Billeder på siden

king's banqueting board, but it was the peace of the dead;

For down went the king, and his palace and all,

And the waters now o'er it flow,
And already in his hall do the flag-reeds tall

And the long green rushes grow. But the visitor will, Dovaston says, find Willin's peace relieved by the stories which the villagers have to tell of that wily clerk, of Croes-Willin, and of the cave called the Grim Ogo'; not to mention that when the lake is clear, they will show you the towers of the palace below, the Lynclys, which the Brython of ages gone by believed to be there.

We now come to a different story about this pool, namely, one which has been preserved in Latin by the historian Humfrey Lhuyd, or Humphrey Lwyd, to the following effect :

* After the description of Gwynedh, let vs now come to Powys, the seconde kyngedome of V Vales, which in the time of German Altisiodorensis [St. Germanus of Auxerre], which preached sometime there, agaynst Pelagius Heresie: was of power, as is gathered out of his life. The kynge wherof, as is there read, bycause he refused to heare that good man: by the secret and terrible iudgement of God, with his Palace, and all his householde: was swallowed vp into the bowels of the Earth, in that place, whereas, not farre from Oswastry, is now a standyng water, of an vnknowne depth, called Lhunclys, that is to say: the deuouryng of the Palace.

And there are many Churches founde in the same Province, dedicated to the name of German'

The translation was made by Thomas Twyne, and published in 1573 under the title of The Breuiary of Britayne, where the passage here given occurs, on fol. 696. The original was entitled Commentarioli Britannica Descriptionis Fragmentum, published at Cologne in 1572. The original of our passage, fol. 57“, has Guynedhia and Llynclis. The stem twnc of tlyncaf,

I have not succeeded in finding the story in any of the lives of St. Germanus, but Nennius, $ 32, mentions a certain Benli, whom he describes as rex iniquus atque tyrannus valde, who, after refusing to admit St. Germanus and his following into his city, was destroyed with all his courtiers, not by water, however, but by fire from heaven. But the name Benli, in modern Welsh spelling Bentti ', points to the Moel Famau range of mountains, one of which is known as Moel Fentti, between Ruthin and Mold, rather than to any place near Oswestry. In any case there is no reason to suppose that this story with its Christian and ethical motive is anything like so old as the substratum of Dovaston's verses.

The only version known to me in the Welsh language of the Lynclys legend is to be found printed in the Brython for 1863, p. 338, and it may be summarized as follows:- The Lynclys family were notorious for their riotous living, and at their feasts a voice used to be heard proclaiming, “Vengeance is coming, coming,' but nobody took it much to heart. However, one day a reckless maid asked the voice, “When ?' The prompt reply was to the effect that it was in the sixth generation : the voice was heard no more. So one night, when the sixth heir in descent from the time of the warning last heard was giving a great drinking feast, and music had been vigorously contributing to the entertainment of host and guest, the harper went outside for a breath of

'I swallow,' answers, according to Welsh idiom, to the use of what would be in English or Latin a participle. Similarly, when a compound is not used, the verbal noun (in the genitive) is used: thus ' a feigned illness,' in Welsh “a made illness,' is saldra gwneyd, literally “an indisposition or illness of making.' So 'the deuouryng of the Palace' is incorrect, and based on Lwyd's vorago Palatij instead of Palatium voratum.

For other occurrences of the name, see the Black Book, fol. 35*, 524, and Morris' Celtic Remains, where, s. v. Bentli, the Welsh name of Bardsey, to wit, Ynys Entti, is treated by somebody, doubtless rightly, as a shortening of Ynys Fentti.

air; but when he turned to come back, lo and behold! the whole court had disappeared. Its place was occupied by a quiet piece of water, on whose waves he saw his harp floating, nothing more.

Here must, lastly, be added one more legend of submergence, namely, that supposed to have taken place some time or other on the north coast of Carnarvonshire. In the Brython for 1863, pp. 393-4, we have what purports to be a quotation from Owen Jones' Aberconwy a'i Chyffiniau, ‘Conway and its Environs,' a work which I have not been able to find. Here one reads of a tract of country supposed to have once extended from the Gogarth”, “the Great Orme,' to Bangor, and from Lanfair Fechan to Ynys Seiriol, “Priestholme or Puffin Island,' and of its belonging to a wicked prince named Helig ab Glannawc or Glannog?, from whom it was called Tyno Helig, Helig's Hollow.' Tradition, the writer says, fixes the spot where the court stood about halfway between Penmaen Mawr and Pen y Gogarth, 'the Great Orme’s Head,' over against Trwyn yr Wylfa ; and the story relates that here a calamity had been foretold four generations before it came, namely as the vengeance of Heaven on Helig ab Glannog for his nefarious impiety. As that ancient prince rode through his fertile heritage one day at the approach of night, he heard the voice of an invisible follower warning him that “Vengeance is coming, coming. The wicked old prince once asked excitedly,

When ?' The answer was, “In the time of thy grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and their children.' Per

· The meaning of this name is not certain, but it seems to equate with the Irish Fochard, anglicized Faughard, in County Louth : see O'Donovan's Four Masters, A.D. 1595; also the Book of the Dun Cow, where it is Focherd, genitive Focherda, dative Focheird, fo. 70, 73', 75", 75", 76", 77*.

• This is sometimes given as Glannach, which looks like the Goidelic form of the name : witness Giraldus' Enislannach in his Itin. Kambriæ, ii. 7 (p.131).

adventure Helig calmed himself with the thought, that, if such a thing came, it would not happen in his lifetime. But on the occasion of a great feast held at the court, and when the family down to the fifth generation were present taking part in the festivities, one of the servants noticed, when visiting the mead cellar to draw more drink, that water was forcing its way in. He had only time to warn the harper of the danger he was in, when all the others, in the midst of their intoxication, were overwhelmed by the flood.'

These inundation legends have many points of similarity among themselves : thus in those of Lynclys, Syfađon, Lyn Tegid, and Tyno Helig, though they have a ring of austerity about them, the harper is a favoured man, who always escapes when the banqueters are all involved in the catastrophe. The story, moreover, usually treats the submerged habitations as having sunk intact, so that the ancient spires and church towers may still at times be seen : nay the chimes of their bells may be heard by those who have ears for such music. In some cases there may have been, underlying the legend, a trace of fact such as has been indicated to me by Mr. Owen M. Edwards, of Lincoln College, in regard to Bala Lake. When the surface of that water, he says, is covered with broken ice, and a south-westerly wind is blowing, the mass of fragments is driven towards the north-eastern end near the town of Bala ; and he has observed that the friction produces a somewhat metallic noise which a quick imagination may convert into something like a distant ringing of bells. Perhaps the most remarkable instance remains to be mentioned : I refer to Cantre'r Gwaelod, as the submerged country of Gwyđno Garanhir is termed, see p. 382 above. To one portion of his fabled realm the nearest actual centres of population are Aberdovey and Borth on

either side of the estuary of the Dovey. As bursar of Jesus College I had business in 1892 in the Golden Valley of Herefordshire, and I stayed a day or two at Dorstone enjoying the hospitality of the rectory, and learning interesting facts from the rector, Mr. Prosser Powell, and from Mrs. Powell in particular, as to the folklore of the parish, which is still in several respects very Welsh. Mrs. Powell, however, did not confine herself to Dorstone or the Dore Valley, for she told me as follows :—'I was at Aberdovey in 1852, and I distinctly remember that my childish imagination was much excited by the legend of the city beneath the sea, and the bells which I was told might be heard at night. I used to lie awake trying, but in vain, to catch the echoes of the chime. I was only seven years old, and cannot remember who told me the story, though I have never forgotten it.' Mrs. Powell added that she has since heard it said, that at a certain stage of the tide at the mouth of the Dovey, the way in which the waves move the pebbles makes them produce a sort of jingling noise which has been fancied to be the echo of distant bells ringing

These clues appeared too good to be dropped at once, and the result of further inquiries led Mrs. Powell afterwards to refer me to The Monthly Packet for the year 1859, where I found an article headed ‘Aberdovey Legends,' and signed M. B., the initials, Mrs. Powell thought, of Miss Bramston of Winchester. The writer gives a sketch of the story of the country overflowed by the neighbouring portion of Cardigan Bay, mentioning, p. 645, that once on a time there were great cities on the banks of the Dovey and the Disynni. “Cities with marble wharfs,' she says, 'busy factories, and churches whose towers resounded with beautiful peals and chimes of bells. She goes on to say that Mausna

« ForrigeFortsæt »