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OF THE AMERICAN PHILOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION. 1871.
1/ - Studies in Cymric Philology.
BY E. W. EVANS, PROFESSOR IN CORNELL UNIVERSITY.
My object in this paper is to commence a series of notes on questions of
Cymric philology, some of which are discussed or suggested and others left
untouched in the great text-book on this subject, the Grammatica Celtica of
Zeuss. My references will be to the second edition, in which some errors of
the original work have been corrected, and some important additions made, by
the learned Ebel. I shall also refer frequently (by the abbreviation Myv.) to
a class of documents not much used by Zeuss or his editor, the old and
early-middle Welsh poems, as they appear in the Myvyrian Archaeology, edition
of 1801. Among other documents referred to will be the Beitrage zur
Sprachforscung (Beitr.), Berlin, 1858-65, - the oldest copy of the Welsh
Laws, known as the Venedotian (Leg. Ven.), referred to the twelfth century, -
and the oldest copy of the first part of the Annales Cambriae, known as the
Chronicum Cambriae (Chron. Camb.), and referred to the latter part of the
I. A few preliminary statements in regard to the history of consonant changes
in Welsh may conduce to the better understanding of some things that follow.
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W. Evans. 2.
In comparing old Welsh, as seen in the anlcient glosses and fragments
published by Zeuss and Stokes, with modern Welsh as seen in all compositions
dating from the Reformation down, we perceive that there has been a general
infection of consonants not initial, as follows: Old p, t, and c have become,
respectively, b, d, and g; old b and m have become f (pronounced as English
v); old d has become dd (pronounced as English th in the); while old g has in
some cases passed into i, y, or close e, and in other cases disappeared.
Exceptions regularly appear, however, in certain combinations, e.g. in st,
rt, and nt.
Extant manuscripts of the twelfth century show that these changes in
consonant sounds had already taken place, for the most part, in the
transition from old to middle Welsh. The most prominent exception is, that in
middle Welsh there was more or less fluctuation between final p, t, c, and b,
The changes above described I shall designate as the depression of
consonants, in order to distinguish them from other kinds of infection, known
as the aspirate and the nasal.
While initial consonants have, in passing from old to middle and modern
Welsh, been persistent in the radical forms of words, the complex Welsh
system of initial inflections (if we may so designate a system by which words
undergo initial changes when placed in certain syntactical relations)
received considerable increments during the middle period.
II. There has been some room left for doubt as to when the change from old d
to modern dd took place in pronunciation. Until about the year 1400 there was
no distinctive notation for the latter sound; see Stephens’ Literature of the
Kymry, p. 453. I find the clue to it, however, in earlier documents, by
comparing two modes of spelling. In some of them d is used to represent this,
besides its more usual sound, while in others, strangely enough, the same
secondary office is assigned to t. By observing what places occupied by d in
the one class are regularly assigned to t in the other, it may be seen that
even in early-middle Welsh (aside from such cases of initial
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Studies in Cymric Philology. 3.
inflection as were not yet common) the subvocal dd sound generally obtained
where it now does.
The nearest approach that I have seen to a recognition of this test is in the
second edition of Zeuss, where it is stated that t when final sometimes
represents the infected d (dd), but hardly when internal. Examples are given
from the oldest copy of the Laws- where a mixed orthography prevails in this
particular as in others. I therefore deem it important to call attention to
the fact that in the majority of the poems of the twelfth century and the
first half of the thirteenth, printed in middle Welsh orthography in the
Myvyrian -including those taken from the Black Book of Caermarthen - the use
of t to represent the dd sound is quite regular, not only when final but in
other positions as well. As test examples I give the following words in which
we cannot, consistently with what is known of their history or etymology,
suppose a mute t: Old Welsh Griphiud (Chron. Camb.), modern Gruffudd,
Griffith, in one class of middle Welsh documents is Gruffud (Myv. I. 365), in
the other, Gruffut (ib. 290); old Welsh bodin, gl. “turma,” modern byddin, is
in one class bydin (ib. 202), in the other bytin (ib. 387); modern Dafydd,
David, is in one class Dafyd (ib. 198), in the other Dauit (ib. 336); modern
bardd, bard; (compare the bardoi of Strabo,) is in one class bard (ib. 337),
in the other bart (ib. 230); modern Gwyddel, Irishman, (compare old Irish
Gaedal,) is in one class Gwydel (ib. 174), in the other Gwitel (ib. 80);
modern heddiw, to-day, (from diw or div, day,) is in one class hediw (ib.
415), in the other hetiw (ib. 165); modern ymddiddan, conversation, (from
diddan,) is in one class ymdidan (ib. 173), in the other ymtitan (ib. 265);
so also ymtial, revenge (ib. 79), modern ymddial, from old Welsh digal
(Chron. Camb.). The list might be extended indefinitely.
It detracts nothing from the force of the argument to say that there are
exceptional instances of variable spelling in the same document. The
evidence, then, goes to show, what we should expect from analogy, that as a
general fact the infection of old d took place in the transition to middle
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E. W. Evans. 4.
But whether the dd sound was altogether unknown in old Welsh is a question
which I do not at present discuss.
III. Zeuss observes that since the quantity of vowels is not marked in
British MSS. it must be “determined by comparison,” that is, by comparison
with Irish and Latin words, latinized British and Gallic names, etc.
Doubtless the conclusions to which he is thus led are generally correct so
far as old Welsh is concerned; but he often falls into error in assuming the
persistence, in later Welsh, of original short vowels.
In considering the quantity of Welsh vowels I leave unaccented syllables out
of the account, because the tendency of the modern lalnguage is to make them
all short without regard to their origin - diphthongs, of course, excepted.
The accent, it should be observed, is almost always on the penult. In regard
to the quantity in accented syllables and monosyllables I have two general
facts to state which do not seem to have been observed.
1. In monosyllables and accented syllables the vowel is regularly made short
when followed by two (or more) consonants. This statement must be understood
as referring to the inherent quantity of the vowel itself; for on account of
the time required for the distinct utterance of two consonants the syllable
may still be called long. When a long vowel is thrown into such a position,
by composition, derivation or other grammatical process, it is shortened:
thus cryfder, strength, from cryf, strong; undeb, union, from un, one; porfa,
pasture, from pori, to graze; etc. The rule holds good even when the second
of the two consonants is i or w: thus moliant, praise, from moli, to praise;
gweddwon, widows, from gweddw; etc. But we must avoid the error of treating w
as a consonant in the diphthong wy (pronounced very much as French oui in
bouillon); thus gwelwyd, was seen, from gweled, to see. The exceptions to the
rule are very few, and arise from synaeresis; thus gwnant, they do, older
gwnaänt. We must exclude
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Studies in Cymric Philology. 5.
from this rule, as properly belonging to the following, such words as ofn,
cwbl, gwobr, and others ending in two consonants the last of which is l, n,
or r; for they are really dissyllables (formerly sometimes written ofyn,
cwbyl, gwobyr, etc.), although on account of the very short quantity of the
last syllable they are treated in verse as monosyllables.
2. Vowels followed by only one consonant (in monosyllables and accented
syllables) are, as a very general rule, long, when the consonant is b, d, g,
f, or dd, - that is to say, when it belongs to the class of depressed
consonants, or those which have undergone the change before mentioned as
marking the transition from old to middle Welsh. A very few words are
excepted, - ag and nag whein not emphasized, rhag, ab, and possibly one or
two others, that have not occurred to me. All the examples given in Zeuss
under the head of “Vocales Britannicae Breves” conform, in their modern
forms, to the rule; that is, the original short quantity has been lengthened:
thus, mab, son, old Welsh map; cad, battle, old Welsh cat; llafar, speech,
old Irish labar; mefl, disgrace, Irish mebul; gof, smith, Gallic gob; ebol,
colt, from primitive ep, horse; cog, cook, old Welsh coc, Lat. coquus; rhyd,
ford, old Welsh rit; llydan, broad, old Welsh litan; byd, world, old Irish
bith; Dyfed, Demetia; etc.
That the depression of consonants and the lengthening of preceding short
vowels were chronologically connected will appear evident when we consider,
further, that before single consonants not depressed the vowel (in
monosyllables and accented syllables) is very frequently short - always so in
the cases where p, t, c, and m remain: thus llac, loose; llyffant, toad;
calon, heart; cyllell, knife; crwm, bent; gwan, weak; llong, ship; copa, top,
summit; gyru, to drive; cusan, a kiss; cetyn, a piece, a bit; chwythu, to
blow; etc. But before l cases of short quantity are rare; ch regularly
lengthens the preceding vowel; so also in monosyllables does s. The condition
is here implied, of course, that the consonant is not followed by another.
Formerly consonants not depressed, except l and those represented by two characters
(ll, th, ng, etc.) were often doubled, to indicate the short quantity of the
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E. W. Evans. 6.
preceding vowel; thus, gwann, gyrru, cettyn. etc. It should be added that ng
- which generally represents an original nc - always shortens the preceding
vowel, as if it were still two consonants.
Long words have a secondary accent, preceding the primary. It is subject to
the two foregoing rules of quantity, except wliere it falls on the prefixes
cyd and di; in that case the vowel remains long even before two consonants;
thus, cydsylweddoldeb, didreftadu.
IV. In treating of the derivation of substantives and adjectives in Welsh,
Zeuss makes no mention of the termination -ing, which in the early poets,
(old and early-middle), occurs not infrequently. In the oldest Welsh MSS. g
is used to represent (besides its more usual sound) the sound now represented
by ng: thus in the Black Book of Caermarthen, Freigc, modern Ffrainc, the
French, or France; Tegigil, modern Tegeingl, a local name (Myv. I. 578).
Hence -ing is usually disguised as -ig; thus Ergig, modern Erging, a local
name (ib.). In late-middle copies of the earlier writings the spelling -ing
This termination is often used with a patronymic force. It appears also in
the names of certain districts, most of which are known to be derived from
Thus in Gwalchmai, a poet of the twelfth century (Myv. I. 194), Cynan
Coeling, Cynan, of the race of Coel: in Cynddelw, also a poet of the twelfth
century (ib. 232), Kynverching werin, the people of the race of Cynvarch; o
vonet Coelig, of Coelian stock; o Vaelgynig (rhyming with ig, that is ing,
distress), of the race, or country, of Maelgwn; roted ardunyant ar Dinodig,
honor has been bestowed on Dinoding, that is, on the country of Dunawd (the
Dinoot of Beda). Of the old poets, Taliesin (ib. 71) has Coeling; Meigant
(ib. 159) has Cadelling, of the race of Cadell, and Dogfeiling, of the race
of Dogmael; Golyddan (ib. 157) has Glywysyg, which in a copy of Nennius
referred to the tenth century is spelt Glevising. This is the ancient name of
some district in South Wales,
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Studies in Cymric Philology. 7.
derived from the personal name Glewys (see Stevenson’s Nennius). Price, in
his Hanes Cymru, erroneously retains the early-middle spelling, Glewysig.
Does -ing represent the -incus, -inca, -incum (Z. 807), of Gallic personal
and local names?
V. The Juvenicus gloss, “istlinnit, profatur,” (Beitr. iv. 392) is mentioned
in the second edition of Zeuss as if it were the only example of the
preservation in Welsh of the third singular present indicative active in -it;
compare Irish -id and Latin -it.
In the old Welsh poems, which although they come to us in a corrupt form -
that of imperfect translations into middle Welsh - yet often preserve archaic
features, I find frequent examples of the use of this termination, generally
depressed, however, in the later copies, to -id. Thus in the Elegy of
Cynddylan, by Llywarch Hen (Myv. I. 109):
Eryr Pengwern pell gelwid heno;
Ar waed gwyr gwelid.
The eagle of Pengwern calls afar to-night;
Over the blood of men it watches.
In Llevoed Wynebglawr: golut byt eyt dydau (Myv. I. 154), worldly wealth
goes, comes; guae drut ny chretit (ib. 155), woe to the presumptuous one that
does not believe; difrys guanec, diffustit traeth (ib.), the wave hastens, it
beats the shore.
In the “ Englynion Cain Cynnwyre,” of unknown authorship but undoubtedly old:
gorchwythid gwynt uwch aber, strong blows the wind over the estuary; cyrchid
carw dan vrig derwen, the stag seeks the shelter of the oak; anrheithid
rhywynt anial, the tempest ravages the forest. (Myv. III. 142.)
Among the proverbs, which, it should be observed, often bear internal
evidence of having been drawn from old Welsh sources, many examples in point
occur, including the following: anghwanecid mevl mawrair, boasting adds to
the disgrace (Myv. III. 147); elid bryd yn ol breuddwyd, the fancy goes
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W. Evans. 8.
according to the dream (ib. 155); gwnelid anghelfydd annerth, weakness makes
unskillful (ib. 161); llyvid y ci y gwaew y brather ag ev, the dog licks the
spear wherewith he is wounded (ib. 163); rhetid maen oni gafo wastad, the
stone rolls till it finds the plain (ib. 176).
Aside from the proverbs I have found no examples of the use of this
termination in prose. It occurs two or three times (doubtless as an archaism)
in the poetry of the twelfth century, and then disappears. None of the Welsh
grammarians, so far as I know, have recognized it at all. Translators have
generally confounded it with the imperative active -it or -id, which
sometimes occurs, later, for the usual -et or -ed.
VI. In treating of the Welsh passive conjugation, Zeuss gives the present
(and future) indicative ending -ir; to which, in the second edition, the less
frequent -awr is added. No mention is made in either edition of the very
important forms -ator, -etor, -itor (sometimes, -otor, -iator, -etawr,
-itior, -itiawr); compare Irish -ithir, -ither, in passives, and -adar,
-edar, -idir, in deponents; also, Latin -atur, -etur, -itur.
These passive endings (occasionally depressed in our copies to -ador,
-idiawr, etc.) occur frequently in the old Welsh poets, and sometimes in the
earlier poets of the middle-Welsh period: e.g. in Llywarch Hen (Myv. I. 107),
cenau Cyndrwyn cwyn itor, the offspring of Cyndrwyn is bewailed; in the
Gododin, gweinydiawr ysgwydawr yngweithen (ib. 7), shields are pierced in the
combat; in various old poems which have been attributed to Taliesin,
gwelattor arwyddion (ib. 33), signs are seen; golchettawr ei lestri, bid
gloew ei vrecci (ib. 39), his vessels are washed, his wort is clear; hyd tra
fwy fyw crybwylletor (ib. 70), as long as I live he shall be commemorated;
cathl gwae canhator cylch Prydain amgor (ib. 75), the song of woe is sung
round Britain’s borders; in Llevoed Wynebglawr (ib. 154), pob llyvur
llemityor arnau, every coward will be trampled upon; in Gwalchmai (ib. 197),
ef gwr gwelitor, he is seen (appears as) a man; in Cynddelw (ib. 205),
arwyrain Owain cain
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in Cymric Philology. 9.
cenitor, the praise of Owain is (or, will be) fitly sung. Again in the
proverbs, clywitor corn can ni weler (ib. III. 151), a horn will be heard
though it be not seen; telitor gwedi halawglw (ib. 177), there is paying
(lit. it is paid) after false swearing. Besides the two last I have found no
examples in prose.
Like -ir, these endings are present or future, singular or plural, according
to the connection. But unlike -ir and the other passive endings, they are
used only in the third person. At least I have failed to find a single
example of their use in the first or second person, in the whole mass of
documents published in the Myvyrian. Yet the pronouns of the first and
seconld persons occur so frequently in the early poetry that we have a right
to expect such examples, if they were not precluded by usage. I must therefore
dispute the correctness of the statement made by Zeuss and others, that the
Welsh language preserves no remnant of the personal conjugation in the
Dr. Owen Pughe, who is a very unsafe guide in early Welsh, calls verbs in
-ator or -iator gerunds, and verbs in -itor or -etor supines, translating
thus: “adeiliator, in building,” “adeilitor, to be building.” It is to be
regretted that these fictions are reproduced in the Welsh introduction to the
second edition of the Myvyrian, lately issued. I am not aware, indeed, that
the real character of these verb-endings has ever been pointed out.
VII. Zeuss derives Cymro, Cambrian, from cyn-, synonymous with Latin con-,
and bro, region, Gallic brog. The name would thus mean compatriot. The plural,
Cymry, might come by umlaut from Cymro, after the analogy of ffyn, staves,
But the feminine of Cymro in middle and modern Welsh is Cymraës. This points
to Cymra as the earlier masculine form, which, again, might give Cymry as the
plural by umlaut after the analogy of bustych, steers, from bustach.
An earlier Cymra is also indicated by the name of the language, Cymraëg
(middle Cymraëc, Myv. I. 272); thus
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E. W. Evans. 10.
Gwyddeleg, the Irish language, from Gwyddel, Irishman; Gwenhwyseg, the
Gwentian dialect, from Gwentwys, etc.
It is Cymra (as opposed to Cymro) that is indicated, again, by the adjective
Cymrëig, Cambricus; compare Ffrengig, Gallicus, from Ffranc, Gallus;
gwyrenig, from gwyran; gwledig, from gwlad, etc.
There are no analogies whatever for deriving any one of these words from the
form Cymro; we should have, instead, Cymroës, Cymroëg and Cymroïg, which
forms never occur.
In view of these facts I cannot but regard the etymology of the name Cymry as
still unexplained. I do not discuss the theory of its identity with the
Cimbri of the Romans, except so far as to say that any argument against that
theory based on Zeuss’s account of the origin of the word would be,
We have an analogous case in middle Welsh Cornaw, Cornwall (Myv. II. 267).
The more frequent form Cernyw (as a derivative whose ending begins with a
slender vowel) indicates the root Carn (as opposed to Corn). This we
accordingly find in the Latin Carnabii.
The orthographical distinction between Cymry, as the name of the people, and
Cymru, as the name of the country, (pronounced alike,) is a late one. In
early-middle writings both are spelt with a final y, usually Cymry; in the
oldest copy of the Laws, referred, as already stated, to the twelfth century,
the spelling is Kemry (Leg. Ven. 2); in the Black Book of Caermarthen, also
referred to the twelfth century, Kimry (Myv. I. 578).
The following early readings are also worthy of notice: Camaraës, a Welsh
woman (Leg. Ven. 96); Kymeraëc, the Welsh language (Brut Gruffudd ab Arthur,
Myv. II. 155). But however the early-middle scribes varied the spelling in
other respects, they never doubled the m in Cymro or any of its derivatives.
This shows that they had no idea of its being compounded of cyn- and bro. Dr.
Owen Pughe adopted the spelling Cymmro in order to make it agree, as he
supposed, with his theory of the etymology (cyn, first, and bro, which should
really give us cynfro, however): and the remarkable
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Studies in Cymric Philology. 11.
Cynmraeg of Zeuss must be another accommodation of the same sort, taken from
some erratic modern writer; it is judiciously left out of the second edition.
Meilyr, a poet of the close of the eleventh century and the first half of the
twelfth (Myv. I. 191), has clas Cymreyt (Cymreÿdd, as the rhyme shows), which
Dr. Owen Pughe translates “the region of connected mountains,” intending
Wales, but assuming the name Cymreydd to be compounded of cyn-, and bre,
height. I cannot doubt, however, that it is another plural of Cymro -
indicating Cymra again as the earlier form; compare glenydd, banks, from
glan; gwledydd, countries, from gwlad; trigfeÿdd, abodes, from trigfa, etc. I
give the passage with a translation.
Edewis eurwas clas Cymreyt,
Canawon Mordai, mynogi ryt,
Dytwyreo Owain Eingl didudyt.
The illustrious one of the land of the Cymry (the race of Mordai, of lavish
generosity) did promise that an Owain should arise, the expeller of the
Mordai was a country of the northern Cymry, celebrated in the Gododin. To the
northern Cymric heroes, much lauded in the old poets for their generosity,
the Welsh of the middle ages were fond of tracing their pedigrees. The
reference in the passage is evidently to a reputed prophecy of Myrddin, still
extant (Myv. I. 144), in which it was promised that an Owain should reconquer
England as far as London. Meilyr would fain see this prophecy fulfilled in
the fortunes of his young contemporary, Owain Gwynedd.
That Pughe has entirely misapprehended the meaning of the above lines
appears, further, in his making the verb edewis govern an indirect object,
thus: “promised the sons of Mordai that,” etc. This, though good English,
would be a gross solecism in Welsh; the preposition i, to, being required
after the verb in such a case.
VIII. Zeuss mentions the Armoric adverb quet (pronounced ket), used in
negative sentences like the French pas or point, as of uncertain origin; and
when it is used in affirmative sentences he seems to miss -its precise force.
Examples: ne tardomp
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W. Evans. 12.
quet “ne tardemus;” me carhe gouzout quet goude “scire certe opto postea” (better,
scire paululum opto postea); heb quet anam “sine ulla macula.” The word
should be explained by the Welsh cat (diminutive cetyn), a piece, a bit. The
above examples would be literally translated thus: Let us not delay a bit, -
I wish to know a bit, after this, - without a bit of stain.
The reader should understand that qu for k or c is to be accounted for by the
use, in Armoric, of French modes of of spelling.
IX. In the second edition of Zeuss the following words are mentioned as
exhibiting in old Welsh the Celtic infinitive in -m (compare Irish -am, -em),
to wit: dierchim, ad poscendum (Cod. Lichf.), modern i erchi; diprim, gl.
“essum”, food, eating, Cornish dibbry, to eat; molim, laudare (Cb.), modern
moli. It would thus appear that in infinitives middle and modern-i represents
Among the Luxemburg glosses is “douohinnom, austum,” that is, haustus,
draught, drawing. In the second edition of Zeuss, modern “gwehyn, exhaustio,”
is suggested in explanation of this gloss - with an unnecessary query, I
think: compare gwehynydd dwfr, drawer of water (Bible); and as to the
vowel-change compare nouitiou, gl. “nundinae,” modern newidiau; bodin, gl.
“turma,” early-middle bedin (Myv. I. 85); kegin, “coquina” (Mab.); etc.
Again, as to the change of do-guohinn to do-uohinn, here postulated, there
are several other old Welsh glosses which show that initial depression, in
composition, was already incipient (Z. xxvii). But what is -om? As do-, later
dy- (ad) is usually a prefix to verbs, and the use of the infinitive as a
verbal noun (like English verbal nouns in -ing) is very common in Welsh, I am
led to consider do-uohinn-om (q.d. dywehinno), as exhibiting another old
Welsh form of the infinitive in -m. Through -aum and -om, from an older -am,
we may suppose the interchangeable infinitive endings -aw and -o of middle
and modern Welsh to have come.
That -aw in infinitives represents an original -am, I propose
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in Cymric Philology. 13.
to show by the rhymes in the Gododin. In our mediaeval copies of that poem
the infinitive -aw rhymes with llaw, taw, anaw, ffaw, gognaw and arnaw; see
the text of Williams ab Ithel.
Llaw, hand, was originally lam; compare old Irish lam, hand.
Taw, silent, quiet, was tam; compare Ir. tamh, still, quiet.
Anaw, spirit, inspiration (not “harmony,” as Pughe has it), was anam; compare
Irish anam, life, soul, in which, however, the quantity differs. To justify
my definition of anaw I could cite many early examples; let the following
from Gwalchmai (Myv. I. 198) here suffice: Owain angerdawl, anaw anfeidrawl,
aer-wrawl wrhydri, - the ardent Owain, of unbounded spirit, of battle-braving
Ffaw, glory, is the Lat. fama.
Gognaw, which seems to be used in the Gododin as a proper name, I pass over,
because I am ignorant of its origin; from anlalogy I would infer guocnam as
the original form.
The compound arnaw or arno, on him, must be resolved into ar-n-am; compare em
(modern ef, he or him) in the Juvencus glosses; also compare the similarly
compounded words ynddaw or ynddo (yn-d-dam), in him; rhagddaw or rhagddo
(rac-d-am), before or against him; arnynt (ar-n-hwynt), on them; trwyddoch
(trwy-d-awch), through you; etc. That the -aw or -o of this class of
compounds was -an, in some dialect, at a time at least two hundred years
later than that assigned by critics to the composition of the Gododin, is
shown by the example racdam, that is, rhagddaw, in the Juvencus glosses
(Beitr. iv. 407), which are referred to the ninth century.
As au (aw) in those cases where it is interchangeable with o, regularly
represents a primitive a (Z. 94), we may infer that the quantity of the
infinitive -am was long in Welsh, although it does not appear to have been
long in Irish. The first change was doubtless to -aum or -om; in the
Luxemburg glosses, o for the more usual au prevails; thus -ol for -aul, -oc
for -auc, and -om for -aum. The next step was to -auv or -ov; thus dauu, that
is dauv, son-in-law, in the Oxford glosses, for primitive dam (Z. 1055),
middle and modern daw; so also
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W. Evans. 14.
llof, still preserved in the compound llofrudd, murderer, literally
red-handed, for primitive lam, middle and modern llaw. The infection of the m
in -am took place, exceptionally, before the transition to middle Welsh;
otherwise we should regularly find, in middle Welsh, -awf or -of instead of
-aw or -o. As another indication that -am in infinitives was long (as well as
in the other cases where it passed into middle Welsh -aw), it may be observed
in the Gododin and the other old Welsh poems that it was never made to rhyme
with the superlative ending -am, or with the verb-ending -am of the first
person singular, both of which were short, and passed into middle Welsh -av
(the modern -af). In Armoric the infinitive endings -im and -am passed,
respectively, into -if and -af: thus dibrif, to eat, for diprim, and
guisquaf, Welsh guisgaw, to clothe.
The am postulated above, in arnaw and other compounds of that class, as
another form for em, he or him, (au or o for ef,) is preserved, regularly, in
middle and modern o, he or him; thus gwelais o, I saw him, gwelwyd o, he was
seen. In efo, he or him, we are to recognize ef-o (em-am); so also efe is
ef-ef (em-em); compare hwynthwy (hwynt-hwy), they or them; hyhi (hi-hi), she
or her; tydi (ti-ti), thou or thee; etc. These doubled pronouns (analogous to
Latin sese) are somewhat more emphatic than the simple forms, and are
accented on the last syllable.
X. One of the most important of the Ogmian inscriptions is that found at St.
Dogmael’s in Wales; see Stokes’ Three Irish Glossaries. It is bilingual; the
Ogmian being Sagramni maqi Cunatami, and the Latin, Sagrani fili Cunotami.
The interpretation is (The stone) of Sagranos the son of Cunatamos; the old
Celtic masculine declension, -os, -i, being well established by Gallic
inscriptions. Of the variations here seen in the forms of the two proper
names, I take those of which I have found the exact phonetic equivalents in
Sagranos in middle Welsh would regularly be Saeran; compare
(delwedd B0598) (tudalen 15)
in Cymric Philology. 15.
Maelgwn for Maglocunus. I find the name Saeran in the Genealogy of Welsh
saints (Myv. II. 51).
In maqi we are to recognize Irish mac, Welsh map, son. Stokes infers makvos
as the primitive form. Notwithstanding the usual correspondence of British p
to Irish c, the form maccwy, youth, is found in old and middle Welsh
writings; e.g. in Llywarch Hen (Myv. I. 128) and in Cynddelw (ib. 252). There
are several other words in which the Welsh has both the c form and the p
form; e.g. in talcen, that is, tal-pen, front of the head, forehead. This is
probably an admixture arising from some ancient contact of British with Irish
tribes. Cunatamos would regularly be Cunadaf in middle Welsh; and the name is
found in precisely this form in the Triads of the War-horses (Myv. II. 21).
The same name occurs also as Cunedaf and Cyndaf; compare the Cuneglasus of
Gildas, which in middle Welsh is Kynlas (Myv. I. 85). In Liber Landavensis,
which mixes old and middle forms, we find the name as Conatam (228) and as
Condaf (132). In early Armoric it is Conatam (Z. 111).
As to the cun (cuna-, cune-, cuno-,) of this and other British names, e.g.
Maglocunus, Cunobelinus, Zeuss compares Welsh cwn, summit; but in the early
poets I often find the identical form cun in the sense of chief or captain:
e.g. in Cynddelw (Myv. I. 210), rybydwn bencerd ben cun, I was’ the chief
minstrel of the chief captain; also (ib. 233), un katkun val katki Aeron, one
war-chief like the war-dog of Aeron. In a late-middle version of the “
Officium B. Mariae “ (ib. 559), occurs Duw ben cun, God the Supreme King.
If the tam in Cunatam were long, the name would mean, the silent chief; but
in that case the middle Welsh form should be Cunadaw. Other evidence that it
was short I find in the fact that in a poem attributed to Taliesin (certainly
of old Welsh origin), the name rhymes with -af (old Welsh -am) of the first
person singular of the verb; also with haf, summer (old Welsh ham, Cod.
Lichf.), which is now long in consequence of the depression of the mn, but
was originally short (compare Irish sam). As to the meaning of tam, I have
not yet satisfied myself; is it the Irish team, able?
(delwedd B0599) (tudalen 16)
W. Evans. 16.
The name Cunadaf or Cunedaf, as the equivalent of Cunatam should, for
historical reasons, be carefully distinguished from Cunedda, which represents
the Cunedag of Nennius. The latter means the good chief, from cun, and dag,
good, modern da; compare Irish deagh. The person designated by the name in
Nennius is he that is celebrated, later, as Cunedda Wledig. In the Triads of
the Isle of Britain his name is written Cunedda Wledig (Myv. II. 10, 68). So
also in later copies of the genealogies of Welsh Saints (ib. 34, 41); but in
an early-middle copy, where the dd sound is regularly represented by d, it is
Kuneda Wledic (ib. 23). In the transition from old to middle Welsh a final g,
following a vowel, is dropped. Thus the descent of Cunedda from Cunedag is
perfectly regular, and a final f is entirely foreign to it.
Owing to the failure to distinguish between Cunedda and Cunedaf, there has
been a troublesome dispute, in which Mr. Stephens, author of the Literature
of the Kymry, has joined, as to the time in which Cunedda Wledig lived. The
legend is that he came, with his sons, from a district of the northern Cymry
called Manau Guotodin (the Gododin, better Gododdin, of Aneurin), to North
Wales, and expelled the Irish from some of his ancestral possessions in that
region. Some writers, accepting the account in Nennius, in the genealogies of
Welsh saints and other repositories of Welsh history and tradition, that he
was the great-grandfather of Maelgwn Gwynedd (the Maglocunus of Gildas) who
is known to have lived in the sixth century, naturally assign Cunedda to the
fifth. Others, quoting the testimony of Taliesin in the poem above mentioned,
that a chieftain named Cunedaf was his contemporary and patron, conclude,
either that Cunedda should be assigned to the sixth century, or that the poem
is spurious. It does not appear to have occurred to the disputants that
Cunedda and Cunedaf might be very different names.
The confusion seems to have begun with the late-middle or early-modern scribe
whose copy of the poem is printed in the Myvyrian (I. 71). For Cunedaf he
erroneously writes Cuneddaf, and in one instance Cunedda, which destroys the
Cyn cymun Cunedda
Rym a fai biw blith yr haf.
(delwedd B0625b) (tudalen 17)
in Cymric Philology. 17.
Restore the rhyme by substituting Cunedaf, and for cymun read cymyn, then
Before the slaying of Cunedaf
I had milch cows in the summer.
Another fact that has contributed to the confusion is, that in some
translations of an obscure passage of the poem, Cunedaf is called the son of
Edern, while in the genealogies Cunedda is also called the son of Edern. Such
a coincidence could have no great significance in its bearing on the
question, in any case; it can have none whatever after it has been shown that
Cunedda and Cunedaf (elsewhere Cunadaf, as we have seen,) represent two
originals so different as Cunedag and Cunatam. There may have been many
Ederns in the period of which we speak; indeed we read of two, namely, the
father of Cunedda Wledig, and that one of the sons or grandsons of the latter
from whom the Welsh district of Edeyrniawn is said to have been named; see
Price, in Hanes Cymru. We might, without chronological difficulty, suppose
the latter Edern to be the one mentioned in the poem of Taliesin.
I would not be understood to suppose that the Cunatam of Taliesin was the
same person with the Cunatam of the inscription. Indeed it must be conceded
that the preservation of the old Celtic genitive in the inscription indicates
an antiquity far higher than the sixth century; unless we suppose, what is
not very probable, that there was a learned class in the sixth century who
understood, and still used for special purposes, a language much older than
that which was spoken and sung in their day.
(delwedd B0625) (tudalen 314)
y frawddeg olaf o’r fersiwn a ymddangosodd flwyddyn ynghynt yn Archaeologia
Cunatam of the inscription may, for aught we know, be the legendary Cyndaf,
who, according to the genealogies (Hanes Cymru 160), was one of the primitive
teachers of Christianity among the Britons, in the first century.
(delwedd B0600) (tudalen 5)
TRANSACTIONS OF THE AMERICAN PHILOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION.
STUDIES IN CYMRIC PHILOLOGY. BY E. EVANS.
PROFESSOR IN CORNELL UNIVERSITY.
Since writing my former paper under the above title (TRANSACTIONS, 1871), I
have had opportunity to use Skene’s Four Ancient Books of Wales, the latest
edition of the oldest extant MSS. of the old Welsh poets, to wit: the Black
Book of Carmarthen (Carm.), referred to the twelfth century; the Book of
Aneurin (B. An.), referred to the thirteenth; the Book of Taliesin (B. Tal.),
referred to the begimiing of the fourteenth; and the poetical part of the Red
Book of Hergest (Herg.), “compiled at different times in the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries.” These tests, though disfigured in the edition by
numerous errors of typography, in general show less corruption of original
forms than the Myvyrian texts, which are, in many cases, printed from later
transcripts. The above MSS. contain a few poems belonging to the early middle
period (say the twelfth and thirteenth centuries), and a few also which, from
internal evidence, may be adjudged to the almost blank eleventh century, the
era of transition from old to middle Welsh. But the greater part are
undoubtedly of old Welsh origin: indeed, there are strong reasons, in some
aspects ably presented by Skene, for believing that some of those
(delwedd B0601) (tudalen 6)
E. EVANS. 6.
associated with the names of Aneurin, Taliesin, and Llywarch Hen, are really
based on originals of the sixth and seventh centuries. The translations in
Skene, prepared by the Rev. D. Silvan Evans and the Rev. R. Williams, add
much that is important to our knowledge of these venerable remains. Yet they
are avowedly tentative and conjectural in many parts: nor, indeed, in the
present stage of the study of early Welsh, is it possible that it should be
otherwise. It would be unjust to the learned translators to take their
rendering of every passage as the expression of their final judgment of its
meaning. The elucidation of these ancient and obscure texts (a work which
they and others have so ably begun), it will require the best efforts of a
whole generation of scholars to complete.
In the extracts that follow I preserve the spelling of the editions; but
freely deviate from them in punctuation and the use of capital letters, and
sometimes also in the separation of words and the division of verse into
XI. That species of initial-change which consists in the “provection of the
mediae” has been pointed out by Zeuss and others in Armoric and Cornish, but
not in Welsh; yet in the oldest Welsh documents we may observe many instances
of it. It takes place after strong consonants, notably s and th, ending the
preceding words. It is, therefore, due to the assimilating tendency. Thus, in
the Black Book of Carmarthen (51):
Neus tuc Manauid
Eis tull o Trywruid?
Did not Manawyd bring
Perforated shields from Tribroit?
Here tuc is a mutation of duc, brought. Other examples in the Black Book are,
ys truc (21) for ys druc, ‘est malum,’ and ac nis tirmycco (36) for ac nis
diriuycco, ‘neque eum despiciat.’
So also in the oldest copy of the Laws: peth peccan (120, bis) for peth
beccan, a small matter; guedy es tadkano (148) for guedy es dadkano, after he
shall have stated
(delwedd B0602) (tudalen 7)
STUDIES IN CYMRIC PHILOLOGY. 7.
them; kyfreith penfic march (266), the law of borrowing a horse; penfic being
a mutation of benfic (beneficium), modern benthyg, a loan; etc.
Codex B., of Brut Gruffudd ab Arthur, has, repeatedly, pop plwydyn (Myv. II,
186, 304, 309) for pop blwydyn, every year.
The provection sometimes continues to take place after the infecting
consonant has been dropped or depressed: thus, o keill, if he can (Leg. A,
28, 156), where o for os, and keill for geill; ked kouenho, though he ask
(ib. 46), ked being for ket, and kouenho for gouenho. The same fact is seen
in Armoric, e.g., ho preur, your brother; ho being for hoc’h, and preur for breur.
In later Welsh this mutation disappears, except in a few compounds, e.g.,
attychwel, return, from at, modern ad, and dychwel.
Among the lately discovered glosses to Martianus Capella, an edition of which
has appeared with the learned annotations of Whitley Stokes, is orcucetic
cors, “ex papyro textili.” I think cucetic is, by provection after a strongly
uttered r, for guëetic, woven. Compare or Kocled for or Gocled (from the
North), in the Venedotian Laws (104).
In Prydain (Britannia) I suspect the provection of the initial was originally
owing to the habitual use of the word ynys before it: thus, throughout the
Triads, ynys Prydein and ynys Prydain, the Isle of Britain.
XII. Zeuss overlooks the Welsh plural-ending -awr, -iawr, with which we may compare
the Armoric -ier. Plural substantives in -awr are frequent in the old Welsh
poets; nor are they very rare in the poets of the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries. As primitive ā into Welsh au and Armoric e, we may infer
-ār as the earlier form. This view is corroborated by the rhymes in the
Gododin, of which the following stanza contains five of the most common
plurals of this form (B. An. 73):
Gwyr a aeth Gatraeth yg cat yg gawr,
Nerth meirch a gwrymseirch ac ysgwydawr;
(delwedd B0603) (tudalen 8)
E. EVANS. 8.
Peleidyr ar gychwyn a llym waewawr
A llurugeu claer a chledyuawr.
Ragorei, tyllei trwy vydinawr,
Kwydei bym pymwnt rac y lavnawr —
Ruuawn Hir — ef rodei eur e allawr
A chet a choelvein kein y gerdawr.
Men went to Catraeth arrayed and shouting,
A force of horses and brown trappings and shields;
Shafts advancing, and keen lances,
And shining coats of mail, and swords.
He excelled, he penetrated through armies;
Five battalions fell before his blades, —
Rhuvon the Tall - he was wont to give gold to the altar,
And treasure and precious stones to the minstrel.
Deprived of initial inflection, the plurals referred to are as follows:
ysgwydawr, shields, from ysgwyd, scutum; gwaewawr, spears, from gwaew;
cledywawr (Armoric klezeier), swords, from cledyv, modern cleddyf, Irish
claidheamh,; bydinawr, armies, from bydin, modern byddin, old Welsh bodin;
llavnawr, blades, from llavn, modern llafn, lamina.
Allawr, rhyming with these plurals,
represents an older altār, Latin “altare.” Cerdawr, modern cerddor, is
not a plural but a derivative in -ār (Armoric -er, Irish -air, Latin
-ārius, Z. 781, 829), signifying a minstrel, from cerd, i. e., cerdd,
song; so telynawr, harper, from telyn, harp; drysawr, a doorkeeper, from
drws, door; etc. This class of derivatives, which are numerous, form their
plurals in -orion: thus, cerddorion, minstrels.
Plurals in -awr are unmistakably indicated by the associated words in such
expressions as, yt lethrynt lafnawr (B. Tal., 154), blades glanced, gwaywawr
ebrifet (ib. 172), spears without number, lleithrion eu pluawr (Gwalchmai,
Myv., I. 193), glossy are their plumes.
As examples of the plural in -awr in early middle Welsh, I take the following
from Cynddelw: llafnawr, blades (Myv. I. 214), bydinawr, armies; aessawr,
targets; preidyawr, “praedae” (ib. 243). That plurals of this form
disappeared in later Welsh was owing, doubtless, to a natural tendency to
choose forms not admitting of more than one meaning.
The form -iawr occurs a few times, as in the above preidyawr, and in cadyawr,
conflicts (B. An. 82).
I had proposed to compare -awr with the Teutonic -er. Professor Hadley, of
Yale College, to whose learning and genius I have often
(delwedd B0604) (tudalen 9)
STUDIES IN CYMRIC PHILOLOGY. 9.
been indebted for aid in these studies, suggests that, as the Teutonic -er
originally belonged to the stem, and became a distinctive mark of the plural
only by being dropped in the singular, so the Welsh -awr probably had a
similar history, though, on account of the long quantity of the latter,
indicating as it does a primitive -ār, it would be unsafe to assume its
identity with the Teutonic -er; that more probably it should be compared with
the Latin -āris, or with -ar, gen. -āris, as in calcar, laquear,
XIII. In the old Welsh poets I find a termination of the second singular,
present indicative active, which does not appear to have been noticed in
Zeuss or elsewhere. It is usually written -yd, and always rhymes with words
which, in middle and modern Welsh, end with the dd sound; hence, in old
Welsh, it must have been -id, not -it. Verbs with this ending have been
translated variously, but by no author consistently, and scarcely ever
correctly. I think the following examples with, after a careful view, be
considered decisive as to its true meaning.
One of the Urien poems, attributed to Taliesin (B. Tal. 184), begins thus:
Uryen yr echwyd,
Haelaf dyn bedyd,
Lliaws a rodyd
Y dynyon eluyd.
Mal y kynnullyd
Llawen beird bedyd
Tra vo dy uuchyd.
Urien of the plain,
Most generous of Christians,
Much dost thou give
To the men of earth.
As thou gatherest
Thou dost scatter.
Joyful are Christian bards
While thy life lasts.
The words dy uuchyd, thy life, in the last line, show that the passage is an
address, and that the verbs ending in -yd re in the second person.
Again, in the Book of Taliesin (145):
A wdost ti peth wyt
Pan vych yn kyscwyt?
(delwedd B0605) (tudalen 10)
E. EVANS. 10.
Ae corff ae eneit
Ae argel canhwyt?
Pyr nam dywedyd?
Restore the rhyme of the second couplet by reading canheit, sun (modern
canaid), then translate:
Knowest thou what thou art
When thou art sleeping?
A body or a soul
Or a hidden light?
Why dost thou not tell me?
The following is from a religious poem in the Book of Taliesin (180):
Ti a nodyd
O pop karchar.
Thou dost help
Whom thou lovest
Out of every prison.
The Red Book of Hergest contains the dialogue entitled Cyvoesi (Ages),
between Myrddin and his sister. Gwenddydd says to Myrddin (231):
Llallawc, kan am hatebyd,
Myrdin uab Moruryn geluyd,
Truan a chwedyl a dywedyd.
My twin brother, when thou dost answer me,
Skilful Myrddin son of Morvyn,
Woful is the tale which thou dost tell.
Note that truan a chwedyl is archaic for truan o chwedyl.
In a dialogue found in the Black Book of Carmarthen (56), where, it should be
observed, the dd sound is represented by t, Ugnach says to Taliesin:
Y tebic y gur deduit,
Ba hid ei dy a phan doit?
Thou that seemest a prudent man,
Whither goest thou and whence dost thou come?
I submit whether after a comparative study of these passages, which together
exhibit nine examples of verbs ending in -yd, it is possible to avoid the
conclusion that this termination marks the second person singular, of the
present indicative active. It corresponds regularly to the Cornish -yth,
-eth, and the Armoric -ez, which belong to the same place.
There are many other examples of -yd scattered through the old Welsh poems,
and some poems whose old Welsh
(delwedd B0606) (tudalen 11)
STUDIES IN CYMRIC PHILOLOGY. 11.
origin has been questioned; but in place of it we also find -i, as in Irish
and in later Welsh. In the unquestioned productions of the twelfth and later
centuries, I find no example of -yd. The proverb Gwell nag nac addaw ni
wneydd - Better a refusal than a promise which thou dost not perform - I
regard as old, though it comes to us in late orthography (Myv. I. 174).
We cannot account for -yd by supposing the pronoun ti, thou (Irish tu), to
have been suffixed, without admitting that this is a very old formation, that
in fact the t was already depressed to d in old Welsh. This, as before
stated, is proved by the words with which the termination rhymes. Thus, in
the above extracts it rhymes with deduit, i. e. dedwydd, prudent, a compound
which contains the root gwydd, Irish, fiadh, indicating a primitive vid; also
with celuid,i. e. celfydd, skilful, old Welsh celmed (Eutych. ); also with
eluyd, later elfydd, world, old Welsh elbid (Juv.); also with bedyd, modern
bedydd, baptism, old Welsh betid (Juv.); etc.
XIV. The Irish -id of the third singular, present indicative active, is not
used in “subjoined” verbs, that is, in verbs following certain particles,
among which are the negatives ni and na, and the verbal ro (Z. 425). This
idiom obtains also in Welsh. The termination -it or -id of the same place, as
I have elsewhere shown, occurs often in the old Welsh remains; but I have found
it only in “absolute” verbs. The fact will be best illustrated by examples
where the same verb occurs both as absolute and as subjoined, in the same
passage. The following is from Llywarch Hen (Herg. 289): perëid y rydieu, ny
phara ae goreu, the trenches remain, they who made them remain not. Among the
ancient proverbs interspersed through the alphabetical collection in the
Myvyrian,I find the following: trengid gohid, ni threing molud (III. 177),
riches perish, glory perishes not; tricid gwr wrth ei barch, ni thrig wrth ei
gyvarwys (ib.), a man starves on honour, he does not starve on bounty; tyvid
maban, ni thyv ei gadachan (ib.),
(delwedd B0607) (tudalen 12)
E. EVANS. 12.
the child grows, its clout grows not; chwarëid mab noeth, ni chwery mab
newynawg (ib. 152), a naked youth plays, a hungry youth plays not. So again
in the Gosymdaith (Viaticum) of Llevoed Wynebglawr, a versified collection of
old Welsh aphorisms (Herg. 307):
Ny nawt eing llyfyrder rac lleith;
Enghit glew oe gyfarweith.
Not usually does cowardice escape destruction;
The brave escapes from his conflict.
The example, guae drut ny chretit, which I quoted in a former paper (Trans.
ll. 7), from the Myvyrian text of the Gosymdaith, would, if right, show an
exception to the rule. Mr. Stokes calls my attention to a different reading
in the Red Book Of Hergest, which, I have no doubt, is the correct one: drut
ny gret it, woe to the presumptuous one that does not believe in Thee.
I do not recognize an exception in the nyt echwenit clot kelwyd of the
Gosymdaith (Herg. 305). I know of no verb that will explain echwenit unless
it be achwanegu, to increase. The true reading, I think, is nyt echwenic clot
kelwyd, falsehood does not advance fame. The umlauts here postulated are
regular. There is a similar example in the Black Book (5), ny dichuenic but
pedi, begging does not promote gain. Here we have a compound dychwanegu.
XV. Dr. Davies and other Welsh grammarians very properly give -a as a
frequent termination of the third singular, present and future indicative
active: compare the Irish -a of the subjoined indicative. Zeuss or his editor
seems to consider this -a, in middle Welsh examples, as a part of the stem,
as if all the verbs thus ending were derivative verbs in -äu (old Welsh -agu,
modern -au, denominative and causative), which preserve the a in conjugation.
It is certain that in middle as well as in modern Welsh -a is often used as a
termination; and in derivative verbs in -äu it is accordingly often added to
the a of the stem, giving -äa, or -aha, or -häa. Thus, in an early-middle
translation of Geoffrey’s Prophecy of Merlin (Myv. II. 261-7), arwydocäa,
(delwedd B0608) (tudalen 13)
STUDIES IN CYMRIC PHILOLOGY. 13.
“significat,” adurnocäa, “adornabit,” atnewydaha, “renovabit,” grymhäa,
“vigebit,” etc. In modern Welsh, -äa has become -â; and in consequence of
this synaeresis the accent is thrown on the last syllable.
Examples abound also in verbs other than those in -äu: thus (ib.) doluria,
“dolebit,” from doluriaw; palla, “peribit,” irom. pallu; eheta, “convolabit,”
from ehetec; cerda, “ procedet,” from cerdet; etc.
The following examples, among others, appear in the oldest copy of the Laws:
guada (86), denies, from guadu (ib.); palla (162), fails; gnäa (114), does;
trukarhäa (ii, 4), has compassion.
The following are from one of the poems of Cynddelw (Myv. I. 250-1): pwylla,
considers; treidia, penetrates; bryssya, hastens; atveilya, decays. The i or
y before -a in the three last examples is foreign to verbs in -äu, that is to
say, there are no verbs in -iäu. The infinitives are, pwyllaw, treiddiaw,
brysiaw:, and adfeiliaw.
In the old Welsh poems, as they come to us, -a as a termination is infrequent
but not unknown; thus in Llywarch Hen (Herg. 287, bis), yd äa, goes. We
cannot here regard the first a as the verbal particle, for it is not used
after the particle yd.
XVI. In modern Welsh, the present subjunctive (and optative) terminations are
-of, -ot or -ych, -o, -om, -och, -ont. I think it may be shown that the o in
these terminations represents an old Welsh oi. In the earliest Welsh MSS.,
instead of o we often find oe and wy and sometimes even oy, all of which
point to an earlier oi: compare loinou, gl. “frutices,” later, llwynau;
gloiu, gl. “liquidum,” later, gloyw and gloew; etc.
The first singular -wyf for -of is not yet obsolete; in middle Welsh it was
the usual form. The Venedotian Laws furnish one example of -oef in a talloef
(120), “quod reddam.”
The anomalous -ych of the second singular prevails in middle Welsh; it is
found in one old Welsh gloss, anbiic guell, “aue,” later, henpych gwell and
henffych gwell, “mayst
(delwedd B0609) (tudalen 14)
E. EVANS. 14.
thou fare better.” This is undoubtedly a pronominal ending equivalent to
-yth. The latter occurs nce in the place of -ych in the Book of Taliesin
(116): ry-prynhom ni an llocyth tydi vab Meir, may we gain thy protection
(lit. ‘that thou protect us’) Son of Mary. I find a comparatively recent
example in Huw Llwyd of Cynfal (Cymru Fu, 352), who speaks of conscience as
one nac a ofnith moi gefnu, whose desertion thou wilt not fear. In the Laws,
ych law occurs for yth law, ‘to thy hand’ (II. 280, bis). So also in Armoric
we find ec’h for the more usual ez, as in ec’h euz, ‘tibi est.’
The other second singular form, -ot, seems to be modern so far as it appears
in books; but it probably came down in some spoken dialect from an old Welsh
-oit; in fact the form -wyt also occurs (Z. 512).
In the early poets the third singular often has -wy instead of -o, e.g.
guledichuy, “dominetur” (Caerm., 26), cothvy, i.e. coddwy, “laedat” (ib. 39),
digonwy, “faciat” (B. Tal, 121), carwy, amet (Gwalchmai, Myv. I. 193), rodwy,
“det” (ib. 202), syllwy, “videat,” catwy, “servet” (Cynddelw, ib. 217). The
Black Book (22) has one example of -oe, in creddoe, “credat.”
For the first plural -om we find wym in bwym, “simus” (B. Tal. 181).
For the second plural -och I have observed no other form. From analogy,
however, we may suppose this to represent an old Welsh -oich.
In the oldest copy of the Laws the third plural -oent is quite as common as
-ont: thus kafoent, acquirant (1O), menoent, velint (22), ranoent, dividant
(34), euoent, bibant (106), deuedoent, dicant (l52), kemerhoent, capiant
(260), etc. Codex E of the Laws has examples of -oynt: thus deloynt, veniant,
elhoynt, eant (I. 192). In the Book of Taliesin -wynt is frequent: thus
prynwynt, assequantur (109), ymgetwynt, caveant (128), atchwelwynt,
revertantur, ceisswynt, quaerant (129), etc.
It will hardly be questioned that the old Welsh forms in oi, thus clearly
indicated, were primitive optative forms.
XVII. I think, however, that the present subjunctive in o had one
(delwedd B0610) (tudalen 15)
STUDIES IN CYMRIC PHILOLOGY. 15.
other source, or rather that there were certain old forms in au (aw), used as
future indicative, which by the regular change of au to o early became
indistinguishable from the subjunctive forms in o (from oi), and were lost in
I begin with the third plural -aunt revealed in the cuinhaunt, “deflebit,”
(scil. “genus hoc,”) of the Juvencus Glosses (Beitr. IV, 404). I find this
termination preserved in a few instances. Thus in the Book of Taliesin (124):
Gwaethyl gwyr hyt Gaer Weir gwasgarawt Allmyn;
Gwnahawnt goruoled gwedy gwehyn.
The wrath of men as far as Caer Weir will scatter the Allmyn; they will make
rejoicing after exhaustion.
Again (ib. 212-3), pebwyllyawnt ar Tren a Tharanhon, they will encamp on the
Tren and the Taranhon; gwerin byt yn wir bydawnt lawen, the populace of the
earth truly will be happy; etc.
As -aunt passed into -ont its indicative use did not at once cease; thus we
find in the Black Book (27):
Gwitil a Brithon a Romani
A vvnahont dyhet a divysci.
Gwyddyl and Britons and Romans
Will create discord and confusion.
A third singular -au can be fully established. Thus in the Book of Taliesin
Ac Owein Mon Maelgynig deuawt
A wnaw Peithwyr gorweidawc.
And Owain of Mona, of Malgonian custom,
Will lay the Picts prostrate.
Here gwnaw is for gwnäaw, just as gwnant is for gwnäant.
In a versified collection of proverbs in the Black Book (5) is the following:
nid ehalath as traetha ny chaffaw ae hamhevo, he who does not relate a thing
too amply will not find those that will contradict him.
Meilyr ab Gwalchmai, who composed religious poems late in the twelfth and
early in the thirteenth century, has the following (Myv. I. 332):
Ar Duw adef y nef uy llef llwyprawd
Yny edrinaw ury rac y Drindawd
Y erchi ym ri rwyf,....
Toward God’s abode, toward Heaven my cry will proceed,
Until it ascend on high before the Trinity
To ask my sovereign King,....
(delwedd B0611) (tudalen 16)
E. EVANS. 16.
This example, however, and the two next are not decisive as to the mood, the
connexions being such as to admit of either the indicative or the
In Codex B of Brut GrufFudd ab Arthur (Myv. II. 305) is the following: a pwy
bynac a damweinaw idaw yr ageu honno...., and to whomever that death shall
In a reputed prophecy of Heinin Fardd addressed to Maelgwn Gwynedd (Myv. I.
553), the language of which, however, is middle Welsh, is the following line:
mi anfonaf wledd or sygnedd ir neb ai haeddaw, I will send a feast from the
constellations to any one who shall deserve it.
As -aw passed into -o its indicative use did not at once cease. Thus in a
poem on the Day of Judgment, in the Book of Taliesin (121):
Pryt pan dyffo
Ef ae gwahano.
When he shall come
He will separate them.
In the predictive poem entitled Daronwy (ib. 148):
O amtir Rufein.
There will come chieftains
From the vicinage of Rome.
After certain connectives, such as pan, when, wedi, after, yny, when or
until, and in relative clauses, the present subjunctive in o is used to
supply the place of a future indicative, sometimes of a future-perfect. How
far this use is originally due to aw forms, or how far it belonged to the oi
forms, I will not undertake to say.
XVIII. To the future in au also belongs the third singular -awt, of which we
have already seen two examples, gwasgarawt and llwyprawd, in the extracts of
the last article. This, instead of passing into -ot or -od, was dropped; thus
biawt, erit (Herg. 228), and bydhawt, erit (B. Tal. 213), became bi and bydd.
Mr. Silvan Evans was the first to point this out as a future ending (Skene,
II, 424). It is not “-awd, -awdd,” however, but -awt, -awd, as we may see
wherever it is a rhyming syllable, as in the above llwyprawd. In the old
Welsh poetry it occurs often. It also occurs a few times in early-middle
(delwedd B0612) (tudalen 17)
STUDIES IN CYMRIC PHILOLOGY. 17.
productions. Thus in Codex B of Brut Gruffudd ab Arthur the clause “et
Gallicanos possidebit saltus,” of Geoffrey’s original, is rendered a gwladoed
Freinc a uedhawt (Myv. II. 262). The Mabinogi of Kilhwch and Olwen (Mab. II.
201, 202) contains three examples: bydhawt, it will be, methawd, it will
fail, ymchoelawd, it will turn. Ebel seems to regard the two last as used optatively
(Z. 1097). Lady Charlotte Guest, adopting the sense naturally suggested by
the context, translates them as future indicative.
XIX. The common middle-Welsh conjugation of the perfect active indicative is
-eis, -eist, -awd(d), -asom, -asawch, -asant. The third singular, however,
had besides -awd(d), the endings -wys, -as, -es, and -is. To these I must add
-essit, -yssit, -sit, of which there are evident examples in the early
poetry, though they have generally been confounded by translators with the similar
terminations of the pluperfect passive impersonal.
The Gododin (B. An. 71), in recounting the deeds of one of its heroes, says:
seinyessyt e gledyf ym penn mameu, his sword resounded in the head of mothers
(that is, he killed the sons).
The following is from a religious poem in the Book of Taliesin (181):
Prif teyrnas a duc Ionas o perued kyt;
Kiwdawt Niniuen bu gwr llawen pregethyssit.
The Chief of Sovereignty brought Jonah from the belly of the whale;
To the city of Nineveh it was a joyful man that preached.
Kiwdawt is Latin “civitāt-”; kyt is Latin “cetus.”
The translators in Skene recognise the perfect active in the above examples.
Why not also in the following? Kewssit da nyr gaho drwc (B. Tal., 148), he
has found good who does not find evil. This aphorism, in a later form,
appears in the Myvyrian collection (III. 150): cavas dda ni chavas ddrwg, he
has found good who has not found evil.
The next is from Cynddelw (Myv. I. 224):
Llary Einnyawn lluchdawn llochessid
Veirtyon — vab kynon clod venwyd.
(delwedd B0613) (tudalen 18)
E. EVANS. 18.
Gentle Einnyawn, lavish of gifts, protected
The bards — the son of Cynon, the glory of wit.
The next is from Meilyr ab Gwalchmai (Myv. I. 324):
Delyessid Yeuan yeuangc deduyt
Diheu uab Duu nef yn dufyr echuyt.
John the young, the wise, held
The true Son of God in the water of the plain.
From the same (ib.): prynessid mab Duu mad gerennhyt, the Son of God
purchased a blessed friendship.
In Brut Gruffudd ab Arthur (Myv. II. 249) there is an example of -assit: ar
gwenwyn hwnnw trwy lawer o amser ac llygrassyd, and that poison [the Pelagian
heresy] for a long time corrupted them. Geoffrey’s original here has the
pluperfect: “cujus venenum ipsos multis diebus affecerat.” But the
translation in the Brut is free. The rest of the above examples, either on
the face of them, or in view of the connections in which they occur, are
decisive, and indicate the perfect.
May we not compare here the -sit of Latin perfects in si?
XX. The Welsh perfect passive forms in -at and -et are doubtless perfect
participles which passed into finite verbs by the habitual omission of the
auxiliary, — the place of the participle being in the meantime supplied by
the verbal adjective in -etic, with which Ebel compares Latin dediticius,
facticius, suppositicius, etc. These changes must have taken place at a very
early period; yet I find a few middle-Welsh examples where the participle, in
composition with the auxiliary oedd, was, retains its proper meaning. I am
not aware that they have been pointed out.
The following are from Brut Gruffudd ab Arthur: keyssyaw y wlat ry-vanagadoed
udunt (Myv. II. 103), to seek the country which had been mentioned to them;
pym meyb hagen a anadoed ydaw (ib. 160), there had been born to him, however,
five sons; a megys y dyscadoed ydaw, brywaw y pryvet a oruc (ib. 170), and as
it had been taught him, he bruised the insects; megys yd archadoed (ib. 286),
as it had been commanded.
(delwedd B0614) (tudalen 19)
STUDIES IN CYMRIC PHILOLOGY. 19.
The following is a stanza of uncertain authorship, printed among the
early-middle poems in the Myvyrian (I. 254):
Eurwas kyn lleas, yn llyssoet enwawc
O bob da dofnytadoet;
O bob defnyt deifnyawc oet.
The illustrious youth, before he perished, had been bred in famous and grand
courts. Of every good was he composed; in every matter be was skilled.
The verbs here to be noticed are, managad-oedd, ganad-oedd, dyscad-oedd,
archad-oedd, magad-oedd, defnyddad-oedd. They are not imperfects, as the
similar combinations in Armoric are, e.g., oa caret, was loved; but
pluperfects, like the Latin “amatus erat.”
Studies in Cymric Philology (continued)
Evander W. Evans
Transactions of the American Philological Association (1869-1896), Vol. 4
(1873), pp. 20-29
(delwedd B0615) (tudalen 20)
II. Studies in
BY PROFESSOR E. W. EVANS,
ITHACA, N. Y.
In preparing the series of philological notes of which this paper is a
continuation, it is not my plan to arrange them methodically, or according to
connection or subject, but rather to discuss each question as it occurs, or
whenever sufficient data for its discussion have been found.
XXI. In the earliest examples of Welsh writing, there is a remarkable
fluctuation, in many words, between o, e, and i. This I venture to explain by
saying that in the early unsettled orthography each Of these letters, besides
its usual sound as in Latin, was made to represent a sound for which the
Latin alphabet had no distinctive character; I mean the neutral vowel either
pure or in some of its modifications, in other words, something of the class
known as obscure vowels. In support of this view I observe that from some
time in the thirteenth century on we find y regularly replacing o, e, and i
in these cases of fluctuation, and that it is in precisely these cases that y
has its obscure sound in modern Welsh.
In the Oxford and Cambridge glosses i occurs most frequently in the places
now occupied by the obscure y, though there are many examples Of e and o. In
the Luxemburg glosses o is generally found in such places. In the Venedotian
Laws e decidedly predominates. In the Black Book Of Caermarthen i
predominates in some pieces and y in others.
Examples: bodin in the glosses, bedin in the Laws (104), bitin in the Black
Book (55), now byddin, army; do- and di- in the glosses, de, rarely do-, in
the Laws (2,124), di- and dy- in the Black Book (10), now dy, synonymous with
Latin ad; con- and cen- in the glosses, ken in the Laws (36), cin- and cyn-
in the Black Book (4), now cyn-, equivalent to Latin con; Ougen and Eugein in
Chronicum Cambriae (X and 9),
(delwedd B0616) (tudalen 21)
Cymric Philology. 21.
Owein in the Black Book (49), later Ywain, Owen; Broceniawc and Bricheniauc
in Chron. Camb. (13, 16), Brecheniauc in Annales Cambriae (32), now
Brycheiniog, Brecknock; Cinan in Chron. Camb. (12), Kenan and Conanus in Ann.
Camb. (12, 32), later Cynan, a personal name; Rodarcus in Vita Merlini,
Retherc in the Laws (104), Ryderch and Ritech (leg. Riterch) in the Black
Book (19, 21), modern Rhydderch; etc. This fluctuation between o, e, and i
(rarely a or u) can be illustrated at indefinite length, being in fact
co-extensive with the prevalence of the obscure y in later orthography.
In modern Welsh y has two sounds. In final syllables, in most monosyllables,
and in the diphthong w^y, it has a slender sound like that of English i in
him, not quite so slender as the Welsh i is sometimes heard. In other
situations, with few exceptions, it has an obscure sound. This, as heard in most
parts of Wales, is simply the neutral vowel; but in some districts it does
not differ widely from the slender y, and yet may be said to approximate to
the neutral vowel. Some have discarded the obscure sound of y and held that
it is of very recent origin; but this is an egregious error.
The distinguished Edward Lluyd carefully dotted the y in all those cases
where it now has the obscure sound; and that it was the neutral vowel two
centuries ago appears from his statement that y when dotted was to be pronounced
“as the English i in the words third, bird; o in honey, money; u in mud, must
(Arch. Brit. 2).
In middle Welsh y had two sounds as now. One was slender sound, for as such
it attenuated a preceding a; thus gelyn, enemy, from gal, gwledyd, i. e. gwledydd,
countries, from gwlad, etc. The other was an obscure sound, which obtained
even in final syllables in cases where it is now suppressed in orthography,
thus gwaladyr, ruler, modern gwaladr, truyadyl, sprightly, modern trwyadl
(Herg. 230). These words, and others of like endings, are derivatives; hence
if y had been slender here it would, by a law of umlaut in Welsh, have
attenuated the preceding a. It must be the neutral vowel, or something
closely approximating to it, that y represents in
(delwedd B0617) (tudalen 22)
22 E. W. Evans.
such middle Welsh examples as aryf for arf, arm, dyragon for dragon, dragon
(Myv. I. 161), and baryflwyt for barflwyd, gray-bearded (Herg. 244). In verse
aryf is a monosyllable, baryflwyt a dissyllable, etc.; the y in such cases
being simply inserted to mark the quasi syllabiflcation arising from the
imperfect joining of two consonants, as if in English we should sometimes
find chasum written for chasm. In such cases the neutral vowel, very short,
is what we naturally hear. Again, in Codex B of Brut Gr. ab Arthur, which
bears marks Of the Demetian dialect, we find such spellings as gyireu u for
geireu (Myv. Il. 258). dryigeu for dreigeu (262), kyissaw for keissaw (271),
anyirif for aneirif ($34), etc. This singular diphthong, yi, is explained by
the fact that in some parts of South Wales, at least, the ei in these words
is still pronounced as if e represented the neutral vowel.
Add these indications to those before seen in the earlier orthography, and I
think a high antiquity will be considered as fairly established for the
neutral vowel in Welsh. In the oldest copy of the Laws the secondary offtec
of representing it, as before stated, was assigned to e; but the slender y
was already in use. This distinction of y and e coincided every where so
exactly with the modern distinction between the two sounds of y as to afford
one of the most striking illustrations of the slowness with which the Welsh language
has changed for the last seven hundred years. Thus tredyd (60), third; hyd
(286), hart, plural hedhod (38); e dyn (50), the man, plural denyon (18); en
llys (10), in the palace; etc.
In the glosses we find mogou, i. e. mongou, modern myngau, plural of mwng,
mane; also lichou (incorrectly printed laichou in the first edition Of
Zeuss), modern llychau, plural of lake, (luch, in Stevenson’s Nennius,
referred to the tenth century); also creman, modern cryman, reaping-hook,
from crwm, bent. Here we see the obscure o, i, and e replaced by the later y
obscure; and it becomes apparent that in old Welsh, as now, the umlaut of u
(w) was an obscure vowel, at least in cases where the first vowel Of the
added syllable was not slender.
(delwedd B0618) (tudalen 23)
Cymric Philology. 23.
The ingenious author of the Literature of the Kymry has unaccountably fallen into
the error (453) of supposing that dd, as a sign for the infected d sound, was
not in use before it was adopted by Dr. Davies, or until after 1620. By this
error, which amounts to more than 200 years, he has widely misled himself and
others in judging of the antiquity of certain MSS. As authority for his
statement he refers to Lluyd; but in justice to Lluyd it should be noted that
what he does say (Arch. Brit. 227) is that “dd was introduced to express this
sound about the year 1400.” In fact it had begun to be used somewhat earlier;
for it appears in the Record of Carnarvon, which is authoritatively referred
to the fourteenth century (Z. 139).
In Codex A of the Laws dh is not infrequently used for th, and sometimes
also, as if by a confusion of the two sounds, for what is now dd. But as a
distinctive character for the latter sound dh does not appear to have been
used till modern times. William Salesbury in 1567 expressed a regret that it
had not been adopted in preference to dd. Lluyd tells us that “in the reign
of Queen Elizabeth Dr. J. D. Rhys, Dr. D. Powel and others used dh, which was
afterwards rejected by Dr. Davies and dd restored.”
The supposed examples of this use of dh cited by Zeuss from the printed
edition of the Mabinogion (with a query as to whether they are to be found in
the MSS.) are all deceptive. They are nodho, rodho, rodhom, rydhau, rydhaa,
rydhaf, rydhaer. In every one of these examples the h was intended by the
scribe to be pronounced separately from the d. The first three belong to the
present subjunctive, which, in middle Welsh, very commonly inserts h before
the terminations (Z. 512); thus nodho, i.e. nodd-ho, modern noddo. The
remaining four are parts of the same derivative verb in -äu, and all verbs Of
this class often insert h before the final a of the stem.
(delwedd B0619) (tudalen 24)
24 E. W. Evans.
In tho earliest Welsh MSS. u (or v) represents two vowel sounds. One was the
sound of the modern English oo. To distinguish this a v, modified so as to
resemble the figure 6, was introduced in the latter half of the thirteenth
century, and this afterwards gave place to w. To express the other sound, u
was retained. It was probably the sound of the modern French u. It came
generally from primitive o or u; thus dydd sul, dies solis, dydd llun, dies
lunae. In modern Welsh it does not differ from the slender y; but it would be
contrary to the evidence to assume, as some have done, that the same thing
was true in middle Welsh. For example, punt and hynt now rhyme perfectly; but
the mediæval poets carefully kept y and u separate in their rhymes. Moreover
y, as representing a slender sound closely approaching i, regularly
attenuated a preceding radical a, but u did not produce this effect; thus
iachus, healthful, iechyd, health, both from iach, healthy.
Dr. Owen Pughe says we sometimes find -i in early writers as a termination of
the third person singular, present (or future) indicative active. I have not
found it. But of -i for the usual -ei (modern -ai) of the imperfect, I have
found evident examples. Thus in the Gododin (B. An. 63), Ni nodi nac ysgeth
nac ysgwyt, nor spear nor shield availed; in Gwalchmai (Myv. I. 198), Amser
ym ceri ef carwn Dafyd, the while he loved me I loved David; in Gwynfardd
Brycheiniog, a poet of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries (ib. 272),
Wynepclnwr, ditawr, dim ni weli,
Pefychwys, tremwys, drwy uot Dewi.
Blank-faced, dispirited, he nothing saw,
He brightened, he had his sight, by the will of Dewi.
This -i (which, by the way, is not given in Zeuss) naturally associates
itself with the plural terminations, im, -ich, -int, of this tense, often
seen in the early poets instead of -em, -ech, -ent.
(delwedd B0620) (tudalen 25)
Cymric Philology. 25.
In the second edition of Zeuss an attempt is made to construe nodi, in the
line just quoted from the Gododin, as infinitive. The passage is further
complicated by connecting it in construction with the next two lines, which
really form an independent sentence. They are as follows:
Ny ellir anet ry vaethpwyt
Rac ergyt catvannan catwyt.
In vaethpuyt we have an example of the provection of the mediae after strong
consonants, which I pointed out in Art. XI., pwyt being for bwyt, food.
Catwyt is not the perfect passive, as it has been rendered, but another form
or the infinitive, of catw (modern cadw, to keep, to defend) after the
analogy of dywedyd, dychwelyd, etc. I find many instances where catwyt, or
cadwyd, is unquestionably used as infinitive; take the following from Einion
Wan (Myv. l. 385), a poet of the first half of the thirteenth century: roi e
wann yw e annwyt, a rac pob cadarn catwyt, it is his nature to give to the
weak, and to defend him against every one that is strong. This being
premised, the construction of the above somewhat vexed passage becomes
perfectly simple and idiomatic: ni ellir cadw annedd rhy vaethvwyd rhag ergyd
catvannan; it is not possible to defend a too festive house from the blow of
I have left catvannan here untranslated, because its meaning is hardly
settled. The word occurs three times in the Gododin, but is found nowhere
else. In some Of the MSS. it is written, in each case, catvannau or
cadfannau, as if it were the plural of cadfan; but this word also is unknown
elsewhere, except as a personal name. It is usually defined as “warrior,”
while catvannan has been rendered “warlike tumult.” But without the initial
inflection should we not have cat Mannan and cat Mannaw? Now Manann was the
Gaelic and Manaw the Welsh name for a district at or near which the battle of
Catraeth here described was fought, as well shown by Skene. It is the Manau
Guotodin (Manaw Gododin) of Nennius. I think, therefore, we should translate
thus: ‘it is not possible to defend a too festive house from the blow of the
host of Manann (or Manaw).’
(delwedd B0621) (tudalen 26)
E. W. Evans. 26.
I know that cad usually means battle; but, like the Irish cath, it also sometimes
means, in the earliest Welsh, a host or array; thus in the Gododin: guyr a
aeth Gatraeth yg cat yg gawr, men went to Catraeth in array and with shouts.
XXVIII. It has been assumed that in the Latin nona hora, ninth hour (the
designation of the hour ending near the middle of the afternoon), we have the
originals of the two Welsh words awr, hour, and nawn, afternoon. But this
would be contrary to historical laws; for primitive o passed into Welsh u,
and on the other hand Welsh aw came generally from primitive a, sometimes
from av. The Welsh form awr (aur in an old Welsh gloss) and the Cornish form
er together point distinctly to ar as the ancient British form of this word.
As to nawn, it suggests the Sanskrit navan, nine. Dr. Aufrecht is said to have
inferred that Welsh naw, nine, like its Sanskrit equivalent, must have ended
in n from the fact that it often nasalizes the initial of the word following
it. Do we not see this earlier Welsh form still preserved in nawn? This will
explain the anomalous Armorie naontek, nineteen. The Welsh prydnawn,
afternoon-time, would thus mean, primarily, ‘the time, or hour, of nine.’ No
doubt the Britons borrowed this mode of reckoning the hours from the Romans;
but in doing so they would naturally use their own numerals.
We have an analogous case in dawn, gift, which is not from the Latin donum,
for this should have given us dun, but indicates an original dan, with which
we are to compare Irish dan, gift, and Sanskrit dan, gift.
The Welsh have
an historical tradition that the original British name of Pelagius, that by
which his adopted Latin name was suggested, was a word signifying “sea-born,”
and that in fact the name was Morgan. In this precise form the legend
involves an inconsistency, which I wonder the acute Price, in writing his
History of Wales, did not see and point out. The old Welsh form of Morgan was
(delwedd B0622) (tudalen 27)
Cymric Philology. 27.
Camb. 8), which could not mean “sea-born.” But if we search among the known
old Welsh names for one which admits of this meaning, we shall find it in
Morgen. Now Morgen, in the transition to middle Welsh, not later than the
eleventh century, would become disguised as Morien. If, then, we can find, in
early writers, a Morion commemorated whose history may be shown to conform,
in distinctive points, to that of Pelagius, we shall have a remarkable proof
of the antiquity of the tradition; for it must ascend to the period when
Morien was and suggested the meaning sea-born. Such proof is not wanting.
In a chronicle attributed to Caradoc of Llancarvan, published among the Iolo
MSS., we are informed, under the date 380, that “about this period, Morien,
the son of Argad the hard, flourished,” that the delusion Of Morien (hud
Morien) constituted one of the three ruinous delusions of the Island of
Britain,” and that through it “baptism and sacrifice ceased in Britain, where
the whole population became unbaptized Jews.” The reader of ecclesiastical
history will see some exaggeration here, but he will hardly question that the
delusion of Morion was the Pelagian heresy, especially after reading, a
little further on, the following conclusive statement: “In 425 St. Germanus
came from Gaul, with St. Lupus, to Britain, to renew baptism, sacrifice, and
a right belief in Christianity, which had fallen into decay.” It will be
remem- hered that Germanus and Lupus were sent to Britain, by the bishops of
Gaul, for the express purpose of resisting the Pelagian heresy, which had
grown up in this interval, from 380 to 425.
infection of t after n, as in lanner for hanter, half, including also the
simple disappearance of final t after n, as in gan for cant, with, took place
chiefly in the transition from old to middle Welsh. In some points this
change went on further, but in others it was arrested in the twelfth century,
and notably in the verb-endings -int (or -ynt) and -ant. In the unquestioned
productions of the twelfth and later centuries we very seldom find -in for
-int or -an for -ant; but in a considerable
(delwedd B0623) (tudalen 28)
E. W. Evans. 28.
portion of the literature for which a higher antiquity is claimed these
contractions are quite common. It is so in the Gododin; and at first view
this would seem to show that its composition, or that of some portions of it,
could not be referred with much probability to a more remote period than the
eleventh century. But on examining the examples in their connections I find
evidence leading to the opposite conclusion.
I find that in all the cases where verbs with these contracted terminations
occur at the end of lines, seventeen cases in all, they are made to rhyme
with one another or with other parts of speech in which final t after n has
likewise disappeared. I find that -an and -in (or -yn), where they are
neither verb- endings nor contractions, occur at the end of lines over one
hundred and twenty times. Now, where the number is so large, why should not
an occasional verb in -an’ or -in’ be found rhyming with them? The natural
conclusion is that the poem was composed when -in for -int and -an for -ant
were yet uncommon if not unknown, that where these contractions occur in it
they are due to the hands of scribes who copied after this kind of nasal
infection had become popular, that is, in the eleventh century.
It is necessary to examine two particular examples which may at first sight
One stanza of the Gododin, numbered LXXXII. by the translator in Skene,
Ef gwrthodes tres tra gwyar llynn,
Ef lladei val deur dull ny techvn.
He repelled attack over a pool of blood.
He smote like a hero such as yielded not.
Here a verb in -in’ rhymes with the substantive llynn. Now if among so very
large a number of examples in point we should find one real exception, it
would necessarily show nothing more than what we knew before, namely, that in
old Welsh there were already certain beginnings Of the nasal infection.
Really, however, there is no exception. The earlier form of llynn, pool,
liquid, (though it is linn in Nennius) must have been lint; compare Irish
lind (Stokes’ Irish Glosses, p. 58). This conforms to the analogy by which
Welsh plant, children, is Irish cland, tribe.
(delwedd B0624) (tudalen 29)
Studies in Cymric Philology.
Two of the stanzas of the Gododin, numbered LXXVIII. and LXXXIX., are so much
alike in every line except one that they must be considered as two versions
of the same original. The text of the former is in several places corrupt,
utterly so in the third line; and I therefore give the other: -
Gueleys y dull o bentir a doyn,
Aberthach coelkerth a emdygyn; Gueleys y deu oe eu tre (re) ry gwydyn
O eir nwython ry godessyn:
Gueleys y wyr tylluawr gan waur a doyn,
A phenn dyuynwal vrych, brein ae knoyn.
In all the translations I have seen, the a doyn at the end Of the first linc
(rhyming with verbs in -yn’) is considered a local name, Adoyn. But I think
there can be no reasonable doubt that it is simply a relative clause for a
doynt, ‘that came.’ I translate as follows: -
I saw the array that came from Cantyre,
It was as victims for the sacrifice they brought themselves;
I saw the two who fell apart from their tribe,
Who by the command of Necton had offended;
I saw men with great wounds who had come with the morn,
And the head Of Domhnul Brec — the ravens were biting it.
From the third line I cast out re, which seems to be repeated, in later
spelling, in the verbal particle ry (here, as often, used with a relative
force), and, indeed, re does not appear in most of the MSS. In respect to the
use of tre (i. e. tref, old Welsh treb) in the sense Of tribe, sec, in the
Book Of Taliesin (206), the example deudec tref yr Israel, the twelve tribes
of Israel, also compare Irish treabh, tribe.
In the fifth line, y, after gueleys, is evidently the pronoun i.
Mr. Stokes accepts Price’s identification of Dyvnwal Vrych with Domhnal Brec,
or, as the name was written later, Donald Brec. I therefore wonder that, with
his quick eye for Northern localities, he does not discover Cantyre (cenn
tire), of which peninsula Domhnal Brec was king, in the equivalent Welsh name
Pentir, ‘head of land,’ seen, with initial inflection, in the above stanza.
Instead of that he proceeds to locate the “height of Adoyn,” which he finds
in a Dun Or Down!