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Such as rais'd
Par. Lost, Book I, line 551.
Dr. Crotch, in his eulogium on Welsh music, specially mentions military music only, whereas I think he would have been sure to have alluded to our plaintive music, bad he been better acquainted with such melodies as “ Davydd y Garreg Wen” (David of the White Rock), or “ The Dying Bard to his Harp", "Morva Rhuddlan" (The Plain of Rhuddlan), “ Torriad y Dydd” (The Dawn of Day), and many others of the kind. I consider their great fondness for the minor key to be a very marked characteristic of the Welsh people. Some writers have attributed this peculiarity to the influence of the circumstances under which their music was composed; but, inasmuch as the same tendency exists in the present day, after centuries of peace and prosperity, I am inclined to lay it to the strength of the emotional feelings of the Welsh as a people; for I have frequently witnessed their being so touched by the performance of one of their own plaintive melodies, as to shed a tear of delight,-even in the presence of others, of a different nationality, who did not appear to have been affected in the same degree. Nor are our pastoral melodies less worthy of admiration,—their varied characteristics being equally striking.
The Eisteddvodau have afforded the greatest encouragement to the study of music and poetry; and the contests on those occasions have been the means of recognising real merit, and of suppressing mediocrity. The result being, that music occupies a much more elevated position in the Principality at the present time than it has ever done at any former period. In proof of this, it is only necessary to call attention
to the wonderful progress made in choral singing alone, and to the great number of choral societies formed throughout the Principality. It would hardly be credited that, at an Eisteddvod held at Abergavenny on Easter Monday, 1874, as many as ten choirs, each numbering, on an average, between four and five hundred-making a total of between four and five thousand voices—competed for a prize of a hundred pounds; and, as one of the adjudicators upon the occasion, I have no hesitation in stating their singing was in no way inferior to that of the choir which came up to London in 1872, and successfully competed for the prize of a thousand pounds at the Crystal Palace. I believe I am correct in saying that the ten choirs belonged to almost the immediate neighbourhood of Abergavenny; in every case within a radius of twenty miles.
What other country in Europe, of the extent of Wales, can boast of as much activity in the cause of music ?
The consequence is, that our choirs carry everything before them; our young vocalists carry off the scholarships at the principal institution of this country, and perhaps of Europe,—the Royal Academy of Music; our musicians are beginning to take their musical degrees at the great Universities of the Empire; we have established a University of our own in the Principality, and musical education has been included in its programme.
We are thus, I trust, proving ourselves worthy descendants of the bards and minstrels from whom we have inherited THE NATIONAL MUSIC OF WALES.
[The foregoing paper was read by Mr. Thomas before the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion on the 13th of March, 1878, in the Music Hall of the Royal Academy.—Ed.]
CAN GWRAIG Y PYSGODWR.
GAN Y PARCH. JOHN BLACKWELL,
GORPHWYS Don ! dylifa 'n llonydd,
Gorphwys Fôr! Mae ar dy lasdon
Paid a grwgnach, bydd yn ddiddig,
Iawn i wraig yw teimlo pryder
THE SONG OF THE FISHERMAN'S WIFE.
TRANSLATED BY THE EDITOR.
REST, O wave, within thy deeps,
Nor on angry rocks be breaking;
Stillness broods o'er all the land, -
Rest, O Sea! On thy blue wave,
Tossed with ever ceaseless motion,
Gently rock him on thy breast,
In the forest, on the plain,
Not a zephyr now is breathing;
Night is darkening o'er thy strand,
Startles oft the tender wife
As she scans the smile of Ocean ;
Sleep in peace, tempestuous Sea ;
Byddar ydwyt i fy ymbil,
NOTE.— The Welsh poetry of the present century is of two kinds. The one, Cymric in diction, is also Cymric in thought. The other, though similar in its outward dress of language and form, draws its inner life from more diversified and wider sources. The former, homely and oftentimes simple, is yet replete with pathos and grandeur; while the latter, of a broader and more universal character, and gathering its wealth from the literature and languages of nations, is equally rich in all that constitutes genuine poetry. Between the beauties of the two kinds, the educated Welshman finds it often difficult to decide.
Of the former, Lewis Morris (Y Llew) may be regarded as the representative. How beautiful, and yet how truly Welsh, is his · Caniad y Gog i Feirionydd'! The following verses are especially a model of the idiomatic poetry of the language:
" Eidion du a dyn ei did,
Ond odid i ddyn dedwydd,
A braenar yn y bronnydd ;
Morwynion gwlad Merionydd.
Pwy sydd lån o bryd a gwedd,
Ond rhyfedd mewn pentrefydd ?
Yn gwlwn gydá ’u gilydd ?
Morwynion bro Meirionydd.
"Glân yw 'r gleisiad yn y llyn,
Nid ydyw hyn ddim newydd;
Dan daenu ei hadenydd ;
Morwynion tir Meirionydd."