Within a few more days i expect everything to come alive...
As i write a small insect with reddish wings is struggling to move over the minute fibres of my woollen glove - it is within 2 or 3 centimetres of these words about itself and of which it is surely unaware - and now it's gone... and i go too...
While reading the English edition of John Davies, A History of Wales, Penguin. London 1990 (in Welsh), 1993 (in English) i wrote these notes on the blank page inside the cover:
page 49: 'The natural inheritors of the power of Rome were the Romano-British ... the ruling class in Britain considered themselves to be Roman.'As i read that my picture of post-Roman Britain changed and i felt the correctness of David Jones' approving view of what he called 'the Roman deposits'* and i felt the loss of that more international tradition...
page 50: 'Ireland ... the island was never part of the Roman Empire, there was no break in the development of its native institutions as there was in Wales.'Again, as i read that, i felt touched by something deeper and more prolonged than the more local conflicts since the Roman period in Britain.
page 69: In 400 the inhabitants of Wales spoke Brittonic; in 700 they spoke Welsh.'
...hence Welsh is a modern language (like Italian, French or Spanish) - an amalgam of the once-imperial Latin with a pre-Roman language such as Brittonic or Gaulish.
page 71: 'it would appear that 'Welsh' meant not so much foreigners as people who had been Romanised; other versions of the word may be found along the borders of the Empire - the Walloons in Belgium, the Welsch in the Italian Tyrol, Vlaches in Romania...'
Europe acquired an external calm that is still evident in the dying form of English gentlemen, and ladies, and their aristocratic but polite Italian, French or Spanish equivalents! The ones whom we, the present day Welsh, still tend to oppose, deride and to regret as the ones who so often have dismissed the Brittonic or Welsh as uncivilised!... Today in these brief but deeply felt notes i am i hope unlearning some of that racial prejudice (against things Roman and things English) that i was born to! And i keep realising that i am still illiterate in my mother tongue and much enjoy writing in English!
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