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give their poetry a pleasing and peculiar softness, and which, in all cases, renders
“The sound an echo to the sense."
I must here cite the authority of a scholar who will certainly be allowed by all to be a competent judge on this subject: I mean Dr. John David Rhys, the author of a very learned Latin-Welsh Grammar, printed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and entitled “Cymræcæ Lingua Institutiones.” Dr. Rhys, by birth a Welshman, after studying at Christ Church, in Oxford, for some time, went abroad and resided for many years in Italy, in which country he took the degree of m.D. at the university of Sienna, and was soon afterwards appointed public moderator in the university of Pistoia, another city in Tuscany: he became so great an adept in the Tuscan language as to publish, in Italian, a very elaborate treatise on the construction and pronunciation of that tongue, on the universally admired
“ Lingua Toscana, Bocca Romana.” He returned to Wales in the decline of life, and composed his Welsh Grammar in Breconshire. An epitome of his life is given in that excellent topographical work, "The History of Breconshire,” by the late Mr. Theophilus Jones. The Grammar of Dr. Rhys is not merely a dry treatise on the grammatical rules of the language, but he has taken astonishing pains to explain and illustrate the different ancient British metres, and their wonderful concatenations of alliterations. From his thorough acquaintance with Welsh and Italian, there never was a man more capable of justly appreciating the respective merits of both these languages : he tells us that there exists a similarity between them, but gives a decided superiority to the Welsh.
He thus expresses himself,
“Erant olim apud Italos antiquiores in Carminibus, concentuum quædam genera Cambro-brytannicis concentibus non usque adeo absimilia, verum gratiá et venustate Cambrobrytannicis multo inferiora; nec omni ex parte eodem modo ab Italis, quo à Cambro-brytannicis in versibus constituta; ut intuenti et intelligenti lectori est manifestum. Quod forsitan lingua Italicæ, pulcherrima quidem, et omnium vulgarium linguarum (meo-judicio) proculdubiò Regina, æquè ornatè et eleganter ac Cambro-brytannica natura, tales concentuum formas nec ferat nec ostentet. Unde jam apud Italos, ferè obsoleta reperiuntur hujuscemodi concentuum genera. Sicuti enim unaquæque alia lingua in cæteris aliquid quod sibi proprium sit, meritò adipiscitur: ita quoque et in hâc parte Cambro-brytannica istud tanquam peculiare et proprium sibi vindicat. Sed ex multis, (solum exempli gratiâ et veluti instar omnium,) subjungamus pauca hæc Circes carmina, quæ mihi fortuitò contigerunt, ne adeo, ut opinor, antiqua, ad Ulyssem, ut fingitur, conscripta, et Italicè versa. Qua carmina, ne vir umbram quidem Cambro-brytannicorum concentuum venusta pulchritudinis ostendere videntur.”
He then presents us with the whole of this Italian epistle from Circe, the daughter of the Sun, to Ulysses, from which I extract the first two stanzas.
Circe, Figliuola del Sole, à Ulisse : epistola decima.
Donne, 0 danne, che Febo affranto affronta.” Dr. Rhys concludes his dissertation on Welsh metre by citing a number of stanzas, from Taliessin and other Welsh bards, to prove the superior softness of the Ancient British poetry over the Italian, that Regina Linguarum, more particularly in that which constitutes the chief pride of Italian poesy, the concentuum venusta pulchritudo.
Glüs. Nov. 14, 1831.
NEW GAME ACT DEFECTIVE,
PARTICULARY AS IT REGARDS WALES.
There is nothing more egotistical, in our opinion, than the foolish cant prevalent among would-be politicians of our day; nor, perhaps, can any thing be more mischievous in its consequences than to hear such men perpetually declare, that “the tories never effected a single act calculated to benefit their country;" or of the whigs, that “no good can ever possibly arise from their administration.” With these bigots we have nothing in common, and can hold no parlance; but towards others, it
necessary to disclaim, on our parts, such sentiments of absurdity, inasmuch as our critique on the new Game act, or upon any other measure of the legislature, would claim to be distinct from any narrow-minded policy, or a base wish to detract from the fame of the eminent statesman who brought the measure forward, or of the cabinet of which he constitutes so honorable a member. Our only object is to make suggestions which are, as we think, calculated towards the well-doing of the country.
To the candid investigator of facts and their consequences, we would observe, for example, that if ever an improvement was made upon an old, ineffective, and, indeed, disgraceful system, which, whilst it professed to protect the people of the metropolis, left them to take care of themselves, such improvement was effected by Sir Robert Peel in his establishment of the new Police; and, on the other hand, if ever any measure was wrought calculated to effect a diminution of rustic crime, Lord Althorp, in the new Game act, has been equally successful: so much then for necessary good or necessary evil resulting from any particular class of politicians.
But though we are convinced much good, in a moral point of view, will accrue to Great Britain by several of the enactments of the new Game bill, still we are prepared to show that a mere prevention of poaching does not embody all those alterations and improvements which many persons, interested in the prosperity and good feeling which should exist in the country, ourselves among the number, looked for. The clauses appointing certain periods when only game shall be killed, the penalties for laying poison, regulations for the sale of game, game certificates, on the laws of trespass, rights of manors, &c. &c., as far as they are intended to work, are satisfactory; but we want a clause to prevent a landlord from depriving his tenant, under any circumstances, in the instances of leases and takings at will, of his share of the game reared on the farm, though if he choose to wave that right, let him do so, but let it be on his part purely voluntary.
Of England, we do not profess to speak with confidence, but, in Wales, we are satisfied that such a system would work well; and our remarks (although we believe they would not be inapplicable as regards England,) are offered in reference to Wales only. Surely, on a deliberate investigation of the justice of such a measure, few persons there are who will deny that the grower
game ought, at least, to have a share of that game. It has been asserted, we know, that where experiments have been tried, the game has rapidly disappeared, but it has been only asserted, and we are prepared to prove, (an objection to giving publicity to the parties only prevents our doing so,) that the experiment has recently produced a totally different result, and, on the contrary, the oldest and best acquainted with the facts agree that the Game laws, as they have hitherto stood, have not upon farms, whether on lease or otherwise, increased the game. But granting that, in some instance, the tenant do kil} all the game, and the landlord lose his share; on examination, the result proves itself mere selfishness on the part of the landlord; for be it remembered that he generally possesses his own farm, or at least his grounds, his park, or his ornamental covers, and, surely, from them he may be provided with some game. What rational motive is there generally to induce the tenant to destroy the game? That it might and would occur, in certain instances, we have no doubt; for example, wherever disagreement exists between the parties, the probability is that it would be so, particularly if the tenant were a man who could injure timber, or exhaust the soil; such a man, of course, would not scruple to destroy the game, the more especially if revenge prompted him to the commission of the act. We shall be quite ready at a future period to inquire into any further reasons why game should, or should not be destroyed by the tenant, if the law, independent of the landlord, permitted him to do so; but we really are at a loss, at present, for both time and space for lengthened observations on the point; and we will now merely enter on a short examination of what we believe to be the inducements the tenant would have to preserve the game conjointly with his landlord, and how poaching would thereby be efectually prevented.
By way of argument, we will propose that a man take a farm of five hundred or one hundred acres; we assume him to be, in his sphere of action, an intelligent being; he enters on the land determined to cultivate it, and to manage his live and dead stock to the best advantage: suppose a person were to rob him of any part of his poultry, it matters not by what class of persons the depredation be committed,) is it likely, is it in the nature of things, is it possible that the injury would be often repeated, and our tenant be careless of the aggression? which, in point of actual value, as an article of food, is most useful—a fowl or hare? the ai obvious. Now we never knew a farmer who did not take care to
provide that most useful and beautiful object yclept a poultryyard: but, in proceeding with our argument, the answer may be, the landlord has no share in the poultry-yard: we beg pardon, he has an interest in it, as he has an interest in every thing tending to the prosperity of his tenant; and, in North Wales especially, although this may be new to our English readers, there is frequently provision made, between landlord and tenant, for the supply to the former, at merry Christmas and other festivals, of sundry goodly “duties,” of geese, ducks, fowls, &c. Now we will assume that game is, in every respect, to be considered as the joint property of landlord and tenant; will any one be bold enough to affirm that a tenant, living in common amity with his landlord, would, under such circumstances, allow persons to destroy his wild poultry, (for such it is,) any more than those animals domesticated in his yard? why would he not as soon interrupt the poacher on his lands, as arrest the thief of his hen roost? Before the old laws were framed, the game was common to the yeoman, except where manorial or other exclusive privileges existed. At that time, it is true, the tenant had no inducement to preserve the
but the thing we suggest is quite a different affair, and we have too good an opinion of the tact of our Welsh farmers, to suppose they would not avail themselves of the use of an article which would seem to them both as a luxury and an useful sustenance, growing round their premises, but which to them, at present, in many instances, is as "forbidden fruit."
We may next advert to the injustice of the present, as well as the old Game acts, in depriving the cultivator of the soil of a share of the game; and on this point of our subject, we labour under much difficulty. Habitual prejudice has done mueh regarding the formation of our ideas of right and wrong; but let us for a moment forget our class, and remember only that we are men. Many a naturally good and amiable man would be astonished at the proposal that he should give up the game, even in part, to his tenantry. Yes, so would the old mail-clad Norman baron, could he but a second time start into life, and see the innovations made in feudal tenures, and the destruction effected on his darling Forest laws. Therefore to such a worthy, though mistaken man, of the present day, as also to such old Norman warrior, we would say, if, upon a dispassionate examination of facts, you find your rule of exclusive possession to be founded on injustice, is it not honourable in you to grant plain justice? do you live in an age when ill blood between yourself and your tenants cannot injure you? If such a man were to refuse, at least, to enter into the examination, we must think too badly both of his heart and his head, to deem him worthy of our notice.
Let us now observe on the law in operation as it affects the feeling of farmers, and on its tendency to render them dissatisfied.