dragonhelmuk's Reviews > The Literature of the Kymry: Being a Critical Essay on the History of the Language and Literature of Wales During the Twelfth and Two Succeeding Ce

The Literature of the Kymry by Thomas Stephens
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Jul 24, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Kindled for free: Pretty cool book by one of my favourite authors, Thomas Stephens. This is where the famous classification of Taliesin’s poetry historical-forgery was first originated. Lots of really cool information, some of it still cutting edge, lots of it outdated (like his poor misguided trust in the barzaz briezh). Three quotes:

(amusing style)
it cannot but be interesting for candid Saxons to learn how their countrymen were regarded at this period by their more civilised opponents.

I believe I have now gone over as much ground as the reader can reasonably be expected to travel ; and, at parting, take leave to ask if, at the period under consideration, the Kymry were not among the most intelligent and intellectual of the inhabitants of Europe ? We wait the answer in perfect confidence.

(favourite bard-quote truth against the world)
Under the name of Merddin, the editors of the Myvyrian Archaiology place the " Hoianau," the " Avallenau," " Kyvoesi Merddin a Gwenddydd ei Chwaer," the " Gwasgargerdd," and " I Ysgolan." The Hoianau, which were supposed to be as old as the sixth century, will, with the Avallenau, be shown to belong to the thirteenth century, and the Kyvoesi to the tenth ; the Ysgolan here alluded to will be found identical with the Ysgolan, whom our poets and historians have conjured up in the Tower of London to destroy an imaginary heap of books ; and the real Ysgolan of actual history will be produced in the third chapter to answer for himself. From this it would seem that not one of the poems which are attributed to Merddin, is likely to be his.

(knowledgeable author)
Here we have " ent " for the past tense, " ynt " in the pre- sent, and " ant " in the future. Whether these arose from the greater skill of Aneurin, or from the alterations of the copyist, I know not; but that alterations have been made is evident, from the fact that in other places Taliesin is made to use the future termination ant in both the past and present tenses. Perhaps the only safe conclusion would be that the usage at that period was confused and unsettled, and that the use of the terminations " ant " and " ent " has been introduced since that of " ynt." " Ynt " is sometimes improperly used in the past tense by the bards of the twelfth and subsequent centuries; and even at the present day "ant" is as frequently used in the past as in the future tense by writers careless of elegant diction.

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