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But long as Arvon's mountains shall lift their
sovereign forms, And wear the crown to which is given dominion
o'er the storms, So long, their empire sharing, shall live the lofty
tongue To which the harp of Mona's woods by freedom's
hand was strung!"
OWEN GLYNDWR'S WAR-SONG.
Saw ye the blazing star ?*
And lit her torch on high!
When warriors meet to die !
Let earth's pale tyrants read despair
And vengeance in its flame;
* The year 1402 was ushered in with a comet or blazing star, which the bards interpreted as an omen favourable to the cause of Glyndwr. It served to infuse spirit into the minds of a superstitious people, the first success of their chieftain confirmed this belief, and gave new vigour to their actions.-PENNANT.
+ Owen Glyndwr styled himself the Dragon ; a name he assumed in imitation of Uthyr, whose victories over the Saxons were foretold by the appearances of a star with a dragon beneath, which Uthyr used as his badge; and on that account it became a favourite one with the Welsh.-PENNANT.
Hail ye, my bards! the omen fair
Of conquest and of fame,
With songs to Glyndwr's name.
At the dead hour of night,
Burn'd in its awful beams?
Was full of glorious dreams!
O eagles of the battle,* rise !
The hope of Gwynedd wakes !+ It is your banner in the skies
Through each dark cloud which breaks, And mantles with triumphal dyes
Your thousand hills and lakes !
A sound is on the breeze,
The Saxon on his way!
Reflected to the day!
But who the torrent-wave compels
A conqueror's chain to bear?
*“ Bring the horn to Tudwrou, the Eagle of Battles.”—See The Hirlas Horn of Owain CYFEILIOG. The eagle is a very favourite image with the ancient Welsh poets.
+ GWYNEDD, (pronounced Gwyneth,) North Wales.
Let those who wake the soul that dwells
On our free winds, beware! The greenest and the loveliest dells
May be the lion's lair!
Of us they told, the seers,
To guard our mountain-towers !
-In Snowdon's caves a prophet lay:*
Before his gifted sight, The march of ages pass'd away
With hero-footsteps bright, But proudest in that long array,
Was Glyndwr's path of light!
PRINCE MADOC'S FAREWELL.
Why lingers my gaze where the last hues of day
On the hills of my country in loveliness sleep? Too fair is the sight for a wand'rer, whose
way Lies far o'er the measureless worlds of the deep ! Fall, shadows of twilight! and veil the green shore, That the heart of the mighty may waver no more !
Merlin, or Merddin Emrys, is said to have composed his prophecies on the future lot of the Britons, amongst the mountains of Snowdon. Many of these, and other ancient prophecies, were applied by Glyndwr to his own cause, and assisted him greatly in animating the spirit of his followers.
Why rise on my thoughts, ye free songs of the land Where the harp's lofty soul on each wild wind is
borne ? Be hush’d, be forgotten! for ne'er shall the hand
Of minstrel with melody greet my return. -No ! no !—let your echoes still float on the breeze, And my
heart shall be strong for the conquest of seas!
'Tis not for the land of my sires to give birth
Unto bosoms that shrink when their trial is nigh; Away! we will bear over ocean and earth
A name and a spirit that never shall die. My course to the winds, to the stars, I resign; But my soul'squenchless fire, O my country! is thine.
[Caswallon (or Cassivelaunus) was elected to the supreme
command of the Britons, (as recorded in the Triads,) for the purpose of opposing Cæsar, under the title of Elected Chief of Battle. Whatever impression the disci. plined legions of Rome might have made on the Britons in the first instance, the subsequent departure of Cæsar they considered as a cause of triumph; and it is stated that Caswallon proclaimed an assembly of the various states of the island, for the purpose of celebrating that event by feasting and public rejoicing. See the Cambrian Biography.] From the glowing southern regions,
Where the sun-god makes his dwelling,
Came the Roman's crested legions
O’er the deep, round Britain swelling.
Of a conqueror's march were telling.
Bowing earth beneath its glory,
Our wild seas and mountains hoary!
Bear a vanquish'd world the story!
Lords of earth! to Rome returning,
Tell how Britain combat wages,
When the storm of battle rages !
that shrine high deeds in song,
As a torch to stream through ages !
[Howel ab Einion Llygliw was a distinguished bard of the
fourteenth century. A beautiful poem, addressed by him to Myfanwy Vychan, a celebrated beauty of those times, is still preserved amongst the remains of the Welsh bards