British Women Romantic Poets Project


Bowen, Melesina.

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British Women Romantic Poets Project
Shields Library, University of California, Davis, California 95616
I.D. No. BoweMYstra

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Davis British Women Romantic Poets Series

I.D. No. 114
Nancy Kushigian, -- General Editor
Charlotte Payne, -- Managing Editor

Ystradffin: a descriptive poem, with an appendix, containing historical and explanatory notes

Bowen, Melesina

Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans
W. Rees

[This text was scanned from its original in the Shields Library Kohler Collection, University of California, Davis. Kohler ID no. ISuppl:87. Another copy available on microfilm as Kohler ISuppl:87.]

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[Title page]

Title Page
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THE scene of this Poem is the upper part of Carmarthenshire, commencing at Llandovery, and extending to the borders of Cardiganshire, a distance of about fifteen miles. The fine Estate, of which Ystradffin forms a part, (as well as the valuable Lead Mines of Nant-y-mwyn, and the Cave of Twm Sion Catti,) belongs to Earl Cawdor, the representative of the Golden Grove Family, to whom it descended from the Heiress of Ystradffin, who lived in the latter part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth. These romantic and beautiful scenes have long been celebrated in local tradition; and, of late years, have been visited during the Summer months by numerous parties, not unfrequently by Strangers from distant parts of the Kingdom. This circumstance is availed of by the Author, to introduce a Stranger to Llandovery, as a solitary Tourist, who, seeking a Guide, in his search after the Picturesque, meets with a person of a grade beyond the peasants, who usually attend on such occasions, both in rank and intelligence, and who, during their ride to Ystradffin, points out every object claiming particular notice. While resting at Twm Sion Catti's Cave, after a fati-

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guing scramble up the lofty Dinas, in which it is situated, the Guide offers to read the MS. of a deceased friend, which contains some account of the traditionary tales connected with the surrounding Country, including slight sketches of Ancient Welsh History, Customs, Manners, &c. This forms the whole of the story, if such it can be called. And the Guide and Stranger part to meet no more.

The object of this Poem is, to bring before the Public a small portion of the beautiful scenery of South Wales, by adding, not only the attraction of fiction, but also by a reference to real personages and facts, of which no doubt can be entertained, however they may differ under the teach, of a long succession of Narrators.

The Appendix to the Poem is the result of many years attention to the subject, and will, it is hoped, throw sufficient light on any obscurity, and prove interesting to those unacquainted with the matters treated of.

Fully sensible of its numerous defaults, it is not without considerable degree of timid anticipations, that it is now submitted to the Public, from whose decision there can be no appeal.
April , 1839.

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THE sun his parting rays had shed,
And still a ling'ring lustre spread
O'er Llanymddyfri's1 ruin'd tow'r,
"More lovely in its humble hour,
Than when it held in days of old
The haughty prince, and warrior bold;
When potent peers its walls assail'd,
Or captives in its donjons wail'd;

Page 6

More lovely now, with ivy bound,
And peaceful dwellings all around,
Than when in all its strength and pride,
It aw'd the country far and wide!''
1 Pronounced,--Lan-um-thuv-ry, the ancient name of Llandovery, a Town in Carmarthenshire, South Wales;--the double d is sounded like th.--See the Appendix.

Thus said a stranger, as he stood,
Gazing around in tranquil mood;
His noble port and pensive face
Were full of dignity and grace;
Nor youthful was he, nor had yet
Time's tell-tale fingers on him set
One mark of age's wintry pow'r,
Nor stole one mental gem or flow'r;
His ardent mind at ev'ry look,
From nature inspiration took;
And she, (who scorns the heedless eye,)
Her votary meets on mountains high;
Points where the rocky masses hung,
Watches, when crumbling fragments flung,

Page 7

In the vex'd river, rudely dash,
And listens to the awful crash;
Listens and gazes, 'til the sound
Is hush'd! and all is peace around;
With light step sweeps the wild heath's bloom,
And smiling, shews the flow'ry Cwm;1
Finds on the Primrose bank a seat,
And joins the Linnet's carol sweet;
Tells where unfading beauty lies,
And reads his rapture in his eyes!
1 Pronounced, Coom , a Dingle.

But man! inconstant man! will stray,
Tho' smiling nature courts his stay;
Ambition claims him for her own,
Fame talks of triumphs yet unknown,
Wealth boasts a wide extended sway,
Whilst Pleasure chides his long delay;

Page 8

To each his ardent eyes he turns,
For each his beating bosom burns;
Yet, when their rival charms are known,
The halcyon hours of peace are flown!
And nature, who those hours had led,
Blushes, and turns her drooping head;
Fondly her hand on his she lays,
And still the parting hour delays;
But when the City meets her view,
She sighs! and falters out--Adieu!
Time, with his burthen on his wings,
To nature's aid kind mem'ry brings,
With all her hoard of joys and pains,
And smiles, which she alone retains.
Again he dreams of those blest hours,
When nature strew'd his path with flow'rs;
So now to meet her charms he roves,
'Midst Cambria's1 lovely hills and groves.
See Appendix, 2.

Page 9

From beaten paths to turn aside,
He seeks, and finds a practis'd Guide,
Known well to whom each deep recess,
Each dang'rous ford, or wilderness,
Each cavern'd rock, or lofty hill,
Unfathom'd pool, or mountain rill;
For in his youthful days he'd been
(Proud of the name) a sportsman keen;
At early dawn, wild for the chace,
His fleet hounds court the well-known race;
Or o'er the heathy hills he hies,

[The preceding word has been changed in manuscript hand to read "hies." Ed.]

To watch the Grugiar1 as it flies.
Again he seeks the rushy dell,
And drags the Dwrgi2 from his cell.
From ocean, when the finny tribe,
(Unerring instinct for their guide,)
1 The Grouse ,--literally the heath hen , from grug , the heath berries, which is their favourite food. 2 The Otter,--literally, Water dog. Pronounced,--Doorgi, the gi being sounded as in "give."
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Seeks in the fresher, sweeter wave,
Their silver-shining sides to lave;
In the light Coracle1 he glides,
And fearless o'er the river rides,
Near the wild falls of Towy creeps,
And spears the Salmon as he leaps!
So pass'd his youthful prime away,
Whilst still he sought his changing prey;
So pass'd the pride of riper years,
In light unprofitable cares;
And little wiser is he now,
Tho' manhood's fading on his brow.

Such was our Guide! nor lowly he,
But full of ancient pedigree,
Through cent'ries backward trac'd his way,
(Perchance to Ilion's2 fatal day,)
[1] See Appendix, 3. 2 The fall of Troy. See Appendix, 3.

Page 11

What tho' his sires could little boast,
Save empty claims to lands long lost;
Tho' many a care his parents knew
From numerous sons, and acres few;
Tenacious pride still closely clung,
And swell'd in blood from Brutus1 sprung,
And scornfully that blood recoils,
From the bare thought of merchants' toils.

Such was the stranger, such the Guide,
Whom fortune to his wish supplied,
And soon they fix th' excursive plan,
The beauteous scenes around to scan;
Choosing the early hours of morn,
While yet the dew hangs on the thorn,
Whilst matin hymns the gay birds sung,
And flow'rets new-born fragrance flung,

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As grateful incense duly giv'n
In just return to bounteous heav'n,
Thus teaching man's rebellious race,
In pious love their path to trace.
1 See Appendix, 3

The pair began their way while still
The morning mist roll'd down1 the hill,
And diamond dewdrops deck the grass,
O'er which the leverets lightly pass;
That heavenly calm breath'd all around,
Which but at early dawn is found;
That calm which makes a mortal know
Earth was not meant a seat of woe;
And in the silent stranger's breast
That holy calm was deep imprest;
Loos'd from the world's turmoil and care,
His heart impell'd th' unutter'd pray'r,

Page 13

In unison of thought and sight,
For Llanfair'bryn1 rose on the right,
A church upon the hill's fair side,
O'erlooking vale, and grove, and tide.
1 The Welsh Peasants foretell fair weather when the mist rolls down the hills in the morning, and rain , if it rolls up . Either way, it is a pleasing sight. 1 Llanfair-ar-y-bryn , (St. Mary on the hill,) one of the two Parishes of Llandovery, the other is Tingad , they stand as described in the Poem.

He paus'd, look'd round, and turn'd his steed,
"Might we not up yon hill proceed?"
" 'Tis early, and this slight delay,
The prospect, doubtless, would repay."
He waited not the Guide's assent,
Unheard, if utter'd, on he went;
And few the steps, ere all around
A thousand varied charms are found;
The ivy'd walls, the flow'r deck'd graves,
The meads which winding Towy laves,
The distant Van,2 the neighb'ring Town,
The wooded hills soft sloping down;

Page 14

Llandingad Church in lovely view,
With many a mansion, old and new;
These, and unnumber'd beauties more,
The enraptur'd stranger's eyes explore;
And whilst these charming scenes impart
The purest pleasure to his heart,
He marks the moral of the view,
He marks it, and explains it too.
2 Bannau Shir Gaer, --the Carmarthenshire Beacon, or Van , a lofty mountain, dividing that County from Brecknockshire.

"See! how within a mountain screen,
Llandovery's shelter'd town is seen,
Wide as its domiciles extend,
God's holy house at either end,
A watchman's sacred task fulfils,
Points to the everlasting hills,
And sweetly bids each son of care
Begin and end the day with pray'r;
And whatsoever lot be giv'n,
Still, like those hills, aspire to heav'n!"

Page 15

More had he said, but here the Guide
With hearty laugh, approached his side,--
"Why, Sir! 'twould tempt one to suppose
You knew how yonder Fabric rose!
Aspire to heav'n! aye, legends say,
St. Mary taught those folks the way;
Those folks who strove long time to raise
Yon holy house for pray'r and praise;
Down in the Vale they labour'd still,
Each morn their work was on the hill!
At length their purpose they forego,
Convinc'd St. Mary will'd it so;
Nought did their further labours mock,
And Llanfair'bryn stands like a rock!"

The Stranger smil'd, and turn'd his steed,
Inquiring still as they proceed,
"How call you, friend, yon wooded hill
Now on our left, extending still?"

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" 'Tis Allt-y-tlodi,1 Sir, and well
Its name each poor man's child can tell,
For ev'ry needy townsman there
Still claims his right to cut his share,
(Long as the Brân its feet shall lave,
This welcome boon the Donor gave;)
And whilst the faggot's cheerful blaze
Delights and cheers his children's gaze,
He bids the young ones learn to name
The friend from whom that right they claim:
Kind, though eccentric, was the man,
And while a lenghten'd course he ran,
He taught his wide-spread2 flock to pray,
He spoke of heav'n, 'and led the way.' "
"And justly dear the meed of fame,
When it awaits the good man's name,"
The Stranger said, and then pass'd on
'Twixt Gilvach and the meads of Tonn.
1 Pronounced,--Allty-cloddy . See Appendix, 6. 2 Ibid.

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And Dolauhirion Bridge is near,
And beauteous Towy deep and clear,
Over its rocky bed is leaping,
Or in its dark caves silent sleeping,
Or forming frightful whirlpools there,
Or sparkling in the sunny air,
Romantic, awful, beauteous still,
From its first source of mountain rill,
Until it forms Caerfyrddin's1 pride,
The consort of old ocean's tide.
Through deep Cwm Coy, 'neath Erryd Grove,2
The pair in tranquil silence rove,
Sooth'd by the gurgling waters nigh,
Now seen, now hidden from the eye,
Though many a break of bank and bush
Betrays the stream's impetuous rush.
1 Carmarthen. 2 See Appendix, 7.

"Sir," said the Guide, "behold yon tree3
Which shews how high its course must be,

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When swell'd by mountain wreaths of snow,
The foaming waves no bound'ries know!
Yet, though the wintry flood we fear,
A summer storm seems still more drear.
3 Ibid. 8.

Such was one well remember'd day,
The fields smelt sweet with tedded hay.
The lambs upon the hills were sporting,
The kine to Towy's stream resorting,
The birds were gay, the flow'rets fair,
And balmy breathings fill'd the air,
With buoyant spirits on I went,
To spear the salmon, my intent,
A fav'rite haunt I sought, for there
The prize would well reward my care,
'Tis near the Dinas,1 Sir, and we
Ere long that far-fam'd spot shall see."

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"Full of my sport, I heeded not
Amongst the clouds one dark'ning spot,
And 'midst the sunshine little fear'd
The warning thunder distant heard;
The winds were hush'd, yet, strange to say,
The trembling leaves seem'd all in play,
And straws and feathers rose in air,
Whirling in strange commotion there;
The timid birds fled screaming by,
To hide within recesses nigh:
Rous'd by these tokens, I withdrew,
And shelter'd in a cavern too.
'Twas time! or I were lost, no doubt!
It came! it burst! a waterspout!
It pour'd a sweeping deluge round,
And forc'd the river o'er its bound.
1 Dinas is derived from the old Celtic word Dûn , pronounced nearly like Deen in English, and is frequently found in the names of places in Scotland. It signifies a lofty fortification, a strong hold. It is the proper name of the grand hill near Ystradffin. See Appendix, 11.

Oh! what a fierce resistless tide,
Spread dire destruction far and wide,

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Uprooted trees in all their bloom,
With new made hay, find equal doom;
The lowing cattle hurried on,
Swim struggling till their strength is gone,
While the poor sheep with languid eye,
In mute despair, float helplessly.

Upon the banks there is a spot
Where stood the shepherd's lowly cot,
An old and poor, but honest pair,
In peaceful solitude dwelt there;
The sheep upon the mountain's side
Were all his care, and all his pride;
And she, with housewife thrift befitting,
Was fam'd for spinning and for knitting;
No waste of furniture was there,
A table, bed, and wooden chair,
A three legg'd stool on either side,
Their turf-fed fire, and chimney wide,

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Down which the trickling damps descended,
And where the Crochan1 was suspended,
Spoons, noggins, platters, flum'ry bowl,
And large brass pan, comprised the whole;
But they had learn'd to bring the hope
Of earthly goods in narrow scope;
They know not wants, which proud ones do,
So were content, and thankful too!

Poor souls! on that disast'rous day,
Their little all was swept away;
The torrent with resistless force
Soon made their hut a water course!
Crochan and table, chair and stool,
Were toss'd along with strange misrule;
Nor could the bed a fixture stay,
(Where the poor man then fev'rish lay,)

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Borne by the overwhelming flood,
Upon a thicket near it stood,
And there, by mercy's hand detain'd,
Till help arriv'd, it safe remain'd.
1 A large Iron Pot, generally suspended from a pole placed across the chimney; it usually has a very thick and exceedingly rude wooden lid; and it forms the chief part of a Welsh Peasant's kitchen range.

But that brass pan, as some will tell,
Floated along the wild waves swell,
Just like a coracle, but bright,
And many a silly crone did fright;
And then, (a lengthen'd voyage past,)
At Llyn-yr-hên-bont1 sunk at last;
That deep dark pool we now are near,
And Henllys walks are lovely there."
1 See Appendix, 9.

"But," said the list'ning Stranger, "say
How did you fare that dismal day?"

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"Oh! safe enough my rocky den!
And when the storm abated, then,
Scrambling and wading, half between,
I soon was snug at Ystradffin.
Now, Sir, the road is wide and clear,
And Erryd to the right is here;
And on the left hand, rising still,
Stands Cefntrenfa,1 on the hill,
Casting a side-long glance of pride
O'er Cae'r-allt-fach's fair sloping side."
1 Pronounced,--Keventrenva.

"Sir, have you ever felt the pow'r
Of mem'ry o'er some long past hour,
Calling its spirit back again,
To tell its tale of joy or pain?
There's not a dwelling I can see,
But bids that spirit wake in me!

Page 24

Bitter or sweet, I need not tell,
The heart its burthen knows full well!"

The Stranger answer'd not, but sigh'd,
And soon Cil'cwm's1 Church tow'r they spied:
" 'Tis a poor village, Sir, and mean,
Not over large, not over clean;
Yet, somehow to my heart 'tis dear,
For many a friend lies buried near!
And it can boast a lengthen'd day,
Its tales of mirth, and wild affray,
And many a monumental stone,
Recording names in life well known;
Yet little worth a Stranger's eye,
Save those wide spreading Yew Trees nigh;
But on the right, one hut I see,
That claims a ling'ring look from me;
1 Pronounced,--Kilcoom, a very extensive Parish in the upper part of Carmarthenshire.

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'Twas once the Harper's1 humble home,
Tho' distant far he lov'd to roam:
Llanwrtyd and Llandrindod too,
Rejoic'd his Triple2 Harp to view;
The sprightly dance, the native lay,
Chas'd the long night, and cheer'd the day;
And oft was ask'd for o'er again
Codiad yr haul ,3 that fav'rite strain,
Ar-hyd-y-nos 4 with varyings meet,
Codiad yr Hedydd's 5 warbling's sweet;
Y Gadlys ,6 and a hundred more,
Nor then exhausted was his store!
Blind, old, and poor, the Harper died,
Nor will his place be soon supplied,
Nor shall we easily forget
The strains we heard when Friends were met;

Page 26

Nor yet his look of pride and pleasure,
When skilful hearers prais'd the measure;
His proudest boast, 'I taught that strain
In the noble Mansion of Glanbrane.' "
1 Well known as Daniel the Harper. 2 See Appendix, 10. 3 The Rising Sun. 4 The Livelong Night, adapted to the English song of Poor Mary Ann. 5 The Rising of the Lark. 6 The Camp of the Palace, or, "Of a noble Race was Shenkyn."

"Is it not there?" the Stranger said,
"Beneath yon rocky mountain's head,
The Cat'ract rushing down its side,
And wooded hills encircling wide?
A lovely Mansion there I see,
Might well a mountain Chieftain's be."

" 'Tis Neuadd, Sir. Nature and Art
United here, their charms impart;
From Garth, Craig-Rhossan,1 and The Foel,2
The hand of Taste improv'd the whole.

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That eye each scene observant view'd,
And form'd to beauty, e'en the rude!
'Tis past! a tale too briefly told,
That eye is shut, that hand is cold!
All that was mortal, in the tomb;
Oh! how unlook'd for was the doom!"
1 See Appendix, 11. 2 Pronounced,--Vole.

A painful feeling touch'd the Guide,
He turn'd obtruding grief to hide;
'Twas but a momentary pause,
Nor was there need to ask the cause;
Nor was there time! a distant sound
Of Sportman's shout, and yelping hound;
Quickly dispers'd the unwonted sigh,
Uplifts his head, and lights his eye.

Hark to the dogs! I see them now
Upon Penlifau's darksome brow;
Oh! how I love to hear that cry!
My spirit seems with them to fly;

Page 28

As o'er the hills their course we trace,
Eager I feel to join the race;
In Summer, Autumn, Winter drear,
We find a healthful pleasure here;
And tho' the Seasons change the Game,
The jocund glee is still the same.
Ah! there they go! and now they're gone!
The Stranger spake with calmer tone.

"Doubtless such sports with some agree,
With them I feel no sympathy;
Nor with a Sportsman's eye behold,
These lovely Vales, and mountains bold;
Yet surely with a zest as true,
As ever Sportsman met the view."

And onward still the Pair are ranging
O'er mountain scenes for ever changing;
Tall groves whose hanging branches meet,
And kiss the Towy at their feet;

Page 29

Fair sloping banks of verdant green,
Where the light-bounding flocks are seen;
And many a cheerful sunny spot,
Where stands the Miner's neat white cot.
And soon Craig Mwyn1 before them lies,
Rearing its dark head to the skies!
Deep buried in whose gloomy sides,
The shining pond'rous metal hides;
The vaulted cave's unequal height,
Beset with spar, and crystals bright,
Conceals the multitude within,
Absorbs the never ceasing din,
Save when forth-issuing numbers bear,
The rich rewards of toil and care,
And Echo, newly waken'd, tells,
Where unremitting2 labour dwells.
1 In which are the Lead Mines belonging to Earl Cawdor. 2 One set of Miners work for four hours, and then give place to another set, the work going on without interruption, (Sundays excepted.)

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Through Rhyd Pengarreg safe they go,
('Neath Summer's sun the stream runs low;)
And fearlessly the mountain maiden
Steps o'er, barefooted, and well laden,1
Yet treach'rous Towy oft has prov'd
Fatal to him who rashly rov'd.
But they have pass'd in safety o'er,
A lowly hut2 stands on the shore,
Dear to the weary Miner's heart,
The humble joys it can impart;
Rest, cwrw, and a blazing fire,
Nor more it yields, or they desire.
1 This I have more than once seen whilst crossing. 2 A poor Public House, known by the name of the "Miner's Arms."

A road from rude Pengarreg's cleft,
Wild Allt-y-Beri's on their left,
Form'd, as it were, of many a stone,
By giant pow'r abruptly thrown:

Page 31

Then fasten'd with a verdant yoke
Of Alder, Mountain Ash, and Oak;
And Cwrt-y-Ffynnon1 there is seen,
Peeping from out its covert green;
With here and there a hut beside,
Perch'd on the mountain's rugged side,
Small hope of comfort there to dwell,
Yet suiting that wild scen'ry well.
And beautiful that wildness too!
With the lofty Dinas full in view
And Towy's winding waves are seen,
Spreading the rival hills2 between;
And 'Rescob3 in the distance hiding,
Whilst o'er its head dark clouds are gliding:

Page 32

Yet seeming in a sunny light,
To rise advancing on the sight.
1 Pronounced,--Courty Funnon, it is a Cottage with a well. 2 Allty Beri and the Dinas. 3 'Rescob. A beautiful hill, commonly called Fforest yr Esgob, or the Bishop's Forest; it was such within the last 20 or 25 Years, but is now bare. It belongs to the Bishop of St. David's, and is on the other side of the River, opposite the Dinas, and very close to Cape Peilin, but is in the Parish of Llanddewi Brefi, Cardiganshire.

And little further do they ride
Ere loudly shouts the watchful Guide,
In Cymru's tongue! the Native strain,
Was quickly heard,--nor heard in vain.
A Shepherd leaves his humble meal,
To join the Pair with ready zeal;
Accustom'd oft to lead the way,
And tell old tales, whene'er he may.
But when the Guide forbids to teach,
Checking the shrewdly fluent speech,
And bids him make the steeds his care,
At Ystradffin, and wait them there,
He goes! of guerdon well aware.

Now o'er the greensward path they rove,
Beneath the shade of Dinas' grove;

Page 33

Now winding round the mountain's feet,
They mark the rushing waters meet,
In Carreg Towy's rocky cells,
Where wild uproar forever dwells;
In boist'rous play, and cloud-like foam,
Doitheia seeks rude Towy's home.

The Stranger stands awhile to gaze
In silent, rapt'rous, heartfelt praise.
Nor lost on our observant Guide,
Were feelings deeply gratified:
Proud of his lovely Native Land,
He gaily smiled, and wav'd his hand.

"Look where those rocks fantastic lie,
Softly reposing on the sky!
There yonder mountain-berries wave,
O'er Twm-Sion-Catti's1 far-fam'd Cave!

Page 34

Reported scene of many a feat,
That little boasts of good or great:
Yet he was not a humble hind,
Nor did he lonely fortunes find:
A Wilding Wight, in days long gone,
Perchance you'll hear of him anon."
1 For reasons which will hereafter be sufficiently evident to the Reader, the Note for this name is postponed to the latter part of the Poem.

So still their rambles they pursue,
With lofty Dinas full in view.
The crumbling rock, with moss o'ergrown,
The crystal streamlet trickling down,
The rushy swamp, the crisped heath,
Crackling the hasty foot beneath;
All these are past! before them lie
The scathed rock's rude majesty.
Masses immense, promiscuous hurl'd,
Speak the convulsions of a world,
Which sequent centuries have drest,
With shrubs, and herbs, and mossy crest.

Page 35

And now a rifted

[The preceding word has been changed in manuscript hand to read "rifted", possibly from "rilled." Ed.]

rock is nigh,
Yawning before the wand'ring eye,
Whose broad dark sides on either hand,
Like high embattled ramparts stand.
With careful steps they upward wind,
And soon a narrow entrance find,
That just admits them one by one,
With form convolving1 to the stone.
Lofty, though narrow, is the Cave,
And o'er its top wild branches wave,
And on its tall sides, smooth and bare,
Full many a carved name is there!
Names of the present and the past,
Which thus beyond their date would last.
1 The entrance to this Cave is through a narrow aperture formed of two immense slate rocks, which face each other, and the space between them is narrower at the bottom than at the top, so that the passage can only be entered sideways , with the figure inclined, according to the slanting of the rock.
Page 36

Slight int'rest would the Cavern claim,
Save from traditionary fame;
Yet still such varying charms abound,
In mountains, streams, and groves around,
That oft th' admiring Stranger said
He felt his rambling toils o'erpaid.

Beneath an oak, which stood alone,
And threw its branches o'er a stone,
Forming a pleasant, cool retreat,
They chose a table and a seat.
A scrip well fill'd with simple fare,
Yields a repast they gladly share;
And as the rustic meal they take,
The Guide with musing aspect spake:--

"In early life I had a friend,
Whose roving steps I lov'd to 'tend.
(A Harper and a Bard was he,
Tho' humble was his destiny.)

Page 37

" 'Twas said our years were most unmeet
To form the tie of friendship sweet,
For he was old, and I was young;--
(With diff'ring wires the harp is strung,
Yet do their varying sounds agree
To form a perfect harmony.)

"He taught me with successful care,
The wily speckled trout to snare,
Or with a nobler prize in view,
The salmon to his haunts pursue:
And oft my vent'rous steps he led
Upon the rocks in Towy's bed:
There, fearfully, yet safely raised,
Enraptur'd, all around I gazed,
Forgetful of the whirlpool nigh,
Heedless of salmon leaping by,
Wrapt in a trance of ecstacy,
'Till Cadwn's voice awakened me!

Page 38

"And then upon the banks we'd lie
Watching the silv'ry clouds float by,
And I would listen to his lays,
That sweetly spoke of long past days.

"Again the story he'd renew,
(Tho' often told, yet ever new,)
Of Dinas Cave, and Ystradffin,
And all the wonders of the scene!
At length, at my request, he penn'd
Those Tales, I never wish'd to end;
Those Tales, so long, so dearly lov'd,
Old Cadwn's Legacy they prov'd!

"Years pass'd away, ere I could look,
With tearless eye, upon his book;
But Time a healing balm supplied,
And 'tis my pleasure now, and pride;
And oft, when strangers here I lead,
We rest awhile, those tales to read."

Page 39

He gaz'd! assenting smiles to see,
Drew from his pocket, leisurely;
His little tome of treasur'd lore,
And turn'd the well known pages o'er;
Cough'd, hemm'd, and waited for a sign,
(Perchance his offer to decline;)
Not so! the Stranger seem'd to feel
His garrulous Companion's zeal,
And thankfully his wish exprest
To listen, and awhile to rest.

Pleas'd with the Stranger's ready choice,
The Guide began, with cheerful voice.

Page [40]

PART I. CALANGAUAF.1 1 Calan-gauaf, (pronounced,--ghi-av.) Calan , the first of every month. Gauaf , winter,--the first day of Winter. See Appendix, 12.

OH ! come and hear of former days,
Of rural scenes, and rustic ways,
Of sports and manners long gone by,
And feats of mountain revelry:
Legends of love, or simple tale
Of wassail hours in Towy's Vale.
Come then! and with reverted eye,
Forms , faded long, we may espy;

Page 41

Smiles , seen no more, we shall review,
And pleasures past, we will renew:
O'erlooking years that intervene,
We'll meet the friends of Ystradffin:
These waited not for costly glare
Of midnight lamps, but lov'd to share
The feast, while yet the sun was shining,
(At early noon, our Sires were dining,)
They deem'd divine the obvious plan,
That day-light hours were meant for man!
Blithely went matron, youth, and maid,
And none a thought of fear betray'd;
Though wild and rugged was the way,
The Ceffyl trod that joyous day,
For Cymry's daughters boldly ride
Through Rhyd, or Cwm, or Rhossan wide,
More dignified, sedate, and slow,
The Sires in social converse go:
But in due order all are seen,
Within the walls of Ystradffin,

Page 42

Where all alike a welcome find,
Courteous, sincere, and frankly kind.

Dear to the young heart, light and gay,
Was Calangauaf's1 festal day!
Enshrin'd by many a mirthful game,
Which long has lost its wonted fame;
But once was welcom'd with a smile,
(Which smooth'd the brow of care awhile!)
Cheerful as thoughts of youthful glee,
And warm as mountain hospitality.
1 See Appendix, 12.

The social Hall was amply grac'd,
And ev'ry guest in order plac'd;
And well these mountain realms afford
Rich gifts to load the festive board;
Nor were they slighted, nor unpriz'd
The art, each tempting change devis'd;

Page 43

And brimming cups were duly drain'd,
From wassail bowls the youths refrain'd;
For softest looks from sparkling eyes,
Were giv'n, as maids and matrons rise;
Eager their pleasures to enhance,
With music, rural sports, and dance.

Soon, by light-hearted maids prepar'd,
Uncheck'd by pride, these sports are shar'd;
The dipping Pail,1 the Quintain rude,
The mystic Bowls, by fate embued;
With wond'rous prescient skill to shew
The coming hours of joy or woe;
And matron heads in consultation,
The signs explain, with exultation.
1 See Appendix, 12.

In one, symbolic Ashes lie,
Bespeaking love's dissever'd tie!

Page 44

A mourning bride, or widow'd mate,
Sad prospects on this bowl await.

A common lot the next discloses,
Life has thorns as well as roses!
And whether Hymen's cup we sip,
Or turn aside the scornful lip,
'Tis but a choice of changing care,
Which sole or social, all must bear.

Essyllt, a gentle, timid maid,
By Blethyn urg'd, her lot essay'd,
But turn'd on him her soft blue eye,
When Ashes told her destiny.

It daunted not that dark hair'd girl,
Approaching with fantastic whirl;
And jeering Meyric, who would fain,
His sprightly Gwervil's hand detain;

Page 45

That hand soon found the "common lot!"
The merry maiden heeded not!
It could not damp a heart so light,
It could not cloud an eye so bright.

Still was the precious prize ungain'd,
Deep in one untried bowl remain'd
The pure bright fluid, taught to tell
Of joys which with the future dwell;
Of health, and wealth, and peace, and love,
Such as but rarely mortals prove;
And many a maiden sought in vain,
With flut'ring heart that prize to gain.

Gwriad, in cold abstracted mood,
With curved lip, apart had stood,
As if their harmless mirth annoy'd,
(Not thus were heart-sick thoughts employ'd,)
For oft he turn'd an anxious eye,
As the light forms were flitting by;

Page 46

But when he views Angharad near,
He starts, to whisper in her ear,--
"Oh! come, sweet Rose of Ystradffin,
Bright star of Cymru, grace the scene;
Fortune still smiles on beauty rare,
And thou art 'Fairest of the Fair!' "

The voice of flatt'ry few withstand,
She blushes, smiles, and gives her hand,
The silken kerchief binds her eyes,
Ere yet the doubtful task she tries;
And old and young delighted trace,
Each movement fraught with native grace,
While round with fairy foot she trips,
And in a bowl her soft hand dips;
Which thence returning, seems to view,
Like clust'ring rosebuds gem'd with dew.

'Tis won! 'tis done! the game is ended,
Stifled regrets with joys are blended;

Page 47

Yet, all , with gratulating mien,
Hail the sweet Maid of Ystradffin;
And Gwriad hastily unties
The band which hides Angharad's eyes,
While loud they shout, "the omen's true
Its promises all rest with you!"

Gwriad, with lighter heart drew near,
And whisper'd softly in her ear,
"Oh! dear Angharad, dare I tell
The hopes which in my bosom swell;
Dare I e'en hint, how blest were he,
The sharer of thy destiny!
Ah, no! ah, no! that look so cold,
Compels fond thoughts to rest untold."

Yet did he deem her down-cast eye,
And blushing cheek, a sweet reply;
He mark'd not then the absent look,
And thoughtful turn her features took;

Page 48

Or he might well have seen and known
No thought responded to his own!

But, hark! the merry harpstrings sounding,
Recall stray'd thoughts to those surrounding;
She joins the jocund pairs advancing,
And speeds the flying hours with dancing.

With native grace, not void of skill,
Briskly they dance, with right good will;
But lightest foot at length must tire,
And beating hearts some rest require;
So in soft converse, some recline,
Some deeply pledge in gen'rous wine;
Whilst seeking pleasures yet untried,
Some gather near the Harper's side,1
And with fair words of welcome praise,
Claim the sweet sound of Cymru's lays.
1 See Appendix, 13.

Page 49

Light o'er the chords his fingers flew,
And rich melodious tones he drew;
Solemn and soft the cadence fell,
Whilst feeling hearts responsive swell,
And gentle Essyllt breath'd a sigh!
A tear was in her mild blue eye,
She wish'd these symphonies should prove
The prelude to some lay of love;
But ere she ventur'd the request,
Gwriad, the Harper, thus addres't,--

"Now for some bold, heroic story!
Come! let us hear of Cymru's glory!
Ah! where's the land that dares to boast
A nobler, braver, warrior host;
Come! strike a glorious martial strain,
And wake the slumb'ring fire again!"

"Not mine the pow'r," the Harper cried,
"Though Cymru's glory is my pride;

Page 50

Slight hints alone can come from me,
Of all our warlike history."

Yet to the task, well pleas'd, he went,
As o'er his triple harp he leant,
With eyes half clos'd, and bended head,
At times he sung, at times he said.

"Dark was the hour when Rodri died,
The great, the good, his Country's pride;
But quick the tide of battle turn'd,
And even female valour burn'd;
Nor did the fire of hatred cease,
Till 'dial Rodri'1 sanction'd peace.
1 Dial, pronounced,--De-al. See Appendix, 14.

Page 51

"Nor shall the voice of Fame alone
Blazon the warriors of the throne;
Shall He, who bade contentions cease,
And wisely rul'd the realm in peace;
The Father, Judge, and King, in one,
Rever'd in life, bewail'd when gone!
Shall cold oblivion be His lot?
Then, Hoel Dda 1 may be forgot!
1 Howel Dda, Howel the Good.

"Bolder the tale of Carno's fight,
When Tewdwr2 fought for Cynan's right;
Usurping Trahern scorn'd to yield,
Rhywallon's offspring shar'd the field!
And long and deadly was the strife,
The prize, a Crown!--the forfeit, Life!"
2 See Appendix, 15.

The Harper turn'd his head to spy
If gentle Essyllt still was nigh,

Page 52

Her wish, untold, was shrewdly known,
And taught his harp a softer tone:
"If maidens love to weep and wail,
Young Cynan1 may afford the tale,
Though still a war note we prolong!"
He said, and then renew'd his song.
1 Pronounced,--Kunnan.

"Not Rhys ap Tewdwr's well earn'd fame
Could sheath the sword! th' assassins came!
See! see Glyn-Rhodneu drench'd with blood!
The blood of Tewdwr, brave and good;
And hapless Cynan, scarce with life,
Escapes from out the deadly strife!
Escapes to weep, to watch, to fly,
Escapes--a humbler death to die!
O'er Towy's smiling Vale pursu'd,
Cremlyn's opposing lake he view'd;
One only hope of life remain'd,
(Could the far distant side be gain'd?)

Page 53

'Oh! heav'n, and, Oh! my Sire,' he cries,
Then plunges! never more to rise!

"His following foe-men tell the tale,
And pitying Maids his fate bewail;
Wreaths of the fairest flowers they take,
And strew them o'er dark Cremlyn's Lake,
That dismal lake, by his fair fame,
Enshrin'd--now owns 'Pwll Cynan's' name.

"Or may a Bard to fame unknown
Echo the requiem of a Throne?
Llewelyn! still we weep for thee!
And all thy struggles to be free;
In vain the wily Farrier's aid,
Whose coward tongue the guile betray'd;
In vain the solitary glen,
It could not hide from treach'rous men;
It could not ward the unknown blow,
It could not staunch the life-blood's flow;

Page 54

"He fell! but deathless fame shall grace
The bravest of a warrior race.

"Yet, once again, a note of praise
For those who shone in later days,--
He, boasting more than mortal pow'r,
Owen ap Griffith,1 nam'd Glendow'r,
And He,2 who oft that pow'r had tried,
Nor less had foreign foes defied,
On Agincourt's proud tented field,
Untaught by myriad spears to yield;
While with true mountain courage bold,
Thus, of the countless host he told,
'Enough, there are, in this affray,
To die,--to yield,--to run away!'
Nor is our martial ardour fled,
The spirit dies not with the dead;

Page 55

It liv'd, it lives, though now it slumbers,
And yet shall wake its chosen numbers!"
1 Owen Glendower. See Appendix, 18. 2 Sir David Gam. See Appendix, 19.

Fast poor Gwervil's patience wanes,
Little heeds she Poets' strains,
So beck'ning Meyric with a smile,
She bids the Harper "rest awhile,
And deeply pledge friends near and far
In Cwrw bright as Evening's Star;
But not again the dance delay,
Come let us foot it while we may."

Too soon the parting moment came,
With warning from a thoughtful Dame,
To close the joyous hours of meeting
With friendly care, and farewell greeting.

In social pairs, close side by side,
Along the narrow roadsI they ride,

Page 56

Where bending branches form a shade,
The brightest moon-beams scarce invade;
Or if a glim'ring light appears,
It but increases wayward fears,
For superstitious fancy sees
That warning light I in stones and trees,
Prophetic shadowing woes to come,
Bright gleam forerunner of the tomb!
I The Roads, even within 30 years, were such as here described; they are now excellent. I See Appendix, 20.

Meyric and Gwervil, nothing fearing,
Gallop'd apace, till out of hearing,
When, if he woed a willing Maid,
He wanted not the moon-beams' aid;
And, truth to tell, no more car'd she,
For uncouth shape of Birchen tree,
Whose old white trunk, and outstretch'd arms,
So oft had giv'n her breast alarms,

Page 57

For love's sweet talk of bridal day,
Smooth'd the rough path, and cheer'd the way.

But every pair hath Essyllt pass'd,
She is not wont to be the last;
Checking her steed, she moves as slow
As mourners in a fun'ral go;
And oft she turns her anxious eyes,
(Tho' round her form the bleak wind sighs,)
And lingers long, though one and all,
Still as they pass, on Essyllt call;--
But not the voice she longs to hear,--
For him she waits with trembling fear.

Whilst thus to ev'ry sound she listen'd,
A moving light before her glisten'd,
Along Penlan in lucid flow,
She mark'd the meteor form of woe!1
1 See Appendix, 20.

Page 58

By Gwenlas' stream it pass'd with speed,
But paus'd in Gwyrddol's1 haunted mead;
Then on in wild meanders stray'd,
Till lost beneath the Yew Tree's shade,
Where Cilcwm's white Church Tow'r was peeping,
And Village Sires were silent sleeping.
1 Pronounced,--Goorthol.

She saw no more, for sore dismay'd,
No longer paus'd the timid Maid;
Lover and danger, all forgot,
She gallop'd from the fearful spot,
Nor slacken'd till the jocund train
With joy she heard, and join'd again.

The Ceffyl's2 foot is briskly patting,
And female tongues as nimbly chatting,
Of Eva's bidding,3 soon to be,
And what gay 'Stafell4 they shall see;
2 The Horse. 3 See Appendix, 21. 4 Ibid, 22.

Page 59

What crowds had Bronwen's bridal grac'd,
Of how the unseenI fun'ral pac'd,
With other matters, strange and true,
Till Cilcwm's Village is in view,
When turning many a devious road,
Each seeks in peace a lov'd abode.
1 See Appendix, 23.

But now, unlike his wonted mood,
Our Guide in pensive silence stood,
With head declin'd, and half clos'd eye,
Seem'd meditating inwardly:
There was a sadness in his look,
Which more than common feelings spoke,

Page 60

And seem'd the soften'd grief to shew,
Which tells the tale of long past woe,
The early, or unlook'd for end
Of some too dearly valued friend,
Or mus'd upon the blighting check
To flat'ring hopes, in fortune's wreck;--
Whate'er it was, his looks alone
The deep'ning gloom of thought made known.

But lives there one who never feels
What sympathy a glance reveals?
Nor owns that cordial can impart
A balmy influence to the heart?
Again he takes his Book and reads,
And thus the wassail tale proceeds.

Page [61]


     1 WHO has not felt that strange relief
    Of mourning hearts, that "joy of grief,"
    Which mem'ry gives past hours exploring,
    And all their treasur'd sweets restoring;
    Yet, Oh! restoring but to shew
    We ne'er again those smiles can know!
Those joys we never, never more may share,
Remembrance loves to trace, and holds them doubly dear!
1 These introductory lines have already appeared in print, under the Title of Extract from an unfinished Poem, being always intended for the place they now occupy.

Page 62

    E'en when we sorrow o'er the grave
    Of all we lov'd, yet could not save!
    When Time has soften'd deepest woe,
    And tears in gentler currents flow;
    How sweet is then that "joy of grief,"
    Which says our sorrows must be brief;
'Tis but a few short hours, to Virtue's trial giv'n,
Ere we may hope to meet the dearly lov'd in heav'n!

    But let no chilling marble tomb
    Strike the sad heart with deeper gloom!
    The green grass sod, with osiers bound,
    Shrubs, herbs, and flow'rets blushing round,
    The rose, mynth , lavender, and all,
    Whose perfum'd breath survives their fall,
For weeping Love is sooth'd, to mark their sweets arise,
Emblems of mental worth, "translated to the skies."

Page 63

Why talk of tears and fun'ral gloom,
When love and hope are in their bloom?
Fitter the bridal wreath preparing,
With youthful hearts the transport sharing,
From chilling care the bright hour snatching,
And rainbow tints of pleasure catching;
With rays of joy, their path to strew
As fair, alas! as fleeting too!
Seek not untimely thoughts of sorrow
Too like to pierce the heart tomorrow!

Recall we, hours of merriment
In mountain Mansion cheerly spent;
Recall we, steps through moonlight glade,
And smiles and vows of mountain maid;
What time approaching winter's sway,
Curtail'd the labours of the day,
And gave to chase the livelong night,
The social moments of delight.

Page 64

Did Gwervil in those hours of cheer
Disdain a gladsome tale to hear?
That ere that crescent orb should wane,
For her should meet the bridal train;
The Swains in holiday array
With true-love knots of ribbon gay;
Should with the joyous Bridegroom ride
To force away the willing Bride,1
While she, with all the female train,
Fearlessly gallops o'er the plain,
Mounted behind a valiant friend,
Intent the Maiden to defend.
1 See Appendix, 24.

Now for the race! the swift, the strong,
To press the flying steed along,
To snatch the lovely prize away,
Vent'rous achievement! rash essay!
On his own courser plac'd,--'tis done;
Off! off to Church! the Bride is won!

Page 65

Record we thus in simple rhymes,
The rude remains of ruder times.
Yet may we talk of fun'ral gloom,
Life's but a passage to the tomb,
Where for a while we all shall rest,
Nor griefs intrude, nor foes molest,
Where all shall sleep--whence all shall rise
To live the life that never dies.

Recall we Essyllt and her fears,
Too soon exchang'd for sorrow's tears,--
Though quickly join'd the jocund train,
Her Love she never join'd again!

Blethyn, by Gwriad still delay'd,
(Though fretting for his much lov'd Maid,)
In silence hears the sad complaint
Of passions which defy restraint.

"Oh! be my friend, dear Blethyn, try,
Persuasion on your lips, may lie,

Page 66

I cannot bend as others do,
I cannot learn the way to woo;
Yet years, long years, I've fondly lov'd,
And still her scorn or hatred prov'd;
Tell her, no cunning low born Hind
Now aims a mutual faith to bind,
No wand'ring Stripling, seeking wealth,
And living still by fraud or stealth.
My fertile lands, spread far and wide,
My Ancestry, their Country's pride;
And though I equal not their fame,
There is no blot upon my name.

" 'Tis said! but when did gossip folly fail
To spread each day her idle tale?
'Tis whisper'd, that Freebooter's seen,
Sculking oft-times round Ystradffin!
Nay more, the braggart dar'd to say,
He soon should bear the prize away!

Page 67

Thinks he to reign without controul,
Because the milk-white OxI he stole?
Ere long I bid his vauntings quail,
And teach his tongue a humbler tale.
But speak, my friend! Blethyn, you know
What pain your silence must bestow."

Yet Blethyn's friendship could not move
The rankling barb of slighted love;
Nor could his words a hope awake,
Though still in soothing strain he spake,--
He told of Woman's wonted wiles
In well feign'd anger, hiding smiles,
And oft (a lover's zeal to prove,)
Coldest to seem, where best they love.
I See Appendix, 25.

No balm herein could Gwriad find,
It met no echo in his mind,--

Page 68

He wav'd his hand,--"go, Blethyn, go!
Too well my hopelessness you know;
All friendship bids, in vain you've tried
To soothe the wounds of love and pride.
Farewell, farewell, kind hearted friend,
A better fate your love attend."

And Blethyn gladly turn'd to go,
Though griev'd at Gwriad's look of woe;
Yet more distress'd, that thus delay'd,
His promise fail'd his gentle Maid:
Oft had his courser pranc'd around,
And shook his reins, and paw'd the ground;
And scarce had Blethyn said "good night,"
Ere man and horse were out of sight!

Through Rhyd-y-Moch, up steep Penlan,
A wild unsparing race he ran;
By Abergwenlas swiftly flew,
Then near to haunted Gwyrddol drew;

Page 69

Here loud he shouted Essyllt's name,
Echo alone responsive came,

The Moon, which erst had brightly shone,
Behind a thick'ning cloud was gone,
The wind veer'd round, the rain fell fast,
The forest groan'd beneath the blast,
While Towy through its rocks rebounds,
And dashing, foaming, hoarsely sounds,
Heard awful through the gloom of night,
Though still far distant from the sight.

Heedless alike, of chill or gloom,
Was Blethyn, when he reach'd Cilcwm,
For all was hush'd! the party gone!
But the sweet hope which led him on,
(Faint as it was,) had still the pow'r
To lure him through the weary hour.

Page 70

And soon the pelting storm was o'er,
The Moon shone brightly as before;
And when he reach'd the darksome road,
Where Towy o'er its wild rocks flow'd,
By Erryd Grove, (whose ancient pride
Flung o'er the path their branches wide,)
The flick'ring moonbeams seem'd to play,
With passing shadows in the way,
Whilst oft th' irruptive waters rush
Through many a breach of bank and bush,
Behov'd it here to move with care,
E'en to the heart which knew not fear.

As far from fear, as now from joy,
He reach'd the end of deep Cwm Coy;
When sudden, like the light'ning's gleam,
A Form! but what! 'twere vain to dream,
(Perchance a Ceffyl, or stray sheep,)
Rush'd headlong, bounding from the steep,
And pass'd him with a single leap!

Page 71

His startled courser snorting, rear'd,
Nor more his master's voice he fear'd,
But panting, trembling with dismay,
No pow'r his backward course can stay;
And scarce had Blethyn time for fear,
Towy's wild wave was in the rear;
One step! one awful step! no more!
'Tis pass'd! the water rushes o'er
Both man and beast, and still rolls on
As if no fearful work was done.

He rose! again! again he rose!
But conquering still the torrent flows,
And hurried helpless by its force,
Poor Blethyn floats a lifeless corpse!

And Essyllt on that fearful night,
Strangely disturb'd, awoke with fright,
And anxious wish'd for coming day,
Then doz'd--to terrors still a prey;

Page 72

For when short slumbers close her eyes,
Visions like these before her rise.

She climb'd the rocks with vent'rous feet,
Where Towy and Doitheia meet,
There seated where the waves rush'd round,
She watch'd the sportive salmon bound;
A noble one, like silver shone,
As light it vaulted o'er the stone;
She look'd with pleasure and amaze,
But there were other eyes to gaze;
Behind a rock a MinerI lay,
Intent to seize the scaly prey;
His uprais'd dart well pois'd he keeps
To strike the salmon as it leaps,
With skill unerring, soon he threw,
And pierc'd the beauteous creature through;

Page 73

She saw its struggles, in her sleep,
And woke to tremble and to weep!
I The Miners, during their intervals of rest, frequently employ themselves in this manner.

Again, on Towy's banks she stood,
And sought to cross its rapid flood,
But bridge, nor boat, nor Rhyd was near,
She shouted--there was none to hear!
At length, emerging from the trees,
A light rib'd coracle she sees,--
In jump'd a Form, agile and tall,
And now again she tries to call,
But by some unknown pow'r oppos'd,
No sound escapes;--her lips are clos'd!
It comes! It comes! it passes near,
A graceful Youth sits smiling there;
Nearer and nearer to the side
The coracle does smoothly glide.

But here a sudden squall arose,
And off the tiny vessel goes

Page 74

Along the stream with furious pace,
Scarce can her eye its wild course trace;
By Carreg Towy now it veers,
Oh! place of danger,--full of fears,
She wrings her hands!--still rushing on,
'Tis dash'd against that rugged stone,
And shatter'd? No, it does rebound,
And near that EddyI whirls around,--
"Oh! save him, Heav'n,"--she hides her eyes
Again light o'er the stream it flies,
But it is empty! --with a scream
She wakes--"and is it then a dream?"
1 Pwll Aber-Doitheia Avon, a pool at the junction of the Doitheia and the Avon (Towy). Avon is the Welsh word for a River.

The morrow came, and with it, brought
Its heavy tidings, all unsought,--
Safe had return'd that matchless horse,
Never again rose Blethyn's corpse!

Page 77 [sic]

Still, still, th' unwearied search they press,
But Llyn-yr-hen-bont's fathomless;
No flowers upon his tomb shall wave,
That deep dark pool is Blethyn's grave!

Here paus'd our Guide, and clos'd his book,
And when the Stranger turn'd to look,
Wherefore that voice no more he hears,
He sees those cheeks bedew'd with tears,
And anxiously he sought to know
The source of such apparent woe;
"Thy own sad tale it scarce can be,
For past is many a century;
Yet may awaken'd feelings tell
A fate like this some friend befell! "

Page 76

"Too truly guess'd," thus spake the Guide,
"Just so, my Friend, old Cadwn died,
Too brave his heart to dream of fear,
The ford was deep, the night was drear,
And he alone!--nor would he stay,
Though often urg'd, till dawning day;
For him, alas! that day ne'er rose,
O'er him the waves for ever close!
And though long past, yea, many a year,
Still oft at night his screams I hear,
In dreams, his struggling form I see,
Vainly imploring help from me;
I grasp his hand, and reach the shore,
Then wake,--poor Cadwn to deplore!"

The Stranger sigh'd, then mus'd awhile,
At length he spoke with courteous smile,--
"Some simple mountain sports you've shewn,
And tales of ancient times made known,

Page 77

Some fearful fetters of the mind,
Enchain'd by Superstition blind;
But sounds unknown have met mine ear,
Of Bidding, 'Stafell, Omens drear;
Their import, pray, explain, and tell
What more these Wassaillers befell;
Still have we time to hear the rest,
Ere yon bright orb illumes the west."

"Briefly, dear Sir, my artless strain
Shall all these puzzling terms explain;
As relics of the olden days,
Which still, perchance, may merit praise;
By these our early Sires essay'd
To strengthen ties which wisdom made,
While yet Society was new,
Together distant friends they drew,
Taught them each others joys to share,
Each others burthens taught to bear,

Page 78

"Whence mountain hospitality
Prov'd friendship's firm reality.

"Say, does a Youthful Couple share
The mutual wish, the mutual care?
Soon the Gwahoddwr blithely goes
The purpos'd union to disclose!
Or tells the place, and names the day,
The Bride her 'Stafell will display!
From mountain cot, and mansion fair,
He calls the Bidding Feast to share;
Nor does the proudest fear to show
A kindly int'rest with the low,--
While every hand some off'ring bears
To meet the coming household cares.

"Or does the mountain mansion mourn,
A Father pass'd the fated bourn?
No need to call a mourning train,
Since ev'ry Neighbour meets again,

Page 79

"Eager a last respect to shew,
Anxious to share the mourners' woe!
No chill reserve the balm delays,
Social in all their words and ways;
And marvel not, Sir, though you hear
Some tales of Superstition's gear,
Not to my native land confin'd,
But found in each ill cultur'd mind;
Nor can the wisest oft efface
Those lines which nurs'ry fables trace.

"But since you ask, I haste to tell
What more our Wassaillers befell."

Page [80]


"THE tide of time hath long ago
Engulph'd alike both joy and woe,
And hearts which swell'd, and eyes which wept
In undisturb'd repose have slept,
Yet Essyllt's grief, and Gwyrvil's smile
Shall live, by mem'ry's aid, awhile;
Wak'd by the Muse's powerful voice,
Again they weep, again rejoice,
And all, of sympathizing vein,
With them shall weep or smile again.

"And we will meet that gentle Fair,
Deem'd loveliest of the lovely there,

Page 81

"Meet her by meadow stream and hill,
And all her destiny fulfil."

So said our Guide, and thus proceeds,
The wassail tale, from which he reads,--

Those days of smiles and tears are gone,
And Calangauaf's sports are flown;
Each sloping bank, each tangled Cwm,
Are prodigal of fragrant bloom,
And ev'ry copse, and ev'ry grove,
Lend to the gale a note of love;
The bleating flocks in snowy pride,
Browse on the mountain's purple side,
With native freedom blest again,
They frolic o'er their wide domain,
Crop the wild thyme, or short sweet grass,
And chase the sunbeams as they pass.

Page 82

Again the cattle fill the fields,
Where ev'ry herb fresh sweetness yields,
Close pent up through chill Winter's night,
They breathe the air with new delight,
They frisk about in uncouth dance,
Or rest in ruminating trance,
Or fetlock deep in Towy stand,
By cool refreshing breezes fann'd,
Mindless of her who wanders there,
Though like the season, passing fair.

In pensive thought, her footsteps stray
To Bwlch-y-Ffin,1 her oft-trod way,
List'ning, while many a mingled sound
Spreads a sweet charm on all around,
The crystal streamlet gurgling by,
The hive's brisk inmates humming nigh;
1 A Farm House, about a mile above Ystradffin. Bwlch, means narrow pass in the mountains.

Page 83

The caw of rooks in distant trees,
Borne softly on the swelling breeze;
The minor tribes of melody
Carolling hymns of liberty;
The cottage prattlers at their play
As blithesome and as free as they;
While from the cot the busy din
Of whizzling wheel is heard within;
Near to their garden's shelter'd side
A new fall'n tree a seat supplied,
And here Angharad waits to see
The clust'ring young-ones' sportive glee,
Whilst many a mirthful rosy face
Its joy attests with artless grace;
One quickly to the cottage goes,
The welcome visit to disclose.

Shanni , a little rosy Maid,
Anxious to speak, yet half afraid,

Page 84

Encourag'd by a smile, began,
And thus her artless prattle ran:--

"To-morrow's Llanymddyfri Fair,
And Twm Sion Catti will be there;
I saw him when the Moon shone bright,
And I was watching her last night;
I started, for I did not hear
His footsteps, till he came quite near;
He laugh'd, and gently tapp'd my cheek,
And said with Father he would speak;
Close to his heels another came,
His name's,--Oh! I forget his name;
But sure, I heard my Mother tell,
At Gelly-Fechan he did dwell,
His fishing net was round him flung,
His coracle behind him hung;
His pouch and dart were in his hand,
Sulky he stood, as loth to stand,

Page 85

"Mutt'ring between his teeth the while,
But Twm Sion Catti, with a smile,
Open'd the pouch which held their prey,
And took ('twas all they had) away
A beauteous salmon, large and bright,
Like shining clouds on some fine night;
Then straight into the house he goes,
And on the board his burthen throws,--
And with a cheering smile drew near,
To whisper in my Father's ear:
I know not what,--but in my mind,
I guess 'twas something very kind.
Oh! where another shall we see
So handsome and so kind as he;
And I think good,--but Mother says
He has some strangely naughty ways;
But are you angry, Lady dear,
That not one kindly word I hear?
You look so pale, and sigh so deep,
Dear Lady, what can make you weep?"

Page 86

But still Angharad did not speak,
Though brightly blush'd her changeful cheek,
And much she strove to hush to rest
The busy thoughts which now opprest;
Yet faint the smile which gave relief
To little Shanni's transient grief,
And pleas'd she sees the young ones go
Back to the cot, demure and slow,
Half ling'ring, yet obedient still,
As wont to own another's will;
Their sister Megan's gentle call
Was heard and answer'd by them all.

Then soon Angharad silence broke,
And gravely thus to Megan spoke,--
"Say, is your Father well again,
Or weak and languid, or in pain?.
Yet better, sure, or I had seen
Some one of you at Ystradffin;

Page 87

"Come, rest with me, and let me know
The little story of your woe."

A tear was in her dark-brown eye,
As Megan softly made reply,--
"Oh! worse and worse, dear Lady, still,
And pain and care his bosom fill;
And sad, at times, his word and look,
But then he takes his Holy Book,
And finds a precious promise there,
That heav'n will for the Widow care,
And like a shield, will cover o'er
The fatherless, and helpless poor.

"Oh! we must ever rue the day,
When on the hills he lost his way;
He'd been at Cayo, and from there
Was going to Tregaron Fair;
'Twas mid-day ere he left the place,
And difficult the road to trace;

Page 88

"Yet, well he knew the bogs and brakes,
And every turn the Cothy takes,
And every landmark, high and lone,
Like Crugiau'r Ladi'sI heaps of stone;
But soon no guidance could be found,
For deep the snow fell all around,
And mingling heath, and bog, and hill,
Awoke the dread of unknown ill;
And many an anxious thought supplied,
Whilst miles, long miles, he wander'd wide,
Till the last feeble ray of light
Was hid in deepest shades of night.
I See Appendix, 27.

"That fearful gloom forbade to stray,
And chill'd each ling'ring hope away;
His frozen limbs grew faint--he fell!
How long he lay, there's none can tell;

Page 89

"Our faithful dog had fondly prest
His shaggy sides upon his breast,
And by his kindly warmth sustain'd
His Master's life, which sleeping wan'd,
And oft he howl'd, in dire dismay,
At length some shepherds pass'd that way;
In search of straying lambs they went,
But 'twas all-seeing Mercy sent,
Like good Samaritans they came,
And rais'd and warm'd his death-like frame.

"Onward they bore his helpless load
Along that wild and lonely road,
Where few save ponies, mountain bred,
Secure and fearless, ever tread;
Cautious and patient, on they go,
O'er mountain meads,I half hid in snow,
I Mountain meads,--extensive tracts of land on the top of many lofty hills, so moist and so luxuriant as to deserve and receive the name here given, and which the word Rhossan signifies. See Appendix, 11.

Page 90

"And oft-times trace with curious eye,
Where Cothy winds and wanders by;
Or glance o'er hills outspreading wide
To Cwrt-y-Cadno'sI dreary side,
But doubtful (soon their path) no more,
They hear far off Pwll-Uffern's2 roar.
1 Court-y-Cadno,--Fox's Court. 2 Pwll Uffern,--Hell Pool.

"There, rocks o'er rocks assemble round,
And bid the water 'know their bound;'
In vain their rugged sides enclose,
Their tow'ring summits still oppose;
But Cothy, raging, keeps its track,
And forms the mountain cataract;
Foaming and swelling, rushing on,
Determin'd to be heard , and gone.

"Heard! aye, full oft with awe and fear,
But now a joyful sound to hear,

Page 91

"Sweet as the sound of Sabbath bells
To them of home and rest it tells.

"The Cadno I on the wild hills bred,
The Grugiar2 on the Rhossan fed,
The Eryr3 on the craig's rude breast,
Delighted own their home, the nest,
But bound by stronger, holier ties,
Bliss sweeter still, man's home supplies;
And, Oh! ten thousand times more dear,
When God is known and worship'd there.
[I] The Fox. 2 The Grouse. 3 The Eagle.

"Lady, the gracious pow'r on high
Listens when helpless infants cry;
He heard the sigh, and saw the tear,
And gave us back our Parent dear.

Page 92

"And one was made the instrument,
Who little thought of such intent;
One who had sought Tregaron Fair,
For frolic more than business there,
And having gain'd an ill renown,
Was fain in haste to quit the Town;
O'er mountains drear to wander wide,
E'en to Pwll Uffern's rugged side;
And' in that unfrequented spot
Seek shelter in a shepherd's cot;
He found the safety which he sought,
And comfort to my Father brought;
For here his weary hours were spent
Upon his bed of languishment,
But soon the tears of joy assuaged,
The fire which in his bosom raged,
Fast o'er his palid cheek they fell,
(The Stranger knew my Father well,)
Active and kind he form'd the plan
To carry home the suff'ring man,

Page 93

"Upon a sledge, with tender care,
(The friendly Shepherd takes his share,)
Homeward they bring him through the day,
That Stranger well could point the way,
For to our cottage hearth, a guest,
He oft had come, when danger prest,
And hence his grateful feelings flow,
Lady, I think his name you know,--
'Twas Twm Sion Catti," Megan sigh'd,
A crimson hue her pale cheek dy'd;
She strove to smile, and tried to speak,
But tremblingly her accents break,--
"And Lady, well does Mother know
What kindness he does daily show!"

Angharad did not raise her eyes,
And Megan only heard her sighs,
Perchance 'twas grief at this sad tale
That made her tremulous and pale;

Page 94

Yet soon Angharad softly said,
(Averting, as she spoke, her head,)
"But Megan, is there not a fear
This kindness may be bought too dear?"

Megan look'd up, but could not spy
The wonted glance of sympathy,
And felt at heart that heavy chill,
Precursor oft of unknown ill;
She dare not trust her voice to speak,
Nor did Angharad silence break,
Each, with her own full thoughts intent,
Arose, and towards the cottage went;
That white-roof'd cottage shew'd the care
Of those who humble comforts share;
The garden fenc'd with holly round,
Where flow'rets bloom, and leeks abound,
And evergreens clip'd close, yet tall,
And rosemary against the wall,

Page 95

And cheerful buz of busy bee,
Sign and reward of industry.

The earth-made1 floor was smooth and clean,
A bright oak settle form'd a screen
Around the hearth, where cheerful glow'd
A fire, the mountain turf bestow'd;
Here Grufydd, half reclining, lay,
Clad in his suit of homespun grey,
The wool his own few sheep supplied,
The work, his thrifty partner's pride;
His own dear Gwenny, kind and good,
Prepares alike his garb and food;
A little table near him placed,
With all he needed, duly graced;
The bowl his flummery2 contained,
The cup his pale parch'd lips had drained,
1 The Cottage floors are frequently made of earth and lime, and when beat level, and kept dry, are not uncomfortable. 2 See Appendix, 28.

Page 96

The Book, on which his languid eye
Was fix'd in solemn scrutiny,
That Holy Book,I so lately won,
With blood of many a martyr'd son,
So highly priz'd, so dearly bought,
'Twas from that Holy Book he taught.
[I] See Appendix, 29.

His children stand sedate and meek,
Peace in each look, health in each cheek;
The Mother's busy wheel at rest,
The baby to her bosom prest,
Each waiting quietly to hear
The words of life, and love, and fear;
The poor man rais'd his drooping head,
Look'd anxious round, and, "Megan," said;
The latch was lifted, and she came
With Ystradffin's beloved dame;

Page 97

Whom to receive with decent pride,
With ready care each young one vied.

She wav'd her hand with gentle grace,
And each resum'd his wonted place;
For not unfrequent would she share
Their pleasant work of praise and prayer,
And though a transient glow pass'd o'er
The Sire's pale cheek, it was no more
Than joy call'd forth, for well he knew
The truths he lov'd, she reverenced too.

"Lift up your hearts unto the Lord,
And listen to his holy word;"
A soft "Amen" each meekly said,
And all was still while thus he read:--

"Let not your hearts be troubled; ye believe
In God--my parting words receive:

Page 98

"I go unto my Father to prepare
A place for you, my happiness to share;
My Father's house can many mansions shew.
I would have told you, if it were not so;
I go, but surely I again shall come
To welcome all who truly love me home;
Then, if ye love, to keep my laws aspire,
In my name, asking all that ye require,
And I will pray the Father, and he'll give
The Comforter , in whom alone ye live;
The Holy Spirit, whom your souls shall teach,
That wisdom human learning cannot reach:
My peace I give you; peace I with you leave,
Peace that the world knows not, nor can receive."1
I 14 Chapter of St. John.

Here Gruffydd clos'd the Book, and meekly knelt,
Briefly expressing what his bosom felt,--

Page 99

"We bless thee for the precious promise here,
We pray that each may claim his blissful share;
We beg the heav'nly guidance, help, and still
We prostrate all before thy holy will;
Food for our bodies, and our souls supply,
And teach us how to live, and how to die;
Whate'er we ask for his dear sake accord,
Who died for sinners,--Jesus, Saviour, Lord."

The duties of the day were done,
They ended as they had begun;
The young ones sought the fresher air,
The baby claim'd the Mother's care;
And then Angharad nearer drew,
To hear the poor man's sorrows too.

"He was," he said, "resign'd to die,
And felt the time was drawing nigh;
One thought alone disturb'd his rest,
His Wife, his babes, might be opprest!

Page 100

"Yet wherefore fear, the Lord is strong,
His promises are broad and long,
To them I cling, and ever will,
I own and trust his mercies still."

"Be comforted," was her reply,
"Nor doubt the aid I can supply;
Still in this cot shall Gwenny dwell,
From charge and change protected well,
And still herself and babes shall share,
While life is giv'n, my fost'ring care."

"The Lord reward thee, Lady,--He
Alone thy bounteous acts can see;
Oh! bless the Lord," he feebly said,
And on his bosom sunk his head,
And Gwenny sprung in haste to hold
Her fainting Husband, wan and cold,
Whilst the dear Lady's tearful eye
Watch'd the sad scene in silence by;

Page 101

The door was open'd, and was seen
Megan, with one from Ystradffin;
A basket in the damsel's hand,
Fill'd by her Lady's kind command;
A bowl of flummery, wine and meat,
For sick and well, a cottage treat;
But Megan's Father caught her eye,
And, "Oh! he's dead," her piercing cry,
She clasp'd his hand, and kiss'd his cheek,
"My Father! dearest Father, speak!"

"Hush, Megan, hush," Angharad said,
"See, he revives, be not afraid;
The basket, Nelli, take it up,
Give the Metheglyn and a cup;
There, Megan, hold it to his lip,
'Twill do him good, if he but sip."

He drank, and rais'd his glassy eye,
Gazing around unconsciously,

Page 102

And while his children eager strove
To pay the debt of fillial love,
Then, ere awak'ning reason came,
Softly retir'd the lovely dame,
Pleas'd that returning life she view'd,
But shunning words of gratitude.

Here paus'd the Guide, and shut his book,
Then said with cheerful voice and look,
"Oh! how it soothes a feeling heart,
The sweet impression to impart,
That Innocence , unsullied, bright,
Undaunted Truth's resistless might,
And sweet content , and constant love,
And heav'n-born Peace , all joys above,
And rosy Health , the bosom cheering,
And Freedom , ev'ry joy endearing,

Page 103

"And flatt'ring, fleeting Happiness,
The rural shades perchance may bless.

"And while we paint the rustic's glee,
The hearty laugh, sincere and free,
The simple joys, which still remain
To cheer the mountain and the plain,
We wish to find within their sphere
A purer virtue dwelling there."

The Stranger smil'd, and shook his head,
Then gently sigh'd, and gravely said,
"The wish I grant you, may be well,
But, ah! experience still must tell,
Wherever human footsteps go,
There closely follow vice and woe,
And virtue's steps as rare are seen
To grace the rustic village green,
Or low roof'd cot, in lonely glen,
As in the busy haunts of men;

Page 104

"When was it giv'n to human kind,
Virtue in flow'ry paths to find?
Surrounded with unnumber'd woes,
Assail'd by hosts of hidden foes,
With strictest watch , the heart she keeps,
And lifts to heav'n the eye which weeps!
No boundaries her steps controul,
Her heritage the human soul!"

A moments pause, a down cast eye,
Ere the Guide ventur'd this reply:--

"Deep truths are these, I needs must say,
Confirm'd by fearful facts each day;
But oft, when truth appears too bright,
We close our eyes, to shun the light!
My little book, then, let me take,
And hear me for Angharad's sake."

Page [105]

PART IV. CAPEL PEILIN.1 1 See Appendix, 30,

WITH stealthy pace, time passes on,
A touch, a tint, and he is gone!
But wheresoe'er our steps are ranging,
That touch, that tint, each scene is changing;
Yet all as soft, as silently
As Summer's clouds escape the eye,
E'en while we watch with wond'ring gaze
The forms which dullness will not praise!

Page 106

And with time passes life away,
The moment first, the hour, the day,
Perhaps unmark'd, or unemploy'd,
Distasteful, or but half enjoy'd;
In transient smiles, or ling'ring grief,
Pass as they will, their stay is brief,
And many a wilful soul must mourn
Those hours that never can return!
Thoughts, if not words, explain the sum,
"Oh! for a yesterday to come! "

Angharad, where wert thou, fair maid,
When Gruffydd in the dust was laid?
When that poor family of grief
Sought but of heav'n and thee relief!
Wert thou away on pleasure's wings,
Where none the tale of sorrow brings?
In Halls, to which alone belong
Fantastic dance, and sportive song,

Page 107

Fann'd by the gales of fortune's smiles,
And lur'd by flatt'ry's artful wiles,
Lull'd by the incense sweet of praise,
Pass'd lightly thus thy halcyon days.

It might be,--but it was not so,--
Her ear had drunk the tale of woe;
Nor tardy was the aid she gave,
Dearly she lov'd the pow'r to save!
If Aberhonddu's1 circles gay,
Or Merlin's2 city hail'd her stay,
Was pity's gentle mood restrain'd,
Because a wider sphere she gain'd?
Oh! no, for charities unknown
Cheer'd mourning hearts, and bless'd her own!
Then, if in happy temper gay
She laugh'd intruding cares away,
1 Pronounced,--Aber-hon-thee, Brecknock. 2 Carmarthen.

Page 108

Sportively innocent her jest,
And age itself her charms confess'd;
In crouds and closet, all declare
Angharad fairest of the fair.

And has that heart all sunny hours?
Are all her footsteps strewn with flow'rs?
Not Earth, but Paradise, her dwelling,
If thus a mortal's doom excelling;
No! deep within that heart a feeling,
Strengthen'd by time, her peace is stealing;
And though her smile still brightly shews,
"A thorn is hid beneath the rose!"

Oft when with gentle grace she seems
Attentive to their flatt'ring themes,
Her ev'ry thought is far away,
She hears not what the babblers say;

Page 109

Wearied with crouds, she sighs for home ,
And longs in solitude to roam.

So now at Ystradffin she stays,
Or 'neath the lofty Dinas strays,
Musing her past and future lot,
Or seeks the peasant's humble cot;
A welcome guest where'er she goes,
To meet their smiles, or soothe their woes.

In Capel Peilin now she kneels
With all the warmth a pilgrim feels,
Whose feet have trod a devious way,
A promis'd orison to pay.

There is a new rais'd hillock there,
Bestrewn with herbs and flow'rets fair;

Page 110

But not a word to tell for whom
That earth is heap'd, those sweet flow'rs bloom;
It is not Gruffydd's, for close by
A gravestone meets Angharad's eye,
Carv'd with his name, and holy verse,
That would his well plac'd hope reherse;
A shade of sad'ning sorrow fell
On thoughts which seem'd the name to tell;
Of one belov'd! with shrinking dread
She mourn'd awhile,--the unknown dead !

But not a trace of gloom is seen
Upon her face at Ystradffin,
For dear lov'd friends await her greeting
With all the joy of cordial meeting.

Oh! for a pow'r to clip the wings
Of Time, when heartfelt pleasure brings
Its precious gift of converse sweet,
Where blameless mirth, and calm joys meet;

Page 111

When taste and wit, and sense combin'd,
Gild hours, which leave no sting behind.

Time will not stay, nor friends remain,
We part in hope to meet again;
How sweet, when time's full course is o'er,
To meet in bliss, and part no more.

"And they are gone!" Angharad sighs,
The morn is fair, serene the skies,
She mounts her pony to dispel
The grief which ever marks "farewell!"
And unattended, takes her way
Towards the rude hamlet of Nantbay,
And oft to some poor cottage near,
She turns, the humble heart to cheer;
Her words, her looks, the cares dispel,
Of hearts, where want and mis'ry dwell.

Page 112

At Nant-y-mwyn,I but brief her stay,
To hear the gossip of the day;
Whate'er it was, it pleas'd her not,
And much she wish'd it were forgot;
It spoke of pranks, nor wise, nor good,
But further hearing she withstood;
One part alone attention gain'd,
"A lonely Widow, sorrowing, pain'd."
1 Nant-y-mwyn is now a very respectable house, inhabited by the Agent of Lord Cawdor's Mine Works.

The tale half told, she mounts in haste,
Eager the gen'rous joy to taste;
Of doing good, nor slow her pace,
Nor shall we all her progress trace;
Nor need we name the dwelling where
The suff'rer liv'd, who claim'd her care.--
While on her purpose solely bent,
Slight was the glance Angharad lent

Page 113

To outward obstacles which lay
Obtrusive in the awkward way;
And passing ev'ry hind'rance o'er,
She ties her pony to the door,
There for awhile unheeded calls,
As if untenanted those walls,
As if that lonely, cheerless place,
Was shunn'd by all the human race.

The house delapidated, old,
Tales of neglect and ruin told;
The grass grows tall upon the thatch,
The door hangs loose upon the latch,
The wooden chimney black from age,
Juts out oblique, with dire presage,
And all external tokens tell,
"Scant store of comfort here can dwell;"
Yet custom throws a veil o'er all,
And dear the place which "home" we call.

Page 114

At length her patience fully spent,
She pull'd the latch, and in she went;
But such the change from bright ey'd day,
To the dense shade before her lay;
That for a time Angharad stands,
Less trusting to her eyes than hands,
Till reconcil'd her vision grows,
And all the uncouth scen'ry shews.

The chimney claim'd full half the space,
Thence light gleam'd on the broad hearth place;
Thence only!--all the rest was gloom,
Where dust and smoke contend for room;
The wicker1 lattice, thick and rude,
Forbade the sunbeams to intrude,
Yet, just admitted such a light
As might a bat or owl invite;

Page 115

Shadowy and dusk, save when the fire
Blaz'd forth the aid, strange steps require.
1 These are now but rarely met with.

Across the fire a stick was flung,
And there the steaming crochan hung,
And one long table occupied
A transverse part, from side to side;
The unceil'd rafters, black as jet,
And hung with many a spider's net,
Serv'd as a sort of storehouse too,
For hat, and stick, and wooden shoe,
A bacon flitch, a bag of meal,
Flax, wool, a distaff, and a reel,
While but a broken wall between
Pigs, poultry, kine, were heard and seen.

Nor absent here the cottage pride,
An oaken Dresser fill'd one side,
Bright as a looking-glass itself,
The pewter bright upon the shelf,

Page 116

A chest of draw'rs, as bright and high,
Untrim'd, with fashion to comply,1
And (each behind its polish'd screen,)
Two lofty beds complete the scene.
1 This is generally part of the 'Stafell, and usually remains without locks and ornaments until the Wedding, lest it should be antiquated,

Strange as it was, it was not new
To her who near the fire side drew;
Angharad thought of her alone,
Whose voice she heard in plaintive moan,
Whose bending form she faintly spied
Within that chimney's dingy side,
And ere the Widow saw her guest,
Soft pity's words were thus addrest:--

"Gladwys, at length we meet again,
I grieve to find you thus in pain;

Page 117

Would I could banish ev'ry woe,
But let me all your sorrows know;
They may not be beyond relief,
At least 'twill mitigate your grief."

O'ercome with pleasure and surprize,
Poor Gladwys wipes her tearful eyes,
And takes the kindly offer'd hand
That helps her feeble limbs to stand;
But not from age that weakness came,
Gladwys, from recent wounds was lame;
Nor was it years had dim'd her sight,
Her full dark eye was keen and bright,
And still a comely dame was she,
With fair high brow, from wrinkles free;
Though thoughts of past or present doom
Had cast o'er all her face a gloom;
Angharad's voice the spell had broke,
And with a thankful look she spoke.

Page 118

"Oh! Lady, since I saw you last,
Sorrows and cares have met me fast,
And I have follow'd to the grave
The friends I lov'd, but could not save;
Three times my heart has felt the blow,
My good old man was first to go!
His lamp was trimm'd in holy love,
His hope, his home, was heav'n above;
And he was full of years and pain,
We trust our loss has prov'd his gain;
My brother next was call'd away,
With suff'rings keen, and slow decay;
I need not to your mind recall
How Gruffydd was esteem'd by all;
And very dear he was to me,
The best of earthly friends was he.

"Then all seem'd wrong with me to go,
My sheep were buried in the snow,

Page 119

"My herds by sad diseases wasted,
The baneful Yew my horses tasted,
And two fell victims!--well aday!
Ere long a rick of new-made hay
Took fire, and burst at length in flame,
That threat'ning towards this Cottage came;
('Twas then these painful wounds were made,
Seeking to give my feeble aid,)
But heav'n the fearful doom dispelling,
Preserv'd my life, and this lov'd dwelling;
And Providence is kind and good,
For I have home, and clothes, and food;
Though very feeble, poor, and old,
And many a woe is still untold,
Our fav'rite horse, old Morgan's pride,
Was kill'd the day poor Megan died!"

"Megan," Angharad eager cried,
"Is my sad presage verified?

Page 120

"Strange that no tongue to me has said
'Megan is number'd with the dead!'
Yet many a hint I now recall,
Oh! tell me Gladwys, tell me all."

" 'Twas shortly after Morgan died,
Megan came here with me to bide;
Her gentle voice, and cheerful smile,
Would many a woeful thought beguile,
Industrious, dutiful, and mild,
She was indeed a darling child.

"Another guest soon follow'd too,
Evan Sion Rhys came here to woo,
A Widower, old and rich was he,
Good-looking, jocular, and free;
And all our kindred heard with pride,
Megan should be a wealthy bride!

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"E'en her poor Father spoke with joy,
But Megan seem'd averse and coy!
"Twas bashfulness,' the neighbours said,--
'Twas something more, I felt afraid;
Whate'er it was, no word confest,
The secret buried in her breast;
But still, as nearer drew the day,
Her health and spirit sunk away;
She knew it was her Father's choice,
She heard her Mother's pleading voice,
And she had yielded to their pray'r,
In hopeless, loveless, mute despair!
Something of this at times I saw,
But 'tis from retrospect I draw.

"The Widower had an only child,
A daughter, arrogant and wild;
And tattling tongues at times would tell
That none in peace with her could dwell;

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"Of this, half earnest, half in joke,
In Megan's ear one eve I spoke,
A tear was in the dear girl's eye,
Though calm and gentle her reply,--
'But I, dear Aunt, shall cause no strife,
For I shall never be a wife!'

"Have you not promis'd, Megan, say?
Have they not fix'd the wedding day?
The Bidding, and the 'Stafell too,
Have they not talk'd of all with you?"

"Yes! yes! dear Aunt, and all is right,
So they all say!--good night, good night!"
And then, poor child! she feign'd to sleep,--
Alas! she only sought to weep.

"But Gruffydd's dying hour drew nigh,
And Megan watch'd in sorrow by;

Page 123

"He bless'd her past and future life,
And bade her prove a duteous wife,
Then kiss'd her with a smile of peace,
That said, 'all earthly thoughts must cease.'

"It was a seal, no pow'r could move,
Press'd with a dying Father's love;
Each hope, each thought, each wish resign'd,
Calmly she bent her stedfast mind,
Her own in other's good to find;
And soon a hundred friends were here,
The bidding and the bridal cheer;
The Pwython1 paid with lib'ral hand,
The Pwrs-y-Gwregys2 full and grand,
And ev'ry honour duly shar'd,
All for the scamp'ring race prepar'd.
1 The gifts or loans made at this time. 2 The Wife's purse, being the sums so collected.

Page 124

"The Bridegroom rode a fiery nag,
That scorn'd behind a hoof to lag;
Yet none our Ceffyl could exceed
For eye of fire, and foot of speed;
Nor was the Bride's-man loth to shew
How brave the Bride with him could go;
How well he shuns, where ambush lies,
How dextrously detains the prize.

"Loud was the din and jocund glee,
And far was heard the revelry;
It came at length across yon hill,
More distant then, and all was still;
And with the sound my heart sunk too,--
So sad was Megan's fond adieu;
Silent and tearful all the while,
Alike unheeding jest or smile;
She sat apart from all beside,
More like a mourner than a bride!

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"Yet once she turn'd her head to me,
And softly sigh'd, 'It will not be!
I cannot rule my stubborn heart,--
Would I were dead ere thus we part!'
And then around my neck she threw
Her arms, and sobb'd!--a last adieu!

"Blind as I was, not then to know
It was not maiden fear, but woe;
Fast o'er the hills their course was bent,
For 'twas to Cayo Church they went,
And Cothy marks the rugged road
That led to Evan's snug abode.

"I wept the weary hours away,
Till some return'd with closing day,--
They told me,--Oh! I scarce can tell
All that the hapless bride befell;
They told me o'er and o'er again,
But, Oh! it seem'd to turn my brain;

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"One said, 'she died without a groan
Another heard a piteous moan;
And all, save one , in this agreed,
Her spirit instantly was freed!
Lady, I wander!--and 'tis well,
For 'tis a dismal tale to tell.

" 'Twas when th' exulting Bridegroom tried
On his own steed to place the Bride,
That fiery creature pranc'd around,
And threw his burthen on the ground!
One scream alone her terror told,
And she lay motionless and cold!"

Angharad shudder'd, and turn'd pale,
In heart-felt sorrow at the tale;
But not a word could she command,
She only press'd the Widow's hand,
And bent in mournful attitude,
Till the sad story was renew'd.

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"I said that all agreed, save one ,
She linger'd till the rest were gone,
(In tender sympathy with me,
For Megan's youthful friend was she;)
Then said, 'Upon my lap, when dying,
My darling Megan's head was lying;
Her eyes were clos'd, pale! pale her cheek,
I gaz'd, but did not dare to speak;
One mournful groan, one deep fetch'd sigh,
And she look'd up with bright'ning eye,
Smil'd, as she saw my well known face,
(No time that smile can e'er efface!)
Then nam'd a name , and breathing slow,
'Faithful till death!--Oh! tell him so!'
She tried, but could not utter more,
And the last struggle soon was o'er.'

"In Capel Peilin (lowly laid,)
Poor Megan's bridal bed was made,

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"And many a flow'r is on it spread,
And many a tear is o'er it shed,
For all the Country hither come
To mourn the hapless maiden's doom;
To mourn for her, and weep with me,
Left thus in grief and poverty."

The Widow's story thus was ended,
Angharad silently attended,
And tears alone her pity shews,
Yet once she started, and the rose
More deeply glow'd upon her cheek;
Her pulse beat quick,--she did not speak:
No comments on the story made,
No word her bosom thoughts betray'd;
What name, so nam'd, she did not ask,
As if she shunn'd a fearful task,
But mus'd awhile then ere she goes,
Thus sought to soothe the Widow's woes.

Page 129

"Weep not the dead! their warfare's o'er,
Sorrow and pain they feel no more;
Nor let your anxious mind despair
Of future good to meet a share;
Your herds and flocks shall be replac'd,
Your home with ev'ry comfort grac'd;
The Widow is the care of Heav'n!
Consign'd to me the pow'r is giv'n,
A willing Almoner to stand;"
She put her purse in Gladwys' hand,
Then saying with a smile, "Adieu! "
She mounted, and was out of view,
Ere yet the Widow could express
How deep her heart-felt thankfulness,
Or bliss Angharad's name, or say
What frequent orisons she'd pay.

And long with straining eyes she staid,
(When distant far the generous maid,)

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List'ning till faint the footsteps cease,
Then seeks her lov'd fireside in peace.

Inly disturb'd, and griev'd, and vex'd,
Her mind with mingling thoughts perplex'd;
Her homeward way Angharad takes,
But from the social circle breaks,
And seeks her solitary room
To hide her heart's increasing gloom.

It was the evening's lovely hour,
And balmy breathings own'd its pow'r,
And hush'd at length was ev'ry sound,
Save lowing herds in distant ground,
Or bleating sheep, or the soft breeze,
That wav'd the many tinted trees;
The moon on lofty Dinas sleeps,
Her image o'er the Towy creeps,
And through the sky serenely clear,
In bright succession, stars appear.

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Angharad, by the window sits,
Watching the bat's erratic flits,
Heark'ning the mournful owl's shrill scream,
Or sullen roar of distant stream,
While ev'ry sound, whate'er it be,
Blends in one soothing harmony;
And she was sooth'd, and softly sigh'd,
A sigh in unison replied!
So low, desponding, yet so near,
She rose, in breathless haste and fear!

The window, near the rising ground,
Seem'd to admit the startling sound;
'Twas open, and she ventur'd near,
Half fearing what to see or hear;
"Was it a dream?" Angharad said,
"Safe in these walls what need I dread?
Yet in my heart those words remain,

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('Angharad, mark, we meet again!')
Nor is his threat or promise vain.

"Ah! why does prudence still repel
The gentle thoughts my tongue would tell?
Why must I wear a look of scorn,
And hide in smiles a heart forlorn?
'Tis cruel still, where'er I ride,
To hear of talents misapplied;
Graces of form and mind deceive
The hopes of those who love, yet grieve,
And still at ev'ry feast and fair,
With thoughtless frolic, he is there!
Which those are ever fain to tell,
Who envy, but can ne'er excel.

"But, hush! I hear again that sigh,
A shadowy form approaches nigh;

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"It comes!--be still my heart--'tis He!
Dare I remain?--'twere wiser flee;
But how escape? I cannot move."

"Angharad! (hist!) Oh! listen, love,
Am I then doom'd to bear your hate?
(Oh! who could live with such a fate?)
Why sternly tell me to forget,
The happy hours when first we met?
Why listen to my vows, my sighs,
Then crush the flatt'ring hopes that rise?
Angharad! Lady! dearest love,
Oh! speak, and all my fears remove."

"Leave me! go, go, 'tis sure amiss
To prowl around in hours like this,
I will not listen till the day
You cast your follies far away;

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"Nor yet till many a year that's past
Shall shew how good resolves can last;
I will not be a Robber's Bride,
For friends to grieve, and foes deride."

"Oh! bless thee, Lady, for the word
That does so sweet a hope afford!
Though vaguely giv'n, I bless thee still,
And bend obedient to thy will:
Yes, here I vow, if life is giv'n,
By all that's dear in earth and heav'n,
With ev'ry pow'r of mind and soul
Each future action to controul;
But dear Angharad, be my guide,
And then I cannot wander wide;
Wherefore delay the promis'd bliss?
Say but one word--Oh! whisper--Yes!"

"Urge me no more," was her reply,
But love lay lurking in her eye,

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And ev'ry angry word denied,
Impell'd by still resisting pride.

The wily youth his rapture reigning
The humble look of sorrow feigning,
With all love's melody of tone,
Begg'd but this simple boon alone;
To press her hand , ere yet they sever,
"With one fond kiss, remember'd ever."

Low through the open window bending,
A tear of softest pity lending;
Her trembling hand she gives, to tell
How sweet, though sad, this last farewell.

That hand was to his bosom clasp'd,
And in his own was firmly grasp'd,

Page 136

And then exultingly he cried,
"Lady, 'tis won!--'tis won my bride;
Nor shall this little hand be free
Till love's sweet vow is pledg'd to me;
Dear are the dewdrops in thine eyes,
And dear the fragrance of thy sighs,
And life itself with joy I'd yield,
From ev'ry ill thy breast to shield;
Yet if those lips can utter 'no!'
Farewell alike to life and woe;
The world is nought to thee or me,
For thou another's ne'er shall be!
Fear not the name of Robber's bride!
I must not,--will not be denied!"

Ah! 'twas not fear that sway'd her mind,
That passion of ignoble kind
Had little influence o'er her breast,
A sweeter feeling rul'd the rest;

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Though tremblingly she vow'd to share
With him each future joy and care,
That with the dawn those vows should sound
In Capel Peilin's sacred ground,
And friends from far and near should meet
The Bride of Ystradffin to greet.

Tradition still delights to tell
Her Lover kept that promise well;
Which said, "progressive virtue's grace
Should ev'ry former stain efface;
That grateful years his faith should prove,
And but with life should end his love!"

And now, when strangers seek the spot,
And guides point out the craggy Grot,
True to the fame his story gave,
They call it "Twm Sion Catti's Cave;"

Page 138

Then lead,--for still the Mansion's seen,
Where dwelt the Maid of Ystradffin.

Where is the Stranger? where the Guide?
Whose rambling words our theme supplied;
Where is the rock, the stream, the hill,
Whose pictur'd charms would volumes fill?

The rock, the hill, the stream remain,
To seek the Wand'rers were in vain;
They parted each a devious way,
Along life's wilderness it lay,
Where many a joy and many a sorrow
The empire of the hour might borrow;

Page 139

Yet ev'ry joy and sorrow too,
Was fleeting as the morning dew!
A voice still sounding in the ear,
"There is no abiding city here!"

The tide of time pursu'd them fast,
But on a Rock their anchor cast,
Defied the billows swelling rage,
And safe upheld the steps of age.

Now o'er the shadowy vale they pace,
And now the sullen river trace;
Now piercing through the gloomy cloud,
Which Heaven's eternal glories shroud;
The golden portals they descry,
Unseen by all but Faith's strong eye;
And in bright prospect forms arise,
Which wipe all tears from Pilgrims' eyes.

Page 140

Extatic vision!--now they haste,
Nor dread that river's bitter taste;
Feeble themselves, they lean on One ,
Whose strength is felt when theirs is gone;
And while they view that distant shore,
They reach the gulph!--We know no more!

Page [141]


Page [142]

Page [143]


CARADOC'S History of Wales gives the relation of numerous battles, said to have been fought at 1 Llanymddyfri, both between the English and Welsh, and between the native Princes themselves, in which the Castle was destroyed, and rebuilt in rapid succession. The first time I find it mentioned is, in 1113, when in the possession of Richard de Pwns, at which time it was beseiged by Gruffydd ap Rhys, and so manfully defended by Meredith ap Rhydderch, that Gruffydd was obliged to raise the siege with considerable loss; and the last time, when Rhys Vychan took his Father, Rhys Grug, (or Gryc,) prisoner, and refused to set him at liberty until he gave up to him the Castle of Llandovery, in 1227. About the year 1233, Prince Llewelyn is said to have destroyed

Page 144

all the Towns and Castles throughout the Country, except Brecknock, (Aberhonddu,) most probably Llanymddyfri was included in the number, as no mention is made of it afterwards. There are, however, still sufficient remains to claim the attention of the Traveller, and add greatly to the beauty of the scene. 1 The Country round Llandovery, (of which Llanymddyfri is the ancient name,) is very beautiful. An elegant Suspension Bridge has recently been thrown over the Towy, adding greatly to the picturesque attractions of the scene. Numerous Gentlemen's Seats are within a short distance of the Town.

"CAMBRIA , the Britannia Secunda of the Romans, inhabited by the Silures, Ordovices, and Dimetæ was partioned by Rodric the Great, into three Sovereignties, viz. Gwynedd, Powys, and Dinefawr.

Dinefawr, Deheubarth,1 or South Wales, comprised the Counties of Cardigan, Pembroke, Caermarthen, Glamorgan, part of Brecknock, part of Radnor, part of Gloucester, part of Hereford, and Gwent, or the County of Monmouth, the residence of the Princes of this extensive dominion was at Dinefawr.2 This Kingdom was encompassed by St. George's Channel, the Bristol Channel, and the Rivers Wye, Dyfi, and Severn." --Memoirs of Owen Glendower, by the Rev. T. Thomas. 1 Pronounced,--De-i-barth. 2 Near Llandilo, in Carmarthenshire.

"THESE Coracles are historically as well as picturesquely curious; they afford a specimen of the

Page 145

earliest British Navigation, and are used at this day on many of the Welsh Rivers, probably without any variation from their original form. They are made with very strong basket-work, and covered with hides , or coarse canvass , with a thick coating of pitch. Their shape resembles the section of a Walnut shell; their length is generally five feet, and their breadth seldom less than four; they are intended for only one person, and it is entertaining to observe the mode in which they are managed. The dexterous navigator sits precisely in the middle, and it is no trifling part of his care to keep his just balance. The instrument with which he makes his way is a paddle , one end rests upon his shoulder, and the other is employed by the right hand, in making a stroke alternately on each side; the left hand conducts the net, and he holds the line with his teeth. These vessels were anciently used as the means of intercourse between the inhabitants on the opposite banks of the rivers; they are now applied only to the purpose of fishing. So frail an invention would probably have been succeeded by something of more strength and capacity, had there not been found a remarkable convenience in their lightness, seldom weighing more than from 20 to 30 pounds. The fisherman, when his labour is over, slings his boat across his back, and marches homewards under the burden of his machine and his booty. There is scarce a Cottage in the neighbourhood of the Tivy,1 or

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other rivers in these parts abounding with fish, without its Coracle hanging by the door; such is the adroitness of those who use them, that they are very rarely overturned on lakes and rivers, and they sometimes even venture a little way out to sea, when the weather is perfectly calm."--Malkins' South Wales, Vol. II. p. 206. 1 Equally correct as to the Towy.

In the Summer of 1833, a friend in Carmarthen kindly took the trouble to see several Coracles weighed, and found them to be from 30 to 50 pounds, each being made to suit the individual for whose use it was intended. They seldom last more than a year, if much used, being soon destroyed by the water. Their weight was taken when hanging up dry, and would, of course, be somewhat more when wet.
PAGE 11.

ABBE' DE VERTOT , in his History of the Establishment of the Bretons among the Gauls, says, "The history of this occurence was reserved for the famous Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote in the 12th century. Indeed, if we believe him, we are indebted only to the unknown authors of an ancient MS. in the British language, and brought to him (as he says) from Little Britain, by Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford, and which he only translated out of the British tongue to Latin.--The author of this rare MS. carries back the history of the Kings of the Island from the reign of Cadwalader to one Brutus, great grand son of Æneas , and gives a list of the

Page 147

children and successors of this founder of the British Monarchy. According to this trusty Historian, the first Britons were all originally Trojans . Brutus, the head of this illustrious colony, being banished Italy for the murder of his Father, went into Greece, and there collected together the remnants of the Trojan nation, and placing himself at their head, in one battle killed the King of the country; then, with a powerful fleet, he went against the Gauls, with whom he fought more battles , and gained more victories . Nothing could withstand these Trojans. Turnus, the nephew of Brutus, slew 600 Gauls with his own hand. But their destinies called them to the Island of Albion , which from Brutus received the name of Britain . It was at that time inhabited only by giants of an enormous stature, who were commanded by Gog Magog , he 'being twelve cubits high, and of such prodigious strength, that he could easily pull up the tallest oaks by the root, which served him for clubs.' Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us how Brutus extirpated these monsters,--the greatest part had their brains beat out. A Trojan, named Corineus, first prince of Cornwall, challenged the giant Gog Magog to wrestle; they closed, the giant hugged the Trojan so fast, that he broke three of his ribs; but Corineus, not a bit dismayed, took the giant upon his shoulders, and in spite of his resistance threw him into the sea, where he perished. Our faithful Historian has not boggled at any of these wonders. His account begins at the year of the World 2872, and ends not till about A. D. 682."

Page 148

PAGE 13.

THE legend is as follows:--It was intended to build a Church, dedicated to the Holy Virgin, and the foundation was laid at the foot of the hill, or according to others, near Glanbrane, and the masons were occupied in rearing the structure; but, to their utter dismay, they every morning found that during the night their work had been demolished, and the stones carried to the top of the hill. Their unavailing industry was continued sometime, until at length these poor mortals were convinced, that St. Mary did not like the situation they had chosen, and then, with due reverence to her supposed intimations, they commenced the building where the stones were carried, and having successfully completed the work, were fully satisfied that it was the Heaven-appointed spot.

If I mistake not, something similar to this is told of more than one ancient Church in England; certainly so in Wales. It is told of Llanafan Fawr, in Breconshire, Llanfihangel Geneu'rglyn, in Cardiganshire, Llanfihangel ar Arth, in Carmarthenshire, as well as of Llangyfelach Steeple, in Glamorganshire, which is at the top of the hill, and the Church at the foot .

ALLT-Y-TLODI , or the Poor Man's Wood. Its proper name is Gallt-y-Fforest , a hill which constitutes a prin-

Page 149

cipal and attractive object on the right hand of the road from Llandovery, through Glanbrane Park, to Llanwrtyd Wells, Builth, and Llandrindod, consequently on the left to the stranger descending from the Church to regain the road to Cil-y-cwm. It is seen to the best advantage when viewed from near Pen-y-bont, rising in a fine swelling outline, and gradually descending towards Llandovery. The tradition attached to it is, that the good Vicar Prichard had, by his last will, bequeathed the right to cut wood on this Forest as long as the river, (the Brân,)1 should continue to run beneath it. This, however, is not correct, although poetical license may assign the gift to Vicar Prichard; but in his Will, a copy of which is now extant, no mention is made of Gallt-y-fforest, for the very evident reason of its never having been the good Vicar's property; the Grove being part of the Corporation Lands of the Borough of Llandovery, held by virtue of a Charter granted to the Town by Richard III., and subsequently confirmed by Queen Elizabeth. 1 Pronounced,--Brane.

The celebrated Rees Prichard, Vicar of Llandovery, was the author of the "Canwyll y Cymry, or Welshman's Candle," a collection of Divine Carols, and one of the most popular books in the Welsh language. He was equally esteemed for his learning and piety, and beloved for his amiable manners, and extensive charity. The Vicarage of Llandovery is divided into two Parishes,

Page 150

Llanfair-ar-y-bryn and Tingad, the former of which extends along the banks of the Towy, as far up as Ystradffin, or Bwlch-y-ffin, a distance of above twelve or fourteen miles; the good Vicar therefore may well be said to have had a "wide-spread flock." Rees Prichard never lived at the Vicarage, which is very near the church, but at a large house of his own, situated at the entrance of the Town from the Trecastle road, then called Neuadd. It is still standing, but in a very dilapidated condition.

AT Dolauhirion Turnpike the road divides; the one, straight forward, is the way to the Lead Mines at Nant-y-mwyn, belonging to Earl Cawdor, whose property in this part of the county extends many miles along the banks of the Towy, including Ystradffin, from the celebrated Heiress of which Estate the present noble Proprietor inherits this extensive and beautiful tract of land. The country is chiefly indebted to the late Lord Cawdor, and the Earl, his son, for the excellent roads to the Dinas, Ystradffin, &c. The other road will also take the traveller to Ystradffin, by crossing the bridge at Dolauhirion, going under Henllys, through Cwm Coy, Erryd, Cil-y-cwm, &c. to the ford at Pengarreg, where, having crossed the Towy, the two roads unite, close by the Miner's Arms. This way appears to me to present the greatest variety of interesting views, and is

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consequently chosen for the Stranger;--both roads are good, but crossing the river may be objectionable. By the upper road carriages may be taken with the most perfect security to the foot of the Dinas, and to Ystradffin, and therefore will, perhaps, be preferred. A little above Pengarreg there was a foot-bridge, which has been several times washed away by the floods; another was in preparation in the Summer of 1833, to be built of wood, as were the former. There is also a foot-bridge at Pwll Priddog, lower down the river, before you come to Pengarreg, which is exceedingly picturesque.
PAGE 17.

THE part of the road here noticed is very low, and the Towy frequently overflows it in the Winter seasons, occasionally to such a height as to leave marks upon the branches of the trees, and on the opposite bank of Erryd Grove. A waterspout burst amongst the hills above Nant-y-mwyn, in the Summer of 1808, and the description of its effects here given is closely confined to the accounts received at the time.
--PAGE 22.

A DEEP pool in the Towy, beneath Henllys, said in "common parlance" to be bottomless. I am told it means "the pool or lake of the Old Bridge;" but I

Page 152

cannot ascertain that there ever was one there. It is not far from Rhyd Erryd, (Erryd Ford.) I have lately received the following Note on this subject:--"It is supposed the Roman road from Llanio, in Cardiganshire, (through Cayo,) to Llanfair-ar-y-bryn, passed over this pool; which seems probable, as the Britons were not much addicted to bridge building. Traces of the above road are to be seen in several places in this Neighbourhood."

The Romans, undoubtedly, worked the lead mines among the rocks of Gogofau, (caves,) near Cayo, in Carmarthenshire. The late J. Johnes, Esq., of Dolecothy, to whom these Estates belonged, had in his possession many Roman relics dug up in that Neighbourhood, amongst which were a gold chain, a rough stone, with an amethyst in the middle, whereon is the figure of Diana, &c. &c.

THE Triple Harp, or Harp with three rows of strings, is, I believe, peculiar to Wales. I am not competent to explain its merits or inconveniences, although I have frequently heard it with delight--I have, therefore, made a short Extract from Jones' most interesting "Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards."--"Notwithstanding, we find the Telyn , or Welsh Harp, was always peculiar to our Bards, though probably there was no great difference betwixt the Harp, when in its ancient primitive form, and the Grecian Lyre ; for Diodorus

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Siculus records, that the "Celtic Bards played on an instrument like Lyres." "The Triple, or 1 Modern Welsh Harp, has three rows of strings, the two outside are unisons, the middle row the flats and sharps; the compass extends to five octaves. Some of its present appendages were probably the addition of the latter Centuries. This celebrated instrument has been recently improved by the invention of Pedals , which change it, without tuning, into all the different keys, and have rendered it much less complicated and inconvenient, by reducing it into a single row of strings. In the time of the Welsh Princes, an hereditary Harp was preserved with great care and veneration in the household of every Prince and Lord, to be bestowed successively on the Bards of the family; and was as indispensible among the possessions of a Gentleman as a Coat of Arms.' '

The late Sackville Gwynne, Esq., Grandfather of the present Sackville Gwynne, Esq., of Glanbrane Park, was reckoned one of the finest amateur performers on the Harp in the Kingdom, and he took a pleasure in having a number of young persons instructed on that , and other musical instruments, in his own house, and under his own inspection. Glanbrane Park is only three miles from Llandovery, on the Builth road; but it is not seen from any part of the Stranger's ride to Ystradffin. 1 This must undoubtedly be speaking comparatively.

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PAGE 26.

CRAIG RHOSSAN 1 is the name of the rocky eminence above Neuadd, on the right hand in the route described. (Rhôs signifies a mountain meadow , a moist large plain .) Garth is a towering hill on the left, beautifully clothed with trees. The Foel is a bold bare hill at the back of these, above them; it well deserves its name. "The Foel , or Moel , adj. bald, baldpated, also wanting horns, crop-eared. Moel, or Y Foel, doth also signify, metaphorically, a towering hill, on which grows no wood; hence Moel came to be the name of many such hills as have no woods growing on them, as Moel-yr-Wyddfa, Moelwyn, &c. The people near Abergavenny having lost the true notion of this word, call a sugarloaf hill near the town, 'The Vale. ' Irregular, Moel, a heap, a pile."--Richards' Welsh Dictionary. 1 Beyond which is a very extensive tract of uncultivated land, where a great number of ponies and young cattle find pasture.

Malvern , with very little variation, is Moel-y-Varn ; these words are pure Welsh, and signify the "High Court , or seat of judgement.

The original British Fortress was nothing more than an almost inaccessible, or precipitous rock, or natural wall. To these heights men were at first driven for safety from wolves, and other wild beasts, when the country was thinly inhabited, and entirely cover'd with

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wood. Thither they retired at night for rest, and from thence they sallied forth in the day time in search of food. These, therefore, were not originally intended so much for defence against man , as against the brute creation, though they were afterwards used as stations, from whence they might effectually annoy, or with greater security resist the attacks of enemies of their own species. This most ancient and always natural British Fortification, was called Dinas.

THE wassail Bowl may still be met with, though but rarely, in the mountain Mansion, on the night of this festival. But the sports of Calangauaf are almost forgotten, and will ere long be talk'd of as "things that were, but are not." I shall only notice a few , which I witnessed some years since, and they will, I imagine, suffice for my purpose. The apple and the lamp , is a humble kind of Quintain. It is simply thus,--a post, or stick, about five feet high, is fixed to the floor, with a pivot at the top, on which turns a horizontal stick, equally divided; at one end is an apple, at the other a lighted candle; it is swung briskly round, and while in full motion, the candidate approaches with his hands behind him, and endeavours to catch the apple with

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his teeth. Another feat is, to dip for a silver sixpence in a pail of water; it is filled about one third, and set on the floor, (here again the hands are forbidden to render any assistance.) I saw a young girl, of about eleven years old, bring up in her mouth, and lay upon the table, three coins successively, (which were, of course, her prize,) but not without making her curly head very much resemble a mop. 1 Calan , the first day of every month, as Calan Mai , (and vulgarly, Clammai ,) the first of May, and hence Dydd Calan , and Calan Gauaf , the first day of Winter.--Richard's Dictionary.

The three bowls are fully explained in the Poem. This is, or, at least, recently was, a favourite diversion of the young;--and an unsuccessful trial will oft-times sadden many a fair face for a moment. Ashes and muddy water, or sorrows and cares , occupy two of the bowls of life; pure water , or pleasure , only one; and there are few who do not drink deeper of the former than the latter; but if the draught is sanctified to us, and becomes the means of producing an increasing fitness for the joys of eternity, they are rather blessings in disguise than punishments.
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"SOME vein still survives among our Mountaineers; numbers of young persons of both sexes assemble and sit round the Harp, singing alternately Pennillion, or stanzas of ancient and modern composition. The young people usually begin the night with dancing, and when tired, assume this mode of relaxation; often like the

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modern Improvisatori of Italy, they sing extempore verses,--and those conversant with it, readily produce a pennill apposite to the last; the subjects are productive of mirth. Sometimes they are jocular, sometimes satirical, but oftener of an amorous nature, and will remind the Classic of the dialogue between Horace and Lydia, for on these occasions the Fair are generally last to speak, and terminate the contention. They continue singing without intermission, never repeating the same stanza, for that would forfeit the honour of being esteemed 'the first of song," and like nightingales, support the contest through the night. The audience usually call for the tune; sometimes a few only singing, sometimes the whole company. But when a party of capital singers assemble, they rarely call for the tune, for it is indifferent to them what tune the Harper plays. Parishes are often opposed to Parishes, and the mountains re-echo to the melody of song."--Jones' Musical Remains, &c.

That (in the Poem) the song is transferred to the Harper, is, I hope, no unpardonable stretch of the poetical license.
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RODRI MAWR , (the Great,) son of Mervyn Vrych and Essyllt. "It was unanimously granted, that he was undoubted proprietor of all Wales. North Wales descending to him by his Mother Essyllt, daughter and

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sole heir of Conan Tyndaethwy. South Wales by his Wife Angharad, the daughter of Meyric ap Dyfnwal ap Sitsylt, King of Cardigan. Powis by Nest, the sister and heir of Congan ap Cadell, King of Powis, his Father's Mother."--Caradoc.

"Rodri Mawr began to reign A. D. 846. He divided Wales into three parts, viz. Aberffraw, Dinefawr, and Mathravel. A battle was fought on a Sunday, A.D. 873, in Anglesea, in which Rodri Mawr, Gwriad, his brother, and Gweirydd, son of Owen Morganwg, were slain by the English, and in revenge, the women took up arms, fell upon the English, and forced them to retreat."--Archaiology.

A.D. 878. About this time a great battle was fought between the united forces of the people of Mercia and the Danes, against the Welsh, under Anarawd, the eldest son of Rodri, at Conway, wherein the Welsh obtained a signal victory, which was called Dial Rodri , or the revenge of the death of Rodri."--Caradoc.

HOWEL DDA died A.D. 948, after a long and peaceable reign over Wales, much lamented and bewailed of all his subjects, being a Prince of a religious and virtuous inclination, and one that ever regarded the welfare and prosperity of his people."--Caradoc --To whose interesting History of Wales, the Reader is referred for an account of the solemn manner in which he assembled his Clergy and Nobles to assist him to make good and wholesome Laws, and of his attending in person at the execution of them upon occasions therein specified.

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PAGE 51.

"RHYS , son to Tewdwr ap Einion ap Owen ap Howel Dda, as lawful heir to the government of South Wales, put in his claim, which being very plain and evident, so prevailed with the people of the Country, that they unanimously elected him for their Prince, much against the expectations of Trahern ap Caradoc, Prince of North Wales.

"The government of all Wales, both North and South, had long been supported by usurpers, and forcibly detained from the right and legal inheritors; but Providence would suffer injustice to reign no longer, and therefore restored the rightful heirs to their Principalities. Rhys ap Tewdwr had actual possession of South Wales, and there wanted no more at this time, than to bring in Gruffydd ap Cynan to North Wales: both these Princes being indisputably right and lawful heirs to their respective governments, as lineally descended from Rodri Mawr, who was legal proprietor of all Wales. Gruffydd ap Cynan had already reduced Anglesea, but not being able to bring a sufficient army from thence, to oppose Trahern, he invited over a great party of Irish and Scots, and then, with his whole army, joined Rhys ap Tewdwr, Prince of South Wales. Trahern, in like manner, associating to himself Caradoc ap Gruffydd, and Meilir, the sons of Rhiwallon ap Gwyn, his cousin german, the greatest and most powerful men then in Wales, drew up his forces together, with resolution to fight them; both armies meeting together upon the mountains of Carno,

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a terrible and cruel battle ensued presently thereupon, which proved the more fierce and bloody, by reason that both sides resolutely referred their whole fortune to the success of their arms; and life would prove vain if the day was lost. But after a dismal fight on both sides, the victory fell at last to Gruffydd and Rhys ap Tewdwr. Trahern and his cousins being all slain in the field, after whose death Gruffydd took possession of North Wales, and so the rule of all Wales, after a tedious interval, was again restored to the right line, A.D. 1079."--Caradoc.

"Rhys ap Tewdwr was contemporary with William Rufus. The last battle he fought was at Hirwain-wrgan, a large plain on the confines of Glamorganshire and Brecknockshire; here, after a bloody engagement, he was totally defeated, and, according to the chronicle first quoted, he himself was obliged to fly to Glyn Rhodneu, Where he was overtaken and beheaded at a place, thence called Pen Rhys."--Theophilus Jones' History of Brecknockshire.

But Mr. Jones, in continuation, expresses a doubt of this, from the topography of the country, such a retreat, leading towards the enemy, instead of the reverse. Also, because Ieuan of Brechfa says, he was slain in the field of battle. But as I have followed Caradoc, whom he allows to be worthy of credit, I think myself justified in giving in the Poem the above turn to the affair.
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CYNAN , a son of Rhys ap Tewdwr being closely pursued after his father had been taken and beheaded in

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Glyn Rhodneu, (the place is now called Pen Rhys,) in his retreat towards the Vale of Tywi; to save his life, he attempted to swim over a lake called Cremlyn, in which he was drowned. From this circumstance, the lake is ever since called Pwll Cynan. After this, Robert Fitzamon returned, and gathered his men together on Twyn Colwyn, where they were paid for their sevices , by Jestin, in pure gold, and the place has ever since been called "Y Filltir Aur," (the Golden Mile.)"--Caradoc.
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LLEWELYN AP GRUFFYDD , the last independent Prince of Wales, whose affecting story is so familiar to all readers, that it may, perhaps, be deemed unnecessary to give any explanation on that part of "the Harper's hints;" yet, to the young, I am inclined to think the following extract from Malkins's South Wales will prove acceptable:--"Aberedw Castle, Radnorshire, and its neighbourhood, while closely connected with Cambrian History, afford picturesque objects the most attractive, to fix and detain, as well as engage the attention. The village is denominated from its situation at the mouth of the Edwy, where that river falls into the Wye. The Castle is so placed as to command both streams. It belonged to Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, the last independent Prince of Wales, and was his last refuge. It would appear indeed, as if that Prince's affairs were not in a desperate situation at the time of his death, and that he

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might still have been, at least, troublesome to Edward; but for the treachery of his unworthy countrymen; his friends had, it is true, been overthrown by the King's party, though even there, the victory was purchased by the loss of William de Valence, a promising youth, cousin to Edward. In the mean time, Llewelyn had laid waste the country of Cardigan, and spoiled the lands of Rhys ap Meredith, who sided with the English. After this, he unfortunately quitted his army, with a few friends, and came to Builth, which he had taken from the Mortimers. In his Castle of Aberedwy he designed to have remained in quiet and obscurity for a time, plotting with the neighbouring chiefs the deliverance of their Country. As he passed by the banks of the Wye, in his way from Builth to Aberedwy, he fell in with Edmund Mortimer's party, who, as natives, recognised their lawful Prince; such, however, was their respect for his person, that, though attended only by his Esquire, he was suffered to gain the valley of Aberedwy without interruption, and there held his intended conference with the Welsh Lords. The enemy had obtained intelligence of his position, and had recovered from the reverential embarrassment into which his first appearance had thrown them; they descended from the hill, but found the bridge over the Edwy, near the mouth, securely kept, and its passes manfully defended by Llewelyn's adherents; the traitors of Builth , (as they have ever since been called,) then led the English to a ford, across which they sent a detachment, under the command of Walwyn, a gentleman of Hay, some remains of whose palace are still to be seen

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there. Walwyn thus gained possession of the Prince's retreat, and attacked the defenders of the bridge in the rear, but not till after Llewelyn had made his escape. The snow was on the ground, and the tradition is, that he adopted the stratagem of reversing his horse's shoes, to deceive his pursuers; but the Smith, to whom he had recourse, betrayed the circumstance to the enemy, so that with difficulty he reached a narrow dingle, and there concealed himself." As far as I have been able to learn, the professed Historians do not record the stratagem. But there is a curious historical MS., where this account of the shoeing is given, with some other interesting particulars. He was not far from the main army, to which he was lying in wait to escape, when he heard the noise of horsemen surrounding the grove that gave him shelter. He was unarmed and disguised, but Adam Francton, (a common soldier, I believe,) put him to death, without knowing the value of his prey. The few friends who had followed his flight, unacquainted with the melancholy catastrophe, stood their ground, and fought boldly, but were at length overpowered, and compelled to quit the field. The victorious English began plundering the dead of the valuables about their persons, when Francton recognised his victim, whose head he sent to the King at the Abbey of Conway. It was received with savage triumph, and indecently exhibited to the populace on the Tower of London."--Malkins's South Wales, Vol. I.

The manner of Llewelyn's death is so variously reported, that it seems impossible to separate truth from

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fiction, or to come to any decided opinion on that point. But his previous character leaves no room to cast the stigma of cowardice upon him, let his murder have been accomplished how or where it would. I cannot think it improbable, (allowing this last account a degree of accuracy,) that Llewellyn, placed in the situation therein described, viz. having destroyed the bridge at Builth, and proceeding further up the Vale of Irvon, had crossed the bridge over that river with the few troops then under his command, and stationed them in such a manner as was deemed most favourable to defend the passage of it. Thus conceiving himself in no immediate danger of attack, it is, perhaps, allowable to imagine, that the unfortunate Prince, with a heart lacerated by the treachery and coldness of his friends, on whom he relied for aid, and depressed by the intensity of his feelings for the state of his beloved country, and the actual position of his faithful followers, was deeply musing on the past, and forming plans for the future. Is there not a possibility that these painful thoughts might have led Llewelyn to stray alone into the wild recesses of that romantic glen, and thus, separated from his people, to become an easy prey to a party of his foes, who had crossed a ford at a considerable distance higher up, unobserved, from being expected at the bridge? I must leave this suggestion to those who are more competent to decide.

"CWM LLEWELYN , or Llewelyn's Dingle, is in the parish of Llanganten, Breconshire, where the great and gallant Llewelyn ap Gruffydd was slain, (as related in

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my first Volume.) The fall on each side to a small rill, called Nant Llewelyn, running through it, and emptying itself into the Irvon, is so very trifling and inconsiderable, that it hardly deserves the name of Cwm; it should more properly be called Pant , the one meaning in general a deep valley , and the other a smaller depression on the surface of the ground. About a mile or two below this spot, on a high precipitous bank close to the river, where it begins to take a circular curve, is a mound, partly natural, and partly artificial, on which, it is said, stood a Castle, called Castell Caer Beris . From the natural strength and unaccessible approach to it on the South, assisted by the labour of man in rendering it equally unassailable on the North and East, before the use of gun-powder was known, and from the appearance of the soil at the top of the mound, which, for some inches on the surface, resembles burnt wood, I believe it to be an ancient British Tower, or Castle, constructed entirely of wood;--perhaps the only one of which any vestige is left in Breconshire. And here I think it is probable Llewelyn might have stationed a few of his troops, to prevent the enemy from crossing the river below him, and to guard the pass on the banks on the other side, for both of which purposes it was admirably calculated.

"His horse's shoes were reversed, but the Blacksmith betrayed the secret, and the Prince was closely pursued, and killed in a field about two miles above Builth, and six from his own Castle of Aberedw, the ruins of which are to be seen about 100 yards from Aberedw Church, near the junction of the Edw and the Wye. The place

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is called Cwm Llewelyn ,1 and the traitor stigmatized from this event with the title of Bradwr Aberedw , (the Traitor of Aberedw.) A house erected over his grave retains the name of Cefn-y-bedd . Thus fallen, unarmed, guarded, betrayed, but not unlamented, died Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, after a reign of 36 years, A.D. 1232, the 8th of Edward I."--Theophilus Jones's Brecknockshire, Vol. II. pp. 255--6.

"ABEREDW CASTLE , the Castle of Aberedw, (or Aberedwy,) stands about 4 miles from Buallt, and is particularly interesting to every Welshman, not so much for its grandeur as for its having been the favourite residence, and the last retreat of Llewelyn ap Gruffydd, the last native Prince of Wales, who held regal power. Llewelyn, at a time when the forces of Edward I. were invading the Principality in different quarters, visited Aberedw, for the purpose of entering into consultation with some chief persons of the district, whom he was anxious to engage in his service against the English. On his arrival, however, he found himself nearly surrounded by such a number of the enemy's troops, that he considered resistance useless, and withdrew his men to Buallt. The ground being covered with snow, he is said to have had his horse's shoes reversed, in order to deceive his pursuers, but the secret was betrayed by the smith, whose name was Madoc Goch Mîn Mawr , (red haired, wide-mouthed Madoc.) Llewelyn succeeded in passing

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the bridge at Buallt, and breaking it down before the arrival of his enemies, he applied to the garrison of Buallt for shelter, who, however, refused him admittance, whence the inhabitants to this day have been called 'Bradwyr Buallt,' or Traitors of Builth, the unfortunate Prince proceeded up the Vale of Irvon for about 3 miles, crossed the river by a bridge above Llanynys, and stationed his few troops on a favourable spot for defending the passage. On the arrival of the English, they made a fruitless attempt to gain the bridge, but a ford having been discovered at some distance, a detachment crossed the river, and these coming unexpectedly on the rear of the Welsh troops, routed them without difficulty. Llewelyn himself was attacked unarmed in a dell near the scene of action, from him called Cwm Llewelyn, by one Adam Francton, who plunged a spear into his body, and afterwards cut off his head, and sent it to the King of England; the body was dragged to a little distance, and buried in a place still known by the name of Cefn-y-bedd, or Cefn bedd Llewelyn, (the ridge of Llewelyn's grave,) near the banks of the Irvon. The remains of the Castle are near the village of Aberedwy, on the East banks of the Wye, in an angle formed by that river and the Edwy. The surrounding scenery is extremely beautiful."--Hughes's Beauties of Cambria. 1 Cwm Llewelyn and Cefn-y-bedd are on the Estate of Mrs. Price, Widow of the late T. Price, Esq., of Builth.
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IN Shakspear's beautiful Play of Henry IV, there is a specimen of this boasting, in the dialogue between

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Glyndwr and Hotspur. "Glyndwr, 'I call the spirits from the vasty deep.' Hotspur, 'Why, so can I; but will they come when you do call?' Glyndwr, 'I say the earth did quake when I was born!' Hotspur, 'So it would if your mother's cat had kitten'd.' "--Henry IV.

"In the reign of Richard II. one Owen ap Gruffydd Vychan, descended of a younger son of Gruffydd ap Madoc, Lord of Bromfield, was not a little famous. This Owen had his education in one of the Inns of Court, where he became Barrister at Law, and afterwards in very great favour and credit, served King Richard, and continued with him at Flint Castle, till at length the King was taken by the Duke of Lancaster. Betwixt this, Owen and Reginald, Lord Gray of Ruthyn, there happened no small difference touching a common lying between the Lordship of Ruthyn, whereof Reginald was owner, and the Lordship of Glyndwrdwy, in the possession of Owen, whence he borrowed the name of Glyndwr. During the reign of Richard, Owen had the pre-eminence; but after his deposal, the scene was altered; and as Reginald was better befriended, he entered upon the common, which occasioned Owen, in the first year of Henry IV. to make his complaint in Parliament against him. No redress being found, the Bishop of St. Asaph wished the Lords to take care, that by thus slighting his complaint, they did not irritate and provoke the Welsh to an insurrection; to which some of the Lords replied, that they did not fear those rascally barefooted people. Glyndwr, therefore, finding no other method to redress himself, having several friends and followers, put himself in arms

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against Reginald; and meeting him in the field, overcame and took him prisoner, and spoiled his Lordship of Ruthyn; nor could he regain his liberty without agreeing to pay 10,000 marks for his ransom, whereof 6,000 were to be paid in the fourth year of King Henry, and to deliver up his eldest son, with some other persons of quality, as hostages for the remainder. This good success over Lord Gray, together with the numerous resort of the Welsh to him, and the favourable interpretation of the prophecies of Merddyn, made the swelling mind of Glyndwr entertain hopes of restoring this Island back to the Britons, wherefore he set upon the Earl of March, who met him with a numerous party of Herefordshire men, but the Welsh proved victors; and having killed above a thousand men, they took the Earl of March prisoner, and though King Henry was importuned to ransom the Earl, he refused, alledging that he wilfully threw himself into the hands of Glyndwr. Yet, about the middle of August, the King went in person, with a large army, to correct the presumptuous attempts of the Welsh; but by reason of the extraordinary excess of weather, (which some attributed to the magic of Glyndwr,) he was glad to return safe. The Earl of March detained, marries Owen's daughter, and agrees to take part with him against the King of England. With them joined the Earl of Worcester, and his brother, the Earl of Northumberland, with his valiant son, Lord Percy, who conspiring to depose the King in the house of the Archdeacon of Bangor,* by their deputies, divided the

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realm among them. All the country lying betwixt the Severn and the Trent, southward, was assigned to the Earl of March; all Wales, and the lands beyond the Severn, westward, to Glyndwr; and all from the Trent, northward, to Lord Percy. This was done, as some said, through a foolish credit they gave to a vain prophecy, as though King Henry was the excreable Moldwarp; and they three, the Dragon, the Lion, and the Wolf, which should pull him down, and distribute his kingdom among themselves. Lord Percy was slain at Shrewsbury,--the Earl of Northumberland lay down his arms at York,--but the final blow was given by the Prince of Wales, afterwards Henry V., in the battle of Usk, fought on the 15th of March, Glyndwr's son being taken prisoner, besides 1500 more, taken or killed. After this we hear little of Glyndwr, excepting that he continued to plague the English upon the Marches, to the 10th year of King Henry's reign, when he miserably ended his life, being, as Holenshed reporteth, driven to that extremity, that despairing of all comfort, he fled and lurked in caves and solitary places, fearing to shew his face to any creature, till at length being starved for hunger, and lack of sustenance, he miserably ended his days."--Caradoc. * The Rev. T. Thomas, in his Memoirs of Owen Glyndwr, says,--"According to Mr. Pennant, it was in the house of David Daron, Dean of Bangor, where the division of Britain was meditated, in the year 1402."

"Our hero terminated his hopes and fears on the 20th of September, 1415, in the 61st year of his age, at the

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house of one of his daughters, but whether that of his second daughter, Elizabeth, or Alicia, who was married to Sir John Scudamore, of Ewyas, and John Lacy, of Kentchurch Court, all in Herefordshire, or his daughter Margaret, who was married to Roger Monington, of Monington, also in the County of Hereford, is uncertain. Kentchurch and Monington both claim the honour of being the place of his interment."--Memoirs of Owen Glyndwr.
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SIR David Gam, celebrated in Shakespear's Henry IV. under the name of Fluellyn . His answer to Henry V., at the battle of Agincourt, is familiar to every one,--David Gam, or the one-eyed, was the son of Llewelyn ap Howell Vychan, of Brecknock. His residence was at Old Court, Monmouthshire, the site of which is in a field adjoining Llandilo Cresseney; sometimes also at Peytyn Gwyn, near Brecon. He married a sister of Owen Glyndwr, but was nevertheless one of his most violent enemies. It is even said, that he attempted to assassinate Owen at Machynlleth, where Owen caused himself to be crowned inaugurated Sovereign of Wales; but the plot was discovered, and David Gam arrested and imprisoned. Owen then visited the Marches of Wales with fire and sword, and burnt David Gam's house in return for his treachery, making some satirical verses on the occasion. David Gam, to avoid the

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resentment of Owen Glyndwr, then removed to England, where he resided until Owen's death, after which he returned to Wales, and took from thence 'a party of stout and valorous Welshmen' to the assistance of King Henry V., in his operations against the King of France; and his valour and intrepidity at the battle of Agincourt, (where he lost his life in the defence of his Sovereign, by whom he was knighted as he was expiring on the field) have gained him a most enviable station in the records of military fame.
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"A FETCH Candle, or Corpse Candle, a light so named, as some pretend, preceeding and signifying the approaching death of a person. See Richards' Welsh Dictionary, article Canwyll Corph, Canwyll dyn marw.

The tradition in the Diocese of St. David's, is something to the following purport,--When Ferrars, Bishop of St. David's, was burnt at Carmarthen, in the days of Queen Mary, he assured the spectators, that if he died in the right faith, there should be a light before the death of many persons throughout his Diocese, which, to the present time, is seen, (or thought to be seen) in the night, passing from the house of the person whose death is portended, towards the churchyard, and pointing out the course afterwards taken by his funeral. Sometimes, when a person dies in the open air, it is asserted that a light had been seen to arise from the spot, and to pass in

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direction in which the corpse was carried. The colour of the light also is of importance, as a pale flame is thought to signify the death of a child, and so on to a deep red, which portends the death of an aged person. These occurrences are very firmly believed by numbers, though like other superstitions, they are gradually giving way to juster views of religion, and a better system of education.

[There is no Note XXI. Ed.]

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WHEN two persons have agreed to enter into the state of wedlock, a person who performs the office of Gwahoddwr , (Bidder,) goes round, and repeats in a kind of chaunt, a poetical invitation to all their neighbours to attend the Wedding. Formerly this was the only mode of invitation, but of late years, a printed circular, a specimen of which follows, has been also used for the purpose, and is usually circulated amongst the friends and acquaintance of the Young Couple, some weeks previous to the Bidding. Other quaint forms of Bidding Letters are occasionally made use of, but the following is the one most approved:--

March 5th, 1839.

As we intend to enter the Matrimonial State, we are encouraged by our Friends to make a BIDDING on the occasion, on Tuesday, the 26th of March instant, the Young Man at his Father's House, called Typoeth, and the Young Woman at her Father's House, called Melinrhôs, both in the Parish of Cayo; when and where the

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favour of your good and agreeable company is most humbly solicited, and whatever donation you may be pleased to bestow on us then, will be thankfully received, warmly acknowledged, and most cheerfully and readily repaid, whenever called for on a similar occasion, by

Your most obedient Servants, DAVID DAVIES,

The Young Man, with his Father, David Davies, and his Brother, John Davies, desire that all debts of the above nature due to them, be returned on the said day, and will be thankful of all our favours granted.

Also, the Young Woman, with her Father and Mother, Isaac and Mary Davies, and her Uncle, David Edwards, desire that all debts of the above nature due to them, be returned on the said day, and will be thankful, for all favours conferred, 1 1 A specimen of the Gwahoddwr's address, in Welsh, as used in the neighbourhood of Llandovery, is given in the Cambrian Quarterly, Vol. v. p. 64.

This is intended as a general and particular invitation to all friends of both sides, and every person is expected to contribute a small sum towards making a purse for the Young Pair to begin with. Strangers, of course, are welcome. There is always a person attending, who writes down the gifts, which account is taken care of, as these gifts can be required upon a like occasion, as the Bidding Letter sets forth; but there are usually many

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contributors, such as rich and friendly neighbours, masters and mistresses, &c., that require no repayment, and those returnable are called for at distant periods, and in small portions, so that it may well be considered as an useful and well-timed benefit. This custom is called Pwrs y Gwregys , and the present is termed paying Pwython .
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" 'STAFELL , or Ystafell, is also used for the store of clothes, household furniture, &c., which the Bride collects before the day of marriage, and makes a display of at the time."--Richards's Welsh Dictionary.

I have always noticed with approbation the provident care which the young Welsh females take to lay in a little store of useful articles, such as household furniture, abundance of substantial garments, and other things necessary to begin the domestic arrangements with comfort, previous to their marriage. In fact, the collection is begun almost from infancy, and is continued until they meet with "a man to their mind." These, generally, consist of homespun blankets, feather beds, crockery, and dairy or kitchen requisites; and so far from considering this care as an indication of a precocious expectation or intention of wedlock, I feel confident, it is rather an assurance that it will not , generally speaking, be entered into unadvisedly. It might, perhaps, be desirable that their English, and more especially their Irish neighbours, imitated them in this point at least.

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PAGE 59.

THIS , like the Canwyll Corph , is supposed to announce an approaching funeral, in which the person thus forewarned will be some way interested, but unlike the former, in that nothing is here seen, the communication being chiefly auricular. A sound is heard as of a number of persons rushing past with sobs, or low and solemn singing, sometimes as of carriages, &c. (Welsh funerals in the country are generally most numerously attended, and hymns are sung.) Sometimes, if I mistake not, the pressure of the invisible crowd is even felt , and the terrified individual is unable to move until the sound of the procession has ceased, when locomotive freedom is restored.
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IT is many years since I first began to write this Poem, and to collect materials for the Appendix; of course, Bidding and Wedding ceremonies, with other curious and ancient customs, were not forgotten; but I have recently seen these so much better described in the Cambrian Quarterly Magazine for April, 1830, under the head of "A Tour through Brittany, " that, I think, I cannot do more for the satisfaction of my Reader, than to copy a part, referring him to that interesting work for further information. After describing the ceremony

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of receiving the Bridegroom and his party, on the morning of the Wedding, the closing of the door against them, the rhyming altercation which then takes place, together with the immense cavalcade assembled upon these occasions, the Author goes on,--"But as if all this rhyming and rumaging were not sufficient to peril the performance of the marriage ceremony, the Welsh have recourse to an additional expedient, that of racing and chasing each other all over the country, on their way to Church. For this purpose, the Bride is mounted on a pillion behind the person acting as her father, who, escorted by her friends, together with those of her intended spouse, sets off from the house to the Parish Church; but when he comes to a convenient spot, instead of proceeding along the proper road, he sets spurs to his horse, and gallops off in a contrary direction, along some of the numerous cross lanes which intersect the country, apparently with every intention of carrying off the Bride. Upon this, the Bridegroom, with the whole troop of his attendants, set off in pursuit, while the other party are no less active in pressing forward to protect the fugitives, and prevent their capture; and for the more effectual carrying on of this system of attack and defence, it is necessary that the whole country should be scoured in every direction, in order that the lanes and highways may be properly occupied by the pursuing party, to prevent the possibility of escape; and also, that gaps may be made in fences by the others, and the gates thrown off the hinges, to enable the Bride and her protector to pass across the fields, and avoid the ambuscade

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of their opponents, and then, woe to those gates and hedges which happen to stand in the way! Sometimes it will happen that the route lies over a mountain or common; and as it is a matter of principle with the guardian to be continually endeavouring to effect an escape with his ward, so here, upon open ground, the movements of the party may be seen to great advantage, and the appearance of such a number of men and women, all smartly dressed, and galloping about in every direction, gives the whole scene a most singular appearance, especially as the Welsh women, from their being such bold and expert riders, keep up, and mingle with the foremost of the party, and enter into the spirit of this tumultuous procession in the most animated manner. It is scarcely possible to imagine anything more wild and irregular than the various movements of the whole company upon this occasion. It is a favourite amusement with the Welsh children to set a piece of paper on fire, and when it has ceased flaming, to watch the little sparkles running along the tinder, which they call a Priodas wyllt ; and I do not know any better representation of the hurry and confusion of a Welsh Wedding."

I have thus copied all that suited the subject, as far as it goes. The act of snatching the Bride from her guardian, and placing her on the same horse as the Bridegroom, without a pillion, and proceeding thus to Church, finishes the farcical scene, I had almost said; but there have been instances of a tragical termination. One well authenticated anecdote may suffice. About thirty years ago, an amiable young lady in Carmarthenshire, willing

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to do honour to the wedding of a favourite female servant, accompanied the bridal train in their scampering expedition, on a fine spirited horse. During the chase, her saddle unfortunately turned round; she fell, and was trampled under the feet of many of the horses before their mad career could be stopped! The wedding day was a day of mourning, and the night ended the sufferings, (with the life,) of this lovely and much lamented lady.
PAGE 67.

AMONGST the numerous anecdotes related of Twm Sion Catti , (more of whom hereafter,) I select this one, which was communicated to me more than twelve years ago, by an intelligent lady, born and bred in the neighbourhood of Ystradffin. There is a different version of the same story in "The Adventures and Vagaries of Twm Sion Catti, " which I saw for the first time in the Spring of 1830, long before which period my Poem, with its accompanying Appendix, was completed. Whatever similarity, therefore, may be found, and as we partly treat of the same scenes and persons, that is, Twm and the Lady , and the vicinity of Ystradffin, there must, of necessity , be a likeness, if both are faithful to nature and tradition. Yet, many highly respectable Welsh and English friends, to whom detached portions of the Poem have been shewn, could, and, I am sure, would, if it were necessary, exonerate me from the charge of pla-

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giarism. But to the story,--There was at Ystradffin a beautiful white Ox, which had long excited the admiration and envy of all the country; and Twm Sion Catti being with a convivial party of his Cardiganshire friends, laid a wager that he would steal this white Ox out of the field, whilst yoked to the plough, although the owner should be apprised of his intention. In pursuance of this scheme, he repaired to Llandovery, where he bought a variety of showy ribbons; and having ascertained that the people of Ystradffin were ploughing a field below the house with the white Ox and a black one, he went thither, having previously taken a hare with one of its legs broken, he ornamented it with the ribbons, and hid himself behind the hedge until a fit opportunity presented itself for his stratagem. Shortly afterwards, all the people went home to dinner, leaving only a boy to guard the cattle,--this was the desired moment. Twm immediately pushed the hare through the hedge, and the poor animal overjoy'd to escape, limped across the field with all the speed in its power. Wild with amazement at so strange a sight, the young guardian of the Ox watch'd the movements of poor puss, till at length tempted by the probability of soon overtaking a lame hare , he follow'd his limping leader out of the field. Instantly the enemy sprung from his hiding place, loosed the white Ox, threw a white sheet over the black one, and leading away the prize in triumph, was safe from all pursuit, long before the return of the people. In the mean time the unwary boy had often look'd back at his forsaken charge, but seeing, as he imagined, the white

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Ox safe, continued the chase, until recalled by the shouts of his enraged companions, on their return to the field. It is easy to conceive that his consternation was equalled by his vexation at finding himself so easily duped.
PAGE 88.

THE Crugiau'r1 Ladi's, (or Lady's heaps,) are two heaps of stones piled up to a considerable height, not far from each other, on the top of one of the wild mountains, over which lies the road from Cayo to Tregaron. The name gives rise to the supposition, that some traditionary tale belongs to them, but I have not been able to find it out, if there is. Whether the following conjecture is probable or not, I cannot say; but I find the word Carn thus explained in Richards's Welsh Dictionary. 1 Crûg, pronounced creeg, a heap.

Carn , the hilt, haft, or handle of anything; the hoof of a horse or other beast; a heap, (properly of stones.)

Carnedd , (pronounced Carneth ,) a heap of stones; also carn, meer, arrant; Carn Lleidr , a most notorious thief, &c. Mr. E. Llwyd accounts for these expressions in the following manner. He supposes these large heaps of stones called in South Wales, Carnau , in North Wales, Carneddau , which are common upon mountains in Wales, to have been in the times of heathenism intended as memorials of the dead; he thinks that men of the greatest

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quality had such sepulchral monuments before Christianity was introduced, but since then they became so detestable and appropriated to malefactors, that sometimes the most passionate wishes a man can express to his enemy is, that a carn may be his monument. "Carn ar dy wyneb ," thus the most profligate criminals came to be distinguished by that name.

Whether the Crugiau'r Ladi's are some of these Carns , I leave to the decision of the Antiquarian.

CWRT-Y -CADNO is an exceedingly wild and barren, but magnificent mountain on the North West border of Carmarthenshire, famous for the resort of foxes, from whence it derives its name. Beneath it, but occasionally at some distance, flows the river Cothy, and in one part, being obstructed by the almost closing rocks, it falls from a great height, with a tumultuous roaring, into a deep pool, to which is given the terrific name of Pwll Uffern , or Hell Pool .
PAGE 95.

FLUMMERY is made of the inner hulls of ground oats, when sifted from the meal, some of which still adheres to it, by soaking it in water till it acquires a slight taste of acidity, when it is strained through a hair sieve, and boiled till it becomes a perfect jelly, when it is poured into wooden bowls, and taken either hot or cold, as convenient or agreeable, and generally with milk; sometimes

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with ale, but not so commonly. It is a favourite dish with all ranks, and is often advised to invalids, being light and nutritious.
PAGE 96.

TWM SION CATTI is said to have been born about A.D. 1569, of course in the reign of Elizabeth. To have possessed a Bible in the days of her Popish sister Mary would have been a crime! The persecutions under this bigotted Queen were sufficiently recent to warrant these lines. Yet, I acknowledge it is rather a stretch of probability that a cottager should then be in possession of a Bible in his native tongue, or be able to read the English translation. The following extract from 1 Caradoc's History of Wales may give a clearer view of the subject,--"When the reformation was first established in Wales, it was a mighty inconvenience to the vulgar people, such as were unacquainted with the English tongue, that the Bible was not translated into their native language. Queen Elizabeth was quickly apprehensive of the inconvenience which the Welsh incurred for the want of such a translation; and therefore, in the eighth year of her reign, an Act of Parliament was passed, whereby the Bishops of Hereford, St. David's, St. Asaph, Bangor, and Llandaff, were ordered to take

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care that the Bible, containing the Old and New Testaments, with the Book of Common Prayer, and the administration of the Sacraments, be truly and exactly translated into the British or Welsh tongue, and that the same so translated, being by them perused and approved, be printed to such a number at least ; as that every Cathedral, Collegiate and Parish Church, and Chapel of Ease, within the said Dioceses, where that tongue is vulgarly spoken, might be supplied before March, 1556. This Act of Parliament was not punctually observed. But in the year 1588, Dr. William Morgan, (first Bishop of Llandaff, and then of St. Asaph,) undertook the translation of the whole Bible; and by the help of the Bishops of St. Asaph and Bangor, also of Gabriel Goodman, Dean of Wesminster , David Powell, D.D., Edmund Prys, Archdeacon of Merioneth, and Richard Vaughan, he effectually finished it. This was of singular profit and advantage to the Welsh to have the whole Scriptures read and perused in their native tongue." A.D. 1588. 1 Caradoc's History of Wales, translated by Dr. Powell, augmented by W. Wynne. Printed at Merthyr Tydfil, 1812. Page 326.

At this time, Twm Sion Catti was under twenty years of age, so that we may allow at least seven or eight years to have passed previous to the time in which Gruffydd is supposed to be reading from one; and the story is not out of the verge of possibility.

CAPEL PEILIN , (frequently called the Chapel of Ystradffin,) was one of the most ancient in the Principality,

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being founded in the year 1117. It had fallen into decay, and was rebuilt by the Right Hon. Earl Cawdor, in 1821. The buildings at Ystradffin are also of recent erection, upon the site of the former mansion; it is now only a farm house, and is within a short distance of the Chapel.

"TWM SION CATTI , natural son of Sir John Wynne, of Gwydyr. He flourished about 1590 to 1630. He was esteemed as an eminent Antiquarian and Poet, but is more known for the tricks attributed to him as a robber. After marriage he reformed, and was Sheriff of Carmarthenshire." --History and Antiquities of Cardiganshire, by Sir S. R. Meyrick.

"TWM SION CATTI , alias Thomas Jones, Esq., was a native of Tregaron, in Cardiganshire. In his youth, he was a notorious freebooter and highwayman; but soon reformed, married a rich heiress, became a Justice of the Peace for the County of Brecknock, and resided in the Town of Brecknock, (otherwise Aber Honddu.) He lived about the year 1620." --Cambro Briton, February, 1820.

IT never formed any part of my plan in writing this Poem, to give a history of Twm Sion Catti, nor should I have mentioned the name at all, had it been possible to avoid it, in delineating the beautiful and interesting scenes, of which I have endeavoured to give a faint outline, but that could not be done.

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Numerous parties are every Summer formed for the express purpose of visiting "Twm Sion Catti's Cave," and Ystradffin, and Guides are easily procured to attend on these visitors. I, therefore, have endeavoured to make the story useful, as a vehicle to record a few traces of the ancient pastimes, customs, and superstitions of the Country, and to describe the scenery; when I first began to write on this subject, these matters were less familiar to the generality of readers than they are at present; yet, I trust they are still not devoid of interest to a portion of the reading community.

It is, no doubt, a very pretty romantic account, which is given in "The Innkeeper's Album, " of the loves of Twm Sion Catti, and the Lady of Ystradffin; but, unfortunately, it is utterly at variance with everything respecting these real personages handed down to us, either traditionally or on record. The latter undisputably overturns the whole well-arranged story of Twm's meeting with Owen Glendower, and all the tirade of his warlike actions, by proving that he did not enter on his earthly career until his presumed antagonist had finished his turbulent course, and been deposited in the quiet chambers of the grave, for at least 150 years. Owen died in 1415, Twm was born about 1569. Neither was his fate as a lover so dismal as to require the tender commiseration of the fair Reader, (according to the "Album;") our Hero, if such he must be called, wooed and won the Heiress of Ystradffin, by a stratagem so universally known in the Country, and so invariably told to strangers visiting those beautiful scenes, that it

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would be useless to attempt any material alteration. I have, therefore, followed the tradition, with the sole exception of his "threatening to cut off the Lady's hand if she refused to marry him." The tradition adds also, that after his marriage he did all in his power to cancel the memory of his former follies, by a steady perseverance in well doing, thereby proving himself in some sort worthy of his elevation. Yet, nothing can be said in vindication of his predatory habits, (if true,) even allowing that the state of society was not exactly what it now is, or make anything heroic out of his often mischievious, and sometimes dishonest frolics. But I refer those who wish to hear anything more of these, to "The Adventures and Vagaries of Twm Sion Catti," which, as before mentioned, I have only recently seen, at the same time observing that the character of the Hero therein set forth, appears to me far beneath the degree of respectability allowed him by History. His merit is generally acknowledged as a Poet and Antiquarian; and it is on record that he was a Magistrate, and, as some say, a Sheriff for the Counties of Brecknock and Carmarthen.

THE Welsh names being difficult to pronounce by the English Reader, I have added a short extract from "Jones's Relics," relative to the proper sound of the

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letters of the Welsh Alphabet, which, I trust, will be useful. Prefixing the Alphabet itself, with the Pronunciation of those letters which differ from the English.

A B C Ch D Dd E F Ff G Ng H I L
ek uch uth uv f eg ung ee
Ll M N O P Ph R S T Th U W Y
lh1 uph uth ee oo ur.
1 Extremely difficult to be properly given in English, but easily pronounced by placing the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth, near the front teeth, and aspirating sharply.

"To read Welsh, a right knowledge of the Alphabet is all that is necessary; for (not going to a nicety) all the letters retain one invariable sound, which must be distinctly pronounced, as there are no mutes . Letters that are circumflexed must be pronounced long, as bôn, like bone in English; bwn, boon; bîn, been.

  • C, as C English in Can, but never soft, as in City.
  • Ch, as the Greek x properly pronounced. If, instead of touching the palate with the tip of the tongue to pronounce K, you touch it with the root, it will effect this sound.
  • Dd, as Th English, in Them, That, soft, but never hard, as in Thought.
  • F, as V English.
  • Ff, as F English.
  • G, as G English in God, never soft, as in Genius.
  • Ng, as Ng English in Among.
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  • I, as I English in King, and ee in Been, but never as I in Fine.1
  • Ll, as L aspirated, and can be represented only in English by Lh, or Llh.
  • Ph, as Ph English in Philosopher, Prophet, &c.
  • Th, as Th English in Thought, never soft, as in Them.
  • U, as I English in Bliss, This, It, &c., or as ee in Queen.
  • W, as oo English in Good.
  • Y, as U English in Burn, though in the last syllable of a word, and all monosyllables, except Y, Ydd, Ym, Yn, Ys, Fy, Dy, Myn, it is like I in Sin, It, &c. Both its powers are nearly shewn in the word Sundry, which, in Welsh orthography, would be written Syndry."
--Jones' Musical and Poetical Relics. 1 Fine, according to the Welsh orthography, would be pronounced Veené.

If any further information is desired, I would recommend those who have not already had the pleasure of perusing Bingley's "North Wales," to do so, if it is only for the sake of his "Essay on the Origin and Character of the Welsh Language," which will be found in Vol. II. p. 296. The whole work is highly interesting, and has been too long in general estimation to require my feeble testimony to add to its justly acquired celebrity.

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