NLW 21387E, no. 2
(2) Hints for the History of my Life
Born in Lancarvan Parish, my Parents of respectable families my father's a collateral branch of the family from whom Oliver Cromwell was descended, my mother's of the family of Matthews. was ever since I remember asthmatic & consumptive. with very weak nerves. about 4 years of age learned the Alphabet by seeing my father engrave Letters on stones. my mother taught me to read, the very first Book was a Collection of Songs (the vocal Miscellany) from which I probably received the first poetical Bias, being of opinion that Poetry, like all other sciences, is a mere acquisition and no supernatural talent, my next book was Robinson Crusoe, from which I derive some singular, but, I believe, beneficial Ideas. – taught to write and a few of the first rules of Arithmetic by my Mother, who had received a boarding school education. attempt English verse.
about 7 years old began to read welsh, made some attempts at welsh poetry. – Revd Messrs Carn of St. Athan, Morgan of Flimston took some notice of me, lent me books, noticed by Messrs Walters of Aberthaw, E. Williams of Lancarvan &c.
about 9 years ages began to work with my father, cut Letters in stone, attempted carving &c, my father very averse to my endeavours to obtain a little knowledge – favoured much by my mother, very desirous of going to school, but my father would not consent, - my three Brothers kept at school for many years, - borrowed books of my friends – about 16 years of age, bought Lord Bacon's Natural History &c Essays, Malebranche's search after truth, Fisher's Arithmetic some Welsh books of history, Poetry &c, Playford's introduction to singing, acquired a little of the Theory of Music & musical Composition, played a little on the flute, became acquainted with Welsh Bards, about this time was many times on the point of being carried off by a consumption.
about 20 admitted a Welsh Bard in a congress held for the purpose, this ancient custom hitherto retained became extinct in me, as there is not now living sufficient number of Bards regularly admitted to hold a Congress. the Custom curious and worth recording, something in it of the Druidical usages, - some of them ever yet committed to writing. So that I am the last of the old regularly admitted Bards. account of that Custom, evidently derived from the druids. –