Heather Rose Jones
hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Sun Sep 3 13:26:16 PDT 1995
Cyvarchaf well i'm cydymdeithon ysydd yn ymgynnull yma -- which is to
say, greetings to those assembled here. Since the time has come for
introductions, I will venture to make my own.
My name is Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn and I have been a habitual
visitor to the central regions of the West Kingdom from my native Gwynedd
for these past eighteen years. In that time I have studied the hengerddi
-- the works of the ancient poets -- as well as more that of more recent
poets, and foreign styles as well, though they have not the same
challenging sweetness as well-wrought cynghanedd.
> > I do primarily story-telling and poetry and, to kick off the first
> > discussion, wage a personal campaign to eliminate the use of the word
> > "bardic" to describe all entertainment activitiy.
And in this I can only concur. It seems very strange to me to hear the
people of this land refer to someone as a "bard" who can recite neither
genealogy nor law, or who has not even heard, much less memorized, the old
stories, or above all, who is not himself a prydydd -- a maker of verses
-- rather than a performer of others' work. And surely there is no shame
in forsaking the title of bard if your work is in other fields. The world
has need, as well, of the talents of the clerwr and teuliwr, or whatever
name is given in other lands to those who deal with verse, tale, and music.
> Huzzah and Hear Hear. I knew I wasn't the only one to find this a very
> Silly Thing, and about as annoying as calling everything that is vaguely
> mystic or Euro-nature-oriented "Celtic." Not that I want to get these
> discussions off to a cranky start. Perhaps someone could tell us how the
> term came to be the generic one?
And if we're going to get into meta-discussions of SCA origins, I'm not
going to try doing it in persona. I don't know that anyone can know for
certain where to point the finger, but I'd suggest that the homogenized,
oversimplified terminology of the role-playing game industry bears a lot
of the blame. Stir into that the fact that a lot of the early SCA-folk
had strong Celtic interests. (Hmm, I should probably have put those in
reverse order to reflect a probable parallel cause and effect.) And
finally, we have the real-world use of "bard" in the generic sense of
"poet", as when applied to Shakespeare, for example.
Interestingly enough, even though my persona _is_ from one of the
cultures in which "bard" (or rather "bardd") is a functioning societal
role, I don't identify myself as a "bard" in an occupational sense. I am
a high-born noblewoman -- I don't need to earn my bread singing someone
else's praises. It's true that I compose poetry and songs and perform on
the harp in the evening in the hall, but these are the natural and
expected accomplishments of a woman of my rank.
So let's free the word "bard" from the weight of misapplication that it
now bears and let it actually _mean_ something in its own context once again.
Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn
Heather Rose Jones
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