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"Silent and steadfast as the vaulted sky,
The boundless plain of waters seem to lie."
SWANSEA is a town of considerable importance in South Wales. Its situation is remarkably picturesque, standing as it does on the sweep of a noble bay to which it gives its name. An amphitheatre of hills shelters this bay, which extends for about nine miles, its western extremity forming the Mumbles roadstead.
The town boasts of an ancient origin as well as of modern prosperity, both traceable to its admirable position on the coast. The natural advantages of the harbour of Swansea have been improved by art. On the western side of the harbour a stone pier and embankment have been constructed, with a similar erection, but of greater proportions, on the eastern side. A lighthouse and pilot station have also been erected, together with a basin of ten acres formed into a Float, and Docks capable of accommodating ships of the largest ordinary dimensions. It is really essential to make this exception, for now-a-days we build extra-ordinary ships that can be accommodated in no existing docks in the world. For all profitable and practicable purposes, however, the Swansea harbour offers many advantages ; commodious warehouses, dry docks, and convenient quay have been erected, and the railway, out rivalling the canal and tram road, is brought into close connection with the harbour, and extends its ramifications all over Wales.
The scene presented by the Swansea harbour is lively and interesting: a forest of masts rise from its docks, ships of all rigs and countries float on its waters, a busy population of boatmen, sailors, wharfingers, porters, clerks, and a motley multitude of idlers give life and motion to the picture.
As to the town it prospers and looks out grandly on the bay. Proof of its antiquity is seen in the time-worn tower, part of the old Castle built by Earl Warwick in 1113. As to prosperity the shops and markets, the Custom House and Chamber of Commerce, the wharfs and docks, declare it plainly enough.
Looking on the busy thriving town, it is difficult to realize the idea of the severe contests which were once maintained between the Welsh and English in its immediate neighbourhood; how mutual jealousy and distrust made coldest enemies of those who should have been the warmest friends, and
engendered an implacable hatred that survived for centuries. But the English were not the only race on whom the Welsh looked with suspicion. There came hither in the early days of the Normans a colony of Flemingsspecimens of Flemish architecture are still to be seen in the neighbourhood— and against these new settlers the Welsh formed a bitter dislike. One great cause of this dislike was that the foreigners readily adopted the manners of the English, with whom they intermarried, while they steadily rejected all association with the native Welsh. Thus identified with the English, the Flemings came in for their full share of the animosity which the Welsh maintained against their neighbours, and were regarded with the same aversion as the Norman lords and Saxon vassals. When we recollect the injustice and cruelty which had been inflicted on the Welsh, the efforts which were so frequently made to dispossess them of their country and to unite their . territory to the English, we can feel no surprise that they should hate them as they did-never were there warmer patriots in the world than the Welsh, and many were the instances of virtue and heroism which that patriotism