Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Penn. For the malignity of extravagant and sweeping condemnation, it would be ridiculous in us to express a shadow of respect, or to notice it any further than by way of deploring that men should exist so deeply imbued with Turkish barbarism as to exult in the fancied failure of every effort for the preservation of the national literature,nay, should still more closely imitate the spirit of Ottoman darkness, by thinking it a mark of unusual wisdom to know less than their neighbours of the annals of the country they inhabit, nay, less of the fortunes of their forefathers than the greatest and most enlightened nation of the continent.

It is with pride that we reckon amongst our correspondents almost every one of those men whose researches (transferred to the eloquent pages of Mr. Thierry,) have made the inextinguishable hatred of ancient Cambria to tyranny of all kinds, a subject of interest to France and to the whole civilized world; perhaps to the former-on a recent occasion, and the most glorious one in her annals,-an example. Strange would it be, indeed, were we to allow ourselves to be clamoured out of our admiration of such men, by that most unprincipled of all things,-censure, avowedly without examination. In saying thus much, we beg to observe, that their claims and ours stand upon a totally different footing. We have ever felt how unworthy we are of the cooperation of such men in such an enterprise; how unworthy of their private friendship; how little we are worthy of that chivalrous spirit with which the people of our beloved country have in so many instances made our cause their own; much more do we feel how little we deserve the assistance which your Lordship has so unreservedly extended to us. For all this we can offer no adequate return; yet, in one respect, at least, we will remember the character of our country; we will not disregard those virtues which distinguished your illustrious relative among the judges of the land, and which have, through life, marked the public conduct of his son; we will not relinquish that character for sincerity and truth which formerly at least, proverbially belonged to the children of Cambria'; nor will we allow local rank and influence alone to enact from us those expressions which we owe only to real patriotism, and frank, disinterested, and consistent kindness.

We have the honour to remain,
Your Lordship's obliged, humble servants,

THE EDITORS.

THE

CAMBRIAN

QUARTERLY MAGAZINE

AND

Celtic Repertory.

No. 5.- JANUARY 1, 1830. – Vol. II.

TIIE STATE OF CAMBRO-BRITISH LITERATURE.

“A YEAR has now rolled on since the birth of the Cambrian Quarterly Magazine. It has left us with more fervent hopes and prouder confidence in our country. We trust that our pages may always be as a sanctuary within which no provincial jealousies, no exclusively national prejudices, nothing but an enlightened and holy patriotism, may obtain admission."

In addressing ourselves to our countrymen, it can scarcely be necessary for us to say much. It is related of the North American Indians, that they will traverse immense tracts -of country, which have long been in the possession of their white enemies, and discover the burial-place of their remote ancestors by the mere aid of traditional description, amid all the innovations of transailantic colonization: and shall we, who boast ourselves the earliest civilized people of Britain, to whose anpals belong Caractacus and Arthur, ihe idols of British freedom and European chivalry; shall we, who still possess, in peace and honour, the inheritance of our fathers, yield in pious veneration of the past, to the untutored outcast of ihe wilderness? We appeal to our countrymen of all parties and opinions; we think something has been done to entiile the Cambrian Quarterly to the sympathy of every real lover of his country's honour, if it has merely been the means of showing, that a periodical may be supported in Wales solely by a disinterested zeal for her literature and her welfare.

xo. v.

B

To the English public we make an appeal of a similar kind, though not of equal force; yet, we think, we are not going too far when we say, that Wales, and Welsh lore, have hitherto experienced a most disproportionate share of attention in the education of an enlightened Englishman; and what is more paradoxical still, the history, poetry, and antiquities of Wales, are better known in France than in England. It may with justice be said, that it is too much to expect a very exclusive attention in our Saxon neighbours to Cambrian subjects; but it is by no means preposterous to expect, that every scholar and gentleman would at least be as much at home in them as among the long-haired students and mysterious professors of Germany; that he should be as familiar with the bard-making rock of Snowdon, as with the elves and demons of the Schwarzwald. While hundreds of volumes are annually printed and read with avidity, on countries almost strangers to the British flag, is it very unreasonable to attempt to excite some interest, for a people to whom England may trace so many of the elements of her habits, laws, and liberties? The extent of this ignorance is truly unaccountable; to foreign nations it would be, and to posterity we hope it will be, incredible: only a few months since, a body of men, of unquestioned classical and scientific acquirements, fell into greater errors on the geography of the Principality, than would have occurred, we are convinced, had Switzerland, or even Hungary, been the subject of their investigations: and Sir Walter Scott, who generally combines the pictures of his vigorous imagination with severe historical accuracy, has represented Gwenwynwyn, prince of Powys, in the light of the unlettered leader of a Mongul horde, though his father, Owain Cyveiliog, was the greatest poetical genius that ever sate on a British throne; and though, from the remains of Gwalchmai, a bard of Owain's court, Gray professedly borrowed his noblest lyric effusions, which were the origin of the modern romantic school of poetry in England.

In fact, there are few countries so rich in varied interest to a philosophical mind. We will begin with a subject generally the most dry and uninviting,--language. Our learned countryman, Dr. Owen Pughe, has proceeded on the hypothesis, that the Welsh, like the Chinese, may be reduced to monosyllables; and, notwithstanding a few unavoidable anomalies, it is impossible to deny that the consistency of the result with the preconception, forms one of the most splendid monuments of human reason. So attractive is this system, though so laboriously constructed, that we have heard bis rules of analysis pursued by persons but little elevated above the peasantry; and we have heard Dr. Owen Pughe, (misnamed the Cambrian Johnson,) hailed with the same enthusiasm by the lowest of his countrymen, that would be bestowed on some patriot poet, a Tyrtæus, or a Korner. But there is another point of

view in which the Welsh possesses still higher claims to investiga. tion,-as an historical beacon on the sources of the population of Europe. Its early colonists naturally divide themselves into two great tribes, the Teutonic and the Celtic; a branch from each of these two great divisions constitute the two nations of Southern Britain. Now, to a superficial observer, no two dialects can be more unlike than the Welsh and the English, nor does a more scientific comparison furnish us with much more satisfactory evidence of the original identity of the two nations who speak them. But what a wonderful solution of the enigma do we find, in pressing an oriental dialect into our service! on a comparison with the Hebrew or Persian, we find that the two great dialects of our continent coalesce, as it were, and form one Asiatic lan. guage, an expressive record of the common origin of Goth and Celt, and of the source from which they both emigrated !

Not to fatigue our readers with philological discussion, we will exemplify this truth by a short table, which approaches very near to demonstration, as it contains the most primitive words of all languages.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

Men, I

My
Mine
Meus

Mein. Tou, thou

Thou
Tu

Du.
Av, he, she, or it. Idem. spelt Ev.
A een, this

Hyn.; Hon.
Bodol, to be ; (n. Bod.

infinitive affix) Am, I am

Idem,

Eimlil.
This tense is very like Latin:
Shou, be thou. Shou d, (sit), let him be.

Shou eem, (simus), let us be.

Shou eet, (sitis), be ye. Shou nd, let them be. This interesting feature in our native language suggests to us a pleasing reflection, on the prospects of our recently established College of Lampeter. On one branch of learning, at least, the Welsh s'udent of Lampeter must enter with more advantages than the student of any university in the world, familiarly acquainted with both Welsh and English, the acquisition of oriental dialects must be to him a task of no great difficulty.

In descending towards more modern times, it is impossible not to perceive, that the early inhabitants of this island were masters of some branches of knowledge now totally extinct; the most conmonly recognised instance of this are the Druidical circles at Stonehenge and other places. But there is a still stronger, in the submarine rampart, called Sarn Padrig, or Patrick's Causeway, a subject which presents also an unanswerable proof, that antiquarian knowledge is not to be safely neglected in scientific regulations, any more than in speculative inquiries. In many old poems and triads of the Welsh, are to be found allusions to a rampart which once stretched along the western coast of North Wales, keeping out the sea from a wide tract of country now immersed in the waters, which broke down some part of the bulwark; and at this day, the masonry of this mysterious causeway may at any time be observed many leagues from the shore. Compared with it, the embankments of modern days are like the walls we see children build; and the stranger from the shore looks with astonishment on the long dark line extending into the sea, which every body may behold, and nobody will explore. Such is the “Sarn Badrig: an immense wall, on which monkish invention bestowed the title of St. Patrick's Causeway; which appears on every map; and yet has many a vessel been unexpectedly dashed to pieces on it, and may be at this moment, when every part of the British coast, one might suppose, would have been carefully surveyed !

It may not be amiss to inform or 10 remind our readers, that although the antiquarian matters of which our Magazine treats,

« AnteriorContinuar »