The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg, Vol. I., ed. by J. Williams Ab Ithel, , at sacred-texts.com
Who was the first that made letters?
Einigan the Giant, 1 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. 2 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
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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, 1 introduced two symbols.
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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 1 obtained?
By Bran, son of Llyr the Blessed, it is said; but others relate that it was by Gwydion, son of Don 2 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 3 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
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prudent order, and established practice, and obligatory office on the part of those who are entitled 1 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.
33:1 In one version of Rhys Goch's "Cywydd Cyfrinach" mention is made of this personage as one whose learning was the source of the Awen--
It came from the learning of Einigan.
33:2 Reference is made to the usage of engraving on stone by Huw Cae Llwyd, A.D. 145--1480;--
He sweetly read little stones,
After the manner of Howel, he understood many things.
35:1 p. 34 This doubtless is none other than the "Rhufin," whose name occurs in a poem by Edmund Prys (1541-1624) in conjunction with the names of "Plennydd," "Goron," "Meugant," "Melchin," "Mefin," "Madog," and "Cadog."
There is one Rhuvin of wonderful lips.
37:1 p. 36 We retain the original term plagawd, (Lat. plagula, plaga; Gr. πληγη, Dorice πλαγη,) because in the documents before us it is described as meaning not only parchment, but also a kind of plant or sedge grown in the East.
37:2 Thus Taliesin,--
Gwydion son of Don--
Fashioned wood-knowledge upon plagawd.
37:3 Pardion--parodion. Another reading has parorion, continued, permanent.
39:1 p. 38 Al. "invested with."