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VIEW IN VALE LLANGOLLEN.
"Thy heart might beat
In thrilling answer to the strain I sing,
Hadst thou besides me, from the sacred tower,
THERE are few parts of Wales more delightful than the Vale of Llangollen. Surrounded by hills of moderate elevation, clothed with rich foliage and watered by the Dee, it offers a scene of tranquil beauty unmarked by any of those features of grandeur and sublimity which characterize some others parts of the country.
The town is a lively little place, with no attempt at any picturesque effect, and therefore exceedingly picturesque in its appearance. It has some good houses and excellent inns, and is the centre of the touring district, easily accessible by rail or coach, for the station on the Shrewsbury and Chester line is only three or four miles distant, and the town is planted in the direct road from Shrewsbury to Holyhead. Llangollen attracts many vistors, and sends them away with a desire to come back again at the earliest opportunity.
What is there in a Country Inn to attract a visitor? Much everyway: who that, wearied with the busy turmoil and ceaseless strife of that Mare Magnum, London-or any other large town where crowded populations gain money and lose health-but longs for a breath of the fresh air and comfortable quarters at an inn. It is not the inn itself that is the attraction-though inns are pleasant enough in their way-but the free open country round about. Here at Llangollen what beautiful landscapes are within reach-what charming walks we may take along the margin of the river, and wander at will amid scenes of rustic simplicity that seem to realize all our ideas of Arcadia. Pleasant it is to rise while yet the light of morning lingers on the mountains' brow, and dells and dingles teem with shadows, the grass and flowers glittering with drops of dew. Pleasant to wander through the fields before the workman has begun his toil, and the rugged paths marked by the heavy wheels of last night's country cart are all deserted. Pleasant to hear the birds high on the leafy branches of tall trees singing their morning hymn, and to smell the sweet odour of the flowers which from their floral chalices cast forth an incense
VIEW IN VALE LLANGOLLEN.
purer then the incense ever offered by man in the most gorgeous temple of his erection:
"O thus to revel, thus to range,
I'll yield the counter, bank, or 'Change-
"O happy who the city's noise
Can quit for Nature's quiet joys
Quit wordly sin and worldly sorrow;
No more 'midst prison walls abide,
But in God's temple, vast and wide,
Ask mercies every morrow."
Pleasant, indeed, it is to walk amid such scenery as Llangollen can spread before us,-scenery which may "appear tame and unimpressive, if contemplated shortly after the powerful excitement of the elevated mountainous districts of the Principality," in the opinion of very superficial people, but which must appear grand and glorious, as Nature always does under all her varied forms to those whose souls are touched with poetry or alive with zeal.
Tourists are of course interested by the "lions" of the place which they favour with their presence; no matter that the lions be the smallest of small cubs, they have to be noticed and patronized, petted and caressed. Among the "objects of interest" at Llangollen, we may enumerate the following:—
The Crow Castle-Castell Dinas Brâu-an old fortress on a high hill a mile from the town. It is said to derive its name from the rivulet which runs just below.
The Abbey of Valley Crucis-of which we have spoken elsewhere—an ecclesiastical ruin, situated at the foot of a hill two miles from the town.
The Bridge, erected about the middle of the fourteenth century, and long regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of Wales.
The Church, dedicated to Collen, a British Saint, from whom by a slight variation the district derives its appellation of Llan-gollen, or the Church of Collen.
But whatever may be the "sights" of this exceedingly beautiful portion of Wales, the charming rural character of the valley, the amazing versatility of the surrounding country, the satisfactory but unpretending claims of the town are the real attractions-and will continue to be so, just as long as we admire Nature more than Art.