Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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TRAHAEARN BRYDYDD MAWR , a poet of the first half of the 14th cent.

In a poem in which he is satirised his pedigree is given as Trahaearn ap Goronwy , ap Rotbert , ap Bledri ( R.B.H. Poetry , 1343). Certain phrases in the same poem suggest that, like Cynddelw , he was called ‘Prydydd Mawr’ because of his physical size (e.g. ‘ A giant who is offended ’ and ‘ The son of Goronwy is bigger than I am ’). In the Cambrian Biography ( Owen ), it is supposed that he is the same person as Casnodyn ; Iolo Morganwg maintained that he was a native of Llangyfelach , and that he presided over the ‘ Chair of Morgannwgabout 1300 . But in the elegy to Trahaearn ( R.B. Poetry , 1229/30, and Myv. Arch . 277), ascribed in the Myv. Arch. to Gwilym Ddu o Arfon , he is associated with Merioneth . In this elegy, also, he is placed in the succession of the penceirddiaid or highest-grade poets, but Trahaearn , like Casnodyn , his contemporary, belonged to a period when the rigid separation of pencerdd and satirist was not fully observed. Trahaearn sang to Hywel of Llanddingad in Ystrad Tywi , and to God, in the elevated style of the pencerdd , and to ‘ Cadwgan and his son-in-law’ in the scurrilous and ribald manner of the satirist. Trahaearn suffered abuse in a poem, whose author , probably a South Walian, is not known, and from this poem we learn that he was a North Walian singing in the South. He is called an exile, a buffoon, a poet of low degree, a vagabond, and is exhorted to stay at home.

Sources:

  • The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales , 277, 331;
  • The Poetry in the Red Book of Hergest , 1911 , 1222-3, 1229, 1343-5, 1357;
  • G. J. Williams , Traddodiad Llenyddol Morgannwg , 1948 , 5-6.

Author:

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

Published date: 1959