The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg, Vol. II., ed. by J. Williams Ab Ithel, , at sacred-texts.com
Here are the Triads of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, with the memorial 2 and account which exist in 3 the voice of Gorsedd respecting them, their origin and nature.
When the Cymry first came into the island of Britain from the Summer Country, where they were previously, the primitive knowledge and original wisdom were kept and taught by the Gwyddoniaid, who were Poets possessed of Awen from God before the invention and existence of instruction from man, and before the Chair of song, and privileges and usages for Bards and relative to Bardism were
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arranged and regulated. And those Poets, or Gwyddoniaid, preserved, by means of the memorial of poetry and vocal song, the good primitive sciences, which were first understood by means of Awen from God. And after a long space of time, there was found from among the nation of the Cymry a Bard, being a Poet, called Tydain the father of Awen, who was the wisest of all the Poets, and he reduced vocal song and Bardism into order, and arranged the privileges and usages that were proper for Bard and Bardism. Those Bards were called Bards according to the privilege and usage of the Ancient Cymry. It was according to the arrangement made by Tydain, that vocal song and Bardism were maintained for a long time, until Prydain, the son of Aedd the Great, formed a confederacy in the island of Britain, and among its nations. And, because it was Tydain that first made this arrangement of vocal song and Bardism, and because the sciences which he possessed were superior to those possessed by any other person, in respect of vocal song and its relatives, and because it was through him, and the order and system which he made, that regular instruction and art in regard to vocal song and the sciences of Bardism, were first obtained, he was called Tydain, father of Awen. Some say, that it was before the arrival of the Cymry in the island of Britain, Tydain lived; but there is no sufficient information on that point.
Tydain took to him certain young and wise men, endued with Awen from God, to be taught and instructed in the sciences of vocal song and wisdom; and it was according to this arrangement and system that such sciences were held by the Poets and Gwyddoniaid until the time of Prydain, son of Aedd the Great. And when he had appointed a sovereignty over all the island of Britain and its nations, kings, princes, and lords, he ordered the Poets to exhibit their sciences, and the memorial and record in which they were preserved; and when that was done, search was made as to who were the wisest and most knowing of the Poets, when Plennydd, Alawn, and Gwron, were found to be the
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best as to those particulars which appertained to vocal song and the sciences of wisdom. And they met in Chair, where they issued the cry of restoration under the proclamation and notice of a year and a day, and deferred to the substantial verdict of country and nation. In that cry they cited and invited all the Poets and Gwyddoniaid who were skilled in vocal song, the sciences of wisdom, and the privileges and usages of the Ancient Cymry, to repair to Chair and Gorsedd about to be held openly, in the sight of the sun and eye of light. And thither came all who were versed in awen and the sciences of vocal song, and their appurtenances; and there were arranged and systematized such privileges and usages as were suitable to Bards and Bardism, and the wisdom and secret of Bardism; and there were also arranged and instituted the three classes of Bards and Bardism and the sciences of Bardism, namely, the Primitive Bard or licensed Poet, according to the privilege and usage of the Ancient Cymry, the Druid, being a Bard according to the primary sciences of the Gwyddoniaid, and the Ovate, being a Bard according to sciences derived from imagination and circumstance. And they committed the whole to the record and memorial of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, which are the song of Gorsedd, the voice of Gorsedd, and the usage of Gorsedd, lest they should become lost or forgotten. And when, in respect of these things, they had appealed to the firm verdict of country and nation, that is, the cry of country, under the notice and proclamation of a year and a day, until the period of efficiency, these three men, Plennydd, Alawn, and Gwron, were the three primary presiding Bards of the Isle of Britain, that is to say, they were primary according to the privileges and usages of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, which were arranged, instituted, legalized, and systematized in that Gorsedd, under the protection and privilege of country and nation, by a firm verdict. Then the primary Bards took to them others of the most knowing poets, the most celebrated of whom were found to be Madog, Cenwyn, and Anllawdd, being the three first that were, after
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instruction and discipleship, graduated presiding Bards, according to the arrangement and system which were made, as already shewn. And they were enjoined to maintain and preserve the three memorials, to judge and rule in Chair and Gorsedd, to take disciples and aspirants to be instructed in the sciences of vocal song and its appurtenances, to keep from corruption the primary knowledge and Cymric language, and to record every thing good and laudable in man, deed, and event.
It was in those days that the three primary Ovates, Cadog, son of Myl, the Wall of Greatness, Trysin, son of Erbal, and Rhuawn of the Silver Song, were instituted and privileged. The Ovates were appointed and enjoined to collect Bardic and good sciences, from whatever incident, and from whatever awen and imagination, to submit them to the judgment of Chair and Gorsedd, and to regulate them according to the sense, judgment, and system of art. In those days, also, were instituted and privileged, as Druids, Meiwyn, the Bard; Rhiwallon the Winged, son of Prydain, son of Aedd the Great; and Berwyn, son of Arthrawd. And they were enjoined to maintain religious worship, and the sciences appertaining thereto, according to the three memorials, and according to the result of the judgment of Chair and Gorsedd. These three triads of men, together with the three primaries, were the twelve primary Bards of Gorsedd according to the privilege and usage of the Bards of the Isle of Britain. That is, they are primary because none of their kind and sort existed before them; and they are deemed the twelve primaries, because they belonged to the same primary Gorsedd. And it was from them that were obtained first the three degrees of the Bards of the Isle of Britain; and it is according to what is here said, that the teachers and learned Bards point out three degrees of the substance and nature of the Bards of the Isle of Britain. In the primary Gorsedd, which has been mentioned, according to the privilege and usage of the Bards of the Isle of Britain, figures and numbers were reduced to a fundamental
text breaks off here.....--JBH
159:2 "The memorial" does not occur in all the MSS.
159:3 Al. "by."