Sacred Texts  Legends/Sagas  Celtic  Barddas  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg, Vol. I., ed. by J. Williams Ab Ithel, [1862], at


1. The three foundations of Bardism: peace; utility; and justice. Others say: peace; love; and justice.

p. 346 p. 347

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 1 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

p. 348 p. 349

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: 1 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,

p. 350 p. 351

who first taught the cultivation of the earth, 1 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 2 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. 3

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

p. 352 p. 353

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

p. 354 p. 355

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; 1 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

p. 356 p. 357

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. 1


345:3 p. 344 Copied by Iolo Morganwg, Oct. 1797.

347:1 p. 346 Al. "resuscitation."

349:1 p. 348 "Llion " means an aggregate of floods. The bursting of the Lake of Llion is thus chronicled in the Triads:--"The three awful events of the Isle of Britain: first, the bursting of the Lake of Llion, and the overwhelming of the face of all lands; so that all mankind were drowned, excepting Dwyvan and Dwyvach, who escaped in a naked vessel, and of them the island of Britain was re-peopled." (13, Third Series.) In another Triad (97) it is stated that "the ship of Nevydd Nav Neivion carried a male and female of all living beings, when the Lake of Llion burst."

It is alluded to by Iorwerth Vynglwyd;--

Lle ’r gwin mal lloer ar gynnydd,
Llawn byth fal llyn llion bydd.

The store for wine, like the moon on the increase,
Ever full, like the Lake of Llion, will it be.

p. 349

In the British Chronicles Arthur is introduced, as saying thus;--"There is a lake near the Severn, called the Lake of Llion, which swallows all the water that flows into it at the tide of flood, without any visible increase; but at the tide of ebb, it swells up like a mountain, and pours its waters over its banks, so that whoever stands near it at this time, must run the risk of being overwhelmed."--Myv. Arch. v. ii. p. 311.

351:1 p. 350 "The three benefactors of the Isle of Britain: the first, Hu the Mighty, who first shewed the nation of the Cymry the method of cultivating the ground, when they were in the Summer Country, namely, where Constantinople now stands, before they came into the Isle of Britain." Tr. 56,

The benefit which he thus conferred on his countrymen is frequently alluded to by the Bards; for instance, Iolo the Red, or Iolo Goch, the bard of Owain Glyndwr, observes of him;--

Ai daliodd gwedy diliw,
Aradr braisg, arnodd-gadr, gwiw.

After the deluge, he held
The strong-beamed plough, active and excellent.

See Dr. Pugh's Dict. v.

351:2 Hu. Al. "his life."

351:3 p. 351 The doctrine of eneidvaddeu is recognised in the Laws of Dyvnwal Moelmud. Thus, in Triads 19, 20, we read:--"There are three strong punishments: eneidvaddeu; cutting off a limb; and banishment from the country, by the cry and pursuit of men and dogs; and it is for the king to direct which he willeth to be inflicted." "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." On the supposition that these laws were really enacted by, or under the authority of Dyvnwal Moelmud, it follows, that the doctrine which the above Triads involve, is as old at least as 430 before Christ. It seems as if a misapprehension of its real nature gave rise to the opinion which Julius Cæsar entertained, that the Britons offered human sacrifices.

355:1 p. 354 These are the equinoxes and solstices of the year.

357:1 p. 356 In Iolo's manuscript the five last Triads follow immediately after Tr. 19; but they are crossed, as if they were not of the same series.

Next: Triads of Bardism