IORWERTH BELI, a poet who sang in Gwynedd early in the 14th century

Name: Iorwerth Beli
Gender: Male
Occupation: poet
Area of activity: Poetry
Author: David Myrddin Lloyd

He sang an awdl to the bishop of Bangor (The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales , 317-8) reproaching him for neglecting poets and overesteeming musicians. This poem makes use of a metre which, according to Cerdd Dafod, 339, is not found in any poem before 1322 which can be precisely dated. In Iorwerth Beli's awdl we are given a glimpse of the position and outlook of the poets in the period after the fall of Llywelyn the Last. Poets who took pride in the old court tradition were turning to the bishop, expecting him now to give the leadership and patronage which had been the role of the Welsh prince, and reminding him of the dignity of the poet in the court of Maelgwn. But the bishop does not choose to assume this role. He neglects the poets, and gives honour and fine raiment to the ' dregs of art,' to English youths with their ' earsplitting noises,' their song which is like the squealing of piglets, their horns and drums, and they are respected even for knowing English. The bishop to whom this poem is addressed must therefore have been a Welshman, but favourable to the English and their entertainments. Thus one may presume that it was composed before 1327, and in all probability during the bishopric of Anian Sais, that is between 1309 and 1327.


Published date: 1959

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