Dwelly-d Faclair Dwelly air loidhne Dwelly's Gaelic Dictionary Online


-àird, pl -àird [bàrda & bàrdan,] sm Bard, rhymer, poet. Sheinn am bàrd, the bard sang. [** Poetry being, in the opinion of the warlike Celts, the likeliest method of perpetuating their bravery, the bards were held by them in the highest veneration. Princes and warriors did not disdain to claim affinity with them. The Celts, being passionately fond of poetry, would listen to no instruction, whether from priest or philosopher, unless it were conveyed in rhymes. Hence the word bàrd meant also a priest, philosopher or teacher of any kind. We often find a bard entrusted with the education of a prince and about three hundred years ago, a Highland chief had seldom any other instructor. Such was the respect paid to the ancient bards, that, according to Diodorus, the Sicilian, they could put a stop to armies in the heat of battle. After an engagement they raised the song over the deceased, and extolled the heroes who survived. When a bard appeared in an army, it was either as a herald or ambassador, hence his person and property were sacred in the midst of his enemies and amid their wildest ravages. In earlier times he never bore arms and Owen asserts that it was unlawful to unsheathe a weapon in his presence. Among the ancient British there were, according to Jones, three orders of bards — the Privardd, (Prìomh-bàrd) or chief bard; the Poswardd, who taught what was set forth by the privardd and the Arwyddwardd, i.e. the ensign bard or herald at-arms, who employed himself in genealogy and in blazoning the arms of princes and nobles, as well as altering them according to their dignity or deserts. Owen observes that their dress was sky-blue, an emblem of peace. Among the Irish Celts the bards enjoyed many extraordinary privileges. The chief bard was called Filidh, or Ollamh ri dàn, a graduate or doctor in poetry and had thirty inferior bards as attendants, whilst a bard of the second order had fifteen. The Gael of Scotland was not behind his brother Celts in his veneration for the bards, for they had lands bestowed on than, which became hereditary in their families. A Highland chief retained two bards, who, like those of the Irish, had their retinue of disciples and though the office did by no means procure the same deep respect as in times of old, yet it was always tilled to the utmost. The reasons for the decline of their power will be found under “aois-dàna”].

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