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a distance that grows quick with life as it grows deeper; space that grows luminous with suggestiveness-into that space what dazzling planets may have swung and passed, leaving him wondering if into that space other planets may swing and follow in the impalpable track of the departed one. National heroes-wielders and moulders of nations-are planets indeed. After Llewelyn follows Glyndwrdy; after Glyndwrdy—who?
But to come down again to the lower plane. The outsider, listening for a moment to the clamour of our speakers calling from platform and press, grows dubiously aware that Owen lived to other ends than merely that of furnishing a page or two for the stage; of perpetuating a sarcastic. calumny upon the nation and a jest anent the national character. There begins to dawn upon him a suspicion of the truth that if Glyndwr had never lived, then the Welsh nation of to-day would possibly be different to what it is at present; and so in a moment of gratitude for a new interest, and of hope for a new enlargement of his mental horizon, he determines to learn all that is to be known of Owen. Straightway he applies to the nearest man with a reputation for "knowing all about Welsh history "—alack! how easily is such a reputation sometimes acquired, and what a melancholy bubble it ofttimes proves before the prick of a single question-and immediately, if he is fortunate, he is furnished with a list of works wherein he chall find all that he requires.
But when with fine zeal he has gone through them all, he will in the end discover that for all practical purposes he might as well have begun and ended with Pennant, who not only tells pretty nearly all that was to be told, but tells it, too, in a manner worth listening to. Nay, he will find that most later historians have calmly appropriated Pennant in bulk; have, in fact, merely unbacked and un
bound his book and "grangerised" it with a few patches of Latin irrelevancies; with pages of mild disquisitions born of the holy horror of the holy orders at Owen's deplorable habit of breaking eggs merely because he had omelettes to make, and also with timid deprecations of distress that Owen should have so far forgotten the elegancies as to use fire and sword in making war. Such re-hashes of Pennant are scattered from one end to the other of Welsh-English literature; all elegant, deprecating, apologistic, and unspeakable.
And if from these unprofitable dilettante he turns to read what later English historians have said of Owen, he will probably find himself busy with Wylie's Henry IV. But he will see from the very first page that he must make allowances for an author who is frankly and openly a zealous partizan of Henry's; and that a man unacquainted with other sources would get a yet inadequate idea of Glyndwr did he stick to Wylie alone. Lastly, let him turn to the National Biography, and he will find himself still looking at Owen through obviously alien eyes; albeit those eyes are more appreciative than perhaps might have been expected. It is a little curious, however, to find that not even the printing of The Chronicle of Adam of Usk" has yet done away with the ridiculous story of the supposed mutilations after the battle of Pilleth. Adam hated Owen as he loved Sir Edmund Mortimer, the defeated one on that occasion; and even his patriotism would not have withheld him from publishing such a disgrace to "Owen and his starvelings " " had the thing ever happened. For through his whole chronicle he differentiates between "Owen and his rebels" and the Welsh people at large, villifying the one and upholding the other in a wrong-headed way delightfully human to read.
But to come to the point. To print a history of Glyndwr
upon the basis of what has hitherto appeared in print of him, would simply mean a reprint of Pennant's work, with the addition of a few paragraphs of extra later information from those who followed and leaned upon him. To-day, however, we have different ideas of history to those which sufficed in the days when the curates brought forth their little picks and shovels to dig in the garden of Pennant and under the shade of a sun umbrella to apologise for the shockingly vigorous characteristics of the heroes they disinterred. Then a popular history meant a tabulated list of surface effects, chronologically correct and suavely and elegantly stated, but with scarcely an indication of the subtler under-workings which caused those effects.
Therefore the next history, while it cannot well get very far away from Pennant as to surface actions, must yet expound some of those actions differently, and also go a little deeper down and busy itself with exposing the underlying national conditions which made Owen's pinnacle possible. Further, it must trace whatever of permanence was in his work; that is to say, the after effect of his rising upon the subsequent condition and history of the nation. To take an instance-it must begin not only with a sketch of the political history of Wales from the death of Llewelyn Olaf, but also of Welsh social history, as shaken and acted upon, not only by the various attempts to throw off the Norman yoke, but particularly by the tremendous stroke of the "Black Death", which shook Wales to its foundations as nearly as it shook England and all the other countries of Christendom. Only of late years have historians recognised the importance of that visitation in English history, while as to Wales its effect has scarcely been hinted at.
And yet a study of the scanty material left to us in extents, inquisitions after deaths, court records, and so
forth, shows us that then, in the ruin and weakness which followed in the wake of that plague, Welsh national life seems to have given the first faint indications of returning health. Slight, indeed, like the hardly discernible breath upon the mirror held to the lips of a sorely wounded man, yet none the less an indication of life. From that date we find signs that the common people began to stand by the old laws in their daily lives; not the laws of the later codes, feudalized and Normanized as they had become before the death of Llewelyn Olaf, but the laws as the Triads betray them, older, more primitive, and in many respects less oppressive. Upon such a return would naturally follow new hopes and wider aspirations. The golden age is always in the past with every people; oftenest in the dim dawn of history, upon whose visionary background, white of all facts, bards and seers and prophets of comfort have ever expended their dearest and noblest efforts to paint the picture of what may yet be again, and thus to fill the souls of suffering men with hope and strength to will and to win.
"When Adam delved and Eve span", chanted the English rebels-and we may be sure that in Wales it was "when Arthur ruled and Merlin sang" that the golden day existed. In rehabilitating the old laws they had already made one step backward towards the reattainment of the ancient happiness, the next step would follow of itself. And so from that moment the nation grew and ripened in this new hope, waiting only for the leader who should fulfil it. The hour had begun; the man was soon to appear.
For Glyndwr was born in the birth time of these new ideas-within the first decade after the visitation in fact; and though as a chieftain he may have had little sympathy with bondmen's dreams and mere tribesmen's hopes, yet
it was with them entirely that his strength lay; and it was to the fact that they garlanded him with all their hopes of release from the grinding oppression of the Marcher lords, that he owed the power which cost England fabulous sums and countless armies to live through.
It is, then, only by taking count with the after effects fo the Black Death that we can properly understand the curious course of Glyndwr's rising.
In all countries alike the chief effect was seen amongst the tillers of the soil, the actual labourers in the more purely agricultural districts. In England it led to rising after rising of the commons, usually under obscure agitators and half articulate watchwords. In Wales, too, it was the common folk who fared worst, and in the richer agricultural domains and districts of the various Marcher lords that the worst effects were felt. Accordingly, therefore, we find, when the hour came, that in those districts the rising was agrarian first and only political in an added and auxiliary sense. Their immediate lord, having regal power, as a Marcher had, was king to these men and thus when Owen's first flood of power forced those Marcher lords to lighten their yoke, to take off exactions and to bind themselves to better terms for the future, these common folk deemed that their object was won, and so settled down to enjoy the fruits of victory, leaving Owen to do as best he could with his weakened forces.
Sentiment will live on while a practical interest flares up and dies; and so we find that in those districts of North and Mid Wales where the interests of life were mainly pastoral instead of agricultural, the rising was more political than social. This is the reason why it was in North and Mid Wales that it established itself first and maintained itself longest, if indeed it were ever entirely crushed out. Happier far and freer are the pastoral