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The good lady at the Rest regretted to lose her friends, especially Bessie; but the companionship of Lizette Stutzer prevented her contemplating the separation with so much pain as she might otherwise have done. Her protegée returned with ardour her affection and kindness. In every way it seemed likely that the hopes she had early formed of having her for a tender friend in days of age and infirmity would be realized.

"My dear Mrs. Meiklam," said Mrs. Pilmer, when she came to the Rest to inform her friend, in person, of the day appointed for her journey from Yaxley, "you know we should never have thought of going to London, were it not for the sake of dear Bessie, for whom I am inclined to sacrifice my own wishes completely. It will be a great expense to us to live near London, where everything is so enormously dear; but we must sacrifice much for our children. Parents cannot be so selfish as to overlook what is for the interests of sons and daughters."

"And yet, how often do we find parents neglecting what is most essential to their children's welfare-while they are lavishing money on worldly matters, forgetting the spiritual."

"Very true, my dear friend, and I am often sad in thinking of it; yet I humbly trust it is not my own case. I endeavour to set Bessie as good an example as possible; for I say to my self, "Ah, if the mother walks in a crooked path, must not the child follow.'


"And yet, not always," observed Mrs. Meiklam, fixing her eyes on Mrs. Pilmer's face. "You will see sometimes children quite different from their parents. I do not think Bessie is one bit like you-not an atom."

"When I was young, I was more like her," said the lady, colouring slightly. "I had very much that colour of hair and complexion."

"I don't mean in appearance," replied Mrs. Meiklam quietly. There

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"Oh, truly delighted: it will be such an ease to my mind! I will be so anxious to hear frequently of you. Dear Lizette might write very often to us. Do not let us be without getting letters three times a week. In fact I should like to hear every day."

My dear, we shall have little to tell you of; our quiet life will not afford much to write about-but since you are so anxious, I will make Lizette write occasionally to you.

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"I shall be miserable if you do not. If a week goes by without a letter coming, I will be so uneasy-fancying all sorts of things.'

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"Letter-writing, my dear Mrs. Pilmer, must be looked upon as a waste of time, when there is nothing particular to say. I cannot promise that Lizette will write oftener than once a week, at the utmost, unless I am ill; but now that we are speaking of letters "Impress upon Bessie, Mrs. Pil--will you tell me why it is that Dilmer," continued Mrs. Meiklam, with some solemnity, "that wealth, pomp, or vanity, can never bring her lasting, scarcely even ephemeral, happiness."

was a pause.

lon never writes to me? I have never heard but once from him since he went, so long ago, to Germany."

“Boys do so hate writing letters !"

exclaimed Mrs. Pilmer. "I have to scold him very much for neglecting his correspondence. Sometimes cannot sleep at night, he is so long answering my letters."

"But surely his schoolmaster would inform you if anything was wrong with him."


Oh, yes, I know that, and I suppose he knows it too; and so he goes on amusing himself without thinking about old friends at home. How delighted he was to get away from Yaxley! But how could we expect feeling from a boy like that, or gratitude, or anything of that sort? I never do, and so I am never disappointed. If he chooses to forget his kind friends at Yaxley, it may be his own loss, that's all." And Mrs. Pilmer sighed, while Mrs. Meiklam looked thoughtfully out of the window on the far spread

ing landscape of wood and park stretched away below.

That evening when Mrs. Pilmer went home, she added a postscript to a letter intended for Dillon Crosbie, writing thus :



Poor Mrs. Meiklam seems to me to grow different from what she was; she never asks about you, or appears to care if you were dead or alive, which surprises me; but old people become capricious and hardened from day to day. I think she wishes to wean herself from her relatives, and resents their interference in the smallest matter. She fancies everyone that pays her attention is only wanting to get her money-so I am just as glad we are leaving her neighbourhood-it is so mean to be suspected of legacyhunting."


CERTAIN discouragements and difficultles beset almost all untried departments of literature or science; but Celtic researches labour under peculiar disadvantages. There has been so much exaggeration on both sides, such exalted claims on the one hand, such undue depreciation on the other, that reasonable men in perplexity and despair have gladly turned their attention to studies, which, at all events, did not involve the preliminary drudgery of acquiring difficult languages.

It must be confessed that, especially among the Welsh, unwise and injudicious advocacy has prejudiced the cause. Many poems have been ascribed to Taliesin and the early bards, which modern criticism has proved to be the production of the middle ages; while an over-strained ingenuity has tried to discover, in these and other poems, a mystical Druidism which really never had any existence, except in the excited fancies of the commentators who enlarged upon them.

In order to limit the inquiry, we leave as an open question the existence of the early bards, who are said to have flourished in the fifth or sixth century of our era, and pass on to the numerous bards who undoubtedly made their appearance at the com

mencement of the twelfth. Whether this manifestation ought to be called the origin or the revival of literature in Wales, must depend upon the solution of the problem, which we dccline for the present investigating ; but we may remark that the manifestation took place two full centuries before the time of Chaucer, who is usually termed the Father of English Poetry.

That the bardic system was an essential part of the national institutions in Wales, and that even in the tenth century the bards took an honourable position at the king's court, is amply proved if we accept the laws ascribed to Howel the Good, who reigned 940-948. Among the high officials of the court, the Household Bard held the eighth place, ranking next to the judge in the royal Hall; it was his duty to record the history of the house, and to keep the genealogical register. When a song was required, the chaired bard begun, singing first in honour of God, then in praise of the king; after which the household bard followed with three songs on various subjects. At the queen's request, it was his duty to sing in her chamber, yet with a lower voice, so as not to disturb conversation in the hall. In war he went out with the army, and was


bound to sing before the battle, as well as at the division of the spoil, the hymn Unbeniaeth Prydain, i.e. the Monarchy (literally the one headship') of Britain." In return for these duties he had many rights and privileges, upon which we need not enter more particularly.

The established bards were always anxious to mark the distinction between themselves and the wandering minstrels, who went from house to house, singing the praise of chieftains, or subsisting upon contributions of the common people. But as the bards themselves, though established in the houses of lords, were in the habit of making a tour of the country once in three years, there were many occasions of rivalry, and a perpetual feud was kept up between the bards and the minstrels. Attempts were made to effect an accommodation, by which the principal bards should confine themselves to the houses of the chieftains, and not enter the dwell ings of the common people; but it was impossible to prevent collisions where personal rivalry as well as self-interest were certain to act powerfully on both sides.


From the death of Cadwallader, 689, to the year 1080, few poems of any great merit were produced; but towards the end of the eleventh and the beginning of the twelfth century a host of bards made their appearance; the compositions were of a superior character, and princes entered the arena of poetic rivalry.. This development coincided, in some measure, with the general awakening which took place in Europe. during the terrible night of the tenth century, the famines and pestilences which decimated the population caused universal depression, giving rise to a belief that the end of the world was at hand; and the year 1000 was fixed upon as the year of final judgment. But after protracted terror, during which the sound of the last trumpet was hourly expected, when the fatal year 1000 passed away without any special catastrophe, the world took courage, and entered with new zest upon the life and the pleasures which had been so nearly threatened. Men began to work, to build, and to sing; an architecture, unknown before, erected those magnificent cathedrals, the glory of that age and the

admiration of our own; while poetry, in Northern France, gave utterance to the romantic epos, and in the sunny South produced the exquisite lyrics of the troubadours. The Norman conquests and the Crusades represented the enterprise of the age, tempered, however, and refined by the spirit of chivalry.

How far the literary movement in Wales was influenced by the reaction in Europe, it would not be easy to determine; but certainly the Cymry were better prepared, than most other European nations, for development in poetry and literature. They spoke a cultivated language understood by all classes of the people; and we have seen that they possessed an order of bards, already numerous and welltrained. They were, besides, in the habit of holding poetical and musical congresses, called "eisteddfods," which were expressly designed to encourage artistic competition. For example, an eisteddfod was held in 1077, by Rhys ab Tudor, who assumed the sovereignty of South Wales : and and it is stated that he brought from Brittany "the system of the Round Table, which at home had been quite forgotten; and he restored it, with regard to minstrels and bards, as it had been at Caerlleon-upon-Usk,under the Emperor Arthur." In all probability, the system of the Round Table was an Armorican (or Breton) invention, and had never been known in the island of Britain, before this time: but the fact of the meeting itself is corroborated by accounts of similar conventions at Conway and Cardigan.

Still more remarkable was the eisteddfod held at Caerwys, in 1100, by Gruffydd ab Cynan, King of North Wales, whose career is so important in the history of Cymric literature, that we must dwell upon it for a moment. His father, being banished from Wales, took refuge in Ireland, where Gruffydd was born and educated. Here he seems to have acquired peculiar views of poetry and music, which he afterwards introduced in his own country, though the extent of his influence has been the subject of much discussion. In course of time, Gruffydd came over from Ireland to claim the patrimony of his father from the usurper, Trahaearn, whom he eventually defeated

at the battle of Carno, A.D., 1080. When the country had been pacified, and he was fully established upon the throne of North Wales, he turned his thoughts to the cultivation of music and poetry; but, from his residence in Ireland, he appears to have fallen in love with the bagpipe, and wished to introduce the use of that instrument into Wales. The Welsh disliked the pipes, preferring the harp, and the cruth (a kind of violin); hence at the Caerwys eisteddfod, it was a Scot" that won the prize for instrumental performance; and the king gave him a silver pipe as a reward for his skill.


The Scot in question was most probably an Irishman, for at this period the name was constantly given to natives of Erin, and the island itself was often termed Scotia Major. It is also worthy of remark that crwth, Latinized chrotta, appears in the form rote, a word that has often puzzled the readers of old French and old English poetry.

But on the same occasion at Caerwys, under the care of Gruffydd ab Cynan, laws were made for regulating minstrelsy by four doctors or professors, one of whom was Matholwch the Gwyddelian (i.e. the Irishman). These doctors laid down rules for the performance of stringed instruments, the harp and the crwth they also drew up twenty-four musical canons, and established twenty-four metres. At this time, we are told, Murchan was sovereign of Ireland, and confirmed these rules at Glynachalch, by all his prerogative and influence, cominanding all to maintain them."

Dr. Powel is inclined to think, that the Irish musicians framed all the instrumental music now in use among the Welsh; but, on the other hand, the Rev. Thomas Price most positively denies that the music of the Welsh is in any way indebted to these Irish teachers. That able critic, Mr. Thomas Stephens, takes a middle path between the two extremes; he refers the introduction of the pipes to the reign of Gruffydd ab Cynan, for previously we find no mention of any but stringed instruments; but he maintains that no revolution was effected in the musical taste of the Welsh, since the harp ever remained the honoured instrument of the nation. Mr. Price allows, and this is


an important admission, that the names of several of the metres are Irish; and that the framers of the Welsh musical code were guided, to some extent, by the principles of the Irish system. Those who are acquainted with the traditions of Ireland would do well to inquire, whether any record exists of this bardic communication between the two countries.

The golden period of Cymric poetry, in the Middle Ages, extended from the accession of Gruffydd ab Cynan (1080), or rather from the Caerwys eisteddfod (1100) to the reign of Llewelyn the Great (1194-1240), when it attained its highest glory; and continued until the death of Llewelyn, the last of the Cymric princes (1282). His death, and the loss of national independence, damped the ardour of the poets, who could no longer dwell with patriotic pride upon the condition of their country, but were drawn in the direction of amatory and pastoral composition. However, speaking generally, we may consider the period as occupying two hundred years-the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Within fifty years, then, after the accession of Gruffydd ab Cynan, a number of eminent bards appeared, many of whom occupied high rank in the country, then divided in three parts-Gwynedd, or North Wales Deheubarth, or South Wales; and Powys, an east-central province comprising parts of Cheshire and Shropshire. Among the bards of distinguished ability, we find Owain Cyveiliog (pronounced Civiliog), Prince of Powys, and Howel, one of the sons of Owain Gwynedd (i.e. Owen, King of North Wales).

The chief production of Owain Cyveiliog is the Hirlas, one of the longest poems of the twelfth century. The "hirlas" was a drinking horn, long, blue, and rimmed with silver, which was filled with mead, and passed at banquets, first to one guest, and then to another, in order of distinction. The plan of the poem is the following. The prince imagines all his warriors assembled at night in his palace, after an engagement which had taken place in the morning. Sitting at the head of the banquet, he bids his cup-bearer fill the Hirlas; and as the horn is handed to each chief in succession, he enumerates the


warrior's feats, ingeniously diversifying the praise bestowed upon each. One of the passages exhibits a fine touch of pathos. Having ordered the cup to be borne to Moreiddig, he associates Tudyr with him, and bestows high praise upon that trusty and most amiable pair. But turning to greet them, he finds their places vacant, and suddenly recollects that they had fallen in the morning's conflict. At once his joy is converted into anguish, and in broken terms of grief, he exclaims-

"Ah! the cry of death-And do I miss them?

O lost Moreiddig-How sorely shall I need thee!"

Another of his poems illustrates a national custom. At this period the king visited his subjects, at stated times, to receive his revenue, and hold his court. In an ode addressed to his messenger, he bids him bear the news of his approach to the places he intends to visit, urging him to press forward, and not to loiter on the way The exhortation to Malise, in "The Lady of the Lake," though for a more deadly purpose, is not more urgent.

The next princely poet was Howel, son of Owain Gwynedd. His mother was the daughter of an Irish chieftain, and he was famed, in early youth, for skill and genius. Upon the death of his father, 1169, some disputes arose respecting the succession; but Howel, being the eldest son, seized the reins of government, and reigned prosperously for two years. The death of his maternal grandfather occurring at this time, he went to Ireland to take possession of the territory which devolved upon his mother; but during his absence, David, a younger brother, proclaimed himself King of North Wales. Howel, hearing of this, returned with the utmost despatch; but as David brought superior numbers into the field, Howel was defeated and mortally wounded.

Most of this prince's poems are devoted to the passion of love. In the following translation an attempt is made to convey something of the spirit of one of them :

"Give me the fair, the gentle maid,

Of slender form, in mantle green; Whose woman's wit is ever staid,

Adorned by virtue's graceful mien.

Give me the maid whose heart with mine
Shall blend each thought, each hope com-

Then, maiden, fair as ocean's spray,
With Cymric genius, bright and gay,
Say, am I thine?`

And art thou mine?"
What! silent now?

This silence makes my bosom glow;
I choose thee, maiden, for thy gifts di-

'Tis right to choose-then, fairest, choose me thine."

Few men have ever shown a more consummate mastery over the language, and none a truer sense of the beautiful in nature, than Gwalchmai, who has left fourteen pieces, many of them addressed to Owain Gwynedd. Among the odes which he addressed to Owain Gwynedd, the most popular is one which he composed on the occasion of a victory obtained over a sailed from the shores of Ireland, and fleet of Norwegian pirates, who had attacked the coast of Anglesea. The remarks, are very bold, and are poured images in this ode, as Bishop Percy forth with such rapidity as argues an uncommon force of imagination. His great merit consists in this, that the hints he drops, and the images he throws out, supply the absence of minute detail, and excite as grand a picture as the closest description

could have done.

The poet Gray, in his "Triumphs of Owen," has translated part of this ode, and has been very successful in In the original, the carnage is derendering the most powerful passage. scribed as so tremendous, that Menai ebbed not for the tide of blood; and the passage is thus given by Mr. Parry :-

"Spear rings on spear, flight urges flight, And drowning victims plunge to-night; Till Menai's overburthened tide, Wide-blushing, with the streaming gore,

And choked with carnage, ebbs no more.".

This is too diffuse. Gray is closer to the original, and much more vigorous:

"There the thundering strokes begin, There the press, and there the din; Talymalfra's rocky shore

Echoing to the battle's roar:

Checked by the torrent-tide of blood,
Backward Menai rolls his flood."

The greatest bard of this period

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