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Rehearsing, each in turn, to Cambrian airs,
The warm effusions of no venal muse,
In epic, lyric, elegiac strains,
What time Dolbadarn's regal turret-walls,
Or Conway old re-echoed to the song,
And princes listen’d with approving joy.
Old time, aloft, has seen a Druid Bard,
'Mid Mona's sacred groves, and Calder's cliffs,
With meagre cheek, and piercing hollow eye,
Commanding awe, (as the sorrounding scenes,)
And in his hand the Crwth* or Cambrian harp:
Loose and dishe vell’d hung his hoary locks
Light floating on the gale : he struck the lyre,
And Idris', t craggy crevices around
Re-echoed triple harmonies, in full
And various concert with the hollow gales,
And rapid rills fast falling o'er the cliffs ;
Wbile underneath, his darting sight survey'd
Alps, lakes, and precipices, rivers, groves,
Forests, and islands, with surrounding seas.
THE MEETING OF THE BARDS.
WAERE met the Bards of old ? the glorious throng,
They of the mountain, and the battle song?
They met-Oh! not in kingly hall or tower,
But where wild Nature girt herself with power!
• A kind of ancient viol of very simple construction, pronounced Crooth.
+ Idris was a celebrated bard, musician, and astronomer, and is said to have had his observatory on the peak of Cader Idris, and the mountain to have thence derived its name.
They met where streams flash'd bright from rocky caves;
They met where woods made moan o'er warriors' graves;
And where the torrent's rainbow-spray was cast,
And where dark Jakes were heaving to the blast,
And midst th' eternal cliffs, whose strength defied
The crested Roman in his liour of pride :
And where the Carnedd,* on its lonely hill,
Bore silent record of the mighty still ;
And where the Druid's ancient Cromlecht frown'd,
And the oaks breathed mysterious murmurs round,
They throng'd, th’ Inspired of yore! on plain or height,
“ In the sun's face, beneath the eye of light;'' I
And baring unto heaven each noble head,
Stood in the circle where none else might tread!
Well might their lays be lofty !-soaring thought
From Nature's presence ten-fold grandeur caught !
Well might bold Freedom's soul pervade the strains,
Which startled eagles from their lone domains !
Whence came th’ echoes to those numbers high?
'Twas from the battle-fields of days gone by!
And from the tombs of heroes gone to rest,
With their good swords, upon the mountain's breast;
And from the watch-towers on the heights of snow,
Sever'd by cloud and storm from all below;
And the turf mounds, once girt by ruddy spears,
And the rock altars of departed years !
Thence, deeply mingling with the torrent's roar,
The winds a thousand wild responses bore,
And the green Land, whose every vale and glen
Doth shrine the memory of heroic men;
On all her hills awakening to rejoice,
Sent forth proud answers to her children's voice.
* A huge heap of stones.
+ A Druidical altar. An expression used by the ancient bards on the proclamation of their Gorseddau, or Congress, now denominated Eisteddvodau, or Sessions,
Forus,-not ours the festival to hold
Midst the stone-circles, hallow'd thus of old ;
Not where great Nature's majesty and might
First broke, all glorious, on our wondering sight ;
Not near the tombs where sleep our free and brave,
Not by the mountain-llyn,* the ocean wave,
In these late days we meet :-dark Mona's shore,
Eryri’st cliffs resound with harps no more.
But, as the stream (though time or art may turn
The current bursting from its cavern’d urn,
To bathe soft vales of pastures and of flowers,
From alpine glens, and awful forest-bowers,)
Alike, in rushing strength or sunny sleep,
Holds on its course, to mingle with the deep :
Thus, though our paths be changed, still warm and free,
Land of the Bard ! our spirit flies to thee.
To thee our thoughts, our hopes, our hearts belong,
Our dreams are haunted by the voice of song!
Nor yield our souls one patriot feeling less
To the green memory of thy loveliness,
Than theirs, whose harp-notes peal'd from every height,
“ In the sun's face, beneath the eye of light.”
From Thomas Churchyard's Worthines of Wales.
The writings of Churchyard, quaint, formal, and clothed in an obselete phraseology, are, like Michael Drayton's, more distinguished for the rigid fidelity of their descriptions and statements, than for their poetic excellence. The extracts from his Worthines of Wales, inserted in this work, will be found, if not elegant and entertaining, at least curious, and very useful, as a rough painting by an artist of
Elizabeth's day; while his eulogies of Wales, in the venerable language of Spenser, cannot but prove grateful to the natives of the Principality. His sober muse, though neither the aerial companion of Fancy, nor the ardent offspring of the passions, yet richly deserves perpetuity, as the handmaid of History; and though, instead of “ vesture of the sunbeam's dyes,” she may be decked in the homely friese of common place, still she is comely, and should not die ; her steady torch has blazed on objects worthy the note of all posterity,” which were, but are not.
Through sondrie soyles and stately kingdomes rich,
Long have I traced to treade out time and yeares ;
Where I, at will, have surely seene right mitch,
As by my workes and printed bookes appeares.
And wearied thus, with toyle in forrayne place,
I homeward drue, to take some rest a space ;
But labouring mynd that rests not but in bed,
Began afresh to trouble restless head.
When newfound toyles, that hales men all in haste,
To runne on head, and looke not where they goe,
Bade reason ride, where love should be embraced,
And where tyme could his labour best bestowe.
To Wales (quoth Wit) there doth plaine people dwell,
So may'st thou come to heaven out of hell;
For Fraunce is fine, and full of faithlesse waies,
Poor Flaunders grosse, and farre from ha pie dayes.
Ritch Spayne is proud and stern to strangers all ;
In Italie poysning is alwaies rife,
And Germanie to drunkennesse doth fall :
The Danes likewise do lead a bibbing life,
The Scots seek bloud, and beare a cruel mynde;
Ireland grows nought, the people are unkind !
England, God wot, hath learn’d such leudnesse late,
That Wales, methinks, is now the soundest state.
In all the rest of kingdoms, farre and nere,
A fricke or two of treacherie staynes the soyle ;
t since the time that rule and law came here,* is British land was never put to foyle, r foule offence, or faulte it did commit : e people here in peace doth quiet sit, ays the prince, without revolt or jarre, cause they know the fate of civill warre. biles quarrels rage did nourish ruynest wracke, id Owen Glendore set bloodie broyles abroach, ill many a towne was spoil'd and put to sacke, id cleane consum'd, to countries foule reproache : eat castles raste, fayre buildings burnt to dust, ch revell reign'd, that men did live by lust: it since they came and yeelded unto lawe, ost meeke as lambe, within one yoke they draw. ke brethren now do Welshmen still agree, as much love as any men alive ; je friendship there, and concord that I see, doe compare to bees in honey hive, hich keep in swarme, and hold together still, et gladly showe to stranger great good will; courteous kinde of love in every place, man may finde, in simple people's face. asse where you please, on plaine or mountain wilde, nd beare yourself in sweet and civille sort, nd you shall sure be hail'd with man and childe, 'ho will salute, with gentle comely port, he passers by; on braves they stand not so, 'ithout good speech, to let the trav'ler go; hey think it dett and duetie frank and free, I towne or field, to yeeld you cap and knee. hey will not strive to royst and take the way f any man, that travailes through their land; greater thing of Wales now will I say, ou may come there, beare purse of gold in hand,
• In the reign of Henry VIII.