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- IltutraaI —:


Iltutraa —: GKAMMASEG CYMKAEG, &e. (a Welsh Grammar, by JOHN RHYDDERCH. Shrewsbury, 1728. 12mo., pp. 192. A BOOK printed and published one hundred and twenty years ago, and since superseded by more complete works for the same purpose, must by this time have become scarce, and may or may not deserve especial notice in such a paper as the PRINCIPALITY. In the present instance we avow it is our opinion, without a moment's hesitancy, that twenty such articles us Ave can accord it would be but a most unworthy tribute to the memory of SIION ItHYDDERCH, and to the great value of the book before us. The history of grammars is, to no small extent, the history of learning; and authentic memoirs of their authors would be a very valuable contribution to the literature of a country. This we are now about to attempt to give—essaying at the same time to erect a small carnedd (Jcaini) on the grave of good, zealous, and patriotic JOHN UNYDDEBCLI. The title-page is well crowded. It is to this eflect A Welsh Grammar, containing the doerine of the vowels and consonants; a large analysis of the syllables, and their relations the eight parts of speech, and their properties; directions for correct writ- ing what is a noun, a pronoun, a verb. an adverb, gender, article, conjunction, five tenses of the moods, construction,&c., bardic institutes (literally, columns of vocal song), with the fully authoriseddcwtrineof the ancieutbards, in the poesy and bardism [of the isle of Britain] more completely explained than ever before. The exploits of DAFYDD IIANNOR, &c. The faults and blemishes of vocal song. Account of Eistedd- fodau, and the ancient manner of conducting them. The statute of GRUFFUDD AP CYNAN with many other things that a man should know before he presumes to be a poet, or even a correct writer. Compiled, studied, and printed by John Rhydderch, and sold by him at Shrewsbury, 1728." In those times the title-page answered the purpose of an index as well, and this will account for. the crowded title- pages of old books. Probably a book at that time with the bald title-page of this day—such as "A Welsh Grammar, by John Rhydderch,"—would in that circumstance alone be offensive enough to the reader to prevent his purchasing it. It seems to have been a mark of courtesy that the latter expected from the former that he should tell him on hisvery title-page not only what he was about, but also what he had to say upon his theme in its several bearings. And the old, author did amply gratify this desire. zo The book before us consists of 192 pages, 12mo., they are closely and crowdedly printed, and it is bound in strong leather, and bound strongly too, for it has been well thumbed for above a hundred years, and here it is a firm, manful, unabashed little fellow, fit for some service yet. It would probably sell at that time for Is. Gd. Think of Taffy going home from Shrewsbury fair to his residence in North Wales —some happy accident had led him into John Rhyddcrch's shop—John puts that book before him—he reads the whole title-page,—" Beth ydyw pris hum, syr f"—" What is the price of this?" "Eighteen pence." "Rhy ddrud! l'hy ddrud Too dear, too dear 11 Well, but just look and consider see how much it contains, how many pages there arc, how closely printed, and how well bound, &c." Bid sicr."—"To be sure, to be sure." ".Well, well," John says carelessly, there are not many copies on hand the book sells very freely—every market day I sell a good many." "I don't know, look you, what to CIO for, you see, I determined to spend no more than Is. 6d. for books at this fair, and I must take home two horn-books—one for little Elin, and another for Gri.1fith-while I should like very much, in my deed, to take this book home to our Llewellyn, who is to be a thorough scholar, I am determined. Shall I have the three for Is. 6d., Mr. Rhydderch tinivyl Well, as you come here every fair day, you may have them." Away goes the Cymro, especially delighted with his having the two horn- boohs into the bargain To return to the earliest Welsh grammarians—that is to say, the authors of the earliest printed books of that descrip- tion. The first was Dr. GRUFFYDD ROBERTS. His gram- mar was printed in Milan, in Italy! A.D. 1567. This work, according to our author, was a useful book, as laying down the foundations of the language, and its relations—caring little for poetry." This G. R. was educated at the Univer- sity of Sienna, under the patronage of Win. Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. Is it not strange that 282 years ago a TVelsh grammar should be printed in the heart of Italy P The second of these patriots was Dr. John David Rhys. TilÍs was a Welsh and Latin Grammar; and is still a work of great value. He was a physician, and was born in 1534. Reo was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, and afterwards was sent to Italy, at the expense of Sir Edward Stradling, of this county. This makes it highly probable that John David Rhys was a Glamorganshire man. He also studied at Sienna, and there took his degrees. Such a proficient was he in Italian that he was made moderator in the school of Pistoria, in Tuscany; and he left behind him an essay on the orthography and orthoepy of that language. lie died at Brecknock about the year 1609 TnUl comes Captain William Myddlcton, or in Welsh, G wily in Ganoldref. He published a small work, very curious of its size," says Shon Rhydderch, principally de- signed to assist the poet and the bard. He was of the fa- mily of Gwernynog, in Denbighshire, and lived between 156) and 1690. He served under Queen Elizabeth, and was a captain of a ship of war. He composed an entire metrical version, according to the severest Welsh metres. It is a re- markable circumstance that this work was completed at sea, off the West Indies, on the 24th of January, 1595. It was printed by Tho.nas Salesbury, in 1603. It is an interest.ing circumstance that this accomplished gentleman should, so far from home, an 1 engaged in such employments, continue to enioy such labours as the translation of the Psalms of David, and to court the muse of his native Snowdonian tongue, in (t downtrodden and abject Wales! About six-y years afterwards Dr. John Davies, of Mall- wyd, published'a Welsh and Latin Grammar. He was the son of a weaver, of Llan veres, in Denbighshire, and received his ear lies;- education in Rliuiiiyn school, which was com- pleted at Lincoln College, Oxford. He translated Father Parson's Christian Resolution, which he called Dyhewyd y Crisli m." He assisted Dr. Parry in the revision of the Welsh Bible. He was well versed, says Anthony Wood, in the history and antiquities of his own nation, in the Greek and Hebrew languages, a most exact cri.ie, an inde- n fatigable researcher into ancient scripts, and well acquainted with carious and rare authors." lie erected three bridges in the parish of Mall'.vyd at his own expense. He died in ,v.t L May, 16-14. In 1727 the Rev. William Gambold published his Welsh and English Grammar. This is now of little value, although at tint time it was a vast improvement on the former ones —raol in inirisic merits, far from it, but in the circumstance that it was in English and Welsh, not in Latin aud Welsh. The purpose was to aid the children of the Welsh aristocracy, a ad especially of such of them as were intended for-livings in the Church, to understand the language of the people. The author was son of the Rev. Wm. Gambold, rector of Puitcheston, ia Pembrokeshire and arter a learned and la- borious life, both as a scholar and a minister of the gospel, he died in the Moravian communion, at a good old age. n John Rhydderch, while giving all the foregoing due praise, very correctly observes, that to the mere Welshman, they were of no value whatever. To put one of them into the hands of a mono /lot (pray, let us follow the fashion) would be about as wise as is the conduct of those who insist upon Saxon inonogiots learning Latin by using a Latin Grain nar, and the equally sagacious conduct of many of our own countrymen as to their manner of teaching Welsh people English. John Rhydderch, long before our modern tab.)ies were born, understood the matter thus. "Though the above authors took vast pains to make known to other nations the excellence of the British tongue, they had but little success amongst strange nations while at home they did scarcely any good but among the learned for scarcely a com,non person understands Latin, and especially such, as are inspired by the muse, &c. I have therefore thought a Grammar thoroughly in Welsh was very necessary for them —for such as cherish and revere our mother tongue." All this we call good common sense. We must return to this-book again. It suggests sundry other topics, pregnant with historic and literary instruction; it especially invites us to inquire into the hisiory of the introduction of t; e printing press into Wale*, for an article on which we aie now preparing materials.








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