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their mountains without arms and as a quiet guest, he was received with the greatest kindness, and feasted at every house where he chose to stop. In every house there was a harp, and the company seated in a circle round the harper sang verses alternately-the verses being sometimes improvised. Though chiefly a pastoral people, they were neither rude nor clownish. All the Welsh, without any exception, from the highest to the lowest, were ready and free in speech, undaunted by the presence of Kings and Princes. But they were for the most part poor, and roughly clad. It is recorded, that as Henry II. on one occasion was riding through a part of their country, attended by a splendid retinue, he looked with a contemptuous eye on the Welsh gentlemen riding on their rough ponies, and on the poorer sort who were clad in sheep or goat-skins. A mountaineer approached the monarch, and said with noble pride:-"Thou seest this poor people-but such as they are thou shalt never subdue them-that is reserved alone for God in his wrath."
And surely no people ever made a nobler stand for their freedom or cherish with more warmth the memory of their ancestors' heroic deeds. They were subjugated by the strong hand of Edward—but they did not passively submit; the old fire slumbered and burst forth when the occasion served, and it was not till after long years of struggle, and centuries of mutual suspicion, that a thorough good feeling sprung up between the English and the Welsh.
"I crossed in its beauty the Dee's Druid water,
The waves as I passed rippled lowly and lone,
I passed by the pillar, firm rooted, to waken
Long mem'ry of chiefs that in battle had sunk,
The voice of the thunder had shattered its trunk."
THE allusions in the above lines lead us back in our wanderings to the Vale of Llangollen. Once more we stand in imagination on the old battle ground:
"Once this soft turf, this rivulet's sands,
Were trampled by a hurrying crowd;
Ah, never shall the land forget,
How gushed the life-blood of her brave,—
Now all is calm, and fresh and still,
And talk of children on the hill,
And bell of wandering kine are heard."
Here is the old Abbey where the monks prayed, and here the memorial of an ancient monument erected by our pious ancestors in the old time. There is the Castle also, its style of architecture indicating an early British origin; the Bridge, erected in the middle of the fourteenth century by a learned prelate; and here is the Church dedicated to St. Collen.
The scenery is charming-a peaceful solitude invites to repose. No wonder that those who sought the retirement of the cloister should have selected this spot for their dwelling; hither they came of old, dedicating their house to the Virgin Mary. Part of the old building still remains.
Of course being in the neighbourhood of Plas Newydd, and our minds impressed with thoughts of the old Cistersians, who shunned the world, and lived only for heaven and each other, we visit the small cottage which has been so extravagantly bepraised on account of its somewhat romantic history. The
story is very simple. Lady Eleanor Butler and the Hon. Miss Ponsonby, formed an ardent attachment for each other, and withdrawing from all their connections, refusing all matrimonial alliances, they came to Plas Newydd, and settled for life, attended by one faithful servant. All three lie buried in one tomb. It was a mere freak of eccentricity, and perhaps little more can be said for some of the residents in the old Cistersian Abbey of Valle Crucis.
"Well, then, I now do plainly see,
This busy world and I shall ne'er agree―
The very honey of all earthly joy
Does of all meats the soonest cloy;
And they, methinks, deserve my pity,
Who for it can endure the stings,
The crowd, the buzz, and murmurings,
Pride and ambition here
Only in far-fetched metaphors appear;
Here naught but winds can hurtful murmurs scatter,
The gods, when they descended, hither
And therefore we may safely say,
That 'tis the way, too, thither.”