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Who sought the thing he loved. For Nature then
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
Not harsh nor grating though of ample power
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
A lover of the meadows, and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
ST. QUINTIN'S CASTLE.
"This Castle hath a pleasant scent; the air
IT has been said, that a country is blessed which has no history, and the reason is plain when we recall the chief events which constitute history-intrigue, battle, victory and defeat-the battle of might against right. The history of Wales abounds with instances of violence and oppression amongst the native Princes themselves, and against the native Princes by the invasions of the Normans. Castles built by the invaders or the invaded are scattered all over Wales. Sometimes their site is marked by a few crumbling remains, sometimes only by a tradition and a name. A very small portion of Quintin Castle, represented in our Engraving, still remains; but there is a modern building called by its name.
The Normans, to secure their unjustifiable seizures, and proceed in their sanguinary aggressions, were obliged to erect castles more formidable both in number and extent to those which already existed. Thus it happens, that what are called the Marches of Wales, consist of one broad line of massive fortresses from the mouth of the Dee to the embouchure of the Wye. Flint, Denbigh, Powys, Brecknock, Cardiff, and many others, furnish bold examples of the style of that period. More were erected by the Anglo-Norman invaders as they steadily encroached upon the country; as to secure the possessions which they conquered from the retaliating vengeance of the expelled owners, they were necessitated to strengthen and repair every fortress which they captured, or to build new ones. Thus did this kind of building so far increase, that Pennant numbers nearly one hundred and fifty castles within the Principality. Some of these castles are remarkable alike for strength, beauty, and grandeur, and are amongst the finest displays ever exhibited of skill and execution in military architecture.
These old castles were generally surrounded by a deep moat. Their walls were lofty, solid and perpendicular; they were flanked at intervals by towers, the upper portion being protected by a parapet embattled and pierced in different directions by chinks and loopholes, through which missiles might be cast without exposing the men. A drawbridge, a clumsy, rattling, formidable contrivance, spanned the moat and led to the barbican. The entrance of the castle, in addition to its massive gates, was guarded by a portcullis, a sort of iron
ST. QUINTIN'S CASTLE.
curtain which could be lowered at any moment. The crown of the arch was also pierced with holes, through which molten lead or boiling pitch could be poured on an invader. Beyond through this gate-way another embattled wall, similar to the first, separating the lower from the upper court, in which were placed the habitable buildings, including the Keep, the relative position of which varied with the position of the Castle site. It was generally elevated upon a high, natural or artificial mound, and bore the same relation to the rest of the Castle as the citadel bears to a fortified town-it was the last resort of garrison, and contained the apartments of the Baron or Commandant. In the halls of these old castles in peaceful times, there was ample hospitality; but peaceful times were rare, and fray and foray common; and intrigue made hospitality a dangerous virtue, for your good pilgrims might turn out Welshmen in disguise, and make a "Douglass Larder" of your castle. And they had strong rooms in them, cells with grated windows, through which many a pale face has looked forth year after year, and grown sick at heart with hope deferred. In one of these castles, Robert Duke of Normandy was for a long time detained prisoner, and there he composed those lines to an Oak, growing in an ancient camp:
Oak, that stately and alone
On the war-worn mound hast grown,
Oak, thou hast sprung for many a year,
That bones unbless'd are laid below;
Oak, from the mountain's airy brow,
And merchants hail the well-known tree,
Returning o'er the Severn sea.
Woe, woe to him whose birth is high,
For peril waits on royalty!
Now storms have bent thee to the ground,
And envious ivy clips thee round;
And shepherd hinds in wanton play
Have stripped thy needful bark away;