The Mabinogion, tr. by Lady Charlotte Guest, , at sacred-texts.com
339a PWYLL.--Page 339.
NEARLY the whole of the Mabinogi of Pwyll Pendevig Dyved, has already been printed with a translation in the Cambrian Register, and the story has also appeared in Jones's Welsh Bards.
Who Pwyll (whose name literally signifies Prudence) really was, appears to be a matter of uncertainty, but in some of the pedigrees of Gwynvardd Dyved, Prince of Dyved, he is said to be the son of Argoel, or Aircol Law Hir, 1 son of Pyr y Dwyrain. Mr. Davies, in the "Rites and Mythology of the Druids," states that he was the son of Meirig, son of Aircol, son of Pyr, which is rather confirmed by some other MS. pedigrees.
In Taliesin's Preiddeu Annwn, he is mentioned, with big son Pryderi, in such a manner as to lead to the inference that he flourished not later than the age of Arthur. The opening lines of that remarkable composition are given in the Myvyrian Archaiology, I. p. 45. It must be allowed that their exact interpretation is by
no means easy to discover, but the following version is from the pen of a distinguished Welsh scholar. The allusions, it should be observed, are very old and very obscure.
"Adorable potentate, sovereign ruler!
Who hast extended thy dominion over the boundaries of the world!
Arranged was the prison of Gwair in Caer Sidi
By the ministration of Pwyll and Pryderi.
None before him ever entered it.
The heavy blue chain the faithful one keeps.--
And on account of the herds of Annwn I am afflicted;
And till doom shall my bardic prayer continue.
Three times the loading of Prydwen we went there,
Besides seven none returned from Caer Sidi."
In subsequent parts of the poem Arthur is spoken of as having himself taken a share in the various expeditions which it records. The ship Prydwen is well known as one of his treasures. See p. 261. Gwair's captivity, which one of the Triads places in the Castle of Oeth and Annoeth, has been already adverted to, p. 192.
339b DYVED.--Page 339.
IT often happens, and is a cause of great confusion in comparing ancient story with modern topography, that the old names are retained while the boundaries of the territory which they indicated are changed. Not unfrequently the names of petty Celtic kingdoms were applied to modem counties. This is the case with the name now before us. Dyved, the country inhabited by the Dimetæ of the Romans, is now generally considered to apply only to the county of Pembroke. It once included also the counties of Carmarthen and Cardigan, forming, in fact, the western, while Gwent formed the eastern division of South Wales.
There appears, however, to have been an exception to this general division, a portion of Cardigan having been once exclusively termed Ceredigiawn, and one-third part of Carmarthenshire having been included in the District of Rheged, called subsequently "Cantrev Bychan and Kidwelly." Lewis Dwnn, 1 in the reign of Elizabeth, thus describes the ancient boundaries of Dyved, as he understood them to have been:--
"The kingdom of Dyved formerly extended between the rivers Teivy and Towy, from Llyn Teivy and the source of the Towy to St. David's, and the centre of this kingdom was the Dark-Gate, in Carmarthen, and there is at this day a record of these boundaries in an old parchment book of the Bishop of St. David's."
According to this Dyved would appear to have comprehended about a sixth part of Cardiganshire, two-thirds of the county of Carmarthen, and the whole county of Pembroke.
It is evident, however, that at the time the Mabinogi of Pwyll was committed to writing, Dyved was restricted to the Cantrevs (or Hundreds) of Arberth (or Narberth), Dan Gleddyv, y Coed, Penvro, Rhos, Pebidiog, and Cenmaes, to which we are told that Pryderi added the three Cantrevs of Ystrad Tywi, or Carmarthenshire, Cantrev Bychan, Cantrev Mawr, and Cantrev Eginawg, together with the four Cantrevs of Ceredigiawn, Cantrev Emlyn, Cantrev Caer Wedws, Cantrev Mabwyniawn, and Cantrev Gwarthav, which seven Cantrevs were classed together under the appellation of Seissyllwch. 1 The addition made by Pryderi probably restored Dyved to its original extent at the time of the Romans.
339c GLYN CUCH.--Page 339.
CUCH, or, as it is generally written, Cych, is the boundary stream between the counties of Pembroke and Carmarthen, and falls into the Teivy between Cenarth and Llechryd. In the upper part of Glyn Cuch (the valley of the Cuch) was the residence of Cadivor Vawr, a regulus or petty king of Dyved, who died in 1088, and was called lord of Blaen Cuch and Cilsant. From him many of the principal families of Pembrokeshire trace their descent.
340a ARAWN, KING OF ANNWVYN.--Page 340.
THIS personage is the King of Annwn, already noticed (see p. 280) as having fought against Amaethon mab Don, in the battle of Cad Goddeu. But it is doubtful whether he can be identified either with the Arawn ab Cynvarch, whom the Triads celebrate as one of the three Knights of Counsel, 1 or with the Aron mab Dewinvin, whose grave is alluded to in the Englynion y Beddau.--Myv. Arch. I. p. 82.
340b ANNWVYN.--Page 340.
ANNWVYN, or Annwn, is frequently rendered "Hell," though, perhaps, "The Lower Regions" would more aptly express the meaning which the name conveys.
The Dogs of Annwn are the subject of an ancient Welsh superstition, which was once universally believed in throughout the Principality, and which it would seem is not yet quite extinct. It is said that they are sometimes heard at night passing through the air overhead, as if in full cry in pursuit of some object.
344a MOUND.--Page 344.
THE word in the original is Gorsedd, which signifies a tumulus or mound, used as a seat of judicature, to which in its derivative sense it is commonly applied.
The mound called the Tyn-wald, still remaining in the Isle of Man, was long the place upon which the Deemsters of that Island held their judicial assemblies.
347a RHIANNON.--Page 347.
AFTER the death of Pwyll, Rhiannon was, by her son Pryderi, bestowed in marriage upon Manawyddan, the son of Llyr, and her subsequent history is detailed in the Mabinogi that bears his name. Her marvellous birds, whose notes were so sweet that warriors remained spell-bound for eighty years together listening to them, are a frequent theme with the poets.
"Three things that are not often heard; the song of the birds of Rhiannon, a song of wisdom from the mouth of a Saxon, and an invitation to a feast from a miser." 2
347b HEVEYDD HÊN.--Page 347.
ACCORDING to the Triads, Heveydd Hên (probably the same as Hyvaidd Hir) was the son of Bleiddan Sant 1 of Glamorgan, and was one of the three stranger kings upon whom dominion was conferred for their mighty deeds, and for their praiseworthy and gracious qualities. But in some of the pedigrees he is called the son of Caradawc Vreichvras.--See Professor Rees's Welsh Saints, p. 103.
354a GWENT IS COED.--Page 354.
ONE of the divisions of Gwent; the other two being Gwent Uch Coed, and Gwent Coch yn y Dena, or the Forest of Dean. Gwent was the name formerly applied to the eastern division of South Wales. In its present restricted sense it is applied only to the county of Monmouth.
355a GWRI GWALLT EURYN.--Page 355.
GWRI GWALLT EURYN, styled at the close of the present tale Pryderi (care or anxiety), is frequently alluded to by the Bards, who speak of him under either name indiscriminately. In the Mabinogi of Kilhwch and Olwen he appears under his earlier appellation, perhaps, however, Pryderi is that by which he is best known. He was one of the chief swineherds of the island, and was so called because he kept the swine of Pendaran Dyved, in the Vale of Cuch in Emlyn. One of the Triads says that the swine he tended were those of Pwyll himself, and that he had the care of them during his father's absence in Annwn. This version, however, does not correspond with the circumstances as given in the text, which imply that Pryderi's birth must have taken place long after Pwyll's mysterious expedition.
We find the adventures of Pryderi's maturer years detailed in the Mabinogi of Manawyddan, with whom his name is coupled in a passage of the Kerdd am Veib Llyr, attributed to Taliesin.
In the tale of Math ab Mathonwy it is related that Pryderi was deprived of life by Gwydion ab Don, who was enabled by magical arts to overcome him in single combat, after having by similar means defrauded him of some swine which had been sent him from Annwn, and which he and his people highly prized.
The encounter took place near Melenryd, a ford on the Cynvael, a
river of Merionethshire. The same authority places his grave at Maen Tyriawg, near Ffestiniog, but a different locality is assigned to it in the Enelynion Beddau.
"In Abergenoli is the grave of Pryderi,
Where the waves beat against the shore."
Dyved was called by Lewis Glyn Cothi "Gwlad Pryderi," and by Davydd ab Gwilym "Pryderi dir," and sometimes "Gwlad yr Hud," or the Land of Enchantment.
357a PENDARAN DYVED.--Page 357.
WE learn from the Triads, that the foster-father of Pryderi was the chief of one of the principal Welsh tribes; that which extended over Dyved, Gower (in Glamorgan), and Cardigan. 1
Beyond this, and the fact of his possessing an immense herd of swine, which his foster-son Pryderi kept for him in the Vale of Ouch, but few particulars of Pendaran Dyved are extant.
360:1 Aircol Law Hir is recorded, in the Liber Landavensis, to have been the son of Tryfun and contemporary with St. Teiliaw, who flourished in the Sixth century. We find the grave of Aircol spoken of as being in Dyved.--Myv. Arch. I. p. 82.
361:1 "Heraldic Visitation of Wales," published by the Welsh MSS. Society, under the care of Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick.
362:1 Seissyllwch was one of the ancient kingdoms of South Wales, and must not be confounded with Essyllwg (the Welsh word for the country of the Silures), as it has sometimes been. In the life of St. Paternus (preserved among the Cotton MSS.) it is said that the whole of South Wales was divided into three kingdoms, the same forming three bishoprics. Of these, the kingdom of Seissyl received its consecration from St. Paternus, Bishop of Llanbadarn Vawr, as the other two, those of Rein and Morgant, did from St. David and St. Eliu [Teiliaw]. The latter kingdom, Glamorgan, having derived its appellation from Morgan, a sovereign of the tenth century, it is probable that the name of Seissyllwch is of the same date, and also that it may be derived from Seissyll, or Sitsyllt, the father of Llewelyn ab Sitsyllt, Prince of North Wales. The name of Seissyllwch occurs in the Triads, where we are told that Cynan Meriadawc led the warriors of that district to the assistance of Maxen Wledig.--Triad 14.
363:1 Triad lxxxvi.
363:2 Trioedd y Cybydd, The Miser's Triads. Myv. Arch. III. p. 245.
364:1 Written in other versions of the Triads, Bleiddig in Deheubarth.
365:1 Triad 16.