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Rest, ye brave dead! midst the hills of your sires,
THE DYING BARD'S PROPHECY.*
“All is not lost—the unconquerable will
The hall of harps is lone to-night,
And cold the chieftain's hearth : It hath no mead, it hath no light;
No voice of melody, no sound of mirth.
The bow lies broken on the floor
Whence the free step is gone; The pilgrim turns him from the door Where minstrel-blood hath stain'd the threshold
“ And I, too, go: my wound is deep,
My brethren long have died;
Winds! bear the spoiler one more tone of pride !
“ Bear it where, on his battle-plain,
Beneath the setting sun,
Say to him—Saxon, think not all is won.
* At the time of the supposed massacre of the Welsh bards by Edward the First.
“ Thou hast laid low the warrior's head,
The minstrel's chainless hand: Dreamer! that numberest with the dead
The burning spirit of the mountain-land !
“ Think’st thou, because the song hath ceased, The soul of
is flown? Think'st thou it woke to crown the feast,
It lived beside the ruddy hearth alone ?
“No! by our wrongs, and by our blood !
We leave it pure and free;
Shall roll in joy through ages yet to be.
“ We leave it midst our country's woe
The birthright of her breast; We leave it as we leave the snow
Bright and eternal on Eryri's* crest.
“ We leave it with our fame to dwell
Upon our children's breath; Our voice in theirs through time shall swell
The bard hath gifts of prophecy from death."
He dies; but yet the mountains stand,
the torrent's tide; And this is yet Aneurin's + land
Winds! bear the spoiler one more tone of pride!
* Eryri, Welsh name for the Snowdon mountains. + Aneurin, one of the noblest of the Welsh bards.
THE ROCK OF CADER IDRIS.
[It is an old tradition of the Welsh bards, that on the sum
mit of the mountain Cader Idris is an excavation resembling a couch; and that whoever should pass a night in that hollow, would be found in the morning either dead, in a frenzy, or endowed with the highest poetical inspiration.]
I LAY on that rock where the storms have their
dwelling, The birthplace of phantoms, the home of the
cloud; Around it for ever deep music is swelling,
The voice of the mountain-wind, solemn and loud. 'Twas a midnight of shadows all fitfully streaming, Of wild waves and breezes, that mingled their
moan; Of dim shrouded stars, as from gulfs faintly
gleaming; And I met the dread gloom of its grandeur alone.
I lay there in silence—a spirit came o'er me;
Man's tongue hath no language to speak what I
Things glorious, unearthly, pass'd floating before me, And my
heart almost fainted with rapture and awe. I view'd the dread beings around us that hover,
Though veil'd by the mists of mortality's breath; And I call’d upon darkness the vision to cover,
For a strife was within me of madness and death.
I saw them—the powers of the wind and the ocean,
The rush of whose pinion bears onward the storms; Like the sweep of the white-rolling wave was their
motion I felt their dim presence, but knew not their
forms ! I saw them—the mighty of ages departed—
The dead were around me that night on the hill: From their eyes, as they pass'd, a cold radiance they
darted, There was light on my soul, but my heart's blood
I saw what man looks on, and dies—but my spirit Was strong, and triumphantly lived through that
hour; And, as from the grave, I awoke to inherit
A flame all immortal, a voice, and a power! Day burst on that rock with the purple cloud crested,
And high Cader Idris rejoiced in the sun ;But oh! what new glory all nature invested, When the sense which gives soul to her beauty
“ The Welsh Melodies, which first introduced Mrs Hemans to the public as a song-writer, had already made their appearance. Some of them are remarkable for the melody of their numbers—in particular, the song to the well-known air, “Ar hyd y nos.' Her fine feeling for music, in which, as also in drawing, she would have signally excelled, could she have bestowed the time and patient labour requisite for obtaining mastery over the mechanical difficulties of these arts, assisted her not only in her choice of measures, but also of her words ; and although, in speaking of her songs, it must be remarked that some of the later ones are almost too full of meaning to require the further clothing of sweet sound, instead of their being left, as in outline, waiting for the musician's colouring hand, they must be all praised as flowing and expressive ; and it is needless to remind the reader how many of them, united with her sister's music, have obtained the utmost popularity. She had well studied the national character of the Welsh airs; and the allusions to the legendary history of the ancient Britons, which her songs contain, are happily chosen. But it was an instinct with Mrs Hemans to catch the picturesque points of national character, as well as of national music : in the latter she always delighted.”—CHORLEY's Memorials of Mrs Hemans, p. 80-1.