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When winds amidst the palms are sighing,
And fragrance breathes from every pine : 4 When stars through cypress-boughs are glearning,
And fire-fies wander bright and free, Still of thy harps, thy mountains dreaming,
My thoughts, wild Cambria ! dwell with thee !
[“ Grafydd ab Rhys ab Tewdwr, having resisted the English successfully in the time of Stephen, and at last obtained from them an honourable peace, made a great feast at his palace in Ystrad Tyri to celebrate this event. To this feast, which was continued for forty days, he invited all who would come in peace from Guynedd, Powys, the Dehcubarth, Glamorgan, and the marches. Against the appointed time he prepared all kinds of delicious viands and liquors; with every entertainment of vocal and instrumental song; thus patronising the poets and musicians. He encouraged, too, all sorts of representations and manly games, and afterwards sent away all those who had excelled in them with honourable gifts." -Cambrian Biography.]
Alone o'er green savannas roving,
Where some broad stream in silence flows, Or through th' eternal forests moving,
One only home my spirit knows ! Sweet land, whence memory ne'er hath parted !
To thee on sleep's light wing I fly; But happier could the weary-hearted
Look on his own blue hills and die !
LET the yellow mead shine forthe sons of the brave,
There is peace in the land we have battled to save: Then spread ye the feast, bid the wine-cup foam
high, That those may rejoice who have fear'd not to die !
[A prophecy of Taliesin relating to the ancient Britons is still extant, and has been strikingly verified. It is to the following effect :
“ Their God they shall worship,
Their language they shall retain,
Let the horn whose loud blast
the signal for fight, With the bees sunny nectar now sparkle in light;" Let the rich draught it offers with gladness bo crown'd,
(sound ! For the strong hearts in combat that leap'd at its Like the billows' dark swell was the path of
their might, Red, red as their blood, fill the wine-cup on high, That those may rejoice who have fear'd not to die!
A voice from time departed yet floats thy hills among,
[sung: O Cambria ! thus thy prophet bard, thy Taliesin “The path of unborn ages is traced upon my soul, The clouds which mantle things unseen away before me roll,
(passa, A light the depths revealing hath o'er my spirit A rushing sound from days to be swells fitful in the blast,
(tongue And tells me that for ever shall live the lofty To which the harp of Mona's woods by freedom's
hand was strung.
And wake ye the children of song from their dreams, On Maelor's wild hills and by Dyfed's fair streams !3 Bid them haste with those strains of the lofty and
free, Which shall flow down the waves of long ages to be. Sheath the sword which hath given them unperishing themes,
pour the bright mead: let the wine-cup foam That those may rejoice who have fear'd not to die !
THE CAMBRIAN IN AMERICA.
“Green island of the mighty !5 I see thine ancient
race Driven from their fathers' realm to make the rocks
their dwelling-place ! Isce from Uthyr's kingdom the sceptre pass away, And many a line of bards and chiefs and princely
men decay. But long as Arvon's mountains shall lift their
sovereign forms, And wear the crown to which is given dominion
o'er the storms, 4 The aromatic odour of the pine has frequently been mentioned by travellers.
Ynys y Cedeirn, or Isle of the Mighty-an ancient name given to Britain.
6 Uthyr Pendragon, king of Britain, supposed to have been the father of Arthur.
WHEN the last flush of eve is dying
On boundless lakes afar that shine ; 1 Wine, as well as mend, is frequently mentioned in the poems of the ancient British bards.
* The horn was used for two purposes-to sound the alarm in war, and to drink the mead at feasts.
8 Dyfed, (said to signify a land abounding with streams of water,) the modern Pembrokeshire.
1 The yenr 1402 was ushered in with a comet or blazing tar, which the bards interpreted as an omen favourable to be cause of Glendwr. It served to infuse spirit into the ainds 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 assumed in imitation of Uthyr, whose victories over the paxons were foretold by the appearances of a star with a dragon peneath, which Uthyr used as his badge; and on that account
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.
$ Merlin, or Merddin Emrys, is said to have composed liis 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 (Cocleerthi) 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 fitful glare over heath and rock, their effect is strikingly pic turesque.]
1“ 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."
3 “My loving heart sinks with grief without thy support, O 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 Ambrosius, 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.
4 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 allue sion to such an event.-Cambro-Briton, vol. i., p. 195.
THE DYING BARD'S PROPHECY.?
THE FAIR ISLE.3
FOR THE MELODY CALLED THE" WELSH GROUND."
THE hall of harps is lone to-night,
And cold the chieftain's hearth : It hath no mead, it hath no light;
No voice of melody, no sound of mirth.
The bow lies broken on the floor
Whence the free step is gone; The pilgrim turns him from the door (stonc.
Where minstrel-blood hath stain'd the threshold
(The Bard of the Palace, under the ancient Welsh princes, always accompanied the army when it marched into an enemy's country; and, while it was preparing for battle or dividing the spoils, he performed an ancient song, called Unbennaeth Prydain, the Monarchy of Britain. It has beer. conjectured that this poem referred to the tradition of the Welsh, that the whole island had once been possessed by their ancestors, who were driven into a corner of it by their Saxon invaders. When the prince had received his share of thie spoils, the bard, for the performance of this song, was rewarded with the most valuable beast that remained.—Jones's His. torical Account of the Welsh Bards. ]
"And I, too, go: my wound is deep,
My brethren long have died;
Winds! bear the spoiler one more tone of pride!
“Bear it where, on his battle-plain,
Beneath the setting sun,
Say to him-Saxon, think not all is won.
Sons of the Fair Isle ! forget not the time
“Thou hast laid low the warrior's head,
The minstrel's chainless hand : Dreamer ! that numberest with the dead
The burning spirit of the mountain-land !
Darkly though clouds may hang o'er us awhile, The crown shall not pass from the Beautiful Isle.
“ Think'st thou, because the song
hath ceased, The soul of song is flown? Think'st thou it woke to crown the feast,
It lived beside the ruddy hearth alone?
Ages may roll ere your children regain
“No! by our wrongs, and by our blood !
We leave it pure and free; Though hush'd awhile, that sounding flood
Shall roll in joy through ages yet to be.
Then shall their spirits rejoice in her smile, Who died for the crown of the Beautiful Isle.
“ We leave it midst our country's woe
The birthright of her breast; We leave it as we leave the snow
Bright and eternal on Eryri's crest.
THE ROCK OF CADER IDRIS.