The Poetry of Wales, by John Jenkins

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Title: The Poetry of Wales

Author: John Jenkins

Release Date: June 6, 2006  [eBook #18523]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1873 Houlston & Sons edition, by David Price, email


edited by

“I offer you a bouquet of culled flowers, I did not grow, only collect and arrange them.”—Par le Seigneur de Montaigne.

london: houlston & sons, paternoster square
llanidloes: john pryse


[Cheap Edition.—All Rights Reserved.]

p. iiiPREFACE.

The Editor of this little Collection ventures to think it may in some measure supply a want which he has heard mentioned, not only in the Principality, but in England also.  Some of the Editor’s English friends—themselves being eminent in literature—have said to him, “We have often heard that there is much of value in your literature and of beauty in your poetry.  Why does not some one of your literati translate them into English, and furnish us with the means of judging for ourselves?  We possess translated specimens of the literature, and especially the poetry of almost every other nation and people, and should feel greater interest in reading those of the aborigines of this country, with whom we have so much in common.”  It was to gratify this wish that the Editor was induced to give his services in the present undertaking, from which he has received and will receive no pecuniary benefit; and his sole recompense will be the satisfaction of having attempted to extend and perpetuate some of the treasures and beauties of the literature of his native country.


The literature of a people always reflects their character.  You may discover in the prose and poetry of a nation its social condition, and in their different phases its political progress.  The age of Homer was the heroic, in which the Greeks excelled in martial exploits; that of Virgil found the Romans an intellectual and gallant race; the genius of Chaucer, Spencer and Sidney revelled in the feudal halls and enchanted vistas of the middle ages; Shakespeare delineated the British mind in its grave and comic moods; Milton reflected the sober aspect and spiritual aspirations of the Puritanical era; while at later periods Pope, Goldsmith and Cowper pourtrayed the softer features of an advanced civilization and milder times.

Following the same rule, the history of Wales is its literature.  First came the odes and triads, in which the bards recited the valour, conquests and hospitality of their chieftains, and the gentleness, beauty and virtue of their brides.  This was the age of Aneurin, of Taliesin and Llywarch Hen.  Next came the period of love and romance, wherein were celebrated the refined courtship and gay bridals of gallant knights and lovely maids.  p. 10This was the age of Dafydd ap Gwilym, of Hywel ap Einion and Rhys Goch.  In later times appeared the moral songs and religious hymns of the Welsh Puritans, wherein was conspicuous above all others William Williams of Pantycelyn, aptly denominated “The Sweet Psalmist of Wales.”

The Principality, like every other country, has had and has its orators, its philosophers and historians; and, much as they are prized by its native race, we venture to predict that the productions of none will outlive the language in which their prose is spoken and writ.  Not that there is wanting either eloquence or grandeur or force in their orations and essays, depth or originality in their philosophical theories, or truthfulness, research or learning in their historic lore; but that neither the graces of the first, the novelty of the next, or the fidelity of the last will in our opinion justify a translation into more widely spoken tongues, and be read with profit and interest by a people whose libraries are filled with all that is most charming in literature, most profound in philosophy and most new and advanced in science and art.

Our evil prophecy of its prose does not however extend to the poetry of Wales, for like all other branches of the Celtic race, the ancient Britons have cultivated national song and music with a love, skill and devotion which have produced poems and airs well deserving of extensive circulation, long life and lasting fame.  The poetic fire has inspired the nation from the most primitive times, for we find that an order of the Druidical priests were bards who composed their metres among aboriginal temples and p. 11spreading groves of oak.  The bard was an important member of the royal household, for the court was not complete without the Bard President, the Chief of Song, and the Domestic Bard.  The laws of Hywel the Good, King or Prince of Wales in the tenth century, enact:—

“If there should be fighting, the bard shall sing ‘The Monarchy of Britain’ in front of the battle.”

“The Bard President shall sit at the Royal Table.”

“When a bard shall ask a gift of a prince, let him sing one piece; when he asks of a baron, let him sing three pieces.”

“His land shall be free, and he shall have a horse in attendance from the king.”

“The Chief of Song shall begin the singing in the common hall.”

“He shall be next but one to the patron of the family.”

“He shall have a harp from the king, and a gold ring from the queen when his office is secured to him.  The harp he shall never part with.”

“When a song is called for, the Bard President should begin; the first song shall be addressed to God, the next to the king.  The Domestic Bard shall sing to the queen and royal household.”

The bard therefore in ancient times performed important functions.  In peace he delighted his lord with songs of chivalry, love and friendship.  In war he accompanied his prince to battle, and recited the might and prowess of his leader and the martial virtue of his hosts.  No court or hall was complete without the presence of the bard, who enlivened the feast with his minstrelsy and song.  We also see that the Welsh bard, like the primitive poets of Greece, and the troubadours of southern France, sang his verses to the harp, whose dulcet strings have always sent forth the national melodies.  The chief bards were attached to the courts and castles of their princes and chieftains; p. 12but a multitude of inferior minstrels wandered the country singing to their harps, and were in those primitive times received with open arms and welcome hospitality in the houses of the gentry, and whither soever they went.  Even within living memory the English tourist has often met in the lonely dells and among the mountain passes of Wales the wayworn minstrel, with harp strung to his shoulders, ever ready to delight the traveller with the bewitching notes of his lyre and song.  But the modern bard of Wales is the counterpart of his Scottish brother, of whom Scott wrote:—

“The way was long, the wind was cold,
The minstrel was infirm and old;
His withered cheeks and tresses gray
Seemed to have known a better day;
The harp, his sole remaining joy,
Was carried by an orphan boy.

* * * * *

No more on prancing palfry borne,
He carolled light as lark at morn;
No longer courted and caress’d,
High placed in hall, a welcome guest,
He poured to lord and lady gay
The unpremeditated lay.”

Nor will the modern visitor to the castles and halls of the Principality, not to mention its principal hotels, often miss the dulcet strains of the national lyre.

The song and minstrelsy of Wales have from the earliest period of its history been nurtured by its eisteddfodau.  It is ascertained that the Prince Bleddyn ap Kynfyn held an eisteddfod in A.D. 1070, which was attended by the bards and chief literati of the time.  This eisteddfod made rules p. 13for the better government of the bardic order.  This annual assemblage of princes, bards and literati has been regularly held through the intervening centuries to the present time.  Within living memory royalty has graced this national gathering of the ancient British race.

The ceremonies attendant upon this national institution are well known.  The president or chief, followed by the various grades of the bardic order, walk in procession (gorymdaith) to the place appointed, where twelve stones are laid in a circle, with one in the centre, to form a gorsedd or throne.  When the whole order is assembled, the chief of bards ascends the gorsedd, and from his laurel and flower-bedecked chair opens the session, by repeating aloud the mottoes of the order, viz.: “Y gwir yn erbyn y byd, yn ngwyneb haul a llygad goleuni,” or “The truth against the world, in the face of the sun and the eye of light,” meaning that the proceedings, judgments and awards of the order are guided by unswerving truth, and conducted in an open forum beneath the eyes of the public.  Then follow verses laudatory of the president.  Poetical compositions, some of a very high order, are then rehearsed or read, interspersed with singing and lyric music.  The greater part of the poets and musical performers compete for prizes on given subjects, which are announced beforehand on large placards throughout the Principality.  The subjects for competition are for the most part patriotic, but religion and loyalty are supreme throughout the eisteddfod.  The successful competitors are crowned or decorated by the fair hands of lady patronesses, who distribute the prizes.  This yearly gathering of the rank, beauty, wealth p. 14and talent of the Principality, to commemorate their nationality and foster native genius, edified and delighted by the gems of Welsh oratory, music and song, cannot but be a laudable institution as well as pleasant recreation.  Some of the foremost English journals, who devote columns of their best narrative talent to record a horse race, a Scottish highland wrestle, or hideous prize fight with all their accompaniments of vice and brutality, may surely well spare the ridicule and contempt with which they visit the pleasant Welsh eisteddfod.  Their shafts, howsoever they may irritate for the time, ought surely not to lower the Welshman’s estimate of his eisteddfod, seeing the antiquity of its origin, the praiseworthiness of its objects, the good it has done, the talent it has developed,—as witness, a Brinley Richards and Edith Wynne,—and the delight it affords to his country people.  Enveloped in the panoply of patriotism, truth and goodness, he may well defy the harmless darts of angry criticism and invective, emanating from writers who are foreign in blood, language, sympathy and taste.  When the Greeks delighted in their olympic games of running for a laurel crown, the Romans witnessed with savage pleasure the deadly contentions of their gladiators, the Spaniards gazed with joy on their bloody bull fights, and the English crowded to look at the horse race or prize fight, the Cymry met peaceably in the recesses of their beautiful valleys and mountains to rehearse the praises of religion and virtue, to sing the merits of beauty, truth and goodness, and all heightened by the melodious strains of their national lyre.

It is often asked, what is poetry?  Prose, we assume to be a simple or connected narrative of ordinary facts or p. 15common circumstances.  Poetry, on the other hand, is a grouping of great, grand or beautiful objects in nature, or of fierce, fine or lofty passions, or beautiful sentiments, or pretty ideas of the human heart or mind, and all these premises expressed in suitable or becoming language.  Poetry is most indulged in the infancy of society when nature is a sealed book, and the uneducated mind fills creation with all sorts of beings and phantoms.  There is then wide scope for the rude imagination to wander at will through the unknown universe, and to people it with every description of mythical beings and superstitious objects.  Poetry is most powerful in the infancy of civilization, and enjoys a license of idea and language which would shock the taste of more advanced times.  The Hindustani poetry as furnished by Sir William Jones, that of the Persian Hafiz, the early ballads of the Arabians, Moors and Spaniards, the poems of Ossian, besides the primitive Saxon ballads, and the triads of Wales, all indicate the extravagant imagery and rude license of poetry in the early ages of society.  The history of those several nations also attests the magical influence of their early poetry upon the peoples.  We find that Tallifer the Norman trouvere, who accompanied William to the invasion of England, went before his hosts at Hastings, reciting the Norman prowess and might, and flung himself upon the Saxon phalanx where he met his doom.  We read that the example of the trouvere aroused the Norman hosts to an enthusiasm which precipitated them upon the Saxon ranks with unwonted courage and frenzy.  We also find that the Welsh bard always accompanied his prince to battle, and rehearsed in song the ancient valour and conquests of the chieftain and army in front of the enemy.

p. 16The progress of philosophy and science dissipates the myths and spectres of the poetical creation, just as the advance of a July sun dispels the mist and cloud which hung over the earlier hours of day and veiled the mountains and valleys from the eye of man.  Poetry becomes now shorn of its greatest extravangancies and wildest flights, instead of soaring with the eagle to the extremities of space, it flies like the falcon within human sight.  In lieu of a Homer, a Shakespeare and a Milton, we have a Pope, a Thomson and a Campbell.

The poetry of Wales may be classified into six parts, viz.: the sublime, the beautiful, the patriotic, the humourous, the sentimental and religious.  Much of the poetry of the Principality consists of the first class, and is specially dedicated to description and praise of the Supreme Being, the universe and man.  As the great objects of creation, like the sun and moon, the planetary world and stars first attract the attention of man and always enlist his deepest feelings, so they furnish the great themes for the poetry of all nations, more especially in its ruder stages.  The Welsh poet is no exception to the rule.  On the contrary, he indulges in the highest flights of imagination, and borrows the grandest imagery and choicest description to set forth the Most High and his wonderful works.  No translation can convey to the English reader the interest and effect which this class of poetry has and produces upon the Welsh mind, simply because their trains of thought are so entirely different.  The power and expressiveness of the Welsh language, which cannot be transferred into any English words, also add materially to the effect of this class of poetry upon the native mind.  The Cymric is p. 17unquestionably an original language, and possesses a force and expression entirely unknown to any of the derivative tongues.  The finer parts of scripture, as the Book of Job and the Psalms, are immeasurably more impressive in the Welsh than English language.  The native of the Principality, who from a long residence in the metropolis or other parts of England, and extensive acquaintance with its people, followed often by mercantile success, so as almost to become Anglicised, no sooner returns to his native hills, either for a visit or residence, and upon the Sabbath morn enters the old parish church or chapel to hear the bible read in the native tongue, than he feels a transport of delight and joy, to which his heart has been foreign since he crossed the border, mayhap in youth.  Much of this may be owing to a cause similar to that which fires the Swiss soldier on foreign service when he hears the chant of his own mountain “Rans des vaches.”  Something may doubtless be laid to the account of early association; but, we think, more is justly due to the great impressiveness and power of his native tongue.  The poems, original and translated, contained in the first part of the ensuing collection, may convey to the English reader some idea of this class of Welsh poetry.

The love of the beautiful is natural to man, but of all nations the Greeks entertained the best ideals and cultivated the faculty to the highest perfection.  Their temples have formed models of architectural beauty for all nations, and the grace and elegance of their statuary have found students among every people.  Much of this taste for the beautiful mingled with their poetry, which is kin sister to the imitative arts.  In recent times the Italians have inherited p. 18the faculty of beauty, and introduced it into their fine cathedrals and capitols, as well as their statuary.  The French also have displayed the highest ideals of beauty in their manufactures and fine arts.  The Spaniards have introduced into their poetry some of the inimitable grace and beauty of their Alhambra.  The Latin races appear in modern times to have been pre-distinguished in the fine arts.  Much of the taste for beauty is inherent in the Celtic races, and this element is very perceptible in the poetry of the Cymric branch, as will appear from the illustrations contained in the second part of this collection.

Patriotism, or love of country, is characteristic of all nations, and manifests itself in their poetical effusions, more especially of the earlier date.  It is but natural that man should feel a profound attachment to the land of his fathers, to the valley where he spent the early and happier years of his life, to the hills which bounded that plain, to the church or chapel where he worshipped in youth, and in whose cemetery rest the ashes of his kin, to the language of his childhood, its literature, history and traditions, and more especially to the kind family, neighbours and friends who watched over his infancy, and entertained his maturer years.  This attachment, which is no other than patriotism, is only deepened by his removal into a distant land, and among a strange people.  Perhaps no people in modern times have cultivated their patriotic songs more ardently or even more successfully than the Scotch; though probably most of this may be owing to their great minstrel Scott, who transformed their rude ballads into immortal song.  Moore did a similar, though smaller, service p. 19for the Irish branch of the Celtic race.  And we most truly think that a Welsh Scott or Moore is only wanting to marry the lays of Wales to undying verse.  The third part of this collection will contain some of the most spirited of the patriotic poems of Wales.

Humour is inherent in every people, and is more or less characteristic of every nation.  Cervantes among the Spaniards, the Abbate Casti among the Italians, Jean Paul Richter among the Germans, Voltaire among the French, Samuel Butler, the author of Hudibras, and Dr. John Wolcot among the English, Jonathan Swift among the Irish, and Robert Burns among the Scotch, have introduced humorous writing into the literature of their respective countries with more or less of success.  Nor was it possible that a people so lively, so susceptible of contrast, and possessed of so keen a sense of the ridiculous in manners and conversation as the Welsh, should not spice their literature with examples of humorous writing.  We shall furnish in the fourth part of this collection a few specimens from the writings of some of the humorists of Wales.

Sentiment, which may be defined as the emotion of the human heart, mixes freely in verse and sentimental poetry, forms a considerable portion of the lays of every country.  There is in this particular no distinction between the early and modern history of nations, for sentiment enters the metrical effusions of every period alike.  Pathos and taste appear to be the foster mothers of this quality, which is a distinguishing trait of the poetry of Wales, as shown by the examples furnished in the fifth part of this collection.

p. 20If any trait be more distinctive of the Welshman than another, it is his love for his bible, his chapel and church, and this has furnished the richest store of spiritual song.  The hymnists of Wales are many; but distinguished beyond and above every other, is the celebrated Williams of Pantycelyn, whose hymns are sung in every chapel and cottage throughout the Principality, and are now as refreshing to the religious tastes and emotions of the people as at their first appearance; and, from their intrinsic beauty and warmth, they are not likely to be lost so long as the Welsh language remains a spoken or written tongue.  The sixth part of this collection will furnish the reader with an insight into the transcendent merit and fervour of this prince of religious song.



King of the mighty hills! thy crown of snow
   Thou rearest in the clouds, as if to mock
The littleness of human things below;
   The tempest cannot harm thee, and the shock
Of the deep thunder falls upon thy head
As the light footfalls of an infant’s tread.

The livid lightning’s all destroying flame
   Has flashed upon thee harmlessly, the rage
Of savage storms have left thee still the same;
   Thou art imperishable!  Age after age
Thou hast endured; aye, and for evermore
Thy form shall be as changeless as before.

The works of man shall perish and decay,
   Cities shall crumble down to dust, and all
Their “gorgeous palaces” shall pass away;
   Even their lofty monuments shall fall;
And a few scattered stones be all to tell
The place where once they stood,—where since they fell!

Yet, even time has not the power to shiver
   One single fragment from thee; thou shalt be
A monument that shall exist for ever!
   While the vast world endures in its immensity,
The eternal snows that gather on thy brow
Shall diadem thy crest, as they do now.

Thy head is wrapt in mists, yet still thou gleam’st,
   At intervals, from out the clouds, that are
A glorious canopy, in which thou seem’st
   To shroud thy many beauties; now afar
Thou glitterest in the sun, and dost unfold
Thy giant form, in robes of burning gold.

p. 24And, when the red day dawned upon thee, oh! how bright
   Thy mighty form appeared! a thousand dies
Shed o’er thee all the brilliance of their light,
   Catching their hues from the o’er-arching skies,
That seemed to play around thee, like a dress
Sporting around some form of loveliness.

And when the silver moonbeams on thee threw
   Their calm and tranquil light, thou seem’st to be
A thing so wildly beautiful to view,
   So wrapt in strange unearthly mystery,
That the mind feels an awful sense of fear
When gazing on thy form, so wild and drear.

The poet loves to gaze upon thee when
   No living soul is near, and all are gone
Wooing their couches for soft sleep; for then
   The poet feels that he is least alone,—
Holding communion with the mighty dead,
Whose viewless shadows flit around thy head.

Say, does the spirit of some warrior bard,
   With unseen form, float on the misty air,
As if intent thy sacred heights to guard?
   Or does he breathe his mournful murmurs there,
As if returned to earth, once more to dwell
On the dear spot he ever lov’d so well.

Perhaps some Druid form, in awful guise,
   With words of wond’rous import, there may range,
Making aloud mysterious sacrifice,
   With gestures incommunicably strange,
Praying to the gods he worshipped, to restore
His dear lov’d Cymru to her days of yore.

Or does thy harp, oh, Hoel! sound its strings,
   With chords of fire proclaim thy country’s praise;
And he of “Flowing Song’s” wild murmurings
   Breathe forth the music of his warrior lays;
And Davydd, Caradoc—a glorious band—
Tune their wild harps to praise their mountain land?

p. 25Thou stand’st immovable, and firmly fixed
   As Cambria’s sons in battle, when they met
The Roman legions, and their weapons mixed,
   And clash’d as bravely as they can do yet.
The Saxon, Dane, and Norman, knew them well,
And found them—as they are—invincible!

Majestic Snowdon! proudly dost thou stand,
   Like a tall giant ready for the fray,
The guardian bulwark of thy mountain land;
   Old as the world thou art!  As I survey
Thy lofty altitude, strange feelings rise,
Of the unutterable mind’s wild sympathies.

Thou hast seen many changes, yet hast stood
   Unaltered to the last, remained the same
Even in the wildness of thy solitude,
   Even in thy savage grandeur; and thy name
Acts as a spell on Cambria’s sons, that brings
Their heart’s best blood to flow in rapid springs.

And must I be the only one to sing
   Thy dear loved name? and must the task be mine,
To the insensate mind thy name to bring?
   Oh! how I grieve to think, when songs divine
Have echoed to thy praises night and day,
I can but offer thee so poor a lay.


By Goronwy Owain.

[This poet, who was born in 1722, obtained great celebrity in Wales; he was a native of Anglesea, and entered the Welsh Church, but removed to Donington in Shropshire, where he officiated as Curate for several years.  There the following poem was composed and afterwards translated by the poet.  The poem has been copied from a MS of the poet, and is now, it is believed, published for the first time.]

Almighty God thy heavenly aid bestow,
O’er my rapt soul bid inspiration flow;
Let voice seraphic, mighty Lord, be mine,
Whilst I unfold this awful bold design.
No less a theme my lab’ring breast inspires,
Than earth’s last throes and overwhelming fires,
Than man arising from his dark abode
To meet the final sentence of his God!
The voice of ages, yea of every clime,
The hoary records of primeval time;
The saints of Christ in glowing words display,
The dread appearance of that fateful day!
Oh! may the world for that great day prepare
With ceaseless diligence and solemn care,
No human wisdom knows, no human power
Can tell the coming of that fatal hour.
No warning sign shall point out nature’s doom;
Resistless, noiseless it shall surely come,
Like a fierce giant rushing to the fight,
Or silent robber in the shades of night.
What heart unblenched can dare to meet this day,
A day of darkness and of dire dismay?
What sinner’s eye can fearless then—behold
The day of horrors on his sight unfold,
But to the good a day of glorious light,
A day for chasing all the glooms of night.
For then shall burst on man’s astonished eyes
The Christian banner waving in the skies,
p. 27Borne by angelic bands supremely fair,
By countless seraphs through the pathless air.
The heavenly sky shall Christ’s proud banner form,
A sky unruffled by a cloud or storm;
The bloody cross aloft in awful pride
Shall float triumphant o’er the airy tide.
Then shall the King with splendour cloth’d on high
Ride through the glories of the golden sky,
With power resistless guide his awful course,
And curb the whirlwinds in their wildest force.
The white robed angels shall resound the praise,
Ten thousand saints their choral songs shall raise
Now through the void a louder shout shall roar
Than surges dashing on a rocky shore.
An awful silence reigns!—the angels sound
The final sentence to the worlds around;
Loud through the heavens the echoing blast shall roll,
And nature, startled, shake from Pole to Pole.
All flesh shall tremble at the fearful sign,
And dread to approach the judgment seat divine;
The loftiest hills, which ’mid the tempest reign,
Shall sink and totter, levelled with the plain.
The hideous din of rushing torrents far
Augment the horrors of this final war;
The glorious sun, the gorgeous eye of day,
Shall faint and sicken in this vast decay.
From our struck view his golden beams shall hide,
As when the Saviour on Calvaria died;
The lovely moon no more in beauty gleam,
Or tinge the ocean with her silv’ry beam;
Ten thousand stars shall from their orbits roll,
In dread confusion through the empty pole.
At the loud blasts hell’s barriers fall around,
Even Satan trembles at the awful sound!
Far down he sinks, deep in the realms of night,
And strives to shun the glorious Son of Light.
“Rise from your tomb,” the mighty angel cries,
“Ye sleeping mortals, and approach the skies,
For Christ is thron’d upon his Judgment Seat,
And for his mercy may ye all be meet!”
The roaring ocean from its inmost caves
p. 28Shall send forth thousands o’er the foaming waves;
From earth the countless myriads shall arise,
Like corn-land springing ’neath benignant skies;
For all must then appear—we all shall meet
In dread array before Christ’s Judgment Seat!
All flesh shall stand full in its Maker’s view—
The past, the present, and the future too;
Not one shall fail, for rise with one accord
Shall saint and sinner, vassal and his lord.
Then Mary’s Son, in heavenly pomp’s array,
Shall all his glory to the world display;
The faithful twelve with saintly vesture graced,
Friends of his cross around his throne are placed;
The impartial judge the book of fate shall scan,
The unerring records of the deeds of man.

   The book is opened! mark the anxious fear
That calls the sigh and starts the bitter tear;
The good shall hear a blessed sentence read,
All mourning passes—all their griefs are fled.
No more their souls with racking pains are riven,
Their Lord admits them to the peace of heaven;
The sinner there, with guilty crime oppressed,
Bears on his brow the fears of hell confess’d.
Behold him now—his guilty looks—I see
His God condemns, and mercy’s God is He;
No joy for him, for him no heaven appears
To bid him welcome from a vale of tears.
Hark!  Jesu’s voice with awful terrors swell,
It shakes even heaven, it shakes the nether hell:
“Away ye cursed from my sight, retire
Down to the depths of hell’s eternal fire,
Down to the realms of endless pain and night,
Ye fiends accursed, from my angry sight
Depart! for heaven with saintly inmates pure
No crime can harbour or can sin endure,
Away! away where fiends infernal dwell,
Down to your home and taste the pains of hell.

   Behold his servants—Lo, the virtuous bands
Await the sentence which the life demands;
p. 29All blameless they their course in virtue run
Have for their brows a crown of glory won.
Their Saviour’s voice, a sound of heavenly love,
Admits them smiling to the realms above:
“Approach, ye faithful, to the heaven of peace,
Where worldly sorrows shall for ever cease.
Come, blessed children, share my bright abode,
Rest in the bosom of your King and God,
Where thousand saints in grateful concert sing
Loud hymns of glory to th’ Eternal King.”
For you, beloved, I hung upon the tree,
That where I am there also ye might be;
The infernal god (ye trembling sinners quake)
Shall hurl you headlong on the burning lake,
There shall ye die, nor dying shall expire,
Rolled on the waves of everlasting fire,
Whilst Christ shall bid his own lov’d flock rejoice,
And lead them upward with approving voice,
Where countless hosts their heavenly Lord obey,
And sing Hosannas in the courts of day.
O gracious God! each trembling suppliant spare—
Grant each the glory of that song to share;
May Christ, my God, a kind physician be,
And may He grant me bless’d Eternity!


[The Reverend David Lewis Pughe, who translated the following piece from the Welsh of Mr. H. Hughes, was a Minister in the Baptist Church, and was possessed of extensive learning, and a highly critical taste.  After officiating as Minister at a Church in Swansea and other places, he finally settled at Builth, where he died at an early age.]

Ye cloud piercing mountains so mighty,
   Whose age is the age of the sky;
No cold blasts of winter affright ye,
   Nor heats of the summer defy:
You’ve witness’d the world’s generations
   Succeeding like waves on the sea;
The deluge you saw, when doom’d nations,
   In vain to your summits would flee.

p. 30You challenge the pyramids lasting,
   That rolling milleniums survive;
Fierce whirlwinds, and thunderbolts blasting,
   And oceans with tempests alive!
But lo! there’s a day fast approaching,
   Which shall your foundations reveal,—
The powers of heaven will be shaking,
   And earth like a drunkard shall reel!

Proud Idris, and Snowdon so tow’ring,
   Ye now will be skipping like lambs;
The Alps will, by force overpow’ring
   Propell’d be disporting like rams!
The breath of Jehovah will hurl you—
   Aloft in the air you shall leap:
Your crash, like his thunder’s who’ll whirl you,
   Shall blend with the roars of the deep.

All ties, and strong-holds, with their powers,
   Shall, water-like, melting be found;
Earth’s palaces, temples, and towers,
   Shall then be all dash’d to the ground:
But were this great globe plunged for ever
   In seas of oblivion, or prove
Untrue to its orbit, yet never,
   My God, will thy covenant move!

The skies, as if kindling with ire and
   Resentment, will pour on this ball
A deluge of sulphurous fire, and
   Consume its doom’d elements all!
But though heaven and earth will be passing
   Away on time’s Saturday eve;
The covenant-bonds, notwithstanding,
   Are steadfast to all that believe!

I see—but no longer deriding—
   The sinner with gloom on his brow:
He cries to the mountains to hide him,
   But nothing can shelter him now!
p. 31He raves—all but demons reject him!
   But not so the Christian so pure;
The covenant-arms will protect him,
   In these he’ll be ever secure!

Thus fixed, while his triumphs unfolding,
   Enrapture his bosom serene:
In sackcloth the heavens he’s beholding,
   And nature dissolving is seen;
He mounts to the summits of glory,
   And joins with the harpers above,
Whose theme is sweet Calvary’s story—
   The issue of covenant love.

Methinks, after ages unnumber’d
   Have roll’d in eternity’s flight,
I see him, by myriads surrounded,
   Enrob’d in the garments of light;
And shouting o’er this world’s cold ashes—
   “Thy covenant, my God, still remains:
No tittle or jot away passes,
   And thus it my glory sustains.”

He asks, as around him he glances,
   “Ye sov’reigns and princes so gay,
Where are your engagements and pledges?
   Where are they—where are they to-day?
Where are all the covenants sacred
   That mortal with mortals e’er made?”
A silent voice whispers,—“Departed—
   ’Tis long since their records did fade!”

I hear him again, while he’s winging
   His flight through the realms of the sky,
Th’ immovable covenant singing
   With voice so melodious and high
That all the bright mountains celestial
   Are dancing, as thrill’d with delight:
Too lofty for visions terrestial—
   He vanishes now from my sight.

p. 32Blest Saviour, my rock, and my refuge,
   I fain to thy bosom would flee;
Of sorrows an infinite deluge
   On Calv’ry thou barest for me:
Thou fountain of love everlasting—
   High home of the purpose to save:
Myself on the covenant casting,
   I triumph o’er death and the grave.


Translated by the Rev. R. Harries Jones, M.A.

[The author of the following poem, Mr. David Richards, better known by his bardic name of Dafydd Ionawr, was born in the year 1751 at Glanmorfa, near Towyn, Merionethshire, and died in 1827.  He was educated at Ystradmeurig Grammar School, with a view to entering the Welsh Church, but his academic career was cut short by the death of his parents, and he devoted himself to tuition.  He composed two long poems, viz.: an “Ode to the Trinity,” and an “Ode to the Deluge,” besides a number of minor poems, and were first published in 1793.  This poet is designated the Welsh Milton, by reason of the grandeur of his conceptions and the force of his expression.]

Swift-flying courser of the ambient skies!
Thy trackless bourne no mortal ken espies!
But in thy wake the swelling echoes roll
While furious torrents pour from pole to pole;
The thunder bellows forth its sullen roar
Like seething ocean on the storm-lashed shore;
The muttering heavens send terror through the vale,
And awe-struck mountains shiver in the gale;
An angry, sullen, overwhelming sound
That shakes each craggy hollow round and round,
And more astounding than the serried host
Which all the world’s artillery can boast;—
And fiercely rushing from the lurid sky
From pregnant clouds and murky canopy
The deluge saturates both hill and plain—
The maddened welkin groaning with the strain:
p. 33The torrents dash from upland moors along
Their journey to the main, in endless throng,
And restless, turbid rivers seethe and rack,
Like foaming cataracts, their bounding track;
A devastating flood sweeps o’er the land,
Tartarean darkness swathes the sable strand!
O’er wolds and hills, o’er ocean’s chafing waves
The wild tornado’s bluster wierdly raves;
The white-heat bolt of every thundering roar
The pitchy zenith coruscating o’er;
The vast expanse of heaven pours forth its ire
’Mid swarthy fogs streaked with candescent fire!

   The sombre meadows can be trod no more
Nor beetling brow that over-laps the shore;
The hailstones clattering thro’ field and wood—
The rain, the lightning and the scouring flood,
The dread of waters and the blazing sky
Make pensive captives all humanity;
Confusion reigns o’er all the seething land,
From mountain peak to ocean’s clammy strand;
As if—it seemed—but weak are human words,
The rocks of Christendom were rent to sherds:
They clash, they dash, they crash, above, around,
The earth-quake, dread, splits up and rasps the ground!

   Tell me, my muse, my goddess from above,
Of dazzling sheen, and clothed in robes of love,
What this wild rage—this cataclysmic fall—
What rends the welkin, and, Who rules them all?
   “’Tis God!  The Blest!  All elements are his
   Who rules the unfathonable dark abyss.
   ’Tis God commands!  His edicts are their will!
   Be silent, heavens!  The heavens are hushed and still!”
These are the wail of elemental life;
The fire and water wage supernal strife;
The blasting fire, with scathing, angry glare,
Gleamed like an asphalte furnace in the air:
Around, above it swirled the water’s sweep,
And plunged its scorching legions in the deep!

   p. 34The works of God are good and infinite,
The perfect offsprings of his love and might,
And wonderful, beneficient in every land—
With wisdom crowned the creatures of His hand;
And truly, meekly, lowly must we bow
To worship Him who made all things below,
For from His holy, dazzling throne above
He gives the word, commanding, yet in love,—
   “Ye fogs of heaven, ye stagnant, sluggard forms
   That float so laggardly amid the storms!
   Disperse!  And hie you to yon dormant shores!
   Your black lair lies where ocean’s caverns roar!”
The fogs of heaven o’er yonder sun-tipped hill
Their orcus-journey rush, and all is still.
In brilliant brightness breaks the broad expanse
Of firmament!  Heaven opens to our glance;
And day once more out-pours its silvery sheen,
A couch pearl-decked, fit for its orient queen; (aurora)
The sun beams brightly over hill and dale
Its glancing rays enliven every vale:
Its face effulgent makes the heaven to smile
Thro’ dripping rain-drops yet it smiles the while,
Its warmth makes loveable the teeming world,
Hill, dale, where’er its royal rays are hurled;
Sweet nature smiles, and sways her magic wand,
And sunshine gleams, beams, streams upon the strand;
And warbling birds, like angels from above
Do hum their hymns and sing their songs of love!—


By David Richards, Esq.

* * * * *

Whether to the east or west
You go, wondrous through all
Are the myriad clouds;
Dense and grim they appear—
Black and fierce the firmament,
Dark and horrid is all.
A ray of light’s not seen,
But light’ning white and flashy,
Thunder throughout the heavens,
A torrent from on high.
A thousand cascades roar
Boiling with floods of hate,
Rivers all powerful
With great commotion rush.
The air disturb’d is seen,
While the distant sea’s in uproar:
The heaving ocean bounds,
Within its prison wild;
Great thundering throughout
The bottomless abyss.
Some folk, simple and bewilder’d,
For shelter seek the mountains;
Shortly the raging waters
Drown their loftiest summits.
Where shall they go, where flee
From the eternal torrent?
Conscience, a ready witness,
Having been long asleep,
Mute among mortals,
Now awakens with stinging pangs.

* * * * *


By Rev. W. Williams.

[The Rev William Williams, whose bardic name was Gwilym Caledfryn, was a Welsh Congregationalist Minister, and an eminent poet.  His Ode on the wreck of the ship Rothsay Castle, off Anglesea, is a very graphic and forcible Poem, and won the chief prize at an Eisteddfod held at Beaumaris in 1839, which was honoured by the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, then the Princess Victoria, who graciously invested the young bard, with the appropriate decoration.]

Boiling and tearing was the fearful deep,
Its raging waves aroused from lengthened sleep
Together marching like huge mountains;
The swell how great—nature bursting its chains!
The bounding spray dashed ’gainst the midnight stars
In its wild flight shedding salt tears.

Again it came a sweeping mighty deluge,
Washing the firmament with breakers huge;
Ripping the ocean’s bosom so madly,
Wondrous its power when roaring so wildly,
The vessel was seen immersed in the tide,
While all around threatened destruction wide.

   God, ruler of the waters,
   His words of might now utters,
   His legions calls to battle:
   No light of sun visible,
   The firmament so low’ring,
   With tempest strong approaching.

Loud whistling it left its recesses,
Threats worlds with wreck, so fearful it rages,
While heaven unchaining the surly billows,
Both wind and wave rush tumultuous,
Sweeping the main, the skies darkening,
While Rothsay to awful destruction is speeding.

p. 37Anon upon the wave she’s seen,
Reached through struggles hard and keen:
Again she’s hurled into the abyss,
While all around tornados hiss,
Through the salt seas she helpless rolls,
While o’er her still the billow falls:
Alike she was in her danger
To the frail straw dragg’d by the river.

The ocean still enraged in mountains white,
Would like a drunkard reel in sable night,
While she her paddles plies against the wave,
Yet all in vain the sweeping tide to brave:
Driven from her course afar by the loud wind,
Then back again by breezes from behind;
Headlong she falls into the fretful surge,
While weak and broken does she now emerge.

The inmates are now filled with fear,
Destruction seeming so near;
The vessel rent in awful chasms,
Waxing weaker, weaker she seems.

* * * * *

Anon is heard great commotion,
Roaring for spoil is the lion;
The vessel’s own final struggles
Are fierce, while the crew trembles.

The hurricane increasing
Over the grim sea is driving,
Drowning loud moans, burying all
In its passage dismal.

How hard their fate, O how they wept
In that sad hour of miseries heap’d;
Some sighed, others prayed fervently,
Others mad, or in despair did cry.

p. 38Affrighted they ran to and fro,
To flee from certain death and woe;
While he, with visage grim and dark,
Would still surround the doomed bark.

Deep night now veiled the firmament,
While sombre clouds thicker were sent
To hide each star, the ocean’s rage
No cries of grief could even assuage.

The vessel sinks beneath the might
Of wind, and wave, and blackest night,
While through the severed planks was heard
The breaker’s splash, with anger stirred.



By Dafydd ap Gwilym.

[Dafydd ap Gwilym was the son of Gwilym Gam, of Brogynin, in the parish of Llanbadarn Fawr, Cardiganshire, and was born about the year 1340.  The bard was of illustrious lineage, and of handsome person.  His poetical talent and personal beauty procured him the favourable notice of the fair sex; which, however, occasioned him much misfortune.  His attachments were numerous, and one to Morvydd, the daughter of Madog Lawgam, of Niwbwrch, in Anglesea, a Welsh chieftain, caused the bard to be imprisoned.  This lady was the subject of a great portion of the bard’s poems.  Dafydd ap Gwilym has been styled the Petrarch of Wales.  He composed some 260 poems, most of which are sprightly, figurative, and pathetic.  The late lamented Arthur James Johnes, Esquire, translated the poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym into English.  They are very beautiful, and were published by Hooper, Pall Mall, in 1834.  The bard, after leading a desultory life, died in or about the year 1400.]

Thou summer! so lovely and gay,
   Ah! whither so soon art thou gone?
The world will attend to my lay
   While thy absence I sadly bemoan:
With flow’rs hast thou cherish’d the glade,
   The fair orchard with opening buds,—
The hedge-rows with darkening shade,
   And with verdure the meadows and woods.

How calm in the vale by the brook—
   How blithe o’er the lawn didst thou rove,
To prepare the fresh bow’r in the nook
   For the damsel whose wishes were love:
When, smiling with heaven’s bright beam,
   Thou didst paint every hillock and field,
And reflect, in the smooth limpid stream,
   All the elegance nature could yield.

p. 42Perfuming the rose on the bush,
   And arching the eglantine spray,
Thou wast seen by the blackbird and thrush,
   And they chanted the rapturous lay:
By yon river that bends o’er the plain,
   With alders and willows o’erhung,
Each warbler perceiv’d the glad strain,
   And join’d in the numerous song.

Here the nightingale perch’d on the throne,
   The poet and prince of the grove,
Inviting the lingering morn,
   Taught the bard the sweet descant of love:
And there, from the brake by the rill,
   When night’s sober steps have retir’d,
Ten thousand gay choristers thrill
   Sweet confusion with rapture inspir’d.

Then the maiden, conducted by May,
   Persuasive adviser of love,
With smiles that would rival the ray,
   Nimbly trips to the bow’r in the grove;
Where sweetly I warble the song
   Which beauty’s soft glances inspire;
And, while melody flows from my tongue,
   My soul is enrapt with desire.

But how sadly revers’d is the strain!
   How doleful! since thou art away;
Every copse, every hillock and plain,
   Has been mourning for many a day:
My bow’r, on the verge of the glade,
   Where I sported in rapturous ease,
Once the haunt of the delicate maid—
   She forsakes it, and—how can it please?

Nor blame I the damsel who flies,
   When winter with threatening gale,
Loudly howls through the dark frozen skies,
   And scatters the leaves o’er the vale:
p. 43In vain to the thicket I look
   For the birds that enchanted the fair,
Or gaze on the wide-spreading oak;
   No shelter, no music, is there.

But tempests, with hideous yell,
   Chase the mist o’er the brow of the hill,
And grey torrents in every dell
   Deform the soft murmuring rill:
And the hail, or the sleet, or the snow,
   On winter’s hard mandate attends:
To banishment, hence may they go—
   Earth’s tyrants, and destiny’s friend!

But thou, glorious summer, return,
   And visit the destitute plains;
Nor suffer thy poet to mourn,
   Unheeded, in languishing strains:
O! come on the wings of the breeze,
   And open the bloom of the thorn;
Display thy green robe o’er the trees,
   And all nature with beauty adorn.

’Midst the bow’rs of the fresh blooming May,
   Where the odours of violets float,
Each bird, on his quivering spray,
   Will remember his sprightliest note:
Then the golden hair’d lass, with a song,
   Will deign to revisit the grove;
Then, too, my harp shall be strung,
   To welcome the season of love.


By the Rev. Evan Evans.

[The poem from which the following translation is extracted was composed by the Rev. Evan Evans, a Clergyman of the Church of England, better known by his bardic name of Ieuan Glan Geirionydd.  He was born in 1795 at a freehold of his father, situate on the banks of the river Geirionydd, in Carnarvonshire, and died in 1855.  He composed a great number of poems on different subjects, religious and patriotic, several of which obtained prizes at Eisteddfodau, and one on the Resurrection gained the chair or principal prize.  This poet’s compositions are distinguished by great elegance, sweetness and pathos, and are much esteemed in the Principality.  Several of them have been set to music.]

Where doth the cuckoo early sing,
   In woodland, dell and valley?
Where streamlets deep o’er rocky cliffs
   Form cataracts so lofty?
On Snowdon’s summits high,
   In Arvon’s pleasant county.

Flocks of thousand sheep are fed
   Upon its mountains rugged,
Her pastures green and meadows fair
   With cattle-herds are studded,
Deep are the lakes in Arvon’s vales
   Where fish in shoals are landed.

The shepherd’s soft and mellow voice
   Is heard upon her mountain,
Where oft he hums his rustic song
   To his beloved maiden,
Resounding through the gorges deep
   With bleat of sheep and oxen.

On Arvon’s rock-bound shore doth break
   The surge in fretful murmur,
And oft when stirr’d by tempest high
   The ocean speaks in thunder,
p. 45Spreading through town and village wide
   Dismay, despair and fear.

* * * * *

The sun is glorious when it breaks
   The gloom of morning darkness,
Sweet are the leaves and flowers of May
   Succeeding winter’s baldness,
Yet fairer than the whole to me
   Are Arvon’s maids so guile-less.

If to the sick there is delight
   To heal of his affliction,
If to the traveller’s weary sight
   Sweet is the destination,
Than all these sweeter far to me
   The hills and dales of Arvon.

Had I the wings and speed of morn
   To skim o’er mount and valley,
I’d hie o’er earth and sea direct
   To Arvon’s genial country,
And there in peace would end my days,
   Far from deceit and envy.


Oh, come gentle spring, and visit the plain,
   Far scatter the frost from our border,
All nature cries loud for the sunshine and rain,
   For the howl of the winter is over.

Approach gentle spring, and show the white snow
   Thou cans’t melt it by smiles and caresses,
Chase far the cold winter away from us now,
   And cover the fields with white daisies.

p. 46Oh, come gentle spring, alight on the trees,
   Renew them with life and deep verdure,
Then choristers gay will replenish the breeze
   With their songs and musical rapture.

Oh, come gentle spring, breathe soft on the flowers,
   And clothe them in raiments of beauty,
The rose may reopen its petals in tears,
   And sunbeams unfold the white lily.


By the Rev. John Blackwell, B.A.

[The Rev. John Blackwell, B.A., whose bardic name was Alun, from the river of that name was born at Mold, in Flintshire, in the year 1797, and died in 1840, in the parish of Manordeivi, Pembrokeshire, of which he was Rector.  He participated much in the Eisteddfodau of that period, and his poems gained many of their prizes.  He also edited the “Gwladgarwr,” or the Patriot, a monthly magazine, and afterwards the “Cylchgrawn,” or Circle of Grapes, another magazine, under the auspices of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.  The subjects of this poet’s compositions were patriotic, sentimental and religious, and his poems are characterised by deep pathos, and great sweetness of diction.]

When night o’erspreads each hill and dale
   Beneath its darksome wing
Are heard thy sweet and mellow notes
   Through the lone midnight ring;
And if a pang within thy breast
   Should cause thy heart to bleed,
Thou wilt not hush until the dawn
   Shall drive thee from the mead.

* * * * *

Altho’ thy heart beneath the pang
   Should falter in its throes
Thou wilt not grieve thy nestlings young,
   Thy song thou wilt not close.
When all the chorus of the bush
   By night and sleep are still,
Thou then dost chant thy merriest lays,
   And heaven with music fill.


By the Rev. J. Emlyn Jones, M.A., LL.D.

[The Rev. John Emlyn Jones, M.A., LL.D., the lamented author of the beautiful stanzas, from which the following translation is made, was an eloquent minister of the Baptist Church in Wales, and died on the 20th day of January, 1873, at the age of 54 years, at Beaufort, in Monmouthshire, leaving a widow and seven children to mourn their great loss.  He was also an eminent poet, and one of his poems obtained the chair prize at a Royal Eisteddfod.  It may be remarked that the lamented poet on his death bed (in answer to an application from the editor) desired his wife to inform him that he was welcome to publish the translations of his poems which appear in this collection.]

Oh, pleasant spring-time flowers
   That now display their bloom,
The primrose pale, and cowslip,
   Which nature’s face illume;
The winter bleak appears
   When you bedeck the land,
Like age bent down by years,
   With a posy in its hand.

Oh, dulcet spring-time flowers
   Sweet honey you contain,
And soon the swarming beehive
   Your treasure will retain;
The busy bee’s low humming
   Is heard among your leaves,
Like sound of distant hymning,
   Or reaper ’mid the sheaves.

Oh, balmy spring-time flowers,
   The crocus bright and rose,
The lily sweet and tulip,
   Which bloom within the close:
Anoint the passing breezes
   Which sigh along the vale,
And with your dulcet posies
   Perfume the evening gale.

p. 48Oh, wild-grown spring-time flowers
   That grow beside the brook,
How happy once to ramble
   Beneath your smiling look,
And of you form gay garlands
   To deck the docile lamb,
In wreaths of colour’d neck-bands,
   Beside its loving dam.

Oh, pretty spring-time flowers
   None look so blithe and gay,
While dancing in the breezes
   Upon the lap of May,
Your fragrant petals open
   Beneath the balmy dew,
You’re nature’s rich heave-offering
   On winter’s grave anew.

Oh, wondrous spring-time flowers
   Tho’ death stalk all around,
Another spring will quicken
   Your bloom upon the ground,
Speak hopeful, as you ripen,
   Of yet another spring,
Where flowers never deaden
   And seasons have no wing.

p. 49TO MAY

By the Rev. Daniel Evans, B.D.

[The Rev. Daniel Evans, B.D., Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford, composed the following and several other poems in this collection.  He was a native of Cardiganshire, and, following the example of his countrymen, he assumed the bardic name of Daniel Ddu.  He was born in 1792, and died in 1846.  His compositions were very miscellaneous, and appeared separately, but the whole were afterwards published in one volume by Mr. W. Rees, of Llandovery, in 1831.  This poet’s writings are distinguished by great pathos, and a truthful description of nature.]

How fair and fragrant art thou, May!
   Replete with leaf and verdure,
How sweet the blossom of the thorn
   Which so enriches nature,
The bird now sings upon the bush,
   Or soars through fields of azure.

The earth absorbs the genial rays
   Which vivify the summer,
The busy bee hums on his way
   Exhausting every flower,
Returning to its earthen nest
   Laden with honied treasure.

How cheerful are the signs of May,
   The lily sweet and briar,
Perfuming every shady way
   Beside the warbling river;
And thou, gay cuckoo! hast returned
   To usher in the summer.

How pleasant is the cuckoo’s song
   Which floats along the meadow,
How rich the sight of woodland green,
   And pastures white and yellow,
The lark now soars into the heights
   And pours her notes so mellow.

p. 50To welcome May, let thousands hie
   At the sweet dawn of morning,
The winter cold has left the sky,
   The sun is mildly beaming,
The dew bright sparkles on the grass,
   All nature is rejoicing.

Let May be crown’d the best of months
   Of all the passing year,
Let her be deck’d with floral wreaths,
   And fed with juice and nectar,
Let old and young forsake the town
   And shout a welcome to her.


By the Rev. Daniel Evans, B.D.

Streaking the mantle of deep night
   The rays of light arise,
Delightful day—shed by the sun—
   Breaks forth from eastern skies,
He—in his course o’er oceans vast
   And distant lands—returns
Firm to his purpose, true his way,
   He nature’s tribute earns:
Before him messengers arrive
   And sparkle in the sky,
These are the bright and twinkling stars
   Which spot the sable canopy.

The cock upon his lofty perch
   Has sung the break of day,
The birds within the sheltering trees
   Now frolic, chirp and play;
I see all nature is astir
   As tho’ from sleep restor’d,
Alive with joy and light renew’d
   By the Creator’s word:
p. 51Now every hill and valley low
   Appear in full charm,
Beneath the sun’s benignant smiles,
   Which now creation warm.


By the Rev. Daniel Evans, B.D.

Oh, flower meek and modest
That blooms of all the soonest,
Some great delight possesses me
When thy soft crystal bud I see.

Thou art the first of the year
To break the bonds of winter,
And for thy gallant enterprise
I’ll welcome thee and sing thy praise.

And hast thou no misgiving?
Or fear of tempests howling
To issue from the hardy sod
Before thy sisters break their pod?

Behind thee millions lie
And hide their faces shy,
Lest winter’s cold continue,
Or tempests charged with mildew.

Inform thy sisters coy
The spring’s without alloy,
Tell them there is no snow
Or icy wind to blow.

Tell them the cattle meek
Will joy their heads to seek,
The lamb delighted be
To see them on the lea.

p. 52Speed therefore all ye flowers
That gleam upon the pastures,
Ye white and yellow come
And make the field your smiling home.

A thousand times more comely
Your cheerful features lively,
Than all the gems that shine
In royal crown of princely line.

How pleasant then to roam
Through field and forest home,
And listen to the song
Of birds that carol long.


Once I saw two flowers blossom
   In a garden ’neath the hill,
One a lily fair and handsome,
   And one a rose with crimson frill;
Erect the rose would lift its pennon
   And survey the garden round,
While the lily—lovely minion!
   Meekly rested on a mound.

Tempest came and blew the garden,
   Forthwith the rose fell to the ground,
While the lily, like brave maiden,
   Steadfast stood the stormy bound;
The red rose trusting to its prowess
   Fell beneath the wind and rain,
While the lily in its meekness
   Firm did on its stalk remain.


Fill the blue horn, the blue buffalo horn:
Natural is mead in the buffalo horn:
As the cuckoo in spring, as the lark in the morn,
So natural is mead in the buffalo horn.

As the cup of the flower to the bee when he sips,
Is the full cup of mead to the true Briton’s lips:
From the flower-cups of summer, on field and on tree,
Our mead cups are filled by the vintager bee.

Seithenyn ap Seithyn, the generous, the bold,
Drinks the wine of the stranger from vessels of gold;
But we from the horn, the blue silver-rimmed horn,
Drink the ale and the mead in our fields that were born.

The ale-froth is white, and the mead sparkles bright;
They both smile apart, and with smiles they unite:
The mead from the flower, and the ale from the corn,
Smile, sparkle, and sing in the buffalo horn.

The horn, the blue horn, cannot stand on its tip;
Its path is right on from the hand to the lip;
Though the bowl and the wine-cup our tables adorn,
More natural the draught from the buffalo horn.

But Seithenyn ap Seithyn, the generous, the bold,
Drinks the bright-flowing wine from the far-gleaming gold,
The wine, in the bowl by his lip that is worn,
Shall be glorious as mead in the buffalo horn.

p. 54The horns circle fast, but their fountains will last,
As the stream passes ever, and never is past:
Exhausted so quickly, replenished so soon,
They wax and they wane like the horns of the moon.

Fill high the blue horn, the blue buffalo horn;
Fill high the long silver-rimmed buffalo horn:
While the roof of the hall by our chorus is torn,
Fill, fill to the brim, the deep silver-rimmed horn.


Bird that dwellest in the spray,
Far from mountain woods away,
Sporting,—blending with the sea,
Like the moonbeam—gleamily.
   Wilt thou leave thy sparkling chamber
Round my lady’s tower to clamber?
Thou shalt fairer charms behold
Than Taliesin’s tongue has told,
Than Merddin sang, or loved, or knew—
Lily nursed on ocean’s dew—
Say (recluse of yon wild sea),
“She is all in all to me.”


By Dafydd ap Gwilym.

   “Sentinel of the morning light!
      Reveller of the spring!
   How sweetly, nobly wild thy flight,
      Thy boundless journeying:
Far from thy brethren of the woods, alone
A hermit chorister before God’s throne!

   “Oh! wilt thou climb yon heav’ns for me,
      Yon rampart’s starry height,
   Thou interlude of melody
      ’Twixt darkness and the light,
And seek, with heav’n’s first dawn upon thy crest,
My lady love, the moonbeam of the west?

   “No woodland caroller art thou;
      Far from the archer’s eye,
   Thy course is o’er the mountain’s brow,
      Thy music in the sky:
Then fearless float thy path of cloud along,
Thou earthly denizen of angel song.”


Where he spent many happy years at the hospitable mansion of Ivor Hael.  The bard, speaking from the land of Wild Gwynedd, or North Wales, thus invokes the summer to visit the sweet pastoral county of Glamorgan with all its blessings:

“And wilt thou, at the bard’s desire,
Thus in thy godlike robes of fire,
   His envoy deign to be?
Hence from Wild Gwynedd’s mountain land,
To fair Morganwg Druid strand,
   Sweet margin of the sea.
p. 56Oh! may for me thy burning feet
With peace, and wealth, and glory greet,
   My own dear southern home;
Land of the baron’s, halls of snow!
Land of the harp! the vineyards glow,
   Green bulwark of the foam.
She is the refuge of distress;
   Her never-failing stores
Have cheer’d the famish’d wilderness,
   Have gladden’d distant shores.
      Oh! leave no little plot of sod
      ’Mid all her clust’ring vales untrod;
      But all thy varying gifts unfold
      In one mad embassy of gold:
      O’er all the land of beauty fling
      Bright records of thy elfin wing.”

From this scene of ecstacy, he makes a beautiful transition to the memory of Ivor, his early benefactor: still addressing the summer, he says,

“Then will I, too, thy steps pursuing,
   From wood and cave,
And flowers the mountain-mists are dewing,
   The loveliest save;
From all thy wild rejoicings borrow
One utterance from a heart of sorrow;
The beauties of thy court shall grace
My own lost Ivor’s dwelling-place.”


By a Welsh Harper.

Wilt thou not waken, bride of May,
While the flowers are fresh, and the sweet bells chime?
Listen, and learn from my roundelay,
How all life’s pilot-boats sailed one day,
      A match with time.

Love sat on a lotus leaf afloat,
And saw old time in his loaded boat;
Slowly he crossed life’s narrow tide,
While love sat clapping his wings and cried,
      “Who will pass time?”

Patience came first, but soon was gone
With helm and sail to help time on;
Care and grief could not lend an oar,
And prudence said while he staid on shore,
      “I will wait for time.”

Hope filled with flowers her cork tree bark,
And lighted its helm with a glow worm spark;
Then love, when he saw her bark fly fast,
Said, “Lingering time will soon be passed,
      Hope outspeeds time.”

Wit, next nearest old time to pass,
With his diamond oar, and his boat of glass;
A feathery dart from his store he drew,
And shouted, while far and swift it flew,
      “O mirth kills time.”

p. 58But time sent the feathery arrow back,
Hope’s boat of amaranths missed its track;
Then love made his butterfly pilots move,
And, laughing, said, “They shall see how love
      Can conquer time.”

His gossamer sails he spread with speed,
But time has wings when time has need;
Swiftly he crossed life’s sparkling tide,
And only memory stayed to chide
      Unpitying time.

Wake, and listen then bride of May,
Listen and heed thy minstrel’s rhyme;
Still for thee some bright hours stay,
For it was a hand like thine, they say,
      Gave wings to time.


Once upon a time, Llywelyn was returning from a great battle, against the Saxons, and his three sisters came down here to meet him; and, when they heard him coming, they said, “It is Trŵst Llywelyn,” (the sound of Llywelyn,) and the place has been called so ever since.—Old Story.

It is a scene of other days,
That dimly meets my fancy’s gaze;
The moon’s fair beams are glist’ning bright,
   On the Severn’s loveliest vale,
And yonder watchtower’s gloomy height
   Looks stern, in her lustre pale.

p. 59Within that turret fastness rude
   Three lovely forms I see,
And marvel why, in that solitude,
   So fair a group should be.

I know them now, that beauteous band;
   By the broidered vest, so rich and rare,
By the sparkling gem, on the tiny hand,
   And the golden circlet in their hair,
I know Llywelyn’s sisters fair,
The pride of Powys land:

But the proof of lineage pure and high,
   Is better far supplied
By the calm, fair brow, and fearless eye,
   And the step of graceful pride.

Why are the royal maidens here,
Heedless of Saxon foemen near?
Their only court, the minstrel sage,
   Who wakes such thrilling sound;
Their train, yon petty childish page;
   Their guard, that gallant hound.

They have left their brother’s princely hall,
   To greet him from fight returning;
And hope looks out from the eyes of all,
   Though fear in their heart lies burning.

“Now, hark!” the eldest maiden cried,
“Kind minstrel, lay thy harp aside,
   And listen here with me;
Did not Llywelyn’s bugle sound
From off that dark and wooded mound
   You named the Goryn Ddû?” {59}

p. 60“No, lady, no; my master, kind,
   I strive in vain to hear;
’Tis but the moaning of the wind
   That cheats thy anxious ear.”

The second lady rous’d her page,
From the peaceful sleep of his careless age;
“Awake, fair child, from thy happy dreams,
   Look out o’er the turret’s height,
Is it a lance that yonder gleams
   In the moonbeams blue and bright?”

“No, lady mine; not on a lance
   Does that fair radiance quiver;
I only see its lustre dance
   On the blue and trembling river.”

The youngest and fairest maiden sits
   On the turret’s highest stone,
Like the gentle flower that flings its sweets
   O’er the ruin drear and lone:

At her feet the hound is crouching still;
   And they look so calm and fair,
You might almost deem, by a sculptor’s skill,
   They were carved in the grey stone there.

A distant sound the spell hath broken,
   The lady and her hound
Together caught the joyful token,
   And down the stair they bound.

“’Tis Trwst Llywelyn! dear sisters speed,
   Our own Llywelyn’s near;
I know the tramp of his gallant steed,
   ’Tis music to mine ear!”

* * * * *

p. 61Yes, ’twas his lance gleamed blue and bright,
   His horn made the echoes ring;
He is safe from a glorious field of fight,
   And his sisters round him cling:

And Gelert lies at his master’s feet,
The page returns to his slumbers sweet,
   The minstrel quaffs his mead,
And sings Llywelyn’s fame and power,
And, Trwst Llywelyn, names the tower,
   Where they heard his coming steed.

* * * * *

That tower, no more, o’erlooks the vale,
   But its name is unforgot,
And the peasant tells the simple tale,
   And points to the well-known spot.

Oh, lady moon! thy radiance fills
   An altered scene, to-night,
All here is chang’d save the changeless hills,
   And the Severn, rippling bright.

We dwell in peace, beneath the yoke
   That roused our father’s spears,
The very tongue our fathers spoke,
   Sounds strangely in our ears. {61}

But the human heart knows little change:
’Tis woman’s to watch, ’tis man’s to range
   For pleasure, wealth, or fame;
And thou may’st look, from thy realms above,
On many a sister’s yearning love,
   The same—still, still the same.

p. 62Ye students grave, of ancient lore,
   Grudge not my skilless rhyme,
One tale (from tradition’s ample store)
   Of Cambria’s olden time;
Seek, ’mid the hills and glens around,
   For names and deeds of war;
And leave this little spot of ground,
   A record holier far.



There was a king in Môn, {62}
   A true lover to his grave;
To whom in death his lady
   A golden goblet gave.

When Christmas bowls were circling,
   And all was joy and cheer,
He passed that goblet from him
   With a kiss and with a tear.

When death he felt approaching,
   To all his barons bold,
He left some fair dominion—
   To none, that cup of gold.

He sate at royal banquet,
   With all his lordly train,
In the castle of his fathers,
   On the rock above the main.

Upstood the tottering monarch,
   And drank the cup’s last wine;
Then flung the holy goblet,
   Deep, deep, into the brine.

p. 63He watch’d it, bubbling, sinking,
   Far, far, beneath the wave;
And the light sank from his eyelid,
   With the cup his lady gave.


Dans le solitaire bourgade,
Revant à ses maux tristement,
Languissait un pauvre malade,
D’un long mal qui va consumant.—Millevoye.

It was a dream, a pleasant dream, that o’er my spirit came,
When faint beneath the lime-trees’ shade I flung my weary frame:
I stood upon a mountain’s brow, above the haunts of men,
And, far beneath me, smiling, lay my lovely native glen.

I watch’d the silv’ry Severn glide, reflecting rock and tree,
A gentle pilgrim, bound to pay her homage to the sea;
And waking many a treasured thought, that slumb’ring long had lain:
Some mountain minstrel’s harp poured forth a well remember’d strain.

I rais’d my voice in thankfulness, and vowed no more to roam,
Or leave my heart’s abiding-place, my beauteous mountain home.
Alas! how different was the scene that met my waking glance!
It fell upon the fertile plains, the sunny hills of France.

The Garonne’s fair and glassy wave rolls onward in its pride;
It cannot quench my burning thirst for thee, my native tide;
And, for the harp that bless’d my dream with mem’ries from afar,
I only hear yon peasant maid, who strikes the light guitar:
The merry stranger mocks at griefs he does not understand,
He cannot—he has never seen my own fair mountain land.

p. 64They said Consumption’s ruthless eye had mark’d me for her prey:
They bade me seek in foreign climes her wasting hand to stay;
They told me of an altered form, an eye grown ghastly bright,
And called the crimson on my cheek the spoiler’s hectic blight.

Oh! if the mountain heather pined amidst the heaven’s own dew,
Think ye the parterre’s wasting heat its freshness could renew?
And thus, ’mid shady glens and streams, was my young life begun,
And now, my frame exhausted sinks beneath this southern sun.

I feel, I feel, they told me true; my breath grows faint and weak,
And, brighter still, this crimson spot is glowing on my cheek;
My hour of life is well nigh past, too fleetly runs the sand:
Oh! must I die so far from thee, my dear lov’d mountain land?


“Heavens defend me from that Welsh fairy!”—Shakspeare.

I am a wand’rer o’er earth and sea,
The trackless air has a path for me;
Ye may trace my steps on the heather green,
By the emerald ring, where my foot hath been;
Ye may hear my voice in the night wind’s sigh,
Or the wood’s low moan when a storm is nigh.

My task is to brighten the rainbow’s hue,
To sprinkle the flowers with glit’ring dew,
To steep in crimson the evening cloud,
And wrap the hills in their misty shroud;
To track the course of a wandering star,
And marshal it back to its home afar.

I am no child of the murky night,
But a being of music, and joy, and light;
If the fair moon sleep in her bower o’er long,
I break on her rest with my mirthful song;
And when she is shining o’er hill and heath,
I dance in the revels of Gwyn ab Nûdd. {65}

Few are the mortals whose favoured feet
May tread unscathed where the fairies meet;
Wo to the tuneless tongue and ear,
And the craven heart, that has throbbed with fear,
If I meet them at night, on the lonely heath,
As I haste to the banquet of Gwyn ab Nûdd.

But joy to the minstrel, whose deathless song
On the breeze of the mountain is borne along,
And joy to the warrior, whose heart and hand
Are strong in the cause of his native land;
For them we are twining our fairest wreath,
They are welcome as moonlight to Gwyn ab Nûdd!


O’er Walter’s bed no foot shall tread,
   Nor step unhallow’d roam;
For here the grave hath found a grave,
   The wanderer a home.
This little mound encircles round
   A heart that once could feel;
For none possess’d a warmer heart
   Than gallant Walter Sele.

The primrose pale, from Derwen vale,
   Through spring shall sweetly bloom,
And here, I ween, the evergreen
   Shall shed its death perfume;
The branching tree of rosemary
   The sweet thyme may conceal;
But both shall wave above the grave
   Of gallant Walter Sele.

They brand with shame my true love’s name,
   And call him traitor vile,
Who dar’d disclose to Charlie’s foes
   The secret postern aisle;
But though, alas! that fatal pass
   He rashly did reveal,
He ne’er betray’d his maniac maid,—
   My gallant Walter Sele!



Land of the Cymry! thou art still,
In rock and valley, stream and hill,
   As wild and grand;
As thou hast been in days of yore,
As thou hast ever been before,
As thou shalt be for evermore,
   My Father-land!

Where are the bards, like thine, who’ve sung
The warrior’s praise? the harp hath strung,
   With mighty hand?
Made chords of magic sound arise,
That flung their echoes through the skies,
And gained the fame that never dies,
   My Father-land?

And where are warriors like thine own,
Who in the battle’s front have shown
   So firm a stand?
Who fought against the Romans’ skill,
“The conquerors of the world,” until
They found thou wert “invincible,”
   My Father-land?

And where are hills like thine, or where
Are vales so sweet, or scenes so fair,
   Such praise command?
There towering Snowdon, first in height,
Or Cader Idris, dreary sight,
And lonely Clwyd?  Oh! how bright,
   My Father-land!

p. 70Oh! how I love thee, though I mourn
That cold neglect should on thee turn,
   Thy name to brand;
And oft the scalding tear will start
Raining its dew-drops from the heart,
To think how far we are apart,
   My Father-land.

And when my days are almost done,
And, faltering on, I’ve nearly run
   Life’s dreary sand;
Still, still my fainting breath shall be
Bestowed upon thy memory,
My soul shall wing its way to thee,
   My Father-land!


By the Rev. D. Evans, B.D.

Translated by Miss Lydia Jones.

My soul is sad, my spirit fails,
And sickness in my heart prevails,
Whilst chill’d with grief, it mourns and wails
   For my old Native Land.

Gold and wine have power to please,
And Summer’s pure and gentle breeze,—
But ye are dearer far than these,
   Hills of my Native Land.

Lovely to see the sun arise,
Breaking forth from eastern skies;
But oh! far lovelier in my eyes
   Would be my Native Land.

p. 71As pants the hart for valley dew,
As bleats the lambkin for the ewe,
Thus I lament and long to view
   My ancient Native Land.

What, what are delicacies, say,
And large possessions, what are they?
What the wide world and all its sway
   Out of my Native Land?

O should I king of India be,
Might Europe to me bend the knee,
Such honours should be nought to me
   Far from my Native Land.

In what delightful country strays
Each gentle friend of youthful days?
Where dwelleth all I love or praise?
   O! in my Native Land.

Where are the fields and gardens fair
Where once I sported free as air,
Without despondency or care?
   O! in my Native Land.

Where is each path and still retreat
Where I with song held converse sweet
With true poetic fire replete?
   O! in my Native Land.

Where do the merry maidens move,
Who purely live and truly love—
Whose words do not deceitful prove?
   O! in my Native Land.

And where on earth that friendly place,
Where each presents a brother’s face,
Where frowns or anger ne’er debase!
   O! ’tis my Native Land.

p. 72And O! where dwells that dearest one
My first affections fix’d upon,
Dying with grief that I am gone?
   O! in my Native Land.

Where do they food to strangers give?
Where kindly, liberally relieve?
Where unsophisticated live?
   O! in my Native Land.

Where are the guileless rites retain’d,
And customs of our sires maintain’d?
Where has the ancient Welsh remain’d?
   O! in my Native Land.

Where is the harp of sweetest string?
Where are songs read in bardic ring?
Genius and inspiration sing
   Within my Native Land.

Once Zion’s sons their harps unstrung,
On Babylonian willows hung,
And mute their songs—with sorrow wrung,
   They mourn’d their Native Land.

Captives, the Babylonians cry,
Awake Judæan melody,—
There is no music they reply,
   Out of our Native Land.

And thus when I in misery
Beseech my muse to visit me,
She echo’s—there’s no hope for thee
   Out of thy Native Land.

A bard how dull in Indian groves,
Distant from the land he loves!
The muse to melody ne’er moves
   Far from her Native Land.

p. 73Day and night I ceaseless groan
Among these foreigners, alone;
Yet not for fame or gold I moan,
   But for my Native Land.

Oft to the rocky heights I haste,
And gaze intent, while tears flow fast,
Over old ocean’s troubled waste,
   Towards my Native Land.

Then breaks my heart with grief to see
The mountain waves o’erspread the sea,
Which widely separates from me
   My charming Native Land.

To see the boiling ocean near,
Whose waves as if they joy’d appear,
Rolling betwixt me and my dear
   Enchanting Native Land.

O had I wings! to cure my pain
I’d flee across the widening main,
To view the extensive vales again
   Of my dear Native Land.

There I would lay me down secure,
And cheerfully my wants endure:
The wealth of worlds could not allure
   Me from my Native Land.


By the Rev. John Walters.

Cambria, I love thy genius bold;
Thy dreadful rites, and Druids old;
Thy bards who struck the sounding strings,
And wak’d the warlike souls of kings;
Those kings who, prodigal of breath,
Rush’d furious to the fields of death;
Thy maids for peerless beauty crown’d,
In songs of ancient fame renown’d,
Pure as the gem of Arvon’s caves,
Bright as the foam of Menai’s waves,
With sunny locks and jetty eyes,
Of valour’s deeds the glorious prize,
Who tam’d to love’s refin’d delight
Those chiefs invincible in fight.
Thy sparkling horns I next recall
In many a hospitable hall
Circling with haste, whose boundless mirth
To many an amorous lay gave birth,
And many a present to the fair,
And many a deed of bold despair.
I love thy harps with well-rank’d strings,
Heard in the stately halls of kings,
Whose sounds had magic to bestow
Or sunny joy, or dusky woe.
I love thy fair Silurian vales
Fann’d by Sabrina’s temperate gales,
That fir’d the Roman to engage
The scythed cars of Arvirage.
Oft to the visionary skies
I see thy ancient genius rise,
Who mounts the chariot of the wind,
And leaves our mortal steeds behind;
p. 75And while to rouse the drooping land
He strikes the harp with glowing hand,
Light spirits with aërial wings
Dance upon the trembling strings.
Oh, lead me thou in strains sublime
Thy sacred hill of oaks to climb,
To haunt thy old poetic streams,
And sport in fiction’s fairy dreams,
There let the rover fancy free,
And breathe the soul of poesy!
To think upon thy ravish’d crown,
Thy warlike deeds of old renown;
Thy valiant sons at Maelor slain, {75a}
The stubborn fight of Bangor’s plain, {75b}
A thousand banners waving high
Where bold Tal Moelvre meets the sky! {75c}

   Nor seldom, Cambria, I explore
Thy treasures of poetic store,
And mingle with thy tuneful throng,
And range thy realms of ancient song,
That like thy mountains, huge and high,
Lifts its broad forehead to the sky;
Whence Druids fanes of fabling time,
And ruin’d castles frown sublime,
Down whose dark sides torn rocks resound,
Eternal tempests whirling round;
With many a pleasant vale between,
Where Nature smiles attir’d in green,
Where Innocence in cottage warm
Is shelter’d from the passing storm,
p. 76Stretch’d on the banks of lulling streams
Where fancy lies indulging dreams,
Where shepherds tend their fleecy train,
Where echoes oft the pleading strain
Of rural lovers.  O’er my soul
Such varied scenes in vision roll,
Whether, O prince of bards, I see
The fire of Greece reviv’d in thee,
That like a deluge bursts away;
Or Taliesin tune the lay;
Or thou, wild Merlin, with thy song
Pour thy ungovern’d soul along;
Or those perchance of later age
More artful swell their measur’d rage,
Sweet bards whose love-taught numbers suit
Soft measures and the Lesbian lute;
Whether, Iolo, mirtle-crown’d,
Thy harp such amorous verse resound
As love’s and beauty’s prize hath won;
Or led by Gwilym’s plaintive song,
I hear him teach his melting tale
In whispers to the grove and gale.

   But since thy once harmonious shore
Resounds th’ inspiring strain no more,
That snatch’d in fields of ancient date,
The palm from number, strength, and fate;
Since to thy grove no more belong
The sacred eulogies of song;
Since thou hast rued the waste of age,
And war, and Scolan’s fiercer rage;—{76}
The spirit of renown expires,
p. 77The brave example of thy sires
Is lost; thy high heroic crest
Oblivion and inglorious rest
Have torn with rude rapacious hand;
And apathy usurps the land.
Lo! silent as the lapse of time
Sink to the earth thy towers sublime;
Where whilom harp’d the minstrel throng,
The night-owl pours her feral song:
For ever sinks blest Cambria’s fame,
By ignorance, and sword, and flame
Laid with the dust, amidst her woes
The taunt of her ungenerous foes;
For ever sleeps her warlike praise,
Her wealth, dominion, language, lays.


By Aneurin.

Translated by Thomas Gray, Esq. {77}

[Aneurin was the son of a Welsh chieftain, and was born in the early part of the sixth century.  He was himself a soldier, and distinguished himself at the battle of Cattraeth, fought between the Welsh and Saxons, in or about the year 560, but was disastrous to the former and especially to the bard, who was there taken prisoner, and kept for several years in confinement.  He composed his principal poem, the Gododin, upon the battle of Cattraeth.  This is the oldest Welsh poem extant, and is full of boldness, force, and martial fire.  It has been translated into English by the Rev. John Williams, (ab Ithel,) and published by the Messrs. Rees, of Llandovery.  The bard died, according to tradition, from the blow of an assassin before the close of the sixth century.]

Had I but the torrent’s might,
With headlong rage, and wild affright,
Upon Deïra’s squadrons hurl’d,
To rush and sweep them from the world!
Too, too secure in youthful pride,
By them my friend, my Hoel, dy’d,
Great Cian’s son; of Madoc old,
He ask’d no heaps of hoarded gold;
Alone in Nature’s wealth array’d
He asked and had the lovely maid.

   p. 78To Cattraeth’s vale, in glitt’ring row,
Twice two hundred warriors go;
Ev’ry warrior’s manly neck
Chains of regal honour deck,
Wreath’d in many a golden link:
From the golden cup they drink
Nectar that the bees produce,
Or the grape’s ecstatic juice.
Flush’d with mirth and hope they burn,
But none from Cattraeth’s vale return,
Save Aeron brave and Conan strong,
(Bursting through the bloody throng,)
And I, the meanest of them all,
That live to weep and sing their fall.


By Aneurin.

Lo! the youth, in mind a man,
Daring in the battle’s van;
See the splendid warrior’s speed
On his fleet and thick-maned steed,
As his buckler, beaming wide,
Decks the courser’s slender side,
With his steel of spotless mould,
Ermined vest and spurs of gold!
Think not, youth, that e’er from me
Hate or spleen shall flow to thee;
Nobler deeds thy virtues claim,
Eulogy and tuneful fame.
Ah! much sooner comes thy bier
Than thy nuptial feast, I fear;
Ere thou mak’st the foe to bleed,
Ravens on thy corse shall feed.
Owain, lov’d companion, friend,
To birds a prey—is this thy end!
Tell me, steed, on what sad plain
Thy ill-fated lord was slain.


Farewell every mountain
   To memory dear,
Each streamlet and fountain
   Pelucid and clear;
Glad halls of my father,
   From banquets ne’er freed,
Where chieftains would gather
   To quaff the bright mead,
Each valley and woodland
   Whose coverts I knew,
Lov’d haunts of my childhood
   For ever, adieu!

The mountains are blasted
   And burnt the green wood,
The fountain untasted
   Flows crimsoned with blood,
The halls are deserted,
   Their glory appear
Like dreams of departed
   And desolate years,
The wild wood and valley,
   The covert, the glade,
Bereft of their beauty,
   Invaded! betrayed!

Farewell hoary minstrel,
   Gay infancy’s friend,
What roof will protect thee?
   What chieftain defend?
Alas for the number,
   And sweets of their song,
p. 80Soon, soon they must slumber,
   The mountains among;
The breathing of pleasure
   No more will aspire,
For changed is the measure,
   Of liberty’s lyre!

Adieu to the greeting
   Of damsel and dame,
When home from the beating
   Of foemen we came,
If Edward the daughters
   Of Walia would spare,
He dooms them the fetters
   Of vassals to wear;
To hear the war rattle,
   To see the land burn,
While foes from the battle
   In triumph return.

Farewell, and for ever,
   Dear land of my birth,
Again we shall never
   Know revels or mirth,
The cloud mantled castle,
   My ancestors’ pride,
The pleasure and wassail
   In rapture allied;
The preludes of danger
   Approach thee from far,
The spears of strangers,
   The beacons of war.

Farewell to the glory
   I dreamed of in vain;
Behold on the story
   A blood tinctured stain!
Nor this the sole token
   The records can blast,
Our lances are broken,
   Our trophies are lost;
p. 81The children of freedom,
   The princely, the brave,
Have none to succeed them
   Their country to save.

Yet still there are foemen
   The tyrant to meet,
Will laugh at each omen
   Of death and defeat;
Despise every warning
   His mandate may bring
The promises scorning
   Of Loegria’s king:
Who seek not to vary
   Their purpose or change,
But firm as Eryri {81}
   Are fixed for revenge.

Between the rude barriers
   Of yonder dark hill,
A few gallant warriors
   Are lingering still;
While fate pours her phials,
   Unmoved they remain,
Resolved on the trial
   Of battle again;
Resolved on their honour,
   Which yet they can boast,
To rescue their banner
   They yesterday lost.

Shall Roderic then tremble,
   And cowardly leave
The faithful assembly
   To fight for a grave?
Regardless of breathing
   The patriot’s law,
His country forsaking
   And basely withdraw
p. 82From liberty’s quarrel,
   Forgetting his vow,
And tarnish the laurel
   That circles his brow?

But art thou not, Helen,
   Reproving this stay,
While fair sails are swelling
   To bear thee away?
And must we then sever,
   My country, my home?
Thus part and for ever
   Submit to our doom?
Ah! let me not linger
   Thus long by the way
Lest memory’s finger
   Unman me for aye!

Hark, hart, yonder bugle!
   ’Tis Gwalchmai’s shrill blast
Exclaiming one struggle,
   Then all will be past,
Another, another!
   It peals the same note
As erst when together
   Delighted we fought!
But then it resounded
   With victory’s swell,
While now it hath sounded,
   Life, liberty’s knell!

Adieu, then my daughter
   Loved Helen adieu,
The summons of slaughter
   Is pealing anew;
Yet can I thus leave thee,
   Defenceless and lorn,
No home to receive you,
   A by-word and scorn?
’Tis useless reflection,
   All soon will be o’er,
p. 83Heaven grant you protection
   When Roderic’s no more

Cease, Saxons, your scorning
   Prepare for the war;
So Roderic’s returning
   To battle once more!
The vulture and raven
   Are tracking his breath;
For fate has engraven
   A record of death:
They mark on his weapon
   From many a breast,
A stream that might deepen
   The crimsonest crest!

While darkness benighting
   Engirdled the zone,
The chieftain was fighting
   His way to renown;
But ere morn had risen
   In purple and gold,
The heart’s blood was frozen,
   Of Roderic the bold!
The foemen lay scattered
   In heaps round his grave;
His buckler was battered
   And broke was his glaive!

And fame the fair daughter
   Of victory came,
And loud ’mid the slaughter
   Was heard to proclaim,
“A hero is fallen!
   A warrior’s at rest,
The banner of Gwynedd
   Enshrouded his breast,
His name shall inherit
   The conqueror’s prize,
His purified spirit
   Ascend to the skies.”


By Taliesin.

[Taliesin was the greatest of the ancient Welsh bards, and was a contemporary of Aneurin in the sixth century.  He appears to have been a native of Cardiganshire, for we find him at an early age living at the court of Gwyddno, a petty king of Cantre y Gwaelod, who appointed him his chief bard and tutor to his son Elphin.  He was afterwards attached to the court of Urien Rheged, a Welsh prince, king of Cambria and of Scotland as far as the river Clyde, who fought and conquered in the great battle of Gwenystrad, and is celebrated by the bard in the following song.  Taliesin composed many poems, but seventy seven of them only have been preserved.  The subjects of his poetry were for the most part religion and history, but a few of his poems were of a martial character.]

If warlike chiefs with dawning day
At Cattraeth met in dread array,
The song records their splendid name;
But who shall sing of Urien’s fame?
His patriot virtues far excel
Whate’er the boldest bard can tell:
His dreadful arm and dauntless brow
Spoil and dismay the haughty foe.

   Pillar of Britain’s regal line!
’Tis his in glorious war to shine;
Despair and death attend his course,
Brave leader of the Christian force!

   See Prydyn’s men, a valiant train,
Rush along Gwenystrad’s plain!
Bright their spears for war addrest,
Raging vengeance fires their breast;
Shouts like ocean’s roar arise,
Tear the air, and pierce the skies.
Here they urge their tempest force!
Nor camp nor forest turns their course:
Their breath the shrieking peasants yield
O’er all the desolated field.

   p. 85But lo, the daring hosts engage!
Dauntless hearts and flaming rage;
And, ere the direful morn is o’er,
Mangled limbs and reeking gore,
And crimson torrents whelm the ground,
Wild destruction stalking round;
Fainting warriors gasp for breath,
Or struggle in the toils of death.

   Where the embattled fortress rose,
(Gwenystrad’s bulwark from the foes,)
Fierce conflicting heroes meet—
Groans the earth beneath their feet.

   I mark, amidst the rolling flood,
Where hardy warriors stain’d with blood
Drop their blunt arms, and join the dead,
Grey billows curling o’er their head:
Mangled with wounds, and vainly brave,
At once they sink beneath the wave.

   Lull’d to everlasting rest,
With folded arms and gory breast—
Cold in death, and ghastly pale,
Chieftains press the reeky vale,
Who late, amidst their kindred throng,
Prepar’d the feast, and join’d the song;
Or like the sudden tempest rose,
And hurl’d destruction on the foes.

   Warriors I saw who led the fray,
Stern desolation strew’d their way;
Aloft the glitt’ring blade they bore,
Their garments hung with clotted gore.
The furious thrust, the clanging shield,
Confound the long-disputed field.

   But when Rheged’s chief pursues,
His way through iron ranks he hews;
Hills pil’d on hills, the strangers bleed:
Amaz’d I view his daring deed!
p. 86Destruction frowning on his brow,
Close he urg’d the panting foe,
’Till hemm’d around, they met the shock,
Before Galysten’s hoary rock.
Death and torment strew’d his path;
His dreadful blade obey’d his wrath:
Beneath their shields the strangers lay,
Shrinking from the fatal day.

   Thus in victorious armour bright,
Thou brave Euronwy, pant for fight:
With such examples in thine eyes,
Haste to grasp the hero’s prize.

   And till old age has left me dumb—
Till death has call’d me to the tomb—
May cheerful joys ne’er crown my days,
Unless I sing of Urien’s praise!


By Mrs. Hemans.

A voice from time departed, yet floats thy hills among,
O Cambria! thus thy prophet bard, thy Taliesin sung,
The path of unborn ages is trac’d upon my soul,
The clouds, which mantle things unseen, away before me roll.

A light, the depths revealing, hath o’er my spirit passed;
A rushing sound from days to be swells fitful on the blast,
And tells me that for ever shall live the lofty tongue,
To which the harp of Mona’s woods by Freedom’s hand was strung.

p. 87Green island of the mighty! {87a}  I see thine ancient race
Driv’n from their fathers’ realm, to make the rocks their dwelling place!
I see from Uthyr’s {87b} 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 giv’n dominion o’er the storms,
So long, their empire sharing, shall live the lofty tongue,
To which the harp of Mona’s woods by Freedom’s hand was strung.


By Mrs. Hemans.

Sons of the Fair Isle! forget not the time,
Ere spoilers had breath’d the free air of your clime!
All that its eagles beheld in their flight
Was yours from the deep to each storm-mantled height!
Though from your race that proud birthright be torn,
Unquench’d is the spirit for monarchy born.
p. 88Darkly though clouds may hang o’er us awhile,
The crown shall not pass from the Beautiful Isle! {88}
Ages may roll ere your children regain
The land for which heroes have perish’d in vain.
Yet in the sound of your names shall be pow’r,
Around her still gath’ring, till glory’s full hour.
Strong in the fame of the mighty that sleep,
Your Britain shall sit on the throne of the deep.
Then shall their spirits rejoice in her smile,
Who died for the crown of the Beautiful Isle!


By Mrs. Hemans.

The voice of thy streams in my spirit I bear;
Farewell; and a blessing be with thee, Greenland;
In thy halls, thy hearths, in thy pure mountain air,
On the strings of the harp and the minstrel’s free hand;
From the love of my soul with my tears it is shed,
Whilst I leave thee, O land of my home and my dead.

I bless thee; yet not for the beauty which dwells
In the heart of thy hills, in the waves of thy shore;
And not for the memory set deep in thy dells
Of the bard and the warrior, the mighty of yore;
And not for thy songs of those proud ages fled,
Greenland, Poetland of my home and my dead.

I bless thee for all the true bosoms that beat,
Where e’er a low hamlet smiles, under thy skies,
For thy peasant hearths burping the stranger to greet,
For the soul that looks forth from thy children’s bright eyes,
May the blessing, like sunshine, around thee be spread,
Greenland of my childhood, my home and my dead.


By Rev. Daniel Evans, B.D.

Ye fortresses grey and gigantic
   I see on the hills of my land,
To my mind ye appear terrific,
   When I muse on your ruins so grand;
Your walls were a shelter the strongest
   From the enemies’ countless array,
When they spilt with the blood of the bravest,
   Your sides in our ancestors’ day.

Around you the war-horse was neighing,
   And pranced his rich trappings to feel,
While through you were frightfully gleaming
   Bright lances and spears of steel;
The fruits of the rich-laden harvest,
   Were ruthlessly trod by the foe,
And the thunder of battle was loudest,
   To herald its message of woe.

While viewing your dilapidation,
   My memory kindles with joy,
To think that the foes of our nation,
   No longer these valleys destroy;
By sowing his fields in the winter,
   In hope of a rich harvest-home,
The husbandman now feels no terror
   Of war with its havoc to come.

When I look at the sheep as they shelter
   In safety beneath your rude walls,
Where erst the dread agents of slaughter
   Fell’d thousands, nor heeded their calls;
p. 90The hillock where crossed the sharp spears
   Now shadows the ewe and its lamb,
While seeing the peace of these years,
   My heart is with gratitude warm.

Ye towers that saw the wild ravens,
   And the eagles with hunger impell’d,
Exultingly gorge ’mid your ruins.
   On corpses of men which they held;
How sweet for you now ’tis to hear
   The shepherd, so peaceful and meek,
Tune his reed with a melody clear,
   While his flock in you shelter do seek.

Upon your battlements sitting,
   To view the bright landscape below,
My heart becomes sad when remembering
   That silent in death is the foe,
And the friends who bravely did combat,
   And raised your grey towers so steep,
Declaring their life-blood should stagnate,
   Ere ever in chains they would weep.

When I think of their purpose so pure,
   The tear must fast trickle from me,
Their hearts did Providence allure
   To their country, and her did they free;
We now live beneath a meek power,
   And feel the full blessings of peace,
While on us abundantly shower,
   The mercies of Heaven with increase.


By Mrs. Cornwell Baron Wilson. {91}

Strike the harp: awake the lay!
Let Cambria’s voice be heard this day
   In music’s witching strain!
Wide let her ancient “soul of song,”
The echo of its notes prolong,
   O’er valley, hill, and plain!
Minstrels! awake your harps aloud,
Bid Cambria’s nobles hither crowd,
Her daughters fair, her chieftains proud,
   Nor shall the call be vain!

Let gen’rous wine around be pour’d!
To many a chief in mem’ry stored,
   Of Cambria’s ancient day!
Sons of the mountain and the flood,
Who shed for her their dearest blood,
   Nor own’d a conqueror’s sway!
Be they extolled in music’s strain,
Remembered, when the cup we drain,
And let their deeds revive again
   In ev’ry minstrel’s lay!

’Tis now the feast of soul and song!
As roll the festive hours along,
   Here wealth and pow’r combine
With beauty’s smiles, (a rich reward,)
To cheer the rugged mountain bard,
   And honour Cambria’s line!
Then, minstrels! wake your harps aloud,
Behold her nobles hither crowd,
Her daughters fair, her chieftains proud,
   Like gems around they shine!


[Llywarch Hen, warrior and poet, was the contemporary of Aneurin and Taliesin in the sixth century.  He was engaged at the battle of Cattraeth, where he witnessed the fall of three of his sons, and in the endless wars of that period.  He had twenty four sons, all of whom were slain in battle in the bard’s lifetime.  He retired for refuge to the Court of Cynddylan, then Prince of Powys, at Pengwern, now Shrewsbury.  The Saxons at length drove Cynddylan from Pengwern, and the bard retired to Llanfor, near Bala, in Merionethshire, where he died at the long age of 150 years.  Hence the appellation hen, or the aged.  Twelve poems of this bard remain, but all are imbued with the melancholy of the poet’s life.]

Cynddylan’s hearth is dark to-night,
   Cynddylan’s halls are lone;
War’s fire has revell’d o’er their might,
   And still’d their minstrel’s tone;
And I am left to chant apart
One murmur of a broken heart!

Pengwern’s blue spears are gleamless now,
   Her revelry is still;
The sword has blanched his chieftain’s brow,
   Her fearless sons are chill:
And pagan feet to dust have trod
The blue-robed messengers of God. {92}

Cynddylan’s shield, Cynddylan’s pride,
   The wandering snows are shading,
One palace pillar stands to guide
   The woodbine’s verdant braiding;
And I am left, from all apart,
The minstrel of the broken heart!


By Mrs. Hemans.

The bright hours return, and the blue sky is ringing
   With song, and the hills are all mantled with bloom;
But fairer than aught which the summer is bringing,
   The beauty and youth gone to people the tomb!

Oh! why should I live to hear music resounding,
   Which cannot awake ye, my lovely, my brave?
Why smile the waste flow’rs, my sad footsteps surrounding?
   My sons! they but clothe the green turf of your grave!

Fair were ye, my sons! and all kingly your bearing,
   As on to the fields of your glory you trod!
Each prince of my race the bright golden chain wearing,
   Each eye glancing fire, shrouded now by the sod!

I weep when the blast of the trumpet is sounding,
   Which rouses ye not, oh, my lovely, my brave!
When warriors and chiefs to their proud steeds are bounding,
   I turn from heav’n’s light, for it smiles on your grave!


By Mrs. Hemans.

The Hall of Cynddylan is gloomy to-night,
I weep, for the grave has extinguished its light;
The beam of its lamp from the summit is o’er,
The blaze of its hearth shall give welcome no more!

The Hall of Cynddylan is voiceless and still,
The sound of its harpings hath died on the hill!
Be silent for ever, thou desolate scene,
Nor let e’en an echo recall what hath been!

p. 94The Hall of Cynddylan is lonely and bare,
No banquet, no guest, not a footstep is there!
Oh! where are the warriors who circled its board?—
The grass will soon wave where the mead-cup was pour’d.

The Hall of Cynddylan is loveless to-night,
Since he is departed whose smile made it bright:
I mourn, but the sigh of my soul shall be brief,
The pathway is short to the grave of my chief!


I called on the sun, in his noonday height,
   By the power and spell a wizard gave:
Hast thou not found, with thy searching light,
   The island monarch’s grave?

“I smile on many a lordly tomb,
   Where Death is mock’d by trophies fair;
I pierce the dim aisle’s hallow’d gloom;
   King Arthur sleeps not there.”

I watched for the night’s most lovely star,
   And, by that spell, I bade her say,
If she had been, in her wand’rings far,
   Where the slain of Gamlan lay. {94b}

“Well do I love to shine upon
   The lonely cairn on the dark hill’s side,
And I weep at night o’er the brave ones gone,
   But not o’er Britain’s pride.”

p. 95I bent o’er the river, winding slow
   Through tangled brake and rocky bed:
Say, do thy waters mourning flow
   Beside the mighty dead?

The river spake through the stilly hour,
   In a voice like the deep wood’s evening sigh:
“I am wand’ring on, ’mid shine and shower,
   But that grave I pass not by.”

I bade the winds their swift course hold,
   As they swept in their strength the mountain’s bre’st:
Ye have waved the dragon banner’s fold,
   Where does its chieftain rest?

There came from the winds a murmured note,
   “Not ours that mystery of the world;
But the dragon banner yet shall float
   On the mountain breeze unfurl’d.”

Answer me then, thou ocean deep,
   Insatiate gulf of things gone by,
In thy green halls does the hero sleep?
   And the wild waves made reply:

“He sleeps not in our sounding cells,
   Our coral beds with jewels pearl’d;
Not in our treasure depths it dwells,
   That mystery of the world.

“Long must the island monarch roam,
   The noble heart and the mighty hand;
But we shall bear him proudly home
   To his father’s mountain land.”


[Owain Gwynedd, the subject of the following poem was the eldest son of Gruffydd ab Cynan, Prince of Gwynedd, or North Wales, and he succeeded his father on his death in 1137.  Father and son were illustrious warriors and patriotic rulers.  They were also celebrated for their munificent protection of the Welsh Bards.  The Saxons had established themselves at the castle of Wyddgrug, now Mold, and thence committed great ravages on the Welsh in that vicinity.  Owain collected his forces, and by a sudden and fierce attack he conquered the Saxons in their stronghold, and afterwards razed it with the ground in 1144.  This celebrated Prince died in 1162, and was buried at Bangor, where a monument to his memory still remains.]

   “It may be bowed
With woes far heavier than the ponderous tomb
That weighed upon her gentle dust, a cloud
Might gather o’er her beauty, and a gloom
In her dark eye, prophetic of the doom,
Heaven gives its favourites—early death.”

childe harold.

“Oh Gwynedd, fast thy star declineth,
   Thy name is gone, thy rights invaded,
And hopelessly the strong oak pineth,
   Where the tall sapling faded;
p. 97The mountain eagle idly cowers
   Beside his slaughtered young,
Our sons must bow to other powers,
   Must learn a stranger tongue.
Pride, valour, freedom, treasures that have been,
Do they all slumber in the grave of Rhûn?”

Thus sad and low the murmurs spread
   Round Owain’s stately walls,
While he, a mourner o’er the dead,
   Sate lonely in his halls;
And not the hardiest warrior there,
   Unpitying, might blame
The reckless frenzy of despair
   Which shook that iron frame;
Eyes that had coldly gazed on woman’s grief,
Wept o’er the anguish of their stern old chief.

Not all unheard those murmurs past,
   They reached a lady’s bower,
Where meekly drooped beneath the blast
   Proud Gwynedd’s peerless flower;
And she, the hero’s widow’d bride,
   Has roused her from her sorrow’s spell,
And vowed one effort should be tried
   For that fair land he loved so well.

There came a footstep, light and lone,
   To break the Chieftain’s solitude,
And, bending o’er a harp’s low tone,
   A form of fragile beauty stood;
More like the maid, in fairy lay, {97}
   Whose very being was of flowers,
Than creature, moulded from the clay,
   To dwell in this cold sphere of ours.

p. 98Her snowy brow through dark locks gleamed,
   And long and shadowy lashes curled,
O’er eyes whose deep’ning radiance seemed
   Caught from the light of another world;
And on her cheek there was a glow,
   Like clouds that kiss the parting sun;
Death’s crimson banner, spread to show
   His mournful triumph was begun.

Has grief so dulled Prince Owain’s ear,
Her melody he may not hear?
No kindly look, or word, or token,
His trance of wretchedness has broken,
Yet knows she, in that lonely spot,
Her presence felt, tho’ greeted not;
Knows that no foot, save hers, unbidden;
   Had dared to tread the living tomb,
No other hand had waked, unchidden,
   The echoes of that sullen gloom;
And now her voice’s gentle tone
Blends with the harp, in dirge-like moan:

“I mourn for Rhûn; the spider’s patient trail
Hangs fairy cordage round his useless mail;
   The pennon, never seen to yield,
      Bends in the light breeze, idly gay,
   And rusted spear, and riven shield
      Tell of a warrior past away.

“I mourn for Rhûn; alas! the damp earth lies
Heavy and chill on those unconscious eyes;
   Around those cold and powerless fingers,
      The earthworm coils her slimy rings;
   Above his grave the wild bird lingers,
      And many a requiem o’er it sings.

“I mourn for Rhûn; doth not the stranger tread,
With spurning foot, upon his lowly bed?
   p. 99Doth not his spirit wailing roam,
      The land his dying wishes bless’d?
   And finds, within the Cymry’s home,
      But the oppressor and oppress’d.”

The minstrel pauses in her strain,
   To gaze on Owain’s altered brow,
Where shame and sorrow, pride and pain,
   Are striving for the mastery now.

Not long the pause, again she flings
Her fingers o’er the sounding strings;
Mournfully still, yet hurriedly,
Waking a bolder melody;
Her form assumes a loftier height,
Her dark eyes flash more wildly bright,
And the voice, that seem’d o’er the ear to float,
Now stirs the heart like a trumpet’s note.

“Whence is the light on my spirit cast,
A glance of the future, a dream of the past?
There’s a coming sound in the shelter’d glen,
Like the measur’d tread of warlike men,
And the mingled hum of a gathering crowd,
And the war-cry echoing far and loud.

“I hear their shields and corselets clashing,
I see the gleam of their blue spears flashing,
And the sun on plume-deck’d helmets glance,
And the banners that on the free wind dance,
And the steed of the chief in his gallant array
As he rushes to glory, away, away!”

“Sweep on, sweep on, in your crushing might,
Bear ye that banner o’er hill and height!
Sweep on, sweep on, in your ’whelming wrath,
The far-scented raven shall follow your path;
p. 100Let him track the step of the mountain ranger,
And his beak shall be red with the blood of the stranger.

“On, for the fortress, whose gloomy height
Looks down on the valley in scornful might,
Leave not one stone on another to tell
That the Saxon has dwelt where no more he shall dwell;
Let the green weed o’ershadow the desolate hearth
That has rung to the spoiler’s exulting mirth.

“On!  When the strife grows fierce and high,
Vengeance and Rhûn be your battle-cry!
Star of the Cymry! can it be
They go to conquer and not with thee?
Thy blood is on the foeman’s glaive,
My lost, my beautiful, my brave!”

The song has ceased, but ere its close,
   The lustre from those eyes is gone,
The cheek has lost its crimson rose,
The voice has changed its thrilling tone,
Till the last notes in murmurs die,
Faint as the echo of a sigh.

The task is done, the spell is cast,
   And, left in silent loneliness,
The o’erwrought spirit breaks at last,
   Her hands her throbbing temples press,
And tears are gushing fast and bright,
Down those small palms and fingers slight.

Oh, human love! how beautiful thou art,
   Shading the ruin, clinging round the tomb,
And ling’ring still, tho’ all beside depart;
   Can the cold sceptic, with his creed of gloom,
Deem that thy final dwelling is the dust,
Thy faith but folly, nothingness thy trust?

p. 101The Saxon feasted high that night,
   In Wyddgrug’s fortress proud,
Where countless torches lent their light,
   And the song of mirth was loud;
And ruby juice of Southern vine
Sparkled in cups of golden shine.

Sudden there rose a fearful cry,
That drowned the voice of revelry,
And then a glare so fiercely bright,
It paled the torches’ waning light,
And as its blaze more redly glowed,
   Leaving no niche or grey stone darkling,
A deep and deadly current flowed
   To mingle with the wine-cup’s sparkling.

And, in that triumph’s wild’ring hour
Of sated vengeance, grappled power,
Owain has lost the show of grief,
Once more his Cymry’s warlike chief,
With dauntless mien he proudly stands,
The centre of his faithful bands,
Who gladly view the haughty brow,
Whence care and pain seem banished now,
And little reck what deeper lies,
All is not joy that wears its guise,
And, not, ’mid valour’s trophies won,
Can he forget his slaughtered son.

Forget! no, time and absence have estranged
   Those who in sundered paths must tread,
We may forget the distant or the changed,
   But not—oh, not the dead:
All other things, that round us come and pass,
   Some with’ring chance or change have proved,
But they still bear, in mem’ry’s magic glass,
   The semblance we have loved.

p. 102The morning breaks all calm and bright
   On ruins stern and bloody plain,
Flinging her rich and growing light
   O’er many a ghastly heap of slain;
And pure and fresh her lustre showers
   On shattered helm and dinted mail,
As when her coming wakes the flowers
   In some peace-hallow’d vale.

But where is she, whose voice had power
   To rouse the war storm’s awful might?
Glad eager footsteps seek her bower,
   With tidings of the glorious fight;
On her loved harp her head is bowed,
   One slender arm still round it clings,
And her dark tresses in a cloud,
   Are clust’ring o’er the silent strings.
They clasp her hands, they call her name,
   They bid her strike the harp once more,
And sing of victory, and fame,
   The song she loved in days of yore.
Vain, vain, there comes no breath or sound
   Those faded lips to sever,
The broken heart its rest hath found,
   The harp is hushed for ever.



By the Rev. Evan Evans.

Translated by T. W. Harris, Esq., and another.

Hus.—Jane, tell me have you fed the pigs,
Their cry is not so fine:
And if you have not, don’t delay,
’Tis nearly half-past nine.

Wife.—There, now your noisy din begins,
Ding, ding, and endless ding,
I do believe your scolding voice
Me to the grave will bring.

H.—Were you to drop in there to-day,
This day would end my sorrow.

W.—But I shall not to please you, Mog,
To-day, nor yet to-morrow.

H.—Oh! were you, Jane, to leave this world,

W.—And you to beg and borrow,

H.—Stop, Jane, talk not so silly, Jane,

W.—Not at your bidding, never;
I’d talk as long as I thought fit,
Were I to live for ever.

p. 106H.—Your voice if raised a little more,
Would rouse the very dead,
A pretty noise, because I ask’d
If you the pigs had fed.

W.—I’ll raise my voice, Mog, louder still,
As sure as you were born,
Why should you ask “How many loaves
Came from the peck of corn?”

H.—Should not the master of the house
Know every undertaking?

W.—And wear his wife’s own crinoline,
And try his hand at baking!

H.—The breeches you would like to wear!

W.—What vulgar jests you’re making!

H.—Stop Jane, stop Jane, don’t speak so loud,
Your noise will stun the cattle!

W.—The only noise that could do that
Is your continued rattle.

H.—As sounds a bee upon her back,
So does this wasp I’ve got,
And all because I ask’d if she
Had fed the pigs or not.

W.—Your peevish growling, Mog, is worse,
Yes, ten times worse and more,
Still asking, “How this churning gave
Less than the one before?”

H.—You know the butter pays our rent,
And many another matter.

p. 107W.—I know that if the cows are starved
They won’t get any fatter!

H.—I give the cows enough to eat.

W.—Well do, and hold your clatter.

H.—Stop Jane, stop Jane, confound your noise,
’Twould shame a barrel organ.

W.—If I were half as loud as you,
I think it would, Old Morgan!

H.—Your temper, Jane, will drive me soon
To share a soldier’s lot,
To march with gun and martial tune
’Midst powder, smoke, and shot.

W.—What! you a soldier? never, Mog!
Your heart is coward too,
You’ll fight with no one but with me,
You’ve then enough to do!

H.—I’ll go and fight the mighty Czar,
To aid the Turkish nation.

W.—Then go, a greater Turk than you
Breathes not within creation!

H.—For shame, to call your husband Turk.

W.—Such is my pledg’d relation.

H.—Stop Jane, stop Jane, let’s now shake hands
And we’ll be henceforth friends.

W.—No, not till you have stopp’d will I,
Be still, or make amends.


By Rev. Daniel evans, B.D.

I got a foster-son, whose name was Love,
From one endued with beauty from above.
To bring him up with fond and tender care—
Was an obligation from my fair.—

And for the guileless, beaming star’s sweet sake
Him to my bosom did I kindly take,
Him warmly cherished and with joy caress’d,
Like Philomela in the parent breast!

Thus on my breast, and sipping from my cup,
With food and nurture did I bring him up;
He grew a winged stripling, plump and fair,
And yet he filled and fills my soul with care!

Foster-son, indeed, a rebel has become,
Morose, insubordinate and glum,
A peevish, wayward, wanton, wicked swain:
To strive against the darts of love is vain.

And now with his ruthless, vengeful bow,
He points it at me and shoots high and low.
Ah! whither shall I from his anger flee;
Where from his darts and wily snares be free?

All fickle is the foster-son, indeed;
He leads me on to the flowery mead,
When all is peace and harmony around
He wrings my ears with doleful sound.

p. 109And woe betide if e’er he sees one dare
A single word exchange with the fair,
He forthwith casts his vengeance like a dart,
And thrusts his pointed dagger through my heart.

One day, when feeling somewhat brisk and strong
On summer-morn, I strolled the meads along,
A curious thought upon my mind did flash
That I would try this foster-boy to thrash.

With this intent I straightway armed myself,
My oaken cudgel drew to chase the elf;
When lo! the elf felt not the slightest stroke,
But in return the tendrils of my heart he broke!

I am father to a foster-son
Most cruel since this earth began to run:
Oh, thousand times how sorely have I said,
“The fates may take him, foster’d on my bread.”

Then must I live in sorrow evermore
No hope to cheer my spirit as of yore?
And is despair, dark, sullen, on my heart
To plant its talons with a fatal dart?

No, there yet will beam a brilliant day
To chase these lurid, murky clouds away!
Arise, sweet soul, thy sorrows cast away,
Blow off thy cares, like ocean’s shifting spray.

There is a blushing rose that blooms unseen
In yonder valley decked with leaflets green,
’Twill healthy heart, tho’ shatter’d and forlorn,
Like scented balm from distant Gilead borne.

’Tis there my darling Dora makes her home;
’Tis there my wand’ring glances fondly roam;
’Tis there my star of beauty mildly shines;
’Tis there the chain of life my soul entwines.

p. 110’Tis there where kind maternal fondness dwells,
And sister gentleness the bosom swells,
’Tis there where now the lovely lily grows
Beside the purling brook that ever flows.

There’s one, and only one to cheer my soul,
To heal my anguish, and my grief control;
’Tis she who did the foster-boy impart
To nestle deeply in my restless heart.

And if, indeed, the fair one will not pay
For time and nurture, anguish and delay,
Unless a guerdon in her smiles I see
Then must I from her arms for ever flee.


[Pennillion singing formed quite a feature in the eisteddfodau of the Cymry, and was much practised in the houses of the Welsh gentry.  The pennillion were sung by one voice to the harp, and followed a quaint air which was not only interesting, but owing to its peculiarity, it set forth in a striking manner the humour of the verse.  This practice, which was quite a Welsh institution, is fast dying out, and is not now much in use except at eisteddfodau.]

Many an apple will you find
   In hue and bloom so cheating,
That, search what grows beneath its rind,
   It is not worth your eating.
Ere closes summer’s sultry hour,
This fruit will be the first to sour.

* * * * * *

Those wild birds see, how bless’d are they!
   Where’er their pleasure leads they roam,
O’er seas and mountains far away,
   Nor chidings fear when they come home.

* * * * *

p. 111Thou dearest little Gwen, kindest maiden of all,
With cheeks fair and ruddy, and teeth white and small,
With thy blue sparkling eyes, and thy eye-brows so bright,
Ah, how I would love thee, sweet girl, if I might!

* * * * *

Place on my breast, if still you doubt,
   Your hand, but no rough pressure making,
And, if you listen, you’ll find out,
   How throbs a little heart when breaking.

* * * * *

Both old maids and young ones, the witless and wise
Gain husbands at pleasure, while none will me prize;
Ah! why should the swains think so meanly of me,
And I full as comely as any they see!

* * * * *

From this world all in time must move,
   ’Tis known to every simple swain;
And ’twere as well to die of love
   As any other mortal pain.

* * * * *

’Tis noised abroad, where’er one goes,
   And I am fain to hear,
That no one in the country knows
   The girl to me most dear:
And, ’tis so true, that scarce I wot,
If I know well myself or not.

* * * * *

What noise and scandal fill my ear,
   One half the world to censure prone!
Of all the faults that thus I hear,
   None yet have told me of their own.

* * * * *

Varied the stars, when nights are clear,
   Varied are the flowers of May,
Varied th’ attire that women wear,
   Truly varied too are they.

* * * * *

p. 112To rest to-night I’ll not repair,
The one I love reclines not here:
I’ll lay me on the stone apart,
If break thou wilt, then break my heart.

* * * * *

In praise or blame no truth is found,
Whilst specious lies do so abound;
Sooner expect a tuneful crow,
Than man with double face to know.

* * * * *

My speech until this very day,
Was ne’er so like to run astray:
But now I find, when going wrong,
My teeth of use to atop my tongue.


[The editor of the “Cambro Briton” (J. H. Parry, Esq., father of Mr. Serjeant Parry, the eminent barrister) says: “The following translations will serve to give the English reader a faint, though perhaps, but a faint idea of the Welsh Tribanau, which are most of them, like these, remarkable for their quaintness, as well as for the epigrammatic point in which they terminate.”]

No cheat is it to cheat the cheater,
No treason to betray the traitor,
Nor is it theft, I’m not deceiving,
To thieve from him who lives by thieving.

* * * * *

Three things there are that ne’er stand still;
A pig upon a high-topt hill,
A snail the naked stones among,
And Tom the Miller’s rattling tongue.

* * * * *

Three things ’tis difficult to scan;
The day, an aged oak, and man:
The day is long, the oak is hollow,
And man—he is a two fac’d fellow.



By Dafydd Ab Gwilym.

Sweet Rose of Llan Meilen! you bid me forget
That ever in moments of pleasure we met;
You bid me remember no longer a name
The muse hath already companioned with fame;
   And future ap Gwilyms, fresh wreaths who compose,
   Shall twine with the chaplet of song for the brows
   Of each fair Morvida, Llan Meilen’s sweet Rose.

Had the love I had loved been inconstant or gay,
Enduring at most but a long summer’s day,
Growing cold when the splendour of noontide hath set,
I might have forgotten that ever we met.
   But long as Eryri its peak shall expose
   To the sunshine of summer, or winter’s cold snows,
   My love will endure for Llan Meilen’s sweet Rose.

Then bid me not, maiden, remember no more
A name which affection and love must adore,
’Till affection and love become one with the breath
Of life in the silent oblivion of death,
   Perchance in that hour of the spirit’s repose,
   But not until then, when the dark eyelids close,
   Can this fond heart forget thee, Llan Meilen’s sweet Rose.


The white cot where I spent my youth
   Is on yon lofty mountain side,
The stream which flowed beside the door
   Adown the mossy slope doth glide;
The holly tree that hid one end
   Is shaken by the moaning wind,
Like as it was in days of yore
   When ’neath its boughs I shade did find.

Clear is the sky of morning tide,
   Bright is the season time of youth,
Before the mid-day clouds appear,
   And fell deceit obliterates truth;
Black tempest in the evening lowers,
   The rain descends with whirlwind force,
And long ere midnight’s hour nears
   Full is the heart of deep remorse.

Where are my old companions dear,
   Who in those days with me did play?
The green graves in the parish yard
   Will soon the mournful answer say:
Farewell therefore ye pleasures light,
   Which in my youth I did enjoy,
Dark evening’s come with all its trials,
   And these the bliss of life destroy.


Under the deep-laden boughs of the orchard
   Walks a maid that is fairer than all its rich fruit,
And little I doubt if I stood beneath them,
   To which of the objects I’d offer my suit.
’Twas little I thought when I was a stripling
   While gazing upon the apples so sweet,
I ever should see beneath the green branches
   An object which yet I much sooner would greet.

Thy father was careful about his rich orchard,
   To fence well and strong lest the neighbours should stray,
For now there doth, wander amid its green arbours
   A maiden more lovely than aught in the way;
Its fruit I would leave to the one who may wish it,
   But her, who moves so majestic between,
I’d steal from the orchard without a misgiving,
   And never would touch its apples so green.


One morning in May, when soft breezes were blowing
   O’er Dee’s pleasant tide with a ripple and swell,
A shepherdess tended her flock that was feeding
   Upon the green meadows that lay in the dell,
Her blue eye she raised, and she looked all around her,
   As if she’d fain see some one far on the lea,
And spite of its brightness, I saw the salt tear
   For one who was far from the banks of the Dee.

p. 118The maiden I thought was preparing to solace
   Her stay with a song amid the fair scene,
Nor long was I left in suspense of her object,
   Before she broke forth with a melody clean;
The tears she would wipe away with her napkin,
   While often a sigh would escape from her breast,
And as she sent forth the notes of her mourning,
   I could find that to love the lay was address’d:

“Four summers have pass’d since I lost my sweet William,
   And from this fair valley he mournful did go;
Four autumns have shower’d their leaves on the meadows
   Since he on these eyelids a smile did bestow;
Four winters have sped with their snowflakes and tempest
   Since he by my side did sing a light glee;
But many more springs will be sown for the harvest
   Ere William revisit the banks of the Dee.”


In the depth of yonder valley,
Where the fields are bright and sunny,
Ruth was nurtured fair and slender
Neath a mother’s eye so tender.

Listening to the thrush’s carols.
Was her pleasure in her gambols,
And ere she grew up a maiden
Gwilym’s voice was sweet in Dyffryn.

Together did they play in childhood,
Together ramble in the greenwood,
Together dance upon the meadow,
Together pluck the primrose yellow.

p. 119Both grew up in youthful beauty
On the lap of peace and plenty,
And before they could discover
Love had linked its silent fetter.

Ruth had riches—not so Gwilym,
Her stern sire grew cold unto him,
And at length forbade him coming
Any more to visit Dyffryn.

Gwilym thence would roam the wild-wood,
Where he wander’d in his childhood,
And would shun his home and hamlet,
Pensive sitting in the thicket.

Ruth would, weeping, walk the garden,
And survey the blank horizon
For a passing glimpse of Gwilym—
But all vain her tears and wailing.

Gwilym said, “I’ll cross the ocean,
And abide among the heathen,
In the hope of getting riches,
Which alone the father pleases.”

But, before he left his country,
Once, by stealth, he met the lady,
And beneath the beech’s shadow
Vow’d undying love in sorrow.

Much the weeping—sad the sighing,
When they parted in the gloaming,
Gwilym for a distant region,
Ruth behind in desolation.

Time flew fast, and many a wooer
Came to Ruth an ardent lover;
But in vain they sought the maiden,
For she held her troth unbroken.

p. 120Owain Wynn had wealth in plenty,
Earnest was his deep entreaty,
And tho’ favour’d by the father,
Yet all vain was his endeavour.

Years now pass’d since Ruth saw Gwilym,
But her dreams were always of him,
And tho’ morning undeceived her,
Nightly did she see him near.

One fair evening Ruth was sitting
In the spot of their last parting,
When she thought she saw her Gwilym
Cross the meadows green of Dyffryn.

Was it fact or apparition?
Slow she mov’d to test the vision,
Who was there but her own true love
Come to claim her in the green grove.

Gwilym now possessed abundance,
Gold and pearls displayed their radiance,
Soon the father gave him welcome
To his house and daughter handsome.

Quick the wedding-day was settled,
Ruth to Gwilym then was married,
Long they lived in bliss and plenty,
Pride and envy of the valley.


The Lord of Clâs to his hunting is gone,
   Over plain and sedgy moor;
The glare of his bridle bit has shone
   On the heights of wild Benmore.

Why does he stay away from hound?
   Nor urge the fervid chase?
Where is the shrill blast of his bugle sound?
   And the bloom of his radiant face?

The Lord of Clâs has found other game
   Than the buck and timid roe;
His heart is warm’d by other flame,
   His eyes with love-light glow.

On the mountain side a damsel he met
   Collecting flowers wild;
Her eyes like diamonds were set,
   And modest as a child.

Fair was her face, and lovely to see
   Her form of slender mould,
Her dark hair waved in tresses free
   On shoulders arch and bold.

The Lord of Clâs did blush and sigh
   When the lovely maid he saw;
He stoutly tried to pass her by;
   His bridle rein did draw.

But his heart quick flutter’d in his breast,
   The rein fell from his hand,
In accents weak the maid address’d,
   While trembling did he stand.

p. 122“Fair lady, may I ask your name?
   And what your purpose here?
From what bright homestead far you came?
   And is your guardian near?”

Answer’d the maid with haughty mien,
   That show’d her high estate:
“I know not, sir, why you should glean
   Such knowledge as you prate.

I ask’d not your name, or whence you came?
   Nor on you deign’d a look;
Wherefore should you my wrath inflame,
   By taking me to book?”

The chieftain high was now subdu’d,
   And lower’d was his crest;
With deep humility imbued
   The maid he thus address’d:

“My lady fair, your beauteous mien
   My heart has deep impress’d;
Altho’ I hear the chase so keen,
   My thoughts with you do rest.

I did essay to pass your charms,
   And spurr’d my steed to flight,
But your dazzling beauty numb’d my arms,
   And chain’d me to your sight.

If I may humbly crave your love,
   I’ll tell you my degree:
I am the Lord of yonder grove
   And of this mountain free.

These broad lands will your dowry be,
   If you my suit receive,
And ye shall urge the chase with me
   From morn to winter eve.”

p. 123The maid’s reply was firm, yet bland,
   And in a calmer mood:
“I thank you, sir, for your offer’d hand,
   With dowry large and good.

I thank you for all your praises fair,
   And for your gallant grace;
Had we but met an earlier year
   I might be Lady Clâs.

Behold this ring on my finger worn—
   A token of plighted love;
Lo, he who plac’d it there this morn
   Sits on yon cairn above.”

The chieftain look’d to the lonely cairn
   And saw the Knight of Lleyn!
Like mountain deer he flew o’er the sarn,
   And there no more was seen!


Although I’ve no money or treasure to give,
No palace or cottage wherein I may live,
Altho’ I can’t boast of high blood or degree,
Than all these my sweet Rose is dearer to me.

The lambs on the mountain are frisky and gay,
The birds in the forest are restless with play,
The maidens rejoice at the advent of spring,
Yet my fair Rose to me more enjoyment can bring.


By Madoc Mervyn.

My tried and trusty mountain steed,
Of Aberteivi’s hardy breed,
Elate of spirit, low of flesh,
That sham’st thy kind of vallies fresh;
And three score miles and twelve a day
Hast sped, my gallant galloway.

Like a sea-boat, firm and tight,
Dancing on the ocean, light,
That the spirit of the wind
Actuates to heart and mind
Elastic, buoyant, proud, and gay,
Art thou, my mountain galloway.

Thou’st borne me, like a billow’s sweep,
O’er mountains high and vallies deep,
Oft drank at lake and waterfall,
Pass’d sunless gulfs whose glooms appall,
And shudder’d oft at ocean’s spray,
Where breakers roar’d, destruction lay.

And thou hast snuff’d sulphureous fumes
’Mid rural nature’s charnel tombs;
Thou hast sped with eye unscar’d
Where Merthyr’s fields of fire flar’d;
And thou wert dauntless on thy way,
My faithful mountain galloway.

There is a vale, ’tis far away,
But we must reach that vale to-day;
There is a mansion in that vale,
Its white walls well the eye regale!
And there’s a hand more white they say,
Shall pat my gallant galloway.

p. 125And she is young, and she is fair,
The lovely one who sojourns there;
Oh, truly dear is she to me!
As thou art mine, she’ll welcome thee:
Then off we go, at break of day,
On, on! my gallant galloway.


From the Rev. Evan Evans.

One time upon a summer day
   I saunter’d on the shore
Of swift Geirionydd’s waters blue,
   Where oft I walked before
In youth’s bright season gone,
   And spent life’s happiest morn
In drawing from its crystal waves
   The trout beneath the thorn,
When every thought within my breast
   Was light as solar ray,
Enjoying every pastime dear
   Throughout the livelong day.

The breeze would soften on the lake,
   Unruffled be its deep,
And all surrounding nature be
   As calm as silent sleep,
Except the raven’s dismal shriek
   Upon the lofty spray,
And bleat of sheep beside the bush
   Where light their lambkins play,
And noise made by the busy mill
   Upon the river shore,
With cuckoo’s song perch’d in the ash
   To show that winter’s o’er.

The impressive scene would rather tend
   To nurse reflection deep,
p. 126Than cast the gay and sprightly fly
   Beneath the rocky steep;
’Twould fill my spirit now subdued
   With sober earnest thought,
Of other days, and other things,
   My youthful hands had wrought;
The tears would spring into my eyes,
   My heart with heaving fill,
To think of all that I had been,
   And all that I am still.

* * * * *

The sober stillness would beget
   Thoughts of departed friends,
Who not long since companions were
   Upon the river’s bends;
And soon will come the sombre day
   When I shall meet their doom,
And ’stead of fishing by the lake,
   I shall be in the tomb.
Some brother bard may chance to stray
   And ask for Ieuan E’an?—
“Geirionydd lake is still the same,
   But here no Ieuan’s seen.”


By the Rev. Daniel Evans, B.D.

My gentle child, thou dost not know
Why still on thee I am gazing so,
And trace in meditation deep
Thy features fair in silent sleep.

Thy mien, my babe, so full of grace,
Reminds me of thy father’s face;
Although he rests beneath the tree,
His features all survive in thee.

p. 127Thou knowest not, my gentle child,
The deep remorse that makes me wild,
Nor why sometimes I can’t bestow
A smile for smile when thine doth glow.

Thy father, babe, lies in the clay,
Lock’d in the tomb, his prison gray;
And yet methinks he still doth live,
When on thy face a glance I give.

And dost thou smile, my baby fair,
Before my face so pale with care?
What for the world and its deceit,
With myriad snares for youthful feet?

These are before thee, while the aid
Of father’s counsel is deep laid;
And soon thy mother wan may find
A last home there—and thou behind.

Thy sad condition then will be
Like some lone flower upon the lea,
Without a cover from the wind,
Or winter’s hail and snow unkind.

But smile thou on—in heaven above
Thy father lives, and He is love;
He knows thy lot, and well doth care
For all, and for thee will prepare.

If through His help, Jehovah good!
Thou smilest now in blissful mood;
May I not think, safe in His hand
Thou mayest travel through this land?

Smile on, my child, for thou wilt find
In Him a friend and father kind;
He’ll guide the orphan on his way,
Nor ever will his trust betray.

At last in the eternal land
We all shall meet a joyous band,
Without ought danger more to part,
Or tear or sigh to heave the heart.

p. 128WOMAN.

By Rev. Daniel Evans, B.D.

Gentle Woman! thou most perfect
Work of the Divine Architect;
Pearl and beauty of creation,
Rose of earth by all confession.

Myriad times thy smiles are sweeter
Than the morning sun doth scatter,
All the loveliness of Nature
Into thee almost doth enter.

The rose’s hues and of the lily,
Verdant spring in all its beauty,
Brighter yet among the flowers
Is fair woman in her bowers.

As the water fills the river,
Full of feeling is her temper,
And her love, once it doth settle,
Truer than the steel its mettle.

Full of tenderness her bosom,
Deep affection there doth blossom,
Gentle Woman! who can wonder
After thee man’s heart doth wander?

I have seen without emotion
Fields of blood and desolation,
But I never saw the tear
On woman’s eye and mine not water.

From her lips a word of soothing
Will disarm all angry feeling,
On her tongue a balm of comfort,
Great its virtue, strong its support.

p. 129Pleasant is it for the traveller
On his way to meet with succour,
Sweeter far when at his own home,
To receive fair woman’s welcome.

Woman cheerful in a family
Makes the group around so happy,
And her voice filled with affection,
Yields an Eden of communion.

Poor the man that roams creation
Without woman for companion,
Destitute of all protection,
Without her to bless his station.

Gentle Woman! all we covet
Without thee would be but wretched,
Without thy voice to banish sorrow,
Or sweet help from thee to borrow.

Thou art light to cheer our progress,
Star to brighten all our darkness,
For the troubled soul an anchor
On each stormy sea of terror.


By Rev. Daniel Evans, B.D.

At the dawning of day on a morning in May,
When the birds through the forests were skipping so gay;
While crossing the churchyard of a parish remote,
In a district of Cambria, whose name I don’t note:

I saw a fair maiden so rich in attire,
Second but to an angel her mien did appear;
Quick were her footsteps in tripping the sand,
And flowers resplendent were borne in her hand.

p. 130I fled to concealment that I might best learn
Her object and wish in a place so forlorn,
Without a companion—so early the hour—
For a region so gloomy thus leaving her bower.

Anon she advanced to a new tomb that lay
By the churchyard path, and there kneeling did stay,
While she planted the flowers with hands so clear,
And her looks were replete of meekness and fear.

The tears she would dry from eyelids fair
With a napkin so snow-white its hue and so rare;
And I heard a voice, that sadden’d my mind,
While it smote the breeze with words of this kind:—

“Here lieth in peace and quiet the one
I loved as dear as the soul of my own;
But death did us part to my endless woe,
Just when each to the other his hand would bestow.

Here resteth from turmoil, and sorrow to be,
The whole that in this world was precious to me;
Grow sweetly, ye flowers! and fair on his tomb,
Altho’ you’ll ne’er rival his beauty and bloom.

He erst received from me gifts that were more dear,
My hand for a promise—and a lock of my hair,
With total concurrence my portion to bear
Of his weal or his woe, whether cloudy or fair.

While sitting beside him how great my content,
In this place where my heart is evermore bent;
If I should e’er travel the wide globe around,
To this as their centre my thoughts would rebound.

Altho’ from the earth thou dost welcome nor chide,
Nor smilest as once thou didst smile on thy bride;
And yet my beloved! ’tis comfort to me,
To sit but a moment so near to thee.

p. 131Thy eyes bright and tender my mind now doth see,
And remembers thy speech like the honey to me;
Thy grave I’ll embrace though the whole world beheld,
That all may attest the love we once held.”


By rev. Daniel Evans, B.D.

So artless art thou, gentle ewe!
   Thy aspect kindles feeling;
And every bosom doth bedew,
   Each true affection stealing.

Thou hast no weapon of aught kind
   Against thy foes to combat;
No horn or hoof the dog to wound
   That worries thee so steadfast.

No, nought hast thou but feeble flight,
   Therein thy only refuge;
And every cur within thy sight
   Is swifter since the deluge.

And when thy lambkin weak doth fail,
   Tho’ often called to follow,
Thy best protection to the frail
   Wilt give through death or sorrow.

Against the ground her foot will beat,
   Devoutly pure her purpose;
Full many a time the sight thus meet
   Brought tears to me in billows.

But if wise nature did not give
   To her sharp tooth or weapon,
She compensation doth receive
   From human aid and reason.

p. 132She justly has from man support
   ’Gainst wounds and tribulation;
And has the means without distort
   To yield him retribution.

Yea, of more value is her gift
   Than priceless mines of silver
Or gold which from the depth they lift
   Through India’s distant border.

To man she gives protection strong
   From winds and tempests howling,
From pelting rain, and snow-drifts long,
   When storms above are beating.

The mantle warm o’er us the night
   Throughout the dismal shadows;
What makes our hearts so free and light?
   What but the sheep so precious!

Then let us not the Ewe forget
   When winter bleak doth hover;
When rains descend—and we safe set—
   Let us be grateful to her.

Her cloak to us is comfort great
   When by the ditch she trembles;
Let us then give her the best beat
   For her abode and rambles.


By Rev. John Blackwell, B.A.

Restless wave! be still and quiet,
Do not heed the wind and freshet,
Nature wide is now fast sleeping,
Why art thou so live and stirring?
All commotion now is ending,
Why not thou thy constant rolling?

Rest thou sea! upon thy bosom
Is one from whom my thoughts are seldom,
Not his lot it is to idle,
But to work while he is able;
Be kind to him, ocean billow!
Sleep upon thy sandy pillow!

Wherefore should’st thou still be swelling?
Why not cease thy restless heaving?
There’s no wind to stir the bushes,
And all still the mountain breezes:
Be thou calm until the morning
When he’ll shelter in the offing.

* * * * *

Deaf art thou to my entreaty,
Ocean vast! and without mercy.
I will turn to Him who rules thee,
And can still thy fiercest eddy:
Take Thou him to Thy protection
Keep him from the wave’s destruction!


By Rev. John Blackwell, B.A.

Dry the leaf above the stubble,
Soon ’twill fall into the bramble,
But the mind receives a lesson
From the leaf when it has fallen.

Once it flourished in deep verdure,
Bright its aspect in the arbour,
Beside myriad of companions,
Once it danc’d in gay rotations.

Now its bloom is gone for ever,
’Neath the morning dew doth totter,
Sun or moon, or breezes balmy
Can’t restore its verdant beauty.

* * * * *

Short its glory! soon it faded,
One day’s joy, and then it ended;
Heaven declared its task was over,
It then fell, and that for ever.


Sad died the Maiden! and heaven only knew
   The anguish she felt in expiring,
The moonbeams were weeping the evening dew
   When the life of the Maiden was sinking.

Sad died the Maiden! beside the fast door,
   With her head resting low on the flagging,
And the raindrops froze as they fell in store
   On a bosom that lately was bleeding.

p. 135She died on the sill of her father’s dear home,
   From which he had forc’d her to wander,
While her clear white hands were trying to roam
   In search of the latch and warm shelter.

* * * * *

She died! and her end will for ever reveal
   A father devoid of affection,
While her green grave will always testify well
   To the strength of love and devotion.


Like the world and its dread changes
Is the ocean when it rages,
Sometimes full and sometimes shallow,
Sometimes green and sometimes yellow.

Salt the sea to all who drink it,
Bitter is the world in spirit,
Deep the sea to all who fathom,
Deep the world and without bottom.

Unsupporting in his danger
Is the sea unto the sailor,
Less sustaining to the traveller
Is the world through which he’ll wander.

Full the sea of rocky places,
Shoals and quicksands in its mazes,
Full the world of sore temptation
Charged with sorrow and destruction.


By the Rev. J. Emlym Jones, M.A., LL.D.

’Neath the yew tree’s gloomy branches,
   Rears a mound its verdant head,
As if to receive the riches
   Which the dew of heaven doth spread;
Many a foot doth inconsiderate
   Tread upon the humble pile,
And doth crush the turf so ornate:—
   That’s the Poor Man’s Grave the while.

The paid servants of the Union
   Followed mute his last remains,
Piling the earth in fast confusion,
   Without sigh, or tear or pains;
After anguish and privation,
   Here at last his troubles cease,
Quiet refuge from oppression
   Is the Poor Man’s Grave of peace.

The tombstone rude with two initials,
   Carved upon its smoother side,
By a helpmate of his trials,
   Is now split and sunder’d wide;
And when comes the Easter Sunday,
   There is neither friend nor kin
To bestow green leaves or nosegay
   On the Poor Man’s Grave within.

Nor doth the muse above his ashes
   Sing a dirge or mourn his end,
And ere long time’s wasting gashes
   Will the mound in furrows rend:
Level with the earth all traces,
   Hide him in oblivion deep;
Yet, for this, God’s angel watches,
   O’er the Poor Man’s Grave doth weep.


By Dafydd ap Gwilym.

All my lifetime I have been
Bard to Morfydd, “golden mien!”
I have loved beyond belief,
Many a day to love and grief
For her sake have been a prey,
Who has on the moon’s array!
Pledged my truth from youth will now
To the girl of glossy brow.
Oh, the light her features wear,
Like the tortured torrent’s glare!
Oft by love bewildered quite,
Have my aching feet all night
Stag-like tracked the forest shade
For the foam-complexioned maid,
Whom with passion firm and gay
I adored ’mid leaves of May!
’Mid a thousand I could tell
One elastic footstep well!
I could speak to one sweet maid—
(Graceful figure!)—by her shade.
I could recognize till death,
One sweet maiden by her breath!
From the nightingale could learn
Where she tarries to discern;
There his noblest music swells
Through the portals of the dells!

   p. 138When I am from her away,
I have neither laugh nor lay!
Neither soul nor sense is left,
I am half of mind bereft;
When she comes, with grief I part,
And am altogether heart!
Songs inspired, like flowing wine,
Rush into this mind of mine;
Sense enough again comes back
To direct me in my track!
Not one hour shall I be gay,
Whilst my Morfydd is away!


By Dafydd ap Gwilym.

The girl of nobler loveliness
Than countess decked in golden dress,
No longer dares to give her plight
To meet the bard at dawn or night!
To the blythe moon he may not bear
The maid, whose cheeks the daylight wear—
She fears to answer to his call
At midnight, underneath yon wall—
Nor can he find a birchen bower
To screen her in the morning hour;
And thus the summer days are fleeting
Away, without the lovers meeting!
But stay! my eyes a bower behold,
Where maid and poet yet may meet,
Its branches are arrayed in gold,
Its boughs the sight in winter greet
With hues as bright, with leaves as green,
As summer scatters o’er the scene.
(To lure the maiden) from that brake,
For her a vesture I will make,
p. 139Bright as the ship of glass of yore,
That Merddin o’er the ocean bore;
O’er Dyfed’s hills there was a veil
In ancient days—(so runs the tale);
And such a canopy to me
This court, among the woods, shall be;
Where she, my heart adores, shall reign,
The princess of the fair domain.

   To her, and to her poet’s eyes,
This arbour seems a paradise;
Its every branch is deftly strung
With twigs and foliage lithe and young,
And when May comes upon the trees
To paint her verdant liveries,
Gold on each threadlike sprig will glow,
To honour her who reigns below.
Green is that arbour to behold,
And on its withes thick showers of gold!
Joy to the poet and the maid,
Whose paradise is yonder shade!
Oh! flowers of noblest splendour, these
Are summer’s frost-work on the trees!
A field the lovers now possess,
With saffron o’er its verdure roll’d,
A house of passing loveliness,
A fabric of Arabia’s gold—
Bright golden tissue, glorious tent,
Of him who rules the firmament,
With roof of various colours blent!
An angel, ’mid the woods of May,
Embroidered it with radiance gay—
That gossamer with gold bedight—
Those fires of God—those gems of light!
’Tis sweet those magic bowers to find,
With the fair vineyards intertwined;
Amid the wood their jewels rise,
Like gleams of starlight o’er the skies—
Like golden bullion, glorious prize!
How sweet the flowers which deck that floor,
p. 140In one unbroken glory blended—
Those glittering branches hovering o’er—
Veil by an angel’s hand extended.
Oh! if my love will come, her bard
Will, with his case, her footsteps guard,
There, where no stranger dares to pry,
Beneath yon Broom’s green canopy!


that had been converted into a may-pole in the town of llanidloes, in montgomeryshire.

By Dafydd ap Gwilym.

Ah! birch tree, with the verdant locks,
And reckless mind—long hast thou been
A wand’rer from thy native rocks;
With canopy of tissue green,
And stem that ’mid the sylvan scene
A sceptre of the forest stood—
Thou art a traitress to the wood!
How oft, in May’s short nights of old,
To my love-messenger and me
Thou didst a couch of leaves unfold!
Thou wert a house of melody,—
Proud music soared from every bough;
Ah! those who loved thee sorrow now!
Thy living branches teemed and rang
With every song the woodlands know,
And every woodland flow’ret sprang
To life—thy spreading tent below.
Proud guardian of the public way,
Such wert thou, while thou didst obey
The counsel of my beauteous bride—
And in thy native grove reside!
But now thy stem is mute and dark,
No more by lady’s reverence cheered;
p. 141Rent from its trunk, torn from its park,
The luckless tree again is reared—
(Small sign of honour or of grace!)
To mark the parish market-place!
Long as St. Idloes’ town shall be
A patroness of poesy—
Long as its hospitality
The bard shall freely entertain,
My birch! thy lofty stature shall remain!


By Dafydd ap Gwilym.

Sweet holly grove, that soarest
A woodland fort, an armed bower!
In front of all the forest
Thy coral-loaded branches tower.
Thou shrine of love, whose depth defies
The axe—the tempest of the skies;
Whose boughs in winter’s frost display
The brilliant livery of May!
Grove from the precipice suspended,
Like pillars of some holy fane;
With notes amid thy branches blended,
Like the deep organ’s solemn strain.

* * * * *

House of the birds of Paradise,
Round fane impervious to the skies;
On whose green roof two nights of rain
May fiercely beat and beat in vain!
I know thy leaves are ever scathless;
The hardened steel as soon will blight;
When every grove and hill are pathless
With frosts of winter’s lengthened night,
No goat from Hafren’s {141} banks I ween,
From thee a scanty meal may glean!
p. 142Though Spring’s bleak wind with clamour launches
His wrath upon thy iron spray;
Armed holly tree! from thy firm branches
He will not wrest a tithe away!
Chapel of verdure, neatly wove,
Above the summit of the grove!


By Dafydd ap Gwilym.

Thou swan, upon the waters bright,
In lime-hued vest, like abbot white!
Bird of the spray, to whom is giv’n
The raiment of the men of heav’n;
Bird of broad hand, in youth’s proud age,
Syvaddon was thy heritage!
Two gifts in thee, fair bird, unite
To glean the fish in yonder lake,
And bending o’er yon hills thy flight
A glance at earth and sea to take.
Oh! ’tis a noble task to ride
The billows countless as the snow;
Thy long fair neck (thou thing of pride!)
Thy hook to catch the fish below;
Thou guardian of the fountain head,
By which Syvaddon’s waves are fed!
Above the dingle’s rugged streams,
Intensely white thy raiment gleams;
Thy shirt like crystal tissue seems;
Thy doublet, and thy waistcoat bright,
Like thousand lilies meet the sight;
Thy jacket is of the white rose,
Thy gown the woodbine’s flow’rs compose, {142}
Thou glory of the birds of air,
Thou bird of heav’n, oh, hear my pray’r!
p. 143And visit in her dwelling place
The lady of illustrious race:
Haste on an embassy to her,
My kind white-bosomed messenger—
Upon the waves thy course begin,
And then at Cemaes take to shore;
And there through all the land explore,
For the bright maid of Talyllyn,
The lady fair as the moon’s flame,
And call her “Paragon” by name;
The chamber of the beauty seek,
And mount with footsteps slow and meek;
Salute her, and to her reveal
The cares and agonies I feel—
And in return bring to my ear
Message of hope, my heart to cheer!
Oh, may no danger hover near
(Bird of majestic head) thy flight!
Thy service I will well requite!


By Dafydd ap Gwilym.

Sweet May, ever welcome! the palace of leaves
Thy hand for thy wild band of choristers weaves;
Proud knight, that subduest with glory and power,
Each glen into verdure, to joy every bower;
That makest the wilderness laugh and rejoice,
In the chains of thy love, in thy cuckoo’s shrill voice;
That fillest the heart of the lover with glee,
And bringest my Morfydd’s dear image to me.

   Alas! that dark Winter thy mansions should blight,
With his chill mottled show’rs, and his flickering light,
His moon that gleams wanly through snows falling fast,
His pale mist that floats on the wings of the blast:
With the voice of each river more fearfully loud—
Every torrent all foam, and the heaven all cloud!
Alas! that stern Winter has power to divide
Each lover from hope—from the poet his bride.


By Dafydd ap Gwilym.

Hail, bird of sweet melody, heav’n is thy home;
With the tidings of summer thy bright pinions roam—
The summer that thickens with foliage the glade,
And lures to the woodland the poet and maid.
Sweet as “sack,” gentle bird, is thy beautiful voice,
In thy accents the lover must ever rejoice:
Oh! tell me at once, in thy musical lay,
Where tarries the girl whose behest I obey.

“Poor bard,” said the cuckoo, “what anguish and pain
Hast thou stored for thyself, all thy cares are in vain,
All hopes of the maid thou awaitest resign,
She has wedded another, and ne’er can be thine.”

“For the tale thou hast told”—to the cuckoo I cried,
“For thus singing to me of my beautiful bride
These strains of thy malice—may winter appear
And dim the sun’s light—stay the summer’s career;
With frost all the leaves of the forest boughs fill,
And wither the woods with his desolate chill,
And with cold in the midst of thy own forest spray,
Take thy life and thy song, foolish cuckoo, away!”


Too long I’ve loved the fickle maid,
My love is turned to grief and pain;
In vain delusive hopes I stray’d,
Through days that ne’er will dawn again;
And she, in beauty like the dawn,
From me has now her heart withdrawn!
A constant suitor—on her ear
My sweetest melodies I pour’d;
Where’er she wander’d I was near;
For her whose face my soul ador’d
My wealth I madly spent in wine,
And gorgeous jewels of the mine.
I deck’d her arms with lovely chains,
With bracelets wove of slender gold;
I sang her charms in varied strains,
Her praise to every minstrel told:
The bards of distant Keri know
That she is spotless as the snow.
These proofs of love I hoped might bind
My Morfydd to be ever true:
Alas! to deep despair consign’d,
My bosom’s blighted hopes I rue,
And the base craft that gave her charms,
Oh, anguish! to another’s arms!



[The Reverend William Williams, styled of “Pantycelyn,” a tenement which he inherited from his ancestors, was born in the parish of Llanfair-on-the-hill, in Carmarthenshire, in the year 1717.  He was educated for the ministry, and appointed to the Curacy of Llanwrtyd and Abergwesyn, in Breconshire, in 1740.  After serving for about three years he became a convert to the Welsh Puritanism of the period, introduced by the eloquence and piety of the Revs. Daniel Rowlands of Llangeitho, and Howel Harris of Trevecca, both theretofore eminent ministers of the Established Church, with whom he became a successful co-operator, not only as an eloquent preacher, but especially as the most celebrated Hymnist of Wales.  This eminent man died in 1791, and his hymns were published by his son in 1811, and Mr. Mackenzie, of Glasgow, issued a superb edition of his works with biography in 1868.]

Hasten, Israel! from the desert
   After tarrying there so long,
Milk and honey, wine and welcome
   Wait you ’mong the ransom’d throng;
Wear your arms, advance to warfare,
   Onward go, and bravely fight,
Fair the land, and there shall lead you
   Cloud by day and flame by night.

Babel’s waters are so bitter,
   There is nought but weeping still,
Zion’s harps, so sweet and tuneful,
   Do my heart with rapture fill:
Bring thou us a joyful gathering
   From the dread captivity,
And until on Zion’s mountain
   Let there be no rest for me.

p. 150In this land I am a stranger,
   Yonder is my native home,
Far beyond the stormy billows,
   Where the flowers of Canaan bloom:
Tempests wild from sore temptation
   Did my vessel long detain,
Speed, ye gentle southern breezes,
   Aid me soon to cross the main.

* * * * *

Jesus—thou my only pleasure,
   Naught like thee this world contains;
In thy name is greater treasure,
   Than in India’s golden plains;
      And this treasure,
    Jesus’ love for me obtains.

Jesus, lovely is the aspect
   Of thy gracious face divine;
Eye hath seen no fairer object,
   On this beauteous world of thine,
      Rose of Sharon,
   Heaven’s glories in thee shine.

Jesus, shield from sin’s dark errors,
   Name which every foe o’ercomes;
Death, the dreaded king of terrors,
   Death itself to thee succumbs.
      Thou hast conquered,
   Joyful praise my soul becomes.

* * * * *

Fix, O Lord, a tent in Goshen,
   Thither come and there abide,
Bow thyself from light celestial,
   And with sinful man reside.
Dwell in Zion, there continue,
   Where the holy tribes ascend;
Do not e’er desert thy people,
   Till the world in flames shall end.

p. 151I am through the lone night waiting,
   For the dawning of the day;
When my prison door is opened,
   When my fetters fall away;
      O come quickly,
   Happy day of jubilee.

Let me still be meekly wakeful,
   Trusting that to all my woes,
By thy mighty hand, Redeemer,
   Shall be given a speedy close;
      Keep me watching,
   For the joyful jubilee.

* * * * *

O’er the gloomy hills of darkness,
   Look, my soul, be still and gaze;
All the promises do travail,
   With a glorious day of grace;
      Blessed jubilee,
   May thy morning dawn apace.

Let the Indian, let the Negro,
   Let the rude Barbarian see
That divine and Godlike conquest,
   Once obtained on Calvary;
      Let the gospel,
   Loud resound from pole to pole.

* * * * *

Kingdoms wide, that sit in darkness,
   Grant them, Lord, the saving light;
And from eastern coast to western,
   May the morning chase the night;
      Pouring radiance,
   As if one day sevenfold bright.

p. 152Blessed Saviour, spread thy gospel,
   Ride and conquer, never cease;
May thy wide, thy vast dominions,
   Multiply and still increase;
      Sway thy sceptre,
   Saviour, all the world around.

* * * * *

O’er the earth, in every nation,
   Reign, Jehovah, in each place;
Take all kingdoms in possession,
   Heathen darkness thence displace;
      Fill each people,
   Sun of Righteousness, with grace.

Oh! ye heralds of salvation,
   Jesus’ mercy far proclaim;
Bear, ye seas, the sacred mission,
   Till the pagan bless his name;
      Let the gospel
   Fly on wings of heavenly flame.

Let all those in deserts dwelling,
   All on hills—in dales around,
Those who live ’midst oceans swelling,
   Jesus’ glorious praises sound;
      Till the echo
   Of his name the world surround.

* * * * *

Ride in triumph, holy Saviour,
   Go and conquer o’er the land;
Earth and hell, with all their forces,
   Now before thee cannot stand;
At the radiance of thy glory,
   Every foe must flee away;
All creation thrills with terror
   Under thine eternal sway.

p. 153Aid me, Lord, always to tarry
   In my Father’s courts below;
Live in light divine and glorious,
   Without darkness, without woe;
Live without the sun’s departure,
   Live without a cloud or pain;
Live on Jesus’ love unconquer’d,
   Who on Calvary was slain.

Let me view the great atonement,
   And the kingdom that is mine,
Which thy blood hath purchased for me,
   Sealed also as divine;
Let me daily strive to find it,
   Let this be my chief employ;
On my way I ask no favour
   But thy presence to enjoy.

* * * * *

Great Redeemer, Friend of sinners,
   Thou hast glorious power to save,
Grant me light and still conduct me
   Over each tempestuous wave;
May my soul with sacred transport
   View the dawn while yet afar,
And until the sun arises,
   Lead me by the morning star.

* * * * *

O what madness, O what folly,
   That my thoughts should go astray,
After toys and empty pleasures,
   Pleasures only for a day;
This vain world with all its treasures,
   Very soon will be no more,
There’s no object worth admiring,
   But the God whom I adore.

* * * * *

I look beyond the distant hills,
   My Saviour dear to see;
p. 154O come, Beloved, ere the dusk,
   My sun doth set on me.

Methinks that were my feet released
   From these afflicting chains,
I would but sing of Calvary,
   Nor think of all my pains.

I long for thy divine abode,
   Where sinless myriads dwell,
Who ceaseless sing thy boundless love,
   And all thy glories tell.

* * * * *

My soul’s delight I will proclaim,
   O!  Jesus ’tis thy face;
Each letter of thy holy name,
   Is full of life and grace.

Beneath thy wing, thou Saviour meek,
   I would for ever be;
No other pleasure vainly seek,
   My God, than loving thee.

Thy strength alone supports each day
   My footsteps, lest I fall;
And thy salvation is my stay,
   My joy, my song, my all.

Than combs of honey sweeter is
   Thy favour to enjoy;
In life, in death, no joy than this
   Will last without alloy.

* * * * *

Angelic throngs unnumbered,
   As dawn’s bright drops of dew,
Present their crowns before Him
   With praises ever new;
p. 155But saints and angels blending
   Their songs above the sun,
Can ne’er express the glories
   Of God with man made one.

* * * * *

   Direct unto my God,
   With speed, my cry ascend;
Present to Him this urgent plea:—
   “In mercy, Lord, attend!
   Fulfil thy gracious word,
   To bring me to thy rest;
In Salem soon my place prepare,
   And make me ever blest!”

   Down in a vale of tears,
   Where dwelt my Christ I mourn,
And in the conflict with my foes,
   My tender heart is torn;
   O heal each bleeding wound,
   With thy life-giving tree;
In Salem, Lord, above the strife,
   A place prepare for me!”


Had I but the wings of a dove,
   To regions afar I’d repair,
To Nebo’s high summit would rove,
   And look on a country more fair;
My eyes gazing over the flood,
   I’d spend the remainder of life
Beholding the Saviour so good,
   Who for sinners expired in strife.

* * * * *

Once I steered through the billows,
   On a dark, relentless night,
Stripped of sail—the surge so heinous,
   And no refuge within sight.
Strength and skill alike were ended,
   Nought, but sinking in the tide,
While amid the gloom appeared
   Bethlehem’s star to be my guide.

* * * * *

   Of all the ancient race,
   Not one be left behind,
But each, impell’d by secret grace,
   His way to Canaan find.

   Rebuilt by His command,
   Jerusalem shall rise;
Her temple on Moriah stand
   Again, and touch the skies.

   Send then thy servants forth,
   To call the Hebrews home;
From east and west, and south and north,
   Let all the wanderers come.

   p. 157With Israel’s myriads seal’d
   Let all the nations meet,
And show the mystery fulfill’d,
   The family complete.

* * * * *

Teach me Aaron’s thoughtful silence
   When corrected by the rod;
Teach me Eli’s acquiescence,
   Saying, “Do thy will, my God;”
Teach me Job’s confiding patience,
   Dreading words from pride that flow,
For thou, Lord, alone exaltest,
   And thou only layest low.

* * * * *

Who cometh from Edom with might,
   Far brighter than day at its dawn?
He routed and conquered his foes,
   And trampled the giants alone;
His garments were dyed with their blood,
   His sword and his arrows stood strong,
His beauty did fill the whole land,
   While travelling in greatness along.

* * * * *

He who darts the winged light’ning,
   Walks upon the foaming wave;
Send forth arrows of conviction,
   Here exert thy power to save;
Burst the bars of Satan’s prison,
   Snatch the firebrand from the flame,
Fill the doubting with assurance,
   Teach the dumb to sing thy name.

* * * * *

The clouds, O Lord, do scatter,
   Between me and thy face;
Reveal to me the glory
   Of thy redeeming grace;
Speak thou in words of mercy,
   While in distress I call;
And let me taste forgiveness,
   Through Christ, my all-in-all.


By Rev. Rees Prichard, M.A.

Translated by the Rev. William Evans.

[Any collection of Welsh poetry that does not contain a portion of the poems of the “Good Vicar Prichard of Llandovery” would be incomplete.  This excellent man was born at Llandovery, in Carmarthenshire, in the year 1579, and died there in 1644.  After a collegiate course in Oxford he was inducted to the Vicarage of his native parish, and received successively afterwards the appointments of Prebendary, and Chancellor of St. David’s.  He composed a multitude of religious poems and pious carols, which were universally popular among his contemporaries and had great influence upon the Welsh of after-times.  They were collected and published after his death under the title of “Canwyll y Cymry,” or “The Candle of the Welsh,” of which about twenty editions have appeared.  The “Welshman’s Caudle” has for the last two hundred and fifty years found a place beside the Holy Bible in the bookshelf of almost every native of the Principality, and has been consecrated by the nation.  It consists of pious advice and religious exhortation suited to all conditions and circumstances of life.  An English translation of the poems was published by Messrs. Longman & Co., in 1815.]

O Thou! by whom the universe was made,
Mankind’s support, and never failing aid,
   Who bid’st the earth her various products bear,
Who waterest the soft’ned soil with rain,
Who givest vegetation to the grain,
   Unto a peasant’s ardent pray’r give ear!

I now intend, with care, my land to dress,
   And in its fertile womb to sow my grain;
Which, if, O God! thou deignest not to bless,
   I never shall receive, or see again.

p. 159In vain it is to plant, in vain to sow,
   In vain to harrow well the levell’d plain,
If thou wilt not command the seed to grow,
   And shed thy blessing on the bury’d grain.

For not a single corn will rush to birth
   Of all that I’ve entrusted to the earth,
If thou dost not enjoin the blade to spring
   And the young shoot to full perfection bring.

I therefore beg thy blessing on my lands,
   O Lord! and on the labour of my hands,
That I thereby, may as a Christian, live,
   And my support, and maintenance receive!

Open the windows of the skies, and pour
   Thy blessings on them in a genial show’r;
My corn with earth’s prolific fatness feed,
   And give increase to all my cover’d seed!

Let not the skies, like brass in fusion, glow,
   Nor the earth, with heat, as hard as iron grow,
Let not our pastures and our meads of hay,
   For our supine neglect of Thee, decay!

But give us in good time and measure meet,
   A temp’rate season, and sufficient heat,
Give us the former and the latter rains,
   Give peace and plenty to the British swains.

The locust and the cankerworm restrain,
   The dew that blights and tarnishes the grain,
The drought, the nipping winds, the lightning’s glare,
   Which to the growing corn pernicious are.

O, let the year be with thy goodness crown’d,
   Let it with all thy choicest gifts abound,
Let bleating flocks each fertile valley fill,
   And lowing herds adorn each rising hill.

p. 160Give to the sons of men their daily bread,
   Give grass to the mute beasts, that crop the mead,
Give wine and oil to those that till the field,
   And let thy heritage abundance yield.

Give us a harvest with profusion crown’d,
   Let ev’ry field and fold with corn abound,
Let herbs each garden, fruit each orchard fill,
   Let rocks their honey, kine their milk distill.

Prosper our handy work thou gracious God,
   And further our endeavours with success:
So, on our knees, shall we thy name applaud,
   And night and morn our benefactor bless.


By Rev. Rees Prichard, M.A.

Translated by the Rev. William Evans.

As a wise child excells the sceptr’d fool
Who of conceit and selfishness is full—
As a good name exceeds the best perfume,
And richest balms that from the Indies come.

A virtuous, cheerful, and obliging wife
Is better far than all the pomp of life,
Better than houses, tenements and lands,
Than pearls and precious stones, and golden sands.

She is a ship with costly wares well-stow’d,
A pearl, with virtues infinite endow’d,
A gem, beyond all value and compare:
Happy the man, who has her to his share!

p. 161She is a pillar with rich gildings grac’d,
And on a pedestal of silver plac’d,
She is a turret of defence, to save
A weak and sickly husband from the grave,
She is a gorgeous crown, a glorious prize,
And ev’ry grace, in her, concent’red lies!


By Rev. Rees Prichard, M.A.

Translated by the Rev. William Evans.

My shepherd is the Lord above,
Who ne’er will suffer me to rove;
In Him I’ll trust, he is so good,
He’ll never let me want for food.

To pastures green and flow’ry meads,
His happy flock he gently leads,
Where water in abundance flows,
And where luxuriant herbage grows.

When o’er my bounds I chance to roam,
My shepherd finds and brings me home;
And when I wander o’er the plain,
He drives me to the fold again.

Or should I hap to lose my way,
And in death’s gloomy valley stray,
I need not ever be dismay’d,
For God himself will be my aid.

In whate’er pasture I abide,
He still is present at my side;
His rod, his crook, his shepherd’s staff,
In every path shall keep me safe.

p. 162My soul with comfort overflows,
In spite of all my numerous foes;
And thou with richness hast, O Lord!
And plenty crown’d my crowded board.

His precious balms, my God hath shed,
Upon my highly favoured head:
And with the blessings of the Lord,
My larder is completely stor’d.

His bounty and his mercies past,
Shall follow me unto the last;
And, for his favours shown to me,
His house, my home shall ever be.

To God, the Father—and the Son—
And Holy Spirit—Three-in-one,
Let us our bounden homage pay,
Each hour, each moment of the day!


By Rev. Rees Prichard, M.A.

Translated by the Rev. W. Evans.

Man’s life, like any weaver’s shuttle, flies,
Or, like a tender flow’ret, droops and dies,
Or, like a race, it ends without delay,
Or, like a vapour, vanishes away,

Or, like a candle, in each moment wastes,
Or, like a packet under sail, it hastes,
Or, like a courier, travels very fast,
Or, like the shadow of a cloud, ’tis past.

Strong is our foe, but very weak the fort,
Our death is certain, and our time is short;
But as the hour of death’s a secret still,
Let us be ready, come He when he will.


By the Rev. Rees Prichard, M.A.

Translated by the Rev. William Evans.

God doth withhold no good from those
   Who meekly fear him here below;
On them he grace and fame bestows,
   Nor loss, nor cross they e’er shall know.

Cast thou on him thy troubles all,
   And he will thee with plenty feed;
He will not let the righteous fall,
   Nor ever suffer them to need.

God says (of that advantage make)!
   “Open thy mouth, I will thee feed;”
Pains in some honest calling take,
   And all thy labours shall succeed.

Though lions, and their young beside,
   Are oft distress’d for want of food;
Yet they, who in their God confide,
   Shall never want for aught that’s good.

God gives the sinful pagan food,
   Supplies the Ethiopian’s need,
His very foes he fills with good,
   And shall he not his servants feed?

p. 164At too much riches never aim,
   But be content with what is thine;
God never will those folks disclaim,
   Who duly keep his laws divine.

Implore God’s help in every ill,
   He is the Giver of all good;
But should’st thou trust thy wit and skill,
   Thou’lt lose the prize that by thee stood.

Full many a man still lives in need,
   Because on God he ne’er rely’d;
Full many a one still begs his bread,
   Who did in his own strength confide.

Since God is always to them kind,
   Why do they die for want of aid?
Because they on their strength reclin’d,
   And ne’er for his assistance pray’d.

God never knows the least repose,
   But for his servants still prepares;
Whilst at our ease we sweetly doze,
   He daily for his household cares.

Say, can a mother e’er forget
   Her charge, her sucking babe neglect?
Should even maternal fondness set,
   God will his servants recollect.

Ere thou shalt woe or want behold,
   (If thou dost truly God obey)
He’ll tell a fish to fetch thee gold,
   Thy just expenses to defray.

Though, like the widow’s meal, thy store
   Should be but small—yet in a trice
(If thou dost strictly God adore)
   He’ll make that little store suffice.

p. 165Do not on thy own arm rely,
   Thy strength or thy superior skill,
But on thy friend, the Lord most high!
   If thou would’st be preserv’d from ill.

God feeds the warblers of the wood,
   And clothes the lilies of the plain;
God gives to all things living food,
   And will he not his sons sustain?

The ravens neither sow nor reap,
   They have no barns to house their seed;
Yet God does even the ravens keep,
   And them, through every season, feed.

Observe the lily, and the rose,
   To toil and spin they ne’er were given;
Yet God on them a robe bestows,
   More rich than monarch’s vesture even.

On God, each living creature’s eyes
   Are fix’d—he, with a parent’s care,
The wants of all the world supplies,
   And gives to each its proper share.

He opes his bounteous hand full wide,
   And feeds each animal that lives,
And ne’er leaves any unsupplied,
   But to them all due measure gives.

He to the lion’s cubs gives food,
   To each fierce rambler of the wild,
To the black raven’s glossy brood,
   And shall he not to every child?

Thou dost not drop a single hair,
   Without a providence divine;
No sparrow tumbles from the air,
   Nought haps which God did not design.

p. 166Already has God’s providence
   To thee, breath, being, strength allow’d—
Health, knowledge, reason, memory, sense,
   Will he not, think’st thou, give thee food?

Two sparrows, as they are so small,
   Are purchas’d for a single mite;
Though little, yet God feeds them all,
   Art thou less precious in his sight?

Though God, for all his creatures here
   With a most lib’ral hand provides;
Yet is the soul of man more dear
   To him, than all his works besides.

On God, thy cares and troubles lay—
   For thee, he always is in pain;
If Christ thou truly dost obey,
   A sure reward thou shalt obtain.


{59}  The Goryn Ddû (black crown), is surmounted by a circular ancient British station, in a very perfect state, about a mile from Trwst Llywelyn, on the other side of the river, up the vale: like the ancient Mathraval, it is situated in a wood.

{61}  Trwst Llywelyn is only four or five miles from the nearest point of Shropshire; and the inhabitants, except the very old people, do not understand the Welsh language.

{62}  Anglesey.

{65}  King of the Fairies.

{75a}  The battle of Maelor, fought with the English in the 12th century, by Owen Cyveiliog, prince of Powys, who composed the admired poem called Hirlas, or the Drinking Horn, on the victory he obtained.

{75b}  The battle of the Britons and Saxons at Bangor Is Coed, in the 7th century.

{75c}  “Before the prince himself there was vast confusion, havoc, conflict, horrible consternation, and upon Tal Moelvre, a thousand banners.”—Panegyric on Owain Gwynedd.  Evans’s Specimens of the
Welsh Bards, p. 26.

{76}  The captive Welsh nobles, either hostages or prisoners of war, who were detained in the Tower of London, obtained permission that their libraries should be sent them from Wales, to amuse them in their solitude and confinement.  This was a frequent practice, so that in process of time the Tower became the principal repository of Welsh literature.  The present poverty of ancient Welsh manuscripts may be dated from the time when the history and poetry of our country received a fatal blow in the loss of those collected at London, by the villainy of one Scolan, who burned them.

{77}  The poet, and author of the elegy written in a country churchyard.

{81}  Snowdon.

{86}  This prophecy of Taliesin relating to the Ancient Britons is still extant, and has been strikingly verified:—

“Their God they’ll adore,
Their language they’ll keep,
Their country they’ll lose,
Except wild Wales.”

{87a}  Ynys Cedeirn, or Isle of the Mighty, an ancient name given to Britain.

{87b}  Uthyr Pendragon, King of Britain, supposed to have been the father of Arthur.

{87c}  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 been conjectured that this poem referred to the tradition of the Welsh, that the whole island had 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 the spoils, the bard, for the performance of this song, was rewarded with the most valuable beast that remained.—See Jones’s Historical Account of the Welsh Bards.

{88}  Ynys Prydain, the ancient name of Britain, signifies the Fair, or Beautiful Island.

{91}  This lady was born near the beautiful Breidden hills in Montgomeryshire.

{92}  The bards.

{94a}  King of Britain, and of Bretagne in France, celebrated for his prowess.  He and his famous Knights of the Round Table are the themes of much romance.

{94b}  A great battle was fought at Gamlan, between the Welsh and Saxons in 512, where King Arthur was slain.

{96}  The death of Rhûn overwhelmed his father (Owain Gwynedd) with grief, from which he was only roused by the ravages of the English, then in possession of Mold Castle; he levelled it with the ground, and, it is said, forgot his sorrow in his triumph.

{97}  Flower Aspect, vide the Mabinogion.

{141}  “Hafren,” the river Severn.

{142}  These words “doublet,” “jacket,” &c., are English words applied sportively by the poet.

john pryse, printer, llanidloes.


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