Saturday, February 5, 2011

Triads from the Britons

King Arthur on a French tapestry. From

"The Triads are a peculiar species of poetical composition, of which the Welsh bards have left numerous examples. They are enumerations of a triad of persons, or events, or observations, strung together in one short sentence. This form of composition, originally invented, in all likelihood, to assist the memory, has been raised by the Welsh to a degree of elegance of which it hardly at first sight appears susceptible. The Triads are of all ages, some of them probably as old as anything in the language. Short as they are individually, the collection in the Myvyrian Archaeology occupies more than one hundred and seventy pages of double columns.(....) giving the first place to one of King Arthur.s own composition:

" I have three heroes in battle;
Mael the tall, and Llyr, with his army,
And Caradoc, the pillar of Wales." 

"The three principal bards of the island of Britain:-
Merlin Ambrose
Merlin the son of Morfyn, called also Merlin the Wild,
And Taliesin, the chief of the bards." 

" The three golden-tongued knights of the court of Arthur:-
Gawain, son of Gwyar,
Drydvas, son of Tryphin,
And Eliwlod, son of Madag, ap Uther." 

Reference: Bulfinch's Mythology. P. 533. New York, 1978

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