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EDWARDS, Syr OWEN MORGAN (1858 - 1920), llenor | Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig

EDWARDS, Syr OWEN MORGAN (1858 - 1920), llenor

Enw: Owen Morgan Edwards
Dyddiad geni: 1858
Dyddiad marw: 1920
Priod: Ellen Elizabeth Edwards née Davies
Plentyn: Haf Parry née Edwards
Plentyn: Ifan ab Owen Edwards
Rhiant: Elizabeth Edwards
Rhiant: Owen Edwards
Brawd neu chwaer: Edward Edwards
Rhyw: Gwryw
Galwedigaeth: llenor
Maes gweithgaredd: Llenyddiaeth ac Ysgrifennu; Ysgolheictod ac Ieithoedd
Awdur: Robert Thomas Jenkins

Ganwyd yng Nghoed-y-pry, Llanuwchllyn, ar 26 Rhag. 1858, yn fab hynaf i Owen a ‘Beti’ Edwards; bu eu trydydd mab, EDWARD EDWARDS (1865 - 1933), yn athro hanes yng Ngholeg Aberystwyth o 1896 hyd 1930. Ceir hanes addysg Owen Edwards yn swynol (nid yn ddeddfol gywir) yn ei lyfr Clych Adgof, 1906. A'i wyneb ar y weinidogaeth, aeth i athrofa'r Bala ac i Aberystwyth (1880-3), lle y gwnaeth yn dda iawn yn arholiadau Prifysgol Llundain (graddiodd yno yn 1883) mewn Saesneg a hanes, ond yn symol mewn athroniaeth, er cryfed dylanwad Henry Jones arno — dylanwad â'i gyrrodd am flwyddyn (1883-4) i Glasgow i eistedd wrth draed Edward Caird. Pan aeth, yn Hydref 1884, i Goleg Balliol yn Rhydychen, ymchwelodd at hanes, a chafodd yrfa hynod lwyddiannus, gan ennill tair prif wobr y brifysgol mewn hanes, a graddio (1887) yn y dosbarth blaenaf. Dylid nodi dau ddylanwad pwysig a fu arno yno yn ei gyfnod cynnar yno. Y naill oedd dylanwad artistig Ruskin (y bu wedyn yn gohebu ag ef) a William Morris. Y llall oedd ‘Cymdeithas Dafydd ab Gwilym ' — gw. ei hanes hi gan T. Rowland Hughes yn Y Llenor, 1931; awchlymodd y ‘Dafydd’ y cariad at Gymru a oedd eisoes yn nodweddiadol ohono.

Bwriodd wedyn flwyddyn ar y Cyfandir, blwyddyn yr adroddir ei hanes yn ei ddau lyfr cyntaf, 1888; yna dychwelodd i Rydychen i gyfrannu dysg, ac yn 1889 etholwyd ef yn gymrawd o Goleg Lincoln, ac yn diwtor hanes yno ac mewn colegau eraill. Yno y bu hyd 1907. Y disgwyliad oedd y tyfai'n arbenigwr ar y Dadeni a'r Diwygiad Protestannaidd — pynciau'n ymwneud â hwy oedd testunau ei dri thraethawd gwobr. Eithr nid felly y bu. Yn un peth cymerai ei waith fel tiwtor yn galed iawn; paratôi ei ddarlithiau (poblogaidd iawn) yn llafurus, a rhoddai gyfran afresymol o'i amser i waith tiwtorial, er dirfawr ddrwg i'w iechyd. Ond yn ail — daeth yn gynyddol eglur mai llenor oedd ef yn hytrach na hanesydd ‘pur' — mai â llygad artist yn hytrach na thrwy chwydd-wydr chwilotwr y syllai ar y gorffennol. Ni chyhoeddodd, wedi'r cwbl, ddim yn Saesneg ar ei ‘gyfnod arbennig’; yn Gymraeg, mewn ysgrifau yn y Cymru — a gasglwyd, rai ohonynt, i'r cyfrolau Er Mwyn Iesu, 1898, a Llynnoedd Llonydd, 1922 — y gwelir heddiw olion y brwdfrydedd bore. Yn wir, y perygl i ni heddiw yw bychanu gwybodaeth helaeth iawn Owen Edwards o hanes.

Y peth a orfu oedd tynfa Cymru arno — y dynfa a wnâi iddo, ar derfyn diwrnod caled o waith swyddogol, neu yn y trên, sgrifennu neu gywiro proflenni, ac a'i gwnaeth yn rhywbeth llawer mwy nag athro hanes. Wedi cydolygu, 1890, Cymru Fydd, cychwynnodd yn 1891 gyhoeddi Cymru, yn 1892 Cymru'r Plant, yn 1894 Wales, yn 1895 Y Llenor, ac, yn 1897, Heddyw. Cyhoeddodd lyfrau bychain, megis Cartrefi Cymru, 1896, ac adargraffodd ddetholion helaeth o'r clasuron Cymraeg, yn enwedig ‘Cyfres y Fil.’ Y mae'n gwbl amhosibl gorfawrygu ei wasanaeth i Gymru yn hyn o beth, ar adeg argyfyngus yn hanes ei llenyddiaeth. Nid llenyddiaeth a hanes ei gorffennol yn unig chwaith a roes ef fel hyn yng nghyrraedd ei gydgenedl, na'i ryddiaith gain ef ei hunan yn unig. Magodd do o sgrifenwyr ieuainc; gellid rhoi rhestr faith o lenorion blaenllaw a gychwynnodd eu gyrfa dan ei nawdd. Teilwng hefyd yw nodi'r gefnogaeth a roes ef yn y Cymru i ‘lenorion cefn gwlad’ nad oedd cyn hynny wedi cael nemor gyfle i ddod yn hysbys y tu allan i'w plwyfi.

Yn 1907, penodwyd ef yn brif arolygydd ysgolion Cymru — y cyntaf ohonynt. Bu'n llwyddiant mawr, nid yn gymaint am iddo wneuthur gwelliannau yn y peiriant, ond yn hytrach yn herwydd ei ysbrydiaeth. Wrth gwrs, bu'n gefn i'r Gymraeg yn yr ysgolion; ond hefyd gwnaeth lawer i wella eu hawyrgylch ac i lacio deddfoldeb yr hen gyfundrefn. Ni bu lawn mor ffodus yn ef ymwneud â'r Bwrdd Canol; dan rym ei deimlad greddfol fod yr ysgolion canolradd yn Seisnigaidd eu naws, arweiniwyd ef i ddadleuon ar fanion y buasai'n well eu hosgoi, ac felly cymylwyd y ddadl sylfaenol. Yn wir, nid gwr hawdd darllen ei feddwl fu ef erioed; yr oedd yn gymhleth o nodweddion a ymddangosai ar brydiau'n anghyson â'i gilydd, gan beri penbleth i'w edmygwyr selocaf — heblaw hynny, nid pawb a ddeallai'r hiwmor direidus a ymguddiai dan fantell o ddifrifwch eithafol.

Bu am dymor byr (1899-1900) yn aelod seneddol dros Feirion, ond eilbeth (ar y mwyaf) oedd gwleidyddiaeth iddo; diwylliadol, nid gwleidyddol, oedd ei genedlaetholdeb. Urddwyd ef yn farchog yn 1916, a chafodd D.Litt. gan Brifysgol Cymru yn 1918. Bu farw yn Llanuwchllyn 15 Mai 1920. Yr oedd ei briod, Ellen Davies o'r Prys Mawr yn Llanuwchllyn, wedi m. flwyddyn o'i flaen. Cawsant ddau fab a merch, ond bu'r mab hynaf farw yn blentyn.

Awdur

Dyddiad cyhoeddi: 1953-54

Hawlfraint Erthygl: