Ven. Archdeacon Griffiths
The labours of the committee of the National Eisteddfod to be held at Aberdare on the 25th of August next and three following days are now going forward with unremitting energy, and a large number of appointments have just been made. As was generally supposed from the first, Prince Albert Victor will not be one of the presidents, although negotiations to that effect were carried on with him. The following gentlemen have consented to act as presidents during the various stages of the Eisteddfod, viz.: The Right Honourable Lord Aberdare, Sir George Elliot, Bart., M.P.; Mr. Henry Richard, M.P.; Colonel Kemeys-Tynte, the Venerable Archdeacon Griffiths, his Honour, and Mr. J. C. Parkinson. In the place of “Tanymarian,” who had been appointed one of the adjudicators on the musical compositions, Mr. John Thomas (“Pencerdd Gwalia”), harpist to her Majesty the Queen, has been appointed.
Another vacancy in the musical adjudicators’ list was caused by the refusal of Signor Randegger to attend the Eisteddfod unless his terms were acceded to. Contrary to all anticipations, his place has been relegated to Mr. E. H. Turpin, the organist, who, it will be remembered, was one of the adjudicators at the National Eisteddfod at Cardiff. The appointment, it must be confessed, will not be popular amongst the people of South Wales. With the exception of “Caradog,” who, however, is a host in himself, not one of the adjudicators is a conductor, and in a choral competition a majority of the adjudicators ought certainly to consist of musicians who are themselves conductors. The Eisteddfod conductors will be the Revs. Glanffrwd Thomas, St. Asaph W. Jansen Davies, Cleckheaton; B. Evans, Aberdare; and R. T. Howell, Aberdare. In the evenings, after the various Eisteddfod meetings, two miscellaneous concerts will be given, and two others of a sacred nature will be held also, when Handel’s great oratorio Samson” and Mackenzie’s new dramatic oratorio the “Rose of Sharon” will be performed by the Aberdare Choral Union: a choir numbering close upon 300 voices, the whole being supported by a full orchestral band. The following artistes have been engaged to sing.at these concerts, as well as at the Eisteddfod meetings themselves, viz. Soprano. Miss Mary Davies, Miss Annie Marriott, Miss Lizzie Williams (“Llinos y De”) and Madame Williams-Penn; contralti, Miss Eleanor Rees, Miss Spencer Jones, and Miss Katherine James (all members of the Royal Academy of Music); tenor, “Eos Morlais,” Air. Ben Davies (Carl Rosa Opera Company), and Mr. Dyfed Lewis (“Eos Dyfed”); bass, Mr. Dan Price, R.A.M. (Dowlais). “Eos Dar” will be the singer of pennillion with the harp. So far as can be ascertained at present five choirs will compete for the principal choral prize, viz., Dowlais Harmonic Society, Llanelly United Choir, Rhondda Philharmonic Society (“Cor Prosser”), and the Treherbert Choral Union. For the second choral competition a number of choirs are now engaged in active rehearsing practice, including one from Mountain Ash, one from Dowlais, and several others. As the entries have not been finally closed it is as yet impossible to say anything concerning the multitude of other competitions that are to be decided at the Eisteddfod.
The National Eisteddfod ay Aberdare 08.08.1885 08.08.1885
Details of the Arrangements
(From our special correspondent)
The taste of completing the arrangements preparatory to the holding of the National Eisteddfod of 1885 in the little town of Aberdare is now being rapidly accomplished. The gentlemen who will fulfil the duties of presidents at the four eisteddfod meetings and also at the four evening Concerts have now been finally selected. As was generally supposed from the moment the subject was first broached, Prince Albert Victor of Wales will not be one of the eisteddfod presidents. Whether he has refused point blank to attend or not I do not pretend to know, not being in the confidence of the Eisteddfod Committee on that point. It is, however, certain that the Prince’s abstention will not be due to his not having been invited to the Eisteddfod, for Lord Aberdare some time ago communicated the committee’s invitation to him.
Judge Gwylim Williams
Moreover, the full list of presidents was not made out until quite recently, and thus it may be reasonably supposed that the committee were buoyed up with the hope that the young Prince would come, until there was no longer any adequate ground for entertaining this hope, and it was then and not till then that the full list of presidents was made up. If the truth must be confessed. I do not think the absence of the prince will cause any very serious disappointment among the majority of the Welsh people, who certainly are not noted for their love of sycophancy, and besides, the knowledge of the eisteddfod which the young prince possesses cannot be very great.
Leaving his name to stand out, therefore, the following is the complete list of presidents, viz., the Right Honourable Lord Aberdare, K.C.B., who will occupy the chair on what will certainly be the great day of the eisteddfod week, viz., the Thursday on which the great choral competition will be decided. Sir George Elliot, Bart., M.P., who will open the eisteddfod on Tuesday, August 25th Mr J. C. Parkinson, J.P., of London, and Colonel Kemeys-Tynte will preside on Wednesday and Friday respectively. Besides these there are five gentlemen who will preside either at the evening meetings or at one of the special assemblies, namely, Mr Henry Richard, M.P., Mr O. Herbert James, M.P., the Hon. H. C. Bruce, his Honour Judge Gwilym Williams, and the Venerable Archdeacon Griffiths, of Neath. There is a rumour afloat to the effect that Lord Aberdare will not be able to attend in consequence of his visit to Switzerland, but I am not in a position either to contradict or verify this rumour.
The Pavilion Arrangements
The eisteddfod pavilion, which is now in course of erection, is being constructed on the site already selected, viz., in the field at a short distance from the Abernant Station. The pavilion will, as far as possible, be erected on the plan of the pavilion of the Liverpool National Eisteddfod last year. The seats will be raised somewhat after the fashion of an infants’ school gallery, and this will enable visitors to hear and see everything that goes on. The pavilion will be a little smaller than that at Liverpool, for whereas that was capable of seating 10,000 persons, the one at Aberdare will provide accommodation for about 2,000 less. Bearing in mind, however, the respective size and population of the two towns, it will be readily admitted that the Aberdare pavilion will be comparatively the larger. As in the case of the pavilion in the great metropolis of the north, a spacious crush room will be built parallel with the eisteddfod-hall. There the choirs and others will assemble preparatory to taking part in the competitions. In this crush room all the refreshment stalls will be located, as well as a tea-room. Another very important feature of this crush-room will be the establishment of a temporary post and telegraph office within the building. Persons, therefore, desirous of telegraphing to their friends the results of certain competitions in which they may be interested will now not be put to the inconvenience of walking down to the Aberdare post-office in order to despatch their messages, seeing that the temporary office will be on the way out of the eisteddfod-hall.
Arrangements for Visitors
A number of persons-hotel keepers and others, who will be in a position to accommodate visitors to Aberdare during the eisteddfod week have sent in their names to the eisteddfod secretaries, and visitors who wish to stay in the town during that period will therefore do well to secure good accommodation at once. This can be done by communicating with the secretaries at the eisteddfod offices in Canon Street. Arrangements have been made with the railway companies whose lines run into Aberdare and Abernant, with the result that during the eisteddfod special excursion tickets will be issued to these places. Thus every facility will be placed in the way of intending visitors to the eisteddfod, and so far as these arrangements are concerned, it certainly seems as if nothing more could be desired in the way of comfort. With regard to therailway arrangements, another word or two may be added to what is already written. As stated above, four musical entertainments, two oratorio performances and two miscellaneous concerts, will be held in the evenings after the eisteddfod meetings. Naturally enough, visitors will avail themselves of this opportunity of going to hear good music, and in order that they may do so and still suffer no inconvenience, special trains will leave Aberdare and Abernant after the conclusion of these entertainments, so that persons residing at a. distance may be enabled to return home the same night. So much then for the arrangements made on behalf of visitors to the eisteddfod, and now for a word or two regarding the eisteddfod itself.
The Literary Competitions
From the abstract sent by the secretary some few weeks ago it will be seen that a fairly large number of competitors have entered in the literary competition list, though, as was only to be expected, the number falls very far short of that received in Liverpool. The competition for the prize of £350 for the best translation of the Alcestis of Euripides into Welsh, is likely to be a very severe one, no less than 18 translations having been sent in as against 13 in Liverpool. With one or two exceptions, all the Liverpool Eisteddfod competitors have again sent in translations, and the result of the contest is keenly watched by both Welsh and Greek scholars. But the competitions which will undoubtedly evoke the greatest amount of interest amongst the inhabitants of “Yr Hen Wlad,” are the brass band contests, the great choral competition, and the competition for the chair prize. In the last named a prize of £20, supplemented with an oak chair valued at £10, is offered for the best awdl on Y Gwir yn erbyn y Byd (ode upon “The truth against the world”). Eight poems have-been received, and it will be remembered that thirteen were received at the Liverpool Eisteddfod. Already the bardic world is fluttered, and expectation is rife as to the possible winner of this coveted trophy. It is whispered that the famous “Dyfed,” who was successful at Merthyr, Cardiff, and Liverpool Eisteddfodau, has not sent in an ode to Aberdare, but I certainly would not go bails for the truth of this statement, as everything points to a. different thing. It will be remembered that after the Liverpool eisteddfod a most deplorable and bitter controversy took place between the bards, some of whom have a most unaccountable antipathy to the young Cardiff conqueror, and every vernacular newspaper devoted its columns either to attacks upon, or in defence of, the victor of Liverpool. Remembering all this, it is scarcely likely “Dyfed” would retire without giving his opponents and his traducers another sound thrashing; not a physical thrashing, of course. In any case, it is to be hoped, for the honour and dignity of Wales and the eisteddfod, that we shall not have a recurrence of the deplorable events which succeeded the decision in this contest in Liverpool last September. The ancient and interesting ceremony of chairing the successful bard will take place on Wednesday afternoon, August 26th, the second day of the eisteddfod, and the number of visitors on this occasion is certain to be very large.
Brass Band Contest
Of the brass band contests I cannot say very much at present. Up to the time of writing the entries had not closed, and it is well known that brass bands have a most provoking manner of withholding their-names until the last possible moment. I hear, however, that three or four bands from North Wales are likely to take part in the competition (at least, four have purchased the piece of music selected as the test), besides a number from South Wales. There can, however, be no doubt that in this branch of their work the eisteddfod committee have made a great mistake; in excluding English bands, for blink the matter as we may, our own bands, with one or two notable exceptions, are very much inferior to those of the north and other parts of England: If, therefore, the eisteddfod is held and supported with a view of improving and cultivating our knowledge, and increasing our proficiency in literature and music, this point can never be achieved by excluding English bands from our contests. One Welsh band may triumph over another, but, after all, what is there to boast of in such an achievement? This contest will be decided on Tuesday, August 25th, the first day
The Great Choral Competition
The great choral competition will unquestionably prove the most popular and the most interesting feature of the eisteddfod, and judging from present appearances, it is likely to be most unqualified success. Seven choirs are now engaged in the task of rehearsing the three choruses which have been selected as test pieces in this competition. They are as follows, viz., Dowlais Harmonic Society, conducted by Mr Davies, A.C. Ebbw Vale United Choir, under the leadership of Mr. Thomas Davies, G.T.S.C. Llanelly United Choir, conducted by Mr R. O. Jenkins, R.A.M. Merthyr Tydfil United Choir, conductor, Mr John Evans (Cerddor Morlais), of Dowlais; Pontypool, and Abersychan United Choir, under the leadership of Mr Roger Protheroe; Rhondda Valley Philharmonic Society, conducted by Mr D. T. Prosser (Eos Cynlais) and the Treherbert Choral Union, conducted by Mr Moses Owen Jones. From the above it will be seen that the contest will be an unusually severe one, as some of the most noted conductors of South Wales will here meet to decide the question of supremacy. Of the above seven choirs four at least may be depended on to make a most determined fight for the prize of £150, and what is of far more importance, the honour of winning the chief honours of the eisteddfod. At the present moment I hear that tremendous excitement prevails on the subject in every place which will send a choir to the eisteddfod, and more especially in Dowlais, Llanelly, and the Rhondda Valley. Should the whole of the seven choirs put in an appearance on the day of competition, the eisteddfod will undoubtedly be the most important that has been held for some time past, so far as this competition is concerned. It must be candidly admitted that considerable indignation was caused amongst the members of the competing choirs some time ago when it was announced that Mr W. T. Rees (Alaw Ddu) had been appointed one of the adjudicators. On making enquiries in different places I found the feeling very strong on this point. Mr Rees, it seems, has always taken a great interest in the Llanelly United Choir, and at the time of the Cardiff National Eisteddfod he was president of that choir. This, then, was the ground of complaint, and although none of the competitors insinuated for a moment that Mr Rees would act unfairly on the day of competition, still it was evident that his appointment to the board of adjudicators could never be popular. In this dilemma Mr Rees himself, probably knowing the extent of the popular feeling, announced that so long as the Llanelly choir intended competing he would withdraw from the board of adjudicators in the principal choral competition. The majority of choir members have not yet heard of “Alaw Ddu’s” decision, so there can be no doubt that when this article is read they will be disposed to thank Mr Rees for his considerate conduct on this point. Musicians are practically unanimous in saying that the choruses selected as test pieces in this competition are unusually difficult, and should the temperature be very high on the day of competition, it is feared that a large number of the choirs will be unable to keep in tune. This is a matter for general regret, but I think a great deal can be done if the eisteddfod committee will take a leaf out of the book of the Cardiff committee two years ago. At Cardiff, it will be remembered, all minor competitions were kept out of the way when the competition for the big prize took place, and it is hoped that the same thing will be done in Aberdare. The result cannot then be otherwise than satisfactory. Another thing the committee will, I trust, bear in mind, and that is to require each and every choir to sing the whole of the three choruses, seeing that that number has been selected. If only one or two are sung, a great deal of indignation will certainly be caused, and no choir winning on these conditions can be at all proud of its victory. This great event will be decided on Thursday afternoon, August 27th, the third day of the eisteddfod, and it does not require a prophet to say that on that day the pavilion will be crowded to its utmost limits. Of the minor contests the soprano solo competition is likely to be one of the most interesting, as several English competitors have entered for the vocal contests, being the only ones open to all. A large number of entries have also been received for the bass, the junior piano- forte, the senior pianoforte, and other competitions. There is not likely to be any contest for the prize offered for the best performance of a given solo upon the violoncello, seeing that the selected piece has been out of print for a very long time and is not to be re-issued.
The Art Department
Of the competitions in the art and architectural department of the eisteddfod, it is as yet premature to speak with any degree of certainly, as the entries have not yet been closed. A large number of paintings, designs, drawings, models, &c., have, however, been received, and it is of course very probable that this number will be largely augmented. The committee, following the example of the Liverpool Committee, have decided that the whole of the articles received in this department shall be exhibited during the eisteddfod week. They will be placed in a building to be hereafter fixed upon, and the general public, on payment of a small fee, will be allowed to see them. Amongst these exhibits will be the prize eisteddfod chair, and also the chairs sent in by competitors for the prize of £10, which has been offered for the best bardic chair. I have seen one of these chairs, and it is a really remarkable piece of workmanship, being, as it is, carved in every conceivable part, and with the minutest details. The names of the artistes who will sing at the eisteddfod and at the evening concerts have previously appeared in these columns, so that there exists no necessity for repeating them here. The accompanists selected are Mrs Frost (of Cardiff), Mr Richard Howell (Maesgwyn), and Professor Abraham N. James (of Aberdare).
The Gorsedd etc.
The “Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isle of Britain” will hold its mysterious meetings, as at previous eisteddfodau, and this year’s assembly is likely to be quite as successful as any hitherto held, as a very large number of “y beirdd” have accepted the invitation of the committee, and notified their intention of being present at the eisteddfod. The venerable Archdruid, Clwydfardd, will, as on many previous occasions, take the principal part in the proceedings of the Gorsedd. The meetings of the Cymmrodorion Society are also likely to be of general interest to the inhabitants of Wales. On the evening before the proceedings of the eisteddfod are to commence, that is to say, on Monday evening, August 24th, the society will hold a preliminary meeting, and, in addition to this, there will be three meetings, at which members of the society will read papers bearing upon subjects of interest to Welsh people. Two papers, one on Tuesday and the other on Wednesday, will be read upon the “Advisability of introducing the Welsh Language as a specific subject into Elementary Schools,” and considering that eminent Welshmen are pretty equally divided upon the question it is very probable that a highly interesting discussion will take place. The list of other papers to be read at the Cymmrodorion Society’s meetings has not yet been made out, but at the meeting on Friday, August 28th, it is most probable that one of the members will read a paper bearing upon some musical subject, and that an interesting debate, in which the musical adjudicators will take part, will probably follow.
The above, then, are the complete details of the arrangements in connection with the eisteddfod, so far as they have yet been settled. Of course, a great deal still remains to be done, but it must be admitted that the committee have surmounted great difficulties in carrying out the arrangements so far. The detailed programme of the eisteddfod will, it is anticipated, be today in a few days, and persons who may be interested in any particular competition may then be enabled to see on what day it is to be decided.
The First Eisteddfod Meeting 29/08/1885
Address by Sir George Elliot M.P.
The opening meeting of the eisteddfod was held in the pavilion, Aberdare, the proceedings commencing shortly before 12 o’clock. Sir George Elliot, M.P., presided, and amongst those on the platform were: Lord Aberdare, Mr Matthew Arnold, Archdeacon Griffiths, Mr J. 0. Parkinson, Dr. Price, Dr. Roberts, Clwydfardd, Hwfa Mon, Dyfed, Dewi Wyn o Essllyt, Dr. Jones, Rev. B. R. Jenkins, Mr D. Cadwaladr Davies, Dewi Mon, Llew Llwyfo, Mr T. H. Thomas, Cardiff, B.C.A., Eos Morlais, Captain Phillips, the Hon. Pamela Bruce, Mr Ignatius Williams, stipendiary magistrate, Pontypridd; Mr Arthur J. Williams, B.A.L, Miskin Manor; the Rev. Glanffrwd Thomas, Pencerdd Gwalia, Caradog, Dr. Evan Jones, &c.
In opening the meeting, the CONDUCTOR (the Rev. B. Evans Telynfab, Aberdare), said: First of all, allow me to express the gratification I feel in witnessing so numerous and highly respectable an assembly. In obedience to the wishes of the executive committee of this eisteddfod I now have the pleasure of appearing before you as the conductor of this meeting, and I sincerely hope you will sympathise with me on my first appearance on the platform of the National Eisteddfod, by having your help and kind indulgence I earnestly trust that the entire proceedings of our eisteddfod will prove not only interesting and pleasing to you all, but in every respect a grand and glorious success. Many things combine to make this a happy day to most present. We are surrounded by beirdd and ofyddion, distinguished musicians, and a host of noted singers, and also by a number of gentlemen who have rendered invaluable services to Welsh literature. But while we rejoice at being surrounded by so many eminent and esteemed gentlemen, we grieve that death has invaded our ranks, and taken from us some of our foremost men. So many brilliant lights have gone out since the last National Eisteddfod that despondency supersedes well-nigh all other sensations. Our highly honoured Sir Watkin Williams Wynn our illustrious bardd gerddor, Tanymarian; our excellent and worthy John Griffith, the esteemed Rector of Merthyr; our celebrated Brinley Richards our famous and much beloved David Bowen, Dowlais; our distinguished Julian Benedict and others, have been re- moved by death. They are not lost, however, but gone before, and in grateful remembrance of their memory, and to express our deep sympathy with their bereaved families and friends, I ask you to stand up in solemn silence and then resume your seats.
This request having been complied with:
Miss Marriott sang the National Anthem, after which Eos Morlais gave “Hen wlad fynhafdau” (Land of my fathers). Both vocal performances met with a cordial reception, and upon the subsidence of the applause.
The Rev B. Evans read the following introductory stanza:
To Sir George Elliot Bart., M.P.
To that chief seat oft filled of yore
By princes brave and free,
On this old Cambria’s festal day
Sir George, we welcome thee,
For thou art warmly recognised
By this vast joyful throng,
A noble and true-hearted friend
Of our famed Land of Song.”
No only from fair Cynon’s bank
From thy own Sons of Toil,”
But from Menevia’s fertile plain
And Mona’s classic soil:
From Gwynedd unto “Dyfed deg,”
From mountain unto sea.
Now comes the grand united strain,
Sir George “All hail to thee.”
The great resources of thy mind,
The bounties of thy hand.
The deeds of mercy and of love,
Have bound thee to our land.
And grateful Wales, that strives to give
To all her friends their due,
To-day delights to honour thee,
The faithful and the true.
“Prince of Mines,” long mayst thou live
To reign o’er moor and fen,
For thou art by thy genial ways
Prince of the hearts of men.
So long as mountains stand to watch
O’er Aman’s rapid tide,
So long, indeed, old Gomer’s race
Shall guard thy name with pride.
Sir George Elliot then rose amid applause, and delivered the inaugural address. After stating that he had during the past seven years, in association with their friend, Mr William Thomas Lewis, and other gentlemen, been acting as a member of the Royal Commission for inquiring into the causes of and the best means of preventing accidents in mines, and announcing that the inquiry had now reached its final stage, and that the report of the commission would shortly be issued, Sir George proceeded: In attending a gathering of this description, one almost exclusively Welsh in its character, I may as well ten you that it was with considerable diffidence and hesitation that I accepted your kind invitation to be your president first, because I bore in mind the number of illustrious men who have provided at your yearly gatherings, many of whom are Welsh, either by birth or association, and with whose eloquence, learning, and accurate knowledge of all things Welsh, I could not hope to compete; and secondly, because, as you may readily guess, I am unable to speak the Welsh language. In the learned and eloquent address of the Marquis of Bute at your Cardiff meeting in 1883, his lordship stated that: – “To read and write Welsh ought not to be difficult, because there would be none of the excuses which the difficulties of our English spelling present.” I confess, however, that notwithstanding his lordship’s encouraging remarks, I have not hitherto ventured to court acquaintance with the intricacies of your national tongue. I can, however, say this, that your language is undoubtedly a very musical one, and I have frequently listened with great delight to your beautiful native melodies.
I remember on one occasion being fortunate enough to be at Aberaman House (and I am only sorry I cannot be there oftener) whilst some school children and their teachers were enjoying a picnic in my grounds, I had some distinguished guests with me at the time, gentlemen of great and varied culture, some of whom bad listened to the finest music in every capital of Europe, and they were all as delighted as I was myself with the beauty of your Welsh songs, and. perhaps I may be allowed to add, your Welsh singers.
I do not wish all Welsh young ladies to infer from this that my musical friends would consider their singing’ quite equal in style and tone to that of their fair neighbour, Madame Patti. The musical career of that lady, shows, however, what hard work and untiring devotion will do to develop natural talents, such as, I have no doubt, are latent in many of you who are now present. I need hardly mention the names of Madame Edith Wynne, Miss Mary Davies, or Miss Spencer Jones to encourage the students who are here to persevere in the endeavours to develop their musical aptitude. (Cheers.) I am not surprised at your noble president of 1883, the Marquis of Bute, counselling you to “cling to the language of your fathers.” Whether or not you are in danger of clinging to it over much is a question I do not feel myself competent to express an opinion upon. It may, however, become a question that will sooner or later demand the grave consideration of all Welshmen. I think, if I may venture to say so, that if I had always lived in Wales, and if my family had grown up in the principality, the advice I should have given to my children would have been to learn Welsh in the way the Marquis of Bute so strongly advocated for the “development of literary power and intellectual culture” but I think I should have impressed upon them the absolute necessity of their not allowing themselves to be distanced or handicapped in the race of life by neglecting to acquire a full and adequate knowledge of the great commercial language of the world. The vast increase in the population of the English speaking race, not merely in these islands, but over the enormous area of the United States and Canada, as well as in Australia, New Zealand, and our other colonies, would almost lead one to imagine that it will ultimately become, at any rate, for commercial purposes, that universal language which has been so often talked about, and which is still so very much wanted. In Germany, whence I have only just returned, the Government appreciate so highly the necessity of getting all classes of their countrymen to learn at least one modem and one dead language, that they materially lessen the period of compulsory military service in the cases of pupils who show a proficiency in two languages other than their own and I may say that since the Franco-German war English is the modern language almost always selected.
On this occasion, important and interesting as it is in the eyes of all Welsh-speaking people, you will not expect me to go into any historical review or lengthened defence of the institution of the eisteddfod, or of the reasons which are held to be sufficient for its being maintained and perpetuated as a prominent index of your national public life. Many a time and oft you have had saga advice given to you about what ought to be done with the eisteddfod, how it might be improved, bow it might be modernised and adapted to practical uses, and, finally, how, in fact, it might be improved off the face of the earth. An illustrious English statesman and great orator, (I have not the slightest hesitation in saying this, although I do not sit on his side of the House) whose exceptional powers of speech are, we all regret, for the moment impaired (I hope they may be speedily restored), once told you, quite seriously, I believe, that the cultivation of the Welsh la signage, which is an essential part of the eisteddfod, might as well be given up, and that Welshmen would get on better m the world if in the matter of speech least they one and all became cosmopolitan Englishmen. Lesser critics have said the same, though, perhaps, in less pregnant and persuasive words than Mr Gladstone used, and Welshmen have been sharply rated because they would not give up the eisteddfod as an effete and useless institution. I (see no reason whatever why that should be.
There must have been some good and sufficient reason wiry the eisteddfod’ was j established, otherwise it would not be held here today, more popular and flourishing than ever. One reason I can well imagine why such methods for propagating learning and culture were resorted to was because Wales in the matter or education was long denied those aids from the Stated which have been dealt out liberally to other portions of the United Kingdom, (Hear, hear.) The light of learning has been kept burning in the Welsh language for many generations why, it may be asked, should it be extinguished now simply because the elements of education in English are being more wisely diffused? I have been told that a century ago when there were no schools to teach English to the people generally, a great Welsh philanthropist availed himself of the vehicle of his national language to distribute among his fellow-countrymen many thousands of copies of the Scriptures, and Welsh is still the tongue in which the majority of the people of Wales perform their religious devotions. It is a moot point among men of learning, I believe, whether the development of language precedes civilisation or whether the advance of refinement produces a corresponding refinement in the art of language. However that may be, I think if the language of a nation is the elevating influence, you have pretty good evidence that your tongue, despite its somewhat deterring aspect in print, is a language of the highest order for everywhere, throughout this principality you have noble monuments of national progress, and of the practice of the arts and sciences. We see it in your fine old ecclesiastical buildings, your grand and picturesque castles and monuments, as well as in the numerous modern places of worship that command the admiration of the traveller. We see the same evidence not less in great works of public utility; the magnitude and excellence of which are not surpassed by those of any other people in the world.
I do not profess to have read deeply on the subject, but from what I can gather you have for centuries been famous not alone for great warriors, but for poets, and painters, and musicians, and for these you are famous still. I am sure it is no empty boast for the Welshman to make that he is not dependent for his music upon the genius of other nationalities, I am afraid we English cannot say as much. The cultivation of that most civilising of all arts I am glad to know forms the chief ingredient of these interesting gatherings, and the illustrious exponents of music who are brought before the public on these occasions Justify all the energy and expenditure the promoters of the eisteddfod are willing to incur. But it is not for me to dwell much on the classical side of the case:—If Welshmen can get so much culture, so much enjoyment, and so much intellectual advantage out of the study of their own language, and at the same time contrive to be models of citizenship, loyalty and patriotism, it is not for Englishmen like myself to grudge them their refined pleasures. We ought rather to rejoice that in the brilliant scene now before us there is the testimony of an elected, a happy, and a contented people.
I am sure also, they will not forget the practical side of the question in the pursuit of abstruse learning, and that they will not overlook the paramount importance of those other branches of education to which I have already referred, and which are absolutely essential to those who would keep pace in the race of nations. I do not need to be told that the Welsh are essentially an industrial people. No nation has ever become great that has not devoted the best of its energies to the development of the arts at industry. The people of ancient Egypt (a country with which I happen to be very well acquainted, and whose written language of the past was quite as interesting to look at as yours is) excelled in those arts. They not only inculcated what we term “technical education,” but they compelled by very severe laws the industrial training of all who were able to work. They went further than that they found employment for all their skilled workpeople, even the lame, the blind, were furnished with some kind of useful and profitable occupation within the scope of their abilities. I hope that Welshmen, although I am told they regard their antiquity as great almost as that of the Egyptians, will not be above taking a lesson from those ancient people whose marvels of industry are among the wonders of the world.
I will venture to believe that the people of Wales, while still cherishing their ancient language, associated as it is with customs quite as ancient, and while preserving their characteristics as a self-contained nation, will bear in mind the duty they owe to the world at large to come out and share in all the efforts of the British people to reach the higher heights of national development. It is gratifying to know that somewhat late in the day Parliament in its wisdom and liberality has accorded to the principality, or rather has aided the principality in producing, the means of establishing the necessary machinery for the highest degree of education known to our English civilisation. This has mainly been owing to the strenuous efforts of a nobleman whom you all revere and respect, whose name is a household word in your mouths. I need hardly say I refer to my noble friend, Lord Aberdare.
His efforts in that direction have been ably seconded by Mr Lewis Morris. Something more remains to be done for you in the same direction but circumstances to which I will not more particularly allude has delayed the full measure of justice to Wales on that question. English will be taught more comprehensively in your schools and I feel sure it will not be the fault of the youth of Wales if they do not avail themselves of those branches of instruction which the higher schools of the country will shortly be in a position to offer. All the civilised world, not even excepting the imaginative people of the sister island, is now eagerly striving after the practical in education as contra-distinguished from literature and the classics. I am certain that Welshmen will net be behindhand in the race, and you may be well assured that none of these efforts are in the least incompatible with the fullest maintenance of your native classic culture.
I have been very much struck, almost from the commencement of the period of my business and social relations with the principality, which now extend over a period of 20 years, with the essentially religious character of the Welsh people. I am not in a position, nor would it be desirable of such an occasion as this, to give statistics bearing on the subject, but I am inclined to think that the average of religious attendance at the numerous places of public worship in Wales will be found to be higher than in any part of the United Kingdom, and I need hardly comment upon the ennobling and chastening influence of religious enthusiasm rightly controlled and directed. (Cheers.)
I noticed with pleasure the other day that one of the most eminent French men of letters, who is also an accomplished English scholar, was speaking to a festival meeting of the Celtic Society of Brittany. He was extolling the virtues of his brother Bretons, and he said of them that “all that is best in us comes from what went before us. A race gives its flower when it emerges from oblivion. The brilliant intellectual developments proceed from a vast foundation of unconsciousness, I would almost say from vast reservoirs of ignorance. Do not be afraid that I come to persuade you to cultivate ignorance that is a plant which grows very well of itself. In spite of complete and compulsory education there will always be enough of it. But I should dread for humanity the day when knowledge shall have penetrated all its strata. Whence would come genius, which is almost always the result of along anterior slumber? Whence would come the instinctive which is so essentially hereditary that noble love which has nothing to do with reflection all those thoughts which are not to be accounted for, which are in us, but yet independent of us, and form the best part of the appanage of a race, of a nation?” And then he went on to say none understood better than they true equality and liberty, for they advocated liberty for others no less than for themselves. They were a very religious people. They were even tolerant of the intolerant, providing intolerance was confined to opinion and did not extend to action. Brittany had at some periods, perhaps, seemed superstitious, but it had never been fanatical. He much preferred superstition to fanaticism. All the old races of the West and North had been, and still were superstitious; it was only the East that was fanatical. “Might not sentiments like these be very well addressed to this immense gathering of the flower of the people of Wales? When all is said and done, when the modern educationalist has done his work, when the man of science has performed his task, the eisteddfod and its associations will remain as a living and lasting monument to the perennial genius and culture of an ancient and a. noble people.”
Lord Aberdare, on being called upon, proposed a vote of thanks to Sir George Elliot, whose name, he said, bad long been a household one in Cwmcynon. They knew. him as a great employer of labour they knew him as one who had done so much to develop the wealth of this country; they knew him as a man who bad taken a kindly and general interest in everything connected with the welfare of the population of this valley, but they had not hitherto known him as the president of an eisteddfod. He was sure that they would agree with him that Sir George Elliot had acquitted himself of his new and difficult task with great skill. He doubted very much whether in his busy, industrious life Sir George Elliot ever found time to write a verse of poetry (laughter); he more than doubted whether Sir George could play either the harp or any other musical instrument, and although, no doubt, in his youth Sir George Elliot could sing a good a song as anybody else, he doubted very much whether the honourable baronet had ever struggled with the intricacies of Handel or Beethoven. However, although Sir George might not have had a practical acquaintance with those subjects, be had shown a great sympathy with all those principles upon which the eisteddfod rested.
He (Lord Aberdare) was sure that practical as Sir George was, and long as his life had teen devoted to industrial pursuits, he would bear in mind as much as anyone that God who made the flowers as well as the fruits of the earth also meant man to be something more than an industrial animal, to have inspirations of a higher and more refined nature. (Cheers.) What struck him through the whole of the address which Sir George delivered was that it was thoroughly pervaded with an interest in all those things of interest to Welshmen. An Englishman could no more be a Welshman than a Welshman could be an Englishman. Each had their strong distinctive national characteristics, and he thought he might venture to say, as had been said so admirably and so eloquently by their friend, Matthew Arnold, who was present today(cheers), that the genius of one race was necessary to compete and develop and perfect the genius of the other. And if England had produced poets, writers, and philosophers not inferior to any the world now produced, be thought he might venture to say superior, it was not a little due to the mixture of the Celtic and the Teutonic blood.
Mr Ignatius Williams, Pontypridd, seconded the motion, which was carried with acclamation.
Sir George Elliot, in reply, said he had been 21 years connected with the principality, and he had strong Welsh sympathies. Looked at from every point of view, the aspect of the locality, the manners and the conduct of the people had immensely improved during the 21 years to which he had alluded.
Competition Harp Solo (the selection to he left; to the player). Prize, £3 3s. Awarded out of three competitors to Ap Shenkin (Aneurin Jenkins, Treorky Hotel, Treorky, Pontypridd). In making the award, Mr John Thomas, who was assisted in the adjudication by Dr. Frost, was sure that the audience would agree with him that it was highly gratifying to see that the harp of Wales continued to hold its own. (Applause.) He called it the harp of Wales, for he presumed that all those present would not object to an improvement in the instrument. It did not lose its nationality because it had been bettered; therefore whether it were the triple harp or whether it were the pedal harp, be considered it still the harp of Wales, and long might it continue to be so, and might it long continue to be studied by such talented boys as they had just been listening to. He was delighted with the competition, and he was sure that most of those who heard the performances must have been so also. Aneurin Jenkins was invented with the prize by Lady Aberdare, amid applause.
Adjudication on the best contralto song (Welsh and English words).Prize, £4 4s.Adjudicators, Mr John Thomas, Alaw Ddu, and Mr W. Jarrett Roberts. Mr John Thomas, in making the award, said that some very talented works had been sent in, the number being five in all. Almost without exception they rose to a very high standard. Whilst speaking in the highest terms of most of the compositions, the adjudicators had no hesitation in awarding the prize to “Ismael” whoever he might be. His was the work of an accomplished musician, and the adjudicators were quite unanimous in their verdict with regard to him. Ismael was announced to be Mr R. S. Hughes, of London, who received the prize by deputy.
Adjudication on the essay (Welsh), “The best means of adapting the Sunday school to the needs of the age.”Prize, £3 3s. Adjudicators: Lleurwg and Mr T. Marchant Williams, B.A. Lleurwg said that no subject was of greater importance at the eisteddfod than that under treatment. Ten competitions had come in, but not one was worthy of the prize, which must therefore be withheld.
Adjudication on the englyn on electricity (Trydan). Prize £1 Is. Sixty eight compositions had been received. Adjudicators Hwfa Mon, Dyfed, and Dewi Wyn o Essllyt. Dyfed said that 68 compositions had been received some were very good, but the best englyn was that of Lletywr, Mr James Thomas, 9, Gillard Street, Merthyr Tydfil.
Madame Williams Penn, of Pontypridd, here sang “Gwenith Gwyn” with much expression.
Adjudication on the best Gosteg O Englynion. Prize £3 3s Adjudicators Hwfa Mon, Dyfed, and Dewi Wyn o Essllyt. Sixteen compositions had been received, all of much merit according to Dewi Wyn. The best was that penned with soul-stirring force by Aneurin T. Melynddar Davies, LIansawel, Llandilo, Carmarthenshire.
Adjudication on the string Quartette on four movements: Prize, £20, given by the National Eisteddfod Association; limited to natives of Wales, and persons of Welsh parentage. Adjudicators:Dr. Stainer and Mr John Thomas. In making the adjudication, Mr Thomas said the prize was the most important given at the eisteddfod for a musical competition. The offering of this prize was thought to be the best thing that could be done to induce young Welsh composers to study the form of classical composition. Five of the finest compositions he had ever seen in connection with an eisteddfod had been sent in and Dr. Stainer and himself were thoroughly unanimous in awarding the prize-to “A Welshman m Leipsic,” whose composition was the finest they had seen in connection with an eisteddfod. The prize winner was announced to be Mr J. T. Rees, of Aberystwyth, formerly of Cwmaman, Aberdare, who was cheered on ascending the platform to receive the prize.
Adjudication: on the Hir a Thoddiad “Cyfeillgarwch” (Friendship Prize £1 Is. Adjudicators Hwfa Mon, Dyfed, and Dewi Wyn o Essllyt, Twenty-six compositions had been received. That of “Dyngarwr” was best. He was, it appears, Ehedydd Cynon (Evan Jones), of Trecynon, Aberdare.
The Welsh prize serial stories. The adjudication was next pronounced on the serial stories (English) on Welsh social life, or on any Welsh historical event. First prize £20; second, £10 third, £5 Prizes given by Messrs. D. Duncan and Sons, proprietors of the “South Wales Daily News”, Cardiff. Adjudicators Rev. D. W. Williams, M.A., Fairfield, and Dr Charles Wilkins, Merthyr. The following is the adjudication of Dr. Charles Wilkins:
Four manuscripts have been received.
1st: A Tale of Cefn Coed by a Railway Man’s Wife.
2nd: “Glaslyn Hall by Wilhelm Tell,
3rd: “Nemesis” by “Union Fab.
4th:”The Chieftain’s Bride by Wilfred Grey.
“A Railway Man’s Wife” puts herself out of court by giving her real name and address, but irrespective of this the spelling and grammar unfit it for publication, and the only merit of the tale is the insight it gives into old Merthyr life and customs. Many of the anecdotes are interesting, but linked to these we have the life of a Cefn carpenter, who runs insanely away to foreign parts, founds a gigantic tea company, and leaves a fabulous sum to his daughter. The local incidents and home life scenes’ deserve, however, to be treasured, and in the vacant hours of waiting for the railway man to return home, she might, under guidance, try again.
“Glaslyn Hall” (by Wilhelm Tell) introduces us to the strangest character, a Welsh squire who has no resemblance to the true one to a sister-in-law who might sit for an Italian woman, with the instincts of a Lucretia Borgia; to a nurse who is a, veritable fool, and though represented as fond to a degree of the stolen child dies with her secret: and to a young lady who falls in love with a philosophic coachman, and is only saved from the fate which attends such indiscretions by the tact of the writer, who saves her, though by a most unlikely plot. There is a good deal of incongruity in the composition. We get such words as factor, subjective, and objective, and other “schoolmen” terms, blended with bad spelling. Now it seems the composition of a schoolmaster, and then the crude efforts of a schoolboy. There is no “Welsh colour” about the people or the scenes; in “descriptive” the writer lacks power, in the evolution of plot judgment and the rush of the Welsh squire to America; and the prompt discovery of the philosophic coachman as his own son, complete a most improbable tale.
“Nemesis, or Right Sighted” is a more ambitious performance, and is the work of one who has a fair knowledge of Welsh history, and of the bards, but, as a literary composition it is very defective. The opening chapters are interesting, and the description of the old Welsh family with its associations of the past promises well. But them we get a series of improbabilities. We have an old Welsh squire who, instead of showing the usual antipathy to the “foreigner,” is led away into the blindest confidence. An English adventurer, who settles near the squire’s residence, and is engaged in the collection of a lichen for scarlet dye, employing a number of hands in the industry, gradually absorbs the squire’s whole confidence, and in conjunction with the postmaster of the village, commits no end of burglaries all around, and plays the subtle plotter in thwarting the love of the young squire. One of the characters, a notable Welsh seaman, displays unusual valour in contact with a French privateer. His vessel is boarded he fights until one arm is struck off and his sword dashed from his hand. But even then he does not yield, but taking up the amputated arm uses it as a weapon until the sound arm is sorely stricken, and then ho surrenders. Such an incident would not find a place even in the wild imaginative writing contributed to “boys’ papers.” It is, however in the redundancy of words that the special and most censurable characteristic of the writer comes under notice. His narrative is overladen with words his heroes are “bold, manly, heroic.” Where one adjective would do he gives invariably two or three his nouns and verbs run in couples and the effect of reading it is simply exhaustive. He should study a simpler style, become better acquainted with the meaning of the words he uses, and then, by selecting incidents of Welsh history, he might give something more valuable than “Nemesis.” He has unquestionable historic knowledge, and great fluency of expression.
The last on my list is the work of a writer who is capable of better things. It is entitled the “The Chieftain’s Bride” (by Wilfred Grey). The hero of this tale is Llewelyn, the last Prince of Wales, and the heroine Elinor de Montford. The tale is founded upon incidents in Welsh history (1264 to 1278). Credit is due to the writer for the beautiful penmanship of the work, and the knowledge he exhibits of Welsh history but in composition the tale is defective in plot weak and unsatisfactory. Its conspicuous defect is that it is too high flown and stage-like. Take the beginning, “And the Castle of Montgomery heaved its massive masonry into the filmy, silk-like canopy overhead.” This is how she speaks, “I must, she soliloquised, write to my loving Llewelyn. The curfew has sent forth its nightly summons. I will, retire to the embrace of the king of sleep, and at dawn of day write the letter.” The letter is written. She calls a messenger, and says,” Rolant, while nature’s jeweled with the pearly dews of heaven speed thee on thy swiftest charger,” &c. This is what the messenger rejoins, “At thy will and pleasure, fair mistress, ere day breaks and throws its radiating beams upon the bosom of the earth I shall be speeding to Aber.” Most of the characters speak in the same way, and metaphor and hyperbole abound. The soliloquising of men or women coming in just at the nick of time; and handing purses of gold for smallest services are all parts of penny theatre literature, and are quite unworthy of the ability of the writer. All is artificial; one gets gaslight instead of sun-gleams, pastry instead of bread. Some of the descriptions are absurd. A gloomy day is described as “Heaven has dressed in black,” The cabin of a vessel is The Arcadian’s bosom wherein was carried the Burgundy.” Night is the canopy of night drawn over the face of day—” a veritable nightcap I Dirty and ragged clothes are Bedclothes that bad been at war with water, and had refused the kindness of the darning-needle.” To describe being crushed in the 13th century we have a metaphor of the 19th” Like a filbert between the buffers of a locomotive!” The writer, evidently skilled in composition, has aimed at Walter Scott,” but fallen very short, the plot as a whole is bad many of the scenes poor and improbable. The hero and heroine are fairly well sketched, and retain the interest of the reader, but the villain is poorly drawn, and the improbabilities of his various “situations” are not to be tolerated. I am sorry to criticise so hardly, but in this case justice demands it; and if the writer will be guided by the marginal comments to the work and be worthier of himself, he will eventually be thankful for the severity of this judgment.
The following is the adjudication by the Rev. D. W. Williams: “Fairfield, Pontypridd, August15,1885.
Dear Sir. “I have perused and examined the manuscripts which yon forwarded to me, and I have no hesitation in saying that I deem none worthy of the award. My reasons are briefly these: “The Tale of Cefn Coed” is so wretchedly written, the style and spelling so slovenly, and the grammar and condition so defective and careless that after struggling through the first four pages I was obliged to cast it aside. In like manner I am unable to find in the serial story styled “Nemesis” any redeeming feature. The handwriting is certainly an improvement upon the other, but the plot is very weak. Composition and grammar are faulty and careless. The ideas are also in places perplexing. “The Chieftain’s Bride” and the serial story, “Glaslyn Hall,” I have carefully read through, and have appended my remarks to several passages in both, as also here and there my corrections. Both writers have displayed throughout their productions a great tendency to use words and phrases, whose real meaning they exhibit a painful ignorance of. The author of “Glaslyn Hall” is incorrect in his composition, as also inconsistent, as when he speaks of “the maid reading novels,” and then in the following chapter goes on to write of coaching days. Surely, novel reading was at that time in its infancy. The grammar throughout is very defective and careless, and the plot miserably weak. Indeed, so careless is the composition, spelling, and grammar in places that I can scarcely believe that the author has taken the trouble to correct his work. The writer of “The Chieftain’s Bride” has certainly written his production in a neat and readable style, but throughout has introduced words without paying the slightest regard to their meaning. He seems to have had an abundant vocabulary of the chief words in the English language, from which he has culled the choicest specimens, as required, as the ‘eclectics’ did of yore. His plot is weak, the conversations wretchedly so, and in some places the characters are overdrawn. As an account of Welsh history of early times it is a fair production, but to my mind not by any means, of sufficient merit to deserve the prize.”
Yours faithfully, “D. W. WILLIAMS.”
Adjudication on the essay upon Forestry.Prize, £10 10s, given by the Foresters of the Aberdare district.Adjudicators, Rev. Dr. Price and Mr Evan Owen. No composition bad been sent in.
Competition of the Pianoforte Solo.(Competitors to be under 15 years-of age), Progressive Sonata’s (No. 6, Muzio Clementi”).Prize, £2 2s. There were 52 competitors, of whom a dozen came before the eisteddfod. Pencerdd Gwalia and Mr Turpin said that the competition was very good, and described the twelve selected to play as “talented children.” The best, however, was Miss Winifred Evans, aged 11 years, daughter of Dr. John Evans, Cardiff, and pupil of Madame Clara Novello Davies.
Miss Katherine James sang, “0, Car dy Gymydog” (“Oh, Love thy Neighbour”), Professor A. N. James, R.A.M., Aberdare, accompanying.
Award for the best carved oak bardic chair. Prize £ 10. Adjudicator, Mr J. Milo Griffith. Mr Griffith said that only one chair had been received, and that was sent in by “N.” Mr Thomas. Williams, cabinet maker, 25, Gillard Street, Merthyr.
Competition on the violin.Solo, fantasia “La Traviata” (Hartmann).Prize, a violin value five guineas, given by Mr W. Jarrett Roberts, Carnarvon.Adjudicators, Mr Turpin, Caradog, and Mr W. Jarrett Roberts. Three competed, and Mr Turpin said that the playing was excellent and expressive. W. H. Conboy, of Brecon, a lad, was the winner, who, though he played nervously, played well. He had, said Mr Turpin, a possible future before him.
Adjudication on the essay.”The Work and Mission of a Woman in the Family and in Sick Room.”Prize, £7 7s.Adjudicators, Dr. Francis Hoggan, Miss Crauogwen Rees, and Mr Evan Jones, M.RC.S. There were two competitors, and the prize was awarded to Hen Bererin.
Brass Band Competition (not less than 16 in number): “Golden Medal,” 1st prize, £20; 2nd, £10. The competing bands were: 1, Vaynor; 2, Mountain Ash 3, Tylor’s Town Band 4, Dowlais Volunteer Band 5, Morriston Band and 6, Swansea Resident Town Band. The adjudicators were Mr J. Thomas, Mr Turpin, and Caradog. In delivering the adjudication Mr Turpin intimated that he had a high appreciation of Welsh bands, and believed, notwithstanding the fact that the volunteer movement was started in England, and the English volunteer bands might be deemed to have had the “pull,” that, given an equal number of English and Welsh reed and brass bands, he should pronounce in favour of nineteen out of twenty Welsh bands. At the same time, he suggested that they might with some advantage give more attention to the valve instrument, and he always regretted that the flugal horn of Germany was not more extensively used in this country. He knew that there were disadvantages in marching to open notes, but he nevertheless ventured to suggest the matter for consideration. He announced the adjudicators’ award in favour of the Swansea Resident Band (Mr Lingwood, conductor), 1st prize and the Mountain Ash Band (Mr Robert Shaw) second.
Competition- Baritone Solo; “If I forget thee” (Macfarren). Prize 3 guineas. The adjudication given by Mr Turpin, in behalf of himself and colleagues, was, in effect, that the second singer, Mr Gwynn Thomas, Porth, one of the Tynewydd rescuers, had manifested the best oratorio style, and he was awarded the prize. The sixth competitor, whose name did not transpire, was considered worthy of commendation.
The adjudication on the Arwrgerdd “Brwydr Hirwain a Gwrgant” for a prize of £20 was set down in the programme, but it appeared there was no competition.
Glee Competition (male voices).Choirs of not less than 20 and not exceeding 25 in number.Subjects (a) Young Musician (Gwilym Evans), and (b) D. Emlyn Evans, “Bedd y Dyn Tylawd.”Prize, £20.Adjudicators, Mr Turpin, Dr. Frost, and Caradog. Five or six local choirs competed, and the adjudicators divided the prize between Aberdare (Mr David Jones), and Rhymney (Mr J. Price), choirs. There was no competition for the five guinea prize offered for the best Welsh essay on the Late Researches in Palestine and neighbouring Countries.” Fifteen pounds had been offered for the best biographical sketch of the chief Welsh bards up to the end of the 19th century, with selections from their works. But as no work of sufficient merit had been received the prize was withheld. There was no competition for the £20 prize for the heroic poem of the battle of Hirwain and Gwrgant battles. The proceedings of the eisteddfod were then adjourned.
A grand miscellaneous concert was given in the evening, at the pavilion, under the presidency of Archdeacon Griffiths. There was a moderately large attendance. Archdeacon Griffiths said it was quite a novelty in eisteddfod arrangements that the president should be called upon to attempt an address. On the first night of the eisteddfod he ventured to make a protest against this innovation. He was quite sure it was not the right thing, and that it was not consistent with their best feelings. The sooner they went from the cold atmosphere of talking to the more brilliant atmosphere of song the better. He then called upon Mr Richard Howell to render a piano- forte solo set, down against his name in the programme. That gentleman did not answer, and the archdeacon in complimentary terms called upon Eos Morlais, the prince of tenors, to come forward and give a solo. It was nearly half an hour after the advertised time of opening, but there was no response to the second call. The president made a brief reference to what he could not but characterise as the defective conduct of the absentees. (A voice: “Disgusting,”) The Chairman then said there was a gentleman present who would make up for their absence. He then called upon Mr Haydn Parry, Swansea, who kindly came forward and played an extempore fantasia on the pianoforte, for which he was applauded. Eos Morlais now arrived, but in consequence of the absence of his accompanist, he was unable to sing the song which he was down for. He then sang “The Pilgrim,” to the accompaniment of Mr Parry.
The president regretted to have to pass over the names of Miss Annie Marriott and of Dr. and Mrs Frost, who were not then present. Mr Daniel Price, accompanied by Dr. Parry, sang “Nasce la Bosco” (Handel), and was applauded. Dr. Frost (harp) and Mrs Frost (piano) were now announced, and rendered a skilfully executed duo. Miss Marriott gave in a pleasing manner “The Bailiff’s Daughter,” and in response to an encore sang “Cherry ripe.” In calling upon Madame Lizzie Williams (Llinos y De) to sing “Softly sighs” (Weber), the president said she was a thorough Welshwoman, and he would like- to hear more Welsh Songs. They heard some Italian and some French, and he did not see why they should not have a little more of the old Cymraeg.
If Madame Williams sang English words, still those words would come from Welsh lips. Madame Williams then sang “Softly sighs.” The fair vocalist was heartily applauded, and in acknowledgment of an encore she sang “The Bells of Aberdovey,” in which she played her own accompaniment. Mr Dyfed Lewys sang a favourite serenade from “Gounod” with flute obbligato by Mr Griffiths, and piano accompaniment; “Mio Fernando” (Donizetti) was next given in a graceful and effective manner by a great favourite in South Wales, Miss Eleanor Rees. Mr Job Thomas, harpist to her Majesty the Queen, on coming forward to give a harp solo, not unnaturally met with great applause. Mr Thomas has rendered distinguished services at eisteddfod concerts in all parts of Wales, and the musical performances of so accomplished a musician could not fail to awaken an echo in the hearts of all Welshmen, He played one of his own compositions entitled “Reverie,” a contemplative and beautiful piece abounding in delicate phrases. Miss Mary Spencer Jones, whose voice has been heard to advantage at various first-class concerts in South Wales, sang “The Better Land.” and was warmly applauded. Mr Lucas Williams having effectively rendered Handel’s “Si traiCeppi” (Berenice). Part I, was brought to a conclusion with the duet from “Maritana” (Wallace), by Madame Lizzie Williams and Eos Morlais. In part Mr Daniel Price rendered “Y Gadlef Gymreig,” and Miss Marriott followed with a fine and bold rendering of “Let eternal Honour.” Dr. Frost gave a harp fantasia of his own composing, and this was followed by Mr Dyfed Lewys s rendering of the “Death of Nelson.” and “She wore a wreath of roses” by Miss Mary Spencer Jones; “Thou’rt Passing Hence” (Sullivan) by Mr Lucas Williams: and “The Wedding Day” by Miss Eleanor Rees. Mr J. Thomas gave another harp solo, and among the vocalists who followed were Miss Lizzie Williams, Eos Morlais, Miss Marriott, and Mr Lucas Williams.
Dinner at Aberaman House
In the evening, Sir George Elliot, M.P., entertained a company of about 200 gentlemen to dinner in the grounds of Aberaman House, the repast being partaken of beneath a spacious G. Greenway, of Newport locks and internal ironmongery, by Messrs. Charles Smith and Sons, of Birmingham stained glass and ceiling decorations, by Messrs. Shrigley and Hunt, of Lancaster; mosaic pavements by Mr Ludwig Oppenheimer, of Manchester; lifts by Messrs. Thomas, of Cardiff; town clock and bell by Messrs. Lund and Blockley of Pall Mall, London carving, both external and internally, by Mr Tudor Davies, of Newport and internal fittings and counters by Mr John Linton. The whole of the furniture has been designed by the architects, and the work carried out by Messrs Trapnell and Gane, of Bristol and Cardiff, whose tender being the lowest amongst 24, was accepted. The town surveyor, Mr Conyers Kirby, has naturally taken much interest in the progress of the work and the architects desire to express their appreciation of his many valuable and practical suggestions. Mr George Jones, of Newport, was the clerk of the works, and to his active and intelligent superintendence, combined with that of Mr Linton s painstaking foremen, with that of Mr Linton s painstaking foremen, Mr Moon and Mr Fry, much of the success of the building is due.
The National Eisteddfod at Aberdare 27.08.1885
Second Day’s Proceedings
The Cymmrodorion Meeting
Mrs. Bryant’s Paper on University Local Examinations
J. C. Parkinson’s Address
Chairing the successful Bard
Session of the national Eisteddfod Association
The attendance at the Eisteddfod on Wednesday was much larger than on the day before. At one part of the day; when the chairing of the victorious bard, Watcyn Wyn, Brynaman, Carmarthen, took place. It was estimated that about 7.000 people were present in the Eisteddfod building. Before I proceed to describe the proceedings; I must state that I yesterday inadvertently omitted to mention that, in addition to mourning shields in memory of Sir Watkin and Mr. Brinley Richards, was one in memory of the deeply-lamented Welsh musical composer, Tanymarian, whose name throughout Wales is associated with choral singing.
Temperance Hall, Picture courtesy of RCTCBC
Early in the morning of Wednesday a meeting of the Cymmrodorion took place at the Temperance Hall, under the presidency of Mr. T. Marchant Williams, B.A., barrister, Temple, London. There was a large attendance of the general public, including many ladies. The subject dealt with will be reported elsewhere, the gathering was one of absorbing interest. What added to the interest was the presence of a large number of Welsh gentlemen distinguished for scholastic training. On the platform were Principal Viriamu Jones, University College of South Wales, Cardiff; Principal Reichel, of the North Wales University College; Mr, Dan Isaac Davies and Mr. Edwards (school inspectors), Mr. Ivor James (Registrar South Wales University College), Professor Rowlands (Brecon), Mr. W. E. Davies (London), Mr. Vincent Davies (Secretary of the Eisteddfod Association, London), Mr. Cadwaladr Davies, Mynorydd, and his distinguished daughter, Miss Mary Davies; Mr. Milo Griffith, Mr. C. W. Jones (the treasurer and secretary of the Cymmrodorion Society), Mr. Beriah Evans, Welsh novelist and school- master, Gwynfe; Mrs. Bryant, M.A., London, fee. The enthusiastic zeal manifested in the interest of Welsh education, and, indeed, in promoting all things tending to advance the welfare of the people of Wales, was very marked. The warm responses of the meeting to the sentiments uttered indicated the deep appreciation of the line the Cymmrodorion have adopted in the interest of Cymru, Cymro, and Cymraeg. Both the speakers and the audience evinced, without the shadow of a doubt, that an exceedingly strong national party Is rapidly coming to the front, and that in the no distant future it will assert itself in Welsh national affairs. One deeply-interesting feature of the meeting was the put Mrs. Bryant took in the meeting. This learned young lady, who is well-known and highly-esteemed in scholastic circles in the Metropolis, seemed to be animated by strong affection for Wales and its people. Mr. T. Marchant Williams observed that this lady was neither Welsh, English, nor Scotch, but Hibernian. This was received with a burst of applause. Mrs. Bryant, in responding to a vote of thanks to her for attending the meeting having travelled from North Wales for the purpose intimated, with a charming air, that, if she was not Welsh, being Irish was the next best thing. This meant that, if not a Cymraes herself, she, by being a daughter of Ireland, was the Cymraes’ssister. This intimation was received with a peal of laughter and warm tokens of appreciation. It seemed if Cwmbria and Erin shook hands among the green hills in token of the close friendship once existing between them in days which have fled i must not forget to mention that on Thursday morning at nine o’clock a most interesting meeting will take place at the Temperance Hall, under the presidency of the Archdeacon of Llandaff. The subject that will be discussed will be the question of teaching the Welsh language in the day schools of Wales. It will be introduced by Mr. Beriah Evans reading a paper on the subject. It is impossible to calculate the importance of the subject, and I have reason to believe that most of those associated with tuition in Wales, and assembled at Aberdare this week, are in favour of Mr. Dan Isaac Davies’s proposal to restore the old Cymraeg to its ancient and true position as one of the recognised learned languages of the world.
Mr, Parkinson, the chairman for the day, was escorted from Aberaman House by the local volunteers, under the command of Captain Thomas Phillips and Lieutenants Howells and Acomb. They wore scarlet uniforms and carried their arms. Several carriages followed, in which I noticed Mr. J, Elliot (Sir George’s nephew). Dr. Jones, Dr. Price, Rev. J. Howells,
I must not forget to mention that Drill-Sergeant Dolt accompanied the fine body of Aberdarians composing the local Rifle Volunteer Corps.
Among those present at the beginning of the proceedings were Lord and Lady Aberdare, Mr. Matthew Arnold, Professor John Rhys, M.A., Professor of Celtic of the University of Oxford Archdeacon of Llandaff and Mrs. Griffiths, Rev. Arthur Jones, Cardiff; Pencerdd Gwalia, Mr. T. Marchant Williams, B.A. Mrs. and Miss Thomas, Ysguborwen; Mr. Thomas Joseph, Mr. S. Morgan Joseph, Tydraw; Mr Francis R. Crawshay and Mrs. Crawshay; Misses Morris, Danygraig, Bridgend; Mr. William Evans, barrister; Mrs. Edwards and son, Bedwhir; Mrs. Rees and Mrs. Acomb, Aberdare; Dr. Davies and Miss Davies, Miss Mary Davies, London; Professor Morris sad Professor Rowlands, Brecon; Mr. Arthur Jones and Miss Jones, Black Lion Hotel; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Penn, Pontypridd; Mrs. Thomas, Brynawel; Principal Viriamu Jones, Cardiff; Principal Reichel, Bangor; Mr. Registrar Ivor James, Rev. Thos. Price, Ph.D.. and Miss Price Mrs. Bryant, D.Sc., London; Mr. I Cadwaladr Davies, Bangor Mr. C. W. Jones, Sec. Cymmrodorion Society; Mr. W. E. Davies, London; Mr. Vincent Evans, Sec. N. A., London; Mr. and Mrs. Milo Griffith. Dr. and Mrs. Frost, Cardiff; Mr. Lucas, Caradog, Eos Morlais, Alaw Ddu, Mr. Tom Williams, Pontypridd, and a host of other musical notabilities too numerous to mention.
Glanffrwd (vicar of St. Asaph) was the conductor. The introductory song of the Eisteddfod was sung by Eos Morlais. It was of a most pathetic character, and was sung by the renowned Eos in his very beet style. Poetical addresses to the president were delivered by the bards. These were terse and epigrammatic in character. The president; then stool up and delivered the admirable speech reported elsewhere. The proceedings which followed the close of the address were of the usual character. But when it became known that the chair prize was about to be awarded, and the
Charing of the Victorious Bard
Was about to take place, the utmost eagerness became manifested. Those bard’s who were in the grounds, enjoying their meerschaum pipes in the sunshine, were now seen knocking out the tobacco ashes, and while trotting into the pavilion were seen pocketing their pibau. The building became speedily comfortably filled. The chair of bardic ambition, made of solid oak-emblem, “Derwyddian learning” was placed on the centre of the platform. Then Glanffrwd stepped forward, and in those fine tones for which he Is well-known called the following bard’s and other literati of Cambria to ascend the platform; Clwydfardd, Nathan Dyfed, Llew Llwyfo, Hwfa Mon, Dewi Wyn o Essyllt. Dyfed, Alltud Eiflon, Dewi Mon. Dafydd Morganwg, Creidiol, Thalamus, Morien, Brythonfryn. Gwynfe Evans, Lleurwg, Parch R. Rowlands, Arch deacon Griffiths, Onllwyn Brace, Caeronwy, Ceiriog, Nathan Wyn, Twynog Jefferies, Hywel Cynon, Edydd Cynon, Tibenog, Eos Morlais, Lucas Williams, Dyfed Lewys, Alaw Ddu, Caradog, Mr. J. T. Rees, Pencerdd Gwalia, Pencerdd Eifion, and PencerddGwynedd.
These formed on the platform in a semi-circle. Hwfa Mon, Dewi Wyn; and Dyfed, the three adjudicators, were then called forward to deliver award “Ar Air a Chydwybod.” Hwfa Mon, true representative of the old bards of Mona, read the adjudication. It turned out that the best poem was that of “Yn Ngwyneb Haul ac yn Llygad Goleuni.” This none deplume was called out in stentorian tones by the conductor, adding the request for the successful bard to stand up in his place. After about a minute of intense suspense and excitement “Watcyn Wyn,” Brynaman, Carmarthenshire, stood up, and his name being instantly taken up by those who know him, then repeated by the audience, who rose to their feet, rang throughout the vast building.
Hwfa Mon and Dyfed then proceeded to where the young bard stood most modestly, and while they were loading him to the platform Hywel Cynon stepped to the front of the platform and struck up “See the conquering hero comes,” and it was taken up by the hundreds and thousands of vocalists present. It was, indeed, a moving scene, especially to those who, like the writer, knew the small son of the Goddess Ceridwen, who had won the torch for the “Truth.” He was invited to his seat by the Archdruid, Clwydfardd, who held a sheathed sword in his hand as if prepared to use it In case of necessity. The silver trumpets blew a fanfare, which was replied to by another trumpet at the back of the audience, then a brass band at the rear of the pavilion struck up “See the conquering hero comes.” The usual ceremony on such occasions afterwards took place, followed by crim of Peace! Peace! Peace!” by all. The bards then addressed short epigrammatic stomas to the bard of the year.
Watcyn Wyn is a native of Brynaman, having been born there March 7 1844. He entered the mine when only nine years of age, and continued his daily toil until he was 28 years of age. Be never until then received any teaching except what the Welsh Sunday School afforded. At that age he entered a school at Merthyr Tydfil. Subsequently he entered Carmarthen College, and he is now headmaster of Hope Academy, Brynaman. He has won many medals and prizes before. He won the prizes: a gold medal and a purse of gold-for a Pryddest at Merthyr in 1881, for another Pryddest at Pwllheli in 1875, and another at Wrexham in 1878. He has now won the “Awdl”distinctions by the same bard is, I think, an unparalled feat in the history of the Eisteddfod in modern time, Watcyn Wyn is a local preacher with the Welsh Independents.
Wednesday Proceedings (By our own reporter)
Like the proceedings of the previous day, Wednesday’s gatherings were successful in the highest degree. The early meeting of the Cymmrodorion Society was again attended by large numbers, who evinced the liveliest interest in the subject matter of the excellent paper read by Mrs. Bryant, D.Sc. (London), prominent Welsh educationists being present and taking part in the discussion. While this meeting was in progress a procession, including the Aberaman Brass Band and a large contingent, about 150 of the local Volunteer Corps, accompanied by their band, proceeded to Aberaman House to meet and escort the chairman of the day, Mr. J. C. Parkinson, J.P., D.L., to the Eisteddfod pavilion. The following detachments of volunteers took part: D (Mountain Ash) and 0 and B (Aberdare), the officers present being Captains Thomas Phillips and Albert Howell, and Lieutenants Acomb and Wyndham Williams. A vast audience bad already gathered at the pavilion prior to the opening of the meeting, and as the morning advanced the building was almost completely filled. Taken m a whole, the competitions wen of a very high order, and the course of events was watched with keen interest. As the time approached for the chairing of the successful bard the excitement grew In. tense, and on the result becoming known the enthusiasm was immense.
Principal Viriamu Jones
Cymmrodorion Section University Local Examination in Wales
A meeting of the Cymmrodorion Society was held at nine o’clock on Wednesday morning, at the Temperance Hall, to hear paper read by Mrs. Bryant, D.Sc. (London), on “University Local Examinations in Wales.” Mr. T. Marchant Williams presided, and amongst those present were: Mrs Bryant, DSc. Miss Mary Davies, Messrs. Dan Isaac Davies, B.sc, W. Cadwaladr Davies, W. Edwards (Inspector of Schools), Professor Rowlands (Brecon), Dr. Evan Jones, William Davies. (Mynorydd), Rev. R. D. Jones, M.A., Rev. D. S. Evans, Rev. L. Williamson, Rev. R. E. Williams, Mr. E. Vincent Evans (secretary Cymmrodorion Section), Rev. John Davies, Mr. Abraham (National Bank of Wales), Principal Reichel, Principal Viriamu Jones, Mr. Beriah Gwynfe Evans, Mr. Daniel James, and Mr. Ivor James.
The chairman, in opening the proceedings, alluded to the large number present, and said that to him it seemed clear the education question was one in which a large number of the residents of Aberdare and neighbourhood took a great interest. After some further remarks he introduced the reader of the paper to the meeting.
Mrs. Bryant said that probably the most pressing need of Wales just now was an adequate and efficient system of Intermediate Education, and this being not only a need, but a keenly felt need, it was certain to get food for at least its apparent satisfaction very soon.
But while those who knew that” they wanted were generally sure to get something, only those who knew whet” they wanted were likely to get the something which was required. la order that this much-needed and much-desired system of Intermediate Education in Wales should be a satisfactory system when established, it should be growing now as a diligent inquiry Into the “what”of the country’s educational needs, not from the point of view of politics and sects, but from that of general educational purposes and their means of fulfilment under the special national circumstances. In this inquiry they might distinguish two questions, the consideration of which was just now of first-rate importance.
1. What were the general conditions to be fulfilled by an efficient system of Intermediate Education in any country?
2. What were the special conditions to be fulfilled in order that such a system should take root and flourish in Wales? Respecting the answer to the first of these two questions, a stranger to the soil like herself need not in sincerity offer any apology for making suggestions. With the second question the caw was different, for this was a question peculiarly Welsh, dealing on the one hand with Welsh facts and on the other with Welsh objects. Their concern was at present with principles of educational machinery only, not with educational principles and methods properly so-called. As machinery, then, it was first necessary to have the means of establishing and keeping up a number of schools with moderate fees and high efficiency. In the second place it was necessary to secure what might be culled equilibrium with respect to these schools. These two conditions were the pre-requisites of any working system. Already they had been fully discussed, and were likely to be dealt with reasonably by any Act of Parliament after it had been passed through Committee. Would they ask or expect the State, i.e., the Education Department, to think out this problem and legislate for them, or would they think it out for themselves and further consider whether the State or they the National Committee -8hould put the result of their thinking into practice, and, if they, which body of persons among them should be entrusted with the execution of the work. It would be necessary to devise some means by which the first boy In a particular school might be to find out that he was only the 50th boy of his age or school position in Wales, to find his level, if it were his level, by working more up to his powers; this could, so far as we know, only be effected by a system of public examinations similar in general idea to the local examination of boys and girls conducted by the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. By means of such a system all the scholars of all schools within the area throughout which the examinations were held were drawn, as it were, into one net. Keeping these facts in view, they would perceive that the new race of Welsh teachers in the small schools of small towns would require in their own interests, and in that of their scholars, some effective means of widening the school outlook, some degree of tender and respectful interference with their otherwise free will, some partial legislation as to lines of study and standards of attainment, some stimulus to them no less than to those scholars which would rouse them and keep them roused to do their best. There were many ways in which a community, with all its effects in mutual guidance and support, might be brought about, but only one need detain them there. This was a way simple, direct, and essential, viz., a system, not special, but general, for testing the results of Matching by examination of scholars in the subjects taught. The public examination of scholars supplied an external bond between schools and the teachers of those schools.
The responsibility of organising the system
But who would undertake the task of organising such a system of examinations, should it be the State? The State would certainly not undertake the task for seine time to come, except as a means to determining the proper distribution of the Treasury grant to schools. This implied payment by results in some form or other The University was the natural focus of educational community and life. If, therefore, there was to be a system of scholars, examinations and school inspection in any country, the Universities of that country were its natural organisers. That principle had been recognised in England. The practical suggestion, therefore, which she ventured to lay before them was that the Colleges should appoint a joint committee to consider the question of organising a system of local examinations, as the first step to organising the education of the country in all its branches on a satisfactory principle. And she did not think that the appointment of this committee should be allowed to wait till after the next shuffle of the Imperial cards. If after that shuffle the Welsh Education Bill was not brought forward soon, then it would be well that that organisation in Wales had, at least, begun; if, on the other hand, the Bill were brought forward toon, why, then, It would be well also, for the Colleges would be ready to accept the work of guaranteeing the efficiency of the schools to the State for the purposes of distributing the Imperial grant as well as for those other purposes which they might be allowed to call higher. The Government might place the control in the hands of a Welsh board appointed by the Crown; that was to say, a political not and educational board, or it might, as the late Bill did, place the control in the hands of the Education Department.
The object of Welsh Education
The Welsh educational object was the development of Welsh character, along its own natural lines of growth towards the ideal of human character. Then, the educational system of the country must, above all things, be self co strolled and, therefore, self-developing.
Mr. Cadwaladr Davies, registrar of the College of North Wales, gave a summary of the Pape a Welsh, and, in some remarks of his own, he said that in North Wales there was a universal desire amongst the people to take the management of the education of the country into their own hands, instead of relegating it to the Education Department.
Principal Viriamu Jones, of the South Wales College, said that in the inaugural address at the opening of that Institution he had occasion to discuss the functions of a University, and he classified them into four divisions:
1. To teach;
2. To examine, conferring the degrees and diplomas on successful students;
3. To encourage original investigation in all branches of knowledge;
4. To influence and control the Intermediate Education of the country.
It was to this last function that Mrs. Bryant had that morning so ably addressed herself. It we considered the English Universities, we saw that English schools were influenced by them in three ways:
1. The work of the school was necessarily more preparatory to the work of the University, since the success of a school was largely estimated by the subsequent careers of the boys sent from it at the University Hence the scholarship standard at the University was the aim of the school-masters teaching, the scholarship standard itself being controlled by the nature of the University examinations.
2. By Oxford and Cambridge Local Examinations many schools which did not send more than a very few boys to the University could, nevertheless, point to success in the Oxford and Cambridge Local Examinations as a testimony to their efficiency.
3. By their system of school examination, in which the school was examined by an examiner appointed by the University, a report being issued subsequently by the examiner. Hence the University performed really the work of Inspection, which corresponded to the work of the Government Inspector in the Intermediate Schools. It seemed to him very important to determine how far they could in the present position of education in Wales discharge the functions which properly fell to the University of a Country. Again and again had his thoughts recurred to that? The Senate of the South Wales College had entered into a consideration of the amount of labour which the examination of any considerable number of schools by the College staff would entail, and reluctantly came to the conclusion that it would be more than an already over-burdened staff could undertake, and that no step towards the definite arrangement of a general scheme of school examination could be undertaken by the College individually until they had, as the older Universities had a number of their own graduates around them who might be appointed as examiners. All that could be said in regard to the relation of the College to schools only forced into greater prominence the great gap in their educational system left by the non-existence of the University of Wales.
Principal Reichel said it was necessary and inevitable that the Intermediate Schools should be controlled by a system of external inspection. If this inspection were not to be undertaken by the Welsh University Colleges it was sure to be under taken by the State. It was highly undesirable that the State should perform this task. It was therefore, necessary that it should be performed by the University Colleges. That, he took it, was the central position of Mrs. Bryant’s argument! Decentralisation was the tendency of contemporary reform in administration generally, a tendency which, to his mind, formed one of the most hopeful signs of continued political health in these anxious times. Referring to the proposed examination, he said such an examination if conducted wholly from without by men whom sole work was to examine was inadequate to detect the difference between education and cram, and this difference which all felt, but few analysed, which all felt, but few analyse, might, it seemed to him, be thus expressed. Under this system a pupilwas not a mind to be trained but a possible instrument by which fees might be wrung from an exacting and suspicious Government, It might be asked whether the examination by the College would not be open to the same objection. He replied that there would be this most important difference the men would not be life examiners, men who’s whole and sole business it was to examine. They would be men with whom teaching was the rule, examining the exception; and, further, the grant to the school would depend, not on the individual; performance of each hoy and girl, but on the general report of the whole work.
Mr. W. Edwards her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools, in proposing a vote of thanks to the reader of the paper, said he agreed with a great deal that had been aid against payment by results. He believed the system was the most injurious system ever devised for spending valuable time and valuable energy on “duffers” which might be far better spent.
The Chairman, in seconding the motion, mid he had no hesitation in saying that payment by results was essentially wrong in principle. There was not one teacher under the London School Board who did not feel that he was not an educationist, but a professional crammer. If they wanted a University for Wales; if they wanted Intermediate Education placed under their own control, depend upon it they should have it. The University Colleges of Wales would require more than £4,000 a year, and if they could sink their sectarian jealousies and put aside their political differences in facing this educational problem, he had not the slightest doubt that for what they asked the Government they would get.
The Rev. Mr. Williams, curate of St. Fagan’s, Aberdare, complained that Lampeter College had been entirely ignored by Mrs. Bryant and the speakers.
Dan Isaac Davies
The chairman replied that the three Colleges which had been referred to were essentially unsectarian and national. With regard to Lampeter College, there could not be the least doubt whatever that It was doing a great educational work. At its head they had a most distinguished man and an admirable teacher. But at that meeting It would be quite nut of place to make any special reference to Lampeter. To bring it in would justify them in bringing in all the other Theological Colleges of the country.
The motion was carried with acclamation, and Mrs. Bryant briefly replied.
Mr Dan Isaac Davies proposed a vote of thanks to the chairman, and in so doing he remarked that, while fully agreeing with what had been said as to cramming, he was prepared to maintain that there was Ii good deal more cramming in middle class schools than in those of the elementary class.
The Rev. Professor Rowlands seconded the proposition, saying he trusted they would soon see the chairman in St. Stephen’s, where he would be able still further to help his countrymen.
The motion was, of course, carried very heartily, and Mr Marchant Williams’s acknowledgement of the complement closed the meeting.
The Eisteddfod commenced on Wednesday morning immediately on the arrival of the procession escorting Mr. J. C. Parkinson, J.P., the chairman for the day. The conductor was the Rev. W. Glanffrwd Thomas.
The meeting opened with a musical selection, played in admirable style by the Aberaman Brass Band.
The conductor then called upon the president of the day to deliver his address.
The President’s Address
The Celtic Race and Literature
Mr. Parkinson, who was very cordially received, said: My Lord, Ladies, Mr. Matthew Arnold, and Gentlemen, in presiding over this distinguished assembly, I may be pardoned for not using the language which is the mother-tongue of many present, and is one which Welshmen naturally cherish as a precious inheritance. My own native tongue is compounded of various elements, constituting that composite speech which, an Macaulay writes in the first chapter of his “History of England,” is“less musical, indeed, than the languages of the South, but in force, in richness, in aptitude for all the highest purposes of the poet, the philosopher, and the orator, is inferior to the tongue of Greece alone.”
The Welsh Language
It is admitted that, in musicalness and flexibility, few living languages approach the Greek so closely as Welsh. Hence, Owen Pugh’s Welsh translation of Milton’s “Paradise Lost” is so beautiful and effective, and the Welsh version of the English Prayer Book rivals the original in the charm of its diction. After all, to use the words of Milton, the master of many tongues, “language is but an instrument for conveying to us things useful to be known; end, though a linguist should pride himself to have all the tongues that Babel cleft the world Into, yet if he have not studied the solid things in them, as well as the words and lexicons, he were nothing so much to be esteemed a learned man as any yeoman or tradesman competently wise In his mother dialect only.” Experience has proved, moreover, that sympathy with the Welsh people and admiration for their country are no inadequate passports to Welsh hearts. Few persons have achieved greater or better-deserved popularity In the Principality than two English-women, Lady Llanover and Lady Charlotte Guest. No living Englishman has more justly appreciated and honoured the Celtic genius than Mr. Matthew Arnold, whose presence in the crowning compliment to this Eisteddfod. Yet, if he addresses you, he will doubtless do so in that English speech which he handles so deftly, and of which he is an acknowledged master. Without indulging in what might be deemed paradox, permit me to suggest that one like myself has several advantages when dealing with the subject in hand which are not possessed by one who has been born and bred amongst you, and who has a perfect familiarity with your native speech, From the point of view, then, of a stranger who has sojourned much amongst you, who has many interests in common with you, and who In filled with sympathy for all that h noble and beautiful in your history and traditions, let me submit some results of my attempts to study your literature.
The vitality of the Welsh and their speech
The first thing which impresses the impartial investigator is the singular vitality of both. Through the centuries of difficulties, and in the face of obstacles apparently insurmountable the Celtic race and literature have lived and flourished. And this is more marked in Wales than in other parts of this realm inhabited by Celts. It has been said by an Irishman so patriotic and cultured in the Earl of Dunraven that the Saxon element in Ireland now predominate over the Celtic, and that the proportion of pure Celts is there very small! Inthe Isle of Man the Celtic speech is fast dying out. Where Manx was the sole speech in many parts of that Island half a century ago, it is rarely spoken or understood at the present day. A vigorous effort, to which we may wish all success, is in progress to arrest a like result in the Highlands of Scotland. In Wales the Celtic tongue is not only widely spoken and generally appreciated but is also maintained if full vigour by that native press of which Welshmen are proud. It is scarcely necessary in this assembly to express an earnest hope that the Chairs of Celtic to be established in the University Colleges of Wales may be filled by professors as learned and able as that eminent scholar, John Rhys the present Professor of Celtic at the University of Oxford. We are entitled to hope this, for these Eisteddfodau are a conspicious token of the delight which the Welsh take in their native language and literature, and of their resolute determination to foster and honour them.
The Life of the Eisteddfod
Gatherings like this have been pronounced to be In opposition to the spirit of the age, and they have been adversely criticised by influential English journals. But it has been too often forgotten that, though, in the estimation of the French, ridicule always kills. In our more sober view nothing that is worthy of being ridiculed is unimportant. It is probable that some of the critics of an Eisteddfod are utterly ignorant of its significance, its function, and its history. No small part of our veneration for Parliament is due to the fact that Parliament has existed since the thirteenth century, yet, when Parliament was still in its infancy, and before time and usage had given it respect and power, an Eisteddfod was what our friends in the United States would call an old-established “institution” of Wales. Its palmiest days were from the middle of the eleventh to the end of the thirteenth century. Political changes exercised a baneful influence over it. At the death of Llewelyn, the last Prince of Wales of the older line, the position of the bards was altered, and without their active co-operation an Eisteddfod would loss half its attractiveness. For many years, too, the supreme Government strove to discourage, if not extinguish everything Welsh. The Crown refused to give permission for the holding of Eisteddfodau with a few exceptions, the most notable of was the one held in 1588 with the sanction of Queen Elizabeth.
Though the Welsh were loyal to the Stuarts and made many sacrifices for them, after the Restoration they received no return or recognition from that ill-starred race. But, despite we opposition of their rulers, the Welsh people resisted all attempts to degrade and denationalise them. They clung to their native speech; they refused to learn English. Their patience and pertinacity gained the day. The Revolution of 1688 has proved by its results a great deliverance and crowning mercy for Wales. The change was slow but marvellous. So long as the Government brought pressure to bear upon the people to learn English they obstinately clung to Welsh. Since the Welsh have been free to speak the tongue they prefer the knowledge of English throughout the Principality has vastly increased. Now that the Eisteddfod has regained its old place and popularity, it is probable that more English is, read and spoken by Welshmen than in the day when it appeared as if an Eisteddfod had become a thing of the past. If, however, an Eisteddfod were likely to perpetuate foolish traditions, or to be an obstacle to intellectual or material progress, it would not command the sympathy of cultivated Welshmen, many of whom are keenly alive to the importance of getting rid of obsolete customs and of what may be styled pseudo-historic lumber.
Some contend that the time has arrived for parting company with the Druids. So far as is known, they say, Wales owes little to the Druids. Those nebulous and enigmatic persons have been the objects of some veneration and of much discussion. A few particulars concerning them are given by Julius Caesar, one being to the effect that the used Greek characters in their writings, whilst it is also maintained that they never committed anything of importance to writing. Their warmest supporters say that they constituted a large and potent secret society, having several things in common with modern Freemasons. Older students maintain that they resemble in some respects the medicine men of the North American Indians, and that their worship bore a close resemblance to that of the Parsees. If, however, the Druids were a secret society like the Freemasons, then all discussion about them is futile, for nothing can be more ludicrous than the popular opinion concerning Freemasonry, It is possible that Julius Cesar, to whom we are indebted for much that is current about the Druids, wrote as great, though unintentional, fables about their great secret society as have been written about Freemasons in our day. The symbols and monuments of Druidical worship command more respectful attention. What is noteworthy about them is the wide extent over which these remains are found. They are to be seen, not only at Stonehenge and elsewhere in our own country, but at Carnac in Brittany, in the islands round Scotland, in the valley of the Ohio, and in the plains of Hindustan. They appear to denote a sun or serpent worship, or both. While little that is authentic is extant about the Druids, who are believed to have fashioned or used these temples of worship in this country, as little is known of the vanished people who built the mounds in the Ohio Valley and else- where in North America, and who are styled the mound-builders. As recently as 1871, the most remarkable of these mounds and monuments yet found in Great Britain was discovered near Oban, in Scotland, and it is possible that others have either been overlooked, have been accidentally destroyed, or have been effaced by time. Those in this country and Brittany are all supposed to have some connection with their Celtic inhabitants, and it will be inferred that the same race may have been associated with them in America and India also.
The relatives of the Celts
It is quite clear that the discovery of corresponding remains in places far apart has much value in furnishing testimony to the similarity, ii not identity, of the race which produced and employed them In other words, such memorials help to confirm the theory that the Celts are a branch of the Indo-European family, and that, at bottom, they are more closely allied to the Teutonic race than many of them suppose on this point some writers of note disagree. For instance, Mr. Matthew Arnold, whose admirable work on the Celtic race and literature. I have laid under heavy contribution in my preparation for this address; holds that, “as there are in physiology physical marks, such as the square heads of the Germans, the round head of the Gael, the oval head of the Cymri, which determines the type of a people, so for criticism there are spiritual marks which determine the type, and make us speal of the Greek genius, and so forth.” Mr Max Miller, a less delicate thinker than Mr Arnold, takes a different view. He denies that the modern Cornishmen are Celts in the same sense or to the same extent as their ancestors, alleging that there is no such thing as blood, or flesh, muscle, or brain which is purely Celtic. There is much truth in Mr. Max Miller’s contention that when a people cease to speak a particular language they undergo a marked change, and that since the Cornish folk have become Anglicised in speech they have become more English on the whole. Granting that Mr. Max Miller is partly right in his view, it is none the less sad to note the disappearance of Cornish from the spoken Celtic dialects of our country. With Dolly Pentreath, who died in 1778, and whoso remains were laid in the picturesque churchyard of St. Paul on Mount’s Bay, there passed away the most noteworthy characteristic of a people. She was the last living person to whom Cornish was a native tongue. Perhaps the fact that Cornish literature, unlike that of Wales, is so scanty, being chiefly represented by three miracle plays, may help to account the neglect and disappearance of the spoken language.
The Celtic element on the Continent
While we note the failure of Celtic to hold its own in Cornwall, we may counterbalance this with the tenacity of existence it displays in France. Brittany was peopled from this island with a Celtic population, and no people can our-pass the Bretons in adherence to their old customs and their and speech. It is true they must learn the official language of their country also, as the French are not tolerant of those who do not converse in the tongue which they regard as best of all, und which, for the purposes of conversation, has no superior. Subject to the obligation to speak and write French when called upon, the Bretons are suffered to cherish their Celtic traditions and language, though they have not been permitted to hold an Eisteddfod. When it was attempted to do so at Quimper, in Brittany, in 1866, the French Home Secretary promptly issued an order which prohibited the meeting. Provencal is another tongue much older and, for poetic purposes, far better than Modern French. It is spoken and written throughout the South of France, and two poets, who have written in that tongue, Jasmin and Mistral, are not surpassed as poets by any other Frenchmen. They preserve the traditions and perpetuate the glories of an olden time, the time of romantic deeds and romantic speech, of the troubadours who sang of love, of courts of beauty, and feats of arms. In the charm and genuineness of their poetry, though not in the sentiments which generally prevailed in it, the troubadours had much in common with the old Welsh bards. Another people, part of whom inhabit France, but the larger part of whom inhabit Spain, have been sometimes supposed to be Celts, also, I mean the Basques. As it is difficult to determine with precision who they are, the field of hypothesis is practically unlimited. But they should never have been classed amongst Celts, even by the most reckless and most speculative historian. They number about 800,000, and in many respects they are a peculiar people. It may be doubted, however, whether, as they contend, their ancestors really escaped drowning when Noah and those with him entered the Ark and were saved from the flood; and It may be doubted also whether their contention that Adam was a Basque, and the Basque tongue was that spoken to him by his Creator, is susceptible of proof. A French lady or my, acquaintance, who was married to a Basque gentleman, and who had tried and failed to learn the language, pronounced it, in my hearing, to be an invention of the Devil. Though foolish in their pretensions, the Basques are a very ancient people, the most ancient, probably, in Europe, and they illustrate the position that a people who are determined to preserve their nationality and distinctive speech may do so, despite the most serious opposition
The peculiarities of Celtic literature
In proceeding to submit to you mv impressions of Celtic literature, it will be necessary to omit many details which might be appropriately introduced in a purely critical essay. As compared with the Teutonic genius, the Celtic is characterised by lightness and gaiety. The gloom of the future does not seem to depress the true Cell’s spirits or hinder his enjoyment of the passing hour. That we shall all die is the doom of humanity, but to dwell upon death is to embitter life. There in Celtic writings an undertone of sadness as there is a note of melancholy in the sweet song of the nightingale. But the predominating note In the Celtic genius when not cramped by narrow traditions or depressing beliefs, is one of cheerfulness as opposed to the gloom which is too marked in the Germanic. It may be that the natural Celt thinks too much about enjoying himself, and the Teuton too much about getting on in the world. Perhaps the difference between the two has never been better defined than by Mr. Matthew Arnold who writes: “The Germanic genius has steadiness as its main basis, with commonness and humdrum for its defect, fidelity to nature for its excellence. The Celtic genius has sentiment as its main basis, with love of beauty, charm, and spirituality for its excellence, ineffectualness and self-will for its defect.” When the Germanic genius is spoken of that form of it is meant which is specially manifested In Germany, and not that which is discernible in the English race and character. It is at once the peculiarity and glory of the English race to be a composite one, containing Norman, Germanic, and Celtic elements.
The Celtic element in English literature
There is too much reason for believing that the existence of the Celtic element in English literature has not been sufficiently acknowledged. In English poetry this element is more remarkable than in English prose, and it may be that it imparts much of their charm to our best lyrics. The writings of a contemporary and popular poet furnish an example of this. No one isa more thorough Celt than Mr. Lewis Morris, of Penbryn, whose grandfather was one of the Principality’s famous and honoured bards, and none has achieved a more enviable popularity among the younger generation of poets, that popularity having constantly grown from the time he published his first volume of “Songs” to that when the “Epic of Hade,” was given to the world. I do not know whether Mr. Lewis Morris has added to the poetical literature oi his native Principality, or whether he has always had recourse to English when giving expression to his poetic feelings; but it is quite certain that the feeling and sentiment which pervade his English poems have many of the high qualities of Celtic genius. Should a striking example be desired of an English writer of high rank in whom there is not a trace of Celtic influence It is only necessary to name Dr. Johnson. Because this is lacking the fame of Johnson’s as a writer seems to be waning. This defect in Johnson’s nature may be the explanation of his antipathy to everything Celtic. He had some justification for this when Ossian appeared and was rather indiscreetly lauded as the Celtic Homer. Johnson denied that the translations were authentic, or that they had any merit; he pronounced the poem of Fingal a more unconnected rhapsody, and he maintained that he could compose as good an epic as Ossian out of the ballad of Robin Hood. Much of this assertion was the offspring of sheer prejudice. Dr. Johnson contended that the whole thing was an imposition but, even if he had been unsuspicious of this, it is doubtful whether hr could have admired Ossian. Unfortunately, there were too good grounds for Johnson’s suspicions, and for Churchill’s sneer that in English, Ossian spells Macpherson. Since the publication of Campbell’s charming “Tales of the West Highlands” the truth has become apparent that Macpherson invented much of Ossian. Still, he had a basis of genuine Celtic poems and legends to work upon, and he did give form and utterance to much genuine Celtic feeling. This is the reason why the critics and poets of the highest rank have found in Ossian much to admire and praise, and, in this case, the approval and appreciation of Goethe abundantly compensate for the ridicule of Dr. Johnson.
The Celtic element in foreign literature
The subtle influence of Celtic qualities is notable in the writers of other countries than our own, and of those of Franca in particular. The late M. Rio, the author of many valuable books,that on “Christian Art” being especially remarkable, was singularly notable for his Celtic enthusiasm. Macaulay, in a letter to the editor of the ’Edinburgh Review,’ styles Rio the oddest Frenchman he had ever met, because his patriotism centred In Brittany, and because he cared nothing for France. Amongst living French writers none surpass M. Renan in all the excellences’ of a master of language. Good French prose is unequalled in ease and grace, and in point and lucidity no French prose displays so many of these attractions as Voltaire’s. Yet that of M. Renan has a super-added charm, a poetic flavour, if the phrase may pass, which renders it delightful beyond measure. What is meant is not poetic prose, which is a very different product, and of which Chateaubriand was the greatest master among the Frenchmen of his time. Yet the same influences contributed to mould the prose of Chateaubriand and M. Renan, and these were purely Celtic. Both of these writers stand apart amongst their countrymen, for both were born and nurtured in Brittany, and drew their inspiration from their Celtic training and home.
The diffusion of Welsh literature
It is unfortunate that more has not been done to make Celtic literature accessible to English readers. Most of us are aware or the many and praiseworthy efforts which have been made in that direction but those efforts do not seem to have been sufficient. Great credit certainly is due to the patriotic Welshmen who published the “Archaeology of Wales,” and the names of Owen Jones, Edward Williams, and William Owen, to whom we owe the three volumes of which the work is composed, are deservedly held in remembrance. Yet the translation of the “Mabynogion,” which Lady Charlotte Guest made public, is quite as useful, and the same may be said of Elis Wyn’s “Sleeping Bard,” of which George Borrow was the translator. On the other hand, it is to be regretted that so many Celts seldom study Celtic literature, and that so many of those who speak that tongue are unable to write or read it. Thus the treasures of their language are sealed hooks to them. Even men of high general culture are often strangely ignorant in this respect. One of them was Tom Moore, who, though a genuine Celt in his feelings and sympathies, and one who displayed in English verse some of the best characteristics of his race, was as unacquainted with the language as the most prejudiced Saxon. In a rash moment Moore undertook to write the “History of Ireland,” a task unsuited to his powers. Hedid not spare trouble in seeking for information, and he undoubtedly made good use of what he got. Mr. O’Curry relates the following interesting story of Moore’s first acquaintance with Celtic manuscripts. Having named Mr. O’Curry, I must not omit to slate, again acknowledging my indebtedness to Mr. Matthew Arnold’s book, that he was a truly remarkable man, “the obscure Scaliger of a despised literature,” that he accomplished such good work in the classification of Erse documents us to lighten the labour of the student and make clear beyond controversy that which formerly seemed to be shrouded in impenetrable obscurity. Mr. O’Curry says:“In the year 1839, during Moore’s last visits to the land of his birth, he, in company with his old and attached friend, Dr. Petrie, favoured me with an unexpected visit at the Royal Irish Academy. I was at that moment employed on the Ordnance Survey of Ireland, and at the time of his visit happened to have before me on my desk the ‘Book of Ballymote and Speckled Book,’ ‘The Annals of the Four Masters,’ and many other ancient books for historical research and reference. I had never before seen Moore, and after a brief introduction and explanation of the nature of my occupation by Dr. Petrie, and seeing the formidable array of so many dark and time-worn volumes by which I was surrounded, he looked a little disconcerted, but after a while plucked up courage to open the “Book of Ballymote” and asked what it was. Dr. Petrie and then entered into a short explanation of the history and character of the books then present, as well as of ancient Gaedhelic documents in general. Moore listened with great attention, alternately scanning the books and myself, and then asked me, in a serious tone, if I understood them, and how I had learned to do so. Having satisfied him upon these points, he turned to Dr.Petrie and said:‘Petrie, these huge tomes could not have been written by fools or for any foolish purpose. I never knew anything about them before, and I had no right to have undertaken the “History of Ireland.’”” According to the old Welsh saying, “No one is wise but he that understands his ignorance.” Moore certainly displayed wisdom ill the remarks just quoted.
The necessity of learning foreign languages
While it is fitting and useful that this knowledge of Welshliterature should be more widely diffused, it is for the advantage of the Welsh people that they should become better acquainted with the world outside the Principality. Let us respect the patriotism which prizes the old Welsh language, but let us respect the patriot still more to whom English is as familiar as Celtic. Cleave to and honour your native tongue, butlearn one also which will enable you to feel at home in all quarters of the globe. If patriotism be what I have somewhere seen it defined, “self- interest, rightly understood,” then it is patriotic for a Welshman to know English as well as his native tongue. Should he visit America he will find it impossible to prosper unless he knows English. It is true there are many Welshmen in America; 30,000 are to be found in Pennsylvania alone. It is true also that the Celtic tongue is still cherished there, and that several newspapers and books in Welsh are published; in Pennsylvania there are four Welsh newspapers, in New York there is one. Indeed, a Welsh book was published in Philadelphia a century and a half ago but in no country is it so difficult toavoid speaking English as in America. Everybody takes an interest in politics there, and no one can be a politician who is ignorant of English. It is pleasant to know that no settlers, whether in Pennsylvania or the Far West, are more respected than the Welsh. Other Celtic settlers are less popular. The Welsh in the United States do not busy themselves in an insatiable pursuit of office, neither do they act as mere hewers of wood and drawers of water. No small part of their success and popularity is due to their identifying themselves with all that is best In American life.
The influence of the Eisteddfod
It has been already said that we need not apprehend from these Eisteddfodau any undue tightening of the bonds of narrow provincialism. They would act injuriously if they did that, or even if they glorified the past to the detriment of the present. They seem, on the contrary, destined to enlighten those who take part in them as to their duties in the present age, and furnish incentives to render the Principality still greater and more glorious. By subserving this purpose, and by keeping alive a laudable spirit of brotherhood, an Eisteddfod deserves ungrudging support.
Whether we will or no, our faces must be met towards the future. Humanity is marching onward. It depends upon ourselves whether our places are in the rear or in the van; whether we are to be vainly turning back for glimpses of a receding past, or gladly welcoming on the horizon the dawn of is brighter day. I greatly misinterpret the Welsh spirit and people if by them the sunshine of progress it not hailed as a blessing. In the expansion of their genius lies the triumph of their race, a triumph not only in things material or mechanical, but in what is mentally elevating and enduring. The victories of mind are greater than those of war; they are blessings without alloy. Those who participate in these Eisteddfodau are bent upon displacing their prowess in a field where no blood is shed, and in winning laurels which cause no tears. My hearty good wishes are with every competitor in peaceful contests; and let me hope that one of them may yet perform for the Principality a grander service than any rendered by the great bards of old.
The Welshman his yet to appear who will confer on English literature, or rather on the literatures of the English-speaking people of the world, the vast benefit to Wales which Moore rendered to Ireland when he composed his Irish melodies, and for which Scotland and mankind are grateful to Sir Walter Scott. The special charms of the Principality and its inhabitants have never yet been embodied in an English work which is destined to be read and admired so long as English literature. The opportunity is a splendid one. Immortality, as well as immediate fame, is the reward of him who grasps it. Who in this assembly will doubt that Wales possesses attractions of history, scenery, and people equal to those of “the land of brown heath and shaggy wood,” whence Sir Walter Scott drew his inspiration, and which he irradiated by the lustre of his genius? May the day soon dawn when some magician’s pen will cause the world to recognise that the home of the Cymri is endowed with all the fascinations of the land of the Gael.
In response to the conductor’s call for bardic addresses the following were delivered:
Alaw Tydfil came first with an “englyn” to the president:
Ein Parkinson, hylonhaelwych-godwyd
I’r gadair uchelwych;
Y mawlgian a mil oglych
Alltud Eifion, as one of the bards present at the Eisteddfod held in 1881 at Aberdare, wished to be permitted to read this address:
Yn Aberdar is wybrdirion-welecaed
Prifwylcerdd a beiradion,
Addfedwyl’r Eisteddfod hen,
Agorir hyd Gaergwdion.
Hensefydliader oes fodlon – y belrdd
O bob urddaucyson,
Yn dderi a cherddorion,
I fawrhadsy’naofer hen, safer hen.
Yn rhwydd ein dedwydddadiu – aellient
Hyn o hyd hebbrinbau
Bardd a’igyfarddwnagyfod – ymlidir
Ynadedid yr Eisteddfod,
A’I nawddfythn hedd I fod
Dallwndrosysprydoliaeth – yr Awen
Urdd enwog y farddiniaeth
Trasuo’rmant-traser y nen –traheulwen
Ni rewagwaed yr Awen
No marwgwaith y Gymraeg Wen
Dewi Wyn o Essyllt’s address comes next:
Boreu y dydduwch Aberdar – dorodd
O’rdwyrain yn llachar
Haul Duw goleundaear.
Gwyl y beirdd hen argoel bar.
Tyrufovtyrfaoedd – yn gynar
Ugeiniau o filoedd
I’ngwyl hon; ji’ngwawio oedd
Seren yr hen oeseoedd
Ac hi heddyw yw cyhoeddus-nodded
Ein llenyddiaeth weddus;
Hi sy’nprysurranu’r us-
Gwneyd y grawn yn gnwdgweddus.
Awen a ga ail fywyd – a harddwwch,
Anawdd fawr, a newyddfyd
Y wyddawr a cheifyddydd
Fe egyrpendetigion – eudwylaw
Anawdd fawr, a newyddfyd
Yr hen wlad a r aw lon.
Pa well gwyr mewnpwyllgorau-na’rdewr
Aberdaiaid – daiu
Erddyntbydd y gwynt yn gwan,
Duwiau y lleyw’rpedwar llywydd – dynion
Bywhau y dorfwnant bob dydd,
A rhoi hwyl I i’r heolydd,
Llwyddiant, gugoniantfo’ngynar – a hwyl
0 boed amddyddiaubedwar
Glanffrwd, the conductor, read:
Pwyabrophwydadyddtrancei hen iaith?
Nis gail hi ddimmarwddim mwy na’raweion
Gusananteibryniau bob dyddareuTaith.
Heddywfewirir yr Hen Bropwydiaeth
O enau Taliesin – Pob Cymro a’r car;
Nu wedir hi mwy ganucheiwyr ein taiaeth
Neu, ynte, gofynwchiLors Aberdar
Tybiais I’m glywed hen lu y Derwyddon
Yn curoeudwylawtelcynt yn Gymraeg
Wrth weledmiliogaethparchusaf y Saeson
Yn haneradoli’n Eisteddfod a’nHaeg!
Osdryllwyd ein Goresdd – oschwalallorau
A chyicheysegredig y maen –onid yw
Yn daibendigedigfodiaith as Eisteddfod
Yn aros, as Awen a nodded ein Duw
Mae Llundain yn ymbil am gael yr Eisteddfod
Gadewchiddifynedyn oi i’n hen dref
I ddangosfelbu am ganrifoedd yn cuddio
Yn nghysgod y brynaiubrophwydi y Nef
To close the list Nathan Dyfed gave three “englynion:”
Arlwyddhael per wledd hon- arddau
Urddiant ein pen banaon,
Buddyg – “Marchog y Baddon”- a’ngwanar
Yn Aberdar, ban Iil ein bredirion
Uchelwrclainllywenawg – y glyn,
Benwn yr hwn yn hawg
Yw Aberdar, bauiti eon bredirion
Wediei no laralwadNef – o’Idaith
I “dy eihirgartref,”
Heddwch a llwyd fo’nhaddef
At the conclusion of the Bardic addresses which had evoked considerable enthusiasm amongst the audience, Mr Robert Rees (Eos Morlais), who was received with loud cheers, sang David Jenkins’s popular Welsh song, known as “Hiraeth,” or “Hobed o Hilion.” The popular Welsh tenor was in excellent voice, and he rendered the good old song with characteristic Cymric fire and Cymric pathos. A tremendous outburst of cheering followed the conclusion of the song,
After Eos Morlais had resumed his seat the Eisteddfod conductor (the Rev. Glanffrwd Thomas) announced that the competitions would be at once proceeded with:
The first competition was for a prize of five guineas, which the Eisteddfod Committee had received from Mrs Davies, of the Iron Bridge Hotel, Aberdare. It was offered for the best performance of a solo on the pedal harp, and was the second competition of its kind held at the Eisteddfod. The competition subject was John Thomas’s (Pencerdd Gwalia’s) arrangement of the famous “Harmonious Blacksmith” of Handel. The adjudicators were Pencerdd Gwalia and Dr. Frost, of Cardiff. Three competitors came forward. The first competitor was blind, the second was a lad of about eight years of age, and the third a youth of about sixteen. Mr, Thomas (Pencerdd Gwalia) said the playing of the first was extraordinary. It was however, their duty to take other matters into consideration, and give the prize to the person who not only played with the greatest amount of expression, but who played with the greatest correctness, and gave, generally speaking, the most perfect expression of the work. The adjudicators were also pleased with the playing of the second competitor, a prize winner of the previous day. The third performer, Thomas Thomas, Sirhowy, had been much more perfect than his predecessors in every quality, precision, expression, and general appropriateness. They awarded the last competitor the prize.
Mr. Thomas, R.C.A. Cardiff, then gave the adjudication on the competition for the prize of £2 10s, offered in the Art Department for the best original crayon drawing. Three works had been sent in. but a study of “A Head of Medusa” from the cast was quite remarkable. The drawing of the head was true, clear, and elegant, and the execution, which was a compound of stump and stipple work, was delicate in effect, true in gradation, and in general tone and effect artistically rendered. The artist was the ubiquitous¸ Jones, who was really rendering the Eisteddfod bankrupt by the frequency of his attacks upon its purse.
Mr T.H. Thomas then delivered the adjudication on the competition for the prizes of £10 and £5 offered for oil paintings. He said the adjudicators had to face a question which was of much importance in all such competitions, and in reference to which it was necessary to have a defined principle of action.
The question was how far the aid of photography had been obtained. There were works strong its effect, striking to the spectator, and meritorious in a high degree, in which It was obvious that the photograph had done great service, while there were others in which the artist had relied wholly upon strictly artistic means with good, but less striking, results. His co-adjudicator, Mr. H. D. Pearce and himself had given most serious attention to this point, and endeavoured to find a principle and formulate a rule thereupon which might guide them in a difficult and delicate task. The qualities which in an oil painting of life size can be given to the work by the use of photography either as a base or as a Iguide were chiefly these. Arrangement of posture, light and shade: likeness to the model, and to a great extent drawing. The principle they had taken to guide them in regard to the point referred to in the adjudication was to give special credit for posture, light, and shade, and resemblance only to work in regard to which photography had been no aid. In the competition in question six works needed consideration, 1, 3, 5, 8, 9, and 9a. After comparing these Mr. Thomas said they were agreed in thinking that the merits shown in the tint, tone, colour, and arrangement of thestill life by “Jones” and the work by “Gobaith” were greater than the others, and they awarded the 1st prize between them, and gave the 2nd to “H. A. C.” for his portrait of Sir Hussey Vivian. No. 2 by “Istwyth,”showed care. The portrait of Dr. Parry, of Swansea, by “Brooks,” deserved notice. The “Saul and David,” by “Anonymous” was too ambitious for the artist’s powers. “Home, Sweet Home,” was defective in drawing and ease of posture, although careful and conscientious.
The next event was the adjudication on the “Original Collection of Folk-lore of Glamorgan” (English or Welsh). Prize, £10. Adjudicators: Professor J. Rhys, M.A.: the Rev. Spinther James, M.A. and Charles Wilkins. The prize was awarded to a competitor writing under the non de plume of Crofter Croker.”
Vote of thanks to the President
Lord Aberdare at this stage rose to propose a vote of thanks to the president. He spoke of the address as a very instructive and philosophic one. It bore evidence that when the president accepted the post he had set himself seriously to perform his duties. He had carefully thought out his subject, and though there might be many points upon which antiquaries and philologists might, he for one, found no fault with it on that account. In some matters Mr. Parkinson had trod upon the toes of ethnologists and phrenologist, but he (the speaker) infinitely preferred an address which raised subjects of controversy like the one of that day to one that provoked no opposition. He had great pleasure in proposing a vote of thanks to Mr. Parkinson.
Mr Mathew Arnold who seconded the vote, received quite an ovation. He said he was honoured by the commission to second the vote of thanks. That commission would give him nothing but pleasure if it were not accompanied by the intimation that he was to say something more tomorrow. If he might be allowed to say of an address which contained so many kind things of himself, it was one of interest. He had very great pleasure in seconding the vote.
The President, in reply, said: Let me at once acknowledge, with deep gratitude, the vote of thanks so eloquently proposed and seconded, and which you have passed with such flattering acclamations.
So deeply was I touched by the magnificent reception you accorded to Sir George Elliot and by the impressive spectacle presented by the assemblage in this hall that I telegraphed for my second boy to leave London last night, so that he might be present this morning at this imposing and instructive national gathering, that in years to come and for his whole life, when he hears the ancient Welsh nation discussed, he may recall with gratitude and magnificent reception accorded by this Eisteddfod to his honoured grandfather and your gracious (and I cannot but feel unmerited) kindness to myself. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
The votes of thanks having been disposed of, the competitions were again taken up.
A prize of three guineas offered for the best rendition of a tenor solo, “Through the Forest,” Weber’s “Der Freischutz,” was won by Mr Dane Beddoe, of the Schools, Llwynypia, Rhondda Valley.
A prize of £10 for the best composition of an anthem suitable foe musical festivals and to be furnished with Welsh words. Mr. John Thomas (Pencerdd Gwalia) said of the twenty anthems sent in entitled “Duw syddnoddfa a nerth I mi” was by far the best. The prize was awarded to Mr. J.H. Roberts “Pencerdd Gwynedd” Carnarvon, who was wildly cheered on ascending the steps of the platform to receive the prize.
Madame Lizzie Williams as this juncture sang “I Blas Gogerddan,” and was very warmly applauded for a really excellent performance.
A prize of three guineas for the best essay on “The Importance and Benefit of Property Utilising leisure Hours.” Dafydd Morganwg, who was assisted by Dyfed, awarded the prize to Mr William Powell of Merthyr.
A competition for orchestral bands followed and was watched with very considerable interest. A prize of twelve guineas had been offered to the orchestral band, numbering not less than sixteen performers, would best perform a given selection from Mozart’s opera of “Nozze di Figaro” and a prize of six guineas was offered for the second best band. Three bands came forward and competed in the following order. Viz.: (1) Treorchy Orchestral Band, (2) Treherbert Orchestral Band, and (3) the Aberdare Orchestral Society.The adjudicators were Mr. Woodward, Mr, Turpin, and Caradog. The first prize was awarded to the Treherbert Orchestral Band, conducted by Mr. David Gibbon; the second prize fell to Aberdare Orchestral Society, conducted by Mr. Edwin Roberts. Both conductors were loudly cheered
A prize of £10 was offered for the best translations into Welsh of some of the hymns in the “Hymni et SequentiaeEcclesire.” The Dean of Bangor, being unable to be present, sent the adjudication to the Eisteddfod, with the result that the prize awarded to Mr. Lloyd Williams, of Cardiff.
One guinea had been offered for the best original architectural design, but there was no competition.
A competition for a prize of three guineas offered for the best execution of a medallion portrait of Welsh celebrity was similarly treated, as in both competitions the committee had not received any specimens.
A prize of three guineas was offered foe the best specimen of stone carving, but it was withheld owing to lack of merit on the part of the competitors.
A prize of a similar value was offered to the soprano and tenor singers who would best render the duet, “I love the Lord,” from Beethoven’s oratorio of “Engledl.” Two parties came forward, and Mr. Jarrett Roberts, assisted by Alaw Ddu and Caradog, awarded the prizes to Miss Rachel James, of Pontypridd, and Mr David Howells (“Gwyn Alaw.”)
One guinea was offered for the best ornamental letter cutting in stone, and Mr. J. Milo Griffith awarded it to Mr. D.O. Jones, whose nom de plume was “Ap Rhys?”
The Chairing of the successful Bard
The highly interesting ceremony of chairing the successful bard then took place. The chair subject this year was “Y Gwir yn Erbyn y Byd” (“The Truth against the World”), an ode not to exceed 1,000 lines, for which a prize of £20 and a chair, value £10 were offered. Theadjudicators were Hwfa Mon, Dewi Wyn o Essyllt, and Dyfed. Previous to the delivery of the adjudication, the conductor invited bards, literati, and musicians to the platform, and a large number went and formed semi-circle around the empty chair. The adjudicators having come forward, Hwfa Mon, as spokesman, proceeded to read a summary of the adjudication, which he Introduced by pointing out that the subject was one which admitted of various constructions, and went on to say that eight compositions had been sent in viz. those of “Bardd hebeiUrrdo,”“Ap Daear Bychan,” “Alatheis,”“Fiat Justicia,” “Llywarch Llwyd,”“Latimer,” and “Yn Ngwyneb Haul a Llygad Goleuni.”
He briefly criticised the eight, and said the production of “Yn Ngwyneb Haul a Llygad Goleuni,” was more direct in its bearing upon the subject than any other in the competition. Its metre was excellent, very excellent, and it dealt with its theme methodically. The only two in the competition who dealt directly with the subject were “Llywarch Llwyd” and “Yn Ngwyneb Haul.” But the “awdl” of “Yn Ngwyneb Haul a Llygad Goleuni,” though not free from blemishes of a minor character, showed the meaning of the author, even in the darkest lines, like spirits from another world. The adjudicators were unanimous in awarding the prize to “Yn Ngwyneb Haul a Llygad Goleuni.” The conductor requested the successful bard, if present, to stand up where he was, and wait until Hwfa Mon and Dyfed came to fetch him. Presently Watcyn Wyn, of Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, stood up amid enthusiastic cheering, and the bards named proceeded through the thronged audience to fetch him.
Howell Cynon started singing “See the conquering hero comes,” in which the audience joined, and the band followed with the same strains after the bard had been seated in the carved oak chair by his guides. He was then invested with the money prize by Mrs Griffiths.
The chairing ceremony was then carried on, the naked sword being held by the assembled bards. In response to Clwydfardd’s queries as to “peace,” the audience enthusiastically shouted “Heddwch,” and afterwards the usual bardic addressee were delivered by, amongst others, Clwydfardd, Thalamus, Alltud Elton, Nathan Wyn, Nathan Dyfed, Dafydd Morganwg, Brynfab and Creidiol, The following wart amongst the bardic addresses:
Ag unlief Wyn trwydefod- agorwyd
I gadair Eisteddtod,
Ynddiau Wyn bia’n bod – ‘n Eisteddawi
Dai awenyddadwaenir – yw Wat,
Ahwn mwy gnmolir,
Ac o heddywfe’icyhoeddir
Herwyddei gamp yn fardd y gwir
Hwnyw’r pen wirawenydd – a godwyd
I’r gadair ysplenydd;
Hwnyw’n cawr a’nconcwerydd
Bia’rdorch a bri’rdydd
Mr. Lucas Williams then sang “Hen Wlad y menyggwynion,” and the ceremony concluded. We understand that “Llywarch Llwyd,” was the Rev. D.C. Harris (Caeronwy), Merthyr.
Mr. T. H. Thomas rose to deliver his adjudication upon another picture painting competition. A prize of seven guineas was offered for the best landscape from nature. Notwithstanding the fact, said the adjudicator, that there was plenty of beautiful Landscape scenery about Wales, only one picture had been sent in, and it was deemed to be so inferior as to be unworthy of the prize.
A prize of three guineas was offered for the best performance of a solo upon the flute. The subject was a selection from the opera of “Lucrecia Borgia,” and the prize was awarded to Mr. Fred W. Griffith, R.A.M., of London.
Next came; the competition for a prize of two guineas, offered for the best street trade sign. Of those sent in the one by Mr. Pool, painter, of Merthyr, was the best.
A prize of £20 was offered for the best essay on the “Comparative Merits of Recent Speculations Touching the Laws of Mind and Matter.” The Rev. Dr. Roberts said that four essays had been sent in, of which the majority of the adjudicators, considered that that sent in by the Rev, G.G. Williams, Congregational minister, Merthyr, to be the best. He, however, wished to state that of the adjudicators could not agree to the decision of the majority.
A prise of £20 had been offered for the best rendering of “The Bells,” by Dr. Parry, and the“Autumn Song,” by Mendelssohn, by choirs numbering not less than 50: but, as no choirs came forward, the competition fell through.
This concluded the business of the afternoon.
The National Eisteddfod Association
Queen’s Hotel, Canon St (Picture courtesy of RCTCBC)
The annual general meeting of tin association was held at the Queen’s Hotel, Aberdare. Clwydfardd occupied the chair. There were also present: Hwfa Mon, Dyfed, Rev. R. T. Howells, Mr. John Thomas (Pencerdd Gwalia), Mr. T. Marchant Williams, Mr. W. Cadwaladr Davies, Principal Reichel, University College, North Wales Principal Viriamu Jones, South Wales and Monmouthshire University College; Mrs. Bryant, Miss Mary Davies, Mr. and Mrs. Milo Griffith, Mrs Dr. Parry, Mr. E. Vincent Evans, Dr. Price, Dr. Roberts, Dr. Jones, Mr B. Evans, Mr R.E. Williams, Alaw Ddu, Mr. Dan Isaac Davies, Mr Watcyn Wynn, Mr Beriah Gwynfe Evans, Mr. K. Isaac Jones, Ap Alaw Ddu, Pencerdd Maelor, Mr E.P. Hughes, Alltud Gwent, Dafydd Morganwg, Hwfa Mon, Mynorydd, Mr. T. Ll. Thomas, Dewi Wyn, Mr. Onllwyn Brace, Brythonfryn, Mr F.W. Griffiths, Mr Dyfed Lewis,Caerwonwy, Mr J. Haydn Parry, and Miss Lizzie James.
Mr. Marchant Williams, in presenting the annual report of the association, stated that it was in a more flourishing state than it had ever been before. It might be seen by the printed circular report that they had a larger number of subscribers than they had before, and the work was certainly flourishing. The report stated that in connection with the Aberdare National Eisteddfod the following prizes were offered by the Association: £50 (specially offered through the medium of the association by the Most Hon. The Marquis of Bute K.T.) for the best translation into Welsh of the “Alcestis,” of Euripides; £25 for the best “Biographical and Critical Account of Welsh Musicians to the middle of the; Nineteenth Century;” £20 for the best String Quartette in four movements (limited to natives of Wales and persons of Welsh parentage); £10 for the best Six Designs in Pen and Ink, Sepia, or Indian Ink, to illustrate Mr. Ceiriog Hughes’s Poem, “Myfanwy Fychan” (limited to natives of Wales and persons of Welsh parentage).
The council have pleasure In announcing that “The History of Welsh Literature from A.D. 1300 to A.D. 1660,” by Mr. R. J. Pryse (Gweirydd ap Rhys), which gained the association prize of £100 at the Cardiff National Eisteddfod of 1883, has been printed and is ready for issue. “The Life and Life-Work of Sir Hugh Owen:” by Mr W.E. Davies, which gained the association prize at the Liverpool National Eisteddfod of 1864, has also been printed and published.
The volume contains a new portrait of the late Sir Hugh Owen, the founder of the National Eisteddfod Association. During the past year they had lost Sir Watkin Wynn. Mr. Askew Roberts: the Dean of Bangor and Mr. Brinley Richards. He had received a letter from Mr. Cornwallis West. Mr. Williams, then read the letter, which contained dome suggestions for adoption by the National Eisteddfod Committee. He said all the suggestions would prove acceptable to the committee.
It was decided that the letter should be sent to the council of the association.
Dyfed proposed the adoption of the report, which was seconded by Addu ddu, and carried unanimously.
Hwfa Mon proposed a vote of thanks to the Executive Committee, which was seconded by Dr. Price, and unanimously.
Cadwaladr Davies proposed the re-election of the Council and the Executive Committee, with power to add their number.
Dewi Wyn O’ Essyllt seconded the resolution which was carried unanimously.
Mr W.E. Davies, London, presented a petition from the Welsh in London asking that the Eisteddfod for 1887 might be held in London. A similar petition was received from Mr John James (Mayor) and Mr David Jenkins, Aberystwyth, requesting that the Eisteddfod might be held at that place.
Mr R T. Howell; proposed that “this society of the National Eisteddfod recommends to the Bards of the Gorsedd that the Eisteddfod of 1887 should be held in London.”
Dr. Price seconded the proposition, which was carried.
Luncheon at Aberaman House
The members of the committee, the bards, and the gentlemen connected with the Cymmrodorion Society were again entertained in the afternoon to luncheon at Aberaman House by Sir George Elliot. The president of the day, Mr. J. C. Parkinson, occupied the chair.
In the evening there was a grand performance of Handel’s oratorio the being the principal artistes: Soprano, Miss Annie Marriott; contralto, Miss Mary Spencer Jones; tenor, Eos Morlais, and bass, Mr Lucas Williams. The choruses were sustained in capital style by the Aberdare Choral Union, and there was a full orchestral band under the leadership of Mr E.G. Woodward. The conductor was Mr Rees Evans. Mr William Thomas, Brynawel, Aberdare presided, and there was a large attendance.
Mr Parkinson’s Address
We understand that the Rev H. E. Williams (Twrfab) has, by special request, undertaken to translate into Welsh the address given at the Eisteddfod during the morning by Mr Parkinson.
The Eisteddfod at Aberdare.
The Teaching of the Welsh
Address by Lord Aberdare.
The Choral Competitions. Third Day
Notwithstanding the very inclement weather which prevailed on Thursday morning, members of friendly societies at Aberdare and Aberaman turned out in large numbers to give a welcome to Lord Aberdare. The Oddfellows and Ivorites, although deprived of the opportunity to carry their regalia with them, made nevertheless a very creditable display. Preceded by the band of the local rifles, they marched down the main road in the direction of Aberaman, where they met his lordship, who was on his way to Aberdare in his carriage, accompanied by some hundreds ofprocessionalist’s from Mountain Ash. The Aberdare contingent countermarched and led the procession, which included a body of rifle volunteers commanded by Captain Phillips, Most of the processionalist’s wore on their breasts an eisteddfod medal, and it ought also to be noted that a Welsh goat was led in the front of the rifles. His lordship in passing through the streets, preceded by the eisteddfod band, received an enthusiastic ovation.
The Eisteddfod meeting
Address by Lord Aberdare
Sir George Elliot
The third eisteddfod meeting was fixed to open at eleven o’clock, and ten minutes before the time the president of the day, Lord Aberdare, made his appearance, accompanied by Lady Aberdare and the Hon. Misses Bruce, the Rev W. Bruce, and Mr Matthew Arnold. The distinguished party were received with much cheering by an auditory which must have numbered six or seven thousand, and whose proportions subsequently swelled to another two or three thousand. Every seat was occupied, and scores had to be seated on the platform, where also were conspicuous the faces of the Venerable Archdeacon Griffiths, Colonel Kemeys-Tynte, Mr J. C. Parkinson, Principal Reichel, Principal Jones, Mr James Lewis, J. D. Davies, Dr. Evan Jones, Mrs Bryant, Mr T. Edwards, Rev. R. B. Jenkins, Mr Ivor James, Clwydfardd, Dewi Mon, Hwfa Mon, Mr T. Thomas (Tynywern), Dewi Wyn o Essyllt, Mr Marchant Williams, Llanffrwd, Mr J. Thomas, &c.
Lord Aberdare, who was loudly applauded on coming forward, said: Ladies and gentlemen: Before I begin let me take this opportunity of thanking all those friends and neighbours who assembled to do me honour today. I was not prepared for so large a demonstration of friendly feeling when the skies were as hostile as they were. But nothing seemed to damp the ardour of their friendship. They marched along under the heaviest storm, and I hope they will accept this expression of my gratitude. I have attended in my life a number of eisteddfodau. They have been variously composed according to the character of the population. But what has struck me today is that, of all gatherings that I have ever attended, this is the most decidedly popular in its character. Considering the large number of those who belong to the working-classes, I think it must prove to anybody the sincere interest and enthusiasm of the Welsh people for the institution of the eisteddfod, when they come in such numbers as they do today. It is specially agreeable to me, considering I am addressing a meeting of those who are more especially my own countrymen, because on this occasion, at any rate, I cannot forget that I was born and bred in the valley of Aberdare, that here I received all those impressions of youth (and they are the most lasting impressions); that I have lived here many of the best years of my life, and that I hope the remaining years of my life will be spent among you. Since the meeting of this eisteddfod I have received a card, that a very distinguished and very illustrious Welshman had passed away, of whom, I regret to say, no notice was taken in the record of those Welshmen who have done honour to their country, but who have passed away since the last annual gathering of the eisteddfod. This card records the death, at the great age of 86, of Penry Williams, the painter. He died at Rome. I took special interest in him. Penry Williams was the son of a painter and glazier at Merthyr. He became and was when I was at Rome one of the most esteemed and honoured of the painters of that great centre of art. Early in life, when he was a boy, he was employed in painting the shutters at Cyfarthfa Castle. He was discovered by Mr Richard Crawshay, the great grandfather of the great owner of Cyfarthfa, instead of painting shutters, employing himself in painting the sheep that were lying in the park outside. Mr Crawshay in those days had no great sympathy with art. He thought the boy an idle fellow, and told his father not to bring him again. But it became known to the son of a well-known ironmaster in this district, Sir Joseph Bailey that this boy was showing signs of genius as an artist and he helped him to go to Rome, and there he built great name. When I was in Rome in 1844 I took care to make myself acquainted with my countryman, Mr Penry Williams, and I saw much of him. His companion was another distinguished Welshman, Gibson, the sculptor, from, Anglesey. I have no doubt they often indulged themselves in a little private conversation in the language of the Cymry. About 10 years ago I was very much surprised in receiving from Mr Penry Williams a parcel containing, he said, all the records of himself, and everything that he valued, his object being that as he knew he should die in a foreign country, they should fall into friendly hands. What use I may be able to make of that I don t know, but I don’t think I ought to allow this occasion to pass by without referring to the memory of a man who did so much honour to us. Old men (and I for some time have been included in the category of old men), are very fond of reminiscences. The reminiscence that occurs to me isthis, that it is exactly 24 years since I attended the last meeting of the eisteddfod at Aberdare. On that occasion there was present a most eminent Frenchman, Mr. Henri Martin, a sturdy Republican, and senator of late Government, who is best known as author of the latest history of France. My friend was, above everything else, he ardent lover of everything Celtic. He had a passion for the Celtic people and Celtic literature. He had come Wales at that time to study the character man literature of the Welsh. I never that who had a keener sympathy with everything that related to the interests of the Celtic people, whether in England or France. I refer to the visit of my friend, Henri Martin, respect to the discussions that have arisen with respect to the relative influence of the English and Welsh characters in the formation of our national character. The great statesmanof France, M. Guizot, used to lament that there had not been a larger infusion of the Frankish or German element in the French character. He said that they would have been more solid and stable if that had been so. M. Martin was of opinion that you could not have too much of the Celtic element in the national character. I well remember showing to him at Duffryn a passage from the works of Carlyle ln which Carlyle argued, as he did all his life that the old saying “might makes right,” as true solidly and religiously true. He says the government of the world is providently and that nothing happens without the permission God, and if the stronger races rule it is because they deserve to rule. I shall never forget the indignant protest of M. H. Martin at that doctrine. Well now, I have done with these reminiscences; and let me go more immediately to the subject of this meeting.
A good deal has been said about the probable and possible decay of the Welsh language, and the question has been raised as to the increase or decrease of its population. Let me be allowed to say a word on this subject. I have no doubt that, if you look to Wales generally, you will and all along the eastern border, the part nearest to England a decided advance of the English language. In a very able paper in the Archaeologia Cambrensis the other day it was shown that long lines of parishes on the eastern borders of Wales had ceased to be Welsh in language altogether, although they had been Welsh in language as late as 40 years ago. Territorially, therefore, I think, the country inhabited by the Welsh-speaking population is shrinking. But when you come to the great centres of population I don’t feel sure that although English is making progress the Welsh is decreasing. I have said, and I can re peat it now, that in my belief there are more people speaking Welsh now than ever spoke Welsh at any previous period of our history. But, of course, our population has increased enormously, and that does not at all exclude the spread of the English language. But concurrently with the spread of the English language there has been a cultivation of the Welsh language, and my firm opinion is that we have a more Welsh speaking population now than at any period of our history. I have also been asked to say a few words on a subject occupying very much attention at this moment. That is, the question of making the teaching of Welsh a part of the education at our elementary schools. The Cymmrodorion Society, which side by side with our eisteddfod is doing such good work, has published a most admirable paper on the subject, which contains. I think, all that can be said for or against it. Now after studying that paper, I am driven to the conclusion that it would be utterly impossible to ask of Parliament a law which shall compel the teaching of Welsh at all our schools. But there is nothing to prevent the trial of the experiment to teach Welsh at our schools. That experiment must of course be tried under two conditions. One is that the large majority of the children at these schools shall be Welsh-speaking children, and the other is that the masters and mistresses shall not only be Welsh- speaking, but shall be capable of teaching Welsh grammatically. I have no doubt that in many parts of Wales the first of these conditions can be fulfilled, and that you can find a very decided majority of Welsh-speaking children. But the difficulty of getting masters and mistresses to teach the Welsh language grammatically, although not insurmountable, is one which strikes us strongly at the present moment. We must also recollect that Wales is very largely compounded now of a population speaking English, and English exclusively. At our schools we have children of both descriptions, and of course it would be simply tyrannical, as it would be absurd, to insist on English children learning in Welsh in order that they might learn English through Welsh. These are difficulties to be overcome, but difficulties are generally made to be overcome, and I should like myself to have the experiment tried. I think we have full authority for this-for teaching in the more Welsh-speaking part of Wales. My own feeling is this-that the children who are systematically taught Welsh would learn English and other subjects fully as fast, if not faster, than if they were not taught Welsh. May I not refer to an incident in my own memory? When Mr Lowe, now Lord Sherbrooke, brought forward his revised code far education I moved in the House of Commons an amendment, which was this that the individual examination of children when in Wales should take place a year later than the individual examination of children in England, and I did it on the ground, not that the Welsh children were less clever or less forward than English children, but that they had the great difficulty to contend with of learning English in order that they might learn other things. Mr Lowe, I remember, answered me in this way. He said, I quite admit the reasonableness of this proposition. It seems reasonable, he said, “but I have taken great pains to make enquiries in Wales, in the Highlands of Scotland, and in the West of Ireland, and I have found that so decidedly does the leirnitig of this language sharpen the intellect that in spite of that difficulty children of seven years of age in Wales and in the Celtic districts of Ireland and Scotland pass quite as good an examination as children of the same age in England.” Well, I succeeded Mr Lowe as the Vice-President of the Committee of Council of Education, and I took, of course, great pains to enquire whether this was so, whether the Welsh suffered from the individual examination of children at seven years of age, and I find that it was not so, but that they earned fuily as much and passed as good an examination as exclusively English speaking children I think that argument fortifies the opinion of those who think that the acquisition of the second language has great effect in sharpening tho intellect and enabling the child to learn more readily its other lessons. And what do we find? Why, figures have been published over and over again which demonstrate beyond all doubt that the children at our Welsh schools learn fully as much that is to say, pass as good, or better perhaps, an examination than the children in the English schools. I will conclude by reference to Mr Matthew Arnold, who, many of you remember, has, without any knowledge of the Welsh language, written perhaps the best book on the Welsh character and the influence of Welsh characters upon England that has ever yet been written. I have lately read that book over again. I find it full of the most interesting suggestions, and I venture now to throw out for the consideration of future committees of eisteddfodau whether something might not be done to work out further the problems that Mr Matthew Arnold has raised in his book. Mr Arnold says that the English geuius that is the genius of Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Wordsworth; and Shelley, of our great pllets as well as our great writers is essentially different from the German. He asks why is it, and his answer is, “We are largely inter mixed with Celtic blood, and that Celtic blood has produced that difference,” I should like to submit that subject to something like a critical test. We have many other names in English literature, the names of three Welshmen in par- ticular, who wrote English poetry. Two of them produced a very marked influence upon the age? in which they lived, and these influences are still existing. These Welsh poets who wrote in English were George Herbert, who was born of an ancient Welsh family at Montgomery; Henry Vaughan, who was born at Skethro, on the banks of the Usk; and Arthur Clough, who was born in Denbighshire. With respect to George Herbert he produced on the English religious public and influence which still exists. I should say you to know how much of the character of his poetry, that which has made it so popular as to have passed through a vast number of editions, is due to the Celtic element in his character. Again, Henry Vaughan wrote many volumes of English poetry which are full of lyrical beauty. Is that essentially of a Welsh character, or how far has English training superseded his Welsh character? Clough lived our days, and his name is closely connected with that of Mr Matthew Arnold. Perhaps next to the”Lycidas” of Milton, and equal, with the “Adonis” of Shelley; is Mr Mathew Arnold’s elegiac poem of“Thyrsis” on the death of Arthur Clough.
Now Arthur Clough was a man who represented strongly the age in which he lived, and I may say here that of the English poets of this generation he was the favourite of that eminent American, Mr Lowell, who is a poet himself, and who has just left these shores. Arthur Clough was a man of Welsh decent. How much of the influence of the character of his poetry is due to his Welsh decent? I really think that a sound essay by somebody who understands characteristic of these three Welshmen who wrote in English would go very far to solve the question as to the influences of Welsh character. Well, now England apart from Wales may be said to be in two parts, the east, which is exclusively Saxon in its character; and the west, which is largely mixed with Wales. Is there any difference to be found between the intellectual characteristics of the east and the west of England? These are topics of the greatest possible interest. Lord Aberdare expressing the ardent hope that the eisteddfod would give increased vitality to those might succeed them.
Brythonfryn then delivered the following bardic address:
Pa elynsydd ynNgwalia,
Yn achwyn acniochra,
A’udoniaurhad i’r dyrfa?
0!d’wedwch, a oes adyn
Neu gar mor wag eigoryn
Na welfwynder, glwysderglan,
Hudolusgan y delyn?
Prif nod ein heistaddfodau
A rhoimwyniantllesiant, llon,
Eigoleudraidd i’r galon,
Ac anfadfeibiosbryntion brad
Alltudia i wlad yr estron.
I’ntud at iaith ein tadau,
I arilwysgnvawl i’r oesau.
Breninolwyr ein Bryniau
O’entddirmygedig, gwledig, gwael,
Fel Ifor Hael mewndomau.
Yn Aberdar eleni
Y cododd hon i fawrfri,
Ni iuerdyddiau Arthur gawr
I’ngorawr y fathgyrchu.
Lord Aberdare syddheddyw
Ar ein heisteddfodhyglod hon,
Mr Dyfed Lewis followed with the “Recit Fair,” “Thanks to my brethren,” and “How vain is man,” by Handel.
The Archdeacon of Llandaff proposed a vote thanks to Lord Aberdare for the many thousand instances which his lordship had given of the fact that his heart beat cordially with the principality his home. Alluding to the eisteddfod, the archdeacon asked what was the festival! Was it simply horse racing or dog fighting? (Many voices “No.”) Was it anything degrading to the social position of the large masses of the country? (“No.”) No, he went on, the interest shown on such occasions as that was in music and literature. He said, then happy day in spite of all. This was the great Welsh holiday. For months before it took place they were bottling up their enthusiasm, and if they shot the corks a little bit loudly now no doubt their more temperate neighbours would give them free and easy forgiveness.
Mr Parkinson seconded the proposition, which was carried with enthusiasm, and acknowledged by Lord Aberdare in a brief speech.
The Archdeacon of Llandaff then introduced Mr Matthew Arnold to the audience as one of the most devoted students of the Celtic character. Mr Mathew Arnold, who met with a most cordial reception, said that in that great building, which was a monument to the turn of the Celtic race for the gigantic, and he must say also, as far as public speaking was concerned, a monument of the impossible, he was rather surprised that they should wish to hear any speaker unless he had such eloquence as that possessed by the Archdeacon of Llandaff.
But he knew that in the ages of faith confessors and martyrs were personages of interest, and he supposed that they remembered that he had suffered something for the sake of the eisteddfod, and that therefore they kindly wished to hear him. It was true that 20 years ago he wrote a letter to his friend Hugh Owen, an excellent Welshman, in which he expressed his interest in eisteddfodau and what they indicated.
He wished to say that he retained that interest still, and that the sight of that immense audience exceeded anything that he had supposed possible. But that immense audience exceeded in bounds what it was possible for his voice to reach, and therefore, having expressed his interest in the eisteddfod, he meant to take his leave of them and sit down.
The competitions followed, the conductor for the day being the Rev W. Jansen Davies.
Translation of Iolo Morganwg’s Psalms prize: £3 3s. Adjudicators: Professor D. Rowlands, B.A., and Lleurwg. The prize was divided between Anglo-Celt and Brythonwr. Six compositions had been received. The name of the successful competitor did not transpire.
The next was the Welsh novel; prize, £5 5s. Adjudicators: Lleurwg and Dafydd Morganwg. There were six competitors. The prize was awarded to “Dos i’r byd my mab a gwnaddaioni” Pencerdd Gwynedd (Mr J. H. Roberts).
For the sake of convenience the programme was changed in point of order, and Mr Lucas Williams sang with great effect “Arm, arm, ye brave.”
Bass Solo Competition
“Now heaven in fullest glory shone” (Haydn). A prize three guineas. Adjudicators; Mr John Thomas and Alaw Ddu. The competitors were:Ardalydd, W. G. Foy, A. T. Foy (brother of the last named), J. M. Llew Dowlais, Illtyd, Llew Bedw, Stanford Jones, Gwilym, and J. W. The latter only made his way with difficulty to theplatform, the approach being blocked. He sang very well, and Mr J. Thomas, said he very much sympathised with him. Mr J. Thomas, in giving his adjudication, said he thought, considering the difficulty of making themselves heard to so vast an audience, the performances had been very remarkable. The prize went to No. 9, the successful competitor being Mr Gwilym Thomas, Porth.
“I will extol Thee” (Sir Michael Costa’s Eli). Prizeof three guineas: Adjudicators: Mr J. Thomas, Caradog, and Alaw Ddu (who acted instead of Mr Turpin). Seven young ladies competed. The fifth was a child evidently of about twelve years. She was announced as Polly Rowlands, and as she was so small she was put on a chair in order that she might be fully seen and fairly heard Standinginthis manner, she sang the piece selected from the oratorio with wonderful facility and expression, her sustaining power on the higher notes and in prolonged phrases being remarkable in a child of her age. Mr John Thomas gave the adjudication of himself and co-adjudicators. He said it was the impression in England that the finest voices were to be found in Wales. All those who had listened to this competition would feel that that assertion had been verified. It had been an extraordinarily interesting one, and he had never regretted in his life more the fact of there not being two prizes to award. He knew that many of those present felt in their hearts that he was going to give the prize to one particular competitor. But they must not allow enthusiasm and sentiment to carry them away on such an occasion. The glory of the competition belonged to Llinos Rhondda (who proved to be Madame Nellie Rees), but although he had not another prize to award, he considered that the greater glory belonged to the child, and to express his sense of it, he begged to set all example of encouragement to that child to go on studying, if providence pleased that she should have health and strength, in order that someday she might become one of the greatest vocalists living. He begged to set an example to others better off than himself by putting down one guinea for the child. He also announced another guinea for her from Mr. Jarrett Roberts of Carnarvon. Similar sums were added by Mr Dl. Owen and a gentleman in the audience, who did not give his name. The successful vocalist was then invested with the prize by General Jenkins, and the child (Polly Rowlands, pupil of Madame Williams-Penn), standing on her chair, was invested by the Venerable Archdeacon Griffiths.
Folk-lore: It transpired that the competitor in the Glamorganshire folk-lore; Crofton Croker, was Mr T. C. Evans, Llangynwyd, the writer, as we surmised by Professor Rhys, of articles on the same subject in the ‘Bridgend Gazette.’
The Welsh Novel
A prize, 5 guineas: Adjudicators, Lleurwg and Dafydd Morganwg. The successful competitor was declared to be T. G. Powell, Coalburg, Ohio, America.
Specimen of Wood Carving
Prize of 3 guineas: Mr Milo Griffith, in giving his adjudication, said there were seven exhibits, and the prize must be awarded to No. 94, an oak table by “Derwen.” The successful competitor proved to be J. Williams, Dolgelly
Life-size busts of Welsh Personages
Mr J. Milo Griffith adjudicated in the competition for the best life-size bust of any Welsh personage (prize 8 guineas). He said, the two specimens exhibited lacked to a great degree any fine artistic feeling. They evidently must be the work of amateurs. The bust which, I am told, is intended to represent the late rector of Merthyr is the best. The author of the work is “Le Pauvre Homme.” Let the poor man receive the prize. Mr Milo Griffith said, with a view of producing a more beautiful piece of furniture in future, he wished to suggest that a prize be given for a design tor a bardic chair at Carnarvon that would be more suitable for the eventful occasion. He trusted by this means that a thoroughly artistic work would be produced at the proposed National Eisteddfod to be held in London in 1887 (the jubilee of her Majesty’s reign). In that year we hope to see in London all interested in literature, music, art, and whatever tended to elevate mankind.
Woollen manufactures of South Wales
A prize of 15 guineas was offered, but the adjudicators (Lleurwg, Dafydd Morganwg, and Mr D Emlyn Evans) made no award, there being an absence of merit in each of the two essays submitted.
Translation of Iolo Morganwg’s Psalms
It was stated that “Brythonwr,” between whom and “Anglo-Celt” the prize for the translation of these psalms was in the morning divided, was Griffith Jones, Carnarvon.
Best Pencil Drawing
Pencil Drawing (children under 15 years of age) Prize, £1 1s. Mr T. H. Thomas, one of the adjudicators, said the prize was given to one who signed himself “Monitor.” The work was an outline drawing of very great merit, and evidently done in the art school.
Great Choral Competition, Victory of Dowlais
A mishap to the Llanelly Choir
Grand choral competition (choirs not to be less than 150 and not to exceed 200 voices). “Hark!the deep, tremendous Voice” (Haydn), “Beloved Lord, Thine eyes we close” (Spohr), and “Vengeance, arise,” (D. Jenkins), Prize £150, and a baton to the successful conductor. Adjudicators: Mr John Thomas, Mr. Turpin, Caradog, Dr Frost, and Mr W. Jarrett Roberts. It is almost needless to say that this competition, one of the greatest features of the eisteddfod, had been looked forward to with intense interest. The members of the choirs announced for competition were about 1,000 in number. The first choir that sang the selected pieces was that of Rhondda Philharmonic Society (150 voices, Mr. Prosser conductor), the accompaniments played by Mr Owen (pianoforte) and Mr. Swindell,(harmonium). The Dowlais Choir competed, under the conductorship of Dan Davies. The voices numbered 160, and a performance of the vocalists were received with a considerable amount of applause. Rhondda Choral Society (Mr M.O. Jones, conductor voices, 198) was third in the competition. Then after a song “The Bells of Aberdovey” by Madame Lizzie, the Ebbw Vale United Choir (170 voices) took up a position, and sang with much power the appointed test pieces. Their conductor was Mr Tom Davies. The Merthyr Choir (160 voices) with Mr J. Evans as conductor, followed; and lastly came the Llanelly United Choir (Mr R. C. Jenkins, conductor). It was stated that the voices numbered 180. Someone in the hall complained that the vocalists were in excess of the limited number, but the conductor of the proceedings (the Rev. W. Jansen Davies) referred the audience to one of the rules, which provided that all objections must be given in writing. The Llanelly choir then proceeded with their singing, which was very fine and highly applauded, each piece being sung with decision and effect. Unfortunately, at the last moment, a gentleman who was turning over the pages of the conductor’s music, turned over two pages instead of one. The conductor became confused, and the sopranos being similarly affected, broke off abruptly for the moment. A plucky attempt made to continue the singing, but it was no avail. The previous splendid performance of the choir was utterly spoilt by the contrast thus rudely caused. Mr J. Thomas accompanied by his co-adjudicators, stood forth on the platform and gave their decision briefly. He said, in the first place they had been listening to choral singing such as could only be heard in Wales. Every performance was a masterpiece, and every choir deserved a prize. He might as well tell them at once that the adjudicators were perfectly unanimous, and after serious consideration they had n. the least hesitation in giving the prize to Dowlais. Mr Thomas said he had told them before that the singing of each choir was most remarkable, but they wished to pay compliment to the second best choir. A little incident occurred in the performance of the Llanelly choir. Some pages were turned over by accident, which rather interfered with the last few bars; but that had nothing to do with the adjudication. Next to the Dowlais singing came the singing the Llanelly choir. He went to say a gentleman living in Aberdare, Captain Phillips, had prior to the competition prepared that beautiful conducting stick which he in his hand for the winner of the prize. Mr Davies was then called on the platform, and amid the plaudits of the audience he was invested with the prize by Mrs Kemys-Tynte.
On the Dowlais choir leaving the pavilion, they received quite an ovation.
The winner of the first prize for ornamental cutting in stone,on Wednesday, was Mr D. Owen Rees, and not Mr T. O. Jones as reported.
The Adjourned Gorsedd
The weather having cleared a little in the afternoon, the adjourned gorsedd was held, when Archdruid Clwydfardd presided. Genera) business was transacted, and the following were ordained: Revs. R. T. Howell (Carfanawg), R. E. Williams(Twrfab), andR. Rowlands (Rowland ap Gwilym); bards: Messrs Watkin Williams (Watcyn Wyn), D. Onllwyn Brace (Onllwyn), T. Morgan (Caerglas), Jonathan Rees (Nathan Wyn), and John Williams (Gwilym Cadle) ovates: Messes J. C. Parkinson (Amman), J. Mills (Tarianydd), T. Howells (Hywel Cynon), and W. James (Iago Fwyaf], The attendance was large.
A vast concourse of persons crowded the pavilion in the evening, the occasion being the production of Mackenzie’s new dramatic oratorio, Rose of Sharon.” Mr Davis presided, and it was officially computed that there were between 5,000 and 6,000 present. The principal artistes engaged were Miss Mary Davies (soprano), Miss Eleanor Rees (contralto), Mr Ben Davies (tenor), and Mr Bridson(bass). The Aberdare Choral Union supplied the chorus, and there was a full orchestral band, Mr E. G. Woodward being the leader and Mr Rees Evans the conductor. Miss Mary Davies, the popular ballad singer, was in excellent voice, and met with a most cordial reception. Mr Ben Davies suffered severely from a throat affection, and though he made, an attempt to fulfil his engagement he was compelled to absent himself during the latter part of the performance. The concert, however, was a great success bod; artistically and financially. It is estimated that during the day, and altogether independently of those at the concert, above 11,000 people passed through the pavilion turnstiles.