Series : Poets of the Nobility

09: Gwaith Einion Offeiriad a Dafydd Ddu o Hiraddug

Front cover of 'Gwaith Einion Offeiriad a Dafydd Ddu o Hiraddug'

R. Geraint Gruffydd & Rhiannon Ifans
Published   1997
ISBN 0947531106
Publisher  Canolfan Uwchefrydiau Cymreig a Cheltaidd Prifysgol Cymru
Price £10.00
Size 234 x 156mm
Format Clawr papur/Paperback, xvi+203

This volume seeks to present the poetic output of two men of letters whose names are connected with the manual known as ‘the bardic grammar’, namely Einion Offeiriad who is chiefly remembered as the author of the first version of the grammar composed c .1320–5, and Dafydd Ddu of Hiraddug who produced an edited version shortly afterwards. Only one poem is certainly attributed to Einion, a long and intricate awdl in praise of Sir Rhys ap Gruffudd and probably composed at about the same time as the grammar. It is a remarkable poem, which includes all twelve of the awdl metres described by Einion in his grammar, as well as three englynion unodl union .

Four poems attributed to Dafydd Ddu of Hiraddug have been preserved, including two religious and didactic cywyddau , the one outlining the History of Salvation, the other setting out the Ten Commandments. Dafydd Ddu may have been Chancellor of St Asaph’s Cathedral, and therefore responsible for the cathedral school: these two poems would fit in well with such a function. The third poem, an awdl , is an extended meditation on the transitoriness of human glory, the pitiable condition of the body in the grave, and the threat of a yet more severe judgement to come – themes which reappear in the fifteenth century particularly in the work of Siôn Cent. The fourth poem is a love englyn of very different thrust in praise of a well-born, but unnamed, girl.

The volume also includes all the verses quoted as metrical examples in the various versions of the grammar, most of which are anonymous, but some of which were almost certainly composed by either Einion Offeiriad or Dafydd Ddu.

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