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"This is William Skene's anthology of dark-age Welsh Bardic poetry. Often cited, but difficult to obtain, this book contains every remaining piece of Bardic poetry known. The poems are translated from four manuscripts: the Black Book of Caermarthen, the Red Book of Hergest (which is also the source of the Mabinogion), the Book of Taliessin and the Book of Aneurin, all of which date from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries C.E. The poems themselves date from much earlier, probably from the sixth century by internal evidence.
This corpus is one of the treasures of world literature. It is also the only true source material for the study of Bardic lore, which reputedly preserved the esoteric (and long-lost) beliefs of the Druids. Largely written to satisfy wealthy patrons, much of the subject matter is related to mead-inspired battles, particularly the renowned Gododin cycle. However, the poetry rises above the gory combat and toadying to achieve an artistic height that would not be reached for many centuries. Some of the later works, which use Christian themes as a jumping-off point, have an almost haiku-like quality. The poems are infused throughout with mystic clarity, strange flashes of wisdom, and insight into humanity and nature." (Quote from sacred-texts.com)
Table of Contents:
Publisher’s Preface; The Poems Contained In The Four Ancient Books Of Wales.; The Literature Of Wales Subsequent To The Twelfth Century.; Sources Of The Early History Of Wales.; State Of The Country In The Sixth Century, And Its History Prior To A.d. 560.; State Of Britain In A.d. 560 When Gildas Wrote, And Kings Of The Line Of Dyfi.; Manau Gododin And The Picts.; The Races Of Britain And The Place Of The Picts Among Them.; The Celtic Dialects And The Probable Character Of The Pictish Language.; The Celtic Topography Of Scotland, And The Dialectic Differences Indicated By It.; Cumbria And The Men Of The North.; Recent Criticism Of Mythological Poems Examined.; Recent Criticism Of Historical Poems Examined.; True Place Of The Poems In Welsh Literature.; Result Of The Examination Of The Poems, And Their Classification.; Historical Poems Containing Allusions To Events Prior To A.d. 560.; The Reconciliation Of Llud The Less. Book Of Taliessin Liv.; The Death-song Of Corroi, Son Of Dayry. Book Of Taliessin Xlii.; The Death-song Of Erof. Book Of Taliessin Xl.; Book Of Taliessin Xli.; Book Of Taliessin Xlvi.; The Chair Of The Sovereign. Book Of Taliessin xv.; Black Book Of Caermarthen xxxi.; Book Of Taliessin xxx.; Geraint, Son Of Erbin. Black Book Of Caermarthen xxii. Red Book Of Hergest xiv.; Daronwy. Book Of Taliessin X.; The Praise` Of Lludd The Great Book Of Taliessin Lii.; Book Of Taliessin xiv.; The Battle Of Godeu. Book Of Taliessin viii.; Book Of Taliessin I. Red Book Of Hergest xxiii.; Death-song Of Dylan Son Of The Wave. Book Of Taliessin Xliii.; Black Book Of Caermarthen xxxv.; Red Book Of Hergest xxii.; Black Book Of Caermarthen xxxiii.; The Chair Of Ceridwen. Book Of Taliessin xvi.; The Death-song Of Uthyr Pendragon. Book Of Taliessin Xlviii.; Book Of Taliessin Xlv.; The Praise Of Taliessin. Book Of Taliessin xii.; Black Book Of Caermarthen xxxviii.; Black Book Of Caermarthen xv.; Book Of Taliessin xxi. Black Book Of Caermarthen xiv.; Black Book Of Caermarthen viii.; Book Of Taliessin xxv.; The Verses Of The Graves. Black Book Of Caermarthen xix.; Historical Poems Containing Allusions To Events Subsequent To A.d. 560.; Names Of The Sons Of Llywarch Hen. Black Book Of Caermarthen xxxix.; Black Book Of Caermarthen xxx.; Black Book Of Caermarthen xxxiv.; Red Book Of Hergest xi.; Black Book Of Caermarthen xxxii.; Book Of Taliessin xi.; Book Of Taliessin xxxviii.; Red Book Of Hergest xvii.; Book Of Taliessin xxxi.; Book Of Taliessin xxxii.; Book Of Taliessin xxxiii.; Book Of Taliessin xxxiv.; Book Of Taliessin xxxvi.; The Satisfaction Of Urien. Book Of Taliessin xxix.; The
About the Author:
"William Forbes Skene (7 June 1809– 29 August 1892), Scottish historian and antiquary, was the second son of Sir Walter Scott's friend, James Skene (1775–1864), of Rubislaw, near Aberdeen, and was born on June 7 1809.
He was educated at Edinburgh Academy in Edinburgh and at the University of St Andrews, taking an especial interest in the study of Celtic philology and literature. In 1832, he became a writer to the signet (WS), and shortly afterwards obtained an official appointment in the bill department of the Court of Session, which he held until 1865. His early interest in the history and antiquities of the Scottish Highlands bore its first fruit in 1837, when he published The Highlanders of Scotland, their Origin, History and Antiquities.
In 1847, during the Highland Potato Famine, he was appointed Secretary to the Central Board for Highland Relief. In this position he worked closely with Sir Charles Trevelyan, Assistant Secretary to the Treasury.
His chief work, however, is his Celtic Scotland, a History of Ancient Alban (5 vols., Edinburgh, 1876-1880), perhaps the most important contribution to Scottish history written during the 19th century. In 1879 he was made a Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) of the University of Oxford, and in 1881 Historiographer Royal for Scotland. He died in Edinburgh on August 29 1892.
The most important of Skene's other works are: editions of John of Fordun's Chronica genus Scotorum (Edinburgh, 1871–1872); of the Four Ancient Books of Wales (Edinburgh, 1868); of the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots (Edinburgh, 1867); and of Adomnán's Vita S. Columbae (Edinburgh, 1874); an Essay on the Coronation Stone of Scone (Edinburgh, 1869); and Memorials of the Family of Skene of Skene (Aberdeen, 1887)." (Quote from wikipedia.org)
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