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The Poetry of Wales
by John Jenkins
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Transcribed from the 1873 Houlston & Sons edition, by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org



THE POETRY OF WALES.

EDITED BY JOHN JENKINS, Esq.

"I offer you a bouquet of culled flowers, I did not grow, only collect and arrange them."—PAR LE SEIGNEUR DE MONTAIGNE.

LONDON: HOULSTON & SONS, PATERNOSTER SQUARE LLANIDLOES: JOHN PRYSE.

1873.

[Cheap Edition.—All Rights Reserved.]



PREFACE.

The Editor of this little Collection ventures to think it may in some measure supply a want which he has heard mentioned, not only in the Principality, but in England also. Some of the Editor's English friends—themselves being eminent in literature—have said to him, "We have often heard that there is much of value in your literature and of beauty in your poetry. Why does not some one of your literati translate them into English, and furnish us with the means of judging for ourselves? We possess translated specimens of the literature, and especially the poetry of almost every other nation and people, and should feel greater interest in reading those of the aborigines of this country, with whom we have so much in common." It was to gratify this wish that the Editor was induced to give his services in the present undertaking, from which he has received and will receive no pecuniary benefit; and his sole recompense will be the satisfaction of having attempted to extend and perpetuate some of the treasures and beauties of the literature of his native country.



INTRODUCTION.

The literature of a people always reflects their character. You may discover in the prose and poetry of a nation its social condition, and in their different phases its political progress. The age of Homer was the heroic, in which the Greeks excelled in martial exploits; that of Virgil found the Romans an intellectual and gallant race; the genius of Chaucer, Spencer and Sidney revelled in the feudal halls and enchanted vistas of the middle ages; Shakespeare delineated the British mind in its grave and comic moods; Milton reflected the sober aspect and spiritual aspirations of the Puritanical era; while at later periods Pope, Goldsmith and Cowper pourtrayed the softer features of an advanced civilization and milder times.

Following the same rule, the history of Wales is its literature. First came the odes and triads, in which the bards recited the valour, conquests and hospitality of their chieftains, and the gentleness, beauty and virtue of their brides. This was the age of Aneurin, of Taliesin and Llywarch Hen. Next came the period of love and romance, wherein were celebrated the refined courtship and gay bridals of gallant knights and lovely maids. This was the age of Dafydd ap Gwilym, of Hywel ap Einion and Rhys Goch. In later times appeared the moral songs and religious hymns of the Welsh Puritans, wherein was conspicuous above all others William Williams of Pantycelyn, aptly denominated "The Sweet Psalmist of Wales."

The Principality, like every other country, has had and has its orators, its philosophers and historians; and, much as they are prized by its native race, we venture to predict that the productions of none will outlive the language in which their prose is spoken and writ. Not that there is wanting either eloquence or grandeur or force in their orations and essays, depth or originality in their philosophical theories, or truthfulness, research or learning in their historic lore; but that neither the graces of the first, the novelty of the next, or the fidelity of the last will in our opinion justify a translation into more widely spoken tongues, and be read with profit and interest by a people whose libraries are filled with all that is most charming in literature, most profound in philosophy and most new and advanced in science and art.

Our evil prophecy of its prose does not however extend to the poetry of Wales, for like all other branches of the Celtic race, the ancient Britons have cultivated national song and music with a love, skill and devotion which have produced poems and airs well deserving of extensive circulation, long life and lasting fame. The poetic fire has inspired the nation from the most primitive times, for we find that an order of the Druidical priests were bards who composed their metres among aboriginal temples and spreading groves of oak. The bard was an important member of the royal household, for the court was not complete without the Bard President, the Chief of Song, and the Domestic Bard. The laws of Hywel the Good, King or Prince of Wales in the tenth century, enact:—

"If there should be fighting, the bard shall sing 'The Monarchy of Britain' in front of the battle."

"The Bard President shall sit at the Royal Table."

"When a bard shall ask a gift of a prince, let him sing one piece; when he asks of a baron, let him sing three pieces."

"His land shall be free, and he shall have a horse in attendance from the king."

"The Chief of Song shall begin the singing in the common hall."

"He shall be next but one to the patron of the family."

"He shall have a harp from the king, and a gold ring from the queen when his office is secured to him. The harp he shall never part with."

"When a song is called for, the Bard President should begin; the first song shall be addressed to God, the next to the king. The Domestic Bard shall sing to the queen and royal household."

The bard therefore in ancient times performed important functions. In peace he delighted his lord with songs of chivalry, love and friendship. In war he accompanied his prince to battle, and recited the might and prowess of his leader and the martial virtue of his hosts. No court or hall was complete without the presence of the bard, who enlivened the feast with his minstrelsy and song. We also see that the Welsh bard, like the primitive poets of Greece, and the troubadours of southern France, sang his verses to the harp, whose dulcet strings have always sent forth the national melodies. The chief bards were attached to the courts and castles of their princes and chieftains; but a multitude of inferior minstrels wandered the country singing to their harps, and were in those primitive times received with open arms and welcome hospitality in the houses of the gentry, and whither soever they went. Even within living memory the English tourist has often met in the lonely dells and among the mountain passes of Wales the wayworn minstrel, with harp strung to his shoulders, ever ready to delight the traveller with the bewitching notes of his lyre and song. But the modern bard of Wales is the counterpart of his Scottish brother, of whom Scott wrote:—

"The way was long, the wind was cold, The minstrel was infirm and old; His withered cheeks and tresses gray Seemed to have known a better day; The harp, his sole remaining joy, Was carried by an orphan boy.

* * * * *

No more on prancing palfry borne, He carolled light as lark at morn; No longer courted and caress'd, High placed in hall, a welcome guest, He poured to lord and lady gay The unpremeditated lay."

Nor will the modern visitor to the castles and halls of the Principality, not to mention its principal hotels, often miss the dulcet strains of the national lyre.

The song and minstrelsy of Wales have from the earliest period of its history been nurtured by its eisteddfodau. It is ascertained that the Prince Bleddyn ap Kynfyn held an eisteddfod in A.D. 1070, which was attended by the bards and chief literati of the time. This eisteddfod made rules for the better government of the bardic order. This annual assemblage of princes, bards and literati has been regularly held through the intervening centuries to the present time. Within living memory royalty has graced this national gathering of the ancient British race.

The ceremonies attendant upon this national institution are well known. The president or chief, followed by the various grades of the bardic order, walk in procession (gorymdaith) to the place appointed, where twelve stones are laid in a circle, with one in the centre, to form a gorsedd or throne. When the whole order is assembled, the chief of bards ascends the gorsedd, and from his laurel and flower-bedecked chair opens the session, by repeating aloud the mottoes of the order, viz.: "Y gwir yn erbyn y byd, yn ngwyneb haul a llygad goleuni," or "The truth against the world, in the face of the sun and the eye of light," meaning that the proceedings, judgments and awards of the order are guided by unswerving truth, and conducted in an open forum beneath the eyes of the public. Then follow verses laudatory of the president. Poetical compositions, some of a very high order, are then rehearsed or read, interspersed with singing and lyric music. The greater part of the poets and musical performers compete for prizes on given subjects, which are announced beforehand on large placards throughout the Principality. The subjects for competition are for the most part patriotic, but religion and loyalty are supreme throughout the eisteddfod. The successful competitors are crowned or decorated by the fair hands of lady patronesses, who distribute the prizes. This yearly gathering of the rank, beauty, wealth and talent of the Principality, to commemorate their nationality and foster native genius, edified and delighted by the gems of Welsh oratory, music and song, cannot but be a laudable institution as well as pleasant recreation. Some of the foremost English journals, who devote columns of their best narrative talent to record a horse race, a Scottish highland wrestle, or hideous prize fight with all their accompaniments of vice and brutality, may surely well spare the ridicule and contempt with which they visit the pleasant Welsh eisteddfod. Their shafts, howsoever they may irritate for the time, ought surely not to lower the Welshman's estimate of his eisteddfod, seeing the antiquity of its origin, the praiseworthiness of its objects, the good it has done, the talent it has developed,—as witness, a Brinley Richards and Edith Wynne,—and the delight it affords to his country people. Enveloped in the panoply of patriotism, truth and goodness, he may well defy the harmless darts of angry criticism and invective, emanating from writers who are foreign in blood, language, sympathy and taste. When the Greeks delighted in their olympic games of running for a laurel crown, the Romans witnessed with savage pleasure the deadly contentions of their gladiators, the Spaniards gazed with joy on their bloody bull fights, and the English crowded to look at the horse race or prize fight, the Cymry met peaceably in the recesses of their beautiful valleys and mountains to rehearse the praises of religion and virtue, to sing the merits of beauty, truth and goodness, and all heightened by the melodious strains of their national lyre.

It is often asked, what is poetry? Prose, we assume to be a simple or connected narrative of ordinary facts or common circumstances. Poetry, on the other hand, is a grouping of great, grand or beautiful objects in nature, or of fierce, fine or lofty passions, or beautiful sentiments, or pretty ideas of the human heart or mind, and all these premises expressed in suitable or becoming language. Poetry is most indulged in the infancy of society when nature is a sealed book, and the uneducated mind fills creation with all sorts of beings and phantoms. There is then wide scope for the rude imagination to wander at will through the unknown universe, and to people it with every description of mythical beings and superstitious objects. Poetry is most powerful in the infancy of civilization, and enjoys a license of idea and language which would shock the taste of more advanced times. The Hindustani poetry as furnished by Sir William Jones, that of the Persian Hafiz, the early ballads of the Arabians, Moors and Spaniards, the poems of Ossian, besides the primitive Saxon ballads, and the triads of Wales, all indicate the extravagant imagery and rude license of poetry in the early ages of society. The history of those several nations also attests the magical influence of their early poetry upon the peoples. We find that Tallifer the Norman trouvere, who accompanied William to the invasion of England, went before his hosts at Hastings, reciting the Norman prowess and might, and flung himself upon the Saxon phalanx where he met his doom. We read that the example of the trouvere aroused the Norman hosts to an enthusiasm which precipitated them upon the Saxon ranks with unwonted courage and frenzy. We also find that the Welsh bard always accompanied his prince to battle, and rehearsed in song the ancient valour and conquests of the chieftain and army in front of the enemy.

The progress of philosophy and science dissipates the myths and spectres of the poetical creation, just as the advance of a July sun dispels the mist and cloud which hung over the earlier hours of day and veiled the mountains and valleys from the eye of man. Poetry becomes now shorn of its greatest extravangancies and wildest flights, instead of soaring with the eagle to the extremities of space, it flies like the falcon within human sight. In lieu of a Homer, a Shakespeare and a Milton, we have a Pope, a Thomson and a Campbell.

The poetry of Wales may be classified into six parts, viz.: the sublime, the beautiful, the patriotic, the humourous, the sentimental and religious. Much of the poetry of the Principality consists of the first class, and is specially dedicated to description and praise of the Supreme Being, the universe and man. As the great objects of creation, like the sun and moon, the planetary world and stars first attract the attention of man and always enlist his deepest feelings, so they furnish the great themes for the poetry of all nations, more especially in its ruder stages. The Welsh poet is no exception to the rule. On the contrary, he indulges in the highest flights of imagination, and borrows the grandest imagery and choicest description to set forth the Most High and his wonderful works. No translation can convey to the English reader the interest and effect which this class of poetry has and produces upon the Welsh mind, simply because their trains of thought are so entirely different. The power and expressiveness of the Welsh language, which cannot be transferred into any English words, also add materially to the effect of this class of poetry upon the native mind. The Cymric is unquestionably an original language, and possesses a force and expression entirely unknown to any of the derivative tongues. The finer parts of scripture, as the Book of Job and the Psalms, are immeasurably more impressive in the Welsh than English language. The native of the Principality, who from a long residence in the metropolis or other parts of England, and extensive acquaintance with its people, followed often by mercantile success, so as almost to become Anglicised, no sooner returns to his native hills, either for a visit or residence, and upon the Sabbath morn enters the old parish church or chapel to hear the bible read in the native tongue, than he feels a transport of delight and joy, to which his heart has been foreign since he crossed the border, mayhap in youth. Much of this may be owing to a cause similar to that which fires the Swiss soldier on foreign service when he hears the chant of his own mountain "Rans des vaches." Something may doubtless be laid to the account of early association; but, we think, more is justly due to the great impressiveness and power of his native tongue. The poems, original and translated, contained in the first part of the ensuing collection, may convey to the English reader some idea of this class of Welsh poetry.

The love of the beautiful is natural to man, but of all nations the Greeks entertained the best ideals and cultivated the faculty to the highest perfection. Their temples have formed models of architectural beauty for all nations, and the grace and elegance of their statuary have found students among every people. Much of this taste for the beautiful mingled with their poetry, which is kin sister to the imitative arts. In recent times the Italians have inherited the faculty of beauty, and introduced it into their fine cathedrals and capitols, as well as their statuary. The French also have displayed the highest ideals of beauty in their manufactures and fine arts. The Spaniards have introduced into their poetry some of the inimitable grace and beauty of their Alhambra. The Latin races appear in modern times to have been pre-distinguished in the fine arts. Much of the taste for beauty is inherent in the Celtic races, and this element is very perceptible in the poetry of the Cymric branch, as will appear from the illustrations contained in the second part of this collection.

Patriotism, or love of country, is characteristic of all nations, and manifests itself in their poetical effusions, more especially of the earlier date. It is but natural that man should feel a profound attachment to the land of his fathers, to the valley where he spent the early and happier years of his life, to the hills which bounded that plain, to the church or chapel where he worshipped in youth, and in whose cemetery rest the ashes of his kin, to the language of his childhood, its literature, history and traditions, and more especially to the kind family, neighbours and friends who watched over his infancy, and entertained his maturer years. This attachment, which is no other than patriotism, is only deepened by his removal into a distant land, and among a strange people. Perhaps no people in modern times have cultivated their patriotic songs more ardently or even more successfully than the Scotch; though probably most of this may be owing to their great minstrel Scott, who transformed their rude ballads into immortal song. Moore did a similar, though smaller, service for the Irish branch of the Celtic race. And we most truly think that a Welsh Scott or Moore is only wanting to marry the lays of Wales to undying verse. The third part of this collection will contain some of the most spirited of the patriotic poems of Wales.

Humour is inherent in every people, and is more or less characteristic of every nation. Cervantes among the Spaniards, the Abbate Casti among the Italians, Jean Paul Richter among the Germans, Voltaire among the French, Samuel Butler, the author of Hudibras, and Dr. John Wolcot among the English, Jonathan Swift among the Irish, and Robert Burns among the Scotch, have introduced humorous writing into the literature of their respective countries with more or less of success. Nor was it possible that a people so lively, so susceptible of contrast, and possessed of so keen a sense of the ridiculous in manners and conversation as the Welsh, should not spice their literature with examples of humorous writing. We shall furnish in the fourth part of this collection a few specimens from the writings of some of the humorists of Wales.

Sentiment, which may be defined as the emotion of the human heart, mixes freely in verse and sentimental poetry, forms a considerable portion of the lays of every country. There is in this particular no distinction between the early and modern history of nations, for sentiment enters the metrical effusions of every period alike. Pathos and taste appear to be the foster mothers of this quality, which is a distinguishing trait of the poetry of Wales, as shown by the examples furnished in the fifth part of this collection.

If any trait be more distinctive of the Welshman than another, it is his love for his bible, his chapel and church, and this has furnished the richest store of spiritual song. The hymnists of Wales are many; but distinguished beyond and above every other, is the celebrated Williams of Pantycelyn, whose hymns are sung in every chapel and cottage throughout the Principality, and are now as refreshing to the religious tastes and emotions of the people as at their first appearance; and, from their intrinsic beauty and warmth, they are not likely to be lost so long as the Welsh language remains a spoken or written tongue. The sixth part of this collection will furnish the reader with an insight into the transcendent merit and fervour of this prince of religious song.



PART I. THE SUBLIME.

SNOWDON.

King of the mighty hills! thy crown of snow Thou rearest in the clouds, as if to mock The littleness of human things below; The tempest cannot harm thee, and the shock Of the deep thunder falls upon thy head As the light footfalls of an infant's tread.

The livid lightning's all destroying flame Has flashed upon thee harmlessly, the rage Of savage storms have left thee still the same; Thou art imperishable! Age after age Thou hast endured; aye, and for evermore Thy form shall be as changeless as before.

The works of man shall perish and decay, Cities shall crumble down to dust, and all Their "gorgeous palaces" shall pass away; Even their lofty monuments shall fall; And a few scattered stones be all to tell The place where once they stood,—where since they fell!

Yet, even time has not the power to shiver One single fragment from thee; thou shalt be A monument that shall exist for ever! While the vast world endures in its immensity, The eternal snows that gather on thy brow Shall diadem thy crest, as they do now.

Thy head is wrapt in mists, yet still thou gleam'st, At intervals, from out the clouds, that are A glorious canopy, in which thou seem'st To shroud thy many beauties; now afar Thou glitterest in the sun, and dost unfold Thy giant form, in robes of burning gold.

And, when the red day dawned upon thee, oh! how bright Thy mighty form appeared! a thousand dies Shed o'er thee all the brilliance of their light, Catching their hues from the o'er-arching skies, That seemed to play around thee, like a dress Sporting around some form of loveliness.

And when the silver moonbeams on thee threw Their calm and tranquil light, thou seem'st to be A thing so wildly beautiful to view, So wrapt in strange unearthly mystery, That the mind feels an awful sense of fear When gazing on thy form, so wild and drear.

The poet loves to gaze upon thee when No living soul is near, and all are gone Wooing their couches for soft sleep; for then The poet feels that he is least alone,— Holding communion with the mighty dead, Whose viewless shadows flit around thy head.

Say, does the spirit of some warrior bard, With unseen form, float on the misty air, As if intent thy sacred heights to guard? Or does he breathe his mournful murmurs there, As if returned to earth, once more to dwell On the dear spot he ever lov'd so well.

Perhaps some Druid form, in awful guise, With words of wond'rous import, there may range, Making aloud mysterious sacrifice, With gestures incommunicably strange, Praying to the gods he worshipped, to restore His dear lov'd Cymru to her days of yore.

Or does thy harp, oh, Hoel! sound its strings, With chords of fire proclaim thy country's praise; And he of "Flowing Song's" wild murmurings Breathe forth the music of his warrior lays; And Davydd, Caradoc—a glorious band— Tune their wild harps to praise their mountain land?

Thou stand'st immovable, and firmly fixed As Cambria's sons in battle, when they met The Roman legions, and their weapons mixed, And clash'd as bravely as they can do yet. The Saxon, Dane, and Norman, knew them well, And found them—as they are—invincible!

Majestic Snowdon! proudly dost thou stand, Like a tall giant ready for the fray, The guardian bulwark of thy mountain land; Old as the world thou art! As I survey Thy lofty altitude, strange feelings rise, Of the unutterable mind's wild sympathies.

Thou hast seen many changes, yet hast stood Unaltered to the last, remained the same Even in the wildness of thy solitude, Even in thy savage grandeur; and thy name Acts as a spell on Cambria's sons, that brings Their heart's best blood to flow in rapid springs.

And must I be the only one to sing Thy dear loved name? and must the task be mine, To the insensate mind thy name to bring? Oh! how I grieve to think, when songs divine Have echoed to thy praises night and day, I can but offer thee so poor a lay.



THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.

BY GORONWY OWAIN.

[This poet, who was born in 1722, obtained great celebrity in Wales; he was a native of Anglesea, and entered the Welsh Church, but removed to Donington in Shropshire, where he officiated as Curate for several years. There the following poem was composed and afterwards translated by the poet. The poem has been copied from a MS of the poet, and is now, it is believed, published for the first time.]

Almighty God thy heavenly aid bestow, O'er my rapt soul bid inspiration flow; Let voice seraphic, mighty Lord, be mine, Whilst I unfold this awful bold design. No less a theme my lab'ring breast inspires, Than earth's last throes and overwhelming fires, Than man arising from his dark abode To meet the final sentence of his God! The voice of ages, yea of every clime, The hoary records of primeval time; The saints of Christ in glowing words display, The dread appearance of that fateful day! Oh! may the world for that great day prepare With ceaseless diligence and solemn care, No human wisdom knows, no human power Can tell the coming of that fatal hour. No warning sign shall point out nature's doom; Resistless, noiseless it shall surely come, Like a fierce giant rushing to the fight, Or silent robber in the shades of night. What heart unblenched can dare to meet this day, A day of darkness and of dire dismay? What sinner's eye can fearless then—behold The day of horrors on his sight unfold, But to the good a day of glorious light, A day for chasing all the glooms of night. For then shall burst on man's astonished eyes The Christian banner waving in the skies, Borne by angelic bands supremely fair, By countless seraphs through the pathless air. The heavenly sky shall Christ's proud banner form, A sky unruffled by a cloud or storm; The bloody cross aloft in awful pride Shall float triumphant o'er the airy tide. Then shall the King with splendour cloth'd on high Ride through the glories of the golden sky, With power resistless guide his awful course, And curb the whirlwinds in their wildest force. The white robed angels shall resound the praise, Ten thousand saints their choral songs shall raise Now through the void a louder shout shall roar Than surges dashing on a rocky shore. An awful silence reigns!—the angels sound The final sentence to the worlds around; Loud through the heavens the echoing blast shall roll, And nature, startled, shake from Pole to Pole. All flesh shall tremble at the fearful sign, And dread to approach the judgment seat divine; The loftiest hills, which 'mid the tempest reign, Shall sink and totter, levelled with the plain. The hideous din of rushing torrents far Augment the horrors of this final war; The glorious sun, the gorgeous eye of day, Shall faint and sicken in this vast decay. From our struck view his golden beams shall hide, As when the Saviour on Calvaria died; The lovely moon no more in beauty gleam, Or tinge the ocean with her silv'ry beam; Ten thousand stars shall from their orbits roll, In dread confusion through the empty pole. At the loud blasts hell's barriers fall around, Even Satan trembles at the awful sound! Far down he sinks, deep in the realms of night, And strives to shun the glorious Son of Light. "Rise from your tomb," the mighty angel cries, "Ye sleeping mortals, and approach the skies, For Christ is thron'd upon his Judgment Seat, And for his mercy may ye all be meet!" The roaring ocean from its inmost caves Shall send forth thousands o'er the foaming waves; From earth the countless myriads shall arise, Like corn-land springing 'neath benignant skies; For all must then appear—we all shall meet In dread array before Christ's Judgment Seat! All flesh shall stand full in its Maker's view— The past, the present, and the future too; Not one shall fail, for rise with one accord Shall saint and sinner, vassal and his lord. Then Mary's Son, in heavenly pomp's array, Shall all his glory to the world display; The faithful twelve with saintly vesture graced, Friends of his cross around his throne are placed; The impartial judge the book of fate shall scan, The unerring records of the deeds of man.

The book is opened! mark the anxious fear That calls the sigh and starts the bitter tear; The good shall hear a blessed sentence read, All mourning passes—all their griefs are fled. No more their souls with racking pains are riven, Their Lord admits them to the peace of heaven; The sinner there, with guilty crime oppressed, Bears on his brow the fears of hell confess'd. Behold him now—his guilty looks—I see His God condemns, and mercy's God is He; No joy for him, for him no heaven appears To bid him welcome from a vale of tears. Hark! Jesu's voice with awful terrors swell, It shakes even heaven, it shakes the nether hell: "Away ye cursed from my sight, retire Down to the depths of hell's eternal fire, Down to the realms of endless pain and night, Ye fiends accursed, from my angry sight Depart! for heaven with saintly inmates pure No crime can harbour or can sin endure, Away! away where fiends infernal dwell, Down to your home and taste the pains of hell.

Behold his servants—Lo, the virtuous bands Await the sentence which the life demands; All blameless they their course in virtue run Have for their brows a crown of glory won. Their Saviour's voice, a sound of heavenly love, Admits them smiling to the realms above: "Approach, ye faithful, to the heaven of peace, Where worldly sorrows shall for ever cease. Come, blessed children, share my bright abode, Rest in the bosom of your King and God, Where thousand saints in grateful concert sing Loud hymns of glory to th' Eternal King." For you, beloved, I hung upon the tree, That where I am there also ye might be; The infernal god (ye trembling sinners quake) Shall hurl you headlong on the burning lake, There shall ye die, nor dying shall expire, Rolled on the waves of everlasting fire, Whilst Christ shall bid his own lov'd flock rejoice, And lead them upward with approving voice, Where countless hosts their heavenly Lord obey, And sing Hosannas in the courts of day. O gracious God! each trembling suppliant spare— Grant each the glory of that song to share; May Christ, my God, a kind physician be, And may He grant me bless'd Eternity!



THE IMMOVABLE COVENANT.

[The Reverend David Lewis Pughe, who translated the following piece from the Welsh of Mr. H. Hughes, was a Minister in the Baptist Church, and was possessed of extensive learning, and a highly critical taste. After officiating as Minister at a Church in Swansea and other places, he finally settled at Builth, where he died at an early age.]

Ye cloud piercing mountains so mighty, Whose age is the age of the sky; No cold blasts of winter affright ye, Nor heats of the summer defy: You've witness'd the world's generations Succeeding like waves on the sea; The deluge you saw, when doom'd nations, In vain to your summits would flee.

You challenge the pyramids lasting, That rolling milleniums survive; Fierce whirlwinds, and thunderbolts blasting, And oceans with tempests alive! But lo! there's a day fast approaching, Which shall your foundations reveal,— The powers of heaven will be shaking, And earth like a drunkard shall reel!

Proud Idris, and Snowdon so tow'ring, Ye now will be skipping like lambs; The Alps will, by force overpow'ring Propell'd be disporting like rams! The breath of Jehovah will hurl you— Aloft in the air you shall leap: Your crash, like his thunder's who'll whirl you, Shall blend with the roars of the deep.

All ties, and strong-holds, with their powers, Shall, water-like, melting be found; Earth's palaces, temples, and towers, Shall then be all dash'd to the ground: But were this great globe plunged for ever In seas of oblivion, or prove Untrue to its orbit, yet never, My God, will thy covenant move!

The skies, as if kindling with ire and Resentment, will pour on this ball A deluge of sulphurous fire, and Consume its doom'd elements all! But though heaven and earth will be passing Away on time's Saturday eve; The covenant-bonds, notwithstanding, Are steadfast to all that believe!

I see—but no longer deriding— The sinner with gloom on his brow: He cries to the mountains to hide him, But nothing can shelter him now! He raves—all but demons reject him! But not so the Christian so pure; The covenant-arms will protect him, In these he'll be ever secure!

Thus fixed, while his triumphs unfolding, Enrapture his bosom serene: In sackcloth the heavens he's beholding, And nature dissolving is seen; He mounts to the summits of glory, And joins with the harpers above, Whose theme is sweet Calvary's story— The issue of covenant love.

Methinks, after ages unnumber'd Have roll'd in eternity's flight, I see him, by myriads surrounded, Enrob'd in the garments of light; And shouting o'er this world's cold ashes— "Thy covenant, my God, still remains: No tittle or jot away passes, And thus it my glory sustains."

He asks, as around him he glances, "Ye sov'reigns and princes so gay, Where are your engagements and pledges? Where are they—where are they to-day? Where are all the covenants sacred That mortal with mortals e'er made?" A silent voice whispers,—"Departed— 'Tis long since their records did fade!"

I hear him again, while he's winging His flight through the realms of the sky, Th' immovable covenant singing With voice so melodious and high That all the bright mountains celestial Are dancing, as thrill'd with delight: Too lofty for visions terrestial— He vanishes now from my sight.

Blest Saviour, my rock, and my refuge, I fain to thy bosom would flee; Of sorrows an infinite deluge On Calv'ry thou barest for me: Thou fountain of love everlasting— High home of the purpose to save: Myself on the covenant casting, I triumph o'er death and the grave.



AN ODE TO THE THUNDER.

TRANSLATED BY THE REV. R. HARRIES JONES, M.A.

[The author of the following poem, Mr. David Richards, better known by his bardic name of Dafydd Ionawr, was born in the year 1751 at Glanmorfa, near Towyn, Merionethshire, and died in 1827. He was educated at Ystradmeurig Grammar School, with a view to entering the Welsh Church, but his academic career was cut short by the death of his parents, and he devoted himself to tuition. He composed two long poems, viz.: an "Ode to the Trinity," and an "Ode to the Deluge," besides a number of minor poems, and were first published in 1793. This poet is designated the Welsh Milton, by reason of the grandeur of his conceptions and the force of his expression.]

Swift-flying courser of the ambient skies! Thy trackless bourne no mortal ken espies! But in thy wake the swelling echoes roll While furious torrents pour from pole to pole; The thunder bellows forth its sullen roar Like seething ocean on the storm-lashed shore; The muttering heavens send terror through the vale, And awe-struck mountains shiver in the gale; An angry, sullen, overwhelming sound That shakes each craggy hollow round and round, And more astounding than the serried host Which all the world's artillery can boast;— And fiercely rushing from the lurid sky From pregnant clouds and murky canopy The deluge saturates both hill and plain— The maddened welkin groaning with the strain: The torrents dash from upland moors along Their journey to the main, in endless throng, And restless, turbid rivers seethe and rack, Like foaming cataracts, their bounding track; A devastating flood sweeps o'er the land, Tartarean darkness swathes the sable strand! O'er wolds and hills, o'er ocean's chafing waves The wild tornado's bluster wierdly raves; The white-heat bolt of every thundering roar The pitchy zenith coruscating o'er; The vast expanse of heaven pours forth its ire 'Mid swarthy fogs streaked with candescent fire!

The sombre meadows can be trod no more Nor beetling brow that over-laps the shore; The hailstones clattering thro' field and wood— The rain, the lightning and the scouring flood, The dread of waters and the blazing sky Make pensive captives all humanity; Confusion reigns o'er all the seething land, From mountain peak to ocean's clammy strand; As if—it seemed—but weak are human words, The rocks of Christendom were rent to sherds: They clash, they dash, they crash, above, around, The earth-quake, dread, splits up and rasps the ground!

Tell me, my muse, my goddess from above, Of dazzling sheen, and clothed in robes of love, What this wild rage—this cataclysmic fall— What rends the welkin, and, Who rules them all? "'Tis God! The Blest! All elements are his Who rules the unfathonable dark abyss. 'Tis God commands! His edicts are their will! Be silent, heavens! The heavens are hushed and still!" These are the wail of elemental life; The fire and water wage supernal strife; The blasting fire, with scathing, angry glare, Gleamed like an asphalte furnace in the air: Around, above it swirled the water's sweep, And plunged its scorching legions in the deep!

The works of God are good and infinite, The perfect offsprings of his love and might, And wonderful, beneficient in every land— With wisdom crowned the creatures of His hand; And truly, meekly, lowly must we bow To worship Him who made all things below, For from His holy, dazzling throne above He gives the word, commanding, yet in love,— "Ye fogs of heaven, ye stagnant, sluggard forms That float so laggardly amid the storms! Disperse! And hie you to yon dormant shores! Your black lair lies where ocean's caverns roar!" The fogs of heaven o'er yonder sun-tipped hill Their orcus-journey rush, and all is still. In brilliant brightness breaks the broad expanse Of firmament! Heaven opens to our glance; And day once more out-pours its silvery sheen, A couch pearl-decked, fit for its orient queen; (aurora) The sun beams brightly over hill and dale Its glancing rays enliven every vale: Its face effulgent makes the heaven to smile Thro' dripping rain-drops yet it smiles the while, Its warmth makes loveable the teeming world, Hill, dale, where'er its royal rays are hurled; Sweet nature smiles, and sways her magic wand, And sunshine gleams, beams, streams upon the strand; And warbling birds, like angels from above Do hum their hymns and sing their songs of love!—



THE DELUGE.

BY DAVID RICHARDS, ESQ.

* * * * *

Whether to the east or west You go, wondrous through all Are the myriad clouds; Dense and grim they appear— Black and fierce the firmament, Dark and horrid is all. A ray of light's not seen, But light'ning white and flashy, Thunder throughout the heavens, A torrent from on high. A thousand cascades roar Boiling with floods of hate, Rivers all powerful With great commotion rush. The air disturb'd is seen, While the distant sea's in uproar: The heaving ocean bounds, Within its prison wild; Great thundering throughout The bottomless abyss. Some folk, simple and bewilder'd, For shelter seek the mountains; Shortly the raging waters Drown their loftiest summits. Where shall they go, where flee From the eternal torrent? Conscience, a ready witness, Having been long asleep, Mute among mortals, Now awakens with stinging pangs.

* * * * *



THE SHIPWRECK.

BY REV. W. WILLIAMS.

[The Rev William Williams, whose bardic name was Gwilym Caledfryn, was a Welsh Congregationalist Minister, and an eminent poet. His Ode on the wreck of the ship Rothsay Castle, off Anglesea, is a very graphic and forcible Poem, and won the chief prize at an Eisteddfod held at Beaumaris in 1839, which was honoured by the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, then the Princess Victoria, who graciously invested the young bard, with the appropriate decoration.]

Boiling and tearing was the fearful deep, Its raging waves aroused from lengthened sleep Together marching like huge mountains; The swell how great—nature bursting its chains! The bounding spray dashed 'gainst the midnight stars In its wild flight shedding salt tears.

Again it came a sweeping mighty deluge, Washing the firmament with breakers huge; Ripping the ocean's bosom so madly, Wondrous its power when roaring so wildly, The vessel was seen immersed in the tide, While all around threatened destruction wide.

God, ruler of the waters, His words of might now utters, His legions calls to battle: No light of sun visible, The firmament so low'ring, With tempest strong approaching.

Loud whistling it left its recesses, Threats worlds with wreck, so fearful it rages, While heaven unchaining the surly billows, Both wind and wave rush tumultuous, Sweeping the main, the skies darkening, While Rothsay to awful destruction is speeding.

Anon upon the wave she's seen, Reached through struggles hard and keen: Again she's hurled into the abyss, While all around tornados hiss, Through the salt seas she helpless rolls, While o'er her still the billow falls: Alike she was in her danger To the frail straw dragg'd by the river.

The ocean still enraged in mountains white, Would like a drunkard reel in sable night, While she her paddles plies against the wave, Yet all in vain the sweeping tide to brave: Driven from her course afar by the loud wind, Then back again by breezes from behind; Headlong she falls into the fretful surge, While weak and broken does she now emerge.

The inmates are now filled with fear, Destruction seeming so near; The vessel rent in awful chasms, Waxing weaker, weaker she seems.

* * * * *

Anon is heard great commotion, Roaring for spoil is the lion; The vessel's own final struggles Are fierce, while the crew trembles.

The hurricane increasing Over the grim sea is driving, Drowning loud moans, burying all In its passage dismal.

How hard their fate, O how they wept In that sad hour of miseries heap'd; Some sighed, others prayed fervently, Others mad, or in despair did cry.

Affrighted they ran to and fro, To flee from certain death and woe; While he, with visage grim and dark, Would still surround the doomed bark.

Deep night now veiled the firmament, While sombre clouds thicker were sent To hide each star, the ocean's rage No cries of grief could even assuage.

The vessel sinks beneath the might Of wind, and wave, and blackest night, While through the severed planks was heard The breaker's splash, with anger stirred.



PART II. THE BEAUTIFUL.

AN ADDRESS TO THE SUMMER.

BY DAFYDD AP GWILYM.

[Dafydd ap Gwilym was the son of Gwilym Gam, of Brogynin, in the parish of Llanbadarn Fawr, Cardiganshire, and was born about the year 1340. The bard was of illustrious lineage, and of handsome person. His poetical talent and personal beauty procured him the favourable notice of the fair sex; which, however, occasioned him much misfortune. His attachments were numerous, and one to Morvydd, the daughter of Madog Lawgam, of Niwbwrch, in Anglesea, a Welsh chieftain, caused the bard to be imprisoned. This lady was the subject of a great portion of the bard's poems. Dafydd ap Gwilym has been styled the Petrarch of Wales. He composed some 260 poems, most of which are sprightly, figurative, and pathetic. The late lamented Arthur James Johnes, Esquire, translated the poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym into English. They are very beautiful, and were published by Hooper, Pall Mall, in 1834. The bard, after leading a desultory life, died in or about the year 1400.]

Thou summer! so lovely and gay, Ah! whither so soon art thou gone? The world will attend to my lay While thy absence I sadly bemoan: With flow'rs hast thou cherish'd the glade, The fair orchard with opening buds,— The hedge-rows with darkening shade, And with verdure the meadows and woods.

How calm in the vale by the brook— How blithe o'er the lawn didst thou rove, To prepare the fresh bow'r in the nook For the damsel whose wishes were love: When, smiling with heaven's bright beam, Thou didst paint every hillock and field, And reflect, in the smooth limpid stream, All the elegance nature could yield.

Perfuming the rose on the bush, And arching the eglantine spray, Thou wast seen by the blackbird and thrush, And they chanted the rapturous lay: By yon river that bends o'er the plain, With alders and willows o'erhung, Each warbler perceiv'd the glad strain, And join'd in the numerous song.

Here the nightingale perch'd on the throne, The poet and prince of the grove, Inviting the lingering morn, Taught the bard the sweet descant of love: And there, from the brake by the rill, When night's sober steps have retir'd, Ten thousand gay choristers thrill Sweet confusion with rapture inspir'd.

Then the maiden, conducted by May, Persuasive adviser of love, With smiles that would rival the ray, Nimbly trips to the bow'r in the grove; Where sweetly I warble the song Which beauty's soft glances inspire; And, while melody flows from my tongue, My soul is enrapt with desire.

But how sadly revers'd is the strain! How doleful! since thou art away; Every copse, every hillock and plain, Has been mourning for many a day: My bow'r, on the verge of the glade, Where I sported in rapturous ease, Once the haunt of the delicate maid— She forsakes it, and—how can it please?

Nor blame I the damsel who flies, When winter with threatening gale, Loudly howls through the dark frozen skies, And scatters the leaves o'er the vale: In vain to the thicket I look For the birds that enchanted the fair, Or gaze on the wide-spreading oak; No shelter, no music, is there.

But tempests, with hideous yell, Chase the mist o'er the brow of the hill, And grey torrents in every dell Deform the soft murmuring rill: And the hail, or the sleet, or the snow, On winter's hard mandate attends: To banishment, hence may they go— Earth's tyrants, and destiny's friend!

But thou, glorious summer, return, And visit the destitute plains; Nor suffer thy poet to mourn, Unheeded, in languishing strains: O! come on the wings of the breeze, And open the bloom of the thorn; Display thy green robe o'er the trees, And all nature with beauty adorn.

'Midst the bow'rs of the fresh blooming May, Where the odours of violets float, Each bird, on his quivering spray, Will remember his sprightliest note: Then the golden hair'd lass, with a song, Will deign to revisit the grove; Then, too, my harp shall be strung, To welcome the season of love.



SONG TO ARVON.

BY THE REV. EVAN EVANS.

[The poem from which the following translation is extracted was composed by the Rev. Evan Evans, a Clergyman of the Church of England, better known by his bardic name of Ieuan Glan Geirionydd. He was born in 1795 at a freehold of his father, situate on the banks of the river Geirionydd, in Carnarvonshire, and died in 1855. He composed a great number of poems on different subjects, religious and patriotic, several of which obtained prizes at Eisteddfodau, and one on the Resurrection gained the chair or principal prize. This poet's compositions are distinguished by great elegance, sweetness and pathos, and are much esteemed in the Principality. Several of them have been set to music.]

Where doth the cuckoo early sing, In woodland, dell and valley? Where streamlets deep o'er rocky cliffs Form cataracts so lofty? On Snowdon's summits high, In Arvon's pleasant county.

Flocks of thousand sheep are fed Upon its mountains rugged, Her pastures green and meadows fair With cattle-herds are studded, Deep are the lakes in Arvon's vales Where fish in shoals are landed.

The shepherd's soft and mellow voice Is heard upon her mountain, Where oft he hums his rustic song To his beloved maiden, Resounding through the gorges deep With bleat of sheep and oxen.

On Arvon's rock-bound shore doth break The surge in fretful murmur, And oft when stirr'd by tempest high The ocean speaks in thunder, Spreading through town and village wide Dismay, despair and fear.

* * * * *

The sun is glorious when it breaks The gloom of morning darkness, Sweet are the leaves and flowers of May Succeeding winter's baldness, Yet fairer than the whole to me Are Arvon's maids so guile-less.

If to the sick there is delight To heal of his affliction, If to the traveller's weary sight Sweet is the destination, Than all these sweeter far to me The hills and dales of Arvon.

Had I the wings and speed of morn To skim o'er mount and valley, I'd hie o'er earth and sea direct To Arvon's genial country, And there in peace would end my days, Far from deceit and envy.



TO THE SPRING.

Oh, come gentle spring, and visit the plain, Far scatter the frost from our border, All nature cries loud for the sunshine and rain, For the howl of the winter is over.

Approach gentle spring, and show the white snow Thou cans't melt it by smiles and caresses, Chase far the cold winter away from us now, And cover the fields with white daisies.

Oh, come gentle spring, alight on the trees, Renew them with life and deep verdure, Then choristers gay will replenish the breeze With their songs and musical rapture.

Oh, come gentle spring, breathe soft on the flowers, And clothe them in raiments of beauty, The rose may reopen its petals in tears, And sunbeams unfold the white lily.



TO THE NIGHTINGALE.

BY THE REV. JOHN BLACKWELL, B.A.

[The Rev. John Blackwell, B.A., whose bardic name was Alun, from the river of that name was born at Mold, in Flintshire, in the year 1797, and died in 1840, in the parish of Manordeivi, Pembrokeshire, of which he was Rector. He participated much in the Eisteddfodau of that period, and his poems gained many of their prizes. He also edited the "Gwladgarwr," or the Patriot, a monthly magazine, and afterwards the "Cylchgrawn," or Circle of Grapes, another magazine, under the auspices of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. The subjects of this poet's compositions were patriotic, sentimental and religious, and his poems are characterised by deep pathos, and great sweetness of diction.]

When night o'erspreads each hill and dale Beneath its darksome wing Are heard thy sweet and mellow notes Through the lone midnight ring; And if a pang within thy breast Should cause thy heart to bleed, Thou wilt not hush until the dawn Shall drive thee from the mead.

* * * * *

Altho' thy heart beneath the pang Should falter in its throes Thou wilt not grieve thy nestlings young, Thy song thou wilt not close. When all the chorus of the bush By night and sleep are still, Thou then dost chant thy merriest lays, And heaven with music fill.



THE FLOWERS OF SPRING.

BY THE REV. J. EMLYN JONES, M.A., LL.D.

[The Rev. John Emlyn Jones, M.A., LL.D., the lamented author of the beautiful stanzas, from which the following translation is made, was an eloquent minister of the Baptist Church in Wales, and died on the 20th day of January, 1873, at the age of 54 years, at Beaufort, in Monmouthshire, leaving a widow and seven children to mourn their great loss. He was also an eminent poet, and one of his poems obtained the chair prize at a Royal Eisteddfod. It may be remarked that the lamented poet on his death bed (in answer to an application from the editor) desired his wife to inform him that he was welcome to publish the translations of his poems which appear in this collection.]

Oh, pleasant spring-time flowers That now display their bloom, The primrose pale, and cowslip, Which nature's face illume; The winter bleak appears When you bedeck the land, Like age bent down by years, With a posy in its hand.

Oh, dulcet spring-time flowers Sweet honey you contain, And soon the swarming beehive Your treasure will retain; The busy bee's low humming Is heard among your leaves, Like sound of distant hymning, Or reaper 'mid the sheaves.

Oh, balmy spring-time flowers, The crocus bright and rose, The lily sweet and tulip, Which bloom within the close: Anoint the passing breezes Which sigh along the vale, And with your dulcet posies Perfume the evening gale.

Oh, wild-grown spring-time flowers That grow beside the brook, How happy once to ramble Beneath your smiling look, And of you form gay garlands To deck the docile lamb, In wreaths of colour'd neck-bands, Beside its loving dam.

Oh, pretty spring-time flowers None look so blithe and gay, While dancing in the breezes Upon the lap of May, Your fragrant petals open Beneath the balmy dew, You're nature's rich heave-offering On winter's grave anew.

Oh, wondrous spring-time flowers Tho' death stalk all around, Another spring will quicken Your bloom upon the ground, Speak hopeful, as you ripen, Of yet another spring, Where flowers never deaden And seasons have no wing.



TO MAY

BY THE REV. DANIEL EVANS, B.D.

[The Rev. Daniel Evans, B.D., Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, composed the following and several other poems in this collection. He was a native of Cardiganshire, and, following the example of his countrymen, he assumed the bardic name of Daniel Ddu. He was born in 1792, and died in 1846. His compositions were very miscellaneous, and appeared separately, but the whole were afterwards published in one volume by Mr. W. Rees, of Llandovery, in 1831. This poet's writings are distinguished by great pathos, and a truthful description of nature.]

How fair and fragrant art thou, May! Replete with leaf and verdure, How sweet the blossom of the thorn Which so enriches nature, The bird now sings upon the bush, Or soars through fields of azure.

The earth absorbs the genial rays Which vivify the summer, The busy bee hums on his way Exhausting every flower, Returning to its earthen nest Laden with honied treasure.

How cheerful are the signs of May, The lily sweet and briar, Perfuming every shady way Beside the warbling river; And thou, gay cuckoo! hast returned To usher in the summer.

How pleasant is the cuckoo's song Which floats along the meadow, How rich the sight of woodland green, And pastures white and yellow, The lark now soars into the heights And pours her notes so mellow.

To welcome May, let thousands hie At the sweet dawn of morning, The winter cold has left the sky, The sun is mildly beaming, The dew bright sparkles on the grass, All nature is rejoicing.

Let May be crown'd the best of months Of all the passing year, Let her be deck'd with floral wreaths, And fed with juice and nectar, Let old and young forsake the town And shout a welcome to her.



THE DAWN.

BY THE REV. DANIEL EVANS, B.D.

Streaking the mantle of deep night The rays of light arise, Delightful day—shed by the sun— Breaks forth from eastern skies, He—in his course o'er oceans vast And distant lands—returns Firm to his purpose, true his way, He nature's tribute earns: Before him messengers arrive And sparkle in the sky, These are the bright and twinkling stars Which spot the sable canopy.

The cock upon his lofty perch Has sung the break of day, The birds within the sheltering trees Now frolic, chirp and play; I see all nature is astir As tho' from sleep restor'd, Alive with joy and light renew'd By the Creator's word: Now every hill and valley low Appear in full charm, Beneath the sun's benignant smiles, Which now creation warm.



TO THE DAISY.

BY THE REV. DANIEL EVANS, B.D.

Oh, flower meek and modest That blooms of all the soonest, Some great delight possesses me When thy soft crystal bud I see.

Thou art the first of the year To break the bonds of winter, And for thy gallant enterprise I'll welcome thee and sing thy praise.

And hast thou no misgiving? Or fear of tempests howling To issue from the hardy sod Before thy sisters break their pod?

Behind thee millions lie And hide their faces shy, Lest winter's cold continue, Or tempests charged with mildew.

Inform thy sisters coy The spring's without alloy, Tell them there is no snow Or icy wind to blow.

Tell them the cattle meek Will joy their heads to seek, The lamb delighted be To see them on the lea.

Speed therefore all ye flowers That gleam upon the pastures, Ye white and yellow come And make the field your smiling home.

A thousand times more comely Your cheerful features lively, Than all the gems that shine In royal crown of princely line.

How pleasant then to roam Through field and forest home, And listen to the song Of birds that carol long.



THE LILY AND THE ROSE.

Once I saw two flowers blossom In a garden 'neath the hill, One a lily fair and handsome, And one a rose with crimson frill; Erect the rose would lift its pennon And survey the garden round, While the lily—lovely minion! Meekly rested on a mound.

Tempest came and blew the garden, Forthwith the rose fell to the ground, While the lily, like brave maiden, Steadfast stood the stormy bound; The red rose trusting to its prowess Fell beneath the wind and rain, While the lily in its meekness Firm did on its stalk remain.



THE CIRCLING OF THE MEAD HORNS.

Fill the blue horn, the blue buffalo horn: Natural is mead in the buffalo horn: As the cuckoo in spring, as the lark in the morn, So natural is mead in the buffalo horn.

As the cup of the flower to the bee when he sips, Is the full cup of mead to the true Briton's lips: From the flower-cups of summer, on field and on tree, Our mead cups are filled by the vintager bee.

Seithenyn ap Seithyn, the generous, the bold, Drinks the wine of the stranger from vessels of gold; But we from the horn, the blue silver-rimmed horn, Drink the ale and the mead in our fields that were born.

The ale-froth is white, and the mead sparkles bright; They both smile apart, and with smiles they unite: The mead from the flower, and the ale from the corn, Smile, sparkle, and sing in the buffalo horn.

The horn, the blue horn, cannot stand on its tip; Its path is right on from the hand to the lip; Though the bowl and the wine-cup our tables adorn, More natural the draught from the buffalo horn.

But Seithenyn ap Seithyn, the generous, the bold, Drinks the bright-flowing wine from the far-gleaming gold, The wine, in the bowl by his lip that is worn, Shall be glorious as mead in the buffalo horn.

The horns circle fast, but their fountains will last, As the stream passes ever, and never is past: Exhausted so quickly, replenished so soon, They wax and they wane like the horns of the moon.

Fill high the blue horn, the blue buffalo horn; Fill high the long silver-rimmed buffalo horn: While the roof of the hall by our chorus is torn, Fill, fill to the brim, the deep silver-rimmed horn.



DAFYDD AP GWILYM TO THE WHITE GULL.

Bird that dwellest in the spray, Far from mountain woods away, Sporting,—blending with the sea, Like the moonbeam—gleamily. Wilt thou leave thy sparkling chamber Round my lady's tower to clamber? Thou shalt fairer charms behold Than Taliesin's tongue has told, Than Merddin sang, or loved, or knew— Lily nursed on ocean's dew— Say (recluse of yon wild sea), "She is all in all to me."



TO THE LARK.

BY DAFYDD AP GWILYM.

"Sentinel of the morning light! Reveller of the spring! How sweetly, nobly wild thy flight, Thy boundless journeying: Far from thy brethren of the woods, alone A hermit chorister before God's throne!

"Oh! wilt thou climb yon heav'ns for me, Yon rampart's starry height, Thou interlude of melody 'Twixt darkness and the light, And seek, with heav'n's first dawn upon thy crest, My lady love, the moonbeam of the west?

"No woodland caroller art thou; Far from the archer's eye, Thy course is o'er the mountain's brow, Thy music in the sky: Then fearless float thy path of cloud along, Thou earthly denizen of angel song."



DAFYDD AP GWILYM'S INVOCATION TO THE SUMMER TO VISIT GLAMORGANSHIRE,

Where he spent many happy years at the hospitable mansion of Ivor Hael. The bard, speaking from the land of Wild Gwynedd, or North Wales, thus invokes the summer to visit the sweet pastoral county of Glamorgan with all its blessings:

"And wilt thou, at the bard's desire, Thus in thy godlike robes of fire, His envoy deign to be? Hence from Wild Gwynedd's mountain land, To fair Morganwg Druid strand, Sweet margin of the sea. Oh! may for me thy burning feet With peace, and wealth, and glory greet, My own dear southern home; Land of the baron's, halls of snow! Land of the harp! the vineyards glow, Green bulwark of the foam. She is the refuge of distress; Her never-failing stores Have cheer'd the famish'd wilderness, Have gladden'd distant shores. Oh! leave no little plot of sod 'Mid all her clust'ring vales untrod; But all thy varying gifts unfold In one mad embassy of gold: O'er all the land of beauty fling Bright records of thy elfin wing."

From this scene of ecstacy, he makes a beautiful transition to the memory of Ivor, his early benefactor: still addressing the summer, he says,

"Then will I, too, thy steps pursuing, From wood and cave, And flowers the mountain-mists are dewing, The loveliest save; From all thy wild rejoicings borrow One utterance from a heart of sorrow; The beauties of thy court shall grace My own lost Ivor's dwelling-place."



A BRIDAL SONG.

BY A WELSH HARPER.

Wilt thou not waken, bride of May, While the flowers are fresh, and the sweet bells chime? Listen, and learn from my roundelay, How all life's pilot-boats sailed one day, A match with time.

Love sat on a lotus leaf afloat, And saw old time in his loaded boat; Slowly he crossed life's narrow tide, While love sat clapping his wings and cried, "Who will pass time?"

Patience came first, but soon was gone With helm and sail to help time on; Care and grief could not lend an oar, And prudence said while he staid on shore, "I will wait for time."

Hope filled with flowers her cork tree bark, And lighted its helm with a glow worm spark; Then love, when he saw her bark fly fast, Said, "Lingering time will soon be passed, Hope outspeeds time."

Wit, next nearest old time to pass, With his diamond oar, and his boat of glass; A feathery dart from his store he drew, And shouted, while far and swift it flew, "O mirth kills time."

But time sent the feathery arrow back, Hope's boat of amaranths missed its track; Then love made his butterfly pilots move, And, laughing, said, "They shall see how love Can conquer time."

His gossamer sails he spread with speed, But time has wings when time has need; Swiftly he crossed life's sparkling tide, And only memory stayed to chide Unpitying time.

Wake, and listen then bride of May, Listen and heed thy minstrel's rhyme; Still for thee some bright hours stay, For it was a hand like thine, they say, Gave wings to time.



THE LEGEND OF TRWST LLYWELYN.

Once upon a time, Llywelyn was returning from a great battle, against the Saxons, and his three sisters came down here to meet him; and, when they heard him coming, they said, "It is Trwst Llywelyn," (the sound of Llywelyn,) and the place has been called so ever since.—Old Story.

It is a scene of other days, That dimly meets my fancy's gaze; The moon's fair beams are glist'ning bright, On the Severn's loveliest vale, And yonder watchtower's gloomy height Looks stern, in her lustre pale.

Within that turret fastness rude Three lovely forms I see, And marvel why, in that solitude, So fair a group should be.

I know them now, that beauteous band; By the broidered vest, so rich and rare, By the sparkling gem, on the tiny hand, And the golden circlet in their hair, I know Llywelyn's sisters fair, The pride of Powys land:

But the proof of lineage pure and high, Is better far supplied By the calm, fair brow, and fearless eye, And the step of graceful pride.

Why are the royal maidens here, Heedless of Saxon foemen near? Their only court, the minstrel sage, Who wakes such thrilling sound; Their train, yon petty childish page; Their guard, that gallant hound.

They have left their brother's princely hall, To greet him from fight returning; And hope looks out from the eyes of all, Though fear in their heart lies burning.

"Now, hark!" the eldest maiden cried, "Kind minstrel, lay thy harp aside, And listen here with me; Did not Llywelyn's bugle sound From off that dark and wooded mound You named the Goryn Ddu?" {59}

"No, lady, no; my master, kind, I strive in vain to hear; 'Tis but the moaning of the wind That cheats thy anxious ear."

The second lady rous'd her page, From the peaceful sleep of his careless age; "Awake, fair child, from thy happy dreams, Look out o'er the turret's height, Is it a lance that yonder gleams In the moonbeams blue and bright?"

"No, lady mine; not on a lance Does that fair radiance quiver; I only see its lustre dance On the blue and trembling river."

The youngest and fairest maiden sits On the turret's highest stone, Like the gentle flower that flings its sweets O'er the ruin drear and lone:

At her feet the hound is crouching still; And they look so calm and fair, You might almost deem, by a sculptor's skill, They were carved in the grey stone there.

A distant sound the spell hath broken, The lady and her hound Together caught the joyful token, And down the stair they bound.

"'Tis Trwst Llywelyn! dear sisters speed, Our own Llywelyn's near; I know the tramp of his gallant steed, 'Tis music to mine ear!"

* * * * *

Yes, 'twas his lance gleamed blue and bright, His horn made the echoes ring; He is safe from a glorious field of fight, And his sisters round him cling:

And Gelert lies at his master's feet, The page returns to his slumbers sweet, The minstrel quaffs his mead, And sings Llywelyn's fame and power, And, Trwst Llywelyn, names the tower, Where they heard his coming steed.

* * * * *

That tower, no more, o'erlooks the vale, But its name is unforgot, And the peasant tells the simple tale, And points to the well-known spot.

Oh, lady moon! thy radiance fills An altered scene, to-night, All here is chang'd save the changeless hills, And the Severn, rippling bright.

We dwell in peace, beneath the yoke That roused our father's spears, The very tongue our fathers spoke, Sounds strangely in our ears. {61}

But the human heart knows little change: 'Tis woman's to watch, 'tis man's to range For pleasure, wealth, or fame; And thou may'st look, from thy realms above, On many a sister's yearning love, The same—still, still the same.

Ye students grave, of ancient lore, Grudge not my skilless rhyme, One tale (from tradition's ample store) Of Cambria's olden time; Seek, 'mid the hills and glens around, For names and deeds of war; And leave this little spot of ground, A record holier far.



THE GOLDEN GOBLET,

IN IMITATION OF GOTHE.

There was a king in Mon, {62} A true lover to his grave; To whom in death his lady A golden goblet gave.

When Christmas bowls were circling, And all was joy and cheer, He passed that goblet from him With a kiss and with a tear.

When death he felt approaching, To all his barons bold, He left some fair dominion— To none, that cup of gold.

He sate at royal banquet, With all his lordly train, In the castle of his fathers, On the rock above the main.

Upstood the tottering monarch, And drank the cup's last wine; Then flung the holy goblet, Deep, deep, into the brine.

He watch'd it, bubbling, sinking, Far, far, beneath the wave; And the light sank from his eyelid, With the cup his lady gave.



THE SICK MAN'S DREAM.

Dans le solitaire bourgade, Revant a ses maux tristement, Languissait un pauvre malade, D'un long mal qui va consumant.—MILLEVOYE.

It was a dream, a pleasant dream, that o'er my spirit came, When faint beneath the lime-trees' shade I flung my weary frame: I stood upon a mountain's brow, above the haunts of men, And, far beneath me, smiling, lay my lovely native glen.

I watch'd the silv'ry Severn glide, reflecting rock and tree, A gentle pilgrim, bound to pay her homage to the sea; And waking many a treasured thought, that slumb'ring long had lain: Some mountain minstrel's harp poured forth a well remember'd strain.

I rais'd my voice in thankfulness, and vowed no more to roam, Or leave my heart's abiding-place, my beauteous mountain home. Alas! how different was the scene that met my waking glance! It fell upon the fertile plains, the sunny hills of France.

The Garonne's fair and glassy wave rolls onward in its pride; It cannot quench my burning thirst for thee, my native tide; And, for the harp that bless'd my dream with mem'ries from afar, I only hear yon peasant maid, who strikes the light guitar: The merry stranger mocks at griefs he does not understand, He cannot—he has never seen my own fair mountain land.

They said Consumption's ruthless eye had mark'd me for her prey: They bade me seek in foreign climes her wasting hand to stay; They told me of an altered form, an eye grown ghastly bright, And called the crimson on my cheek the spoiler's hectic blight.

Oh! if the mountain heather pined amidst the heaven's own dew, Think ye the parterre's wasting heat its freshness could renew? And thus, 'mid shady glens and streams, was my young life begun, And now, my frame exhausted sinks beneath this southern sun.

I feel, I feel, they told me true; my breath grows faint and weak, And, brighter still, this crimson spot is glowing on my cheek; My hour of life is well nigh past, too fleetly runs the sand: Oh! must I die so far from thee, my dear lov'd mountain land?



THE FAIRY'S SONG.

"Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy!"—SHAKSPEARE.

I am a wand'rer o'er earth and sea, The trackless air has a path for me; Ye may trace my steps on the heather green, By the emerald ring, where my foot hath been; Ye may hear my voice in the night wind's sigh, Or the wood's low moan when a storm is nigh.

My task is to brighten the rainbow's hue, To sprinkle the flowers with glit'ring dew, To steep in crimson the evening cloud, And wrap the hills in their misty shroud; To track the course of a wandering star, And marshal it back to its home afar.

I am no child of the murky night, But a being of music, and joy, and light; If the fair moon sleep in her bower o'er long, I break on her rest with my mirthful song; And when she is shining o'er hill and heath, I dance in the revels of Gwyn ab Nudd. {65}

Few are the mortals whose favoured feet May tread unscathed where the fairies meet; Wo to the tuneless tongue and ear, And the craven heart, that has throbbed with fear, If I meet them at night, on the lonely heath, As I haste to the banquet of Gwyn ab Nudd.

But joy to the minstrel, whose deathless song On the breeze of the mountain is borne along, And joy to the warrior, whose heart and hand Are strong in the cause of his native land; For them we are twining our fairest wreath, They are welcome as moonlight to Gwyn ab Nudd!



WALTER SELE.

O'er Walter's bed no foot shall tread, Nor step unhallow'd roam; For here the grave hath found a grave, The wanderer a home. This little mound encircles round A heart that once could feel; For none possess'd a warmer heart Than gallant Walter Sele.

The primrose pale, from Derwen vale, Through spring shall sweetly bloom, And here, I ween, the evergreen Shall shed its death perfume; The branching tree of rosemary The sweet thyme may conceal; But both shall wave above the grave Of gallant Walter Sele.

They brand with shame my true love's name, And call him traitor vile, Who dar'd disclose to Charlie's foes The secret postern aisle; But though, alas! that fatal pass He rashly did reveal, He ne'er betray'd his maniac maid,— My gallant Walter Sele!



PART III. THE PATRIOTIC.

MY FATHER-LAND.

Land of the Cymry! thou art still, In rock and valley, stream and hill, As wild and grand; As thou hast been in days of yore, As thou hast ever been before, As thou shalt be for evermore, My Father-land!

Where are the bards, like thine, who've sung The warrior's praise? the harp hath strung, With mighty hand? Made chords of magic sound arise, That flung their echoes through the skies, And gained the fame that never dies, My Father-land?

And where are warriors like thine own, Who in the battle's front have shown So firm a stand? Who fought against the Romans' skill, "The conquerors of the world," until They found thou wert "invincible," My Father-land?

And where are hills like thine, or where Are vales so sweet, or scenes so fair, Such praise command? There towering Snowdon, first in height, Or Cader Idris, dreary sight, And lonely Clwyd? Oh! how bright, My Father-land!

Oh! how I love thee, though I mourn That cold neglect should on thee turn, Thy name to brand; And oft the scalding tear will start Raining its dew-drops from the heart, To think how far we are apart, My Father-land.

And when my days are almost done, And, faltering on, I've nearly run Life's dreary sand; Still, still my fainting breath shall be Bestowed upon thy memory, My soul shall wing its way to thee, My Father-land!



MY NATIVE LAND.

BY THE REV. D. EVANS, B.D.

TRANSLATED BY MISS LYDIA JONES.

My soul is sad, my spirit fails, And sickness in my heart prevails, Whilst chill'd with grief, it mourns and wails For my old Native Land.

Gold and wine have power to please, And Summer's pure and gentle breeze,— But ye are dearer far than these, Hills of my Native Land.

Lovely to see the sun arise, Breaking forth from eastern skies; But oh! far lovelier in my eyes Would be my Native Land.

As pants the hart for valley dew, As bleats the lambkin for the ewe, Thus I lament and long to view My ancient Native Land.

What, what are delicacies, say, And large possessions, what are they? What the wide world and all its sway Out of my Native Land?

O should I king of India be, Might Europe to me bend the knee, Such honours should be nought to me Far from my Native Land.

In what delightful country strays Each gentle friend of youthful days? Where dwelleth all I love or praise? O! in my Native Land.

Where are the fields and gardens fair Where once I sported free as air, Without despondency or care? O! in my Native Land.

Where is each path and still retreat Where I with song held converse sweet With true poetic fire replete? O! in my Native Land.

Where do the merry maidens move, Who purely live and truly love— Whose words do not deceitful prove? O! in my Native Land.

And where on earth that friendly place, Where each presents a brother's face, Where frowns or anger ne'er debase! O! 'tis my Native Land.

And O! where dwells that dearest one My first affections fix'd upon, Dying with grief that I am gone? O! in my Native Land.

Where do they food to strangers give? Where kindly, liberally relieve? Where unsophisticated live? O! in my Native Land.

Where are the guileless rites retain'd, And customs of our sires maintain'd? Where has the ancient Welsh remain'd? O! in my Native Land.

Where is the harp of sweetest string? Where are songs read in bardic ring? Genius and inspiration sing Within my Native Land.

Once Zion's sons their harps unstrung, On Babylonian willows hung, And mute their songs—with sorrow wrung, They mourn'd their Native Land.

Captives, the Babylonians cry, Awake Judaean melody,— There is no music they reply, Out of our Native Land.

And thus when I in misery Beseech my muse to visit me, She echo's—there's no hope for thee Out of thy Native Land.

A bard how dull in Indian groves, Distant from the land he loves! The muse to melody ne'er moves Far from her Native Land.

Day and night I ceaseless groan Among these foreigners, alone; Yet not for fame or gold I moan, But for my Native Land.

Oft to the rocky heights I haste, And gaze intent, while tears flow fast, Over old ocean's troubled waste, Towards my Native Land.

Then breaks my heart with grief to see The mountain waves o'erspread the sea, Which widely separates from me My charming Native Land.

To see the boiling ocean near, Whose waves as if they joy'd appear, Rolling betwixt me and my dear Enchanting Native Land.

O had I wings! to cure my pain I'd flee across the widening main, To view the extensive vales again Of my dear Native Land.

There I would lay me down secure, And cheerfully my wants endure: The wealth of worlds could not allure Me from my Native Land.



ODE TO CAMBRIA.

BY THE REV. JOHN WALTERS.

Cambria, I love thy genius bold; Thy dreadful rites, and Druids old; Thy bards who struck the sounding strings, And wak'd the warlike souls of kings; Those kings who, prodigal of breath, Rush'd furious to the fields of death; Thy maids for peerless beauty crown'd, In songs of ancient fame renown'd, Pure as the gem of Arvon's caves, Bright as the foam of Menai's waves, With sunny locks and jetty eyes, Of valour's deeds the glorious prize, Who tam'd to love's refin'd delight Those chiefs invincible in fight. Thy sparkling horns I next recall In many a hospitable hall Circling with haste, whose boundless mirth To many an amorous lay gave birth, And many a present to the fair, And many a deed of bold despair. I love thy harps with well-rank'd strings, Heard in the stately halls of kings, Whose sounds had magic to bestow Or sunny joy, or dusky woe. I love thy fair Silurian vales Fann'd by Sabrina's temperate gales, That fir'd the Roman to engage The scythed cars of Arvirage. Oft to the visionary skies I see thy ancient genius rise, Who mounts the chariot of the wind, And leaves our mortal steeds behind; And while to rouse the drooping land He strikes the harp with glowing hand, Light spirits with aerial wings Dance upon the trembling strings. Oh, lead me thou in strains sublime Thy sacred hill of oaks to climb, To haunt thy old poetic streams, And sport in fiction's fairy dreams, There let the rover fancy free, And breathe the soul of poesy! To think upon thy ravish'd crown, Thy warlike deeds of old renown; Thy valiant sons at Maelor slain, {75a} The stubborn fight of Bangor's plain, {75b} A thousand banners waving high Where bold Tal Moelvre meets the sky! {75c}

Nor seldom, Cambria, I explore Thy treasures of poetic store, And mingle with thy tuneful throng, And range thy realms of ancient song, That like thy mountains, huge and high, Lifts its broad forehead to the sky; Whence Druids fanes of fabling time, And ruin'd castles frown sublime, Down whose dark sides torn rocks resound, Eternal tempests whirling round; With many a pleasant vale between, Where Nature smiles attir'd in green, Where Innocence in cottage warm Is shelter'd from the passing storm, Stretch'd on the banks of lulling streams Where fancy lies indulging dreams, Where shepherds tend their fleecy train, Where echoes oft the pleading strain Of rural lovers. O'er my soul Such varied scenes in vision roll, Whether, O prince of bards, I see The fire of Greece reviv'd in thee, That like a deluge bursts away; Or Taliesin tune the lay; Or thou, wild Merlin, with thy song Pour thy ungovern'd soul along; Or those perchance of later age More artful swell their measur'd rage, Sweet bards whose love-taught numbers suit Soft measures and the Lesbian lute; Whether, Iolo, mirtle-crown'd, Thy harp such amorous verse resound As love's and beauty's prize hath won; Or led by Gwilym's plaintive song, I hear him teach his melting tale In whispers to the grove and gale.

But since thy once harmonious shore Resounds th' inspiring strain no more, That snatch'd in fields of ancient date, The palm from number, strength, and fate; Since to thy grove no more belong The sacred eulogies of song; Since thou hast rued the waste of age, And war, and Scolan's fiercer rage;—{76} The spirit of renown expires, The brave example of thy sires Is lost; thy high heroic crest Oblivion and inglorious rest Have torn with rude rapacious hand; And apathy usurps the land. Lo! silent as the lapse of time Sink to the earth thy towers sublime; Where whilom harp'd the minstrel throng, The night-owl pours her feral song: For ever sinks blest Cambria's fame, By ignorance, and sword, and flame Laid with the dust, amidst her woes The taunt of her ungenerous foes; For ever sleeps her warlike praise, Her wealth, dominion, language, lays.



AN ODE ON THE DEATH OF HOEL.

BY ANEURIN.

TRANSLATED BY THOMAS GRAY, Esq. {77}

[Aneurin was the son of a Welsh chieftain, and was born in the early part of the sixth century. He was himself a soldier, and distinguished himself at the battle of Cattraeth, fought between the Welsh and Saxons, in or about the year 560, but was disastrous to the former and especially to the bard, who was there taken prisoner, and kept for several years in confinement. He composed his principal poem, the Gododin, upon the battle of Cattraeth. This is the oldest Welsh poem extant, and is full of boldness, force, and martial fire. It has been translated into English by the Rev. John Williams, (ab Ithel,) and published by the Messrs. Rees, of Llandovery. The bard died, according to tradition, from the blow of an assassin before the close of the sixth century.]

Had I but the torrent's might, With headlong rage, and wild affright, Upon Deira's squadrons hurl'd, To rush and sweep them from the world! Too, too secure in youthful pride, By them my friend, my Hoel, dy'd, Great Cian's son; of Madoc old, He ask'd no heaps of hoarded gold; Alone in Nature's wealth array'd He asked and had the lovely maid.

To Cattraeth's vale, in glitt'ring row, Twice two hundred warriors go; Ev'ry warrior's manly neck Chains of regal honour deck, Wreath'd in many a golden link: From the golden cup they drink Nectar that the bees produce, Or the grape's ecstatic juice. Flush'd with mirth and hope they burn, But none from Cattraeth's vale return, Save Aeron brave and Conan strong, (Bursting through the bloody throng,) And I, the meanest of them all, That live to weep and sing their fall.



THE DEATH OF OWAIN.

BY ANEURIN.

Lo! the youth, in mind a man, Daring in the battle's van; See the splendid warrior's speed On his fleet and thick-maned steed, As his buckler, beaming wide, Decks the courser's slender side, With his steel of spotless mould, Ermined vest and spurs of gold! Think not, youth, that e'er from me Hate or spleen shall flow to thee; Nobler deeds thy virtues claim, Eulogy and tuneful fame. Ah! much sooner comes thy bier Than thy nuptial feast, I fear; Ere thou mak'st the foe to bleed, Ravens on thy corse shall feed. Owain, lov'd companion, friend, To birds a prey—is this thy end! Tell me, steed, on what sad plain Thy ill-fated lord was slain.



RODERIC'S LAMENT.

Farewell every mountain To memory dear, Each streamlet and fountain Pelucid and clear; Glad halls of my father, From banquets ne'er freed, Where chieftains would gather To quaff the bright mead, Each valley and woodland Whose coverts I knew, Lov'd haunts of my childhood For ever, adieu!

The mountains are blasted And burnt the green wood, The fountain untasted Flows crimsoned with blood, The halls are deserted, Their glory appear Like dreams of departed And desolate years, The wild wood and valley, The covert, the glade, Bereft of their beauty, Invaded! betrayed!

Farewell hoary minstrel, Gay infancy's friend, What roof will protect thee? What chieftain defend? Alas for the number, And sweets of their song, Soon, soon they must slumber, The mountains among; The breathing of pleasure No more will aspire, For changed is the measure, Of liberty's lyre!

Adieu to the greeting Of damsel and dame, When home from the beating Of foemen we came, If Edward the daughters Of Walia would spare, He dooms them the fetters Of vassals to wear; To hear the war rattle, To see the land burn, While foes from the battle In triumph return.

Farewell, and for ever, Dear land of my birth, Again we shall never Know revels or mirth, The cloud mantled castle, My ancestors' pride, The pleasure and wassail In rapture allied; The preludes of danger Approach thee from far, The spears of strangers, The beacons of war.

Farewell to the glory I dreamed of in vain; Behold on the story A blood tinctured stain! Nor this the sole token The records can blast, Our lances are broken, Our trophies are lost; The children of freedom, The princely, the brave, Have none to succeed them Their country to save.

Yet still there are foemen The tyrant to meet, Will laugh at each omen Of death and defeat; Despise every warning His mandate may bring The promises scorning Of Loegria's king: Who seek not to vary Their purpose or change, But firm as Eryri {81} Are fixed for revenge.

Between the rude barriers Of yonder dark hill, A few gallant warriors Are lingering still; While fate pours her phials, Unmoved they remain, Resolved on the trial Of battle again; Resolved on their honour, Which yet they can boast, To rescue their banner They yesterday lost.

Shall Roderic then tremble, And cowardly leave The faithful assembly To fight for a grave? Regardless of breathing The patriot's law, His country forsaking And basely withdraw From liberty's quarrel, Forgetting his vow, And tarnish the laurel That circles his brow?

But art thou not, Helen, Reproving this stay, While fair sails are swelling To bear thee away? And must we then sever, My country, my home? Thus part and for ever Submit to our doom? Ah! let me not linger Thus long by the way Lest memory's finger Unman me for aye!

Hark, hart, yonder bugle! 'Tis Gwalchmai's shrill blast Exclaiming one struggle, Then all will be past, Another, another! It peals the same note As erst when together Delighted we fought! But then it resounded With victory's swell, While now it hath sounded, Life, liberty's knell!

Adieu, then my daughter Loved Helen adieu, The summons of slaughter Is pealing anew; Yet can I thus leave thee, Defenceless and lorn, No home to receive you, A by-word and scorn? 'Tis useless reflection, All soon will be o'er, Heaven grant you protection When Roderic's no more

Cease, Saxons, your scorning Prepare for the war; So Roderic's returning To battle once more! The vulture and raven Are tracking his breath; For fate has engraven A record of death: They mark on his weapon From many a breast, A stream that might deepen The crimsonest crest!

While darkness benighting Engirdled the zone, The chieftain was fighting His way to renown; But ere morn had risen In purple and gold, The heart's blood was frozen, Of Roderic the bold! The foemen lay scattered In heaps round his grave; His buckler was battered And broke was his glaive!

And fame the fair daughter Of victory came, And loud 'mid the slaughter Was heard to proclaim, "A hero is fallen! A warrior's at rest, The banner of Gwynedd Enshrouded his breast, His name shall inherit The conqueror's prize, His purified spirit Ascend to the skies."



THE BATTLE OF GWENYSTRAD.

BY TALIESIN.

[Taliesin was the greatest of the ancient Welsh bards, and was a contemporary of Aneurin in the sixth century. He appears to have been a native of Cardiganshire, for we find him at an early age living at the court of Gwyddno, a petty king of Cantre y Gwaelod, who appointed him his chief bard and tutor to his son Elphin. He was afterwards attached to the court of Urien Rheged, a Welsh prince, king of Cambria and of Scotland as far as the river Clyde, who fought and conquered in the great battle of Gwenystrad, and is celebrated by the bard in the following song. Taliesin composed many poems, but seventy seven of them only have been preserved. The subjects of his poetry were for the most part religion and history, but a few of his poems were of a martial character.]

If warlike chiefs with dawning day At Cattraeth met in dread array, The song records their splendid name; But who shall sing of Urien's fame? His patriot virtues far excel Whate'er the boldest bard can tell: His dreadful arm and dauntless brow Spoil and dismay the haughty foe.

Pillar of Britain's regal line! 'Tis his in glorious war to shine; Despair and death attend his course, Brave leader of the Christian force!

See Prydyn's men, a valiant train, Rush along Gwenystrad's plain! Bright their spears for war addrest, Raging vengeance fires their breast; Shouts like ocean's roar arise, Tear the air, and pierce the skies. Here they urge their tempest force! Nor camp nor forest turns their course: Their breath the shrieking peasants yield O'er all the desolated field.

But lo, the daring hosts engage! Dauntless hearts and flaming rage; And, ere the direful morn is o'er, Mangled limbs and reeking gore, And crimson torrents whelm the ground, Wild destruction stalking round; Fainting warriors gasp for breath, Or struggle in the toils of death.

Where the embattled fortress rose, (Gwenystrad's bulwark from the foes,) Fierce conflicting heroes meet— Groans the earth beneath their feet.

I mark, amidst the rolling flood, Where hardy warriors stain'd with blood Drop their blunt arms, and join the dead, Grey billows curling o'er their head: Mangled with wounds, and vainly brave, At once they sink beneath the wave.

Lull'd to everlasting rest, With folded arms and gory breast— Cold in death, and ghastly pale, Chieftains press the reeky vale, Who late, amidst their kindred throng, Prepar'd the feast, and join'd the song; Or like the sudden tempest rose, And hurl'd destruction on the foes.

Warriors I saw who led the fray, Stern desolation strew'd their way; Aloft the glitt'ring blade they bore, Their garments hung with clotted gore. The furious thrust, the clanging shield, Confound the long-disputed field.

But when Rheged's chief pursues, His way through iron ranks he hews; Hills pil'd on hills, the strangers bleed: Amaz'd I view his daring deed! Destruction frowning on his brow, Close he urg'd the panting foe, 'Till hemm'd around, they met the shock, Before Galysten's hoary rock. Death and torment strew'd his path; His dreadful blade obey'd his wrath: Beneath their shields the strangers lay, Shrinking from the fatal day.

Thus in victorious armour bright, Thou brave Euronwy, pant for fight: With such examples in thine eyes, Haste to grasp the hero's prize.

And till old age has left me dumb— Till death has call'd me to the tomb— May cheerful joys ne'er crown my days, Unless I sing of Urien's praise!



TALIESIN'S PROPHECY. {86}

BY MRS. HEMANS.

A voice from time departed, yet floats thy hills among, O Cambria! thus thy prophet bard, thy Taliesin sung, The path of unborn ages is trac'd upon my soul, The clouds, which mantle things unseen, away before me roll.

A light, the depths revealing, hath o'er my spirit passed; A rushing sound from days to be swells fitful on the blast, And tells me that for ever shall live the lofty tongue, To which the harp of Mona's woods by Freedom's hand was strung.

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