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When winds amidst the palms are sighing,
And fragrance breathes from every pine :* [“Grifydd ab Rhys ab Tewdwr, having resisted the Eng
When stars through cypress-boughs are gleaming, lish successfully in the time of Stephen, and at last obtained
And fire-flies wander bright and free, from them an honourable peace, made a great feast at his palace in Ystrad Tywi to celebrate this event. To this feast,
Still of thy harps, thy mountains dreaming, which was continued for forty days, he invited all who would My thoughts, wild Cambria ! dwell with thee ! come in peace from Gwynedd, Powys, the Deheubarth, Glamorgan, and the marches. Against the appointed time he
Alone o'er green savannas roving, prepared all kinds of delicious viands and liquors; with every entertainment of vocal and instrumental song; thus patronis
Where some broad stream in silence flows, ing the poets and musicians. He encouraged, too, all sorts Or through th' eternal forests moving, of representations and manly games, and afterwards sent One only home my spirit knows ! away all those who had excelled in them with honourable
Sweet land, whence memory ne'er hath parted ! gifts."-Cambrian Biography.]
To thee on sleep's light wing I fly;
[A prophecy of Taliesin relating to the ancient Britons is That those may rejoice who have fear'd not to die ! still extant, and has been strikingly verified. It is to the
following effect :
“ Their God they shall worship, Let the horn whose loud blast gave the signal for
Their language they shall retain, fight,
Their land they shall lose,
Except wild Wales."]
[sung: For the strong hearts in combat that leap'd at its O Cambria ! thus thy prophet bard, thy Taliesin Like the billows' dark swell was the path of “The path of unborn ages is traced upon my soul, their might,
The clouds which mantle things unseen away Red, red as their blood, fill the wine-cup on high, before me roll,
(pass'd, That those may rejoice who have fear'd not to die ! A light the depths revealing hath o'er my spirit
A rushing sound from days to be swells fitful in And wake ye the children of song from their dreams, the blast,
[tongue On Maelor's wild hills and by Dyfed's fair streams !3 And tells me that for ever shall live the lofty Bid them haste with those strains of the lofty and To which the harp of Mona's woods by freedom's free,
hand was strung. Which shall flow down the waves of long ages to be. Sheath the sword which hath given them un. "Green island of the mighty !" I see thine ancient perishing themes,
[high, And pour the bright mead: let the wine-cup foam Driven from their fathers' realm to make the rocks That those may rejoice who have fear'd not to die ! their dwelling-place !
Isce from Uthyr's kingdom the sceptre pass away,
But long as Arvon's mountains shall lift their
sovereign forms, WHEN the last flush of eve is dying
And wear the crown to which is given dominion On boundless lakes afar that shine ;
o'er the storms, 1 Wine, as well as mead, is frequently mentioned in the 4 The aromatic odour of the pine has frequently been menpoems of the ancient British bards.
tioned by travellers. 2 The horn was used for two purposes—to sound the alarm 5 Ynys y Cedeirn, or Isle of the Mighty-an ancient name in war, and to drink the mead at feasts.
given to Britain. 3 Dyfed, (said to signify a land abounding with streams of 6 Uthyr Pendragon, king of Britain, supposed to have been water,) the modern Pembrokeshire.
the father of Arthur.
1 The yenr 1402 was ushered in with a comet or blazing tar, which the bards interpreted as an omen favourable to he cause of Glendwr. It served to infuse spirit into the ninds of a superstitious people, the first success of their hieftain confirmed this belief, and gave new vigour to their ictions.-PENNANT.
2 Owen Glendwr styled himself the Dragon ; a name he issumed 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.
3 “ 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.
4 Gwynedd, (pronounced Gwyneth,) North Wales.
5 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.
My course to the winds, to the stars, I resign ; But my soul's quenchless fire, O my country ! is
(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. The ruins of Myfanwy's residence, Castle Dinas Brân, may yet be traced on a high hill near Llangollen.]
[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 disciplined 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.– Cambrian Biography.]
Press on, my steed! I hear the swell 1
O'er woods and waters round. Perchance the maid I love, e'en now, From Dinas Brân's majestic brow, Looks o'er the fairy world below,
And listens to the sound !
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. The wave grew dazzling as he passid, With light from spear and helmet cast ; And sounds in every rushing blast
Of a conqueror's march were telling.
I feel her presence on the scene !
The wave more gently flows !
The weary to repose !
But his eagle's royal pinion,
Bowing earth beneath its glory, Could not shadow with dominion
Our wild seas and mountains hoary! Back from their cloudy realm it flies, To float in light through softer skies ; Oh! chainless winds of heaven arise !
Bear a vanquish'd world the story!
Haste ! on each mountain's darkening crest
Gleams tremulously bright;
Than live in rayless night!
THE MOUNTAIN FIRES.
Lords of earth ! to Rome returning,
Tell how Britain combat wages, How Caswallon's soul is burning
When the storm of battle rages ! And ye that shrine high deeds in song, O holy and immortal throng ! The brightness of his name prolong,
As a torch to stream through ages !
["The custom retained in Wales of lighting fires (Coclcerthi) on November eve, is said to be a traditional memorial of the massacre of the British chiefs by Hengist, on Salisbury plain. The practice is, however, of older date, and had reference originally to the Alban Elved, or new-year."Cambro-Briton.
When these fires are kindled on the mountains, and seen through the darkness of a stormy night, casting a red and fitfal glare over heath and rock, their effect is strikingly picturesque.]
I « I have rode hard, mounted on a fine high-bred steed, upon thy account, O thou with the countenance of cherryflower bloom. The speed was with eagerness, and the strong long-hamm'd steed of Alban reached the summit of the high land of Brân."
2 “My loving heart sinks with grief without thy support, 0 thou that hast the whiteness of the curling waves !
I know that this pain will avail me nothing towards obtaining thy love, O thou whose countenance is bright as the flowers of the hawthorn!"--HOWEL's Ode to Myfanwy.
LIGHT the hills ! till heaven is glowing
As with some red meteor's rays ! Winds of night, though rudely blowing,
Shall but fan the beacon-blaze.
1 Yr Wyddfa, the Welsh name of Snowdon, said to mean the conspicuous place, or object.
2 Dinas Emrys, (the fortress of Ambrose,) a celebrated rock amongst the mountains of Snowdon, is said to be so called from having been the residence of Merddin Emrys, called by the Latins Merlinus Ainbrosius, the celebrated prophet and magician: and there, tradition says, he wrote his prophecies concerning the future state of the Britons.
There is another curious tradition respecting a large stone, on the ascent of Snowdon, called Maen du yr Arddu, the black stone of Arddu. It is said, that if two persons were to sleep a night on this stone, in the morning one would find
himself endowed with the gift of poetry, and the other would become insane.WILLIAMS's Observations on the Snowdon Mountains.
3 It is believed amongst the inhabitants of these mountains, that eagles have heretofore bred in the lofty clefts of their rocks. Some wandering ones are still seen at times, though very rarely, amongst the precipices.-WILLIAMS'S Observations on the Snowdon Mountains.
This sanguinary deed is not attested by any historian of credit. And it deserves to be also noticed, that none of the bardic productions since the time of Edward make any allo. sion to such an event.--Cambro-Briton, vol. i., p. 195.
THE DYING BARD'S PROPHECY.
THE FAIR ISLE.3
The hall of harps is lone to-night,
FOR THE MELODY CALLED THE “ WELSH GROUND." And cold the chieftain's hearth :
[The Bard of the Palace, under the ancient Welsh princes, It hath no mead, it hath no light;
always accompanied the army when it marched into an No voice of melody, no sound of mirth.
enemy's country; and, while it was preparing for battle or
dividing the spoils, he performed an ancient song, called The bow lies broken on the floor
Unbennaeth Prydain, the Monarchy of Britain. It has beer:
conjectured that this poem referred to the tradition of the Whence the free step is gone;
Welsh, that the whole island had once been possessed by their The pilgrim turns him from the door [stone. ancestors, who were driven into a corner of it by their Saxon Where minstrel-blood hath stain'd the threshold invaders. When the prince had received bis share of the
spoils, the bard, for the performance of this song, was rewarded
with the most valuable beast that remained.-Jones's His“And I, too, go: my wound is deep,
torical Account of the Welsh Bards. ]
Ere spoilers had breathed the free air of your clime; “Bear it where, on his battle-plain,
All that its eagles behold in their flight [height. Beneath the setting sun,
Was yours, from the deep to each storm-mantled He counts my country's noble slain
Though from your race that proud birthright be Say to him-Saxon, think not all is won.
Unquench'd is the spirit for monarchy born. “Thou hast laid low the warrior's head,
The minstrel's chainless hand : Dreamer ! that numberest with the dead
Darkly though clouds may hang o'er us awhile, The burning spirit of the mountain-land ! The crown shall not pass from the Beautiful Isle.