Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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IORWERTH BELI , a poet who sang in Gwynedd early in the 14th cent.

He sang an awdl to the bishop of Bangor ( Myv. Arch. , 317-8) reproaching him for neglecting poets and overesteeming musicians . This poem makes use of a metre which, according to Cerdd Dafod , 339, is not found in any poem before 1322 which can be precisely dated. In Iorwerth Beli 's awdl we are given a glimpse of the position and outlook of the poets in the period after the fall of Llywelyn the Last . Poets who took pride in the old court tradition were turning to the bishop , expecting him now to give the leadership and patronage which had been the role of the Welsh prince , and reminding him of the dignity of the poet in the court of Maelgwn . But the bishop does not choose to assume this role. He neglects the poets , and gives honour and fine raiment to the ‘ dregs of art ,’ to English youths with their ‘ earsplitting noises ,’ their song which is like the squealing of piglets, their horns and drums, and they are respected even for knowing English . The bishop to whom this poem is addressed must therefore have been a Welshman , but favourable to the English and their entertainments. Thus one may presume that it was composed before 1327 , and in all probability during the bishopric of Anian Sais , that is between 1309 and 1327 .

Sources:

  • The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales , 317-18.

Author:

David Myrddin Lloyd, M.A., (1909-81), Aberystwyth / Scotland

Published date: 1959