of the “hardness of their hearts,”—because the attempt

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GeraldtheWelshman-GiraldusCambrensis-wasborn,probablyin1147,atManorbierCastleinthecountyofPembroke.H 。

Gerald the Welshman - Giraldus Cambrensis - was born, probably in 1147, at Manorbier Castle in the county of Pembroke. His father was a Norman noble, William de Barri, who took his name from the little island of Barry off the coast of Glamorgan. His mother, Angharad, was the daughter of Gerald de Windsor { 1} by his wife, the famous Princess Nesta, the "Helen of Wales," and the daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr Mawr, the last independent Prince of South Wales.

of the “hardness of their hearts,”—because the attempt

Gerald was therefore born to romance and adventure. He was reared in the traditions of the House of Dinevor. He heard the brilliant and pitiful stories of Rhys ap Tewdwr, who, after having lost and won South Wales, died on the stricken field fighting against the Normans, an old man of over fourscore years; and of his gallant son, Prince Rhys, who, after wrenching his patrimony from the invaders, died of a broken heart a few months after his wife, the Princess Gwenllian, had fallen in a skirmish at Kidwelly. No doubt he heard, though he makes but sparing allusion to them, of the loves and adventures of his grandmother, the Princess Nesta, the daughter and sister of a prince, the wife of an adventurer, the concubine of a king, and the paramour of every daring lover - a Welshwoman whose passions embroiled all Wales, and England too, in war, and the mother of heroes - Fitz-Geralds, Fitz-Stephens, and Fitz-Henries, and others - who, regardless of their mother's eccentricity in the choice of their fathers, united like brothers in the most adventurous undertaking of that age, the Conquest of Ireland.

of the “hardness of their hearts,”—because the attempt

Though his mother was half Saxon and his father probably fully Norman, Gerald, with a true instinct, described himself as a "Welshman." His frank vanity, so naive as to be void of offence, his easy acceptance of everything which Providence had bestowed on him, his incorrigible belief that all the world took as much interest in himself and all that appealed to him as he did himself, the readiness with which he adapted himself to all sorts of men and of circumstances, his credulity in matters of faith and his shrewd common sense in things of the world, his wit and lively fancy, his eloquence of tongue and pen, his acute rather than accurate observation, his scholarship elegant rather than profound, are all characteristic of a certain lovable type of South Walian. He was not blind to the defects of his countrymen any more than to others of his contemporaries, but the Welsh he chastised as one who loved them. His praise followed ever close upon the heels of his criticism. There was none of the rancour in his references to Wales which defaces his account of contemporary Ireland. He was acquainted with Welsh, though he does not seem to have preached it, and another archdeacon acted as the interpreter of Archbishop Baldwin's Crusade sermon in Anglesea. But he could appreciate the charm of the Cynghanedd, the alliterative assonance which is still the most distinctive feature of Welsh poetry. He cannot conceal his sympathy with the imperishable determination of his countrymen to keep alive the language which is their differentia among the nations of the world. It is manifest in the story which he relates at the end of his "Description of Wales." Henry II. asked an old Welshman of Pencader in Carmarthenshire if the Welsh could resist his might. "This nation, O King," was the reply, "may often be weakened and in great part destroyed by the power of yourself and of others, but many a time, as it deserves, it will rise triumphant. But never will it be destroyed by the wrath of man, unless the wrath of God be added. Nor do I think that any other nation than this of Wales, or any other tongue, whatever may hereafter come to pass, shall on the day of the great reckoning before the Most High Judge, answer for this corner of the earth." Prone to discuss with his "Britannic frankness" the faults of his countrymen, he cannot bear that any one else should do so. In the "Description of Wales" he breaks off in the middle of a most unflattering passage concerning the character of the Welsh people to lecture Gildas for having abused his own countrymen. In the preface to his "Instruction of Princes," he makes a bitter reference to the prejudice of the English Court against everything Welsh - "Can any good thing come from Wales?" His fierce Welshmanship is perhaps responsible for the unsympathetic treatment which he has usually received at the hands of English historians. Even to one of the writers of Dr. Traill's "Social England," Gerald was little more than "a strong and passionate Welshman."

of the “hardness of their hearts,”—because the attempt

Sometimes it was his pleasure to pose as a citizen of the world. He loved Paris, the centre of learning, where he studied as a youth, and where he lectured in his early manhood. He paid four long visits to Rome. He was Court chaplain to Henry II. He accompanied the king on his expeditions to France, and Prince John to Ireland. He retired, when old age grew upon him, to the scholarly seclusion of Lincoln, far from his native land. He was the friend and companion of princes and kings, of scholars and prelates everywhere in England, in France, and in Italy. And yet there was no place in the world so dear to him as Manorbier. Who can read his vivid description of the old castle by the sea - its ramparts blown upon by the winds that swept over the Irish Sea, its fishponds, its garden, and its lofty nut trees - without feeling that here, after all, was the home of Gerald de Barri? "As Demetia," he said in his "Itinerary," "with its seven cantreds is the fairest of all the lands of Wales, as Pembroke is the fairest part of Demetia, and this spot the fairest of Pembroke, it follows that Manorbier is the sweetest spot in Wales." He has left us a charming account of his boyhood, playing with his brothers on the sands, they building castles and he cathedrals, he earning the title of "boy bishop" by preaching while they engaged in boyish sport. On his last recorded visit to Wales, a broken man, hunted like a criminal by the king, and deserted by the ingrate canons of St. David's, he retired for a brief respite from strife to the sweet peace of Manorbier. It is not known where he died, but it is permissible to hope that he breathed his last in the old home which he never forgot or ceased to love.

He mentions that the Welsh loved high descent and carried their pedigree about with them. In this respect also Gerald was Welsh to the core. He is never more pleased than when he alludes to his relationship with the Princes of Wales, or the Geraldines, or Cadwallon ap Madoc of Powis. He hints, not obscurely, that the real reason why he was passed over for the Bishopric of St. David's in 1186 was that Henry II. feared his natio et cognatio, his nation and his family. He becomes almost dithyrambic in extolling the deeds of his kinsmen in Ireland. "Who are they who penetrated into the fastnesses of the enemy? The Geraldines. Who are they who hold the country in submission? The Geraldines. Who are they whom the foemen dread? The Geraldines. Who are they whom envy would disparage? The Geraldines. Yet fight on, my gallant kinsmen,

" Felices facti si quid mea carmina possuit."

Gerald was satisfied, not only with his birthplace and lineage, but with everything that was his. He makes complacent references to his good looks, which he had inherited from Princess Nesta. "Is it possible so fair a youth can die?" asked Bishop, afterwards Archbishop, Baldwin, when he saw him in his student days. { 2} Even in his letters to Pope Innocent he could not refrain from repeating a compliment paid to him on his good looks by Matilda of St. Valery, the wife of his neighbour at Brecon, William de Braose. He praises his own unparalleled generosity in entertaining the poor, the doctors, and the townsfolk of Oxford to banquets on three successive days when he read his "Topography of Ireland" before that university. As for his learning he records that when his tutors at Paris wished to point out a model scholar they mentioned Giraldus Cambrensis. He is confident that though his works, being all written in Latin, have not attained any great contemporary popularity, they will make his name and fame secure for ever. The most precious gift he could give to Pope Innocent III., when he was anxious to win his favour, was six volumes of his own works; and when good old Archbishop Baldwin came to preach the Crusade in Wales, Gerald could think of no better present to help beguile the tedium of the journey than his own "Topography of Ireland." He is equally pleased with his own eloquence. When the archbishop had preached, with no effect, for an hour, and exclaimed what a hardhearted people it was, Gerald moved them almost instantly to tears. He records also that John Spang, the Lord Rhys's fool, said to his master at Cardigan, after Gerald had been preaching the Crusade, "You owe a great debt, O Rhys, to your kinsman, the archdeacon, who has taken a hundred or so of your men to serve the Lord; for if he had only spoken in Welsh, you would not have had a soul left." His works are full of appreciations of Gerald's reforming zeal, his administrative energy, his unostentatious and scholarly life.

Professor Freeman in his "Norman Conquest" described Gerald as "the father of comparative philology," and in the preface to his edition of the last volume of Gerald's works in the Rolls Series, he calls him "one of the most learned men of a learned age," "the universal scholar." His range of subjects is indeed marvellous even for an age when to be a "universal scholar" was not so hopeless of attainment as it has since become. Professor Brewer, his earliest editor in the Rolls Series, is struck by the same characteristic. "Geography, history, ethics, divinity, canon law, biography, natural history, epistolary correspondence, and poetry employed his pen by turns, and in all these departments of literature he has left memorials of his ability." Without being Ciceronian, his Latin was far better than that of his contemporaries. He was steeped in the classics, and he had, as Professor Freeman remarks, "mastered more languages than most men of his time, and had looked at them with an approach to a scientific view which still fewer men of his time shared with him." He quotes Welsh, English, Irish, French, German, Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, and with four or five of these languages at least he had an intimate, scholarly acquaintance. His judgment of men and things may not always have been sound, but he was a shrewd observer of contemporary events. "The cleverest critic of the life of his time" is the verdict of Mr. Reginald Poole. { 3} He changed his opinions often: he was never ashamed of being inconsistent. In early life he was, perhaps naturally, an admirer of the Angevin dynasty; he lived to draw the most terrible picture extant of their lives and characters. During his lifetime he never ceased to inveigh against Archbishop Hubert Walter; after his death he repented and recanted. His invective was sometimes coarse, and his abuse was always virulent. He was not over-scrupulous in his methods of controversy; but no one can rise from a reading of his works without a feeling of liking for the vivacious, cultured, impulsive, humorous, irrepressible Welshman. Certainly no Welshman can regard the man who wrote so lovingly of his native land, and who championed her cause so valiantly, except with real gratitude and affection.

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