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15

CHAPTER II.
MAURICE AND EDWARD KYFFIN--CAPT. MIDDLETON--EDMUND PRYS--DAVID JONES.

A land without hymn or psalm--such seems to have been the condition of Wales at the beginning of the sixteenth century. But the spiritual awakening which resulted in a translation of the whole Bible into Welsh, turned the mind of contemporary poets to the study of hymnology. The first edition of the Welsh Bible was published in 1588; and its appearance heralded the new era of sacred song. There were pious patriots who sorrowed much that while England, Scotland, France, and Italy, had each its voice of praise in the temple of the Christian Faith, 'poor little Wales' stood at the gate, hymnless and forgotten. The first to give public expression to this sorrow was MAURICE KYFFIN; of whom very little is known, except his able translation of Bishop Jewel's Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae. It is in the introduction (dated London, 1594) to this book that he laments the absence of song in the church and the home; and remarks--'Whoever beginneth this sacred labour 16 must have understanding of several learned languages, so that he give no word in the rhyme but shall be entirely consonant with the mind of the Holy Ghost. Had I the quiet and leisure which many have, the first thing, and the most desirable pain I would take upon me, were to approach this work, after a conference with the learned men of Wales as to what form and what kind of metre would be best and fittest for such piety.'

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