessing of God be obtained: the blessing of father and mother; the blessing of the poor and sick; and the blessing of the needy stranger.

121. Three godly qualities in man: to consider; to love; and to suffer.

122. Three devilish qualities in man: avarice; anger; and pride.

123. The three characteristics of instrumental good: to rear children in godliness; to support one’s self in the office and state in which one is placed, as duty requires;[290]  and to cultivate the earth.

124. The three characteristics of active good: to maintain truth and justice; to maintain love and peace; and to augment that gwynvyd, which may be pleasing to God.

125. The three characteristics of desirable good: to affect truth and justice; to affect peace and love; and to affect and desire gwynvyd wholly, and with a view to the whole.

126. The three saving goodnesses that will bring heaven to the soul of man, that is to say: the goodness which he performs voluntarily and in love, and which he would not of his own accord undo, in that he understands its intent--and of doing which goodness he would not repent during life, such as practising justice, mercy, generosity, and forbearance, unrepented of, and with full disposition and love towards those good things, and towards what he does in their behalf; the second is the goodness which he produces of his free will and endeavour for a particular purpose, being thereby the cause, which produces the said goodness, such as rearing children, and teaching them to be godly, and workers of good, with a just information and understanding of the good that ought to be performed, to the utmost ability of the man who seeks to do it; the third is the goodness which he would do of the free will and desire of his heart, were it possible for him, if he had the means, time, ability, and knowledge, and which good things he would not undo by word, deed, demeanour, or wish, ever after of his own accord, in that he understood and knew what would be the effect of his intention, and what would be the effect of his act towards those things. And these goodnesses are adjudged and privileged by God, according to the amount of power, affection, facility, desire, and free will, connected with them, as equal to the active goodnesses, which would do so, in that they had the power, affection, means, place, and time.

127. There are three reasons why God should be loved, and honoured: because He made us; because we are under an obligation to Him for maintaining us; and as a return for the felicity of His spiritual friendship.

128. There are three reasons and obligations for loving man: because he is in the image of God; because He is of the same essence and nature with ourselves; and because of the pleasure and advantage that accrue to love from the act of loving.

129. Three things that will be had in the ways of God: peace; truth; and knowledge.

130. Three things that God will give to His children, who love Him: justice; mercy; and gwynvyd.

131. Three things which every one, who loves the truth, ought to do: to seek it indefatigably; to obey its counsels; and to die, where there is occasion, for its sake.

132. Three things abominable in man: adultery; falsehood; and drunkenness.

133. The three things most decorous in man: justice; mercy; and obedience.

134. The three principal vigours of man: awen; affection; and intellect; and with these three he ought to love God.

135. Three things that ought to be obeyed: the commandments of God; the law of the country; and the requirements of conscience.

136. Three things which God only knows, and therefore it is not right to prejudge them: the tendency of awen; the attempt of the intellect; and the judgment of conscience.

137. Three things which a man ought to do honestly: to gain possessions through innocent industry and uprightness, that he may do justice and almsgiving; to benefit man in every employment which he performs; and to impart instruction in godliness and morality to all, wherever he goes.

138. Three things, without which there can be no godliness or morality: to forgive enmity and wrong; generosity; and just demeanour on all occasions.

139. The three excellencies of goodness: meekness; prudence; and liberality of mind and conduct.

140. There are three men, than whom there can be no worse: the miser; the slanderer; and the hypocrite.

141. The three qualities that will effect godliness: knowledge; truth; and liberality.

142. Three things that a man of God will be: moral; amiable; and well disposed.

143. The three things which God requires of man: justice; mercy; and obedience.

144. The three foundations of felicity: understanding; generosity; and contentment.

145. Three things together will make all that is just: the help of God; the instruction of the understanding; and the nature of good. Others say, and good endeavour.

146. The three signs of godly wisdom: to seek knowledge, come what may; to give alms, without thinking what may come; and to suffer manfully for truth and justice, without fearing what may come.

147. Three things most precious to man: health; liberty; and morality.[291]

148. The three foundations of law and habit: beautiful order; justice; and mercy.

149. Three things, without which there can be no divine morality: to forgive an enemy and a wrong; liberality of mind and deed; and to cling to justice in every thing.

150. There are three special duties incumbent on man: to support himself and family through industry and uprightness; to benefit his fellow-men in every undertaking and employment, in which be may be engaged; and to impart instruction in divine morality to every man, wherever he goes.

151. Three things which a man shall have from early rising: worldly riches; bodily health; and spiritual joy.

152. Three things which do not become a godly man: to look with one eye; to listen with one ear; and to help with one hand.

153. The three measuring rods of every man: his God; his devil; and his indifference.

154. The three foundations of piety: active justice; perceptive truth; and energetic love.

155. The three necessaries of goodness: knowledge; consideration; and lovingness.

156. There are three principal qualities, out of which spring all the other good qualities: mercy, and its characteristic is to give alms, protection, sustenance, and instruction, as occasion is seen; obedience proceeding from humility, and its characteristic is to receive alms, protection, and ad-vice, with manly decency, and peacefulness; justice, and its characteristic sign is to do what is right, according to conscience and understanding, in defiance of the man who may oppose him, and to suffer bravely in behalf of what he may judge as right, whatever it may be, and every hardship and oppression soever, which may ensue, even if he had to die for what he did and judged.

157. There are three gifts of charity: food; protection; and instruction in the way of advice and demonstration.

158. Three things that will remind man of his duty towards God and man: alms; fasting; and prayer.

159. Three things that will effect just godliness: to love God; love towards all living beings; and to love all that is gentle and just.

160. The three counsels that Jesus Christ gave to His servants: love thy God above all, and obey Him in all things; love thy neighbour as thou lovest thyself, and do for him what thou wouldest he should do for thee; seek praiseworthy sciences, because from them thou wilt rightly understand what thou shouldest love, obey, and do homage to, and what thou shouldest do for me and for him.[292]

161. The three counter-forces of all knowledge, art, and wisdom: lack of seeking; excessive seeking; and blind seeking.

162. The three fences of wisdom: truth; love; and prudence.[293]

163. Three things that will close against wisdom: avarice; inordinate desire; and over-hastiness.

164. The three principal concerns of the world: godliness; praiseworthy sciences; and industry, to prevent waste.

165. The three gains that will turn out a loss in the end: to gain fame for an injurious feat or act; to gain wealth by injustice; and to gain the mastery in evil contention.

166. Three things that will turn out a great gain in the end: to lose the world’s goods by giving alms; to lose the praise and regard of the world for a blessed act and disposition; and to lose one’s life in the cause of truth and justice.

167. The three qualities of just knowledge: love for what is best, desiring to know it; seeking judiciously for what is best, that it might be known and recognised;[294]  and choosing with judgment and prudence what is found to be the best, and cleaving to it. That is, the three qualities are, love, judgment, and choice.

168. In three ways may the will of God be known: in resigning one’s self to His will and commandments; in judging rightly and thoroughly what is possible to God, in respect to His godliness, and what is derived from God; and in judging what is due to God, in respect of His justice, power, and love. By reviewing these things may the will of God be understood and seen.

169. From three things will God and His will be comprehended and known: from doing what God would do, as became Him, in respect of His divinity and necessary attributes; from loving what God would love, in virtue of His divine and perfect love, for what is perfect cannot love what is imperfect; and from judging what God would judge, in virtue of His great power, justice, and love. As far as possible, by means of this wise provision may be known the will and purpose of God; and hereby will Awen from God be obtained.

170. The three dispositions of the mind, which can prognosticate the future, and the means of knowing what will hereafter happen to man, country, and nation: the first, obedience to God, performing what ought to be; the second, Awen from God, judging what is due from God, for God will not do anything but what ought to be, as required by His love, justice, and power; hence may be known what will take place, for what is due from God will inevitably occur, in virtue of His nature and attributes. And nothing but what God requires should be, can take place; and what ought to be cannot but be, in respect of the power and justice of God.

The Triads Of St. Paul

1. The three principal sciences of man: sciences respecting God; to know what he is himself; and to know the tendency of species and nature. From these three all other laudable sciences inevitably spring.

2. The three requirements of God from man: faith, that is, firm belief; religious obedience; and the performance of justice, in thought, word, and deed.

3. Three things God cannot be: unskilful; unjust; and unmerciful.

4. The three principal employments of God: to enlighten the darkness; to invest nonentity with a body; and to animate the dead.

5. The three agents of God in making the worlds: will; wisdom; and love; and from these three comes omnipotence.

6. Three things beyond all the research of man’s sciences: the extreme limits of space; the beginning and end of time; and the works of God.

7. The three requirements of God at the hands of man: to do justice; to impart learning and good sciences to those who are deficient in them; and to urge upon every thing the duty of mercy towards all living beings of every kind and form.

8. Three things, which it is not easy to see clearly in another man, and therefore it is not easy to prejudge them: the tendency of awen; the endeavour of the intellect; and the judgment of conscience; these God alone knows, and to Him belongs the right of judging them.

9. There are three things, of whose length, breadth, and depth, no one knows the thousandth part: the tendency of Awen from God; the capabilities of knowledge; and the properties of truth; and God only knows them.

10. Three things which ought to be considered seriously three times every day: the laws of truth; the laws of love; and the laws of God.

11. Three things which there can be no reason to fear in the world to come on the part of him who gives no reason to fear them in this world: to meet another man before the face of God; the exhibition of works performed in the presence of God; and a call from the great judgment, where God Himself is judge.

12. Three things which can never be: cause of fear in the world to come for one who gives no cause to fear in this world; lack of mercy after this world for one who shows nothing but mercy in this earthly life; and lack of knowledge for him who, to the utmost of what he knew, has exhibited knowledge to every man, fond of knowledge, and to all who required it, or might be seen in want of it. Others say: and lack of sciences, of whatever kind they may be, for him who has exhibited knowledge, as far as he could, to those who were in want of it.

13. The three best of all things that are found in this world: bodily health; just and discreet understanding; and purity of conscience.

14. Three things that ought to be considered seriously before we partake of our meals: first, would it be comely and right to present them before God, as if He would partake of them, because of the just way in which they have been obtained; secondly, could His grace be fitly bestowed upon them, according to the desert of those who partake of them; thirdly, are such meet to answer the purposes of God for the benefit of man, that is, to support life and health. Where these particulars do not apply to meals, and what relates to them, it is not right and lawful before God to partake of them.

15. There are three things connected with mercy, that will occur to him who shows it towards every owner of life and soul: he will not fail to have justice in every thing, which he does, whatever it may be; he will not lack the approval of his own conscience; and he will not fail to have the utmost of God’s good will and mercy for ever, both in this world, and in the world to come. Because, there is no justice but mercy, and there is no mercy but what does not give pain to either the body or mind of any species or form whatsoever, which may be found to possess life.

16. There are three things in mercy, in virtue of its kind and quality: the first is the utmost of justice, for justice will not fail the act of mercy, nor him who obtains it, whatever species of living beings he may be; the second is co-operation with God, for it was of His infinite mercy that God made all vitalities, and all the orders,[295]  and all their animations, of whatever kind or form they actually exist, or may be conceived, since there was no other species which justice could require at His hands; the third is the impossibility, according to justice, of not obtaining all that can be had from God as mercy, by him who performs it, co-equally and commensurately with the performance itself. And thus is it said:--

17. The three principal compounds of justice: utmost love and mercy, because there can be no want of love on the part of God, and His works of justice, towards any species or form, which have received their existence from God and His operation only, there not being in them anything that could possibly be displeasing to God, and there is no justice but love towards those who have done no displeasure; the second is, the utmost truth and sincerity of species, form, and condition, because there ought to be but truth, sincerity, and rectitude of condition and skill in what is done by one who can perform the best of all acts, and God can do no less than perform what is best in every species, form, and condition; the third is the utmost beauty or fairness in what is done, because that is not right and becoming which is not the most beautiful act of all the beautiful, and the fairest of the fair, where it is accomplished, and where it is possible; but perfectly possible to God are every excellency, every fulness, every skill, every beauty, every surpassing feat, and every surpassing prudence, and whatever of existences and acts He pleases will be effectuated, because God does what He does for better, and not for worse; hence the proverb, “For better, and not for worse, God does what He does;” also, “For the best, and not for the worst, God does what He does.” And these proverbs are true; because it is demonstrated that it is not right to judge, or think, or believe, or suppose, that all the works of God are other than the best.

18. Three things will be obtained from behaving properly, according to courtesy, and leading a holy life: the regard of the world; joy of conscience; and the good will of God.

19. Three things will be obtained from a proper recognition of God, that is, from a discernment of Him by means of a true knowledge of kinds and qualities: every truth of being and existence; every beauty and justice; and every eternal gwynvyd; that is to say, from having the knowledge of God and His goodness, will be obtained the knowledge of every thing possible to man, his understanding and reason, and to every awen, affection, beauty, and justice, of which he is capable.

20. Three things in man that will include every other goodness: bravery; peace; and godliness.

21. Three things in man that will exclude every goodness, of whatever kind it may be: cowardice, or timidity; contentiousness; and ungodliness arising from natural mischievousness.

22. Three things that will never end: life; intellect; and light; but they will improve and increase for ever and ever.

23. There are three demeanours contrary to God: an oath contrary to truth; a sentiment contrary to natural prudence; and course of life contrary to innate awen. Others say; and concern of life contrary to innate awen.

24. The three fulnesses of God: fulness of life; fulness of knowledge; and fulness of might and power; and from these three fulnesses comes the fulness of every goodness, in every kind, part, form, and comprehension possible to it.

25. There are three things in God of pure necessity: an eye which sees in every place, and at every time; an ear which hears in every place and time; and memory, which preserves every thing, and every event, in deed, word, and thought, in every place and time, in order to exhibit them in the presence of the angels of heaven, and all the saints, before the judgment of the day of doom, that every man may be paid for his deed and conduct, whether that shall be in heaven or in hell.

26. There are three things in man, that are the most odious of all to God: craftiness; avarice; and becoming hardened against praiseworthy’ sciences.

27. Three things that God regards as the best in every man: to be liberally conscientious; to demean one’s self with a clear regard to truth; and to genialize prsiseworthy sciences.

28. Three things invisible to him who is keenest of eye: the path of an arrow through the air; the path of fish in the sea; and the path of wile through the world.

29. Three things divine in a man: an amiable and cheerful countenance; a meek and courteous demeanour; and contentment of mind. Others say: an amiable countenance; gentle demeanour; and contentment with every will of God.

30. Three things devilish in a man: a harsh countenance; a proud spirit; and insatiable covetousness.

31. Three men it is difficult to make godly: the pugnacious; the reveller; and the adulterer.

32. The three superiors of the world and life: a pure conscience; knowledge of the truth; and health of body and mind.

33. Three things which the countenance cannot conceal: pride; anger; and amorousness.

34. Three things easy to be seen in the countenance of those who bear them: sorrow; joy; and peace of mind.

35. The three monstrosities of the world: the joy of fools; the generosity of misers; and the courtesy of ungodly men.

36. The three forerunners of mischief: not to seek the sciences of truth; not to anticipate the usages of courtesy; and not to make an oblation to God.

37. Because of three things no man should[296]  become proud: his sciences; his godliness; and the good he does; for he will not know or do, as long as he lives, half of the one or the other of them, though he should do as much as he can.

38. Three things which every man should avoid doing: to cause worldly loss to any man whatsoever; to cause bodily or mental pain to any man, or to any other living or animated thing; and to cause deterioration to any thing whatsoever, whether it be conduct, usage, learning, art, the sciences of wisdom, and morality, or any other thing, of whatsoever kind it may be; because the evil that he does will fall upon him either in this world and life, or in that which is to come in the next world.

39. Three men that will be odious to God: he who causes hatred and contentiousness among his neighbours; he who conceals the truth to the injury of another; and he who servilely disputes against justice. Others say; he who does against justice.

40. The three indispensables of goodness: justice; beauty; and truth.

41. The three indispensables of godliness: love truth; and prudence. Others say; consideration.

42. Three things that will augment godliness: sciences; alms; and worship.

43. The three souls of worship: truth; goodness; and beauty.

44. The three mutual charms of worship: prayer; thanksgiving; and praise.

45. The three requirements of God at the hands of man: belief; obedience; and worship.

46. The three reasons for worship: to teach wisdom; to cultivate the energies of the mind; and to gladden hope.

47. Three things which God only can perform: what has never been in existence before; to know all that will happen; and to judge the conscience. Others say Three things which are possible only to God: to perform what did not exist before; to know what will happen; and to judge the conscience.

48. There are three spirits from God, which ought to be in man before he can be happy: reason to understand and to know all rectitude; awen to love and to study all rectitude; and courageous patience to side firmly with all rectitude, and against all wrong, and to suffer, where occasion requires, for what ought to be, of whatever kind it may be.

49. The three losses that will bring gain in the end to man: to lose more than what life needs and requires; to lose bodily health on the part of a vain-glorious man; and to lose what one considers as his chief in and over every thing, for it is in this that most of his sinfulness consists.

50. The three different sciences concerning God: to remove far off from all evil; to approach all goodness; and to acquiesce patiently in every thing whatsoever, and in every incident and event of life.

51. The three distinctions of truth: utility in every thing; beauty in every thing; and strength to obviate and to oppose every thing.

52. The three columns of godliness: truth; beauty; and goodness.

53. For three godly reasons ought the Christmas Holidays to be kept: in remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the human world; secondly, in order to give alms to God and the necessitous poor out of all our possessions, for a gift to the poor is a gift to God; thirdly, in godly joyfulness that the grace and blessings of God have been obtained for men. He who does not call Jesus Christ and His Gospel to memory, and gives no alms, and does not enjoy his property in godly and religious gladness, will receive no benefit from keeping it on the Feast of Christmas.

54. Three things which a man ought to avoid, as he would the fall of fire on his heart: pride; cruelty; and covetousness; for where they are, all his doings will degenerate into ungodliness, irreligion, and all mischievousness.

55. Three things familiar to every mischievous person: falsehood; deceit; and depredation.

56. The three familiar things of the ungodly: pride; extortion; and cruelty.

57. The three customs of mischief: treachery; murder; and theft.

58. The three familiarities of happiness: to love peace and tranquillity; to love truth and justice; and to love God and all goodness.

The Triads Of St. Paul And Bardism

1. Three things that man will never be sufficiently: sufficiently wise; sufficiently kind; and sufficiently uncovetous.

2. The three laws of man’s actions: necessity and obligation, since better cannot be; choice of the one you please of what is possible, after considering which is best; and judgment, according to what is possible, for ever in the circle of Gwynvyd, united with all love and goodness.

3. There are three things, and no spot or place can be found where they are not: God; truth; and the circle of Gwynvyd; and to know this is to be united with them, and the same will deliver from Abred.

4. Three things, the magnitude of which cannot be known: the circle of Ceugant; the length of eternity; and the love of God.

5. There are three things from God: peace; truth; and knowledge; and, knowing them, it is the duty of all to communicate them to others.

6. There are three things from Cythraul: disagreement; falsehood; and ignorance.

7. The three best friends of the soul of man, and the only ones that will not forsake him: justice; mercy; and obedience.

8. Three things which cannot become finite: God; time; and space.

9. Three things, between which there is a great difference: between the thing praised and the thing forgiven; between what is forgiven and what is suffered; and between what is suffered and what is not punished.

10. The three principal vigours of man: awen; affection; and intellect; and from these three ought every goodness to proceed.

11. There are three kinds of animal: aqueous; terrestrial; and aerial.

12. Every thing that a man does or seeks ought to be in unison with three things: with the commandment of God and conscience; with the best that can be conceived and comprehended by man; and with what can co-exist with it for ever in the circle of Gwynvyd.

13. The three principal objects of every thing in the hands of God: that it should be the greatest in point of necessity; the greatest in point of utility; and the greatest that the love of God can accomplish.

14. The three necessary characteristics of truth, by which it may be known: that it is better than any thing else which may be discerned and comprehended for the same purpose; that it is easier than any thing which may be comprehended and discerned for the same object; and that it is more beautiful than any thing which may be comprehended and realized for the same place, purpose, and time.

15. There are three principal elements: earth; water; and light; that is to say, every fundamental corporeity is from the earth; every motion is from the water; and every vitality is from the light or fire.

16. The three contemporaries of the Bardism of the Bards of the Isle of Britain: peace; love; and truth; and from these three comes justice.

17. Three things that will produce understanding and knowledge: peace towards every thing; love towards all that is good; and to consider every nature, whether it be corporal or spiritual.

18. The three primary materials of every thing: fire, that is, light; water; and earth. That is to say, the first of every material was fire, and the particles of light; the second was water, whereby things were discriminated; the third was earth, by which all things were corporalized--all things else were mixed--and these were called the three primary elements. Others say: There are three primary elements: water, which was the beginning; after that, earth; and it ended with fire; and hence ensued imperishableness.

19. Three things, of which God is not capable: thinking evil; not thinking the best; and thinking counter to what He has thought; because He does not think but what is best, and it is impossible that God should oppose the best.

20. There are three grades of animations: God in Ceugant, where there is nothing but Himself; spiritualities in Gwynvyd, that is, heaven; and corporalities in Abred,[297]  that is, in water and earth.

21. There are three proofs in respect of all things, without which they cannot be chosen: the proof of suffering before knowing; the proof of consideration before understanding; and the proof of understanding before choosing.

22. There are three conditions to which the nature of existence and animation is subject: efficient, as is the case with God and His powers; effected, as is the case with finite vitalities and mixed beings; and non-effective, that is, what was not made, and will not make, as, space, absolute time, mortality, and darkness. Others say: What has not been made, that is, God; what has been made, and will make, that is, the living and motion; what has not been made, and will not make, that is, the motionless dead.

23. There are three coincidences that support all things: coincidence of love and justice; coincidence of truth and conception;[298]  and coincidence of God and accident,

24. There are three things, and as the two former are, so will be the third: water flowing into the sea whence it came; the line of a circle ending where it began; and the soul of a living being returning to God whence it emanated;--after that, the same migration as before.

25. There are three things, of which one will be like another: the nature of agency in what is acted upon, as the nature of fire in what is heated; the nature of motion in what is moved; and so will be the nature of God, Who made them, in the soul and life of man. And as is coldness where fire is quenched, and stationariness, where motion is resisted, so will be death, where there is no God. (Paul.)

26. The three stabilities of oneness, that is to say: the first is universality, for there can be no two kinds of one universality; infinity, for there can be no limits to one whole, nor can any thing be whole, which is not universal or omnipresent, for that is not one whole which is not all-comprehensive;[299]  immutability, for it is impossible that there should be one conjunctive, universal, entire, and all-existent, otherwise than they are; therefore, there can be no God but from fundamental and universal oneness.

27. Three things peculiar to God cannot belong to any other: omniscience; omnipotence; and omnipresence.

28. There are three almsgivings, which are the principal of all alms: the giving of provisions; the giving of protection; and the giving of instruction and advice to a man who knows not what is useful for him. Al. food; protection; and advice.

29. From three blessings will the blessing of God be obtained: the blessing of father and mother; the blessing of a distressed stranger; and the blessing of the sick and wounded.

30. There are three elements of primary necessity: earth; fluid; and fire.

31. The three infinitudes: space; eternity; and God.

32. Three things that concur with the three infinitudes: goodness; power; and love.

33. Three things that run contrary to the three infinitudes: wickedness; inability; and uncharitableness.[300]

Triads Of Bardism And Usages

Copied by Iolo Morganwg, Oct. 1797.

1. The three foundations of Bardism: peace; utility; and justice. Others say: peace; love; and justice.

2. The three supports of poetry and Bardism, that is to say: privilege in right of usage, for there ought to be nothing that is not according to usage; usage in right of privilege, for there ought to be no usage that is not privileged, nor any usage without privilege; and privilege and usage according to reason, nature, and obligation, for there ought to be nothing that is not so--the same resting on the three foundations, namely: truth; love; and justice. Others say: truth; peace; and just utility.

3. Three incidental conditions happen to song and poetry: corruption; improvement; and restoration[301]  from corruption and loss. And under each of the three contingencies, in order to obviate non usage, they ought to be submitted to the verdict of country, and the judgment of Gorsedd. That is to say, when they are corrupted, they ought to be submitted so, that they may be improved; and when they are lost, or when they become dormant, they ought to be submitted so, that they may be resuscitated, restored, and brought to memory, as they were formerly. Then they ought to conform to the three supports, namely: usage in right of privilege; and privilege in right of usage; that is to say, nothing should be done, in right of any thing, except what is customary, nor as usage, except what is according to reason, nature, and obligation, with a view to truth, peace, love, and just utility.

4. The three principal qualities of vitality: thought; power; and will; and they cannot be complete and entire except in God.

5. The three excellences of Bardism: to be fond of meditation; to extend learning; and to popularize manners and customs.

6. From three things does truth obtain credence: from believing every thing; from disbelieving every thing; and from believing it matters not what.

Three godly qualities in man: to consider; to love; and to suffer. (St. Paul.)

7. For three reasons ought a man to hazard his life, and to lose it, if there be occasion: in seeking after truth; in clinging to justice; and in performing mercy. (St. Paul.)

8. There are three principal kinds of animations: aqueous; aerial; and celestial; that is to say, the aqueous were the primordials of life, being the first that existed, namely, in the seas, before there was dry land; the aerials then calve into being, and they live on dry land, deriving breath from the air; and the celestials are those which attained the circle of Gwynvyd, being the highest of all that are not subject to death.

9. The three conditions of animations: the being in Abred; in liberty; and in Gwynvyd.

10. Three things which are impossible: that God should be evil and unmerciful; that there should be evil, which will do no good; and that there should be good, which will not prevail in the end.

11. The three burstings of the Lake of Llion:[302]  the first, when the world and all living beings were drowned, except Dwyvan and Dwyvach, their children, and grand-children, from whom the world was again peopled--and it was from that bursting that seas were formed; the second was, when the sea went amidst the lands, without either wind or tide; the third was, when the earth burst asunder by means of the powerful agitation, so that the water spouted forth even to the vault of the sky, and all of the nation of the Cymry were drowned, except seventy persons, and the Isle of Britain was parted from Ireland, and from the land of Gaul and Armorica.

12. The three administrations of knowledge, which the nation of the Cymry obtained: the first was the instruction of Hu the Mighty, before they came into the island of Britain, who first taught the cultivation of the earth,[303]  and the art of metallurgy; the second was the system of Bards and Bardism, being instruction by means of the memorials and voice of Gorsedd; and the third was the faith in Christ, which was the best of all, and blessed be it for ever.

13. For three reasons may living beings be deprived of life, namely: when one kills a man intentionally and purposely; when one kills a man accidentally, or indirectly, as when it destroys fruit and vegetables, which are for the food and sustenance of the life of man; and when it will be better for the one that is slain that it should be slain than otherwise, with the view of releasing it from extreme pain, or of bettering its condition in Abred, as in the case of a man, who gives himself [304] an eneidvaddeu for some punishable evil, where he cannot render any other satisfaction and payment for what he has done, than by submitting voluntarily, at the demand of justice, to the punishment due.[305]

14. In three ways a man happens to become eneidvaddeu: one is punishment due, by the verdict of country and law, for an injurious evil--an injurious evil being killing and burning, murder and waylaying, and the betraying of country and nation. That is to say, he who commits those evils ought to be executed; and every execution takes place either by the judgment of a court of law, or in war by the verdict of country and nation. The second is the man, who surrenders himself, at the demand of justice which he feels in his conscience, to execution, for an injurious and punishable evil, which he confesses to have committed, and where he cannot render compensation and  satisfaction for the injury he has done, otherwise than by submitting voluntarily to the punishment due for what he has done. The third is the man, who undergoes the danger and chance of execution in behalf of truth and justice, at the call of peace and mercy, and is slain. Such a man is adjudged to be slain for the good, which he has done; and on that account he ascends to the circle of Gwynvyd. In any other than these three ways, a man cannot be adjudged as eneidvaddeu by man, for it is God alone who knows how to judge what is otherwise. The first of them will remain in Abred, in the state and nature of man, without falling lower; and the other two will ascend to the circle of Gwynvyd.

15. The three accelerations of the end of Abred: diseases; fighting; and becoming eneidvaddeu, justly, reasonably, and necessarily, from doing good; for without them there would be no release from Abred, but at a much later period. Herein is seen that it was for the benefit of, and mercy to, living beings, God ordained the mutual fighting and mutual slaughter, which take place among them.

16. The three states of animations: the state of Annwn and Abred, where evil predominates over the good, and hence there is essential evil--and in Annwn are every beginning and progression towards what is better in Abred; the state of humanity, where evil and good equiponderate, hence ensues liberty, and in liberty is power to choose, and consequently improvement; the state of Gwynvyd, where good predominates over evil, and there is success in love, since nothing is loved there of necessity but the good, though it be also loved of choice, and hence there is every completion of goodness, and an end to every evil.

17. The three necessities of the occupants of Abred: the predominance of opposition and Cythraul over prosperity and amendment; necessary lawlessness; and death, ensuing from the mastery of Cythraul, and from the system of deliverance, which is according to the love and mercy of God.

18. The three necessities of mankind: liberty, for there is no necessary good or evil, inasmuch as both equiponderate, and hence either may be chosen according to judgment and consideration; power, for free choice may be made; and judgment, because there is understanding derived from power, and because what is capable of being otherwise ought to be judged.

19. The three necessities of the state of Gwynvyd: the predominance of good over evil, and hence love; memory reaching from Annwn, and hence perfect judgment and understanding, without the possibility of doubting or differing, and hence, the necessary choice of goodness; and superiority over death, consisting in power derived from knowing the whole of its cause, and the means of escaping it--the same being unopposed and unrestrained--and hence everlasting life.

20. There are three common feasts, according to the order and regulation of the Bards of the Isle of Britain: the first, the feasts of the four albans;[306]  the second, the feasts of worship, at the quarters of the moon; the third, the feasts of country and nation, consequent upon a triumph and deliverance, and held under the proclamation and notice of forty days. Others say: There are three feasts of endowment, under the sanction of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, at which every one presents his gift, made up of the three tributes, namely, honey, flour, and milk. That is to say: the feasts of contribution, under the proclamation of forty days; the feasts of alban; and the feasts of worship; and it is the privilege of Bards to preside at them, and to receive gifts of the three tributes of endowment, which are, corn, milk, and honey.

21. There are three other feasts, in which Bards preside by courtesy, namely: the feast of the head of kindred; a marriage feast; and the feast of a fire back, which takes place when five fire back stones have been raised, so as to constitute a dwelling station. At them are contributed the gifts of the comot and nation to the ninth generation; and the endowments of those feasts are of tilth, fold, and wood covert, as will be easiest to obtain and give them; the Bard having things by courtesy.

22. Three things unprivileged to a Bard, for they are not proper for him, that is to say: metallurgy, with which he has nothing to do, except to improve it by means of his learning, knowledge, and doctrine; the second is warfare, for there ought to be no naked weapon of offence in his hand, since he is a man of peace and tranquillity; the third is commerce, for he is a man of primary law and justice, and his office is to teach country and nation. And because of these things, it is adjudged that a Bard ought to follow no trade other than his office and art of song and Bardism, lest what ought to belong to a Bard and Bardism should become corrupted, deteriorated, and lost.

23. Three pursuits are free to a Bard, and to every other native of country and nation, namely: hunting; agriculture; and pastoral cares; for it is by means of these that all men obtain sustenance, and they ought not to be forbidden to any one who may wish them. Others say: ploughing; pastoral cares; and medicine; for these are pursuits of amendment, under the sanction of peace and natural law.

24. The three principal endeavours of a Bard: one is to learn and collect sciences; the second is to teach; and the third is to make peace, and to put an end to all injury; for to do contrary to these things is not usual or becoming to a Bard.[307]

Triads Of Bardism

These follow the preceding, in Iolo’s manuscript, without any heading, except, “*These marks refer to the printed copy. After 38,” which seems to indicate that they belong to the “Triads of Bardism,” which are published in the “Lyric Poems.”

39. The three privileges of Gwynvyd: the complete predominance of love over hatred; complete power, under the privilege of right and bliss, derived from universal knowledge; and complete satisfaction with every thing, since every opposition and Cythraul have ceased.

40. Three things that are endless: fire, that is, light; life, that is, God; and understanding, that is, truth.

41. The three necessities of all animations: vocation; awen; and privilege; and there is nothing else in the primary nature of these that is thoroughly one with it.

42. The three necessities prior to perfect knowledge: to see; to suffer; and to remember every thing, in every state of life.

43. Three things which man knows not what they are: God; nonentity; and infinitude.

44. The three sources of knowledge: reason; nature; and impulse.

The Mode Of Taking Food And Drink

The heading in MS. is, “Ex Egwyddor Dewiniaeth,” id est, “From the Rudiments of Divinity.” Probably the above fragment and “Egwyddor Dywiniaeth,” printed at p. 288, are portions of the same work.

When thou takest thy food, think of Him who gives it, namely, God, and whilst thinking of His Name, with the word put the first morsel in thy mouth, thank God for it, and entreat His grace and blessing upon it, that it may be for the health of thy body and mind; then thy drink in the same manner. And upon any other thing or quantity, which thou canst not take with the

Name of God in thy mind, entreat His grace and blessing, lest it should prove an injury and a curse to thee. Whilst thou art masticating thy food in the name of God, chew it small and delicately, then swallow, drinking whilst thou swallowest. And whilst thou art drinking in slow and spare draughts, conduct thyself towards God, as at thy food; and let the voice of heart and conscience be manifested in thee, and not heard by any other being than God.

My beloved teacher, prithee, tell me the meaning of the small and delicate mastication of food, and the spare swallowing of drink?

Teacher. The small and delicate mastication involves a deep meaning, namely, that there should be no belief in, and reception of judgment, or chronicle, or report, or marvel, or opinion, or concern, or faith, or unbelief, without, as it were, chewing, turning, and agitating it small and delicately, scattered and scrutinized, before it be swallowed by the understanding and reason; that inquiry as to what is necessary be made of him who knows about it, in respect of species, and quality, and in respect of what is true or false in it; and that whilst all this takes place, the unutterable Name of God, how it is to be spoken by the mind of man, should be brought to memory and mind. Then what thou hast taken into thy memory and mind, thy reason and understanding, will be to thee a grace and a blessing, good for thyself, and good for all men, and the grace of God’s chief blessing will dwell upon thee.

The Gorsedd Prayer

The Gorsedd Prayer, called the Prayer of the Gwyddoniaid.

God, impart Thy strength;
And in strength, power to suffer;
And to suffer for the truth;
And in the truth, all light;
And in light, all gwynvyd;
And in gwynvyd, love;
And in love, God;
And in God, all goodness.
And thus it ends.

From the Great Book of Margam.

The Gorsedd Prayer, from the Book of Trahaiarn the Great Poet.[308]

Grant, God, Thy protection;
And in protection, reason;
And in reason, light;

And in light, truth;
And in truth, justice;
And in justice, love;
And in love, the love of God;
And in the love of God, all gwynvyd.
God and all goodness.[309]

The Gorsedd Prayer, from another Book.

Grant, O God, Thy protection;
And in protection, strength;
And in strength, understanding;
And in understanding, knowledge;
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;
And in that love, the love of all existences;
And in the love of all existences, the love of God.
God and all goodness.

Talhaiarn’s Prayer, called by some, the Gorsedd Prayer.

God, impart strength;
And in that strength, reason;
And in reason, knowledge;
And in knowledge, justice;
And in justice the love of it;
And in that love, the love of every thing;
And in the love of every thing, the love of God.

Composed by Talhaiarn, the father of Tanwyn.

Talhaiarn’s Prayer, or the Gorsedd Prayer.

God, Thy protection;
And in protection, strength;
And in strength, reason;
And in reason, knowledge;
And in knowledge, truth;
And in truth, justice;
And in justice, love;
And in love, the love of God;
And in the love of God, the love of every animation and existence.

Talhaiarn’s Prayer.

God, Thy protection;
And in protection, strength;
And in strength, reason;
And in reason, justice;
And in justice, love;
And in love, the love of God;
And in the love of God, the love of every living thing.

The Prediction Of Peredur, The Bard Of Prydain

It is not quite clear whether “Bardd Prydain,” means here the Bard of Britain, that is, the Isle of Britain, or the Bard of Prydain, the son of Aedd the Great. Among the Gwyddoniaid, which was the name by which the priests and public teachers were known previous to the reformation of Bardism under Prydain, we meet with a son of Peredur Wrawn; and if this Gwrawn was the same as Gwron, one of “the three primary Bards of the Isle of Britain,” Peredur, in point of time at least, might well be called the Bard of Prydain. There were two others of the same name, who lived some time after the Christian era; Peredur, the son of Eliver Gosgorddvawr, who lived about the close of the fifth century, and Peredur, the son of Evrawg, a chieftain who flourished in the early part of the sixth century, and is mentioned by Aneurin as having fallen in the battle of Cattraeth. Neither of these, however, is represented as of the Bardic order. We may remark here, that, whenever the island of Britain is mentioned in old documents, it is almost invariably described as Ynys Prydain, a circumstance which gives force to the supposition that Peredur, in the heading of the above Prediction, was meant for the Bard of the son of Aedd the Great.

When the sovereign[310]  country shall bewail a stratagem,
And sorrow and dispersion happen to the secluded populace,
Blessed the lips that shall easily, and in confidential secrecy,
Pronounce three words[311] of the ancient and primitive language.

Composed by Peredur the Bard.

The Stanza Of The Gorsedd Chair Of The Winter Solstice

When the country of Gwrthenin,[312]  shall bewail a stratagem,
To the notches[313]  of rods shall the secluded populace repair;
Blessed the lips that shall easily, and in confidential secrecy,
Pronounce three words of the ancient and primitive language.

Composed by Merddin Emrys.[314]


Triads Of Wisdom

These Triads have been selected from a series entitled “Triads of Wisdom,” which, together with the “Triads of Bardism,” and the “Triads of St. Paul,” were required to be recited at every meeting for public worship.

“There are three Triads of worship: the Triads of Bardism; the Triads of Paul; and the Triads of Wisdom; and they ought to be recited in every resort of worship.”

1. There are three Gorsedd cries: the cry of greeting; the cry of claim; and the cry of efficiency.

2. There are three authoritative cries: the cry of country and nation to begin; cry relative to a pledge, in right of claim; and cry for a recurrency, in virtue of obligation.

3. There are three unities: one God, that is, the one primary element, from Whom proceeds every living and existing thing; one truth, from which proceed every knowledge and mental intelligence; and one point of liberty, from which proceed every strength and operation.

4. Three things incapable of change: the laws of nature; the quality of truth; and the laws of Bardism; for whatever is found to be beautiful, good, and just, belongs to each one of those things.

5. According to the three principal dispositions of man will be his migration in Abred: from slothfulness and mental blindness he will fall to Annwn; from his dissolute wantonness he will traverse the circle of Abred, according to the necessity laid upon him; and from his love of goodness he will ascend to the circle of Gwynvyd. According as one or other of the three principal dispositions prevails, will be the state of man; hence his three states, Annwn, Abred, and Gwynvyd.

6. The three states of living beings: Annwn, where there is a beginning; Abred, where knowledge is accumulated, and hence goodness; and Gwynvyd, where is the fulness of every goodness, of knowledge, truth, love, and endless life.

7. The three necessities of man in Abred: natural goodness, and hence intelligence, reason, and sciences; vigour, and hence love, hatred, fear, hope, awen, sorrow, and joy--and from the union of vigour and goodness proceed mercy, generosity, love, and courage; inherent blindness, and hence all hatred, ignorance, anger, pride, and covetousness; and where the two first do not predominate over the third, man will fall in Abred when he dies, and parts with life in this world.

8. The three necessities of man in Gwynvyd: godliness; love; and light; and from the three proceed all power, all knowledge, and all everlasting joy, and hence all goodness without cessation, without end.

9. There are three primary elements: corporeity; fluidity and air.

The Elements

Manred, the original form of all the materials, or all the constituents, that is, the elements, of which the first four of the five were dead, namely, calas,[315]  fluidity, breath, and fire, until God agitated them by uttering His Name, when instantly they became alive in one triumphant song, and manifested their condition.

Triads Of Bardism


1. The three materials of every being and existence: calas, and hence every motionless body and solidity, and every hardness and concretion; fluidity, and hence every cessation, migration, and return; and nwyvre,[316]  hence every animation and life, and every strength, understanding, and knowledge, and the same is God, without Whom there can be no life and vitality.

Others say:--

There are three materials of every thing, namely: calas, and hence every corporeity; fluidity, and hence every colour and form, and every course and return; and nwyvre, and hence every life, being God, from Whom proceed every soul, animation, strength, and understanding, for where He is not, neither one nor another of these things can exist.

Others say:--

There are three primary elements: calas, hence every hardness and solidity, and it is dead; fluidity, and hence every progress and mutation, and every alteration, colour, and form, and every discrimination, and every concurrence, and it is dead; and nwyvre, which is God, from Whom proceed every life, strength, and intellect, and every perception and sense.

Thus, according to other wise men and teachers, as may be seen in the old account:--

There are five elements: earth; water; air; fire; and nyv;[317]  and the nyv is God, from Whom are all life and orderly motion.

Others say:--

Calas, or earth, water, breath, uvel,[318]  and nwyvre, and every one of them is dead, except the nwyvre, which is God, from Whom comes all life.

According to another mode, as other teachers say from an old account:

Earth, water, firmament, fire, and nyv; and the nyv is God, and life, and intellect. From the first four are all death and mortality; and from the fifth are all life and animation, all power, knowledge, and motion.

2. The three constituents of life: motion; knowledge; and awen.

3. The three constituents of knowledge: original awen; facile reason; and inevitable necessity.

4. The three constituents of art: instruction from a master, who knows it; innate understanding that will comprehend it; and the exercise of congenial awen.

5. Three principles: innate understanding; vigorous[319]  affection; and the rises of natural temperament.

6. The three concurrences of life: body; soul; and privilege.

7. The three constituents of awen: knowledge, or understanding; vigorous affection; and devotion.

8. The three concurrences of art: correct system; firm justice; and discreet skill in practising it.

9. The three elevations of art: information from him who knows it; genial understanding to comprehend it; and needful occasion to practise it.

10. Three privileges which ought to be conferred upon him who teaches and demonstrates any good art that was not previously known: the privilege of innate nobility as a Cymro; the privilege of honorary art; and the protection of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, namely, that he should not, except of his free will, bear weapons of offence, or en-gage in war and battle.

11. The three principal adornments of every thing: time; place; and quality. Others say: The three principal elements.

12. The three principal elements of knowledge: Awen from God; the exercise of the understanding; and the demonstration of a master.

13. The three principal elements of Awen from God: innate justice; habitual kindness; and natural understanding.

14. Three things that will confirm and honour Awen from God: energetic industry; correct meditation; and courteous affection.

15. Three things[320].

The Triads Of Bardism, Called The Triads Of Ionabwy


1. There are three original principles, which are the three primary elements: the first, calas, hence all hardness, and it hardens every other thing, that comes in conjunction with it, and from this comes all corporeity; the second, fluidity,[321]  and hence all freshness and softness, and it freshens and softens every thing that is commingled with it, and all moisture and all corporal change; the third, nwyvre, and hence all life, for whatever it mixes with becomes alive, as far as its species and capability permit.

Other teachers and wise men say thus:

2. There are five elements: calas; water; air; fire; and nev.[322]

And others say thus:

3. There are five elements: earth, which is calas; fluidity, which is water and freshness; air, and hence all breathing, every voice and speech; fire, and hence all heat and light; and nwyvre, whence proceed all life, intelligence, knowledge, and power from will and desire.

Another of a similar kind:--

4. The three materials of every thing: earth; water; and nwyvre. Others say: earth; water; and nev. Others say: calas; fluidity; and nwyvre.

Another of the same kind:

5. There are five particular elements: calas; fluidity; firmament; uvel; and nwyvre.


6. There are three elements of matter, of original kind and condition: calas, from which comes all corporeity that has form and measure; fluidity, from which comes all progress capable of rest and motion; and nwyvre, whence all life and understanding.

It is as follows in another Book, according to other teachers:--

7. There are five elements, namely:, earth; water; air; fire; and nev; and it is in nev that God exists, as well as every soul, which is also from Him.

Others say thus:--

8. The five concurrences of every thing: earth; water; air; fire; and soul, the soul being God, from Whom proceeds all life; in the earth are the body and form; in the water is the conjunction; in the air are the breath and motion; in the fire is the feeling, that is, the corporal senses; in the soul are the life, and the senses of perception, namely, understanding, sciences, awen, reason, and affection. And in these five all things concur and have their origin.

Bardism, &C. The Elements

There are three primary elements, out of which proceed every other corporal substance, and living existence: the first is the calas, from which are all corporeity and hardness, that is to say, calas is the air, out of which, by compression, are derived every corporeity, colour, and form; the second is the fire, out of which proceed every motion and change; the third is the nwyvre, from which are God, and all life, understanding, and knowledge. Others say: Galas; uvel, and nwyvre, which is God.

Others say: there are five special elements: earth, water, firmament, fire, and nwyvre. From the calas proceed every hardness, every corporeity, and every form and colour, and it is dark, whether it be liquefied or hard; from the uvel are fire, and all heat and light, and all hue, and all motion and sensation; from the nwyvre are all life, and God, and soul, understanding, knowledge, and all affection and awen. And neither number, weight, or measure, can be applied to one or other of these three, where they are not mutually mixed together--nor knowledge, motion, hue, or form.

The Book of John Bradford.

The Elements

There are five elements: earth; water; air; fire; and nev;[323]  and from nev are God and every living soul.

The Elements

There are three primordial elements, from which proceed every material, and speciality of existence: calas; fluidity; and nwyvre.

Thus, after another mode, according to some ancient teachers:--There are five primordial elements: calas; fluidity; breath, that is, air and wind; uvel, that is, fire and light; and nwyvre, that is, life and motion. Every motion takes place by the agitation of nwyvre; it is in and within animate beings, and around and without inanimate beings.

The Elements

There are five primordial elements, namely: earth; water; air; fire; and nev. From the first four comes every inanimate matter, and from nev God, and all life, and all living things, and from the union of these five, comes every thing, whether it be animate or inanimate.

In another Book, thus:--

There are five elements, from which proceeds every thing, existing and living, whether it be animate or inanimate, namely: calas; fluidity; air; uvel; and nwyvre. The first four are dead, and the fifth is alive; and from the fifth are God and all life.



There are five elements, and from them, and their conjunction, are all things, living and dead, that is to say: calas; fluidity; breath; uvel; and nwyvre. From calas is every corporeity, namely, the earth, and every thing hard; from fluidity are moisture and flux; from breath are every wind, breeze, respiration, and air; from uvel are all heat, fire, and light; and from nwyvre every life and motion, every spirit, every soul of man, and, from its union with the other elements, other living beings. From nwyvre, in its simplicity, apart from every thing else, is God, for God is nwyvre, and is incapable of variety, or change, or death, or corruption, or diminution, for there can be no place where He is not, or time in which He does not exist.

Different names are given to the elements in other Books, that is, earth, water, air, fire, and nyv; and in other Books, thus, namely, &c. From the union of calas with water is a body; from the union of water with firmament,[324]  darkness; from the union of firmament, or air, with fire, heat; from the union of fire with nyv, moving energy, and every motion from place to place; and from nyv are all life and its characteristics, namely, understanding, memory, awen, affection, hatred, sorrow, joy, &c.

The Materials

The five materials of every existence and life: calas; fluidity; air;[325]  sun;[326]  and nwyvre.[327]

They are thus variously arranged:--

Calas, fluidity, and nwyvre;[328]  and the uvel unites with the nwyvre, the air unites with the uvel, the water, or fluidity, unites with the air, and the calas unites with fluidity.

The Elements

There are three principal elements: water; fire; and nwyvre. From the water comes the earth, that is, the water was dried of its humidity by fire; and from the water, scattered or liquefied by fire, is the air, or firmament; and from the union of water, fire, and nwyvre, is life.

Others say:--

There are five elements: earth; water; firmament; fire; and nwyvre. From the nwyvre are all life and power; from the fire is all affection; from the firmament is all motion; from the earth is all corporeity; and from the water are all growth, form, and habit.

It is thus, according to another mode, in the Triads of Ionabwy:--

There are five elements: earth; water; air;[329]  fire; and nev. From nev are all animation and life, and from it are God and every soul and spirit; and when it is separated from the other elements, they die, whereas God cannot die, for He has no body formed from the dead elements. On that account, He is not subject to form, size, or measure, nor to place or time; wherefore He is beyond every measure, place, and time, for ever and ever, without cessation, without end. Nev is an element of life, and, from its union with the dead ones, life takes place in a body; from the union of the dead ones is every corporeity; from the earth is every thing hard; and from the water are all growth, form, and habit, because with water principally, and from its species, augmentation and diminution take place; from the air is every motion; from the fire are all affection and lust; and from nevoedd[330]  is all life. It was thus that the ancient teachers arranged them, before the nation of the Cymry lost their sciences and arts. And when corporal things die, the elements separate, and each one goes to what pertains to it, namely, earth to earth, water to water, air to air, fire to fire, and life to life, that is, to God; that is to say, all things go to their beginnings and originals, where they rest.

There are five elements: calas; fluidity; breath; uvel; and nwyvre; of which the first four are dead, and the fifth is life.

The Elements

There are three elements:[331]  earth; fluidity; and nwyvre. Another mode: calas; fluidity; and nwyvre.

The Materials Of Man

Composed by Taliesin. From the Book of Llanrwst.

There are eight parts in man: the first is the earth, which is inert and heavy, and from it proceeds the flesh; the second are the stones, which are hard, and are the substance of the bones; the third is the water, which is moist and cold, and is the substance of the blood; the fourth is the salt, which is briny and sharp, and from it are the nerves, and the temperament of feeling, as regards bodily sense and faculty; the fifth is the firmament, or wind, out of which proceeds the breathing; the sixth is the sun, which is clear and fair, and from it proceed the fire, or bodily heat, the light and colour; the seventh is the Holy Ghost, from Whom issue the soul and life; and the eighth is Christ, that is, the intellect, wisdom, and the light of soul and life.[332]

If the preponderating part of man is from the earth, he will be foolish, sluggish, and very heavy; also a short, little, and slender dwarf, in a great or small degree, according to the preponderance. If it should be from the firmament, he will be light, unsteady, garrulous, and fond of gossip. If from the stones, his heart, understanding, and judgment, will be hard, and he will be a miser, and a thief. If from the sun, he will be genial, affectionate, active, docile, and poetic. If from the Holy Ghost, then he will be godly, amiable, and merciful, with a just and gentle judgment, and abounding in arts. And being thus, he cannot but equiponderate with Christ, and divine sonship. And so it ends.

The Eight Materials Of Man

1. From the earth is the flesh; 2. from the water, the blood; 3. from the air, the breath; 4. from the Galas, the bones; 5. from the salt, his feeling; 6. from the sun, or fire, his agitation; 7. from the truth, his understanding; 8. from the Holy Ghost, that is, God, his soul, or life.

The “Brith y Coed”[333]  of John Bradford.

The Seven Materials Of Man

1. Earth, from which is the body;

2. Water, from which are the blood and humour;

3. Sun, from which are the heat and light;

4. Air, from which are the breath and motion;

5. Nwyvre, from which are the feeling and affection;

6. The Holy Ghost, from Whom are the reason and understanding;

7. God, from Whom is life everlasting.

The Blue Bard of the Chair has said it.

The Seven Primary Materials Of The World

1. The first, earth, from which are every corporeity and hardness, and every firm foundation;

2. The second, water, from which are all humour and freshness;

3. The third, air, from which are all respiration and motion;

4. The fourth, sun, from which are all heat and light;

5. The fifth, nwyvre, from which are all feeling, affection, and wantonness;

6. The sixth, the Holy Ghost, from Whom are all understanding, reason, awen, and sciences;

7. The seventh, God, from Whom are all life, strength, and support, for ever and ever.

And from these seven primary materials are every existence and animation; and may the whole be under God’s regulation. Amen.

The Blue Bard of the Chair has said it.

The Eight Materials Of Man

From the Book of Mr. Cobb of Cardiff.
From the earth, the flesh;
From the water, the blood;
From the air, the breath;
From the calas, the bones;
From the salt, the feeling;
From the sun, that is, the fire, his agitation;
From the truth, his understanding;
From the Holy Ghost, that is, God, his soul, or life.

The Parts Of The Human Body In Which Are The Faculties

1. In the forehead are the sense and intellect;
2. In the nape is the memory;
3. In the pate are discretion and reason;
4. In the breast is lust;
5. In the heart is love;
6. In the bile are anger and wrath;
7. In the lungs is the breath;
8. In the spleen is joyousness;
9. In the body is the blood;
10. In the liver is the heat;
11. In the spirit is the mind;
12. In the soul is faith.


In the forehead is the intellect;
In the nape is the memory;
In the pate are reason and discretion;
In the lungs is the breath;
In the breast is the lust;
In the heart is love;
In the spleen is joyousness;
In the liver is the heat;
In the bile is anger;
In the body is the blood;
In the spirit is the mind;
In the mind is the soul;
In the soul is faith;
In faith is God.[334]

The Philosophy Of The Blue Bard Of The Chair

In the forehead is the intellect;
In the nape is the memory;
In the pate is discretion;
In the understanding, memory, and discretion together, is reason;
In the lungs is the breath;
In the breast is lust;
In the liver is the heat;

In the veins is the blood;
In the bile is anger;
In the spleen is joyousness; 
In the heart is love;
In all these is affection;
In the affection is the soul; 
In the soul is the mind;
In the mind is faith;
In faith is the Son of God;
In the Son of God is imperishable life;
In imperishable life is gwynvyd;

Without end; and blessed is he, who rightly exercises the faculties with which God has endued him, in order to attain to endless gwynvyd, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Blue Bard of the Chair has said it.

Particular Triads

1. There are three Persons in heaven: the Father; the Son; and the Holy Ghost.

2. There are three particular ones: the one true element, the necessary deluge; the one element, from which all men proceed, namely, the earth; and the one element of life, namely God.

3. There are three particular twos: the two particular stars, namely, the sun and moon; and the two elements, into which all men will go, namely, the heaven and the earth.[335]

4. There are three particular threes, namely: the three days that Adam and Eve were taken from.[336]

5. There are three particular fours: the four materials of man, namely, fire, air, water, and earth.

6. There are three particular fives: the five senses of man; the five books of Moses; and the five zones of the earth.[337]

7. There are three particular sixes, namely: the six ages of the world; the six stone vessels, the water in which Jesus turned into wine, at the marriage feast of John the Evangelist;[338]  and the six perceptions of man.

8. The three particular sevens: the seven sacraments of the Church; the seven petitions of Pater Noster; and the seven days of the week.

9. The three particular eights: the eight deadly sins; the eight that went with Noah into the ark; and the eight winds.

10. The three particular nines: the nine waves of the ocean; the nine graces of heaven; and the nine months of gestation.

11. Three particular tens: the ten commandments; the ten lengths of numeration;[339]  and the ten degrees of God.

Triads Of Ten Numbers

1. Three particular ones: one God; one truth; and one point of liberty; and to know those threes will bring to Gwynvyd.

2. Three particular twos: the two sexes of living beings, namely, male and female; two principles, namely, good and evil; and the two heads of necessity, namely, beginning and end.

3. Three particular threes: the three characteristics of order, number, weight, and measure; the three bodily perceptions, seeing, hearing, and feeling; and the three principal faculties[340]  of the intellect,[341]  to love, to hate, and to judge.[342]

4. Three particular fours: the four parts of the world and measure, east, south, north, and west; the four points of the sun, namely, the winter solstice, the vernal equinox, the summer solstice, and the autumnal equinox; and the four properties of form, namely, round, triangular, square, and flat.

5. Three particular fives: the five felicities of life, namely, health, liberty, love, welcome, and respect; the five columns of justice, fear, courage, hatred, love, and truth; and the five constituents of matter, earth, water, air, fire, and heaven.

6. Three particular sixes.[343]

Mutual Reasoning Between A Disciple And His Teacher

Disciple. Pray, my noble and very knowing Teacher, since you are a Teacher, and a primitive Bard, according to the privilege and usage of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, out of your usual kindness to me, exhibit your art, and tell me the nature and tendency of the voice of the Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle [of Britain], that I may know its purpose and meaning, and become myself a regular Bard of primary merit, even as you are.

Teacher. My brother in the faith and companion, Cadwgan, since thou art an institutional awenydd, under the auspices of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, I will tell thee, and will exhibit to thee the secret, with the request, and on condition, that thou listen diligently, ardently, and vigourously, to what I shall lay before thee, and not divulge what

I say. It is thus, namely The voice of the Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, is the old memorial, which has been preserved from the age of ages, and from the beginning, in respect to the art and sciences of the primitive Bards of the Isle of Britain, namely, the sciences concerning God and His goodness and dispensations, and the usages of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, and their privileges, and art of vocal song, and the arrangement of letters, and the arrangement and preservation of the Cymraeg, and the memorial of the wisdom of the nation of the Cymry, and the memorial of the privileges and usages of the nation of the Cymry, their genealogies, nobility, inheritances, and the privileges of worthy marriages, and all other privileges and usages, which ought to be worthily remembered.

D. God bless you for your kindness and amiability, for they are very familiar to me; therefore, I shall ask points of you--point upon point, until I receive your judgment and instruction.

T. Ask, and a hundred welcomes to you, and I will answer in the best way I can.

D. Why does the water rise from the bottom of the earth to the surface, where it issues out, and also falls from the sky to the earth?

T. I will shew thee the reason;--every thing tends towards life and light; in the light is life, and in the sky above the face of the earth are the light and heat; the water in the centre of the earth, and beneath the surface of the earth, being in the dark, tends towards the light, with a view to life, for in every thing it is a primary law of God that there should be a tendency and an aim towards life and light. Again, water in the firmament runs against its will along the apertures of the aerial parts, and seeks resting places, but there are none such for it in any part of the world, except on the face of the earth, and thither it tends, and that place it eagerly seeks. And, because of these two primary laws from God which exist in every thing, every thing eagerly seeks its rest, where it can get it. This lesson is a lesson taught by wise men.

D. Why is the water in the sea briny?

T. I will shew thee the reason;--the centre of the earth is a rock of stone, and a branch of that rock runs along the bottom of the sea, and melts in the water, and hence it be-comes briny. And where the top of that rock approaches the surface of the earth, springs of water are found to be saline in those localities, and salt is obtained from the water in those places.[344]

The Stars

There are three kinds of stars: fixed stars, which keep their places, and are also called stationary stars; erratic stars, which are called planets, and are fifteen in number, seven[345] being always visible, and eight invisible, except very seldom, because they revolve within and beyond the Galaxy; and the third are irregular stars, which are called comets, and nothing is known of their place, number, and time, nor are they themselves known, except on occasions of chance, and in the course of ages.

From Bardism--Fragments about the months and other things.


There are seven visible planets, and eight are invisible, except in a long cycle of times, and vast ages. The constellations of the stars are the following--

1. Caer Arianrod,
2. Yr Orsedd Wenn,
3. Telyn Arthur,
4. Caer Gwydion,
5. Yr Haeddel fawr,
6. Yr Haeddel fach,
7. Y Llong fawr,
8. Y Llong foel,
9. Y Llatheidan,
10. Y Twr Tewdws,
11. Y Tryfelan,
12. Llys Don,
13. Llwyn Blodeuwedd,
14. Cadair Teyrnon,
15. Caer Eiddionydd,
16. Caer Sidi,
17. Cwlwm Cancaer,
18. Lluest Elmur,
19. Bwa ‘r Milwr,
20. Brynn Dinan,
21. Nyth yr Eryres,
22. Trosol Bleiddyd,
23. Asgell y Gwynt,
24. Y Feillionen,
25. Pair Caridwen,
26. Dolen Teifi,
27. Yr Esgair fawr,
28. Yr Esgair fechan,
29. Yr Ychen Bannog,
30. Y Macs mawr,
31. Y fforch wenn,
32. Y Baedd Coed,
33. Llywethan,
34. Yr Hebog,
35. March Llyr,
36. Cadair Elffin,
37. Neuadd Olwen,

1. The Circle of Arianrod;[346] 
2. The White Throne;
3. Arthur’s Harp;[347] 
4. The Circle of Gwydion;[348] 
5. The Great Plough-tail;[349] 
6. The Small Plough-tail;
7. The Great Ship;
8. The Bald Ship;
9. The Yard;[350] 
10. Theodosius’s Group;[351] 
11. The Triangle;
12. The Palace of Don;[352] 
13. The Grove of Blodeuwedd;
14. The Chair of Teyrnon;[353] 
15. The Circle of Eiddionydd;
16. The Circle of Sidi;[354] 
17. The Conjunction of a Hundred Circles;
18. The Camp of Elmur;[355] 
19. The Soldier’s Bow;
20. The Hill of Dinan;
21. The Hen Eagle’s Nest;
22. Bleiddyd’s[356]  Lever;
23. The Wind’s Wing;
24. The Trefoil;
25. The Cauldron of Ceridwen;[357] 
26. Teivi’s Bend;
27. The Great Limb;
28. The Small Limb;
29. The Large-horned Oxen;[358] 
30. The Great Plain;
31. The White Fork;
32. The Woodland Boar;
33. The Muscle;
34. The Hawk;
35. The Horse of Llyr;[359] 
36. Elffin’s[360]  Chair;
37. Olwen’s[361]  Hall.


Prydain, the son of Aedd Mawr, was born on the morning of Alban Eilir, that is, the ninth day of March, according to the computation of the Romans; therefore the beginning of the year was fixed on his day, as a day of feast and institution, as it is still to this day. In old times it was called the first day of Cyntevin,[362]  the end of Cyntevin being the feast of Alban Hevin[363]  From thence to Alban Elved[364]  it was called Summer, and also Harvest; from Alban Elved to Alban Arthan[365]  it was called Autumn; and from thence to Alban Eilir,[366]  Winter.

According to the computation of the Church and the Courts of Law, Alban Eilir was said to be the tenth of March, but in the chronology of the Cymry and the Romans it was said to be the ninth of March.

Before the time of Prydain, the son of Aedd the Great, the beginning of the year was fixed upon the day of Alban Arthan, which was the ninth of the month of December, according to the chronology of the Cymry. (See John Jones’s Almanack, 1752.)


Before the coming of Christ in the flesh, the Bards solemnized times according to the years of memorial and computation, namely, from the time of Prydain, the son of Aedd the Great, who was famous five hundred and sixty-six years before the birth of Christ in the flesh; and from that time it is usual with the Bards to celebrate the memorial and computation of time in accordance with the years of Christ. Prydain, the son of Aedd the Great, as far as memorial and knowledge go, lived the time mentioned before the birth of Christ, and, according to the conjecture of wise men, and well informed herald-bards, six hundred and fifty years subsequently to the first arrival of the Cymry in the island of Britain. It was thus, one thousand two hundred and six-teen years before the birth of Christ that the nation of the Cymry first came into the island of Britain, and this was called Brut time, because the years of memory and computation were in old times conjecturally reckoned from the time of Brut,[367]  which was about a thousand years after the demolition of the tower of Nimrod the Giant, and about two thousand and eight hundred years after the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Paradise, which occurred five[368] hundred years after God had made this world.

The Memorial Of Computation.--The Memorial Of Country

This is the mode in which the ancient Teachers used to denote the memorial of times; that is, from the arrival of the Cymry in this island, it was the conjecture and memory of country and nation, because there was no privilege attached to the science of memorial and computation before the time of Prydain, the son of Aedd, who was called Dyvnvarth Prydain, Dyvnvarth being his original name. His epoch was about seven hundred years after the arrival of the Cymry in this island; and from his time to the advent of Christ in the flesh there were five hundred and fifty-three years, as told in the memorials of computation and tradition, warranted by the sanction of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, under the penalty of losing privilege and office, and the freedom of plough, and gifts, and of all chattels due in respect of song and poetry. Before the coining of the Cymry into this island, there was hardly anything else remembered and preserved by country and nation. This knowledge is called the memorial of computation, and others call it memorial and computation; thus it is said, that it was in the year of memorial and computation, five hundred and fifty-three, Christ came in the flesh; and this has been kept in practice down to the time.[369]

Memorial And Computation

Chronological memorial and computation were reckoned from the time of Prydain, son of Aedd the Great, who lived four hundred and eighty years before the time when Christ came in the flesh. When Bran the Blessed, the son of Llyr, had exhibited the faith in Christ to the nation of the Cymry, and made them believers in the island of Britain, they began to compute time according to the years of Christ. Some maintain that every cry of country and Gorsedd ought to be dated from the time of Prydain, that is, according to the custom of the ancient Cymry; others maintain that such should be done in conjunction with the years of Christ; whilst others will have only the years of Christ.

(Sion Bradford.)

The Cycle Of Time

The cycle of complete time is a year and a day, four weeks being in each month, and thirteen months in the year.

The Months


1. The dead month;
The dead month;
The white water;[370]
The white stream;[371]
The white surface of water;[372]
The black month;
The white flood;[373]
The white rime.[374]


2. The month of purity;[375]
The month of lambs;
The severe time;
The season of purification.[376]


3. The agriculturist’s month;
The month of violets;
The rising of the sap;[377]
The Lily of the valley;
The thunderer.[378]


4. The month of the swallow;
The month of the cuckoo;
The beginning of summer;
The beginning of ripenness;[379]
The season of the young;[380]
The spring of the young;[381]
The time of vegetation;
The pear orchard;[382]
The green grass.


5. The month of the cuckoo;
The beginning of summer;
The season of flies;
Superior verdancy;
Prime vegetation;
Various vegetation;
The cuckoo’s song[384]


6. The month of flowers;
The presence of summer.


7. The month of hay;
The close of summer;
The extremity of summer;
The extremity of ripenness;
The height of summer.[385]


8. The wheat month;
The season of whiteness;
Blanched stalks;
White stalks;
White beards of corn; 
The month of corn;
Extreme sunniness;[386]

8 The bright season;
The white appearance;
The white summer.


9. The fruit month;
The white stalks;
The white stalk.


10. The honey month;
The wine month;[387]
The month of the honey gatherer;
The month of deer rutting.


11. The month of mist;
The dusky month;
The month of honey-comb;
The fall of the leaves;
Receding appearance.


12. The black month;
The dark month;
The ventilator.[388]

Another mode of designating the Months.

1. The white fluid. The beginning of Alban Arthan.
2. The severe month.
3. Regeneration.
4. The beginning of summer. The commencement of Alban Eilir.
5. The summer month. The month of June.
6. The month of the excess of summer, beginning on Alban Hevin.
7. The reaping month.
8. The month of white stalks.
9. Deer rutting, beginning on Alban Elved.
10. The month of receding appearance.
11. The month of fore-shortening.
12. The dead month. The black month.

In other Books it is as follows--beginning on the morrow of Alban Arthan.

1. The white fluid.
2. The severe month.
3. Reanimation.
4. The springing rows.
5. The beginning of summer.
6. The open summer.
7. The height of summer. The excess of summer.
8. Reaping.
9. White stalks. Bright Stalks.
10. Deer rutting.
11. Receding appearance.
12. Fore-shortening. Black month.

The Beginning Of The Year

The Ancient Cymry began the year on the morrow of the shortest day of the winter, that is, on the turn of the sun.

The Three Circles Of The Sun

The circle of the summer aban;[389]  of the summer ablan;  and of the winter alban.

The Four Quarters Of The Year

1. Winter. 2. Spring. 3. Summer. 4. Autumn.

Or thus:--

1. Winter. 2. Spring. 3. Summer.--White grasses.

And the four points of the sun are thus:--

1. The point of roughness. 2. The point of regeneration. 3. The point of summer. 4. The point of reaping time.[390]

Also vulgarly, thus:--

1. Summer. 2. Winter. 3. Spring.

The Albans

They are as follows in the Book of Sion Howel Gwyn--the Book of Tre’rbryn:--

Alban Elved is the calend of October;
Alban Arthan is the calend of January;
Alban Eilir is the calend of spring;
Alban Hevin is the calend of summer.

The Divisions Of The Year

From the same Book.

The three divisions of the year:--

The time of summer from Cyntevin to the calend of October;
Winter from the calend of October to the calend of February;
Spring from the calend of February to Cyntevin.

The Divisions Of The Year

Spring from Alban Arthan to Alban Eilir, and thence to Alban Hevin; and from thence Summer to Alban Elved; and from thence Winter to Alban Arthan. After that: Spring; Summer; Autumn; and Winter.

Llywelyn Sion.

The Divisions Of The Year

Some of the ancient Bards divide the year as follows:--Harvest; Winter; Spring; and the beginning of Summer.[391]

The Divisions Of The Year

The four divisions of the year: Spring; Summer; Autumn; and Winter. According to others: Summer; Winter; and Spring.

The Divisions Of The Year

The four divisions of the year: Spring; Summer; Autumn; and Winter.

Harry the Tall.

The Spring begins in March, when the sun and its opposite are alike, that is, when the day and night are of equal length. Ib.

The Divisions Of The Day

There are eight parts of the day: 1. morning; 2. dawn; 3. vapourlessness; 4. noon; 5. evening; 6. twilight, &c.

Or thus:--

1. Dawn; 2. morning; 3. vapourlessness; 4. noon; 5. rest; 6. twilight; 7. disappearance; 8. midnight[392].

The Divisions Of The Day

1. Midnight; 2. dawn; 3. morning; 4. vapourlessness; 5. noon; 6. rest; 7. evening;[393]  8. overcast.

The Divisions Of The Day

1, Dewaint
2, Pylgeint
3, Bore,
4, Anterth,
5, Nawn,
6, Echwydd
7, Hwyr,
8, Ucher,

1, Dewaint,
2, Pylgeint,
3, Bore,
4, Anterth,
5, Nawn
6, Echwydd
7, Gwedechwydd,
8, Ucher,


1. Midnight.
2. Dawn.
3. Morning.
4. Vapourlessness.
5. Noon; the end of day; mid-day.
6. Rest; evening; commencement of night.
7. Evening; after rest;[395]  evening; commencement of night.
8. Overcast.

It was in this way that they formerly computed time and the divisions of day; that is, they enumerated eight parts of the day, giving three hours to each, thus, the first hour of vapourlessness, the second, &c., and so for others, mid-night, dawn, &c.

The Divisions Of The Day

It was in this way that they formerly computed time, and the divisions of day: they enumerated eight parts of the day, and three hours in each part, and reckoned thus, namely, the first hour, or the second, or the third hour of midnight, dawn, vapourlessness, &c., and so in respect of every one of the eight divisions.

The Divisions Of The Day

The four parts of the day: morning, that is, the first six hours; vapourlessness, the second six hours; noon, the third six hours; and the fourth, evanescence,[396]  reaching till the morning.

Years Of The Sun And Moon

Twenty-nine years of the sun are thirty years of the moon.

The days of the lunar year are 354.

The days of the solar year are 366.

The days of the year of memorial and computation, 365. Others say, 364.

It is called memorial and computation, information and computation, since the Cymry have come into the Isle of Britain.

Years Of The Sun And Moon

The years of the sun and moon are as follows:--The year of the sun, 366 days. The year of the moon, 354 days.

The year of memorial and computation, 364 days.

Twenty-nine years of the sun are thirty years of the moon.

In another place, thus:--

Thirty-one years of the moon make thirty years of the sun.

From the Book of Brith y Coed.

Years Of The Sun And Moon

There are two calculations of years: one is the year of the sun, consisting of 365 days; the other is the year of the moon, having 354 days. The days which are over and above the number of the lunar year are called days of days, and they are thus distributed among the Albans, that is to say;--two days of days to Alban Arthan, three to Alban Eilir, three to Alban Hevin, and three to Alban Elved. They are free days, and let any one come from any place he may, he will be free, and exposed to no weapon or stroke, since there can be no court and law of country on those days.[397]

(Bardism; fragments of the Months and other things.)

Days Of Days

Days of days are the days that are over and above the lunar year, and are thus distributed according to their number; two days of days are given to Alban Arthan, three to Eilir, three to Hevin, and three to Elved. They are free days, and let any one come from where he may, he will be free, without a weapon against him, since there can be no court and law of country on those days.