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The gentry of Wales are uncultured, un-literary even illiterate enough to-day in all conscience. What they were two hundred and fifty years ago it were hard to estimate. It
therefore another thing carrying good in it, that in their 10th or 11th year, the twins were committed educationally to the custody of the Rector of Llangattock. He was a man of blood as “gentle' as their own, and for Wales and the period, of exceptionally advanced scholastic acquirements and tastes. By presentation' of a relative of the house of Pembroke he had settled at Llangattock, and through life held only another semi-sinecure post : and gave himself up to study. I have failed to trace any printed evidence of his faculty : but Henry and Thomas Vaughan are never weary in uttering their reverence and love. In the secular Poetry I have translated for the first time the Silurist's auto-biographic "Ad Posteros" : and thither the Reader is referred. I can only find quotation-room for our rendering of Thomas Vaughan's little (Latin) verse-dedication of his portion of Thalia Rediviva". The Latin appears in its place : this is our English of it :
| Vol. II. pp. 172-175.
“Receive my first-fruits, O Herbert endear'd!
Receive thine own : for thou indeed them rear'd :
A painted rose beside a rose cew-wet :
Bears still the thymy flavour from thee caught."
So throughout : at the most plastic, impressionable age, HENRY VAUGHAN was under the formative influence of a master-mind. Sooth to say I don't imagine that the Master'cared much to initiate or sustain the lads in their native Welsh. Judging from the Silurist's blunders (as I am told) in printing the small fragments of Welsh that occur in the “ Mount of Olives" and from his somewhat wide translation of "White-Hall' for 'WhiteGrove' or 'Fair-height", in a simple name of a friend's residence, and his irreverent-as your true Welsh enthusiast would say – reduction of Yscythrog into plain Sketh-rock, oblivious of the Prince of Powys, it is pretty certain our Worthy
critical knowledge of the be-lauded tongue. One and one only specimen of his composition in Welsh has been transmitted. It escaped Mr. Lyte, and has never been so far as I am aware, quoted. It occurs among the tributary Verses prefixed to one of the (now) extremely rare books of Dr. Thomas Powell of Cantreff, viz. “Quadriga Salutis" (1657), and has for signature not Henry Vaughan, Siluris, as usual, but 01. Vaughan, i. e. the Uscan Swan, in allusion to his « Olor Iscanus' and that again to the old legend of the Swan's singing before death,--a legend-name applied in our own day to Rossini, as of Pesaro”. I give these lines verbatim ot literatim as copied from the “ Quadriga", as follows:
i See additional Notes and Illustrations at close of Vol. IV. for details on the Welsh quotations, &c
is the swan
Y Pader, Pan trier, Duw-tri a'i dodedd
which I thus versity :
The Lord's Prayer when into it we look
Perceivèd is a gift of God tri-une:
Base of all doctrine and pray’r importune.
From “Quadriga Salvtis or the Four General Heads of Christian Religion surveyed and explained....1657”. See additional Notes and Illustrations, at end of Vol. IV. as before on Vanghan's Welsh.
To one of THOMAS Vaughan's minor pieces-at close of the present volume-is prefixed a tence from "Anthroposophia Magica" semiapologetic because of Welsh being native, and English foreign to him. It wasn't practically so with Henry. Altogether our “sweet Singer's birth-place and early training, actualized to himself Claudian's “ Old Man of Verona" as sympathetically translated in “ Thalia Rediviva " thus :
“ Most happy man! who in his own sweet fields
(6) FkIENDSHIPS AND ASSOCIATES. I do not find contemporary names of mark at Jesus College, Oxford, while the brothers were in attendance there. The volumes of laudatory Verse— Latin and Greek-issued during the period, bear few vital signatures. The initials of the Silurist's own praisers and praised of him, remain, (as yet) unverified. There is a group of W's of whom it were to be wished we knew more. I have
1 Vol. II. p 256.
noted the WAREINGs and Watkins of the prefatory poems to WILLIAM CARTWRIGHT's volume – to which Henry Vaughan contributed – but identification is scarcely helped thereby. I have also had the names sent me of a Captain Robert Walfole, who fell at Newbury, (1613) and of a Captain Robert Walcott, “shot' in 1642: but the dates shew neither was our Worthy's R. W., who did not ‘fall, until 1615.
It is the more disappointing that we can't (at present) trace these W's, in that one of them, I. W., edited “ Thalia Rediviva” and another C. W. is 'wept' in one of the Silurist's most exquisite secular poems. I am not without hope that these references may yet bring us light by some lucky accident, especially as C. W. is announced to have died “ in the year of redemption, 1653.".
Outside of this group of W's there is the unlifted shadow of two life-long sorrows lying across “ Silex Scintillans”. The first I believe to have been the premature death of his (first) wife : the second, the equally premature death of a younger brother.
I pause on both. First, the
See the Poem-a very memorable one - Vol. II, pp 207-211.