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But the remains of the Old Castle are interesting,-attractive to the artist for their picturesque beauty, and to the antiquary for their venerable associations. In the time of Henry II. the Castle was built and the town fortified by Rhys ap Gryffyd, Prince of South Wales. From his son and successor it was wrested by the strong hand of his brother Maelgwn, by whom it was sold to the Normans. The son of this same Maelgwn in after years destroyed a great part of the Castle, and fired the town; but it rose up again from its ashes, a stronger castle and a stronger town. Changing masters many times, it was battered about sadly in the days of the civil war between the King and Commons, and was brought to ruin-like many a stout English Gentleman of those times by its excessive loyalty. Now-what is it?—an ivy-grown ruin for tourists to inspect at their leisure, with its dungeons in which many a poor captive has sighed his last, filled with good wine and other hospitable stores.
"A little while, O traveller, linger here,
And at thy leisure behold and feel
The beauties of the place."
RHIADER, or Rhayadar, is a borough and market-town in South Wales. It is included in Nantmel parish union of Rhiader, County of Radnor, on the river Wye. It is a place of little importance, with a scanty population. It has, however, an endowed Grammar School, and a Town-hall, a handsome stone building, about a century old. The town consists chiefly of four streets, intersecting each other, at right angles, and having the Town-hall in the centre. The principal manufactures are flannel and a coarse kind of grey cloth.
The general aspect of the surrounding mountains is bleak and dreary, but corn, barley, and oats are produced on the level plains in considerable quantities. It is said that wild deer at one time abounded on the hills. The chief attention of the residents is now turned to agricultural pursuits, and sheep and cattle are the staple produce of the county. The aspect of the country is thoroughly pastoral, and the romantic scenery of the Wye adds considerably to its attractions.
To such scenery as this the beautiful description of the gifted poetess peculiarly applies:
Green the land is where my daily
Steps in second childhood played
Dimpled close with hill and valley,
Dappled very close with shade;
Summer-snow of apple-blossom, running up from glade to glade.
There is one hill I see nearer
In my vision of the rest;
And a little wood seems clearer,
As it climbeth from the west,
Sideway from the tree-locked valley to the airy upland crest.
Small the wood is, green with hazels,
And completing the ascent,
Where the wind blows, and sun dazzles,
Thrills, in leafy tremblement,
Like a heart that after climbing beateth quickly through content.
Not a step the wood advances
O'er the open hill-tops bound,
There in shadowy form the branches
See their image on the ground;
You may walk beneath them smiling, glad with sight and glad with sound.
For you hearken on your right hand
In the greenwood, out of sight and
Out of reach and fear of all,
And the squirrels crack the filberts, through their cheerful madrigal,
On your left the sheep are cropping
The slant grass and daisies pale;
And fine apple trees stand dropping
Separate shadows toward the vale,
Over which, in choral silence, the hills look you their "All hail!"
Far out, kindled by each other
Shining hills on hills arise;
Close as brother leans to brother
When they press beneath the eyes
Of some father praying blessings from the gifts of paradise.
Yet in childhood little prized I
That fair walk and far survey
'Twas a straight walk, unmarked by
The least mischief worth a nay
Up and down-as dull as grammar on an eve of holiday.
But the wood, all close and clenching,
Bough in bough, and root in root-
At your head then at your foot
Oh! the wood drew me within it, by a glamour past dispute.