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Can bards who fill'd the rolls of fame,
Live but to hold an empty name?
Can I, that long with grateful tongue
Tregarnedd's* warlike lord have sung,
Live, and in inglorious rest
Behold my princely chief deprest!
Like Dunawd'st bard, whose plaintive tongue
The woes of other times has sung;
So I on recent sorrows dwell,
And sad, my country's troubles tell,
To me how glooms the cheerful day,
That spreads around the sweets of May,
And June, gay summer's pride and care,
But feeds the horrors of despair :
Alas! if Griffith does not live
What joy can varying seasons give-
What pleasure, to the breast of pain -
The world itself exists in vain !
There are-who hear unmoved the strain,
By verse and virtue roused in vain,
Whose breasts resist the patriot glow,
Unnerved the arm, unstrung the bow ;
the English authorities over the Welsh bards : and even so late as 1480, Davydd Llwyd of Mathavarn, in an ode to Owen Tudor, of Penmynydd, says, Gwyddom dewi a godder,” We know to suffer and be silent.
* Tre'r Garnedd (the Tumulus farm) in Anglesea, was, in 1220, the property and occasional residence of Edny ved Vychan, from him it descended to his great grandson Sir Griffith Llwyd, who, when he revolted, fortified this house with a fosse, 8 yards wide, and 4 deep; and at the same time formed another strong hold at a short distance from it, in the morass of Malldraeth, intended as a retreat in the last extremity; this he insulated, by drawing round it the deep waters of the river Cevni. Sufficient vestiges of both still remain, to ascertain their relative strength and situation.
+ Son of Pabo Post Prydain, a bard of the sixth century.
Who crouch beneath the foe's controul,
And bear the lash that tears the soul ;
Be theirs, depression's abject life,
Be mine the war's eventful strife !
Where is the hawk* whose wings were spread,
Whose beak with Saxon blood was red,
That proudly perch'd on triumph's car,
With England's Marches waged the war;
Our prowess proved, avenged our wrongs,
And tuned to joy unnumber'd tongues ?
Where is the sword of crimson bue,
That gleam'd upon the warrior's view ?
A thousand feats record its strength,
And terror long shall tell its length;
And well th' indented edge will shew
To days unborn, its deathful blow.
Where's the red lance that led the way,
When Griffith won the doubtful day ;
That, torch-like, blazing in his hand,
To conquest led kis country's band;
When foes, invading, fought and fled,
And England's bravest blood was shed ?
Heroic band-a people's pride
That stem'd invasion's threat'ning tide,
That stayed awhile your country's fall,
Illustrious shades- -on you I call !
As bending o'er the soil I weep,
Where now your peaceful spirits sleep:
Heavenly slumbers bless the brave,
And Cambria's tears bedew the grave,
This is probably an allusion to Carwéd, lord of Twr Celyn, whose crest it was.--The exploits of that chieftain in the war with lenry II. being yet fresh in the public voice.
With flowers unfading decks the sod,
And gives your happier souls to God!
Ye scenes, where still my footsteps tend,
Where still unwean'd my wishes bend,
Ye domes, where now I pensive gaze,
Were bright when beam'd the social blaze,
When Griffith, from a princely store,
Abundance to the banquet bore:
Ye storied walls, where Time shall trace
High Bryn Euryn's* trophied race ;
That rich in glory's proudest lore,
The deeds of other days restore ;
Ye roofs that long responsive rung,
When bards the trying conflict sung,
When joy's exulting voice was high,
When songs of triumph reach'd the sky,
And hornst from Hybla's sweetest stream
Were fill'd to Griffith's glorious name ;
Alas, the poor no more repair
His bounty and his smiles to share;
Heart-rending sighs to heaven ascend,
They mourn, like me, their common friend :
Chill as the cells that hold the dead,
The festive halls where crowds were fed,
Where Griffith graced the frequent treat,
And led the stranger to his seat:
Like generous Nudd,f in days of yore,
So Griffith gave-but gives no more.
• Bryn Euryn, is in the parish of Llandrillo, near Conway, and of thirteen residences in the possession of Ednyved Vychan, in North Wales, this was the favorite, and was said to have been “ royally adorned with turrets and garrets."
+ The Hirlas Horn. See Prince Owen Cyveiliog's ode on the Hirlas, in this volume.
Nudd Hael, (Neath the generous) one of the three liberal princes of Britain, mentioned in the Triads, and sung by Gwyddno Garanhire and Taliesin.
Dismay and terror siezed our foes,
When Arvon's towering eagle rose,
Achilles-like, with helmet high,
And fury flashing in his eye;
As Urien bold, the battle's boast,
A nation's hope—his arm an host ;
He rush'd, as torrents roll along,
No flattery stains a Gwilym's song:
It flows like Avan's* dulcet stream,
When brave Cadwallon fill'd the theme,
At length, the fell vindictive foe
Has laid Dinorwig'st lion low,
And now with haughty crest relates
His bappier, and our adverse fates;
While Cambria shrinks with boding fear,
And dreads the tale she's doom'd to hear-
To hear that Rhuddlan's towers restrain
The man, by virtue rear'd to reigo :
In chains, my chief of graceful form
Smiles at insult-braves their scorn-
And bleeding, crown’d with honor's wreath,
Awaits and courts the dart of death ;
While now, on ev'ry breeze 'tis borne,
With every pang my breast is torn-
I sink to earth to hear his name,
With all that mans and warms my frame!
• Avan Verddig, bard of prince Cadwallon ab Cadvan, described a the triads as one of the three bloody speared bards of Britain.
+ Dinorwig is situate on the edge of the Arvonian ridge, in the jarish of Llanddeilionen, and within a few miles os Bangor. It was me of the many royal residences in North Wales; the situation is nost inviting, and although the ruins are nearly removed, the limensions of the great hall, the hospitality of which Gwilym Ddu so eelingly sings, and which was twenty four yards long, are still scertainable.
Yet fame to other times shall tell
How Griffith fought, how Griffith fell;
And ages yet to come shall hear,
As downward rolls the pitying tear.
Misfortunes throng on every side,
Fall’n is Mona's strength and pride,
And lofty Arvon, Gwynedd's tower,
Falls, and feels th’ unequal power;
Her sons by Saxon hosts assail'd,
At Rheon'g* ford have fought and fail'd ;
In vain the phalanx firmly stood,
Till Rheon roll'd a tide of blood-
They fell-o'erwhelm'd a nation falls-
And Saxon power my prince enthralls.
Oppression's plan at length succeeds,
At every pore my country bleeds
No ray of hope pervades our woes,
No trait of mercy marks our foes,
And Britain's sons in vain are brave,
Immured within a living grave,
Affliction wild, with piercing cry,
And dark despair with downcast eye,
The manly mind that scorns to speak,
Th' indignant heart that swells to break;
All agonize my breast, to close
At once-existence and its woes.
• A river of Caernarvonshire, now unknown, having change its name.