"(Welsh: "harmony"), Welsh poetic device,
complicated system of alliteration and internal rhyme,
obligatory in the 24 strict meters of Welsh bardic verse.
Cynghanedd had developed by the 13th century from
the prosodic devices of the early bards and was formally
codified at the Caerwys Eisteddfod (Assembly of Bards)
of 1524. The device became an obligatory adornment
of poems in the strict (classical bard) metres. There are
four fundamental types of cynghanedd, but within these
there are a number of refinements and variations. When
skillfully used, cynghanedd is capable of conveying an
almost unlimited variety of subtle effects."
(Encyclopedia Britanicca © 2001 Britannica.com
"...The system used throughout Welsh poetry is called
cynghanedd (king-HAH-neth, th as in then).
of cynghanedd have been present in Welsh poetry
since at least the earliest surviving examples (from about
the 6th century AD). Full-fledged cynghanedd became
both familiar and expected in the 13th and 14th centuries."
"There are three basic types of cynghanedd:
Cynghanedd Gytsain (GUT-sign)
Cynghanedd Sain (sign)
Cynghanedd Lusg (lisk)
"...Welsh poetry is generally considered to have reached
its heyday in the 14th century with the works of
Dafydd ap Gwilym and other poets. During this time,
two poets, Einion Offeiriad and Dafydd Ddu
codified the "official" Welsh poetic forms..."
(Katherine L. Bryant,
An intricate system of alliteration and rhyme in Welsh
1849 T. Stephens Lit. of Kymry iv. 490 The
consonancy, termed Cynghanedd, was introduced at
that time [sc. late 14th century], and has ever since
formed an essential feature in Kymric1 poetry.
1878 G.M. Hopkins Let. 5 Oct. (1935) 15 Certain
chimes suggested by the Welsh poetry I had been
reading (what they call cynghanedd).
1886 - Let. 6 Oct. (1938) 222 His employment of the
Welsh cynghanedd or chime I do not look on as quite
1962 Times 31 Jan. (Surv. Wales) p. x/5
that complicated system of consonantal correspondencies
and internal rhyme.
1 Kymric: var. of Cymric. Hence
Kymricize v. trans.
to make Kymric.
Cymric: Of or pertaining to the Welsh people and
language. (f. Welsh Cymru Wales, Cymry the Welsh,
pl. of Cymro, probably representing ancient Combrox
compatriot (cf. Allobrox men of another country).
1688 R. Holme Armoury III. 415/2 The Alphabet of
the ancient Cymra's or Britains.
1656 Blount Glossogr.,Cymraecan (from the Br.
Cymraeg i. Welsh) Cambrian.
1833 Southey Nav. Hist. Eng. I. 1 The Cambrians, or,
more properly, the Cymry.
1839 Keightley Hist. Eng. I. 78 Beneath them were the
(Oxford English Dictionary © 2000 Oxford University
Here is a poem by Katherine Bryant (cited above) in one
of the styles called "cywydd deuair hirion." It is an example
of a poem composed in a language not native to the style.
Great my lord, sword and singing,
Over his shire, verses ring.
Bright fame in game and guidance,
Brass Lamp's dream -- gleam in his glance --
Gifted bard, Lantern's guardian,
Graceful word heard from his hand.
Sharp his steel, sure praises tell,
Surefoot cat leaing battle.
I speak who know, praise owing,
I feel his steel and its sting.
I know his cheer, clear clamor,
I know his song, strong its soar,
I hear his wise words clearly.
I praise his grace in my glee.
May fame increase, unceasing;
My praise I raise -- may it ring!
Katherine Bryant, 1993-4
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