Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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LLYGAD GWR ( fl. — 1268 — ), eulogist .

Gwilym Ddu associates him with ‘ Twr Edeirnion ,’ i.e. Hendwr , Llandrillo, Mer. His poems fall into two groups: ( a ) in praise of minor princes in northern Powys , viz. Gruffudd (d. 1269 ) and Hywel (d. c. 1268 ), sons of Madog ap Gruffudd Maelor ; and Llywelyn , son of the above-mentioned Gruffudd ap Madog . These princes were usually loyal to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd , and they are praised for their staunch defence of the border; ( b ) the five awdlau to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd himself. In these we find the most forthright expression in Welsh poetry of the great upsurge of the Welsh spirit which accompanied the success of that prince when at the height of his power.

This poet sees Wales as one, Llywelyn is supreme from Pulford to Kidwelly ; ‘ the English attempt not to seize an inch of his land ’; he is leader of Gwynedd , Powys , and the South . The like had not been seen since the days of the ‘ Flamebearer ’ and the battle of Arfderydd ; he is like Arthur , and is ‘ the true king of Wales . ’ His quarrel is with a ‘ foreign nation of alien speech .’ The word ‘ Cymro ’ ( Welshman ) occurs several times, and is used with great pride. The poet ventures even to urge the new Arthur to annex Cornwall to his domains. This is the most ‘nationalist’ poetry in Welsh before the days of Glyn Dwr .

Sources:

  • Llawysgrif Hendregadredd (N.L.W. MS. 6680) 25-6, 85-7;
  • The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales , 237-40, 255-6, 277;
  • The Poetry in the Red Book of Hergest , 1911 , 1383-4 ;
  • J. Lloyd-Jones , The Court Poets of the Welsh Princes .

Author:

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

Published date: 1959