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

p. 168 p. 169



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.

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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.

M. 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, 1 where there is nothing but God, of living or dead, and none but God can traverse it; the Circle of Abred, 2 where all things are by nature derived from death, and man has traversed it; and the Circle of Gwynvyd, 3 where all things spring from life, and man shall traverse it in heaven.

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13. The three states of existence of living beings: the state of Abred in Annwn; 1 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, 2 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,

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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; 1 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; 2 and from unmercifulness to a similarly disposed animal, 3 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.

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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; 1 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

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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;

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to be finite to the finite; and to be co-united with every state of animated beings in the circle of Gwynvyd.


169:* p. 168 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."

p. 169 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.

171:1 p. 170 Cylch y Ceugant, translated by Ed. Williams, "the circle of infinity," and by M. Pictet, "le cercle de la region vide," means literally, the circle of the enclosing circumference, that is, the perfect rim that bounds the entire space of existence. From the idea of unchangeableness or absoluteness, involved in the doctrine of the ceugant, the word has acquired a secondary meaning, that of "certain." It is in that sense that we are to understand it in the adage--

Ceugant yw angan.

Death is certain.

[paragraph continues] Also in the following passage from Llywarch Prydydd y Moch, A.D. 1160-1220--

Ked archwyf ym llyw y lloergant yn rot
Ef am ryt yn geugant.

Even should I demand of my chief the moon as a gift,
He will certainly give it me.
          I Llywelyn ap Iorwerth, Myv. Arch. i. p. 300.

171:2 Cylch yr Abred is rendered by Ed. Williams, "the circle of inchoation," and by M. Pictet, "le cercle de transmigration." Abred seems to be compounded p. 171 of ab, from, and rhed, a course, in reference to the migration of the soul from one animal to another, until it reaches the state of humanity.

Abred is mentioned in a poem attributed to Taliesin, where it is used to denote hell.

Hyd pan ddillyngwys Crist gaethiwed
O ddwfn fais affwys abred.

Until Christ released the bondage
From the immensely deep abyss of hell.
        Y Milveib, Myv. Arch. v. i. p. 170.

171:3 Cylch y Gwynvyd, the circle of the white, or, (taking that colour as the emblem of purity,) the holy world;--the circle of felicity, for, be it observed, gwynvyd is the term generally used by the Cymry to this day to denote bliss or happiness.

173:1 p. 172 Annwn = annwfn, (an-dwfn,) a bottomless gulf; an abyss; the great deep, or lowest point of existence, as it is translated by Ed. Williams. There is an old adage which says,

Nid eir i annwn ond unwaith.--Annwn is visited but once.

[paragraph continues] Taliesin opposes it to heaven, when he speaks of a deluge;--

O nef pan ddoethant
Yn annwfn llifeiriant.

When it came from heaven,
The torrent reached to annwn.--Kad Goddeu.

[paragraph continues] In the Christian code, annwn is made to stand for hell.

173:2 p. 173 Cythraul, (cy-traul,) the principle of destruction. The term is that which is still employed for the most part to denote the devil, or Satan.

175:1 p. 174 M. Pictet has rendered this "l’impassibilitié," as if the word was compounded of di, non, and goddef, to endure. He was driven to prefer this acceptation, from having mistaken the word "angenorfod," which be supposed to mean what was necessary for the triumph of man, over evil, and not, as we have rendered it, "the necessary obligations" of a man, as such.

175:2 Obryn is an obsolete word, but seems to be compounded of ob, a going out of, and rhyn, an emotion, or perception, and to signify an equivalent state of perception. Ed. Williams has it, "a state corresponding with his turpitude," and is followed therein by M. Pictet, who writes "point de démérite équivalent."

175:3 p. 175 Cydvil, (cyd-mil,) co-animal, meaning an animal corresponding in disposition with himself. "A corresponding state of brutal malignity."--Ed, Williams.

177:1 p. 176 Genius.

Next: Theological Triads