Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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PARRY , JAMES RHYS ( Eos Eyas , i.e. ‘ Eos Ewias ’; fl. 1570?-1625? ), poet and author of a Welsh metrical version of the Psalms .

He was a member of some branch of the old-established family of Parry of Poston, Herefs. (cf. Parry , Blanche ), and Llandefaelog-tre'r-graig , Brecknock — for pedigree, see Theophilus Jones , Brecknock [iv, 2-3, 155], and Llyfr Baglan . James Parry may be the James ap Rhys Parry mentioned in Llyfr Baglan , 37; at the time that his son George Parry (q.v.) went to Oxford ( 17 Jan. 1633/4 ) the father may have been living at Michael Church Escle, Herefs. ; the dates of his birth and death have not been ascertained.

James Parry is remembered because he essayed a metrical version of some of the Psalms in Welsh — in free metre — and because there is evidence that his version was seen by Edmund Prys , archdeacon of Merioneth (q.v.) , before the Salmau by the latter were published in 1621 . This information is given by James Parry 's son, George Parry (q.v.) , himself the author of another version; the son says that the father was a well-born layman of Ewias Lacy in Herefordshire , a patron of poets and himself a distinguished one — he calls his father ‘ Eos Eyas .’ The father presented his manuscripts to William Morgan (q.v.) , bishop of Llandaff ; this proved an incentive to Edmund Prys and provided the first, rather rough, sketch of Prys 's more finished composition ( N.L.W. MS. 641 ). James Parry 's version survives in three manuscripts — Cwrtmawr MS. 28 , Pen. MS. 220 , and B.M. Add. MS. 14895 . As William Morgan held the bishopric of Llandaff from 1595 to 1601 Parry 's translation may, perhaps be assigned to that period. Some Welsh poems by the translator (and, possibly by his father) survive in Llanst. MS. 50 .

Sources:

  • W. Ll. Davies , ‘Welsh Metrical Versions of the Psalms’ in Journal of the Welsh Bibliographical Society , ii, 276-301, and sources cited therein;
  • Bradney , ‘George Parry,’ ibid., iii, 13-16.

Author:

Sir William Llewelyn Davies, M.A., LL.D., F.S.A. (1887-1952), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959