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"Owen's praise demands my song,
Gwyneth's shield, and Britain's gem."
CORWEN, Merionethshire, is a small quiet market town, on the south bank of the Dee. It enjoys some measure of prosperity chiefly on account of its position on the Holyhead road, and its chief historic interest centres in the heroic life and exploits of Owen Glendower. There is a College or Almshouse for six widows of clergymen of the county; the church is an ancient structure, dedicated to St. Julian and founded in the year 1009, but everything about the place is associated directly or indirectly with the famous man to whom we have alluded, and whose career forms so brilliant a passage in the history of Wales. A clump of firs some distance off is said to mark the site of his palace; a seat is pointed out as that which he occupied at church, as well as the door by which he entered; his knife and dagger are exhibited at Rug-seat of Sir Robert William Vaughan, baronet; a stone pillar in the churchyard is popularly known as Glendower's sword; a pile of stone on a ragged cliff is called Glendower's seat, and the remains of an old fortress are associated with his brave defence against Henry IV.
Glendower or Glyndwr is the hero of Wales, and his singular life abounds with startling and romantic incident. In his youth he had studied the law in the Inns of Court, was called to the Bar, but afterwards became an Esquire to the Earl of Arundel, and served in the Irish campaign under Richard II. Thus when Hotspur in " Henry IV." jestingly alludes to Glendower's Welsh, he
"I can speak English, my lord, as well as you:
And gave the tongue a helpful ornament."
When Richard II. was deposed, Owen returned to his paternal estates in Wales. There Lord Grey, who possessed considerable property in the marches, seized on a portion of land belonging to Glendower, and refused to surrender it. Disdaining to submit to the arrogant oppressor, Owen petitioned the new king (Henry IV.) in Parliament for redress; but his well-known attachment to the deposed king, was allowed to operate to his disadvantage, and though his cause was eloquently pleaded by the Bishop of St. Asaph, his petition was rejected.
Owen by choice had quitted the study of the law for the pursuit of arms; and now for a second time, in his own personal cause, he turned from the quips and quiddities of bench and bar, to the open field and the hard fought battle. He regained his own land by force of arms; Earl Grey appealed to the king; a proclamation was issued declaring Owen a rebel, and commanding the men of the neighbouring counties to repair instantly to the royal standard, for the purpose of marching on the rebel lord. Burning with indignation at this gross injustice, the fiery patriot rushed down upon the old town of Ruthyn, a stronghold of Lord Grey's, and burnt it to the ground; he then assumed the title of Prince of Wales, and called on his countrymen to assert their independence. Thousands flocked to his standard. They saw in him a champion and deliverer. The wildest stories were told of his magical powers, which if he did not countenance, he made no effort to deny. Says he
Henry marched against him, but was compelled to return without obtaining a victory. Twice in the following year Henry again attempted to subdue the rebellion but utterly failed, as whenever he took the field against them the insurgents retired into the mountains. As regularly as he returned, they rushed down into the plains, plundering and killing wherever they came, and making serious inroads upon England. The successes of the Welsh patriot aroused a spirit of enthusiasm that induced those who had long settled in England to quit their employments and hasten to his standard. He gained some important victories, secured prisoners of note, captured formidable castles, and whenever attempts were made to subdue him, the very elements seemed to fight in his favour. Glendower subsequently entered into a treaty with the French, and in association with his new allies invaded England, but his old success failed him, and he was soon compelled to return into Wales. There the struggle was continued for a long period, the English forces being led by the future hero of Agincourt; a last effort was made by Glendower to maintain the position he had attained, but that effort failed. When Prince Henry, however, had completed the subjugation of the country, Owen Glendower, who had personally escaped his enemies, continued to haunt the wilds and mountains of Snowdon, and died in a good old age at his daughter's house at Morington.
"And sent, between the Red Rose and the White,
A thousand souls to death and deadly night."
NANT GWYNANT, or the Vale of Wales, is a luxuriant valley, and "unfolds scenes of exquisite beauty, the impression of which is greatly heightened by their contrast with the sublimer features of the mountain district in the midst of which they are found." An excellent road traverses the valley parallel with the river, bordered on one side by extensive meadows, and on the other by an ancient forest. Every turn in the road offers some new and charming prospect to the eye, and presents an inexhaustible source of study to the landscape painter. The celebrated Wilson, whose pictures have long been so highly admired, sketches many of his finest pieces in this neighbourhood. The green meadow, the silvery waters, the expansive lake, the old forest and the lofty peaks of Snowdon, affect us by their beauty and their grandeur. The lake-Llyn-Gwynant-is about a mile in length and a quarter of a mile in breadth. The beautiful scenery by which this noble piece of water is surrounded renders it peculiarly attractive.
The valley has been the scene of many a skirmish, especially during the war of the Roses. It is not the place for strife, Nature is so beautiful and peaceful, and it is difficult to realize the idea of how the fierce contest raged here, and how the Welsh with St. David's leek in their burgonets, battled against the English, or their brother Welsh who took the opposite side of the quarrel. Sad days where those. Many a wild flower formed by the Almighty hand to be a perfumed goblet for the dew, felt its enamelled cup filled high with blood that day, and dying dropped. Many an insect, deriving its delicate colour from harmless leaves and herbs, was strained anew that day by dying men, and marked its frightened course with an unnatural track. The painted butterfly took blood into the air upon the edges of its wings. The stream ran red. The trodden ground became a quagmire, whence from sullen pools collected in the prints of human feet and horses' hoofs the one prevailing hue still lowered and glimmered at the sun." But all the traces of the fight are hidden, and "Nature, far above the evil passions of men, has recovered her serenity, and smiled upon the guilty battle-ground as she did when it was. innocent.'
Certainly no trace of the battle remains, and it is only because it is registered