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The Description of Wales by Giraldus Cambrensis
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The Description of Wales




FIRST PREFACE to Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury



I, who, at the expense of three years' labour, arranged, a short
time ago, in three parts, the Topography of Ireland, with a
description of its natural curiosities, and who afterwards, by two
years' study, completed in two parts the Vaticinal History of its
Conquest; and who, by publishing the Itinerary of the Holy Man
(Baldwin) through Cambria, prevented his laborious mission from
perishing in obscurity, do now propose, in the present little work,
to give some account of this my native country, and to describe the
genius of its inhabitants, so entirely distinct from that of other
nations. And this production of my industry I have determined to
dedicate to you, illustrious Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, as
I before ascribed to you my Itinerary; considering you as a man no
less distinguished by your piety, than conspicuous for your
learning; though so humble an offering may possibly be unworthy the
acceptance of a personage who, from his eminence, deserves to be
presented with works of the greatest merit.

Some, indeed, object to this my undertaking, and, apparently from
motives of affection, compare me to a painter, who, rich in
colours, and like another Zeuxis, eminent in his art, is
endeavouring with all his skill and industry to give celebrity to a