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speech, handed over to the contractor a cheque for the amount of its cost. Mr. Morgan Lloyd, M.P., next spoke, and made some telling remarks on the excellence of water as a beverage, compared with intoxicating drinks. The Rev. Robert
. Jones, of Rotherhithe, followed with some Welsh lines appropriate to the ceremony, and ended with reciting the following verses written for the occasion :
Daughters of the glen and mountain,
When to this bright silvery rill,
Ye your vessels come to fill,
Memories of a nobler tide,
From a dying Saviour's side!
Active as its running stream;
Sparkling in the noon-day beam;
Mirrored lies in glassy seas,
Bear you o'er their waves in peace. A few speeches in Welsh followed; after which the concourse, which had come to witness the ceremony, quietly separated.
It would be as unjust as it would be ungenerous were we not to notice the effectual help rendered by Mr. Breese, not only towards the erection of this fountain, but towards the carrying out of various improvements in the town and neighbourhood of Portmadoc; and we were glad to find how highly, in consequence, both he and Mrs. Breese were greeted by the inhabitants. In the same words that we spoke of David Howel at Machynlleth, we would speak of Edward Breese at Portmadoc. We would hold him up as an example of what a single individual, when uninfluenced by selfishness, can do for the locality in which he moves and for the people among whoin he lives.
THE CAERNARFON EISTEDDFOD OF 1877.
We have little to record of this Eisteddfod. In some points it was a grand success ; in others, it hardly reached mediocrity. The crowded attendance on most of the days proved how popular the old institution is with the masses of the people ; and it was a matter of deep regret to every patriot there that so splendid an audience should not have been treated with a richer intellectual feast.
There were great drawbacks. The pavilion which had been erected for the Eisteddfod was on too gigantic a scale : its form, too, an oblong, was, in our opinion, but ill suited for the conduct'of sound. On most of the days we visited the farther end of the building for the purpose of testing its acoustic character, and from that quarter the business on the platform was little better than dumb show. The patience of the persons seated there had to undergo a severe ordeal. We give the greatest credit to our countrymen for the extreme good humour with which their negation of what should have been most interesting was borne. We doubt that an English audience would have done so with the same equanimity.
The absence of Mynyddog as conductor was a great calamity. Alas! poor Yorick. He lies in his quiet grave hard by the old Chapel of Llanbrynmair, and the wit and jest and humour with which the Eisteddfod rang when he, its ruling spirit, directed its movements, were sadly wanting at Caernarvon. Estyn and Llew Llwyfo did their best ; but all their energies seemed but to provoke a comparison with former Eisteddfodau. Some of the trivialities, too, they enunciated from the platform were unworthy of themselves,
to say nothing of the thousands who had come together for, we trust, something higher and better. Eight thousand people gathered and brought together-some from remote parts of the country-demanded a better programme, and a more faithful carrying out of it, than was found at Caernarvon.
Some of the “old familiar faces", too, of the Eisteddfod were away—some who, in the hours of its greatest need, had been its firm and unselfish friends. Brinley Richards was not there. John Thomas, Pencerdd Gwalia, was absent. How was this? Professor Macfarren, unused as he was to Eisteddfodau, deplored their absence, and, in his own quiet gentle manner, rebuked the directing body for not having secured their attendance.
But what struck us more than all was the absence of the county families from the gathering. At Wrexham, in the previous year, there was a no mean sprinkling of the aristocracy. Sir Watkin Williams Wynn was there, a host in himself, with Lady Williams Wynn, and his daughters; the Lord Lieutenant of the County and Mrs. West; the Bishop of St. Asaph, with many others of a high station ; but at Carnarvon the same support was not given to the Eisteddfod. Lord Penrhyn was present on the day in which he presided, and there were on the several days one or two others of the gentry of the neighbourhood ; but that was all. We regret this exceedingly; at the same time, we congratulate Caernarvon on the presence of the “thews and sinews” of the land. The people were there in all the grandeur that numbers and vastness give to an assembly.
The several Presidents made, on the whole, excellent speeches. The Mayor of Caernarvon spoke well and sensibly on the first day. Lord Penrhyn brought his usual amount of good common sense to bear on his subject; and there were other effective utterances—such as those of Mr. Henry Richard, M.P., whose speeches, and he delivered two, were sparkling with gems. Nor must we pass by the speech of Mr. Breese, the chairman of the Thursday's concert. He spoke some homely truths in no ungentle or bitter spirit. Mr. Breese was truly eloquent as he uttered the following passage :
I hope I shall not be considered ungrateful if I express disappointment at the absence of our most distinguished Welshmen. I for one sadly miss at this, a great national gathering of the Cymry, not only the presence, but the sound and honest advice, and the brilliant touch on that instrument (pianoforte) of the gifted composer of our second national anthem, Brinley Richards, who has done so much for Welsh music and Welsh musicians. I would also we could hear those magic strains which are evoked from our national instrument by the cunning fingers of that prince of harpists, John Thomas, who has so often discoursed most eloquent music to us
" In notes, with many a winding bout,
Of linked sweetness long drawn out." But our President this morning explained that the Committee wished to have representatives of English, Irish, and Scotch talent amongst us, and it may be well for us to listen to them, though not to the exclusion of our own, For I fear we are prone as a nation to place our music and all our achievements in literature and art on too high a comparative pedestal. For myself, I see nothing but beauty in our clustering of that progress and refinement of later days which have given us our Edith Wynne, our Brinley Richards, and our John Thomas, and which have made us all more fitting and appreciative receptacles for sweetest sounds.
I hills and secluded vales, in our placid lakes and turbulent streams. I am proud of the ancient literature and music that have consecrated every hill and
every dale. But we must remember there is a world outside Wales, and a big one, which many of us have seen, and in which there are mountains higher and more majestic-valleys deeper and more secluded—lakes broader and in grander settings—and larger rivers, ever hurrying on through wider channels to pour themselves into bluer seas. The poetry and the prose, the minstrelsy and the art of other countries have a wider range than our own. But for all this, we may be proud of our own, and foster them with every care. One of our airs-the well-known “Hob y deri dando”—is said to be the most ancient known tiine, and to have been composed by the Druids. Another of our melodies, many centuries old, carries us back in its plaintive wail to the defeat on Morfa Rhuddlan. We may be justly proud of Dr. Burney's remarks in his great history of music, that it was in the quiet Welsh valleys (though he adds “among a semi-barbarous people") the first sound principles of harmony were found. But we should be more proud
There were other speeches ; but if we except that of Hwfa Mon, and even he was not himself, they were not equal to the occasion.
The competition for the several prizes, as well as the adjudications, were of the usual character. The music was no worse, and, most certainly, it was no better, than we have heard at other Eisteddfodau. One musical composition, by a late talented pupil of the University College of Wales, Mr. David Jenkins, seems to be a superior effusion of genius, The chair prize poem, too, was an excellent one. We have since made a farther acquaintance with it, and our first impressions are confirmed. The following lines to ‘The lark are very beautiful:
Hudol wyd wyl Ehedydd, -blygeiniol
Nabl, genad boreuddydd ;
Nor less so are the following, 'To a young maiden with her milk-pail:
Ar y fron draw 'r forwynig.–a welir,
Wylaidd dlos enethig;
Mor hoyw mae a'r ewig.
Na chur bron I'w blino ;
With respect to the other compositions, there was lacking that enthusiasm which overflows when genius sparkles and talent abounds in the compositions.
Altogether, the Eisteddfod at Caernarvon was not what we