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Commission may tend to modify or reverse. Otherwise, I should have liked to say something of the University College of Wales at Aberystwyth, of which I believe the country is justly proud, and of its future development. I should have liked to say something of the scheme of your excellent townsman and my revered friend, Mr. Hugh Owen, who has for nearly forty years been connected with Welsh education, for the establishment of County Scholarships, which shall so unite the primary with the higher grade schools as to provide for the support of deserving boys and girls, and elicit, by judicious aid, the immense supply of talent which in Wales, as I firmly believe, more than elsewhere, has somehow been repressed and lost through poverty and unfavourable surroundings. But the subject will not remain without discussion, and papers on various aspects of the educational question among us will be read during our sittings. And I believe we have the promise of an able paper on the important question of Eisteddfod reform. I trust that the Cymmrodorion Council will be able in future to exercise a supervision over as well the subjects of the papers as their treatment, and that the length of all contributions may be limited to a reasonable time—a good deal shorter, for instance, than the present address—and that due provision may be made for those who prefer to express themselves in English or Welsh, as the case may be. And when I have said this, I have said almost all.
But before I conclude, I will ask you to think for a moment on the lot of the great majority of our countrymen, whose fate it is to eat the bread of carefulness through the whole of their laborious lives. Think of them on a hundred hill-sides, where the mountain sheep, straying among the heather, are the only living things visible; or in close and sunless valleys, under the brooding shadow of great mountains; or on wind-swept farms, where nothing but sea-bitten
grass will grow, on the coasts of Anglesey or of Pembroke; living from the cradle to the grave lonely lives of healthy but wearing toil, with no opportunity of meeting with their fellows except occasionally at the little market-town or village, or at the little chapel, which is set often enough far away from town or village, in the recesses of the untrodden hills. Think of them in the dense atmosphere of the great industrial centres, at Merthyr Tydfil or at Aberdare, at Ruabon or Landore; breathing coal dust, or iron dust, or copper smoke, day and night, in cottages reared upon the cinder-tips or slag-heaps, of which they seem an excrescence; spending the long days or nights in the airless depths of the coal mine, with inevitable death within a stroke of the pickaxe; or perched high up on the perpendicular face of the quarry, with enormous masses of slate impending, and the thunder of the blasting-charge resounding and reverberating around. I know of nothing in all the world around us so pathetic as the lives of the poor. From much that makes life seem precious to us they are cut off altogether. All the pleasures of travel and change of scene, the delight of foreign manners, the wonder of strange islands, or capes, rising vineclad out of the azure sea, the marvel of old minsters filled with the devout thoughts of painters or sculptors who have been dead for centuries—thoughts which, we may hope, have aided many a heavy-laden soul on the road to heaventhe wonder of great Alps, many times higher than our own Eryri, rising clothed in their everlasting mantles of snow; the quickening of the moral and intellectual powers, which comes almost in spite of themselves to the cultivated dwellers in a great metropolis, in which the business of an illimitable Empire is transacted, and is matter of common talk—from all these sources of interest and pleasure our poorer countrymen and countrywomen are debarred. Let us be thankful that they have in their own tongue the blessing of a pure and healthy periodical literature, and that they have the taste, which is denied to the stronger Saxon, to appreciate the highest achievements of music and of poetry. While Handel and Mozart are sung by them habitually, while Milton and Goronwy are read, there can be little fear for the intellectual future of Wales. The more reason, as it seems to me, that those of us who can do so, in however small a degree, should contribute their share to hasten the good time coming; and by making the Eisteddfod a really educational and social influence, try to lighten somewhat of the burden of those lowly and over-laden lives.
MERCHED Y TỶ TALWYN.
The following curious and interesting account is taken from one of the unpublished Iolo Morganwg MSS., now in the possession of the Right Hon. Lady Llanover, by whose kind permission it is copied. It is written in the spoken dialect of Glamorgan, which was often used by Iolo, and no attempt has been made to alter it. Perhaps some of the readers of the Cymmrodor may be able to add to the information here given about these poetesses, and to supply other verses ascribed to them.
W. WATKINS. October 1880.
I heard an old man at Langynwyd sing a curious kind of song. It consisted of the names of all the rivers in Glamorgan and their fountain-heads, said to have been written by one of the Ty Talwyn poetesses, one stanza of which is as follows:
“ Blaen Gwrych, Blaen Gwrach, Blaen Gwrangon,
Blaen Afan sy, Blaen Llyfni syw,
Blaen Garw yw'r Blaen creulon.” Dywedir am y Brydyddes iddeu Chariad wneuthur rhywbeth ansy ber yn ei herbyn a'i digio, ac nis ymgymmodai ag ef er un cyflwr eithr hynn, sef iddo ymweled a holl afonydd Morganwg a'u Blaenau a'u dodi ar gân a'i dangos iddi o’i waith ei hunan. Fe gymmerth hynn arno, ag a dreulwys lawer mis yn ymdeithio ar hyd yr afonydd hyd eu Blaenau, onid oedd wedi myned mor wasgedig yn ei gnawd fel nad oedd braidd dim o hono ond y croen a'r esgyrn. 'Dd oedd
rhywfaint, bydded a fynno, o dynerwch ynghalon y Gantores, a hi a dosturiwys wrth ei chariad; a pheth a wnaeth hi ond ymweled a'r holl afonydd yn ddiarwybod iddei Chariad, a'u dodi ar gân ym mesur Triban Morganwg. Yr oedd hi yr holl amser hynn mewn gwisg Bachgen. Hi a wyddai yn ddigon da am dŷ Car iddo, lle 'dd oedd ar droion aml yn llettya. Myned yno a gofyn am letty noswaith.
"Chwi a gewch hanner gwely, os gwna hynny'r tro", ebe gwraig y tŷ; "nid oes gennyf ond hynny, am fod gwr ifanc o ddyn glan i fod yma heno 'n cysgu yn yr hanner arall”.
'Fe wna hynny o'r goreu", ebe 'r Bachgen ifanc dierth, a myned i mewn.
Ymhen ychydig fe ofynodd ai celai ef fyned i'r gwely, am ei fod yn flinderus iawn, wedi cerdded ymhell y diwarnod hynny. "Cewch," ebe gwraig y tŷ; a hynny a fu. Ymhen tro dyna'r Carwr truan yn dyfod iddei letty; goleuwyd ef i'r gwely gan wedyd wrtho fod yno lencyn glan iawn i gysgu gydag ef, ag iddo fyned i'r gwely yn ebrwydd, achos ei fod wedi blino 'n fawr, wedi cerdded o bell hyd yno.
"Duw a'i bendithio", ebe'r Carwr, "a gorphwys da iddo. Gwyn fyd na ddelai awr gorphwys i minnau."
Myned i'r gwely heb gael nemmor iawn o gysgu. Gyda'r goleu dyma'r Bachgen ifanc dierth yn cwnnu, yn dodi bendith Duw ar y tŷ a'r tylwyth a'i llettywys, ac yn myned i bant. Ond fe adawys bapur ar y gobennydd a'r gân yn ysgrifenedic arno yn cynnwys enwau holl afonydd Morganwg a'u Blaenau, ag uwch ben y gân y geirau hynn, y cyfan mewn llaw dierth iddo: Cymmer gynhorthwy gan a'th gâr.
Cymmeryd y papur a'i ddarllain, a'i ddarllain, a'i ddarllain a wna'r Carwr. Un ennyd yn neidio yn wyllt gan lawenydd, ennyd arall yn tawlu ei hunan ar y gwely dan lefain ag wylo; ond o'r diwedd ymdawelu a myned blaid y traed gwyllt at dŷ'r ferch y dioddefasai gymmaint er ei hennill.