HotFreeBooks.com
Welsh Lyrics of the Nineteenth Century
by Edmund O. Jones
Home - Random Browse

Welsh Lyrics of the Nineteenth Century Selected and Translated by Edmund O. Jones [First Series]

LONDON: Simpkin, Marshall & Co., Limited BANGOR: Javis & Foster, Lorne House MDCCCXCVI



CONTENTS.

DEDICATION

PREFACE

ALUN

i. The Fisherman's Wife ii. Dolly iii. Tintern Abbey iv. The Nightingale

IEUAN GLAN GEIRIONYDD

i. Morfa Rhuddlan ii. The Shepherd of Cwmdyli iii. Why should we weep

GLASYNYS

Blodeuwedd and Hywel

IOAN EMLYN

The Pauper's Grave

TREBOR MAI

i. The Shepherd's Love ii. Baby

CALEDFRYN

The Cuckoo

GWILYM MARLES

i. New Year Thoughts ii. Who in this new God's acre

IEUAN GWYNEDD

i. The Cottages of Wales ii. Go and dig a grave

CEIRIOG

i. Songs of Wales ii. Myfanwy iii. Liberty iv. Climb the hillside v. Change and Permanence vi. Homewards vii. Daybreak viii. The White Stone ix. The Traitors of Wales x. A Mother's Message xi. Mountain Rill xii. Llewelyn's Grave xiii. Rhuddlan Strand xiv. The Steed of Dapple Grey xv. A Lullaby

ISLWYN

i. Night ii. The Vision and the Faculty Divine iii. Thought iv. The Variety of Wales v. The Sick Minister vi. Life like the Heavens vii. The Poets of Wales viii. The Lighthouse

MYNYDDOG

i. When comes my Gwen ii. A Nocturne iii. Come to the Boat, Love iv. At the foot of the Stairs

OSSIAN GWENT

i. The Lark ii. The Bible iii. The Lake iv. A Morning Greeting

ROBERT OWEN

i. De profundis ii. A Prayer



TO MY MOTHER.

They flout me as half-English—a disgrace For which scarce all your virtues can atone, Mother, in whom I find no flaw but one, That you are Saxon!—but this fault of race Fell not on me nor yet, I fear, your grace Of English speech, else had more smoothly run These echoes of Welsh Lyrics, and your son Need not have flinched before the critic's face. Such as they are, from your far Yorkshire home Perchance they may in fancy bid you come, Pondering past memories, to my native land, Once more to see fair Mawddach from the bridge, To mark how Cader rises, ridge on ridge, Or, where Llanaber guards our dead, to stand.

July, 1896.



PREFACE.

The words "First Series" which appear on the Title Page are intended to show, firstly, that I do not at all consider the present collection in any sense a representative anthology of the Welsh Lyrics of the Century, and secondly, that if this effort meets with approval, I hope to bring out two or three further instalments, one of them, if possible, being from poems written in the "mesurau caethion." My aim, in fact, is to publish by degrees a collection of translations which might eventually be gathered together in a single volume (with a general introduction and critical notices on each author) so as to form a more or less adequate anthology of our nineteenth century poets. "So runs my dream": whether it can ever be realized depends of course in a great measure on the reception this first series meets with. That it has many serious defects I well know, nor can I attempt to disarm criticism by pointing out the immense difficulties which confront the man who tries to put Welsh poetry into English rhyme, especially when that man has never written a line of English verse before. But I should be most grateful to readers for any hints or suggestions, by which the faults and imperfections of the present volume may be avoided in a second series. I have retained the metres of the originals with but trifling variations, except in those cases where there was nothing specially characteristic to make this desirable (as e.g., in the case of Islwyn, where I have thrown some of my translations into sonnet form) or where—as in the Song of the Fisherman's Wife—the metre, even if it could be reproduced, would not in English harmonise with the meaning. I ought perhaps to ask pardon beforehand for the audacity with which I have treated Ieuan Glan Geirionydd's famous "Morfa Rhuddlan."

I very gratefully acknowledge the courtesy of the owners of copyright, especially Messrs. Hughes & Son, Wrexham, Mr. O. M. Edwards, and Mr. James Lewis, New Quay (to whom my translation of the "Pauper's Grave" belongs).

My most cordial thanks are also due to Mr. W. Lewis Jones, Lecturer in English at the University College of North Wales, who though an entire stranger has given me his valuable assistance and advice in seeing these pages through the press.

EDMUND O. JONES. VICARAGE, LLANIDLOES, July 23, 1896.



ALUN.

John Blackwell (Alun), was born of very poor parents at Mold in 1797. Beginning life as a shoe-maker, his successes at the Eisteddfods of Ruthin and Mold in 1823 attracted the attention of the gentry of the neighbourhood, and a fund was formed to send him to the University. He took his degree from Jesus College, Oxford, in 1828, and died rector of Manordeifi 1840. His works were published under the title of "Ceinion Alun," in 1851 (Isaac Clarke, Ruthin), and his poems were re-published in 1879, by Mr. Isaac Foulkes of Liverpool, in the "Cyfres y Ceinion."



Song of the Fisherman's Wife.

Hush, restless wave! and landward gently creeping, No longer sullen break; All nature now is still and softly sleeping, And why art thou awake? The busy din of earth will soon be o'er, Rest thee, oh rest upon thy sandy shore.

Peace, restless sea; e'en now my heart's best treasure Thou bearest on thy breast; On thee he spends a life that knows no leisure A scanty wage to wrest. Be kind, O sea, whose limits boundless are, And rest, oh rest, upon thy sandy bar.

Ah, cease to murmur: stay thy waves from warring, And bid thy steeds be still; Why should'st thou rage, when not a breeze is stirring The treetops on the hill? To sheltered haven bring my husband's bark Ere yet the shadows fall and night grows dark.

Full well may women weep, we wives and daughters Whose men are on the deep; But who can tell our anguish when thy waters In stormy anger leap? Be gentle to him, sea, and rage no more, But rest, oh rest, upon thy sandy shore.

Thou heedest not, O sea without compassion, But ravenest for thy prey; I turn to One who can control thy passion, And wildest waves allay; And He will take my loved one 'neath His care, And make thee rest upon thy sandy bar.



An Idyll.

DEWI.

Do you know—have you seen—my sweet Dolly, Who pastures her flocks on Eryri? Her eyes like a dart, Have pierced my heart, Oh, sweeter than honey is Dolly.

HYWEL.

Oh, yes, I know well your sweet Dolly, Whose cot's at the foot of Eryri, No tongue upon earth Can tell of her worth, So lovely, so winning is Dolly.

For tender and bashful is Dolly, Not fairer nor purer the lily, No name under heaven So fitly is given For the harpist to sing of as Dolly.

DEWI.

Not tender, not tender to Dewi! No maiden so cruel as Dolly! With many a tear I beseech her to hear, But deaf to my wooing is Dolly.

I have done all I could for her pleasing, I have gathered her goats for the milking, 'Twas surely no sin, If I hoped I might win, Sweet kisses in payment from Dolly.

Her breast's like the snowflakes when falling, So white—and so cold to my pleading. My heart will soon break For very love's sake, So cold, so bewitching is Dolly.

Three wishes, no more, I would utter— God bless my sweet Dolly for ever, May I gaze on her face Till I finish life's race, Then die—in the arms of my Dolly.



Tintern Abbey

Here how many a heart hath broken, Closed how many a dying eye, Here how many in God's acre, E'en their names forgotten, lie! Here how oft for lauds or vespers Down the glen the bell hath rung, In these walls how many an ave, Creed, and pater have been sung.

On the timeworn pavement yonder, Even now I seem to see, At the shrine where once he worshipped, Some old saint on bended knee; Seems to rise the smoke of incense, In a column faint and dim, Still the organ through the rafters Seems to peal the vesper hymn.

But where once the anthem sounded, Silence now her dwelling finds, And the church from porch to chancel Knows no music but the wind's; Perish so all superstition! Let the world the Truth obey, Long may Peace and Love increasing, O'er our fatherland hold sway.



The Nightingale.

When night first spreads her sable wings, All earthly things to darken, The woodland choir grows mute and still, To thy sweet trill to hearken; Though 'gainst thy breast there lies a thorn, And thou woeworn art bleeding, Yet, till the bright day dawns again, Thou singest, pain unheeding.

And like to thee the helpmeet fair, Her true-love's rarest treasure, When 'neath the clouds the sun has fled, And hope is dead and pleasure, When all the friends of daylight flee, Most faithfully she clingeth, And through the night of pain and wrong, Her sweetest song she singeth.

Though 'neath the blight of sorrow's smart, Her woman's heart oft faileth, She moaneth not but with fond wiles Her pain in smiles she veileth; So sings she through the live-long night, Till hope's bright light appeareth, Which glittering like a radiant eye, Through dawn's shy lashes peereth.



IEUAN GLAN GEIRIONYDD.

Evan Evans was born at Trefriw in 1795, his father being, or having been, a shipwright. He, like Alun, was of Nonconformist parentage, and like him, attracted attention by his successes at this or that Eisteddfod. He went to S. Bees, and was ordained in 1826. He died January 21, 1855, without having obtained preferment in his own country, until within a few months of his death. His poetical works were published under the title of "Geirionydd" (Isaac Clarke, Ruthin). As is too often the case with books published in Wales, the title page bears no date.



The Strand of Rhuddlan.

I.

Low sinks the sun to rest Over the lofty crest Of dim Eryri; Now over moor and dale Night spreads her darkening veil, While from the rustling trees Softly the evening breeze Dieth and fleeteth; Fainter upon mine ear Falls from the ocean near, Its murmur weary; Only within my breast, Tossing in strange unrest, Loud my heart beateth; Beateth with rage and pain, Beateth as once again I muse and ponder On that accursed hour, When 'neath the Saxon power, Welshmen who freedom sought, Fell as they bravely fought, On Rhuddlan yonder.

II.

See, through the gathering gloom Dimly there seems to loom The sheen of targes; Hark, with a swift rebound, Loudly the weapons sound Upon them falling; While from each rattling string Death-dealing arrows ring, Hissing and sighing; Trembles the bloodstained plain, Trembles and rings again, Beneath the charges; But through the deafening roar, And moans of those who sore Wounded are lying, Rises Caradog's cry, Rises to heaven on high, His warriors calling— "Welshmen! we ne'er will sell Country we love so well! Turn we the foe to flight, Or let the moon this night Find all our warriors bold On Rhuddlan stark and cold, For Cymru dying."

III.

Hearing his high behest, Swells every Briton's breast, Red as their lance in rest Their faces glowing; See, through the Saxon band, Many a strong right hand Once and again strikes home, As in their might they come, A broad lane mowing. Britons from far and near Loud raise their voice in prayer, "In this our hour of need To Thee, O God, we plead, Send help from heaven! Guard now our fatherland, Strengthen each Briton's hand, And now on Rhuddlan's strand Be victory given."

IV.

Ah! through my trembling heart Pierce, like a bitter dart, Anguish and terror; Hark to the foemen's vaunt, Boasting and bitter taunt Of Saxon warrior. Nay, do not triumph so, Do not rejoice as though Your deeds were glorious; Not your own valour brave, Numbers, not courage, have Made you victorious. Those who on every side, Have marked the battle's tide, Praying for Cymru's arms, Filled now with wild alarms, The heights are scaling. Old men and children flee, As in amaze they see, Their chosen warriors yield, On Rhuddlan's bloody field, The foe prevailing.

V.

Mountain and lonely dell, Dingle and rock and fell, Echo with wailing; E'en Snowdon's slopes on high Ring with the bitter cry, All unavailing! Cymru's great heart is now Bleeding with bitter woe— Woe for her children dead, Woe for her glory fled, And fallen nation; On great Caradog's hall Anguish and terror fall, Loud lamentation; "Weep for our warrior slain, Ne'er shall we see again, Our mighty captain." Rises the harpist old, Calls for his harp of gold, Sweeps through its mournful strings, And loud the music rings, The dirge of Rhuddlan.



The Shepherd of Cwmdyli.

Cloke of mist hath passed away, Sweetheart mine, Which has veiled the heights all day, Sweetheart mine, See, the sun shines clear and bright, Gilding all the hills with light, To the arbour let us go, Closely clinging, sweetheart mine.

Listen! from the rocks on high, Sweetheart mine, Echo mocks the cuckoo's cry, Sweetheart mine, From each hillock low the steers, Bleat of lambs falls on our ears, In the bushes, sweet and low, Birds are singing, sweetheart mine.

But Cwmdyli soon will be, Sweetheart mine, Lone and drear, bereft of thee, Sweetheart mine, I shall hear thy voice no more, Never see thee cross the moor, With thy pail at morn or eve Tripping gaily, sweetheart mine.

'Mid the city's din be true, Sweetheart mine. When new lovers come to woo, Sweetheart mine, Oh, remember one who'll be, Ever filled with thoughts of thee. In Cwmdyli lone I'll grieve For thee daily, sweetheart mine.



Why should we Weep?

Why should we weep for those we love, Who in the faith of Christ have died? Set free from bonds of sin and pain, They are living still—the other side.

From wave to wave they once were tossed On this world's sea, by storm and tide: Within the haven calm and still They are resting now—the other side.

When gloomy Jordan roared and swelled, The great High Priest was there to guide, And safe above the stormy waves He bore them—to the other side.

What though their bodies in the earth We laid to wait the Judgment-tide? Themselves are fled—they are not there But living still—the other side.

The winds that murmur o'er their graves, To us who still on earth abide, Bring echoes faint of that sweet song They ever sing—the other side.

What though in spite of rain and dew The lilies on their grave have died? The palms they bear can never fade Nor wither—on the other side.

May we not dream they feel with us When we by various ills are tried, That when we triumph over sin, They triumph too—the other side?

May we not hope that more and more The day for which we long have sighed They long for too—that we with them May praise the Lamb—the other side?

And when we reach fair Sion's hill, Where angel hosts in bliss abide, Shall we not clasp the hands of those Whom once we lost—the other side?

Then ever with them we shall dwell By grief untouched, by sin untried, And join with them in that sweet song That never ends—the other side.

But friendship there shall purer be, No love betrayed, no vows denied; Nor pain nor death shall part us more From those we love—the other side!



GLASYNYS.

Owen Wyn Jones was born near Carnarvon, March 4th, 1828. His father was a quarryman, and the future poet followed the same calling till his love for literature became too strong for him. He was ordained deacon in 1860, and held curacies in Anglesey and Monmouthshire. He died at Towyn, April 4, 1870. His works are unpublished, but Mr. O. M. Edwards promises us an edition, which will be not the least among the invaluable services he has rendered to Welsh literature.



Blodeuwedd and Hywel.

Oh how sweet on fair spring morning, 'neath its cloke of hoarfrost peering, 'Tis to see the tiny blossom with its smile the earth adorning, Oh yes 'tis sweet, oh yes 'tis sweet. But the smiles of Hywel slender, and the kindness of his bearing, When my ice-bound heart he's thawing with his honeyed kisses tender, Are sweeter far a thousand times, oh sweeter far.

Sweet the violet on the swelling bank when first it shyly bloweth, Pale and wan but cheerly smiling on its lonely sheltered dwelling, That is sweet, oh that is sweet. But the sight of Hywel coming, sweeter is than flower that groweth, On his cheeks a rarer beauty, near the fold at hour of gloaming, Sweeter is a thousand times, oh sweeter far.

Laughing ever in the sunlight, primrose brakes the hillside cover, April breezes stir the petals till they smile e'en in the twilight; They are sweet, oh they are sweet. So in spite of opposition, true and constant is my lover, Ne'er a moment he forgets me, in the night of persecution, Sweetheart mine, O sweetheart mine.

Sweet the countless daisies flecking grass-green glade and meadow dewy, Like some rare and precious jewels nature's verdant garments decking, They are sweet, oh they are sweet. But the eyes of Hywel glowing, 'neath his forehead broad and ruddy, When the tears—love's best enchantment—fill them full to over-flowing, Are sweeter far a thousand times, oh, sweeter far.

Roses white and lilies tender, marigolds and all sweet posies Scenting all the air together, fair are they in summer weather, O lilies white, O roses fair! But like every summer blossom, lilies fade and so do roses, There's one flower that fadeth never, bloom of love will last for ever, Sweetheart mine, O sweetheart mine.

Leafy beech in verdant hollow—mighty oak with branches hoary, Sycamores—all proudly wearing autumn garb of russet yellow, These are fair, oh these are fair. But when darling Hywel's near me, what care I for woodland glory? Fairer far than all the greenwood is my sweetheart's face to cheer me, Fairer far a thousand times, oh fairer far.

Sweet the song of thrushes filling all the air with shake and quiver, While the feathered songsters, vying each with each, their songs are trilling, Sweet the sound, oh sweet the sound. But to me my love's caressing words and looks are sweeter ever, Would this moment I were near him, and my lips to his were pressing, Sweetheart mine, O sweetheart mine.

God in heaven be Thou his sentry. Guard him from the tempests wintry, Sheep and shepherd ever tending—such my prayer to heaven ascending, O hear my cry and guard my love. Loving Saviour, stay beside us; let Thy Holy Spirit guide us, Keep our feet from rock and mire, till within Thy heavenly choir, We shall rest with Thee above.



IOAN EMLYN.

John Jones was born at Newcastle Emlyn in 1818, and apprenticed to a watchmaker at Crickhowel. He did a good deal of journalistic work and entered the Baptist ministry in 1853. After holding various charges in South Wales, he died Jan., 1873. His fame rests almost entirely on lyric, "The Pauper's Grave," which is one of the most popular in the language.



The Pauper's Grave.

Lo! a grassy mound, where lowers Branching wide a sombre yew, Rises as to catch the showers, Jewelled showers, of heaven-sent dew. Many a one with foot unheeding, Tramples down its verdure brave, Hurrying onward, careless treading,— It is but a pauper's grave.

Workhouse hirelings from the Union Bore him to his last, lone bed, "Dust to dust," that sad communion Woke no grief, no tear was shed. Worn by woes and life's denials, Only rest he now would crave: Quiet haven from all trials To the pauper is his grave.

E'en the rough-hewn stone is broken, Where some rude, untutored hand Carved two letters, as a token Of their boyhood's scattered band, And when bright Palm Sunday neareth, When the dead remembrance crave, Friend nor brother garland beareth For the pauper's squalid grave.

Not for him the Muse which weepeth, Carved in marble rich and rare; Even now time's ploughshare creepeth Through the grass which groweth there. O'er the place where he is sleeping Soon will roll oblivion's wave: Still God's angel will be keeping Ward above the pauper's grave.



TREBOR MAI.

Robert Williams was born May 25, 1830, and followed his father's trade as a tailor. He published two small volumes in his lifetime, "Fy Noswyl" in 1861, and "Y Geninen" in 1869. The contents of these with large additions were published after his death—which took place August 5, 1877—under the title of "Gwaith Barddonol Trebor Mai" (Isaac Ffoulkes, Liverpool, 1883).



The Shepherd's Love.

Adown Llewelyn's Cairn there creep Cloud shadows in the failing light, From far off dingles flock the sheep To seek their shelter for the night. My dog about me as of yore Plays seek and fetch as we go home; But, Ellen, why dost thou no more To meet me in the gloaming come?

The heart I gave thee free from thorn Why seek to wound with coldness, sweet? If lasts thine anger and thy scorn Death's coming I will gladly greet. Yet if to lose thee be my fate My life I cannot all regret, To see thy face doth compensate Though weary storms await me yet.

Across thy memory's golden gate Let not my faithlessness appear, Nor think upon my failings great, Forget them—for I love thee, dear. But if of good I aught have done, Oh that with eyes of kindness mark, And let it shine—as when the sun Spreads wings of gold to chase the dark.

Thou rulest all my phantasy With thy fair face and eyes divine, The form, which in my sleep I see Mid dreamland's mazy fields, is thine. Oh if thy sweet companionship I may not win, nor call thee wife— Then all my future let me sleep, And one long dream be all my life.



Baby.

His cradle's his castle, and dainty his fare, And all the world crowds just to see him lie there. Whole volumes of rapture around him are heard, But he keeps his counsel and says not a word.

His mother while hushing her baby to rest Foretells for him all that can make a man blest. But still he lies silent—his pride is not stirred For all her fond visions, he says not a word.

His father feigns anger and swears that his son Is cross and ill-tempered, and scolds him in fun But though he speaks loud and demands to be heard For threats as for praises, he says not a word.

A glance at the strange world around him he throws— Whence came he? He knows not—nor whither he goes. Vague memories of angels within him are stirred, Too deep for mere speech—so he says not a word.

Yet answer there comes and as clear as can be, In his eyes bright and sparkling his soul you can see. To all that is said of him, all that is heard He looks his reply, though he says not a word.



CALEDFRYN.

William Williams was born at Denbigh February 6th, 1801. A weaver by trade, he showed signs of fitness for the ministry, was sent to Rotherham College, and was ordained minister of the Independent body at Llanerchymedd in 1829. He died at Groeswen, Glamorganshire, March 29, 1869. He published a volume of his poems in 1856, "Caniadau Caledfryn."



The Cuckoo.

Dear playmate of the verdant spring, We greet thee and rejoice, Nature with leaves thy pathway decks, The woodlands need thy voice.

No sooner come the daisies fair To fleck the meadows green, Than thy untrammelled notes are heard Rising the brakes between.

Hast thou some star in yonder heights To guide thee on thy way, And warn thee of the changing years And seasons, day by day?

Fair visitant, the time of flowers, We welcome now with thee, When all the birds' unnumbered choir Warbles from every tree.

The schoolboy on his truant quest For flowers, wandering by, Leaps as he hears thy welcome note And echoes back thy cry.

To visit other lands afar Thou soon wilt flying be; Thou hast another spring than ours To cheerly welcome thee.

For thee the hedgerows aye are green, Thy skies are always clear, There is no sorrow in thy song, Nor winter in thy year!



GWILYM MARLES.

William Thomas was born in Carmarthenshire, 1834. After graduating at the University of Glasgow, he entered the Unitarian ministry. He died December 11th, 1879. He seems to have published one volume of poetry in 1859, but most of his works are still in MS. Judging from the specimens given in the "Llenor" No. 3 (July, 1895), their publication would be a real service to Welsh literature.



New Year Thoughts.

As to the dying year I bade farewell, Within my hands she left a mantle dark, Whereon mine eyes did mark Loved names I scarce for blinding tears could read; But from its folds fresh blushing flow'rets fell Of that fair spring-tide I had mourned as dead.

And now her youngest sister draweth nigh, 'Neath modest starlight and with noiseless feet, Whom thousands flock to greet— Thousands of every age, who fain would know, As in her face each peereth wistfully, What fate she bringeth—happiness or woe?

She answereth not, but pointeth silently To where far off the hidden future lies, All dark to mortal eyes, Save where, from out the gloom, faint stars appear. She will not linger—haste and thou shalt see From chaos order as thou drawest near.



Who in this new God's acre?

Who in this new God's acre first shall rest? Or gallant youth, or baby from the breast? Or age, beneath it's crown of snow-white hair? Or queen of smiles and charms, some maiden fair? Time only can the answer give—and God, Who first shall lie beneath the upturned sod.

It matters not; whom e'er death first may reap Here in a Father's arms shall quiet sleep, The tender flowers shall grow above his head And drink the dews that fall upon his bed. The silent grave is safe from foolish sneer And persecutor's rage is baffled here.

Who first shall rest here? Ah! the days soon come, When all the love of many a village home Shall centre round this spot, where kith and kin Are laid to rest, this virgin soil within. From far and near men by the graves shall stand Of friends who rest within the Better Land.

Who first shall rest here? God o'er all doth reign, The life He gave us we must give again. Our chiefest duty here to work and strive To His great glory while we are alive, And He some resting place will then provide, Or far from town or by the Cletwr's tide.



IEUAN GWYNEDD.

Evan Jones was born near Dolgelley, September 20th, 1820. He was ordained to the Independent ministry in 1845. Always weakly, he found a pastoral charge too great a strain on his health, and he devoted himself to literary pursuits, but he died Feb. 23, 1852, having in his short life served his country well. His Life and Works were published in 1876, "Hanes Bywyd a Gweithiau Barddonol Ieuan Gwynedd" (Hughes & Son, Wrexham).



The Cottages of Wales.

Fair cottages of Cymru, with walls of gleaming white, Whose smoke curls round the valley and up the mountain height; The bees hum 'neath the gable or sheltering garden wall, While all around grow flowers, red rose and lily tall.

Oh lowly cots of Cymru, blest, yea, thrice blest are ye! Ye know not this world's greatness nor earthly dignity; Yet dwell within you ever, the love and peaceful rest Which fly from hall and palace of those the world holds blest.

Oh lovely cots of Cymru, that smile beside the rill, Your rooms the children gladden, as flowers your gardens fill; Their eyes are bright and sparkling, like water in the sun, Their cheeks are like the roses, red rose and white in one.

Grey cottages of Cymru, that nestle 'mid the leaves, No marble walls surround you, straw thatched your lowly eaves, Yet thither many an angel in love delights to come, And watch in joy and gladness the heirs of his bright home.

O quiet cots of Cymru, far from the city's din, Your peace no tumult troubles, no discord enters in; No sound breaks on your stillness but merry children's cry, Or murmur of the rustling leaves or brook that babbles by.

O pleasant cots of Cymru, within, at dawn's first rays, As in the wood around them, are heard glad hymns of praise, And early in the morning the birds and goodwife sing Their matin song of gratitude to God, their Lord and King.

Dear cottages of Cymru, what country holds their peer? Long may they stand unshaken, nor ill their hearths draw near! God keep, as fair and fragrant as on the hills and dales The flowers which smile and blossom, the cottages of Wales.



Go and Dig a Grave for me.

Go and dig a grave for me, This is but a world of woe: Vanish all the joys of life, Like the clouds which come and go: And the weary finds no rest Save within the grave's cold breast.

Go and dig a grave for me, Weary pilgrim here am I, Through life's dark and stormy ways Wandering with a mournful cry. Nought to clasp to my poor breast Save the staff whereon I rest.

Go and dig a grave for me, 'Neath some green and shady tree, Where the kindly breeze will make Mournful music over me. Oh how pleasant 'twill be there For the weak, lone wanderer!

Go and dig a grave for me, For my journey's nearly o'er; Of life's sweets I've freely drunk, Of its wormwood even more. Now to earth farewell I cry— Weak and faint, I long to die.

Go and dig a grave for me All life's pleasures now are past; Memories of the joys that were Darker shadows round me cast. Through death's portals I will fly Far to peaceful worlds on high.

Go and dig a grave for me, Though my dwelling will be dark; Needs not for this mortal frame Stone or sign its place to mark. There 'twill rest till stars shall fall At the last great trumpet call.

Go and dig a grave for me, Broken is my life's frail thread; Hasten, dig for me a grave, Draweth near the stranger dread. Low, ay low my head be bent, Till the heavens in twain are rent.

Go and dig a grave for me, I can stay no longer here, Fare you well—my weak heart faints 'Neath the dark king's fatal spear. I am ready for the grave— Christ receive me, help and save!



CEIRIOG.

John Ceiriog Hughes was born September 25, 1832. He was for many years clerk in the Goods Station, London Road, Manchester, and was afterwards stationmaster on the Cambrian Line at Llanidloes, Towyn and Caersws successively. He died at Caersws April 23rd, 1887. He published during his lifetime 'Oriau'r Hwyr,' 1860; 'Oriau'r Bore,' 1862; 'Cant o Ganeuon,' 1863; 'Y Bardd a'r Cerddor,' 1863; 'Oriau Ereill,' 1868; and 'Oriau'r Haf,' 1870. These are now published by Messrs. Hughes and Son, Wrexham, and ought to be in the possession of every Welshman, and of everyone desirous of learning Welsh. A posthumous volume was published in 1888, 'Oriau Olaf' (Isaac Foulkes, Liverpool).



Songs of Wales.

Songs of Wales live in our ears Through the swiftly passing years; Moaning stormwinds as they blow Murmur songs of long ago; Voices of our dead ones dear In our country's airs we hear.

Whispering leaves in every grove Murmur low the songs we love, Sings the sea 'neath roaring gales Snatches of the songs of Wales, And to Kymric ears they sound Through creation all around.



Myfanwy.

Myfanwy! thy fair face is seen In primrose and clover and rose, In the sunshine, unsullied, serene, And the starlight's untroubled repose. When rises fair Venus on high, And shines 'twixt the heaven and the sea, She is loved by the earth and the sky, But thou art, Myfanwy, far brighter, far fairer to me, A thousand times fairer to me.

Would I were the breezes that blow Through the gardens and walks of thy home, To murmur my love as I go And play with thy locks as I roam! For changeful the breezes and bleak— Now balmy, now chilly they blow— Yet they, love, are kissing thy cheek, O heart of my heart, not changeful my love towards thee— Eternal my love towards thee!



Liberty.

See, see where royal Snowdon rears Her hoary head above her peers To cry that Wales is free! O hills which guard our liberties, With outstretched arms to where you rise In all your pride, I turn my eyes And echo, "Wales is free!" O'er Giant Idris' lofty seat, O'er Berwyn and Plynlimon great And hills which round them lower meet, Blow winds of liberty. And like the breezes high and strong, Which through the cloudwrack sweep along Each dweller in this land of song Is free, is free, is free!

Never, O Freedom, let sweet sleep Over that wretch's eyelids creep Who bears with wrong and shame. Make him to feel thy spirit high, And like a hero do or die, And smite the arm of tyranny, And lay its haunts aflame. Rather than peace which makes thee slave, Rise, Europe, rise, and draw thy glaive, Lay foul oppression in its grave, No more the light to see. Then heavenward turn thy grateful gaze And like the rolling thunder raise Thy triumph song of joy and praise To God—that thou art free!



Climb the hillside.

Climb the hillside in the morning— When the radiant dawn is seen Blushing shyly on the mountains Like a maiden of thirteen. "Quench the lamps of right, Fill the earth with light Wander o'er the lofty hills, Fringe each brightening fold Of the clouds with gold," This the hest shy dawn fulfils.

Climb the hillside in the evening When the sun is sinking low— You shall see day's radiant monarch Falling bloodstained 'neath the foe. Dark and darker yet Grow day's cerements wet, Creeps a haze across the main, Mounts the moon on high, Eve climbs up the sky, Lamps of God to light again.



Change and permanence.

Still the mountains with us stay, Still the winds across them roar, Still is heard at dawn of day Song of shepherd as of yore. Still the countless daisies grow On the hills, beneath the rocks, But new swains, strange shepherds now On our mountains feed their flocks.

Cymru's customs day by day Change with changing fortune's wheel, Friends of youth have passed away, Strangers now their places fill; After many a stormy day Alun Mabon's dead and gone, But the old tongue still holds sway, And the dear old airs live on.



Homewards

From day to day, the golden sun His chariot ne'er restraineth, From night to night the pale white moon Now waxeth and now waneth, From hour to hour the bright stars turn In distances unending, And all the mighty works of God, Are ever homeward tending.

The tiny streamlet on the hill Its wandering way pursueth, The mighty river far below Adown the valley floweth, The winds roam ever in the sky, The clouds are onward driving, And towards some quiet shore—at home The raging sea is striving.



Daybreak.

Yonder on fair Snowdon's height, Ere breaks the light, Stars that through the darkness swim Are sinking in the distance dim.

See! the day its spears hath hurled From the Eastern world; And each shaft is flaming red As though the night had dying bled.

Matin song of skylark gay Proclaims the day; Fled the dragons of the dark And quenched the firefly's glimmering spark.

White its head now Snowdon rears, The sun appears! Day and brightness, lo, he brings To pauper's cot and hall of kings.



The White Stone.

Though far from my poor, feeble hand, My country's harp of gold, Though far from that dear home I stand, Where it was played of old, My mother tongue hath yet a spell And inward voice, which bids me tell My tale in song that Wales loves well, Whatever aliens hold.

A tiny streamlet wandering strayed Beneath our garden wall, Where one of my forefathers made A mimic waterfall. Above the spot the willows weep, Where down its height the water poured, And on the bank beside the deep Fair apple trees keep ward.

Across the pool where fell the spate A bridge of wood was thrown; And marble-like, to bear its weight, There stood a big white stone. Here all my boyhood's hours sped by, Here would I sit contentedly, And on this stone as happy I As king upon his throne!

Where'er in this wide world I be, Where'er I yet may roam, The great white stone I ever see, And hear the stream at home. And when to strangers I confess That in my dreams I thither fly, They pardon me, for all men bless Each childish memory.

Far off, far off are childhood's days, And starry as the sky, Nor lives the man but loves to raise His head with wistful eye Towards the days that are no more: And as I turn towards that shore, For me one star burns evermore— My childhood's dear white stone.



The Traitors of Wales.

You know the fate of Caractacus, A name immortal for each of us, Before whose face Rome's legions dread For nine long years in terror fled.

How to Brigantum's town one day, All unattended, he took his way, And to the fair queen's palace came— Cartismandua was her name.

Then cried the queen, "For many a year To me and mine thou hast been dear: Safe mayest thou dwell in this my land," And she kissed the scars on his strong right hand.

Then, with her own white royal hand, She losed his hauberk's metal band, And in her fairest chamber laid His bow of steel and his flashing blade.

With dainties quickly the board is laid, And mead—the sweetest ever made, Beaming with joy is every face, And mirth and feasting fill the place.

The royal harpist sweeps the strings, And brave Caradoc's deeds he sings, His foes deriding, and most of all Ostorius, the Roman general.

But evening fell—that fatal night That darkened all our nation's light: In sleep his head Caradoc laid, And woke—a captive, bound, betrayed.

Aregwedd {66} she, of winsome smile, Who broke the strength of Britain's Isle, And gave the Samson of our land Delilah-like to the Roman's hand.

* * * * *

A triad of triads, yea, thrice three score, Of traitors our land has borne and more, And traitors many within the sound Of the Western sea may yet be found.

If e'er from love or hate you try To trace a Welshman's pedigree, There is a book—for you 'tis meant, A bluebook of high Parliament.

For in this book incorporate A thousand facts, brought up to date, Prove that each father, mother, son, In Wales is baseborn—every one!

It further shows there's scarce a wight In all wild Wales knows how to write! That none of those who only talk Their native tongue know cheese from chalk.

That 'Eisteddfodau' Welshman teach To spurn the thrice blest English speech: Welsh books—there are none, save what quacks Sell the poor churls as almanacks.

That therefore that most grievous sin Yclept Dissent is rife therein; But if 'the English' were more prized, Wales might some day be—civilized!

Ring out, O bells—proclaim our glee That a real nation we yet may be, When English blessings reach us here— Mountains of beef and floods of beer!

Fraud and treason garbed as grace In the Blue Book find a place, And in the 'Triads of Treachery' Let these 'Three Spies' remembered be.



A Mother's Message.

Her visit was ended and back to her home Far away my dear mother was going; But now that the hour for parting was come With sorrow her heart was o'erflowing. Oh pale grew her cheeks and fast fell her tears, Her faltering counsels delaying, Then low fell these words on my listening ears, "You know what my heart, dear, is saying."

Not a word of the devil, his plans and his wiles, His lies and his love of deceiving, Not a word of the world with its follies and smiles She said when her son she was leaving. I know on my journey she wished me all bliss, I know that for me she was praying, But all that I heard her lips utter was this, "You know what my heart, dear, is saying."

Like the sea as it plays on a dangerous rock Is the spirit that now is in motion, Around me are men who at Heaven make mock, And I'm but a drop in the ocean. My feet are oft hasting the broad path along But while on the precipice straying I am saved by the message so tender, so strong, "You know what my heart, dear, is saying."

'Sin not'—in the skies though this sentence I read, In letters of fire engraven, Though roared the loud thunder in accents of dread, 'Transgress not the laws of high Heaven,' Though slowed the swift lightning to one solid flame, My feet from ungodliness staying, Far stronger the words from my mother which came, "You know what my heart, dear, is saying."



Mountain Rill.

Mountain rill, that darkling, sparkling, Winds and wanders down the hill, 'Mid the rushes, whispering, murmuring, Oh that I were like the rill!

Mountain ling, whose flower and fragrance Sorest longing to me bring To be ever on the mountains— Oh that I were like the ling!

Mountain bird, whose joyous singing On the wholesome breeze is heard, Flitting hither, flitting thither— Oh that I were like the bird!

Mountain child am I, and lonely Far from home my song I sing; But my heart is on the mountain With the birds amid the ling.



Llewelyn's Grave.

The earth has sunk low on the grave of Llewelyn, The rainpools lie o'er it unruffled and still; The moon at her rising, the sun at his setting, Blush red as they look o'er the slope of the hill. O Cymru, my land, dost know of this ill? And where is the patriot hiding his face? The tears of the cloudwrack know well where he lieth, The birds of the mountain can tell of the place.

By chance comes a Welshman and carelessly gazes, Where fell the last hero who fought for his sake; The breezes are moaning, the earth is complaining, That the heart of old Cymru is feeble and weak. 'Tis aliens only their pilgrimage make Where low lies our prince by the side of his glaive. Thank God for the tears which are falling from heaven, And the grass that grows green by the edge of the grave.



The Strand of Rhuddlan.

Frowned the dark heavens on the cause of the righteous, Bondage has swept our free warriors away, Vain were our prayers as our dreams had been baseless, Sword of the foeman has carried the day. Hid be thy strand 'neath the snows everlasting, Frozen the waters that over thee break! Come to defend, O thou God of all mercies, Cause of the righteous and home of the weak.

Slain is our leader, and he who has slain him, Prince of the foemen, will reign in his stead. Fallen our harp with the fall of Caradoc, Ay! let it fall as he fell and lay dead! Yet can I look on the field of the slaughter, God was not mocked, nor was freedom denied. Better than that 'twas to die—there on Rhuddlan Better to sink in the free flowing tide.



The Steed of Dapple Grey.

Caradoc calls his warriors, And loud the bugles blow; On rushed the brave Silurians, And fell beneath the foe. Back shrank his men retreating, But on her steed of dapple grey There rides the stately queen that way Her spouse, Caradoc, meeting.

There's tumult in the dingle, As sinks the sun o'erhead; And many a stalwart hero Lies for his country dead. One host the waters cover, But on her steed of dapple grey There rides the stately queen that day To seek her royal lover.

Then saw the Romans only A steed of dapple grey; But saw the Britons riding Their stately queen that way. The bugles sound the rally! The Britons backward turn—to fight, The Romans backward reel—in flight, Before that last grim sally.



A Lullaby.

Sleep, sleep, sleep! All nature now is steeping Her sons in sleep,—their eyelids close, All living things in sweet repose Are sleeping, sleeping.

Sleep, baby, sleep! Peace o'er thee watch be keeping, If from my bosom thou art torn, Low in the grave I'll lie forlorn, Sleeping, ah, sleeping.



ISLWYN.

William Thomas was born April 3, 1832, and very early showed signs of poetic talent. He published a volume of poems, 'Caniadau Islwyn' (Messrs. Hughes & Son, Wrexham), about 1867, some of the finest pieces in which, including "Thought" and "The Vision and Faculty Divine," are extracted from a long poem "The Storm," which has never yet been published. A complete edition of his works is now in the press. He died Nov. 20, 1878.



Night.

Come, Night, with all thy train Of witnesses. I love The stars' deep eloquence, That with the morning hours Grows mute again. Thy stillness cries to human sense, "There is a God above, And worlds more fair than ours." The day is night which hides the stars from sight! Our night for day is given To make more plain the path to heaven.

It is the Sun That at its rising makes the infidel, And all day long the world alone Its tale can tell. Oh welcome, Night, that bid'st the world be still, That through the stars eternity may speak. Too early, Dawn, too early dost thou wake: Too early climbest up the Eastern hill: Too early! stay: so quiet is the Night, And in her pensive breeze such sympathy, She shows us suns that suffer no eclipse, O'er which the grave's dark shadow ne'er can lie. Nay! come not yet, O Dawn: thy laughing lips, Thy wanton glance, and frolic songs of glee, The convocation of those holier spheres profane, And when night vanishes, heaven is hid again.

Come, balmy Night! O peaceful hours, When on its axis sleeps the untiring wheel, And from this loud-voiced world of ours No taint of earth can on the breezes steal.

The weary sailor, when time's tempests rage, Joys when he sees, on the far shores of heaven, The fiery line of stars, as beacons given To guide him to the eternal anchorage.



The Vision and the Faculty Divine.

When it will, it comes, Like the rain or the bow Or the nightingale's lay By the lake below: As free from restraint as the seraph that roams O'er the ebbing waves of the dying day, When the reddening west, 'twixt the sun and the sea, Seems to open the door of eternity.

When it will, it comes, Like the stars that are driven O'er the cloudwrack riven. When it will—to the world it owes no debt, No times, no seasons for it are set. When it will—like all that belongs to heaven.

Not so the sea That hath its laws and rules and door: Whose ebb and whose flow In the ears of men beat evermore, Like time's great pendulum to and fro. And the time of whose visits is known long before As it rolls to the moment from shore to shore.

Not so the sun, Time's fountain and head, Whose shadows to hours and minutes creep, As into their fold the gathering sheep. The Alps, in their garb of eternal snow— So far from the world they grow white with dread— The moment know When from the East's ever darkening sea He will rise—the image of Deity. And the birds, the same moment awaking, blow The world's great trumpet that men may know That night hath fled, And day is risen again from the dead.

Like the rainbow it comes— As the sign of the covenant made long ago 'Twixt Godhood and thought, when, abating its flow, The sea of eternity brought into sight Time's far distant mountains, and safe on their height There rested, by God to humanity brought, The Ark of eternal, immutable Thought!



Thought.

We are not certain that the mighty soul Doth err, when far above the narrow groove In which man walks from childhood to the grave It rises, murmuring things unutterable, And spurns as lies the outward forms of sense, And, like a shooting star, enfranchised seeks The spaces of eternity.

Hath not The soul a hidden story of its own, A tide of mysteries breaking on a far And distant shore, where memory was lost Amid the mighty ruins of a world Or worlds now vanished?

Are the stars o'erhead Things as divine and glorious as poesy Is wont to sing? Is't not some power in us, Some memory of a yet diviner world And things illumined by the light of God That dowers the stars with beauty, gives them strength And grandeur? 'Tis in us the stars have being, And poesy's self is but the memory Of things that have been or the seer's glance At things that shall be—a future and a past Both greater than the present.

Who hath not Within him felt some long forgotten world Sweep through the corner of his former self, Or touch some jutting peak of memory? Or can we prove a poet's imaginings Are not the remnants of a higher life, A thousand times more glorious, lying hid Within the deepest sea of his great soul, Till comes the all-searching breath of poesy To bid them rise? Oh hail, all hail the hour When God reveals Himself, and like the sun Illumines every epoch of our being, And through them all the Spirit's path shines clear From God, through Nature, back to God again.



The Variety of Wales.

Oh where with such variety Her charms doth nature pour, Or beauties lavish as on thee, Thou world in miniature? Now stern and frowning she appears, Anon her smile most radiant wears.

Between the hills which upward soar Fair valleys lie afar, Where wakes no wind, no torrents roar Our perfect peace to mar, And many a mere to human eyes Reflects the Peace of Paradise.

As ramparts high thy mountains rise Against the wind and rain, To break the strength of wintry skies And rush of storms restrain. And safe beneath them smiling spreads The green expanse of fertile meads.

Though thou art little, dearest Wales, Though strait thy limits are, Upon thy mountains and thy vales Are beauties rich and rare: Thy bounds are narrowed, but to me Sufficient thy variety.



The Sick Minister.

Even now my brethren preach the word, While here I helpless lie; How the thought frets me like a cord— Their work and my infirmity.

Their every effort, Father, crown with power, And all their utterance with Thy unction dower. And unto me, here in my house, be given Patient submission to the will of Heaven.

Time was, I thought one Sabbath's rest would be— One Sabbath's rest with nought of toil to tire— Like some fair island in a stormtoss'd sea, Or pause in music of the eternal choir.

But it is with my heart on this fair morn, As with the reaper on a summer's day, Who hears the sickle sweeping through the corn, And he for weakness needs at home must stay.

'Twixt us and men, us and the world's wild din, The Sabbath is a day of rest; But betwixt us and God—because of sin— A day of labour to each earnest breast.

And think not, till thou lie beneath the sod, Preacher of Peace, there can be rest for thee, Time is the week-tide of the sons of God, Their Sabbath is—Eternity.



Life, like the Heavens.

Life, like the heavens, doth endless worlds contain; Each day's a world where good or ill holds sway: For through life's spacious vistas as we stray Hour after hour we sow with varying grain. Sown even to the wayside, down the plane Of Time thus passes every flying day— Never, till Time's brief seasons fade away Into Eternity, to rise again. But 'neath the ripening rays of righteous fate, To blade and ear the seed grows silently, 'Gainst that great day whose reapers angels are: When all Time's hours before the Throne laid bare, World heaped on world, shall for the sickle wait Of endless death—or immortality.



The Poets of Wales.

I.

Dear Cymru, mid thy mountains soaring high Dwells Genius, basking on thy quiet air, And heavenly shades, and solitude more rare, And all wrapt round with fullest harmony Of streams which fall afar. Thus pleasantly 'Neath Nature their fit foster mother's care, Thy children learn from infant hours to bear And work the will of God. Thy scenery So varied-wild, so strangely sweet and strong, Works on them and to music moulds their mind, Till flows their fancy in poetic rills. The voice of Nature breathes in every song And we may read therein thy features kind As in some tarn that nestles 'neath thy hills.

II.

Thy fragrant breezes wander through the maze Of all their songs as through a woodland reach: Their odes drop sweetness like the ripening peach In laden orchards on late summer days. Their work is Nature's own—not theirs the praise By culture won which midnight studies teach. Sounds the loud cataract in their sonorous speech, And strikes the keynote of their tuneful lays. As to remotest ages in the past We trace thy joyous story, more and more Bards won high honour mid thy hills and vales. So, Cymru, while this world of ours shall last, And Ocean echoing beat upon thy shore, May poets never cease to sing for Wales!



The Lighthouse.

When night first spread her curtain o'er the deep, Firm based beneath the waves the lighthouse tower Rose to the clouds, and mariners once more Blest the bright gleam that o'er them ward would keep. When rose the moon, the sea lay all asleep, It's dreaming waves enfolded by the shore: And founded on the rock, of iron its door, The beacon flashed its light across the deep. Then rose the storm and lashed the waves until They roared like wounded lions, and there raved The elemental forces, shock on shock: And all the great sea's batteries worked their will That never more should ship through it be saved. The rising sun looked out and saw—the Rock.



MYNYDDOG.

Richard Davies was born at Llanbrynmair, January 10th, 1833, and was brought up as a farmer, but latterly, at any rate, devoted himself almost entirely to literary and eisteddfodic pursuits. He published in 1866 "Caneuon Mynyddog," in 1870 "Yr Ail Gynnyg," and in 1877 "Y Trydydd Cynnyg," which may be obtained separately or in one volume from Messrs. Hughes & Son, Wrexham. He died at Cemmaes, July 14th, 1877.



When comes my Gwen.

When comes my Gwen, More glorious then The sun in heaven appeareth; And summer's self To meet this elf A smile more radiant weareth.

When comes my love, The moon above Shines bright and ever brighter; And all the black And sullen wrack Grows in a moment lighter.

When comes my queen, The treetops green Bow down to earth to greet her; And tempests high That rend the sky Disperse, ashamed to meet her.

When comes my sweet Her love to greet, My cares and sorrows vanish; For on her face Rests heavenly grace, Which troubles all doth banish.

When comes my dear, The darkness drear 'Twixt God and me is riven; Her loving eyes Reveal the skies And point the way to heaven.



A Nocturne.

The mournful eve, a weary moan upraising, Low lays her head adown in honeyed sleep; And flame-enshrouded all the hills are praising The God who ward o'er man doth keep: On high the cloudwrack sailing Its golden skirts is trailing; Floats sound of summer song the evening airs along: Says the light Breeze, "Good night."

The tiny flowers, with silvery dewdrops dripping, Before the queen of night bow one and all, Who shod with feathery sandals satin-soft comes tripping To hide the world beneath her shadowy pall; From many a quiet hearth Over the darkling earth Is borne along the sound of song: Says the light Breeze, "Good night."



Come to the Boat, Love.

Come to the boat, love, Come let us row, So all the day, love, Floating we'll go. Low sinks the sun, love, Crimson the sky, See the pale moon, love, Rises on high.

Now through the sky, love, Stars of the night, O'er thy fair head, love, Smiling shine bright. But they are dim, love, By the true light, Which in thine eyes, love, Burns day and night.

Deep in the wood, love, Curtained with shade, Birds to the sun, love, Sing serenade. Faint is their song, love, Nought to mine ear, When from thy lips, love, Sweet words I hear.

Gaze on the tide, love, Sleeping at rest, Mirrored thy face, love, See on its breast. So in my heart, love, Carved is thy mien, Where thou shalt reign, love, Throned as my queen.



At the foot of the Stairs.

Maidenlike, love's question waiving, Nought she said, While I stood my answer craving, Half afraid. Coldly she with hand extended, Said, "Good night," And ere well the words were ended, Took to flight Past me, deep obeisance making. Well she knew She with her my heart was taking Torn in two.

At the stairway's foot half dreaming Still I stayed; From my heart my love poured streaming Towards the maid. For one blissful moment standing Paused she there; Fell the lamplight from the landing On her hair, And her eyes, like starlight sparkling, Clear were seen, But, alas! the staircase darkling Lay between.

Down the staircase through the gloaming, Smiled she then, As though heaven itself were coming Down to men! Raised her hand and from her tresses Plucked a rose Which amid her locks' caresses, Found repose, Breathed upon it love's own dower, Kisses sweet, And for answer dropped the flower At my feet.



OSSIAN GWENT.

John Davies was born at Cardigan in 1834, and died April 24, 1892. He was, I believe, a carpenter by trade. He published one little volume, "Caniadau Ossian Gwent" (Hughes & Son, Wrexham), but he left a large mass of unpublished matter. No one of our poets is simpler or purer, or writes so lovingly of birds and flowers.



The Lark.

Oh hark! With fluttering wing and dewy breast, Soars upward like a spirit strong, From reedy nest, The gentle lark, To tune on high his matin song.

Alway A nameless charm flows from thy lay, Melodious bird! Whose music heard Drives care and sorrow far away.

Beneath, The sleeping world lies still as death; Above, we hear thee singing clear, 'Mid'st morning rays, Unsullied praise, Which speaks of peace to mortal ear.

How free And blithesome is thy joyous flight! In floods of sunshine sparkling bright, From skies serene Thy song unseen Angelic music seems to me.



The Bible.

Like stars beside the sun, So by this book Earth's volumes look: Their glory fades before its light, For on its leaves the splendour bright Of God's own face hath shone.

'Tis like some fair seashell— Bend down thine ear And thou shalt hear The river on the golden strand And sound of harps in that fair land— Or wail of souls in hell!



The Lake.

Oh fair the glade where dewy primrose bloweth, And fair the quiet slope of hillside clear, Which, girdled with the sheen Of glorious summer green, Its smiling face like some tall seraph showeth, And in its sunlit lap the modest mere.

O lake most lovely, ringed about with flowers And girt around its marge with nodding reeds; Like guardian angels o'er The circle of its shore Great trees their branches spread, whose leafy bowers Wave gently 'neath the wind that onward speeds.

Here, too, on meadows green which dewy glisten Cluster sweet violets nodding 'neath the breeze, And coronals of light With golden splendour bright Their fragile heads adorn, which seem to listen To merry birds that sing amid the trees.

O happy spot! I fain would linger ever About thy honeyed stillness, mere benign. Of gazing on thy face I weary never, As fair and full of grace As slumbering infant's face, Or angel features which yet purer shine.

Thy crystal depth with music strange resoundeth, Heard but by those to whom pure souls are given; For unto all on earth Who win the second birth, The whole round world with hidden strings resoundeth, Which endless praise distil to God in heaven.



A Morning Greeting.

Arise, my beloved! the birds' merry chorus Is heard 'mid the bourgeoning buds of the wold Which smiles on the breast of the valley, while o'er us The sun tips the dewladen branches with gold. There comes from the meadows the scent of the clover, The banks are all hidden by daisies from sight, Each nook with bright yellow the primroses cover, The trees in the orchards are curtained with white.

O rouse thee, my darling! come look at the swallow Which over the dingle is flying at will; And hark to the song of the thrush in the hollow, And cuckoo's clear cry on the side of the hill. On high in the heavens the glad lark is trilling The song which he lays at the footstool of morn; My heart with strange gladness his music is thrilling, As down from the sky by the breezes 'tis borne.

Arise, my beloved! the lambs are all springing In frolic enjoyment the meadows among; The stream through the valley its glad song is singing, And the young day laughs lightly its waters along. A robe of bright azure the clear sky is wearing And bathed are the mountains in myriads of rays, The woodland its harp for the noon is preparing And hark, from its strings bursts a torrent of praise.

O rouse thee, my darling! Come, let us be going, So soft is the breeze and so fragrant the air, New health and new strength through our veins will be flowing, And sorrow will vanish and sadness and care! O banish the charms with which sloth would ensnare us, Far purer the joy in the sunshine that lurks, All nature her pinions is spreading to bear us, And show us her Maker, revealed in His works.



ROBERT OWEN.

Robert Owen was born near Barmouth March 30th, 1858. The son of a farmer, he was fortunate in attracting the attention of a French gentleman who had taken up his residence in the village and who taught him French, German and Italian. He qualified as a teacher, but the seeds of consumption shewed themselves early, and he sailed, in 1879, for Australia, only to die near Harrow, Victoria, Oct. 23, 1885. His works have never yet been published—if, indeed, he wrote much. The Llenor, No. 5 (January 1896), has an interesting article on him.



De Profundis.

Strait, strait and narrow is the vale! Behind me riseth to the skies What I have been: in front, but dim, What I shall be all shrouded lies, All shrouded by the curtain dark Of mists which from the river rise. Above, the clouds hide from mine eyes The hosts of heaven.

Strait, strait and barren is the vale! For here no tender primrose blows, Nor daisy with its simple charm, Nor from the yews which round me close Comes song of thrush—but dismal shriek Of deathbird, scattering as it goes The stillness deep—and pales my cheek With awe unspeakable.

Strait, strait and lonely is the vale! Only from far falls on my ear The murmur of the world I loved, But death's dark torrent roareth near. Now 'neath my feet the path I tread Crumbling gives way, and filled with dread Into the waves below I hear The fragments falling.

Strait, strait and hopeless is the vale! Nor can I evermore regain The days of happiness and health Which once I knew, days free from pain, Nor move a foot from where I stand, And backward eyes of longing strain A moment—ere I leave the land And brave those waters.

Yet strait tho' be the vale and dim, And though the skies are dark and drear, And though the mountains everywhere Rise steep and rugged round me here To bar me out from life! there lives One Star which shineth bright and clear From out the sky and comfort gives To soothe my sadness.



A Prayer.

O my God, my Friend, my Father, Thou who knowest all the secrets Of man's heart and all his failings— O forgive me for forgetting All thy loving care towards me, Evil child and disobedient, And for setting up an idol All of earth within thy temple. And receive from hands unworthy As a sacrifice accepted On Thine altar, Lord a bruised Contrite heart that ever suffers Daily pangs of disappointment Even than death itself more bitter. Take the one love of a lifetime, All the hopeless love and passion Dedicated to another Who with me Thy place had taken, As if they to Thee were rendered. Count it, Father, as sufficient Chastening, that I must abandon All my hopes my love of winning, All I have of kin and country, All the comforts health bestoweth, And across the sea go seeking All alone a grave 'mid strangers. O, my God—for I have suffered, Grant at last Thy peace, Thy blessing.



Footnotes:

{66} Aregwedd—the Welsh for Cartismandua.

THE END

Home - Random Browse