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But there hath been a mightier hour!
'Twas when her voice from silence broke, And, as an eagle in its power,
The spirit of the Land awoke ! From the far depths of ages gone,
From the low chambers of the dead, It woke ! and brightly moving on,
A sunbeam o'er the mountains spread. And there were sounds, where'er it pass’d,
O’er Druid rock, and fairy dell, Of Song upon the rushing blast,
Of Minstrelsy's triumphant swell! While as Eryri’s torrent-waves
With joyous music hail'd its way,
Ten thousand echoes from their caves
Burst, to prolong th' exulting lay.
But thou, Oh Harp! to whose deep tone
Was given a power, in elder time,
A might, a magic, all thine own,
The burning soul of Cambria's clime; Thou, hallow'd thus by Freedom's breath,
To guard her fastnesses on high,
With sounds, inspiring scorn of death,
Instinct with immortality :
Thou to the winds, at that proud call,
Didst pour thine old, majestic strains,
As when they fired, in bower and hall,
The hearts that were not born for chains,
And deeply yet that music thrills !
Yet lives there, in each pealing close, Some memory of th' eternal hills,
With their pure streams and radiant snows! The hills, where Freedom's shrine of old
High midst the storm'd dominion stood;
The streams, which, proudly as they roll’d,
Bore to the Deep beroic blood; The snows, in their unstain'd
array, Bright o’er each eagle summit spread; Oh! who shall view their haunts, and say,
That inspiration thence hath fled ?
It is not thus !-each mountain's brow
Bears record of undying names !
How shall your sons forget to glow,
Ye mighty! with your quenchless flames? It is not thus !-in every glen
The soil with noble dust is blent ! Of fearless and of gifted men
The land is one high monument ! And think ye not, her hills among,
That still their spirit brightly dwells ? Be thou immortal, soul of Song !
By Deva's waves, in Snowdon's dells ! Yes! midst those haunts, in days gone by,
The deep winds swell’d with prophet-lore; Scenes mantled with sublimity,
Still are ye sacred, as of yore !
His father came with ruthless hand,
And robb’d me of my home,
And drove me from my native land
In foreign climes to roam.
He laid my stately forests low,
He slew my fallow deer ;
And thus it is, with brand and bow,
Sir knight you see me here.
I come in darkness, as he came,
To ravage in my turn;
And e'er I go, the blood-red flame
Yon lordly tower shall burn.
DARK the clouds of evening lower
Round Caereinion's lonely tower,
Shading its embattled wall
With a deep and gloomy pall ;
Who that saw that gloom could tell
Fire within it soon would dwell ?
From the mountain's solitude,
Madoc comes in vengeful mood :
Hate and Envy drive him forth,
Deadly foes to human worth.
He from em'rald Erin's strand
Late had sought his native land;
Driven thence by Bleddyn's son:
Thus the fatal feud begun,
Which, to death's embraces gave
Powis' chieftain, Iorwerth brave.
With him, breathing slaughter, comes
He, whose heart its pride benumbs,
Llywarch, sternest he of men,
Like the wolf from bloody den.
Vainly may the lost one call
For mercy, who his prey doth fall;
Vainly for compassion sue,
That his bosom never knew;
Like the adder Llywarch grew,
A lonely and vindictive thing,
Ever prone his foes to sting.
High that night the song arose
On the ear of Iorwerth's foes ;
Who in silent ambuscade
Wait till eve's last gleam shall fade,
Till the night, with deeper frown,
Darkly o’er the earth came down,
And the lofty strain of pride
On the quiv’ring string hath died.
Pacing there with hasty foot,
In his purpose resolute,
With beating heart and anxious eye,
Full of dreadful scrutiny,
Madoc eyes the torch-light fall,
Fainter from the banquet hall,
On the silver stream beneath ;
Till silent all, and dark as death,
Night's broad veil was o'er them thrown,
And his prey to rest had gone.
'Tis stillness !-down the mountain side
Slow the star of night hath died;
From their ambuscade they creep,
Winding up the rocky steep.
The wall is gain’d! they breathe, they pause,
They listen :-what can be the cause?
The warder's challenge meets their ear,
And his bugle, loud and clear,
Echoing on the midnight air,
Holds them in suspension there.-
This is not a time to choose
If to win, or if to lose :
Swift they ply the axe and brand,
Firm of heart and strong of hand.
Words of fierce intent they breathe,
And the falchion, from the sheath
Issuing, glitters brightly: now
Darker lowers stern Llywarch's brow.
From the nearest standing there,
Of those who bow and falchion bear,
Swift he takes the stubborn yew,
To the head the shaft he drew,
Like a statue from the wall
Down they hear the warder fall.
And the gates, he ne'er shall close,
Shatter'd by a thousand blows.
But where are those who dwell within,-
Hear they not the mighty din ?
See they not the bubbling blood
Pour on earth its purple flood?
Not unheeding tarry those
At the summons of their foes :
Bleddyn's son his father's sword
Takes from off the banquet board;
At his bugle's thrilling sound
His retainers gather round:
'Mid 'the foe their weapons fly
Like the drift from winter's sky.
Back the brother foes retire,
Like two wolves in baffled ire.
“Hither bring,” stern Madoc cries,
Fury flashing from his eyes,
“ Yon blazing torch ;-perchance its flame
The reptile in his den may tame.
Hither, slaves! advance and scare
Yon grinning monster from his lair."
Loudly, from the inner wall,
Iorwerth heard his foeman call :
High the spreading flame ascends,
Firın he stands amidst his friends.
Fierce they combat, wound for wound,
Slow the flame approaches round.
So the serpent we behold
Winding round his prey its fold,
Ere its head to sting is rais'd ;
Sternly on it Iorwerth gazed,
As he felt its growing heat ;
Must he from his post retreat ?