Robert Southey (1774-1843)
London: Longman Rees and Orme, 1805
(1812 third edition text used here)
M A D O C,
OMNE SOLUM FORTI PATRIA.
L O N D O N:
PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND BROWN,
[ vii ]
THE historical facts on which this Poem is founded may be related in a few words. On the death of Owen Gwyneth, King of North Wales, A.D. 1169, his children disputed the succession. Yorwerth, the elder, was set aside without a struggle, as being incapacitated by a blemish in his face. Hoel, though illegitimate and born of an Irish mother, obtained possession of the throne for a while, till he was defeated and slain by David, the eldest son of the late king by a second wife. The conqueror, who then succeeded without opposition, slew Yorwerth, imprisoned Rodri, and hunted others of his brethren into exile. But
Madoc, meantime, abandoned his barbarous country, and sailed away to the West in search of some better resting-place. The land which he discovered pleased him: he left there part of his people, and went back to Wales for a fresh supply of adventurers, with whom he again set sail, and was heard of no more. Strong evidence has been adduced that he reached America, and that his posterity exist there to this day, on the southern branches of the Missouri, retaining their complexion, their language, and, in some degree, their arts.
About the same timer the Aztecas, an American tribe, in consequence of certain calamities and of a particular omen, forsook Aztlan, their own country, under the guidance of Yuhidthiton. They became a mighty people, and founded the Mexican empire, talking the
name of Mexicans, in honor of Mexitli, their tutelary god. Their emigration is here connected with the adventures of Madoc; and their superstition is represented as the same which their descendants practised, when discovered by the Spaniards. The manners of the Poem, in both its parts, will be found historically true. It assumes not the degraded title of Epic; and the question, therefore, is not whether the story is formed upon the rules of Aristotle, but whether it be adapted to the purposes of poetry.
[ x ]
Three things must be avoided in Poetry; the frivolous, the obscure, and the superfluous.
The three excellences of Poetry; simplicity of language, simplicity of subject, and simplicity of invention.
The three indispensable purities of Poetry; pure truth, pure language, and pure manners.'
Three things should all Poetry be; thoroughly erudite, thoroughly animated, and thoroughly natural.
[ xi ]
COME, FOR YE KNOW ME. I AM HE WHO SANG
THE MAID OF ARC, AND I AM HE WHO FRAMED
OF THALABA THE WILD AND WONDROUS SONG.
COME, LISTEN TO MY LAY; AND YE SHALL HEAR
HOW MADOC FROM THE SHORES OF BRITAIN SPREAD
THE ADVENTUROUS SAIL, EXPLORED THE OCEAN-PATHS,
AND QUELLED BARBARIAN POWER, AND OVERTHREW
THE BLOODY ALTARS OF IDOLATRY,
AND PLANTED IN ITS FANES TRIUMPHANTLY
THE CROSS OF CHRIST. COME, LISTEN TO MY LAY!
[ xiv ]
012 2. The Marriage Feast
020 3. Cadwallon
034 4. The Voyage
044 5. Lincoya
054 6. Erillyah
066 7. The Battle
075 8. The Peace
088 9. Emma
093 10. Mathraval
102 11. The Gorsedd
110 12. Dinevawr
119 13. Llewelyn
131 14. Liaian
142 15. The Excommunication
154 16. David
159 17. The Departure
169 18. Rodri
P A R T II.
183 2. The Tidings
194 3. Neolin
202 4. Amalahta
[ 1 ]
[ 2 ]
[ 3 ]
Her streamers fluttering at their length, her sails
All full; she drives along, and round her prow
Scatters the ocean-spray. What feelings then
Filled every bosom, when the mariners,
After the peril of that weary way,
Beheld their own dear country! Here stands one
Stretching his sight toward the distant shore;
And, as to well-known forms his busy joy
Shapes the dim outline, eagerly he points
The fancied headland, and the cape and bay,
I. - 4
His comrade's hand, and bids him welcome home,
And blesses God, and then he weeps aloud:
Here stands another, who, in secret prayer,
Calls on the Virgin, and his patron Saint,
Renewing his old vows of gifts and alms
And pilgrimage, so he may find all well.
Silent and thoughtful, and apart from all,
Stood Madoc; now his noble enterprize
Proudly remembering, now in dreams of hope,
Anon of bodings full, and doubt and fear.
Fair smiled the evening, and the favoring gale
Sung in the shrouds, and swift the steady bark
Rushed roaring through the waves.
The sun goes down:
Far off his light is on the naked crags
Of Penmanmawr, and Arvon's ancient hills;
And the last glory lingers yet awhile,
Crowning old Snowdon's venerable head,
That rose amid his mountains. Now the ship
Drew nigh where Mona, the dark island, stretch'd
Her shore along the ocean's lighter line.
There, through the mist and twilight, many a fire,
Upflaming, streamed upon the level sea
Red lines of lengthening light, which far away
I. - 5
Thereat, full many a thought of ill disturbed
Prince Madoc's mind: did some new conqueror seize
The throne of David? had the tyrant's guilt
Awakened vengeance to the deed of death?
Or blazed they for a brother's obsequies,
The sport and mirth of murder? Like the lights
Which there upon Aberfraw's royal walls
Are waving with the wind, the painful doubt
Fluctuates within him. -- Onward drives the gale;
On flies the bark; and she hath reached at length
Her haven, safe from her unequalled way!
And now, in louder and yet louder joy
Clamorous, the happy mariners all-hail
Their native shore, and now they leap to land.
There stood-an old man on the beach to wait
The comers from the ocean; and he ask'd,
"Is it the Prince?" And Madoc knew his voice,
And turned to him, and fell upon his neck;
For it was Urien, who had fostered him,
Had loved him like a child; and Madoc lov'd,
Even as a father loved he that old man.
My sister? quoth the Prince. .. Oh, she and I
I. - 6
That long and cruel absence! .. She and I,
Hour after hour and day by day, have look'd
Toward the waters, and, with aching eyes
And aching heart, sate watching every sail.
And David, and our brethren? cried the prince,
As they moved on. .. But then old Urien's lips
Were slow at answer; and he spake, and paus'd
In the first breath of utterance, as to choose
Fit words for uttering some unhappy tale.
More blood, quoth Madoc, yet? Hath David's fear
Forced him to still more cruelty? Alas...
Woe for the house of Owen!"
Replied the old man, ruled o'er thy brethren's birth.
From Dolwyddelan driven, his peaceful home,
Poor Yorwerth sought the church's sanctuary;
The murderer followed. .. Madoc, need I say
Who sent the sword? ... Llewelyn, his brave boy,
Where wanders he? in this his rightful realm,
Houseless and hunted! Richly would the king
Gift the red hand that rid him of that fear!
Ririd, an outlawed fugitive, as yet
Eludes his deadly purpose; Rodri lives,
I. - 7
Of natural mercy from the slaughter spar'd.
Oh, if my dear old master saw the wreck
And scattering of his house! ... that princely race!
The beautiful band of brethren that they were!
Madoc made no reply; .. he clos'd his lids,
Groaning. But Urien, for his soul was full,
Loving to linger on the woe, pursued:
I did not think to live to such an hour
Of joy as this; and often, when my eyes
Turned dizzy from the ocean, overcome
With heavy anguish, Madoc, I have pray'd
That God would please to take me to his rest.
So, as he ceas'd his speech, a sudden shout
Of popular joy awaken'd Madoc's ear;
And, calling then to mind the festal fires,
He ask'd their import. The old man replied,
It is the giddy people merry-making
To welcome their new queen; unheeding they
The shame and the reproach to the long line
Of our old royalty! .. Thy brother weds
The Saxon's sister.
What! .. in loud reply
I. - 8
David! King Owen's son, .. my father's son, ...
He wed the Saxon, ... the Plantagenet!
Quoth Urien, He so dotes, as she had dropt
Some philter in his cup, to lethargize
The British blood that came from Owen's veins.
Three days his halls have echoed to the song
Shame! foul shame! that they should hear
Songs of such joyance! cried the indignant prince.
Oh that my Father's hall, where I have heard
The songs of Corwen and of Keiriog's day,
Should echo this pollution! Will the chiefs
Brook this alliance, this unnatural tie?
There is no face but wears a courtly smile
Urien replied: Aberfraw's ancient towers
Beheld no pride of festival like this,
No like solemnities, when Owen came
In conquest, and Gwalchmai struck the harp.
Only Goervyl, careless of the pomp,
Sits in her solitude, lamenting thee.
Saw ye not, then, my banner? quoth the Lord
I. - 9
To tell the tale of triumph; ... or did night
Hide the glad signal, and the joy hath yet
To reach her?
Now had they almost attain'd
The palace portal. Urien stopt, and said,
The child should know your coming: it is long
Since she hath heard a voice that to her heart
Spake gladness, .. none but I must tell her this!
So Urien sought Goervyl, whom he found
Alone, and gazing on the moonlight sea.
Oh, you are welcome, Urien!" cried the maid.
There was a ship came sailing hitherward...
I could not see his banner, for the night
Clos'd in so fast around her; but my heart
Indulged a foolish hope!
The old man replied,
With difficult effort keeping down his heart,
God, in his goodness, may reserve for us
That blessing yet! I have yet life enow
To trust that I shall live to see the day,
Albeit the number of my years well nigh
Ill-judging kindness! said the maid.
I. - 10
That miserable hope, which every day
Grew weaker, like a baby sick to death,
Yet dearer for its weakness day by day!
No, never shall we see his daring bark!
I knew and felt it in the evil hour
When forth she far'd! I felt it ... his last kiss
Was our death parting!
And she paus'd to curb
The agony: anon, .. But thou hast been
To learn their tidings, Urien? He replied,
In half-articulate voice, .. they said, my child,
That Madoc lived ... that soon he would be here.
She had receiv'd the shock of happiness:
Urien! she cried, thou art not mocking me!
Nothing the old man spake, but spread his arms,
Sobbing aloud. Goervyl from their hold
Started, and sunk upon her brother's breast.
Recovering first, the aged Urien said,
Enough of this: ... there will be time for this,
My children! better it behooves ye now
To seek the King. And, Madoc, I beseech thee,
Bear with thy brother! gently bear with him,
I. - 11
Of passions unsubdu'd; he feels no tie
Of kindly love or blood. .. provoke him not,
Madoc! ... It is his nature's malady.
Thou good old man! replied the prince, be sure
I shall remember what to him is due,
What to myself; for I was in my youth
Wisely and well trained up, nor yet hath time
Effaced the lore my foster-father taught.
Haste, haste! exclaimed Goervyl; ... and her heart
Smote her, in sudden terror. at the thought
Of Yorwerth, and of Owen's broken house; ..
I dread his dark suspicions!
Not for me
Suffer that fear, my sister! quoth the prince.
Safe is the straight and open way I tread!
Nor hath God made the human heart so bad,
That thou or I should have a danger there.
So saying, they toward the palace-gate
Went on, ere yet Aberfraw had received
The tidings of her wanderer's glad return.
[ 12 ]
Green rushes strewed the floor; high in the hall
Was David; Emma, in her bridal robe,
In youth, in beauty, by her husband's side
Sate at the marriage feast. The monarch rais'd
His eyes; he saw the mariner approach;
Madoc! he cried; strong nature's impulses
Prevail'd, and with a holy joy he met
His brother's warm embrace.
With that, what peals
Of exultation shook Aberfraw's tower!
How then re-echoing rang the home of kings,
When from subdued Ocean, from the World
That he had first foreseen, he first had found,
Came her triumphant child! The mariners,
A happy band, enter the clamorous hall;
Friend greets with friend, and all are friends; one joy
II. - 13
And strangers give and take the welcoming
Of hand and voice and eye. That boisterous joy
At length allayed, the board was spread anew,
Anew the horn was brimm'd, the central hearth
Built up anew for later revelries.
Now to the ready feast! the seneschal
Duly below the pillars ranged the crew;
Toward the guest's most honorable seat
The king himself led his brave brother: then,
Eying the lovely Saxon as he spake,
Here, Madoc, see thy sister! thou hast been
Long absent, and our house hath felt the while
Sad diminution: but my arm at last
Hath rooted out rebellion from the land;
And I have stablished now our ancient house,
Grafting a scion from the royal tree
Of England on the sceptre: so shall peace
Bless our dear country.
Long and happy years
Await my sovereigns! thus the chief replied,
And long may our dear country rest in peace!
Enough of sorrow hath our royal house
Known in the field of battles, .. yet we reap'd
The harvest of renown.
II. - 14
David replied, together have we led
The onset! .. Dost thou not remember, brother,
How, in that hot and unexpected charge
On Keiriog's bank, we gave the enemy
And Berwyn's after-strife!
Quoth Madoc, as the. memory kindled him:
The fool that day, who in his masque attire
Sported before King Henry, wished in vain
Fitlier habiliments of javelin-proof!
And yet not more precipitate that fool
Dropped his mock weapons, than the archers cast,
Desperate their bows and quivers full away,
When we leapt on, and in the mire and blood
Trampled their banner!
That," exclaim'd the king,
That was a day indeed, that I may still
Proudly remember, prov'd as I have been
In conflicts of such perilous assay,
That Saxon combat seemed like woman's war.
When with the traitor Hoel I did wage
The deadly battle, then was I in truth
Put to the proof; no vantage-ground was there,
Nor famine, nor disease, nor storms to aid,
II. - 15
Briton to Briton. By my soul! pursued
The' tyrant, heedless how from Madoc's eye
Flashed the quick wrath like lightning, .. though I knew
The rebel's worth, his prowess then excited
Unwelcome wonder! even at the last,
When stiff with toil and faint with wounds, he rais'd
Feebly his broken sword....
Then Madoc's grief
Found utterance; Wherefore, David, dost thou rouse
The memory now of that unhappy day,
That thou shouldst wish to hide from earth and heaven?
Not in Aberfraw, .. not to me this tale!
Tell it the Saxon! .. he will join thy triumph, ..
He hates the race of Owen! .. But I lov'd
My brother Hoel, .. lov'd him, .. that ye knew!
I was to him the dearest of his kin,
And he my own heart's brother.
Grew pale and dark; he bent his broad, black brow
Full upon Madoc's glowing countenance;
Art thou returned to brave me? to my teeth
To praise the rebel bastard? to insult
The royal Saxon, my affianced friend?
II. - 16
Have I forgotten how, from Keiriog's shame
Flying, the coward wreaked his cruelty
On our poor brethren! ... David, seest thou never
Those eyeless spectres by thy bridal bed?
Forget that horror? .. may the fire of God
Blast my right hand, or ever it be link'd
With that accurst Plantagenet!
Impatience struggled in the heaving breast
Of David; every agitated limb
Shook with ungovernable wrath; the page,
Who chaf'd his feet, in fear suspends his task,
In fear the guests gaze on him silently;
His eyeballs flashed; strong anger chok'd his voice,
He started up. .. Him Emma, by the hand
Gently retaining, held, with gentle words
Calming his rage; Goervyl, too, in tears
Besought her generous brother: he had met
Emma's reproaching glance, and self-reprov'd,
While the warm blood flush'd deeper o'er his cheek,
Thus he replied: I pray you pardon me,
My sister queen! nay, you will learn to love
This high affection for the race of Owen,
Yourself the daughter of his royal house,
By better ties than blood.
II. - 17
Replied, by winning smile and eloquent eye
Thanking the gentle prince: a moment's pause
Ensued: Goervyl, then, with timely speech
Thus to the wanderer of the waters spake:
Madoc, thou hast not told us of the world
Beyond the ocean and the paths of man;
A lovely land it needs must be, my brother,
Or sure you had not sojourned there so long,
Of me forgetful, and my heavy hours
Of grief and solitude and wretched hope.
Where is Cadwallon? for one bark alone
I saw come sailing here.
The tale you ask
Is long, Goervyl, said the mariner,
And I in truth am weary. Many moons
Have wax'd and wan'd, since from the distant world,
The country of my dreams and hope and faith,
We spread the homeward sail: a goodly world,
My sister! thou wilt see its goodliness,
And greet Cadwallon there; ... But this shall be
To-morrow's tale: ... indulge we now the feast! ..
You know not with what joy we mariners
Behold a sight like this.
Smiling he spake,
II. - 18
The flowing mead. David, the while, reliev'd
From rising jealousies, with better eye
Regards his venturous brother. Let the bard,
Exclaim'd the king, give his accustomed lay;
For sweet, I know, to Madoc is the song
He lov'd in earlier years.
Then, strong of voice,
The officer proclaimed the sovereign will,
Bidding the hall be silent; loud he spake,
And smote the sounding pillar with his wand,
And hushed the banqueters. The chief of Bards
Then raised the ancient lay.
Thee, Lord! he sung,
Father! he eternal One, whose wisdom, power,
And love. .. all love, all power, all wisdom, Thou!
Nor tongue cannot utter, nor can heart conceive.
He in the lowest depth of Being fram'd
The imperishable mind; in every change,
Through the great circle of progressive life,
He guides and guards, till evil shall be known,
And, being known as evil, cease to be;
And the pure soul, emancipate by Death
The Enlarger, shall attain its end predoom'd,
The eternal newness of eternal joy.
II. - 19
To Owen's praise, swift in the course of wrath,
Father of Heroes. That proud day he sung,
When from green Erin came the insulting host,
Lochlin's long burdens of the flood, and they
Who left their distant homes in evil hour,
The death doom'd Normen. There was heaviest toil,
There deeper tumult, where the dragon-race
Of Mona trampled down the humbled head
Of haughty power; the sword of slaughter carv'd
Food for the yellow-footed fowl of heaven,
And Menai's waters, burst with plunge on plunge,
Curling above their banks with tempest-swell,
Their bloody billows heav'd.
The long-past days
Came on the mind of Madoc, as he heard
That song of triumph; on his sun-burnt brow
Sate exultation: .. Other thoughts arose,
As on the fate of all his gallant house
Mournful he mused; oppressive memory swell'd
His bosom; over his fix'd eyeballs swam
The tear's dim lustre, and the loud-ton'd harp
Rung on his ear in vain; .. its silence first
Roused him from dreams of days that were no more.
[ 20 ]
The Lord of Ocean thus began his tale.
My heart beat high, when, with the favoring wind,
We sailed away, Aberfraw! when thy towers,
And the huge headland of my mother isle,
Shrunk and were gone.
But, Madoc, I would learn,
Quoth David, how this enterprise arose,
And the wild hope of worlds beyond the sea;
For, at thine outset, being in the war,
I did not hear from vague and common fame
The moving cause. Sprung it from bardic lore,
The hidden wisdom of the years of old,
Forgotten long? or did it visit thee
In dreams that come from heaven?
The prince replied,
III. - 21
Strictly sincere, I haply should rehearse
Aught to the king ungrateful, let my brother
Be patient with the involuntary fault.
I was the guest of Rhys at Dinevawr,
And there the tidings found. me, that our sire
Was gathered to his fathers: .. Not alone
The sorrow came; the same ill messenger
Told of the strife that shook our royal house,
When Hoel, proud of prowess, seiz'd the throne
Which you, for elder claim and lawful birth,
Challenged in arms. With all a brother's love,
I, on the instant hurried to prevent
The impious battle: .. All the day I sped;
Night did not stay me on my eager way ...
Where'er I pass'd, new rumor raised new fear ...
Midnight, and morn, and noon I hurried on;
And the late eve was darkening when I reach'd
Arvon, the fatal field. .. The sight, the sounds,
Live in my memory now; .. for all was done!
For horse and horseman, side by side in death,
Lay on the bloody plain; .. a host of men,
And not one living soul, .. and not one sound,
One human sound, .. only the raven's wing,
III. - 22
Of wounded horses, wandering o'er the plain.
Night now was coming in; a man approach'd,
And bade me to his dwelling nigh at hand.
Thither I turned, too weak to travel on;
For I was overspent with weariness,
And, having now no hope to bear me up,
Trouble and bodily labor master'd me.
I asked him of the battle: .. who had fall'n
He knew not, nor to whom the lot of war
Had given my father's sceptre. Here, said he,
I came to seek if haply I might find
Some wounded wretch, abandon'd else to death.
My search was vain: the sword of civil war
Had bit too deeply.
Soon we reach'd his home,
A lone and lowly dwelling in the hills,
By a gray mountain stream. Beside the hearth
There sate an old blind man; his head was rais'd
As he were listening to the coming sounds,
And in the fire-light shone his silver locks.
Father, said he who guided me, I bring
A guest to our poor hospitality;
And then he brought me water from the brook,
III. - 23
That done, he pil'd the hearth, and spread around
The rushes of repose. I laid me down;
But, worn with toil and full of many fears,
Sleep did not visit me: the quiet sounds
Of nature troubled my distempered sense;
My ear was busy with the stirring gale,
The moving leaves, the brook's perpetual flow.
So on the morrow languidly I rose,
And faint with fever; but a restless wish
Was working in me, and I said, My host,
Wilt thou go with me to the battle-field,
That I may search the slain? for in the fray
My brethren fought; vainly, with all my speed
I strove to reach them ere the strife began,
Alas, I sped too slow!
Griev'st thou for that?
He answer'd, grievest thou that thou art spar'd
The shame and guilt of that unhappy strife,
Briton with Briton in unnatural war?
Nay, I replied, mistake me not! I came
To reconcile the chiefs: they might have heard
Their brother's voice.
III. - 24
Was it not so? ... And thou, too, art the son
Of Owen! ... yesternight I did not know
The cause there is to pity thee. Alas,
Two brethren thou wilt lose when one shall fall!
Lament not him whom death may save from guilt;
For in the conqueror thou art doom'd to find
A foe, whom his own fears make perilous!
I felt as though he wronged my father's sons,
And rais'd an angry eye, and answer'd him, ...
My brethren love me.
Then the old man cried,
Oh what is princes love? what are the ties
Of blood, the affections growing as we grow,
If but ambition come? Thou deemest sure
Thy brethren love thee; .. ye have play'd together
In childhood, shared your riper hopes and fears,
Fought side by side in battle: ... they may be
Brave, generous, all that once their father was,
Whom ye, I ween, call virtuous.
At the name,
With pious warmth I cried, Yes, he was good,
And great and glorious! Gwyneth's ancient annals
Boast not a name more noble: in the war
III. - 25
Wise was his counsel; and no supplicant
For justice ever from his palace-gate
Unrighted turned away. King Owen's name
Shall live to after-times without a blot!
There were two brethren once of kingly line,
The old man replied: they lov'd each other well,
And, when the one was at his dying hour,
It then was comfort to him that he left
So dear a brother, who would duly pay
A father's duties to his orphan boy.
And sure he loved the orphan, and the boy
With all a child's sincerity lov'd him,
And learnt to call him father: so the years
Went on, till, when the orphan gain'd the age
Of manhood, to the throne his uncle came.
The young man claimed a fair inheritance,
His father's lands; and ... mark what follows, prince!
At midnight he was seiz'd, and to his eyes
The brazen plate was held. ... He look'd around
His prison room for help; he only saw
The ruffian forms, who to the red-hot brass
Forced his poor eyes, and held the open lids,
Till the long agony consum'd the sense;
III. - 26
The wealth of worlds if he could then have seen
Their ruffian faces! .. I am blind, young prince,
And I can tell how sweet a thing it is
To see the blessed light!
Must more be told?
What further agonies he yet endur'd?
Or hast thou known the consummated crime,
And heard Cynetha's fate?
A painful glow
Inflam'd my cheek, and for my father's crime,
I felt the shame of guilt. The dark-brow'd man
Beheld the burning flush, the uneasy eye,
That knew not where to rest. Come! we will search
The slain! arising from his seat, he said.
I follow'd; to the field of fight we went,
And over steeds, and arms, and men, we held
Our way in silence. Here it was, quoth he,
The fiercest war was waged; lo! in what heaps
Man upon man fell slaughter'd! Then my heart
Smote me, and my knees shook; for I beheld
Where, on his conquer'd foemen, Hoel lay.
He paus'd; his heart was full, and on his tongue
The imperfect utterance died; a general gloom
III. - 27
Commanding first his nature, Madoc broke
The oppressive silence.
Then Cadwallon took
My hand, and, pointing to his dwelling, cried,
Prince, go and rest thee there, for thou hast need
Of rest: .. the care of sepulture be mine.
Nor did I then comply, refusing rest,
Till I had seen in holy ground inearth'd
My poor, lost brother. Wherefore, he exclaim'd,
(And I was aw'd by his severer eye,)
Wouldst thou be pampering thy distempered mind?
Affliction is not sent in vain, young man,
From that good God, who chastens whom he loves!
Oh! there is healing in the bitter cup!
Go yonder, and before the unerring will
Bow, and have comfort! To the hut I went,
And there, beside the lonely mountain stream,
I veiled my head, and brooded on the past.
He tarried long; I felt the hours pass by,
As in a dream of morning, when the mind,
Half to reality awaken'd, blends
With airy visions and vague phantasies
Her dim perception; till at length his step
III. - 28
Where is the body? hast thou bade the priests
Perform due masses for his soul's repose?
He answer'd me, The rain and dew of heaven
Will fall upon the turf that covers him,
And greener grass shall flourish on his grave.
But rouse thee, prince! there will be hours enough
For mournful memory; .. It befits thee now
Take counsel for thyself: .. the son of Owen
Lives not in safety here.
I bowed my head,
Oppressed by heavy thoughts: all wretchedness
The present; darkness on the future lay;
Fearful and gloomy both. I answer'd not.
Hath power seduced thy wishes? he pursu'd,
And wouldst thou seize upon thy father's throne?
Now God forbid! quoth I. Now God forbid!
Quoth he; ... but thou art dangerous, prince! and what
Shall shield thee from the jealous arm of power?
Think of Cynetha! .. the unsleeping eye
Of justice hath not clos'd upon his wrongs; ...
At length the avenging arm is gone abroad, ...
III. - 29
There is no safety here, .. here thou must be
The victim or the murderer! Does thy heart
Shrink from the alternative? .. Look round! .. behold
What shelter, .. whither wouldst thou fly for peace?
What if the asylum of the church were safe, ..
Were there no better purposes ordain'd
For that young arm, that heart of noble hopes?
Son of our kings, .. of old Cassibelan,
Great Caratach, immortal Arthur's line ...
Oh! shall the blood of that heroic race
Stagnate in cloister-sloth? .. Or wouldst thou leave
Thy native isle, and beg, in awkward phrase,
Some foreign sovereign's charitable grace, ..
The Saxon or the Frank, .. and earn his gold, ..
The hireling in a war whose cause thou know'st not,
Whose end concerns not thee?
I sate and gaz'd,
Following his eye with wonder, as he paced
Before me to and fro, and listening still,
Though now he paced in silence. But anon,
The old man's voice and step awaken'd us,
Each from his thought; I will come out, said he,
That I may sit beside the brook, and feel
The comfortable sun. As he came forth,
III. - 30
Gently on him had gentle nature laid
The weight of years! all passions that disturb
Were passed away; the stronger lines of grief
Soften'd and settled, till they told of grief
By patient hope and piety subdued.
His eyes, which had their hue and brightness left,
Fix'd lifelessly, or objectless they roll'd,
Nor moved by sense, nor animate with thought.
On a smooth stone, beside the stream, he took
His wonted seat in the sunshine. Thou hast lost
A brother, prince, he cried, .. or the dull ear
Of age deceiv'd me. Peace be with his soul!
And may the curse that lies upon the house
Of Owen turn away! wilt thou come hither,
And let me feel thy face? .. I wonder'd at him;
Yet, while his hand perus'd my lineaments,
Deep awe and reverence fill'd me. O my God.
Bless this young man! he cried: a perilous state
Is his; .. but let not thou his father's sins
Be visited on him!
I rais'd my eyes,
Inquiring, to Cadwallon: Nay, young prince,
Despise not thou the blind man's prayer! he cried;
It might have given thy father's dying hour
III. - 31
It is the victim of thy father's crime,
Who asks a blessing on thee!
At his feet
I fell, and clasped his knees: he rais'd me up; ..
Blind as I was, a mutilated wretch,
A thing, that nature owns not, I surviv'd,
Loathing existence, and, with impious voice,
Accused the will of Heaven, and groan'd for death.
Years passed away: this universal blank
Became familiar, and my soul repos'd
On God, and I had comfort in my prayers.
But there were blessings for me yet in store:
Thy father knew not, when his bloody fear
All hope of an avenger had cut off,
How there existed then an unborn babe,
Child of my lawless love. Year after year
I liv'd a lonely and forgotten wretch,
Before Cadwallon knew his father's fate,
Long years and years before I knew my son;
For never, till his mother's dying hour,
Learnt he his dangerous birth. He sought me then;
He woke my soul once more to human ties: ...
I hope he hath not wean'd my heart from heaven,
Life is so precious now! ...
III. - 32
And lives he still? Goervyl asked, in tears.
Madoc replied, I scarce can hope to find
A father's welcome at my distant home.
I left him full of days, and ripe for death;
And the last prayer Cynetha breath'd upon me
Went like a death-bed blessing to my heart!
When evening came, toward the echoing shore
I and Cadwallon walked together forth:
Bright with dilated glory shone the west;
But brighter lay the ocean-flood below,
The burnish'd silver sea, that heav'd and flash'd
Its restless rays, intolerably bright.
Prince, quoth Cadwallon, thou hast rode the wave
In triumph, when the invaders felt thine arm.
Oh, what a nobler conquest might be won
There, .. upon that wide field! .. What meanest thou?
I cried. ... That yonder waters are not spread
A boundless waste, a bourn impassable! ..
That man should rule the Elements! .. that there
Might manly courage, manly wisdom find
Some happy isle, some undiscover'd shore,
Some resting-place for peace. .. Oh that my soul
Could seize the wings of Morning! soon would I
III. - 33
Speeds now, to dawn in glory!
As he spake,
Conviction came upon my startled mind,
Like lightning on the midnight traveller.
I caught his hand; .. Kinsman, and guide, and friend,
Yea, let us go together! Down we sate,
Full of the vision, on the echoing shore,
One only object filled ear, eye, and thought:
We gazed upon the awful world of waves,
And talked and dreamt of years that were to come.
[ 34 ]
Dear native isle! oh, not without a pang,
As thy fair uplands lessened on the view,
Cast back the long, involuntary look!
The morning cheer'd our outset; gentle airs
Curl'd the blue deep, and bright the summer sun
Played o'er the summer ocean, when our barks
Began their way.
And they were gallant barks,
As ever through the raging billows rode!
And many a tempest's buffeting they bore.
Their sails all swelling with the eastern breeze,
Their tighten'd cordage clattering to the mast,
Steady they rode the main; the gale aloft
Sung in the shrouds, the sparkling waters hiss'd
Before, and froth'd, and whiten'd far behind.
Day after day, with one auspicious wind,
IV. - 35
My hope had kindled every heart; they blest
The unvarying breeze, whose unabating strength
Still sped us onward; and they said that heaven
Favour'd the bold emprize.
How many a time,
Mounting the mast-tower-top, with eager ken
They gazed, and fancied in the distant sky,
Their promis'd shore, beneath the evening cloud,
Or seen, low lying, through the haze of morn.
I, too, with eyes as anxious watch'd the waves,
Though patient, and prepar'd for long delay;
For not on wild adventure had I rush'd,
With giddy speed, in some delirious fit
Of fancy; but in many a tranquil hour
Weighed well the attempt, till hope matur'd to faith.
Day after day, day after day the same, ..
A weary waste of waters! Still the breeze
Hung heavy in our sails, and we held on
One even course; a second week was gone,
And now another past, and still the same,
Waves beyond waves, the interminable sea!
What marvel, if at length the mariners
Grew sick with long expectance? I beheld
Dark looks of growing restlessness, I heard
IV. - 36
To see, and not perceive. Shame had awhile
Repressed their fear, till, like a smother'd fire,
It burst, and spread with quick contagion round,
And strengthened as it spread. They spake in tones
Which might not be mistaken .. they had done
What men dar'd do, ventur'd where never keel
Had cut the deep before; still all was sea,
The same unbounded ocean! .. to proceed
Were tempting heaven.
I heard with feigned surprise,
And, pointing then to where our fellow-bark,
Gay with her fluttering streamers and full sails,
Rode, as in triumph, o'er the element,
I ask'd them what their comrades there would deem
Of those so bold ashore, who, when a day,
Perchance an hour, might crown their glorious toil,
Shrunk then, and coward-like return'd to meet
Mockery and shame? true, they had ventured on
In seas unknown, beyond wherever man
Had plough'd the billows yet: more reason so
Why they should now, like him whose happy speed
Well nigh hath run the race, with higher hope
Press onward to the prize. But late they said,
Marking the favour of the steady gale,
IV. - 37
Fair seas and favouring skies; nor need we pray
For other aid; the rest was in ourselves;
Nature had given it, when she gave to man
Courage and constancy.
They answered not,
Awhile obedient; but I saw with dread
The silent sullenness of cold assent.
Then with what fearful eagerness I gazed,
At earliest daybreak, o'er the distant deep!
How sick at heart with hope, when evening closed,
Gaz'd through the gathering shadows! ... but I saw
The sun still sink below the endless waves,
And still at morn, beneath the farthest sky,
Unbounded ocean heav'd. Day after day,
Before the steady gale we drove along, ...
Day after day! The fourth week now had passed;
Still all around was sea, .. the eternal sea!
So long that we had voyaged on so fast,
And still at morning where we were at night,
And where we were at morn, at nightfall still,
The centre of that drear circumference,
Progressive, yet no change! .. almost it seem'd
That we had passed the mortal bounds of space,
And speed was toiling in infinity.
IV. - 38
Were like a tyrant's slumber. Sullen looks,
Eyes turned on me, and whispers meant to meet
My ear, and loud despondency, and talk
Of home, now never to be seen again, ..
I suffered these, dissembling as I could,
Till that availed no longer. Resolute
The men came round me: .. They had shown enough
Of courage now, enough of constancy;
Still to pursue the desperate enterprize
Were impious madness! they had deem'd, indeed,
That heaven in favour gave the unchanging gale; ..
More reason now to think offended God,
When man's presumptuous folly strove to pass
The fated limits of the world, had sent
His winds to waft us to the death we sought.
Their lives were dear, they bade me know, and they
Many, and I, the obstinate, but one.
With that, attending no reply; they hail'd
Our fellow-bark, and told their fix'd resolve.
A shout of joy approved. Thus, desperate now,
I sought my solitary cabin; there,
Confus'd with vague, tumultuous feelings, lay,
And, to remembrance and reflection lost,
Knew only I was wretched.
IV. - 39
Cadwallon found me; shame and grief and pride,
And baffled hope, and fruitless anger, swell'd
Within me. All is over! I exclaim'd;
Yet not in me, my friend, hath time produced
These tardy doubts and shameful fickleness.
I have not fail'd, Cadwallon! Nay, he said,
The coward-fears which persecuted me
Have shown what thou hast suffer'd. We have yet
One hope: .. I pray'd them to proceed a day, ..
But one day more; .. this little have I gain'd,
And here will wait the issue; in yon bark
I am not needed; .. they are masters there.
One only day! .. The gale blew strong, the bark
Sped through the waters: but the silent hours,
Which make no pause, went by; and, centr'd still,
We saw the dreary vacancy of heaven
Close round our narrow view, when that brief term,
The last poor respite of our hopes, expir'd.
They shorten'd sail, and call'd with coward prayer,
For homeward winds. Why, what poor slaves are we
In bitterness I cried; the sport of chance;
Left to the mercy of the elements,
Or the more wayward will of such as these,
Blind tools and victims of their destiny!
IV. - 40
Master indeed the feeble powers of man!
Not to the shores of Cambria will thy ships
Win, back their shameful way! .. or He, whose will
Unchains the winds, hath bade them minister
To aid us, when all human hope was gone,
Or we shall soon eternally repose
From life's long voyage.
As he spake, I saw
The clouds hang thick and heavy o'er the deep;
And heavily, upon the long, slow swell,
The vessel labour'd on the labouring sea.
The reef-points rattled on the shivering sail;
At fits the sudden gust howl'd ominous,
Anon with unremitting fury raged;
High roll'd the mighty billows, and the blast
Swept from their sheeted sides the showery foam.
Vain, now, were all the seamen's homeward hopes,
Vain all their skill! .. we drove before the storm.
'Tis pleasant, by the cheerful hearth, to hear
Of tempests and the dangers of the deep,
And pause at times, and feel that we are safe;
Then listen to the perilous tale again,
And, with an eager and suspended soul,
Woo terror to delight us; .. but to hear
IV. - 41
To know all human skill, all human strength,
Avail not, .. to look round, and only see
The mountain wave incumbent with its weight
Of bursting waters o'er the reeling bark, ...
O God, this is indeed a dreadful thing!
And he who hath endur'd the horror, once,
Of such an hour, doth never hear the storm
Howl round his home, but he remembers it,
And thinks upon the suffering mariner!
Onward we drove: with unabating force
The tempest raged; night added to the storm
New horrors; and the morn arose o'erspread
With heavier clouds. The weary mariners
Call'd on St. Cyric's aid; and I, too, placed
My hope on heaven, relaxing not the while
Our human efforts. Ye who dwell at home,
Ye do not know the terrors of the main!
When the winds blow, ye walk along the shore,
And, as the curling billows leap and toss,
Fable that Ocean's mermaid Shepherdess
Drives her white flocks afield, and warns in time
The wary fisherman. Gwenhidwy warn'd us
When we had no retreat! my secret heart
IV. - 42
Confounded in perpetual conflict here,
Sea, Air, and Heaven? Or were we perishing
Where at their source the Floods, for ever thus,
Beneath the nearer influence of the Moon,
Labour'd in these mad workings? Did the Waters
Here on their outmost circle meet the Void,
The verge and brink of Chaos? Or this Earth, ..
Was it indeed a living thing, .. its breath
The ebb and flow of Ocean? and had we
Reached the storm rampart of its Sanctuary,
The insuperable boundary, rais'd to guard
Its mysteries from the eye of man profane?
Three dreadful nights and days we drove along;
The fourth, the welcome rain came rattling down;
The wind had fallen, and through the broken cloud
Appear'd the bright, dilating blue of heaven.
Emboldened now, I called the mariners: ..
Vain were it should we bend a homeward course,
Driven by the storm so far; they saw our barks,
For service of that long and perilous way,
Disabled, and our food belike to fail.
Silent they heard, reluctant in assent;
Anon, they shouted joyfully, .. I look'd
IV. - 43
His long white pinions by the sunbeam edged,
As though with burnished silver, .. never yet
Heard I so sweet a music as his cry!
Yet three days more, and hope more eager now,
Sure of the signs of land, .. weed-shoals, and birds
Who flocked the main, and gentle airs that breath'd,
Or seemed to breathe, fresh fragrance from the shore.
On the last evening, a long, shadowy line
Skirted the sea; .. how fast the night clos'd in!
I stood upon the deck, and watch'd till dawn.
But who can tell what feelings fill'd my heart,
When, like a cloud, the distant land arose
Gray from the ocean, .. when we left the ship,
And cleft, with rapid oars, the shallow wave,
And stood triumphant on another world!
[ 44 ]
Still watch'd his lips, and every voice was hush'd.
Soon as I leaped ashore, pursues the Lord
Of Ocean, prostrate on my face I fell,
Kiss'd the dear earth, and pray'd with thankful tears.
Hard by, a brook was flowing; .. never yet,
Even from the gold-tipped horn of victory,
With harp and song, amid my father's hall,
Pledged I so sweet a draught, as lying there,
Beside that streamlet's brink! .. to feel the ground,
To quaff the cool, clear water, to inhale
The breeze of land, while fears and dangers past
Recurred and heighten'd joy, as summer storms
Make the fresh evening lovelier!
To the shore
The natives thronged; astonished, they beheld
Our winged barks, and gazed with wonderment
V. - 45
And the white skin, in all unlike themselves.
I see with what enquiring eyes you ask,
What men were they? Of dark-brown colour, tinged
With sunny redness; wild of eye; their brows
So smooth, as never yet anxiety,
Nor busy thought had made a furrow there;
Beardless, and each to each of lineaments
So like, they seemed but one great family.
Their loins were loosely cinctur'd, all beside
Bare to the sun and wind; and thus their limbs,
Unmanacled, display'd the truest forms
Of strength and beauty: fearless, sure, they were,
And, while they eyed us, grasp'd their spears, as if,
Like Britain's injur'd but unconquer'd sons,
They, too, had known how perilous it was
To let an arm'd stranger set his foot
In their free country.
Soon the guise
Of men, nor purporting nor fearing ill
Gained confidence; their wild, distrustful looks
Assumed a milder meaning; over one
I cast my mantle, on another's head
The velvet bonnet placed, and all was joy.
We now besought for food; at once they read
V. - 46
On hills and thickets, woods and marshy plains,
A waste of rank luxuriance all around.
Thus musing, to a lake I follow'd them,
Left when the rivers to their summer course
Withdrew; they scattered on its water drugs
Of such strange potency, that soon the shoals,
Coop'd there by Nature, prodigally kind,
Floated inebriate. As I gaz'd, a deer
Sprung from the bordering thicket: the true shaft
Scarce with the distant victim's blood had stain'd
Its point, when instantly he dropped and died,
Such deadly juice imbued it; yet on this
We made our meal unharm'd; and I perceiv'd
The wisest leech, that ever in our world
Culled herbs of hidden virtue, was to these
Even as an infant
Sorrowing we beheld
The night come on; but soon did night display
More wonders than it veil'd: innumerous tribes
From the wood-cover swarm'd, and darkness made
Their beauties visible; one while they stream'd
A bright-blue radiance upon flowers that clos'd
Their gorgeous colors from the eye of day;
Now, motionless and dark, eluded search,
V. - 47
Rose like a shower of fire.
Our friendly hosts
Now led us to the hut, our that night's home,
A rude and spacious dwelling: twisted boughs,
And canes and withies form'd the walls and roof;
And, from the unhewn trunks which pillar'd it,
Low nets of interwoven reeds were hung.
With shouts of honour, here they gather'd round me,
Ungarmented my limbs, and in a net,
With softest feathers lin'd, a pleasant couch,
They laid and left me.
To our ships return'd,
After soft sojourn here, we coasted on,
Insatiate of the wonders and the charms
Of earth and air and sea. Thy summer woods
Are lovely, O my mother isle! the birch
Light bending on thy banks, thy elmy vales,
Thy venerable oaks! .. but there, what forms
Of beauty cloth'd the inlands and the shore!
All these in stateliest growth, and, mixt with these,
Dark-spreading cedar, and the cypress tall,
Its pointed summit waving to the wind,
Like a long beacon-flame; and, loveliest
Amid a thousand strange and lovely shapes,
V. - 48
Beverage and food: they edged the shore, and crowned
The far off mountain summits, their straight stems
Bare, without leaf or bough, erect and smooth,
Their tresses nodding like a crested helm,
The plumage of the grove.
Will ye believe
The wonders of the ocean? how its shoals
Sprang from the wave, like flashing light; .. took wing,
And, twinkling with a silver glitterance,
Flew through the air and sunshine? yet were they
To sight less wondrous than the tribe who swam,
Following like fowlers, with uplifted eye,
Their falling quarry: .. language cannot paint
Their splendid tints! though in blue ocean seen,
Blue, darkly, deeply, beautifully blue,
In all its rich variety of shades,
Suffus'd with glowing gold.
Heaven, too, had there
Its wonders: ... from a deep, black, heavy cloud,
What shall I say? .. a shoot, .. a trunk, .. an arm
Came down; .. yea! like a demon's arm, it seized
The waters: Ocean smok'd beneath its touch,
And rose, like dust before the whirlwind's force.
V. - 49
Wafted by airs so exquisitely mild,
That even to breathe became an act
Of will, and sense and pleasure! Not a cloud
With purple islanded the dark-blue deep.
By night, the quiet billows heav'd and glanced
Under the moon, .. that heavenly noon! so bright,
That many a midnight have I paced the deck,
Forgetful of the hours of due repose;
By day, the Sun, in his full majesty,
Went forth like God beholding his own works.
Once, when a chief was feasting us on shore,
A captive served the food: I mark'd the youth,
For he had features of a gentler race;
And oftentimes his eye was fix'd on me,
With looks of more than wonder. We return'd
At evening to our ships; at night a voice
Came from the sea, the intelligible voice
Of earnest supplication: he had swam
To trust our mercy; up the side he sprung,
And look'd among the crew, and, singling me,
Fell at my feet. Such friendly tokenings
As our short commerce with the native tribes
Had taught, I proffer'd, and sincerity
V. - 50
For one we needed who might speak for us,
And well I liked the youth, the open lines
Which character'd his face, the fearless heart,
Which gave at once, and won full confidence.
So that night at my feet Lincoya slept.
When I displayed whate'er might gratify,
Whate'er surprise, with most delight he view'd
Our arms, the iron helm, the pliant mail,
The buckler strong to save; and then he shook
The lance, and grasp'd the sword, and turn'd to me
With vehement words and gestures, every limb
Working with one strong passion; and he placed
The falchion in my hand, and gave the shield,
And pointed south and west, that I should go,
To conquer and protect; anon he wept
Aloud, and clasp'd my knees, and, falling, fain
He would have kiss'd my feet. Went we to shore?
Then would he labor restlessly to show
A better place lay onward; and in the sand
To south and west he drew the line of coast,
And figur'd how a mighty river there
Ran to the sea. The land bent westward soon,
And, thus confirm'd, we voyaged on to seek
V. - 51
Of our new friend; and we learnt after him,
Well pleased and proud to teach, what this was call'd,
What that, with no unprofitable toil.
Nor light the joy I felt at hearing first
The pleasant accents of my native tongue,
Albeit in broken words and tones uncouth,
Come from these foreign lips.
At length we came
Where the great river, amid shoals and banks
And islands, growth of its own gathering spoils,
Through many a branching channel, wide and full,
Rushed to the main. The gale was strong; and safe,
Amid the uproar of conflicting tides,
Our gallant vessels rode. A stream as broad,
And turbid, when it leaves the Land of Hills,
Old Severn rolls; but banks so fair as these
Old Severn views not in his Land of Hills,
Nor even where his turbid waters swell
And sully the salt sea.
So we sail'd on
By shores now cover'd with impervious woods,
Now stretching wide and low, a reedy waste,
And now through vales where earth profusely pour'd
V. - 52
Sometimes a savage tribe would welcome us,
By wonder from their lethargy of life
Awakened; then again we voyaged on
Through tracts all desolate, for days and days,
League after league, one green and fertile mead,
That fed a thousand herds.
A different scene
Rose on our view, of mount on mountain pil'd,
Which when I see again in memory,
The giant Cader Idris by their bulk
Is dwarfed, and Snowdon, with its eagle haunts,
Shrinks, and seems dwindled like a Saxon hill.
Here, with Cadwallon and a chosen band,
I left the ships. Lincoya guided us
A toilsome way among the heights. At dusk,
We reach'd the village skirts; he bade us halt,
And raised his voice: the elders of the land
Came forth, and led us to an ample hut,
Which in the centre of their dwellings stood, ..
The Stranger's House. They eyed us wondering,
Yet not for wonder ceas'd they to observe
Their hospitable rites; from hut to hut
V. - 53
Fatigued and hungry, and athirst; anon,
Each from his means supplying us, came food
And beverage, such as cheers the weary man.
[ 54 ]
Came with our guide: the venerable man
With reverential awe accosted us;
For we, he ween'd, were children of a race
Mightier than they, and wiser, and by heaven
Belov'd and favour'd more: he came to give
Fit welcome; and he led us to the Queen.
The fate of war had reft her of her realm;
Yet with affection, and habitual awe,
And old remembrances, which gave their love
A deeper and religious character,
Fallen as she was, and humbled as they were,
Her faithful people still, in all they could,
Obey'd Erillyab. She, too, in her mind
Those recollections cherish'd, and such thoughts
As, though no hope temper'd their bitterness,
Gave to her eye a spirit, and a strength
VI. - 55
Had they been fashion'd by a happier fate,
Meaning more gentle and more womanly,
Yet not more worthy of esteem and love.
She sate upon the threshold of her hut;
For in the palace where her sires had reign'd
The conqueror dwelt. Her son was at her side,
A boy now near to manhood; by the door,
Bare of its bark, the head and branches shorn,
Stood a young tree, with many a weapon hung,
Her husband's war pole, and his monument.
There had his quiver moulder'd, his stone-axe
Had there grown green with moss, his bow-string there
Sung as it cut the wind.
She welcom'd us
With a proud sorrow in her mien; fresh fruits
Were spread before us, and her gestures said
That, when he liv'd whose hand was wont to wield
Those weapons, .. that in better days, .. that ere
She let the tresses of her widowhood
Grow wild, she could have given to guests like us,
A worthier welcome. Soon a man approach'd,
Hooded with sable, his half-naked limbs
Smear'd black; the people, at his sight, drew round,
The women wail'd and wept; the children turn'd,
And hid their faces on their mothers knees.
VI. - 56
Around the children, and laid hands on two,
Of different sexes, but of age alike,
Some six years each; they at his touch shriek'd out;
But then Lincoya rose, and to my feet
Led them, and told me that the conquerors claim'd
These innocents, for tribute; that the Priest
Would lay them on the altar of his god,
Pluck out their little hearts in sacrifice,
Yea, with more cursed wickedness, himself
Feast on their flesh! .. I shudder'd, and my hand
Instinctively unsheath'd the holy sword.
He with most passionate and eloquent signs,
Eye-speaking earnestness, and quivering lips,
Besought me to preserve himself; and those
Who now fell suppliant round me, .. youths and maids,
Grey-headed men, and mothers with their babes.
I caught the little victims up; I kiss'd
Their innocent cheeks; I rais'd my eyes to heaven,
I call'd upon Almighty God, to hear
And bless the vow I made: in our own tongue
Was that sworn promise of protection pledg'd ..
Impetuous feeling made no pause for thought.
Heaven heard the vow; the suppliant multitude
Saw what was stirring in my breast; the Priest,
VI. - 57
His menacing hand; the tone, the bitter smile,
Interpreting his threat.
Meanwhile, the Queen,
With watchful eye and steady countenance,
Had listened: now she rose, and to the Priest
Address'd her speech. Low was her voice, and calm,
As one who spake with effort to subdue
Sorrow that struggled still; but, while she spake,
Her features kindled to more majesty,
Her eye became more animate, her voice
Rose to the height of feeling. On her son
She call'd, and from her husband's monument
His battle-axe she took; and I could see,
That, when she gave the boy his father's arms,
She call'd his father's spirit to look on,
And bless them to his vengeance.
The tribe stood listening as Erillyab spake;
The very priest was aw'd: once he essay'd
To answer; his tongue fail'd him, and his lip
Grew pale and fell. He to his countrymen
Of rage and shame and wonder full, return'd,
Bearing no victims for their shrines accurst,
But tidings that the Hoamen had cast off
VI. - 58
By men, in hue and speech and garment strange,
Who, in their folly, dar'd defy the power
When the King of Aztlan heard
The unlook'd-for tale, ere yet he rous'd his strength,
Or pitying our rash valour, or belike
Curious to see the man so bravely rash,
He sent to bid me to his court. Surpris'd,
I should have given to him no credulous faith,
But fearlessly Erillyab bade me trust
Her honourable foe. Unarm'd I went,
Lincoya with me to exchange our speech,
So as he could, of safety first assur'd;
For to their devilish idols he had been
A victim doom'd, and, from the bloody rites
Flying, been carried captive far away.
From early morning, till the midnoon hour,
We travelled in the mountains; then a plain
Open'd below, and rose upon the sight,
Like boundless ocean from a hill-top seen.
A beautiful and populous plain it was;
Fair woods were there, and fertilizing streams,
And pastures spreading wide, and villages
VI. - 59
And many a single dwelling specking it,
As though for many a year, the land had been
The land of peace. Below us, where the base
Of the great mountains to the level slop'd,
A broad, blue lake extended far and wide
Its waters, dark beneath the light of noon.
There Aztlan stood upon the farther shore;
Amid the shade of trees its dwellings rose,
Their level roofs with turrets set around,
And battlements all burnish'd white, which shone
Like silver in the sun-shine. I beheld
The imperial city, her far-circling walls,
Her garden groves, and stately palaces,
Her temples mountain size, her thousand roofs;
And, when I saw her might and majesty,
My mind misgave me then.
We reached the shore:
A floating islet waited for me there,
The beautiful work of man. I set my feet
Upon green-growing herbs and flowers, and sate
Embowered in odorous shrubs: four long light boats
Yok'd to the garden, with accordant song,
And dip and dash of oar in harmony,
Bore me across the lake.
VI. - 60
Aloft by human bearers was I borne;
And through the city-gate, and through long lines
Of marshalled multitudes who throng'd the way,
We reach'd the palace court. Four priests were there;
Each held a burning censer in his hand,
And strew'd the precious gum as I drew nigh,
And held the streaming fragrance forth to me,
As I had been a god. They led me in,
Where, on his throne, the royal Azteca
Coanocotzin, sate. Stranger, said he,
Welcome! and be this coming to thy weal!
A desperate warfare doth thy courage court;
But thou shalt see the people, and the power
Whom thy deluded zeal would call to arms;
So may the knowledge make thee timely wise.
The valiant love the valiant. Come with me!
So saying, he rose; we went together forth
To the Great Temple. 'Twas a huge, square hill,
Or, rather, like a rock it seem'd, hewn out
And squar'd by patient labor. Never yet
Did our forefathers, o'er beloved chief
Fallen in his glory, heap a monument
Of that prodigious bulk, though every shield
Was laden for his grave, and every hand
VI. - 61
From morn till eve, all the long summer day.
The ascent was lengthened, with provoking art,
By steps which led but to a wearying path
Round the whole structure; then another flight,
Another road around, and thus a third,
And yet a fourth, before we reach'd the height.
Lo, now, Coanocotzin cried, thou seest
The cities of this widely peopled plain;
And wert thou on yon farthest temple-top,
Yet as far onward wouldst thou see the land
Well husbanded like this, and full of men.
They tell me that two floating palaces
Brought thee and all thy people; .. when I sound
The Tambour of the God, ten Cities hear
Its voice, and answer to the call, in arms.
In truth, I felt my weakness; and the view
Had waken'd no unreasonable fear,
But that a nearer sight had stirr'd my blood;
For, on the summit where we stood, four Towers
Were piled with human skulls, and all around
Long files of human heads were strung, to parch
And whiten in the sun. What then I felt
VI. - 62
In more than mortal strength, .. a faith in God, ..
Yea, inspiration from him. I exclaim'd,
Not though ten Cities ten times told obey'd
The king of Aztlan's bidding, should I fear
The power of man!
Art thou, then, more than man?
He answered; and I saw his tawny cheek
Lose its life-color as the fear arose;
Nor did I undeceive him from that fear,
For sooth I knew not how to answer him,
And therefore let it work. So not a word
Spake he, till we again had reach'd the court;
And I, too, went in silent thoughtfulness:
But then when, save Lincoya, there was none,
To hear our speech, again did he renew
The query, .. Stranger! art thou more than man,
That thou shouldst set the power of man at nought?
Then I replied, Two floating Palaces
Bore me and all my people o'er the seas.
When we departed from our mother land,
The Moon was newly born; we saw her wax
And wane, and witnessed her new birth again;
And all that while, alike by day and night,
VI. - 63
And made them bear us forward. We must meet
In battle, if the Hoamen are not freed
From your accursed tribute, .. thou and I,
My people and thy countless multitudes.
Your arrows shall fall from us as the hail
Leaps on a rock, .. and, when ye smite with swords,
Not blood, but fire, shall follow from the stroke.
Yet think not thou that we are more than men!
Our knowledge is our power, and God our strength,
God, whose almighty will created thee,
And me, and all that hath the breath of life.
He is our strength; .. for in his name I speak; ..
And when I tell thee that thou shalt not shed
The life of man in bloody sacrifice,
It is His holy bidding which I speak;
And if thou wilt not listen and obey,
When I shall meet thee in the battle field,
It is his holy cause for which I fight,
And I shall have his power to conquer thee!
And thinkest thou our Gods are feeble? cried
The King of Aztlan; dost thou they lack
Power to defend their altars, and to keep
The kingdom which they gave us strength to win?
VI. - 64
Their irresistible might, and they lie now
Conquer'd and caged and fetter'd at their feet.
That they who serve them are no coward race,
Let prove the ample realm we won in arms; ..
And I, their leader, am not of the sons
Of the feeble! As he spake, he reach'd a mace,
The trunk and knotted root of some young tree,
Such as old Albion, and his monster brood,
From the oak forest for their weapons pluck'd
When Father Brute and Corineus set foot
On the White Island first. Lo this, quoth he,
My club! and he threw back his robe; and this
The arm that wields it! .. 'twas my father's once:
Erillyab's husband, King Tepollomi,
He felt its weight ... did I not show thee him?
He lights me at my evening banquet. There
In very deed, the dead Tepollomi
Stood up against the wall, by devilish art
Preserv'd; and from his black and shrivell'd hand
The steady lamp hung down.
My spirit rose
At that abomination. I exclaim'd,
Thou art of noble nature, and full fain
Would I in friendship plight my hand with thine;
VI. - 65
Till thy polluted altars be made pure,
There is no peace between us. May my God,
Who, though thou know'st him not, is also thine,
And after death will be thy dreadful Judge,
May it please him to visit thee, and shed
His mercy on thy soul! ... But, if thy heart
Be hardened to the proof, come when thou wilt!
I know thy power, and thou shalt then know mine.'
[ 66 ]
Roused all her people to revenue their wrongs;
And, at Lincoya's voice, the mountain tribes
Arose and broke their bondage. I, meantime,
Took counsel with Cadwallon and his sire,
And told them of the numbers we must meet,
And what advantage from the mountain straits
I thought, as in the Saxon wars, to win.
Thou saw'st their weapons, then, Cadwallon said;
Are they like these rude works of ignorance,
Bone-headed shafts, and spears of wood, and shields
Strong only for such strife?
We had to cope
With wiser enemies, and abler arm'd.
What for the sword they wielded was a staff
Set thick with stones across; you would have judged
The uncouth shape was cumbrous; but a hand
Expert, and practis'd to its use, could drive
VII. - 67
Their mail, if mail it may be call'd, was woven
Of vegetable down, like finest flax,
Bleached to the whiteness of the new-fallen snow;
To every bend and motion flexible,
Light as a warrior's summer-garb in peace;
Yet in that lightest, softest, habergeon,
Harmless the sharp stone arrow-head would hang.
Others, of higher office, were array'd
In feathery breast-plates of more gorgeous hue
Than the gay plumage of the mountain-cock,
Or the pheasant's glittering pride. But what were these,
Or what the thin gold hauberk, when oppos'd
To arms like ours in battle? What the mail
Of wood fire-hardened, or the wooden helm,
Against the iron arrows of the South,
Against our northern spears, or battle-axe,
Or good sword, wielded by a British hand?
Then, quoth Cadwallon, at the wooden helm,
Of these weak arms the weakest, let the sword
Hew, and the spear be thrust. The mountaineers,
So long inured to crouch beneath their yoke,
We will not trust in battle; from the heights
They with their arrows may annoy the foe;
VII. - 68
Then let them loose for havoc.
O my son!
Exclaimed the blind old man, thou counsellest ill!
Blood will have blood, revenge beget revenge,
Evil must come of evil. We shall win,
Certes, a cheap and easy victory
In the first field; their arrows from our arms
Will fall, and on the hauberk and the helm
The flint-edge blunt and break; while thro' their limbs,
Naked or vainly fenced, the griding steel
Shall shear its mortal way. But what are we
Against a nation? Other hosts will rise
In endless warfare, with perpetual fights
Dwindling our all-too-few; or multitudes
Will wear and weary us, till we sink subdued
By the very toil of conquest. Ye are strong;
But he who puts his trust in mortal strength,
Leans on a broken reed! First prove your power;
Be in the battle terrible, but spare
The fallen, and follow not the flying foe;
Then may ye win a nobler victory,
So dealing with the captives as to fill
Their hearts with wonder, gratitude, and awe,
That love shall mingle with their fear, and fear
VII. - 69
That, as more pure and gentle is your faith,
Yourselves are gentler, purer. Ye shall be
As gods among them, if ye thus obey
Soon the mountain tribes in arms,
Rose at Lincoya's call; a numerous host,
More than in numbers, in the memory
Of long oppression, and revengeful hope,
A formidable foe. I stationed them
Where, at the entrance of the rocky straits,
Secure themselves, their arrows might command
The coming army. On the plain below
We took our stand, between the mountain base
And the green margin of the waters. Soon
Their long array came on. Oh, what a pomp
And pride and pageantry of war was there!
Not half so gaudied, for their May-day mirth
All wreath'd and ribanded, our youths and maids,
As these stern Aztecas in war attire!
The golden glitterance, and the feather-mail,
More gay than glittering gold; and round the helm,
A coronal of high, upstanding plumes,
Green as the spring grass in the sunny shower;
Or scarlet bright, as in the wintry wood
VII. - 70
Whereto shall that be likened? to what gem
Indiadem'd ... what flower ... what insect's wing?
With war-songs and wild music they came on,
We, the while, kneeling, rais'd with one accord
The hymn of supplication
Front to front,
And now the embattled armies stood: band
Of priests, all sable-garmented, advanced;
They piled a heap of sedge before our host,
And warned us ... Sons of Ocean! from the land
Of Aztlan, while ye may, depart in peace!
Before the fire shall be extinguished, hence!
Or, even as yon dry sedge amid the flame,
So ye shall be consumed ... The arid heap
They kindled, and the rapid flame ran up,
And blazed, and died away. Then from his bow,
With steady hand, their chosen archer loos'd
The Arrow of the Omen. To its mark
The shaft of divination fled; it smote
Cadwallon's plated breast; the brittle point
Rebounded. He, contemptuous of their faith,
Stooped for the shaft, and while with zealous speed
To the rescue they rush'd onward, snapping it
Asunder, tossed the fragments back in scorn.
VII. - 71
Encountered I with braver enemies.
Nor marvel ye, nor think it to their shame,
If soon they stagger'd, and gave way, and fled,
So many from so few: they saw their darts
Recoil, their lances shiver, and their swords
Fall ineffectual, blunted with the blow.
Think ye no shame of Aztlan that they fled,
When the bowmen of Deheubarth plied so well
Their shafts with fatal aim; through the thin gold,
Or feather mail, while Gwyneth's deep-driven spears
Pierced to the bone and vitals; when they saw
The falchion, flashing late so lightning-like,
Quenched in their own life-blood. Our mountaineers
Showered from the heights, meantime, an arrowy storm,
Themselves secure; and we who bore the brunt
Of battle, iron men, impassable,
Stood in our strength unbroken. Marvel not
If then the brave felt fear, already impress'd
That day by ominous thoughts to fear akin;
For so it chanced, high heaven ordaining so,
The king, who should have led his people forth,
At the army-head, as they began their march,
Was with sore sickness stricken; and the stroke
Came like the act and arm of very God,
VII. - 72
A gallant man was he, who, in his stead,
That day commanded Aztlan: his long hair,
Tufted with many a cotton lock, proclaim'd
Of princely prowess many a feat achiev'd
In many a field of fame. Oft had he led
The Aztecas, with happy fortune, forth;
Yet could not now Yuhidthiton inspire
His host with hope: he, not the less, that day,
True to his old renown, and in the hour
Of rout and ruin, with collected mind,
Sounded his signals shrill, and in the voice
Of loud reproach and anger, and brave shame,
Called on the people ... But when nought avail'd,
Seizing the standard from the timid hand
Which held it in dismay, alone he turn'd,
For honourable death resolv'd, and praise
That would not die. At that the braver chiefs
Rallied; anew their signals rung around,
And Aztlan, seeing how we spared her flight,
Took heart, and roll'd the tide of battle back.
But when Cadwallon from the chieftain's grasp
Had cut the standard-staff away, and stunn'd
And stretch'd him at his mercy on the field;
Then fled the enemy in utter rout,
VII. - 73
Bestrode the body of Yuhidthiton;
Bareheaded did young Malinal bestride
His brother's body, wiping from his brow
With the shield-hand, the blinding blood away,
And dealing franticly, with broken sword,
Obstinate wrath, the last resisting foe.
Him, in his own despite, we seiz'd and sav'd.
Then, in the moment of our victory,
We purified our hands from blood, and knelt,
And poured to heaven the grateful prayer of praise,
And raised the choral psalm. Triumphant thus
To the hills we went our way" the mountaineers
With joy, and dissonant song, and antic dance;
The captives sullenly, deeming that they went
To meet the certain death of sacrifice,
Yet stern and undismay'd. We bade them know,
Ours was a law of mercy and of love;
We healed their wounds, and set the prisoners free.
Bear ye, quoth I, my bidding to your King!
Say to him, Did the Stranger speak to thee
The words of truth, and hath he proved his power?
Thus saith the Lord of Ocean, in the name
Of God, Almighty, Universal God,
Thy Judge and mine, whose battles I have fought,
VII. - 74
Shed thou no more in impious sacrifice,
The life of man; restore unto the grave
The dead Tepollomi; set this people free,
And peace shall be between us.
On the morrow
Came messengers from Aztlan in reply.
Coanocotzin with sore malady
Hath, by the Gods been stricken: will the Lord
Of Ocean visit his sick bed? .. He told
Of wrath, and, as he said, the vengeance came:
Let him bring healing now, and stablish peace.
[ 75 ]
The city of the King: there went with me
Iolo, old Iolo, he who knows
The virtue of all herbs of mount or vale,
Or greenwood shade, or quiet brooklet's bed;
Whatever lore of science or of song,
Sages and Bards of old have handed down.
Aztlan that day poured forth her swarming sons,
To wait my coming. Will he ask his God
To stay the wrathful hand? that was the cry,
The general cry; and will he save the King?
Coanocotzin, too, had nurst that thought,
And the strong hope upheld him: he put forth
His hand, and rais'd a quick and anxious eye, ..
Is it not peace and mercy? .. thou art come
To pardon and to save!
I answer'd him,
VIII. - 76
Such help as human cunning can bestow,
Such human help I bring; but health and life
Are in the hand of God, who at his will
Gives or withdraws; and what he wills is best.
Then old Iolo took his arm, and felt
The symptom; and he bade him have good hope,
For life was strong within him. So it prov'd:
The drugs of subtle virtue did their work;
They quell'd the venom of the malady,
And from the frame expell'd it, .. that a sleep,
Fell on the king, a sweet and natural sleep,
And from its healing he awoke refresh'd,
Though weak, and joyful as a man who felt
The peril passed away.
Ere long, we spake
Of concord, and how best to knit the bonds
Of lasting friendship. When we won this land,
Coanocotzin said, these fertile vales
Were not, as now, with fruitful groves embower'd,
Nor rich with towns and populous villages,
Abounding, as thou seest, with life and joy:
Our fathers found bleak heath and desert moor,
Wild woodland, and savannas wide and waste,
Rude country of rude dwellers. From our arms
VIII. - 77
And long with obstinate and harassing war
Provoked us, hoping not for victory,
Yet mad for vengeance; till Tepollomi
Fell by my father's hand; and with their king,
The strength and flower of all their youth cut off,
All in one desolating day, they took
The yoke upon their necks. What wouldest thou
That to these Hoamen I should now concede?
Lord of the Ocean, speak!
Let them be free!
Quoth I. I come not from my native isle
To wage the war of conquest, and cast out
Your people from the land which time and toil
Have rightly made their own. The World is wide:
There is enough for all. So they be freed
From that accurs'd tribute, and ye shed
The life of man no more in sacrifice, ..
In the most holy name of God I say,
Let there be peace between us!
Thou hast won
Their liberty, the King replied: henceforth,
Free as they are, if they provoke the war,
Reluctantly will Aztlan raise her arm.
Be thou the peace-preserver. To what else
VIII. - 78
I lend a humble ear; but to destroy
The worship of my fathers, or abate
Or change one point, lies not within the reach
And scope of kingly power. Speak thou hereon
With those whom we hold holy, with the sons
Of the Temple, they who commune with the Gods;
Awe them, for they awe me. So we resolv'd,
That, when the bones of King Tepollomi
Had had their funeral honours, they and I
Should by the green lake-side, before the King
And in the presence of the people, hold
A solemn talk.
Then to the mountain-huts,
The bearer of good tidings, I return'd,
Leading the honourable train who bore
The relies of the King; not parch'd and black,
As I had seen the unnatural corpse stand up,
In ghastly mockery of the attitude
And act of life: his bones had now been blanch'd
With decent reverence. Soon the mountaineers
Saw the white deer-skin shroud; the rumour spread;
They gather'd round, and follow'd in our train.
Before Erillyab's hut the bearers laid
Their burden down. She, calm of countenance,
VIII. - 79
Shook like an agueish limb, unroll'd the shroud.
The multitude stood gazing silently,
The young and old alike all aw'd and hush'd
Under the holy feeling, .. and the hush
Was awful; that huge multitude so still,
That we could hear distinct the mountain stream
Roll down its rocky channel far away.
And this was all; sole ceremony this,
The sight of death and silence, .. till, at length,
In the ready grave his bones were laid to rest.
'Twas in her hut and home, yea, underneath
The marriage bed, the bed of widowhood,
Her husband's grave was dug; on softest fur
The bones were laid, with fur were cover'd o'er,
Then heaped with bark and boughs, and, last of all,
Earth was to earth trod down.
And now the day,
Appointed for our talk of peace was come.
On the green margin of the lake we met,
Elders and Priests and Chiefs; the multitude
Around the circle of the council stood.
Then, in the midst, Coanocotzin rose,
And thus the King began: Pabas and Chiefs
Of Aztlan, hither ye are come to learn
VIII. - 80
The Tribes whom he hath gather'd underneath
The wings of his protection shall be free;
And in the name of his great God he saith,
That ye shall never shed in sacrifice
The blood of man. Are ye content? that so
We may together here, in happy hour,
Bury the sword!
Hereat a Paba rose,
And answered for his brethren: .. He hath won
The Hoamen's freedom, that their blood no more
Shall on our altars flow; for this the Lord
Of Ocean fought, and Aztlan yielded it
In battle: but if we forego the rites
Of our forefathers; if we wrong the Gods,
Who give us timely sun and timely showers,
Their wrath will be upon us; they will shut
Their ears to prayer, and turn away the eyes
Which watch for our well-doing, and withhold
The hands that scatter our prosperity.
Cynetha then arose; between his son
And me supported, rose the blind old man.
Ye wrong us, men of Aztlan, if ye deem
We bid ye wrong the Gods; accurst were he
VIII. - 81
The wretch who should enjoin impiety!
It is the will of God which we make known,
Your God and ours. Know ye not Him, who laid
The deep foundations of the earth, and built
The arch of heaven, and kindled yonder sun,
And breathed into the woods and waves and sky
The power of life?
We know Him, they replied
The great For-Ever One, the God of Gods,
Ipalnemoani, He by whom we live!
And we too, quoth Ayayaca, we know
And worship the Great Spirit, who in clouds
And storms, in mountain caves and by the fall
Of waters, in the woodland solitude,
And in the night and silence of the sky,
Doth make his being felt. We also know,
And fear and worship the Beloved One.
Our God, replied Cynetha, is the same,
The Universal Father. He to the first
Made his will known; but, when men multiplied,
The Evil Spirits darken'd them, and sin
And misery came into the world, and men
Forsook the way of truth, and gave to stocks
VIII. - 82
Yet with one chosen, one peculiar Race,
The knowledge of their Father and their God
Remained, from sire to son transmitted down.
While the bewildered Nations of the earth
Wandered in fogs, and were in darkness lost,
The light abode with them; and, when at times
They sinned and went astray, the Lord hath put
A voice into the mouths of holy men,
Raising up witnesses unto himself,
That so the saving knowledge of his name
Might never fail; nor the glad promise, given
To our first parent, that at length his sons,
From error, sin, and wretchedness redeem'd,
Should form one happy family of love.
Nor ever hath that light, howe'er bedimm'd,
Wholly been quench'd; still in the heart of man
A feeling and an instinct it exists,
His very nature's stamp and privilege,
Yea, of his life the life. I tell ye not,
O Aztecas! of things unknown before;
I do but waken up a living sense
That sleeps within ye! Do ye love the Gods
Who call for blood? Doth the poor sacrifice
Go with a willing step to lay his life
VIII. - 83
Evil of evil: if the fruit be death,
The poison springeth from the sap and root,
And the whole tree is deadly; if the rites
Be evil, they who claim them are not good,
Not to be worshipp'd then; for to obey
The evil will is evil. Aztecas!
From the For-Ever, the Beloved One,
The Universal, Only God, I speak,
Your God and mine, our Father and our Judge.
Hear ye his law, .. hear ye the perfect law
Of love: "Do ye to others as ye would
That they should do to you!" He bids us meet,
To praise his name, in thankfulness and joy;
He bids us, in our sorrow, pray to him,
The Comforter. Love him, for he is good!
Fear him, for he is just; obey his will,
For who can bear his anger!
While he spake,
They stood with open mouth and motionless sight,
Watching his countenance, as though the voice
Were of a God; for sure it seem'd that less
Than inspiration could not have infus'd
That eloquent passion in a blind man's face.
And, when he ceas'd, all eyes at once were turn'd
VIII. - 84
If that to that acknowledged argument
Reply could be devised: but they themselves,
Stricken by the truth, were silent; and they look'd
Toward their chief and mouth-piece, the High Priest
Tezozomoc: he, too, was pale and mute,
And, when he gathered up his strength to speak,
Speech failed him, his lip faltered, and his eye
Fell utterly abashed, and put to shame.
But in the Chiefs, and in the multitude,
And in the King of Aztlan, better thoughts
Were working; for the Spirit of the Lord
That day was moving in the heart of man.
Coanocotzin rose: Pabas and Chiefs,
And men of Aztlan, ye have heard a talk
Of peace and love, and there is no reply.
Are ye content with what the Wise Man saith?
And will ye worship God in that good way
Which God himself ordains? If it be so,
Together here will we in happy hour
Bury the sword.
This thing is new, and in the land till now
Unheard: what marvel, therefore, if we find
No ready answer? Let our Lord the King
Do that which seemeth best.
VIII. - 85
Chief of the Chiefs of Aztlan, next arose.
Of all her numerous sons, could Aztlan boast
No mightier arm in battle, nor whose voice
To more attentive silence hush'd the hall
Of council. When the Wise Man spake, quoth he,
I asked of mine own heart if it were so,
And, as he said, the living instinct there
Answer'd, and owned the truth. In happy hour,
O King of Aztlan, did the Ocean Lord
Through the great waters hither wend his way;
For sure he is the friend of God and man!
At that an uproar of assent arose
From the whole people, a tumultuous shout
Of universal joy and glad acclaim.
But when Coanocotzin rais'd his hand,
That he might speak, the clamor and the buzz
Ceas'd, and the multitude, in tiptoe hope,
Attent and still, await the final voice.
Then said the Sovereign, Hear, O Aztecas,
Your own united will! From this day forth
No life upon the altar shall be shed,
No blood shall flow in sacrifice; the rites
Shall all be pure, such as the blind old man,
VIII. - 86
And therefore it shall be!
The King hath said!
Like thunder the collected voice replied:
Let it be so!
Lord of the Ocean, then
Pursued the King of Aztlan, we will now
Lay the war-weapon in the grave, and join
In right-hand friendship. By our custom, blood
Should sanctify and bind the solemn act
But by what oath and ceremony thou
Shalt proffer, by the same will Aztlan swear.
Nor oath nor ceremony, I replied,
O King, is needful. To his own good word
The good and honourable man will act.
Oaths will not curb the wicked. Here we stand
In the broad daylight; the For-Ever One,
The Every Where, beholds us. In his sight,
We join our hands in peace: if e'er again
Should these right hands be rais'd in enmity,
Upon the offender will His judgment fall.
The grave was dug; Coanocotzin laid
His weapon in the earth; Erillyab's son,
VIII. - 87
His hatchet there; and there I laid the sword.
Here let me end. What followed was the work
Of peace, no theme for story; how we fix'd
Our sojourn in the hills, and sow'd our fields,
And, day by day, saw all things prospering.
Thence have I sail'd, Goervyl, to announce
The tidings of my happy enterprise;
There I return, to take thee to our home.
I love my native land; with as true love
As ever yet did warm a British heart,
Love I the green fields of the beautiful Isle,
My father's heritage! But far away,
Where Nature's booner hand has blest the earth,
My heritage hath fallen; beyond the seas
Madoc hath found his home; beyond the seas
A country for his children hath he chosen,
A land wherein their portion may be peace.
[ 88 ]
Of merriment and music, Madoc's heart
Mourned for his brethren. Therefore, when no ear
Was nigh, he sought the King, and said to him,
To-morrow, I set forth for Mathraval;
Longer I must not linger here, to pass
The easy hours in feast and revelry,
Forgetful of my people far away.
I go to tell the tidings of success,
And seek new comrades. What if it should chance,
That, for this enterprise, our brethren,
Foregoing all their hopes and fortunes here,
Would join my banner? .. Let me send abroad
That summons, O my brother! so secure,
You may forgive the past, and once again
Will peace and concord bless our father's house.
IX. - 89
The King replied: thy easy nature sees not,
How, if the traitors for thy banner send
Their bidding round, in open war against me
Their own would soon be spread. I charge thee, Madoc,
Neither to see nor aid these fugitives,
The shame of Owen's blood.
Sullen he spake,
And turned away; nor further commune now
Did Madoc seek, nor had he more endur'd;
For bitter thoughts were rising in his heart,
And anguish, kindling anger. In such mood,
He to his sister's chamber took his way.
She sate with Emma, with the gentle Queen;
For Emma had already learnt to love
The gentle maid. Goervyl saw what thoughts
Troubled her brother's brow. Madoc, she cried,
"Thou hast been with the king, been rashly pleading
For Ririd and for Rodri!" .. He repli'd,
I did but ask him little, .. did but say,
Belike our brethren would go forth with me,
To voluntary exile; then, methought,
His fear and jealousy might well have ceas'd,
And all be safe.
And did the King refuse?
IX. - 90
With dutiful warmth and zeal will plead for them;
And surely David will not say me nay.
O sister! cried Goervyl, tempt him not!
Sister, you know him not! Alas! to touch
That perilous theme is, even in Madoc here,
A perilous folly ... Sister tempt him not!
You do not know the King!
At that, a fear
Fled to the cheek of Emma; and her eye,
Quickening with wonder, turned toward the Prince,
As if expecting that his manly mind
Would mould Goervyl's meaning to a shape
Less fearful, would interpret and amend
The words she hoped she did not hear aright.
Emma was young; she was a sacrifice
To that cold king craft, which, in marriage vows
Linking two hearts, unknowing each of each,
Perverts the ordinance of God, and makes
The holiest tie a mockery and a curse.
Her eye was patient; and she spake in tones
So sweet, and of so pensive gentleness,
That the heart felt them. Madoc! she exclaim'd,
Why dost thou hate the Saxons? O my brother,
IX. - 91
When the Plantagenet shall wish herself
Among her nobler, happier countrymen,
From these unnatural enmities escap'd,
And from the curse which they will call from heaven.
Shame then suffused the Prince's countenance,
Mindful how, drunk in anger, he had given
His hatred loose. My sister Queen, quoth he,
Marvel not you that with my mother's milk
I sucked that hatred in. Have they not been
The scourge and the devouring sword of God,
The curse and pestilence that he hath sent
To root us from the land? Alas, our crimes
Have drawn this fearful visitation down!
Our sun hath long been westering; and the night
And darkness and extinction are at hand.
We are a fallen people! .. From ourselves
The desolation and the ruin come!
In our own vitals doth the poison work ...
The House that is divided in itself,
How should it stand? .. A blessing on you, Lady!
But in this wretched family the strife
Is rooted all too deep; it is an old
And canker'd wound, .. an eating, killing sore,
IX. - 92
Should ever speak his fears, .. and sure to you
All his most inward thoughts he will make known ..
Counsel him then to let his brethren share
My enterprise, to send them forth with me
To everlasting exile. .. She hath told you
Too rudely of the King; I know him well;
He hath a stormy nature; and what germs
Of virtue would have budded in his heart,
Cold winds have check'd, and blighting seasons nipt,
Yet in his heart they live ... A blessing on you.
That you may see their blossom and their fruit!
[ 93 ]
O'er Menai's ebbing tide, up mountain-paths,
Beside gray mountain-stream and lonely lake,
And through old Snowdon's forest-solitude,
He held right on his solitary way.
Nor paus'd he in that rocky vale, where oft.
Up the familiar path, with gladder pace,
His steed had hasten'd to the well-known door, ..
That valley, o'er whose crags, and sprinkled trees,
And winding stream, so oft his eye had lov'd
To linger, gazing, as the eve grew dim,
From Dolwyddelan's Tower; .. alas! from therefrom,
As from his brother's monument, he turn'd
A loathing eye, and through the rocky vale
Sped on. From morn till noon, from noon till eve,
He travell'd on his way; and, when at morn
Again the Ocean Chief bestrode his steed,
X. - 94
Hung like a cloud in heaven. O'er heath and hill,
And barren height, he rode; and darker now,
In loftier majesty, thy mountain seat,
Star-loving Idris, rose. Nor turned he now
Beside Kregennan, where his infant feet
Had trod Ednywain's hall; nor loitered he
In the green vales of Powys, till he came
Where Warnway rolls his waters underneath
The walls of Mathraval, old Mathraval,
Cyveilioc's princely and paternal seat.
But Madoc rush'd not forward now to greet
The chief he loved; for from the hall was heard
The voice of harp and song. It was that day,
The feast of victory at Mathraval;
Around the Chieftain's board the warriors sate;
The sword and shield and helmet, on the wall
And round the pillars, were in peace hung up;
And as the flashes of the central fire,
At fits arose, a dance of wavy light
Played o'er the reddening steel. The Chiefs, who late
So well had wielded, in the play of war,
Those weapons, sate around the board, to quaff
The beverage of the brave, and hear their fame.
X. - 95
Stood up the Poet-Prince of Mathraval;
His hands were on the harp, his eyes were clos'd,
His head, as if in reverence to receive
The inspiration, bent; anon, he rais'd
His glowing countenance, and brighter eye,
And swept, with passionate hand, the ringing harp.
Fill high the Hirlas Horn! to Grufydd bear
Its frothy beverage, .. from his crimson lance
The invader fled; .. fill high the gold-tipt Horn!
Heard ye in Maelor the step of war? ..
The hastening shout? .. the onset? .. Did ye hear
The clash and clang of arms? .. the battle-din,
Loud as the roar of Ocean, when the winds
At midnight are abroad? .. the yell of wounds? ..
The rage? .. the agony? ... give to him the Horn
Whose spear was broken, and whose buckler pierced
With many a shaft, yet not the less he fought
And conquer'd; .. therefore let Ednyved share
The generous draught; give him the long, blue Horn!
Pour out again, and fill again the spoil
Of the wild bull, with silver wrought of yore;
Bear ye to Tudyr's hand the golden lip,
Eagle of battle! For Moreiddig fill
X. - 96
Where are the noble Brethren? Wolves of war,
They kept their border well, they did their part,
Their fame is full, their lot is praise and song ...
A mournful song to me, a song of woe! ..
Brave Brethren! for their honour brim the cup,
Which they shall quaff no more.
We drove away
The strangers from our land; profuse of life,
Our warriors rush'd to battle, and the Sun
Saw from his noontide fields their manly strife.
Pour thou the flowing mead! Cup-bearer, fill
The Hirlas! for, hadst thou beheld the day
Of Llidom, thou hadst known how well the Chiefs
Deserve this honour now. Cyveilioc's shield
Were they in danger, when the Invader came;
Be praise and liberty their lot on earth,
And joy be theirs in heaven!.
Here ceased the song.
Then from the threshold on the rush-strewn floor
Madoc advanced. Cyveilioc's eye was now
To present forms awake, but even as still
He felt his harp-chords throb with dying sounds,
The heat and stir and passion had not yet
Subsided in his soul. Again he struck
X. - 97
And brim the honourable Horn, and bear
The draught of joy to Madoc, .. he who first
Explored the desert ways of Ocean, first
Through the wide waste of sea and sky held on
Undaunted, till upon another World,
The Lord and Conqueror of the Elements,
He set his foot triumphant! Fill for him
The Hirlas! fill the honourable Horn!
This is a happy hour, for Madoc treads
The hall of Mathraval; by every foe
Dreaded, by every friend belov'd the best,
Madoc, the British Prince, the Ocean Lord,
Who never for injustice rear'd his arm.
Give him the Hirlas Horn, fill, till the draught
Of joy shall quiver o'er the golden brim!
In happy hour the hero hath return'd!
In happy hour the friend, the brother treads
He sprung to greet his guest;
The cordial grasp of fellowship was given;
They gave the seat of honour, and they fill'd
for him The Hirlas Horn. .. So there was joy
In Mathraval Cyveilioc and his Chiefs,
All eagerly, with wonder-waiting eyes,
X. - 98
Nor mean the joy which kindled Madoc's brow,
When as he told of daring enterprise
Crowned with deserved success. Intent they heard
Of all the blessings of that happier clime;
And, when the adventurer spake of soon return,
Each on the other gaz'd, as if to say,
Methinks it were a goodly lot to dwell
In that fair land in peace.
Then said the Prince
Of Powys, Madoc, at an happy time
Thy feet have sought the house of Mathraval;
For on the morrow, in the eye of light,
Our bards will hold their congress. Seekest thou
Comrades to share success? proclaim abroad
Thine invitation there, and it shall spread
Far as our fathers ancient tongue is known.
Thus mantling mead went round at Mathraval; ..
That was a happy hour! Of other years
They talk'd; of common toils, and fields of war,
Where they fought side by side; of Corwen's day
Of glory, and of comrades now no more: ..
Themes of delight, and grief which brought its joy.
Thus they beguil'd the pleasant hours, while night
X. - 99
Each on his bed of rushes, stretch'd around
The central fire.
The Sun was newly risen
When Madoc joined his host, no longer now
Clad, as the conquering chief of Maelor,
In princely arms, but in his nobler robe,
The sky-blue mantle of the bard, array'd.
So for the place of meeting they set forth;
And now they reach'd Melangell's lonely church.
Amid a grove of evergreens it stood,
A garden and a grove, where every grave
Was deck'd with flowers, or with unfading plants
O'ergrown, sad rue and funeral rosemary.
Here Madoc paused. The morn is young, quoth he;
A little while to old remembrance given
Will not belate us. .. Many a year hath fled,
Cyveilioc, since you led me here, and told
The legend of the Saint. Come! .. be not loath!
We will not loiter long. .. So soon to mount
The bark, which will for ever bear me hence,
I would not willingly pass by one spot
Which thus recalls the thought of other times,
Without a pilgrim's visit.
Thus he spake,
X. - 100
To the rude image of St. Monacel.
Dost thou remember, Owen," said the Prince,
When first I was thy guest in early youth,
That once, as we had wander'd here at eve,
You told how here a poor and hunted hare
Ran to the Virgin's feet, and look'd to her
For life? .. I thought, when listening to the tale,
She had a merciful heart, and that her face
Must with a saintly gentleness have beam'd,
When beasts could read its virtue. Here we sate
Upon the jutting root of this old yeugh ...
Dear friend! so pleasant didst thou make those days,
That in my heart, long as my heart shall beat,
Minutest recollections still will live,
Still be the source of joy.
As Madoc spake,
His glancing eye fell on a monument,
Around whose base the rosemary droop'd down,
As yet not rooted well. Sculptur'd above,
A warrior lay; the shield was on his arm;
Madoc approached, and saw the blazonry, ..
A sudden chill ran through him, as he read,
Here Yorwerth lies ... it was his brother's grave.
X. - 101
Madoc, was I so loath to enter here!
He sought the sanctuary; but close upon him
The murderers followed, and by yonder copse
The stroke of death was given. All I could
Was done; .. I saw him here consign'd to rest,
Daily due masses for his soul are sung,
And duly hath his grave been deck'd with flowers.
So saying, from the place of death he led
The silent prince. But lately, he pursued,
Llewelyn was my guest, thy favourite boy.
For thy sake and his own, it was my hope
That he would make his home at Mathraval:
He had not needed then a father's love.
But he, I know not on what enterprise,
Was brooding ever; and those secret thoughts
Drew him away. God prosper the brave boy!
It were a happy day for this poor land
If e'er Llewelyn mount his rightful throne.
[ 102 ]
Nor bower'd with trees nor broken by the plough,
Remote from human dwellings and the stir
Of human life, and open to the breath
And to the eye of Heaven. In days of old,
There had the circling stones been planted; there,
From earliest ages, the primeval lore,
Thro' Bard to Bard, with reverence handed down.
They whom to wonder, or the love of song,
Or reverence of their fathers' ancient rites,
Drew thither, stood without the ring of stones.
Cyveilioc enter'd to the initiate Bards,
Himself, albeit his hands were stain'd with war,
Initiate; for the Order, in the lapse
Of years, and in their nation's long decline,
From the first rigour of their purity
Somewhat had fallen. The Masters of the Song
XI. - 103
To emblem unity, and peace, and truth,
Like Heaven, which' o'er a world of wickedness
Spreads its eternal canopy serene.
The bards of Britain there, a noble band,
Within the Stones of Federation stood,
On the green turf, and under the blue sky,
Their heads in reverence bare, and bare of foot.
A deathless brotherhood! Cyveilioc there,
Lord of the Hirlas; Llywarc there was seen;
And old Cynddelow, to whose lofty song,
So many a time amidst his father's hall
Resigning all his soul, had Madoc given
The flow of feeling loose. But Madoc's heart
Was full; old feelings and remembrances
And thoughts from which was no escape, arose:
He was not there to whose sweet lay, so oft,
With all a brother's fond delight, he lov'd
To listen, .. Hoel was not there! .. the hand
That once so well, amid the triple chords,
Mov'd in the rapid maze of harmony,
It had no motion now; the lips were dumb
Which knew all tones of passion; and that heart,
That warm, ebullient heart, was cold and still,
XI. - 104
And there was no familiar countenance,
None but Cynddelow's face, which he had learnt
In childhood, and old age had set its mark,
Making unsightly alteration there.
Another generation had sprung up,
And made him feel how fast the days of man
Flow by, how soon their number is told out.
He knew not then that Llywarc's lay should give
His future fame; his spirit, on the past
Brooding, beheld, with no forefeeling joy
The rising sons of song, who there essayed
Their eaglet flight. But there among the youth,
In the green vesture of their earliest rank,
Or with the aspirants clad in motley garb,
Young Benvras stood; and, one whose favour'd race
Heaven with the hereditary power had blest,
The old Gowalchmai's not degenerate child;
And there another Einion; gifted youths,
And heirs of immortality on earth,
Whose after-strains, through many a distant age
Cambria shall boast, and love the songs that tell
The fame of Owen's house.
There, in the eye
Of light, and in the face of day, the rites
XI. - 105
The sheathed sword was laid; the Master then
Rais'd up his voice, and cried, Let them who seek
The high degree and sacred privilege
Of Bardic science, and of Cimbric lore,
Here to the Bards of Britain make their claim!
Thus having said, the Master bade the youths
Approach the place of peace, and merit there
The Bard's most honourable name. At that,
Heirs and transmitters of the ancient light,
The youths advanced; they heard the Cimbric lore,
From earliest days preserv'd; they struck their harps,
And each in due succession rais'd the song.
Last of the aspirants, as of greener years,
Young Caradoc advanced; his lip as yet
Scarce darken'd with its down, his flaxen locks
Wreathed in contracting ringlets waving low;
His large blue eyes were bright, and kindled now
With that same passion that inflam'd his cheek;
Yet in his cheek there was the sickliness
Which thought and feeling leave, wearing away
The hue of youth. Inclining on his harp,
He, while his comrades in probation song
Approv'd their claim, stood hearkening, as it seem'd,
XI. - 106
He heard the symphony and voice attuned;
Even in such feelings as, all undefin'd,
Come with the flow of waters to the soul,
Or with the motions of the moonlight sky.
But, when his bidding came, he, at the call
Arising from that dreamy mood, advanced,
Threw back his mantle, and began the lay.
Where are the sons of Gavran? where his tribe
The faithful? Following their beloved Chief,
They the Green Islands of the Ocean sought;
Nor human tongue hath told, nor human ear,
Since from the silver shores they went their way,
Hath heard, their fortunes. In his crystal Ark,
Whither sailed Merlin with his band of Bards,
Old Merlin, master of the mystic lore?
Belike his crystal Ark, instinct with life,
Obedient to the mighty Master, reach'd
The Land of the Departed; there, belike,
They in the clime of immortality,
Themselves immortal, drink the gales of bliss,
Which o'er Flathinnis breathe eternal spring,
Blending whatever odours make the gale
Of evening sweet, whatever melody
XI. - 107
There, with the Chiefs of other days, feel they
The mingled joy pervade them? .. Or beneath
The mid-sea waters, did that crystal Ark
Down to the secret depths of Ocean plunge
Its fated crew? Dwell they in coral bowers
With Mermaid loves, teaching their paramours
The songs that stir the sea, or make the winds
Hush, and the waves be still? In fields of joy
Have they their home, where central fires maintain
Perpetual summer, where one emerald light
Through the green element for ever flows?
Twice have the sons of Britain left her shores,
As the fledg'd eaglets quit their native nest;
Twice over ocean have her fearless sons
For ever sailed away. Again they launch
Their vessels to the deep. .. Who mounts the bark?
The son of Owen, the beloved Prince,
Who never for injustice reared his arm.
Respect his enterprize, ye Ocean Waves!
Ye Winds of Heaven, waft Madoc on his way!
The Waves of Ocean, and the Winds of Heaven.
Became his ministers, and Madoc found
The world he sought.
XI. - 108
Who mounts the vessel for a world of peace?
He who hath felt the throb of pride, to hear
Our old illustrious annals; who was taught
To lisp the fame of Arthur, to revere
Great Caratach's unconquer'd soul, and call
That gallant chief his countryman who led
The wrath of Britain, from her chalky shores
To drive the Roman robber. He who loves
His country, and who feels his country's shame,
Whose bones amid a land of servitude
Could never rest in peace; who, if he saw
His children slaves, would feel a pang in heaven, ..
He mounts the bark, to seek for liberty.
Who seeks the better land? The wretched one,
Whose joys are blasted all, whose heart is sick,
Who hath no hope, to whom all change is gain,
To whom remembered pleasures strike a pang
Which only guilt should know, .. he mounts the bark!
The Bard will mount the bark of banishment;
The harp of Cambria shall in other lands,
Remind the Cambrian of his fathers' fame; ..
The Bard will seek the land of liberty,
The world of peace. .. O Prince, receive the Bard!
XI. - 109
Was turned to Madoc, and his asking eye
Lingered on him in hope; nor lingered long
The look expectant; forward sprung the Prince,
And stretch'd to Caradoc the right-hand pledge,
And for the comrade of his enterprize,
With joyful welcome, hail'd the joyful Bard.
Nor needed now the Searcher of the Sea
Announce his enterprize, by Caradoc
In song announced so well; from man to man
The busy murmur spread; while from the Stone
Of Covenant the sword was taken up,
And from the Circle of the Ceremony
The Bards went forth, their meeting now fulfill'd.
The multitude, unheeding all beside,
Of Madoc and his noble enterprize
Held stirring converse on their homeward way,
And spread abroad the tidings of a Land,
Where Plenty dwelt with Liberty and Peace.
[ 110 ]
With hawk and hound afield, and harp in hall,
The days went by; till Madoc, for his heart
Was with Cadwallon, and in early spring
Must he set forth to join him over sea,
Took his constrained farewell. To Dinevawr
He bent his way, whence many a time with Rhys
Had he gone forth to smite the Saxon foe.
The Son of Owen greets his father's friend
With reverential joy: nor did the Lord
Of Dinevawr with cold or deadened heart
Welcome the Prince he lov'd; though not with joy
Unmingled now, nor the proud consciousness
Which in the man of tried and approv'd worth
Could bid an equal hail. Henry had seen
The Lord of Dinevawr between his knees
Vow homage; yea, the Lord of Dinevawr
XII. - 111
Who set a price upon his father's head,
That Saxon, on whose soul his mother's blood
Cried out for vengeance. Madoc saw the shame,
Which Rhys would fain have hidden, and, in grief
For the degenerate land, rejoiced at heart
That now another country was his home.
Musing on thoughts like these, did Madoc roam
Alone along the Towy's winding shore.
The beavers in its bank had hollow'd out
Their social place of dwelling, and had damm'd
The summer-current, with their perfect art
Of instinct, erring not in means nor end.
But as the floods of spring had broken down
Their barrier, so its breaches unrepair'd
Were left; and round the piles, which, deeper driven
Still held their place, the eddying waters whirl'd.
Now in those habitations desolate
One sole survivor dwelt: him Madoc saw,
Labouring alone, beside his hermit house;
And in that mood of melancholy thought, ..
For in his boyhood he had lov'd to watch
Their social work, and for he knew that man
In bloody sport had well-nigh rooted out
XII. - 112
Became a grief and burthen. Eve came on.
The dry leaves rustled to the wind, and fell
And floated on the stream; there was no voice
Save of the mournful rooks, who overhead
Wing'd their long line; for fragrance of sweet flowers,
Only the odour of the autumnal leaves; ..
All sights and sounds of sadness. .. And the place
To that despondent mood was ministrant; ..
Among the hills of Gwyneth, and its wilds
And mountain glens, perforce he cherish'd still
The hope of mountain liberty; they braced
And knit the heart and arm of hardihood; ..
But here, in these green meads, by these low slopes
And hanging groves, attemper'd to the scene,
His spirit yielded. As he loiter'd on,
There came toward him one in peasant garb,
And call'd his name; .. he started at the sound,
For he had heeded not the man's approach;
And now that sudden and familiar voice
Came on him like a vision. So he stood
Gazing, and knew him not in the dim light,
Till he again cried, Madoc! .. then he woke,
And knew the voice of Ririd, and sprang on,
And fell upon his neck, and wept for joy
XII. - 113
Long, very long it is since I have heard
The voice of kindness! .. Let me go with thee!
I am a wanderer in my father's land; ..
Hoel he kill'd, and Yorwerth hath he slain;
Llewelyn hath not where to hide his head
In his own kingdom; Rodri is in chains. ..
Let me go with thee, Madoc, to some land
Where I may look upon the sun, nor dread
The light that may betray me; where at night
I may not, like a hunted beast, rouse up,
If the leaves rustle over me.
Of Ocean struggled with his swelling heart.
Let me go with thee? .. but thou didst not doubt
Thy brother? .. Let thee go? .. with what a joy,
Ririd, would I collect the remnant left,
The wretched remnant now of Owen's house,
And mount the bark of willing banishment,
And leave the tyrant to his Saxon friends,
And to his Saxon yoke! .. I urged him thus,
Curbed down my angry spirit, and besought
Only that I might bid our brethren come,
And share my exile; And he spurned my prayer! ..
Thou hast a gentle pleader at his court;
XII. - 114
But not in this, the garb of fear and guilt.
Come thou to Dinevawr; .. assume thyself; ..
The good old Rhys will bid thee welcome there,
And the Great Palace, like a sanctuary,
Is safe. If then Queen Emma's plea should fail,
My timely bidding hence shall summon thee,
When I shall spread the sail. .. Nay, hast thou learnt
Suspicion; .. Rhys is noble, and no deed
Of treachery ever sullied his fair fame.
Madoc then led his brother to the hall
Of Rhys. I bring to thee a supplicant,
O King, he cried; thou wert my father's friend!
And, till our barks be ready in the spring,
I know that here the persecuted son
Of Owen will be safe.
A welcome guest!
The: old warrior cried; by his good father's soul,
He is a welcome guest at Dinevawr!
And, rising as he spake, he pledged his hand
In hospitality. .. How now! quoth he;
This raiment ill beseems the princely son
Of Owen! .. Ririd at his words was led
Apart: they washed his feet; they gave to him
XII. - 115
The tunic of soft texture woven well,
The broider'd girdle, the broad mantle edged
With fur and flowing low, the bonnet last,
Form'd of some forest marten's costly spoils.
The Lord of Dinevawr sat at the dice
With Madoc, when he saw him, thus array'd,
Returning to the hall. Aye! this is well!
The noble Chief exclaim'd; 'tis as of yore,
When in Aberfraw, at his father's board,
We sat together, after we had won
Peace and rejoicing, with our own right hands,
By Corwen, where, commixt with Saxon blood,
Along its rocky channel the dark Dee
Roll'd darker waters. .. Would that all his house
Had, in their day of trouble; thought of me,
And honored me like this! David respects
Deheubarth's strength, nor would respect it less
When such protection leagu'd its cause with Heaven.
I had forgot his messenger! quoth he,
Arising from the dice. Go, bid him here!
He came this morning at an ill-starr'd hour,
To Madoc he pursued; my lazy grooms
Had let the hounds play havoc in my flock,
XII. - 116
Hath chosen well his messenger: .. he saw
That, in such mood, I might have rendered him
A hot and hasty answer, and hath waited,
Perhaps to David's service and to mine,
My better leisure.
Now the Messenger
Entered the hall; Goagan of Powys-land,
He of Caer-Einion was it, who was charg'd
From Gwyneth to Deheubarth; a brave man,
Of copious speech. He told the royal son
Of Gryffidd, the descendant of the line
Of Rhys-ab-Tudyr mawr, that he came there
From David, son of Owen, of the stock
Of kingly Cynan. I am sent, said he,
With friendly greeting; and, as I receive
Welcome and honour, so, in David's name,
Am I to thank the Lord of Dinevawr.
Tell on, quoth Rhys, the purport and the cause
Of this appeal?
Of late, some fugitives
Came from the South to Mona, whom the King
Received with generous welcome. Some there were
Who blamed his royal goodness; for they said,
XII. - 117
Who, peradventure, would with no such bounty
Cherish a northern suppliant. This they urged,
I know not if from memory of old feuds,
Better forgotten, or in envy. Mov'd
Hereby, King David swore he would not rest
Till he had put the question to the proof,
Whether with liberal honour the Lord Rhys
Would greet his messenger; but none was found,
Of all who had instill'd that evil doubt,
Ready to bear the embassy: I heard it,
And did my person tender, .. for I knew
The nature of Lord Rhys of Dinevawr.
Well! quoth the Chief, Goagan of Powys-land,
This honourable welcome that thou seekest,
Wherein may it consist?
In giving me,
Goagan of Powys-land replied, a horse,
Better than mine, to bear me home, a suit
Of seemly raiment, and ten marks in coin,
With raiment and two marks to him who leads
My horse's bridle.
For his sake, said Rhys,
Who sent thee, thou shalt have the noblest steed
XII. - 118
And give the raiment threefold. More than this, ..
Say thou to David, that the guests who sit
At board with me, and drink of my own cup,
Are Madoc and Lord Ririd. Tell the King,
That thus it is Lord Rhys of Dinevawr,
Delighteth to do honour to the sons
Of Owen, of his old and honoured friend.
[ 119 ]
A little while farewell! as through the gate
Of Dinevawr he past, to pass again
That hospitable threshold never more.
And thou too, O thou good old man! true friend
Of Owen, and of Owen's house, farewell!
'Twill not be told me, Rhys, when thy gray hairs
Are to the grave gone down; but oftentimes
In the distant world I shall remember thee,
And think that, come thy summons when it may,
Thou wilt not leave a braver man behind. ...
Now God be with thee, Rhys!
The old Chief paus'd
A moment ere he answer'd, as for pain;
Then, shaking his hoar head, I never yet
Gave thee this hand unwillingly before!
When for a guest I spread the board, my heart
XIII. - 120
It leapt to welcome: should I lift
The spear against the Saxon, .. for old Rhys
Hath that within him yet, that could uplift
The Cimbric spear, .. I then shall wish his aid,
Who oft has conquer'd with me: when I kneel
In prayer to Heaven, an old man's prayer shall beg
A blessing on thee!
Madoc answered not,
But graspt his hand in silence, then sprang up
And spurr'd his courser on. A weary way,
Through forest and o'er fell, Prince Madoc rode.
And now he skirts the bay whose reckless waves
Roll o'er the plain of Gwaelod: fair fields,
And busy towns, and happy villages,
They overwhelm'd in one disastrous day;
For they, by their eternal siege had sapp'd
The bulwark of the land, while Seithenyn
Took of his charge no thought, till, in his sloth
And riotous cups surpris'd, he saw the sea
Roll like an army o'er the levell'd mound.
A supplicant in other courts, he mourn'd
His crime and ruin; in another's court
The kingly harp of Garanhir was heard,
Wailing his kingdom wreck'd; and many a Prince,
XIII. - 121
A saintly crown, - Tyneio, Merini,
Boda and Brenda and Ailgyvarch,
Gwynon and Celynin and Gwynodyl.
To Bardsey was the Lord of Ocean bound;
Bardsey, the holy Islet, in whose soil
Did many a Chief and many a Saint repose,
His great progenitors. He mounts the skiff;
Her canvas swells before the breeze; the sea
Sings round her sparkling keel, and soon the Lord
Of Ocean treads the venerable shore.
There was not, on that day, a speck to stain
The azure heaven; the blessed Sun alone,
In unapproachable divinity,
Careered, rejoicing in his fields of light.
How beautiful, beneath the bright blue sky,
The billows heave! one glowing green expanse,
Save where along the bending line of shore
Such hue is thrown, as when the peacock's neck
Assumes its proudest tint of amethyst,
Embathed in emerald glory. All the flocks
Of Ocean are abroad; like floating foam,
The sea-gulls rise and fall upon the waves;
XIII. - 122
Wing their far flight aloft; and round and round
The plovers wheel, and give their note of joy.
It was a day that sent into the heart
A summer feeling: even the insect swarms
From their dark nooks and coverts issued forth,
To sport thro' one day of existence more;
The solitary primrose on the bank,
Seem'd now as though it had no cause to mourn
Its bleak autumnal birth; the Rocks and Shores,
The Forest, and the everlasting Hills,
Smiled in that joyful sunshine, .. they partook
The universal blessing.
To this Isle,
Where his forefathers were consign'd to dust,
Did Madoc come for natural piety,
Ordering a solemn service for their souls.
Therefore for this the Church that day was dress'd;
For this the Abbot, in his alb array'd,
At the high altar stood;.for this, infus'd,
Sweet incense from the waving thuribule
Rose like a mist, and the grey brotherhood
Chaunted the solemn mass. And now on high
The mighty Mystery had been elevate,
And now around the graves the brethren
XIII. - 123
Tall as the staff of some wayfaring man,
Bears the brown taper, with their daylight flames
Dimming the cheerful day. Before the train
The Cross is borne, where, fashion'd to the life
In shape, and size, and ghastly coloring,
The awful Image hangs. Next, in its shrine
Of gold and crystal, by the Abbot held,
The mighty Mystery came; on either hand
Three Priests uphold above, on silver wands,
The purple pall. With holy water next
A father went, therewith, from hyssop branch
Sprinkling the graves; the while, with one accord,
The solemn psalm of mercy all inton'd.
Pure was the faith of Madoc, though his mind
To all this pomp and solemn circumstance
Yielded a willing homage. But the place
Was holy; .. the dead air, which underneath
Those arches never felt the healthy sun
Nor the free motion of the elements,
Chilly and damp, infus'd associate awe:
The sacred odours of the incense still
Floated; the daylight and the taper-flames
Commingled, dimming each, and each bedimm'd;
XIII. - 124
Still to their hymn, as if in symphony,
The regular foot-fall sounded: swelling now,
Their voices, in one chorus, loud and deep,
Rung through the echoing aisles; and when it ceas'd,
The silence of that. huge and sacred pile
Came on the heart. What wonder if the Prince
Yielded his homage now? the influences
Of that sweet autumn day made every sense
Alive to every impulse; .. and beneath
The stones whereon he stood, his ancestors
Were mouldering, dust to dust. Father! quoth he,
When now the rites were ended, .. far away
It hath been Madoc's lot to pitch his tent
On other shores; there, in a foreign land,
Far from my father's burial place, must I
Be laid to rest; yet would I have my name
Be held with theirs in memory. I beseech you,
Have this a yearly rite for evermore,
As I will leave endowment for the same;
And let me be remember'd in the prayer.
The day shall be a holy day with me,
While I do live; they who come after me
Will hold it holy; it will be a bond
Of love and brotherhood, when all beside
XIII. - 125
Between my people and their mother Isle,
This shall be their communion: they shall send,
Link'd in one sacred feeling at one hour,
In the same language, the same prayer to Heaven,
And, each remembering each in piety,
Pray for the other's welfare.
The old man
Partook that feeling, and some pious tears
Fell down his aged cheek. Kinsman and son,
It shall be so! said he; and thou shalt be
Remember'd in the prayer: nor then alone;
But till my sinking sands be quite run out,
This feeble voice shall, from its solitude,
Go up for thee to Heaven!
And now the bell
Rung out its cheerful summons; to the hall,
In seemly order, pass the brotherhood:
The serving-men wait with the ready ewer;
The place of honor to the Prince is given,
The Abbot's right hand guest; the viands smoke,
The horn of ale goes round; and now, the cates
Remov'd, for days of festival reserv'd
Comes choicer beverage, clary, hippocras,
XIII. - 126
Sparkles and sings and smiles. It was a day
Of that allowable and temperate mirth
Which leaves a joy for memory. Madoc told
His tale; and thus, with question and reply
And cheerful intercourse, from noon till nones
The brethren sate, and, when the quire was done,
Renew'd their converse, till the vesper bell.
But then the Porter called Prince Madoc out,
To speak with one, he said, who from the land
Had sought him, and requir'd his private ear.
Madoc in the moonlight met him: in his hand
The stripling held an oar; and on his back,
Like a broad shield, the coracle was hung.
Uncle! he cried, and, with a gush of tears,
Sprung to the glad embrace.
O my brave boy!
Llewelyn! my dear boy! with stifled voice,
And interrupted utterance, Madoc cried,
And many times he claspt him to his breast,
And many times drew back, and gaz'd upon him,
Wiping the tears away which dimm'd the sight,
And told him how his heart had yearn'd for him
As with a father's love, and bade him now
XIII. - 127
And sail beyond the seas, and share his fate.
No! by my God! the high-hearted youth replied,
It never shall be said Llewelyn left
His father's murderer on his father's throne!
I am the rightful king of this poor land. ..
Go thou, and wisely go! but I must stay,
That I may save my people. Tell me, Uncle,
The story of thy fortunes; I can hear it
Here in this lonely Isle, and at this hour,
Nay, quoth Madoc, tell me first
Where are thy haunts and coverts, and what hope
Thou hast to bear thee up? Why goest thou not
To Mathraval? there would Cyveilioc give
A kinsman's welcome; or at Dinevawr,
The guest of honor shouldst thou be with Rhys;
And he, belike, from David might obtain
Some recompense, though poor.
Exclaimed Llewelyn: what hath he to give,
But life for life? and what have I to claim
But vengeance, and my father Yorwerth's throne?
XIII. - 128
Would I not through the wide world follow thee,
Dear Uncle! and fare with thee, well or ill,
And show to thine old age the tenderness
My childhood found from thee! .. What hopes I have
Let time display: Have thou no fear for me!
My bed is made within the ocean caves,
Of sea-weeds bleach'd by many a sun and shower;
I know the mountain dens, and every hold
And fastness of the forest; and I know, ...
What troubles him by day and in his dreams, ...
There's many an honest heart in Gwyneth yet!
But tell me thine adventure; that will be
A joy to think of in long winter nights,
When stormy billows make my lullaby.
So, as they walk'd along the moonlight shore,
Did Madoc tell him all; and still he strove,
By dwelling on that noble end and aim,
That of his actions was the heart and life,
To win him to his wish. It touch'd the youth;
And, when the Prince had ceas'd, he heav'd a sigh,
Long-drawn and deep, as if regret were there.
No, no! he cried, it must not be! lo yonder
XIII. - 129
They rest in the moonlight! I was nursed among them;
They saw my sports in childhood, they have seen
My sorrows, they have sav'd me in the hour
Of danger; .. I have vow'd, that, as they were
My cradle, they shall be my monument! ..
But we shall meet again, and thou wilt find me
When next thou visitest thy native Isle,
King in Aberfraw!
Never more, Llewelyn,
Madoc replied, shall I behold the shores
Of Britain; nor will ever tale of me
Reach the Green Isle again. With fearful care
I choose my little company, and leave
No traces of our path, where Violence,
And bloody Zeal, and bloodier Avarice,
Might find their blasting way.
If it be so, ..
And rightly thou hast judged, the youth replied,
Thou wilt not know my fate; .. but this be sure,
It shall not be inglorious. I have in me
A hope from Heaven. .. Give me thy blessing, Uncle!
Llewelyn, kneeling on the sand, embraced
XIII. - 130
Listening. He rose, and fell on Madoc's neck,
And clasp'd him, with a silent agony, ..
Then launched his coracle, and took his way,
A lonely traveller on the moonlight sea.
[ 131 ]
And homeward to Aberfraw, through the wilds
Of Arvon, bent his course. A little way
He turn'd aside, by natural impulse
Mov'd, to behold Cadwallon's lonely hut.
That lonely dwelling stood among the hills,
By a gray mountain-stream; just elevate
Above the winter torrents did it stand,
Upon a craggy bank; an orchard slope
Arose behind, and joyous was the scene,
In early summer, when those antic trees
Shone with their blushing blossoms, and the flax
Twinkled beneath the breeze its liveliest green.
But, save the flax-field and that orchard slope,
All else was desolate, and now it wore
One sober hue; the narrow vale which wound
Among the hills, was grey with rocks, that peer'd
XIV. - 132
Was loose with stones bestrewn, which, oftentimes
Clattered adown the steep, or huger cragd,
Which, when the coming frost should loosen them,
Would thunder down. All things assorted well
With that grey mountain hue; the low stone lines,
Which scarcely seem'd to be the work of man,
The dwelling, rudely rear'd with stones unhewn,
The stubble flax; the crooked apple-trees,
Grey with their fleecy moss and mistletoe,
The white-barked birch, now leafless, and the ash,
Whose knotted roots were like the rifted rock,
Thro' which they forced their way. Adown the vale,
Broken by stones, and o'er a stony bed,
Rolled the loud mountain-stream.
When Madoc came,
A little child was sporting by the brook,
Floating the fallen leaves, that he might see them
Whirl in the eddy now, and now be driven
Down the descent, now on the smoother stream
Sail onward far away. But when he heard
The horse's tramp, he rais'd his head and watch'd
The Prince, who now dismounted and drew nigh.
The little boy still fix'd his eyes on him,
XIV. - 133
That cluster'd round his brow; and so he stood,
His rosy cheeks still lifted up to gaze
In innocent wonder. Madoc took his hand,
And now had ask'd his name, and if he dwelt
There in the hut, when from that cottage door
A woman came, who, seeing Madoc, stopt
With such a fear, ... for she had cause for fear, ...
As when a bird, returning to her nest,
Turns to a tree beside, if she behold
Some prying boy too near the dear retreat.
Howbeit, advancing soon, she now approach'd
The approaching Prince, and timidly enquir'd,
If, on his wayfare, he had lost the track,
That thither he had strayed. Not so, replied
The gentle Prince; but, having known this place,
And its old habitants, I came once more
To see the lonely hut among the hills.
Hath it been long your dwelling?
Some few years,
Here we have dwelt, quoth she, my child and I.
Will it please you enter, and partake such fare
As we can give? Still timidly she spake,
But gathering courage from the gentle mien
Of him with whom she conversed. Madoc thank'd
XIV. - 134
They went, and in his arms he took the boy.
Who is his father? said the Prince, but wish'd
The word unutter'd; for thereat her cheek
Was flushed with sudden heat and manifest pain;
And she replied, He perished in the war.
They entered now her home; she spread the board,
Bringing fresh curds, and cheese like curd so white,
The orchard fruits, and what sweet beverage
Her bees, who now were slumbering in the hive,
Had toil'd to purvey all the summer long.
Three years," said Madoc, have gone by, since here
I found a timely welcome, overworn
With toil and sorrow and sickness; ,, three long years!
'Twas when the battle had been waged hard by,
Upon the plain of Arvon.
She grew pale,
Suddenly pale; and, seeing that he mark'd
The change, she told him, with a feeble voice,
That was the fatal fight which widow'd her.
O Christ! cried Madoc, 'tis a grief to think
How many a gallant Briton died that day,
In that accursed strife! I trod the field
XIV. - 135
Aye, like ripe corn within the reaper's reach,
Strewn round the bloody spot where Hoel lay;
Brave as he was, himself cut down at last,
Oppressed by numbers, gash'd with wounds, yet still
Clinching, in his dead hand, the broken sword! ..
But you are mov'd; .. you weep at what I tell.
Forgive me, that, renewing my own grief,
I should have waken'd yours! Did you then know
She replied, Oh, no! my lot
Was humble, and my loss a humble one;
Yet was it all to me! They say, quoth she, ...
And, as she spake, she struggled to bring forth,
With painful voice, the interrupted words, ...
They say Prince Hoel's body was not found;
But you, who saw him dead, perchance can tell
Where he was laid, and by what friendly hand.
Even where he fell, said Madoc, is his grave;
For he who buried him was one whose faith
Recked not of boughten prayers nor passing bell.
There is a hawthorn grows beside the place,
A solitary tree, nipt by the winds,
That it doth seem a fitting monument
XIV. - 136
On this ungrateful theme?
He took a harp
Which stood beside, and, passing o'er its chords,
Made music. At the touch, the child drew nigh,
Pleas'd by the sounds and leant on Madoc's knee,
And bade him play again: So Madoc play'd,
For he had skill in minstrelsy, and rais'd
His voice, and sung Prince Hoel's lay of love.
I have harnessed thee, my Steed of shining grey,
And thou shalt bear me to the dear white walls.
I love the white walls by the verdant bank,
That glitter in the sun, where Bashfulness
Watches the silver sea-mew sail along.
I love that glittering dwelling, where we hear
The ever-sounding waves; for there she dwells,
The shapely Maid, fair as the ocean spray,
Her cheek as lovely as the apple-flower,
Or summer evening's glow. I pine for her;
In crowded halls my spirit is with her;
Through the long, sleepless night I think on her;
And happiness is gone, and health is lost,
And fled the flush of youth, and I am pale
As the pale ocean on a sunless morn.
XIV. - 137
That she should spurn so true a love as mine.
He ceas'd, and laid his hand upon the child, ..
And didst thou like the song? The child replied, ..
Oh, yes! it is a song my mother loves,
And so I love it too. He stoopt and kiss'd
The boy, who still was leaning on his knee,
Already grown familiar. I should like
To take thee with me, quoth the Ocean Lord,
Over the seas.
Thou art Prince Madoc, then! ...
The mother cried; ... thou art indeed the Prince!
That song ... that look ... and at his feet she fell,
Crying, Oh, take him, Madoc! save the child!
Thy brother Hoel's orphan!
Long it was
Ere that in either agitated heart
The tumult could subside. One while the Prince
Gaz'd on the child, tracing intently there
His brother's lines; and now he caught him up,
And kissed his cheek, and gaz'd again, till all
Was dim and dizzy, .. then blest God, and vow'd
That he should never need a father's love.
XIV. - 138
Her burthen'd heart, and many a broken speech
In tears had died away, O Prince, she cried,
Long hath it been my dearest prayer to heaven,
That I might see thee once, and to thy love
Commit this friendless boy! For many a time,
In phrase so fond did Hoel tell thy worth,
That it hath waken'd misery in me
To think, I could not as a sister claim
Thy love! and therefore was it that till now
Thou knew'st me not; for I intreated him,
That he would never let thy virtuous eye
Look on my guilt, and make me feel my shame.
Madoc, I did not dare to see thee then, ..
Thou wilt not scorn me now, .. for I have now
Forgiven myself; and, while I here perform'd
A mother's duties in this solitude,
Have felt myself forgiven.
With that, she clasp'd
His hand, and bent her face on it, and wept.
Anon collecting, she pursued, .. My name
Is Llaian: by the chance of war I fell
Into his power, when all my family
Had been cut off, all in one hour of blood.
He saved me from the ruffian's hand; he sooth'd,
XIV. - 139
How gentle he could be, and how his eyes,
So full of life and kindliness, could win
All hearts to love him. Madoc, I was young;
I had no living friend; .. and when I gave
This infant to his arms, when with such joy
He viewed it o'er and o'er again, and press'd
A father's kiss upon its cheek, and turn'd
To me, and made me feel more deeply yet
A mother's deep delight, .. oh! I was proud
To think my child in after years should say,
Prince Hoel was his father!
Thus I dwelt,
In the white dwelling by the verdant bank, ..
Though not without my melancholy hours, ..
Happy. The joy it was when I beheld
His steed of shining grey come hastening on,
Across the yellow sand! .. Alas! ere long,
King Owen died. I need not tell thee, Madoc,
With what a deadly and forefeeling fear
I heard how Hoel seiz'd his father's throne,
Nor with what ominous woe I welcom'd him,
In that last, little, miserable hour
Ambition gave to love. I think his heart,
Brave as it was, misgave him. When I spake
XIV. - 140
But 'twas a smile that came not from the heart, ..
A most ill-boding smile! .. O Madoc! Madoc!
You know not with what misery I saw
His parting steps, .. with what a dreadful hope
I watched for tidings! .. And at length it came, ..
Came like a thunderbolt! .. I sought the field:
O Madoc, there were many widows there,
But none with grief like mine! I looked around;
I dragged aside the bodies of the dead,
To search for him, in vain; .. and then a hope
Seized me, which it was agony to lose!
Night came. I did not heed the storm of night!
But, for the sake of this dear babe, I sought
Shelter in this lone hut: 'twas desolate;
And, when my reason had return'd, I thought,
That here the child of Hoel might be safe,
Till we could claim thy care. But thou, meantime,
Didst go to roam the Ocean; so I learnt
To bound my wishes here. The carkanet,
The embroidered girdle, and what other gauds
Were once my vain adornments, soon were changed
For things of profit, goats and bees, and this,
The tuneful solace of my solitude.
XIV. - 141
I sing to it the songs which Hoel lov'd,
And Hoel's own sweet lays; it comforts me,
And gives me joy in grief.
Often I griev'd
To think the son of Hoel should grow up
In this unworthy state of poverty;
Till Time, who softens all regrets, had worn
That vain regret away, and I became
Humbly resign'd to God's unerring will.
To him I look'd for healing, and he pour'd
His balm into my wounds. I never form'd
A prayer for more, .. and, lo! the happiness
Which he hath, of his mercy, sent me now!
[ 142 ]
Holding her joyful boy; the Chief beside
Paces afoot, and, like a gentle Squire,
Leads her loose bridle; from the saddle-bow
His shield and helmet hang, and with the lance,
Staff-like, he stay'd his steps. Before the sun
Had climb'd his southern eminence, they left
The mountain-feet; and hard by Bangor now,
Travelling the plain before them they espy
A lordly cavalcade, for so it seem'd
Of knights, with hawk in hand and hounds in leash,
Squires, pages, serving-men, and armed grooms,
And many a sumpter-beast and laden wain,
Far following in their rear. The bravery
Of glittering bauldricks and of high-plumed crests,
Embroider'd surcoats and emblazon'd shields,
And lances, whose long streamers play'd aloft,
XV. - 143
Tambour and cittern, proudly they went on;
And ever, at the foot-fall of their steeds,
The tinkling horse-bells, in rude symphony,
Accorded with the joy.
What have we here?
Quoth Madoc then, to one who stood beside
The threshold of his ozier-woven hut.
'Tis the great Saxon Prelate, he returned,
Come hither for some end, I wis not what,
Only be sure no good! ".. How stands the tide?
Said Madoc; can we pass? ,, 'Tis even at flood,
The man made answer, and the Monastery
Will have no hospitality to spare
For one of Wales to-day. Be ye content
To guest with us.
He took the Prince's sword:
The daughter of the house brought water then,
And washed the stranger's feet; the board was spread,
And o'er the bowl they commun'd of the days
Ere ever Saxon set his hateful foot
Upon the beautiful Isle.
As so they sate,
The bells of the Cathedral rung abroad
Unusual summons. What is this? exclaim'd
XV. - 144
He and his host, their way. They found the rites
Begun: the mitred Baldwin, in his hand
Holding a taper, at the altar stood.
Let him be cursed! .. were the words which first
Assailed their ears, .. living and dead, in limb
And life, in soul and body, be he curst
Here and hereafter! Let him feel the curse
At every moment and in every act,
By night and day, in waking and in sleep!
We cut him off from Christian fellowship;
Of Christian sacraments we deprive his soul;
Of Christian burial we deprive his corpse;
And, when that carrion to the Fiends is left
In unprotected earth, thus let his soul
Be quenched in hell!
He dashed upon the floor
His taper down, and all the ministering Priests
Extinguish'd each his light, to consummate
Whom is it ye curse,
Cried Madoc, with these horrors? They replied,
The contumacious Prince of Mathraval,
What! quoth Madoc, and his eye
XV. - 145
In Gwyneth here, and with hellish hate
Insults the blameless Lord of Mathraval? ...
We wage no war with women nor with Priests;
But if there be a knight amid your train,
Who dare come boldly forth, and to my face
Say that Cyveilioc hath deserv'd this curse,
Lo! here stand I, Prince Madoc, who will make
That slanderous wretch cry craven in the dust,
And eat his lying words!
Quoth one of Baldwin's Priests, who, Briton born,
Had known Prince Madoc in his father's court;
It is our charge, throughout this Christian land
To call upon all Christian men to join
The armies of the Lord, and take the cross;
That so, in battle with the Infidels,
The palm of victory or of martyrdom,
Glorious alike, may be their recompense.
This holy badge, whether in godless scorn
Or for the natural blindness of his heart,
Cyveilioc hath refus'd; thereby incurring
The pain, which, not of our own impulse, we
Inflict upon his soul, but at the will
XV. - 146
Lies no appeal on earth.
'Tis well for thee,
Intemperate Prince! said Baldwin, that our blood
Flows with a calmer action than thine own!
Thy brother David hath put on the cross,
To our most pious warfare piously
Pledging his kingly sword. Do thou the like,
And for this better object lay aside
Thine other enterprize, which, lest it rob
Judea of one single Christian arm,
We do condemn as sinful. Follow thou
The banner of the Church to Palestine;
So shalt thou expiate this rash offence,
Against the which we else should fulminate
Our ire, did we not see in charity,
And therefore rather pity than resent,
The rudeness of this barbarous land.
Scorn tempering wrath, yet anger sharpening scorn,
Madoc replied, Barbarians as we are,
Lord Prelate, we received the law of Christ
Many a long age before your pirate sires
Had left their forest dens; nor are we now
XV. - 147
Saxon, Jute, Angle, or whatever name
Suit best your mongrel race! Ye think, perchance,
That, like your own poor, woman-hearted King,
We, too, in Gwyneth are to take the yoke
Of Rome upon our necks; .. but you may tell
Your Pope, that, when I sail upon the seas,
I shall not strike a topsail for the breath
Of all his maledictions!
He turned away, lest further speech might call
Further reply, and kindle further wrath,
More easy to avoid than to allay.
Therefore he left the church; and soon his mind
To gentler mood was won by social talk,
And the sweet prattle of that blue-eyed boy,
Whom in his arms he fondled.
But, when now
Evening had settled, to the door there came
One of the brethren of the Monastery,
Who called Prince Madoc forth. Apart they went;
And in the low, suspicious voice of fear,
Though none was nigh, the Monk began. Be calm,
Prince Madoc, while I speak, and patiently
Hear to the end! Thou know'st that, in his life,
XV. - 148
For his unlawful marriage; but the King,
Feeling no sin in conscience, heeded not
The inefficient censure. Now, when Baldwin
Beheld his monument to-day, impell'd,
As we do think, by anger against thee,
He swore that, even as Owen in his deeds
Disown'd the Church when living, even so
The Church disown'd him dead, and that his corpse
No longer should be suffered to pollute
The sanctuary, .. Be patient, I beseech,
And hear me out. Gerald at this, who felt
A natural horror, sought, .. as best he knew
The haughty Primate's temper, .. to dissuade
By politic argument, and chiefly urged
The quick and fiery nature of our nation, ..
How, at the sight of such indignity,
They would arise in arms, and limb from limb
Tear piecemeal him and all his company.
So far did this prevail, that he will now
Commit the deed in secret; and, this night,
Thy father's body from its resting-place,
O Madoc! shall be torn, and cast aside
In some unhallow'd pit, with foul disgrace
And contumelious wrong.
XV. - 149
Quoth Madoc. ... Aye, at midnight, he replied,
Shall this impiety be perpetrated.
Therefore hath Gerald, for the reverence
He- bears to Owen's royal memory,
Sent thee the tidings. Now, be temperate
In thy just anger, Prince! and shed no blood.
Thou know'st how dearly the Plantagenet
Atones for Becket's death; and be thou sure,
Though thou thyself shouldst sail beyond the storm,
That it would fall on Britain.
While he spake,
Madoc was still; the feeling work'd too deep
For speech or visible sign. At length he cried,
What if amid their midnight sacrilege,
I should appear among them?
It were well;
The Monk replied, if, at a sight like that,
Thou canst with-hold thy hand.
Oh, fear me not!
Good and true friend! said Madoc: I am calm,
And calm as thou beholldest me will prove
In word and action. Quick I am to feel
Light ills, .. perhaps o'er-hasty: summer gnats,
Finding my cheek unguarded, may infix
XV. - 150
But, if the wolf or forest boar be nigh,
I am awake to danger. Even so
Bear I a mind of steel and adamant
Against all greater wrongs. My heart hath now
Receiv'd its impulse; and thou shalt behold
How in this strange and hideous circumstance
I shall find profit. .. Only, my true friend,
Let me have entrance.
At the western porch,
Between the complines and the matin-bell,
The Monk replied,: thou shalt find the door
Ready. Thy single person will suffice;
For Baldwin knows his danger, and the hour
Of guilt or fear convicts him, both alike
Opprobrious. Now, farewell!
Then Madoc took
His host aside, and in his private ear
Told him the purport, and wherein his help
Was needed. Night came on; the hearth was heapt,
The women went to rest. They twain, the while,
Sate at the board, and, while the untasted bowl
Stood by them, watch'd the glass whose falling sands
Told out the weary hours. The hour is come;
Prince Madoc helm'd his head, and from his neck
XV. - 151
And, lance in hand, went out. And, now arriv'd,
The bolts give back before them, and the gate
Rolls on its heavy hinge.
Beside the grave
Stood Baldwin, and the Prior, who, albeit
Cambrian himself, in fear and awe obey'd
The lordly Primate's will. They stood and watch'd
Their ministers perform the irreverent work.
And now with spade and mattock have they broken
Into the house of death, and now have they
From the stone coffin wrench'd the iron cramps,
When sudden interruption startled them;
And, clad in complete mail from head to foot,
They saw the Prince come in. Their tapers gleam'd
Upon his visage, as he wore his helm
Open; and, when in that pale countenance, ..
For the strong feeling blanch'd his cheek, ..they saw
His father's living lineaments, a fear
Like ague shook them. But anon that fit
Of scar'd imagination to the sense
Of other peril yielded, when they heard
Prince Madoc's dreadful voice. Stay! he exclaim'd,
For now they would have fled; .. stir not a man; ..
Or, if I once put breath into this horn,
XV. - 152
For vengeance from that grave. Stir not a man,
Or not a man shall live! The doors are watch'd,
And ye are at my mercy!
But, at that,
Baldwin from the altar seiz'd the crucifix,
And held it forth to Madoc, and cried out,
He who strikes me, strikes Him! forbear, on pain
Of endless - - -
Peace! quoth Madoc, and profane not
The holy Cross with those polluted hands
Of midnight sacrilege! .. Peace! I harm thee not, ..
Be wise, and thou art safe. .. For thee, thou know'st,
Prior, that, if thy treason were divulged,
David would hang thee on thy steeple-top,
To. feed the steeple-daws. Obey and live!
Go, bring fine linen, and a coffer meet
To bear these relics; and do ye, meanwhile,
Proceed upon your work.
They at his word
Rais'd the stone cover, and displayed the dead,
In royal grave-clothes habited, his arms
Cross'd on the breast, with precious gums and spice
Fragrant, and incorruptibly preserv'd.
At Madoc's bidding, round the corpse they wrap
XV. - 153
They laid it in the coffer, and with cloth
At head and foot filled every interval,
And pressed it down compact; they clos'd the lid,
And Madoc with his signet seal'd it thrice.
Then said he to his host, Bear thou at dawn
This treasure to the ships. My father's bones
Shall have their resting place where mine one day
May moulder by their side. He shall be free
In death, who, living, did so well maintain
His and his country's freedom. As for ye,
For your own safety, ye, I ween, will keep
My secret safe. So saying, he went his way.
[ 154 ]
Set foot in Mona. Llaian there receives
Sisterly greeting from the royal maid,
Who, while she tempers to the public eye
Her welcome, safely to the boy indulged
In fond endearments of instinctive love.
When the first glow of joy was overpast,
How went the equipment on, the Prince enquir'd.
Nay, brother, quoth Goervyl, ask thou that
Of Urien; ,, it hath been his sole employ
Daily from cock-crow until even-song,
That he hath laid aside all other thoughts,
Forgetful even of me! She said, and smil'd
Playful reproach upon the good old man,
Who in such chiding as affection loves,
Dallying with terms of wrong, return'd rebuke.
There, Madoc, pointing to the shore, he cried,
XVI. - 155
And worthy of the sea as ever yet
Gave canvas to the gale. The mariners
Flock to thy banner, and the call hath rous'd
Many a brave spirit. Soon as Spring shall serve,
There need be no delay. I should depart
Without one wish that lingers, could we bear
Ririd from hence, and break poor Rodri's chains,
Thy lion-hearted brother; .. And that boy,
If he were with us, Madoc! that dear boy
Sister, said the Prince at that,
How sped the Queen?
Oh Madoc! she replied,
A hard and unrelenting heart hath he.
The gentle Emma told me she had failed,
And that was all she told; but in her eye
I could see sorrow struggling. She complains not,
And yet, I know, in bitterness laments
The hour which brought her as a victim here.
Then I will seek the Monarch, Madoc cried;
And forth he went. Cold welcome David gave,
Such as might chill a suppliant; but the Prince
Fearless began: I found at Dinevawr
XVI. - 156
That he might follow me, a banished man.
He waits thine answer at the court of Rhys.
Now I beseech thee, David, say to him,
His father's hall is open!
Then the King
Replied, I told thee, Madoc, thy request
Displeased me heretofore; I warned thee, too,
To shun the rebel: yet my messenger
Tells me, the guests at Dinevawr, who sate
At board with Rhys, and drank of his own cup,
Were Madoc and Lord Ririd. .. Was this well,
This open disobedience to my will,
And my express command?
His rising wrath. If I should tell thee, Sire,
He answered, by what chance it so fell out,
I should of disobedience stand excus'd,
Even were it here a crime. Yet think again,
David, and let thy better mind prevail!
I am his surety here; he comes alone;
The strength of yonder armament is mine;
And when did I deceive thee? .. I did hope,
For natural love and public decency,
That ye would part in friendship, .. let that pass!
XVI. - 157
Of embarkation. But, for thine own sake,
Cast off these vile suspicions, and the fear
That makes its danger! Call to mind, my brother,
The rampart that we were to Owen's throne!
Are there no moments when the thoughts and loves
Of other days return? .. Let Rodri loose!
Restore him to his birth-right! .. Why wouldst thou
Hold him in chains, when benefits would bind
His noble spirit?
Leave me! cried the King;
Thou know'st the theme is hateful to my ear.
I have the mastery now; and idle words,
Madoc, shall never thrust me from the throne,
Which this right arm in battle hardly won.
There must he, lie till Nature set him free,
And so deliver both. Trespass no more!
A little yet bear with me, Madoc cried.
I leave this land for ever: let me first
Behold my brother Rodri, lest he think
My summer love be withered, and in wrath
Remember me hereafter.
Leave me, Madoc!
Speedily, ere indulgence grow a fault,
XVI. - 158
Thou know'st me!
Aye! the Ocean Prince replied,
I know thee, David, and I pity thee,
Thou poor, suspicious, miserable man!
Friend hast thou none, except thy country's foe,
That hateful Saxon, he whose bloody hand
Plucked out thy brethren's eyes; and for thy kin,
Them hast thou made thy perilous enemies.
What if the Lion Rodri were abroad?
What if Llewelyn's banner were display'd?
The sword of England could not save thee then.
Frown not, and menace not! for what am I
That I should fear thine anger? .. And with that
He turned indignant from the wrathful King.
[ 159 ]
Have spent-their rage; the ships are stor'd, and now
To-morrow they depart. That day a Boy,
Weary and foot-sore, to Aberfraw came,
Who to Goervyl's chamber made his way,
And caught the hem of her garment, and exclaim'd,
A boon, .. a boon, .. dear Lady! Nor did he
Wait more reply than that encouragement,
Which her sweet eye and lovely smile bestow'd;
I am a poor, unhappy, orphan boy,
Born to fair promises and better hopes,
But now forlorn. Take me to be your page! ..
For blessed Mary's sake, refuse me not!
I have no friend on earth, nor hope but this.
The boy was fair; and though his eyes were swoln,
And cheek defil'd with tears, and though his voice
Came chok'd by grief, yet to that earnest eye,
XVII. - 160
It had not sure been easy to refuse
The boon he begged. I cannot grant thy suit,
Goervyl cried, but I can aid it, boy! ..
Go ask of Madoc! .. And herself arose,
And led him where her brother on the shore
That day the last embarkment oversaw.
Mervyn then took his mantle by the skirt,
And knelt, and made his suit; she, too, began
To sue; but Madoc, smiling on the Maid,
Won by the virtue of the countenance
Which looked for favor, lightly gave the yes.
Where wert thou, Caradoc, when that fair boy
Told his false tale? for hadst thou heard the voice,
The gentle voice, so musically sweet,
And seen that earnest eye, it would have heal'd
Thy wounded heart, and thou hadst voyaged on,
The happiest man that ever yet forsook
His native country! He, on board the bark,
Leaned o'er the vessel side; and there he stood
And gaz'd, almost unconscious that he gaz'd,
Toward yon distant mountains where she dwelt,
Senena, his beloved. Caradoc,
Senena, thy beloved, is at hand!
XVII. - 161
Is wandering through the throng in search of thee,
For whose dear sake she hath forsaken all.
You deem her false, that her frail constancy
Shrunk from her father's anger, that she lives
Another's victim-bride; but she hath fled
From that unnatural anger; hath escap'd
The unnatural union; she is on the shore,
Senena, blue-eyed Maid, a seemly boy,
To share thy fortunes, to reward thy love,
And to the land of peace to follow thee,
Over the ocean-waves.
Now all is done.
Stores, beeves and flocks and water, all aboard;
The dry East blows, and not a sign of change
Stains the clear firmament. The Sea-Lord sate
At the last banquet in his brother's court,
And heard the song. It told of Owen's fame,
When, with his Normen and assembled force
Of Guienne and Gascony, and Anjou's strength,
The Flemings aid, and England's chosen troops,
Along the ascent of Berwyn, many a day
The Saxon vainly on his mountain foes
Denounced his wrath; for Mona's dragon-sons,
By wary patience, baffled long his force,
XVII. - 162
By the angry elements, and sickness sent
From Heaven, and Fear, that of its vigour robb'd
The healthy arm; .. then in quick enterprize
Fell on his weary and dishearten'd host,
Till with defeat, and loss, and obloquy,
He fled with all his nations. Madoc gave
His spirit to the song; he felt the theme
In every pulse; the recollection came,
Revived and heighten'd to intenser pain,
That in Aberfraw, in his father's hall,
He never more should share the feast, nor hear
The echoing harp again! His heart was full;
And, yielding to its yearnings, in that mood
Of awful feeling, he call'd forth the King,
And led him from the palace-porch, and stretch'd
His hand toward the ocean, and exclaim'd,
To-morrow, over yon wide waves I go;
To-morrow, never to return, I leave
My native land! O David! O my brother,
Turn not impatiently a reckless ear
To that affectionate and natural voice,
Which thou wilt hear no more! Release our brethren,
Recall the wanderers home, and link them to thee
By cordial confidence, by benefits
XVII. - 163
As is the black and melancholy yeugh,
That strikes into the grave its baleful roots,
And prospers on the dead! .. The Saxon King, ..
Think not I wrong him now; .. an hour like this
Hath soften'd all my harsher feelings down;
Nor will I hate him for his sister's sake,
Thy gentle Queen, .. whom, that great God may bless,
And, blessing her, bless thee and our dear country,
Shall never be forgotten in my prayers; ..
But he is far away; and, should there come
The evil hour upon thee, .. if thy kin,
Wearied by suffering and driven desperate,
Should lift the sword, or young Llewelyn raise
His banner, and demand his father's throne, ..
Were it not trusting to a broken reed,
To lean on England's aid? .. I urge thee not
For answer now; but sometimes, O my brother!
Sometimes recall to mind my parting words,
As 'twere the death-bed counsel of the friend
Who loved thee best!
The affection of his voice,
So mild and solemn, softened David's heart;
He saw his brother's eyes, suffus'd with tears,
Shine in the moon-beam as he spake; the King
XVII. - 164
Feelings which long from his disnatur'd breast
Ambition had expell'd: he could almost
Have followed their strong impulse. From the shore,
Madoc, with quick and agitated step
Had sought his home; the monarch slow return'd,
Serious and slow, and laid him down that night
With painful recollections, and such thoughts
As might, if Heaven had will'd it, have matur'd
To penitence and peace.
The day is come;
The adventurers in St. Cybi's holy fane,
Hear the last Mass, and, all assoil'd of sin,
Partake the bread of Christian fellowship.
Then, as the Priest his benediction gave,
They knelt, in such an awful stillness hush'd,
As with yet more oppression seem'd to load
The oppressed heart. At times, and half supprest,
Womanly sobs were heard, and manly cheeks
Were wet with silent tears. Now forth they go,
And at the portal of the Church unfurl
Prince Madoc's banner; at that sight, a shout
Burst from his followers, and the hills and rocks
Thrice echoed their acclaim.
XVII. - 165
Their sails all loose, their streamers rolling out
With sinuous flow and swell, like water-snakes,
Curling aloft; the waves are gay with boats,
Pinnace, and barge and, coracle, .. the sea
Swarms, like the shore, with life. Oh, what a sight
Of beauty for the unconcerned heart,
If heart there be which unconcern'd could view
A sight like this! .. how yet more beautiful
For him, whose soul can feel and understand
The solemn import! Yonder they embark,
Youth, beauty, valour, virtue, reverend age;
Some led by love of noble enterprize;
Others, who, desperate of their country's weal,
Fly from the impending yoke; all warm alike
With confidence and high heroic hope,
And all in one fraternal bond conjoin'd
By reverence to their Chief, the best belov'd
That ever yet on hopeful enterprize
Led gallant army forth. He, even now
Lord of himself, by faith in God and love
To man subdues the feeling of this hour,
The bitterest of his being.
At this time,
Pale and with feverish eye, the King came up,
XVII. - 166
Saying, I sent at daybreak to release
Rodri from prison, meaning that with thee
He should depart in peace: but he was gone!
This very night he had escaped! .. Perchance,
As I do hope, .. it was thy doing, Madoc?
Is he aboard the fleet?
I would he were!
Madoc replied; "with what a lighten'd heart
Then should I sail away! Ririd is there
Alone ... alas! that this was done so late!
Reproach me not! half sullenly the King,
Answering, exclaim'd; Madoc, reproach me not!
Thou know'st how hardly I attained the throne;
And is it strange that I should guard with fear
The precious prize? .. Now, .. when I would have taken
Thy counsel, .. be the evil on his head!
Blame me not now, my brother, lest sometimes
I call again to mind thy parting words
God be with thee! Madoc cried;
And if at times the harshness of a heart,
Too prone to wrath, have wrong'd thee, let these tears
Efface all faults. I leave thee, O my brother,
With all a brother's feelings!
XVII. - 167
And grasp'd, with trembling tenderness, his hand,
Then calmed himself, and mov'd toward the boat.
Emma, though tears would have their way and sighs
Would swell, suppressing still all words of woe,
Follow'd Goervyl to the extremest shore.
But then, as on the plank the maid set foot,
Did Emma, staying her by the hand, pluck out
The crucifix, which next her heart she wore
In reverence to its relic, and she cried,
Yet, ere we part, change with me, dear Goervyl, ..
Dear sister! loved too well, or lost too soon, ..
I shall betake me often to my prayers,
Never in them, Goervyl, of thy name
Unmindful; .. thou, too, wilt remember me
Still in thine orisons; .. but God forefend
That ever misery should make thee find
This Cross thy only comforter!
And kiss'd the holy pledge, as each to each
Transferr'd the mutual gift. Nor could the Maid
Answer for agony, to that farewell;
She held Queen Emma to her breast, and close
She clasped her with a strong, convulsive sob,
Silently. Madoc, too, in silence went,
XVII. - 168
His tears upon her cheek. With dizzy eyes
Gazing she stood, nor saw the boat push off, ..
The dashing of the oars awaken'd her;
She wipes her tears away, to view once more
Those dear, familiar faces; .. they are dim
In the distance: never shall her waking eye
Behold them, till the hour of happiness,
When Death hath made her pure for perfect bliss!
Two hearts alone of all that company,
Of all the thousands who beheld the scene,
Partook unmingled joy. Dumb with delight,
Young Hoel views the ships, and feels the boat
Rock on the heaving waves; and Llaian felt
Comfort, .. though sad, yet comfort, .. that for her
No eye was left to weep, nor heart to mourn.
Hark! 'tis the mariners, with voice attun'd,
Timing their toil! and now, with gentle gales,
Slow from the holy haven they depart!
[ 169 ]
Rolls through the rifted clouds. With gentle gales
Slowly they glide along, when they behold
A boat, with press of sail and stress of oar,
Speed forward to the fleet; and now, arrived
Beside the Chieftain's vessel, one inquires
If Madoc be aboard? the answer given,
Swift he ascended up the lofty side.
With joyful wonder did the Ocean Lord
Again behold Llewelyn; but he gazed
Doubtfully on his comrade's countenance, ..
A meagre man, severe of brow, his eye
Stern. Thou dost view me, Madoc, he exclaim'd,
As 'twere a stranger's face. I marvel not!
The long afflictions of my prison-house
Have changed me.
XVIII. - 170
Upon his neck: last night, subdued at length
By my solicitations, did the King
Send to deliver thee, that thou shouldst share
My happy enterprize; .. and thou art come,
Even to my wish!
Nay, Madoc, nay, not so!
He answered with a stern and bitter smile;
This gallant boy hath given me liberty,
And I will pay him with his father's throne:
Ay, by my father's soul! .. Last night we fled
The house of bondage, and in the sea-caves
By day we lurked securely. Here I come,
Only to see thee once before I die,
And say farewell, .. dear brother!
Would to God
This purpose could be changed!" the Sea Lord cried;
But thou art rous'd by wrongs, and who shall tame
That lion-heart? .. This only, if your lot
Fall favourable, will I beseech of ye,
That to his Queen, the fair Plantagenet,
All honourable humanity ye show,
For her own virtue, and in gratitude,
As she hath pleaded for you, and hath urged
Her husband on your part, till it hath turned
XVIII. - 171
As by your dearest sister in distress!
For even so dear is she to Madoc's heart:
And now, I know, she from Aberfraw's tower
Watcheth these spots upon the moonlight sea,
And weeps for my departure, and for me
Sends up her prayers to Heaven, nor thinks that now
I must make mine to man in her behalf!
Quoth Rodri, Rest assured for her. I swear,
By our dead mother, so to deal with her
As thou thyself wouldst dictate, as herself
The tears fell fast from Madoc's eyes:
O Britain! O my country! he exclaimed,
For ever thus by civil strife convuls'd,
Thy children's blood flowing to satisfy
Thy children's rage, how wilt thou still support
The struggle with the Saxon?
Our strife shall not be long. Mona will rise
With joy to welcome me, her rightful Lord;
And woe be to the King who rules by fear,
When danger comes against him!
XVIII. - 172
For Britain! quoth Llewelyn; for not yet
The country of our fathers shall resign
Her name among the nations. Though her Sun
Slope from his eminence, the voice of man
May yet arrest him on his downward way.
My dreams by day, my visions in the night,
Are of her welfare. I shall mount the throne, ..
Yes, Madoc! and the Bard of years to come,
Who harps of Arthur's and of Owen's deeds,
Shall with the Worthies of his country rank
Llewelyn's name. Dear Uncle, fare thee well! ..
And I almost could wish I had been born
Of humbler lot, that I might follow thee,
Companion of this noble enterprize.
Think of Llewelyn often, who will oft
Remember thee in love!
For the last time
He graspt his Uncle's hand, and Rodri gave
The last farewell; then went the twain their way.
So over ocean, through the moonlight waves,
Prince Madoc sail'd with all his company.
No nobler crew fill'd that heroic bark,
XVIII. - 173
To seek the Golden Fleece on barbarous shores;
Nor richlier fraught did that illustrious fleet
Home to the Happy Island hold its way,
When Amadis, with his prime chivalry,
He of all chivalry himself the flower,
Came from the rescue, proud of Roman spoils,
And Oriana, freed from Roman thrall.
[ 175 ]
[ 176 ]
[ 177 ]
God and good Angels guard ye as ye go!
Blow fairly, Winds of Heaven! Ye Ocean Waves,
Swell not in anger to that fated fleet!
For not of conquest greedy, nor of gold,
Seek they the distant world. ..
Blow fairly, Winds!
Waft, Waves of Ocean, well your blessed load!
Fair blew the Winds, and safely did the Waves
Bear that beloved charge. It were a tale
I. - 178
Making him long to be a mariner,
That he might rove the main, if I should tell
How pleasantly, for many a summer-day,
Over the sunny sea, with wind at will,
Prince Madoc sail'd; and of those happy Isles,
Which, had he seen ere that appointed storm
Drove southward his slope course, there he had pitch'd
His tent, and blest his lot that it had fallen
In land so fair; and human blood had reek'd
Daily on Aztlan's devilish altars still.
But other doom was his, more arduous toil
Yet to atchieve, worse danger to endure,
Worse evil to be quell'd, and higher good,
That passeth not away, educed from ill;
Whereof all unforeseeing, yet for all
Of ready heart, he over ocean sails,
Wafted by gentle winds o'er gentle waves,
As if the elements combin'd to serve
The perfect Prince, by God and man belov'd.
And now how joyfully he views the land,
Skirting like morning-clouds the dusky sea;
With what a searching eye recalls to mind
Foreland, and creek, and cape; how happy now
Up the great river bends at last his way!
I. - 179
To seek his sails; .. for with Cadwallon's hope
Too much of doubt was blended, and of fear:
Yet thitherward, whene'er he walk'd abroad,
His face, as if instinctively, was turn'd;
And duly, morn and eve, Lincoya there,
As though religion led his duteous feet,
Went up to gaze. He on a staff had scor'd
The promis'd moons and days; and many a time
Counting again its often-told account,
So to beguile impatience, day by day
Smooth'd off with more delight the daily notch
But now that the appointed time was nigh,
Did that perpetual presence of his hope
Haunt him, and mingle with his sleep, and mar
The natural rest, and trouble him by day,
That all his pleasure was at earliest light
To take his station, and at latest eve,
If he might see the sails where, far away
Through wide savannas roll'd the silver stream.
Oh then with what a sudden start his blood
Flow'd from its quicken'd spring, when far away
He spied the glittering topsails! for a while
Distrustful of that happy sight, till now
Slowly he sees them rise, and wind along,
I. - 180
Then with a breathless speed he flies to spread
The joy; and with Cadwallon now descends,
And drives adown the tide the light canoe,
And mounts the vessel-side, and once again
Falls at the Ocean Lord's beloved feet.
First of the general weal did Madoc ask;
Cadwallon answered, All, as yet, is well,
And, by this seasonable aid secur'd,
Will well remain. .. Thy father? .. quoth the Prince.
Even so, replied Cadwallon, as that eye
Of hesitation augurs, .. fallen asleep.
The good old man remember'd thee in death,
And blest thee ere he died.
By this, the shores
And heights were throng'd; from hill to hill, from rock
To rock, the shouts of welcome rung around.
Forward they press, to view the man belov'd,
Britons and Hoamen with one common joy
Hailing their common friend. Happy that day,
Was he who heard his name from Madoc's voice;
Happy who met the greeting of his eye;
Yea, happy he who shar'd his general smile,
Amid the unacknowledged multitude.
I. - 181
Called it, in memory of the absent Prince, ..
Stood in a mountain vale, by rocks and heights,
A natural bulwark, girt. A rocky stream,
Which from the fells came down, there spread itself
Into a quiet lake, to compass which
Had been a two hours pleasurable toil;
And he, who from a well-strung bow could send
His shaft across, had needs a sinewy arm,
And might from many an archer far and near
Have borne away the bell. Here had the Chief
Chosen his abiding-place, for strength preferr'd,
Where vainly might an host in equal arms
Attempt the difficult entrance; and for all
Which could delight the eye and heart of man;
Whate'er of beauty or of usefulness
Heart could desire, or eye behold, being here.
What he had found an idle wilderness
Now gave rich increase to the husbandmen,
For Heaven had blest their labor. Flourishing
He left the happy vale; and now he saw
More fields reclaim'd, more habitations rear'd,
More harvests rising round. The reptile race,
And every beast of rapine, had retir'd
From man's asserted empire; and the sound
I. - 182
And song beguiling toil, and pastoral pipe,
Were heard, where late the solitary hills
Gave only to the mountain cataract
Their wild response.
Here, Urien, cried the Prince,
These craggy heights and overhanging groves
Will make thee think of Gwyneth. And this hut,
Rejoined Cadwallon, with its roof of reeds,
Goervyl, is our palace: it was rear'd
With lighter labour than Aberfraw's towers;
Yet, Lady, safer are its wattled sides
Than Mona's kingly walls. .. Like Gwyneth, said he?
Oh, no! we neighbor nearer to the Sun,
And with a more benignant eye the Lord
Of Light beholds us here.
So thus did they
Cheerfully welcome to their new abode
These, who, albeit aweary of their way,
And glad to reach at length the place of rest,
Felt their hearts overburden'd, and their eyes
Ready to overflow. Yet not the less
The buzz of busy joy was heard around,
Where every dwelling had its guest, and all
Gave the long eve to hospitable mirth.
[ 183 ]
And tumult was retir'd, Cadwallon then
Thus render'd his account.
When we had quell'd
The strength of Aztlan, we should have thrown down
Her altars, cast her Idols to the fire,
And on the ruins of her fanes accurst.
Planted the Cross triumphant. Vain it is
To sow the seed, where noxious weeds and briers
Must choke it in the growth.
Yet I had hope
The purer influence of exampled good
Might to the saving knowledge of the truth
Lead this bedarken'd race; and when thy ship
Fell down the stream, to distant Britain bound,
All promis'd well. The Strangers' God had prov'd
Mightier in war; and Aztlan could not chuse
II. - 184
The freedom of his service. Few were now
The offerings at her altars, few the youths
And virgins to the temple-toils devote.
Therefore the Priests combin'd to save their craft;
And soon the rumour ran of evil signs
And tokens; in the temple had been heard
Wailings and loud lament; the eternal fire
Gave dismally a dim and doubtful flame;
And from the censer, which at morn should steam
Sweet odours to the sun, a fetid cloud,
Black and portentous, rose. And now no Priest
Approached our dwelling. Even the friendly Prince
Yuhidthiton was at Caermadoc now
Rarely a guest; and, if that tried good will
Which once he bore us, did at times appear,
A sullen gloom and silence, like remorse,
Follow'd the imagin'd crime.
But I the while
Reck'd not the brooding of the storm; for now
My father to the grave was hastening down.
Patiently did the pious man endure,
In faith anticipating blessedness,
Already more than man, in those sad hours
When man is meanest. I sate by his side
II. - 185
And life to come. O Madoc! those were hours
Which even in anguish gave my soul a joy:
I think of them in solitude, and feel
The comfort of my faith.
But when that time
Of bitterness was past, and I return'd
To daily duties, no suspicious sign
Betoken'd ill: the Priests among us came
As heretofore, and I their intercourse
Encouraged as I could, suspecting nought,
Nor conscious of the subtle-minded men
I dealt with, how inveterate in revenge,
How patient in deceit. Lincoya first
Forewarn'd me of the danger. He, thou know'st,
Had from the death of sacrifice escap'd,
And lived a slave among a distant tribe,
When, seeing us, he felt a hope, that we,
Lords, as he deem'd us, of the Elements,
Might pity his oppressed countrymen,
And free them from their bondage. Didst thou hear
How from yon devilish altars he was sav'd?
For in the eternal chain his fate and ours
Were link'd together then.
II. - 186
I did but hear a broken tale. Tell on!
Among the Gods of yon unhappy race,
Tezealipoca as the chief they rank,
Or with the chief co-equal; maker he,
And Master of created things esteem'd.
He sits upon a throne of trophied skulls,
Hideous and huge; a shield is on his arm,
And with his black right hand he lifts, as though
In wrath, the menacing spear. His festival,
Of all this wicked nation's wicked rites,
With most solemnity and circumstance,
And pomp of hellish piety, is held.
From all whom evil fortune hath subdu'd
To their inhuman thraldom, they select
Him whom they judge, for comely countenance,
And shapely form, and all good natural gifts,
Worthiest to be the victim; and for this
Was young Lincoya chosen, being in truth
The flower of all his nation. For twelve months,
Their custom is that this appointed youth
Be as the Idol's living image held.
Garb'd therefore, like the Demon Deity,
II. - 187
With music and with dance attend his way;
The crowd before him fall, and worship him;
And those infernal Priests, who guard him then
To be their victim and their feast at last,
At morning and at evening incense him,
And mock him with knee-reverence. Twenty days
Before the bloody festival arrive,
As 'twere to make the wretch in love with life,
Four maids, the loveliest of the land, are given
In spousals. With Lincoya, all these rites
Duly were kept; and at the stated time,
Four maids, the loveliest of the land, were his.
Of these was one, whom even at that hour
He learnt to love, so excellently good
Was she; and she lov'd him, and pitied him.
She is the daughter of an aged Priest;
I oftentimes have seen her; and, in truth,
Compar'd with Britain's maids so beautiful,
Or with the dark-eyed daughters of the South,
She would be lovely still. Her cotton vest
Falls to the knee, and leaves her olive arms
Bare in their beauty; loose, luxuriant, long,
Flow the black tresses of her glossy hair;
Mild is her eye's jet lustre; and her voice! ..
II. - 188
Such winning tones.
Thou know'st how manfully
These tribes, as if insensible to pain,
Welcome their death in battle, or in bonds
Defy their torturers. To Lincoya's mind
Long preparation now had made his fate
Familiar; and, he says, the thought of death
Broke not his sleep, nor mingled with his dreams,
Till Coatel was his. But then it woke; ..
It hung, .. it prest upon him like a weight
On one who scarce can struggle with the waves;
And when her soul was full of tenderness,
That thought recurring to her, she would rest
Her cheek on his, and weep.
The day drew nigh;
And now the eve of sacrifice was come. ..
What will not woman, gentle woman, dare,
When strong affection stirs her spirit up? ..
She gathered herbs, which, like our poppy, bear
The seed of sleep, and with the temple food
Mingled their power; herself partook the food,
So best to lull suspicion; and the youth,
Instructed well, when all were laid asleep,
Fled far away.
II. - 189
Had freed the Hoamen from their wretched yoke,
Lincoya needed but his Coatel
To fill his sum of earthly happiness.
Her to the temple had her father's vow
Awhile devoted, and some moons were still
To pass away, ere yet she might become
A sojourner with us, Lincoya's wife,
When from the Paba's wiles his watchful mind
Foreboded ill. He bade me take good heed,
And fear the sudden kindness of a foe.
I started at his words; .. these artful men,
Hostile at heart, as well we knew they were,
These were lip-lavish of their friendship now,
And courted confidence; while our tried friend
Yuhidthiton, estranged, a seldom guest,
Sullen and joyless, seem'd to bear at heart
Something that rankled there. These things were strange
The omens, too, had ceased; .. we heard no more
Of twilight voices, nor the unholy cloud
Steam'd from the morning incense. Why was this?
Young Malinal had from the hour of peace
Been our indweller, studious to attain
Our language and our arts. To him I told
II. - 190
For he had learnt to understand and feel
Our holy faith, and tended like a son,
Cynetha's drooping age, and shar'd with me
His dying benediction. He, thus long
Intent on better things, had been estranged
From Aztlan and her councils; but at this
He judged it for her welfare and for ours,
Now to resume his rank; .. belike his voice
Might yet be heard, or, if the worst befell,
His timely warning save us from the snare.
But in their secret councils Malinal
No longer bore a part; the Chiefs and King
Yielding blind reverence to the Pabas now,
Deluded or dismay'd. He sent to say
Some treachery was design'd, and bade me charge
His brother with the crime. On that same day,
Lincoya came from Aztlan; he had found
Coatel laboring with a wretchedness
She did not seek to hide; and when the youth
Reveal'd his fear, he saw her tawny cheek
Whiten, and round his neck she clung and wept.
She told him something dreadful was at hand,
She knew not what; That, in the dead of midnight,
II. - 191
Had stood with all his nobles; human blood
Had then been offered up, and secret vows
Vowed with mysterious horror: that but late,
When to her father of the days to come
She spake, and of Lincoya and her lot
Among the strangers, he had frown'd, and strove
Beneath dissembled anger to conceal
Oppressive grief. She knew not what to fear,
But something dreadful surely was at hand,
And she was wretched.
When I heard these things,
Yuhidthiton and the Priest Helhua
Were in our dwellings. Them I called apart ...
There should be peace between us, I began;
Why is it otherwise?
The Priest replied,
Is there not peace, Cadwallon? Seek we not
More frequent and more friendly intercourse,
Even we, the servants of our Country-Gods,
Whose worship ye have changed, and for whose sake
We were, and would have been, your enemies?
But as those Gods have otherwise ordain'd,
Do we obey. Why, therefore, is this doubt?
II. - 192
Over the world of waters, who hath sav'd
And who will save his people, warns me now.
Then on Yuhidthiton I fixed my eye.
Danger is near! I cried; I know it near!
It comes from Aztlan.
His disordered cheek,
And the forced and steady boldness of his eye,
Which in defiance met the look it fear'd,
Confess'd the crime. I saw his inward shame
Yet with a pride like angry innocence
Did he make answer, I am in your hands,
And you believe me treacherous! .. Kill me now.
Not so, Yuhidthiton! not so! quoth I;
You were the Strangers' friend, and yet again
That wisdom may return. We are not changed; ..
Lovers of peace, we know, when danger comes,
To make the evil on the guilty head
Fall heavily and sure! With our good arms,
And our good cause, and that Almighty One,
We are enough, had we no other aid,
We of Caermadoc here, to put to shame
Aztlan, with all her strength and all her wiles.
II. - 193
He leads our brethren here; and should he find
That Aztlan hath been false, .. oh! hope not then,
By force or fraud, to baffle or elude
Inevitable vengeance! While ye may,
Look to your choice; for we are friends or foes,
Even to your own desert.
So saying, I left
The astonish'd men, whose unprovided minds
Fail'd them; nor did they aim at answer more,
But homeward went their way. Nor knew I then, ..
For this was but a thing of yesterday, ..
How near the help I boasted. Now, I trust,
Thy coming shall discomfit all their wiles.
[ 194 ]
As at her dwelling-door he saw the Maid
Sit gazing on that lovely moonlight scene: ..
To bed, Goervyl!. Dearest, what hast thou
To keep thee wakeful here at this late hour,
When even I shalt bid a truce to thought,
And lay me down in peace? .. Good night, Goervyl!
Dear sister mine, .. my own dear mother's child!
She rose, and, bending on with lifted arms,
Met the fond kiss; obedient then withdrew.
Yet could not he, so lightly as he ween'd,
Lay wakeful thoughts aside; for he foresaw
Long strife and hard adventure to atchieve,
And forms of danger vague disturb'd his dreams.
III. - 195
Some pitch the tent-pole, and pin down the lines
That stretch the o'er-awning canvas; to the wood,
Others, with saw and axe and bill, for stakes
And undergrowth to weave the wicker walls;
These to the ships, with whom Cadwallon sends
The Elk and Bisori, broken to the yoke.
Ere noon, Erillyab and her son arrived
To greet the Chief. She wore no longer now
The lank, loose locks of careless widowhood;
Her braided tresses round her brow were bound,
Bedecked with tufts of grey and silvery plumes,
Plucked from the eagle's pennons. She, with eye
And countenance which spake no feign'd delight,
Welcom'd her great deliverer. But her son
Had Nature character'd so legibly,
That when his tongue told fair, his face betray'd
The lurking falsehood; sullen, slow of speech,
Savage, down-looking, dark, that, at his words
Of welcome, Madoc in his heart conceived
In a happy hour
Did the Great Spirit, said Erillyab,
Give bidding to the Winds to speed thee here!
III. - 196
For the Beloved Teacher, to restore him
Eyesight and youth, of him I then besought,
As he had been thy friend and ours on earth,
That he would intercede. .. Brother, we know
That the Great Spirit loves thee; He hath blest
Thy going and thy coming, and thy friends
Have prospered for thy sake; and now, when first
The Powers of Evil do begin to work,
Lo! thou art here! .. Brother, we have obey'd
Thy will, and the Beloved Teacher's words
Have been our law; but now the Evil Ones
Cry out for blood, and say they are athirst,
And threaten vengeance. I have brought the Priest,
To whom they spake in darkness; .. thou art wise,
And the Great Spirit will enlighten thee; ..
We know not what to answer. .. Tell thy tale,
Hereat did Madoc fix upon him
A searching eye; but he, no whit abash'd,
Began with firm effrontery his speech.
The Feast of the Departed is at hand,
And I, in preparation, on the Field
Of the Spirit past the night. It came to me
In darkness, after midnight, when the moon
III. - 197
It gathered round me, with a noise of storms,
And entered into me, and I could feel
It was the Snake-God rolled and writh'd within;
And I, too, with the inward agony,
Roll'd like a snake, and writh'd. Give! give!' he cried!
I thirst! .. His voice was in me, and it burnt
Like fire, and all my flesh and bones were shaken;
Till, with a throe which seem'd to rend my joints
Asunder, he past forth, and I was left
Speechless and motionless, gasping for breath.
Then Madoc, turning to Ayayaca,
Enquir'd, who is the man? .. The good old Priest
Replied, He hath attended from his youth
The Snake-God's temple, and receiv'd for him
His offerings, and perform'd all sacrifice,
Till the Beloved Teacher made us leave
The wicked way.
Hear me! quoth Neolin,
With antic gesture and loud vehemence;
Before this generation, and before
These ancient forests, .. yea, before yon lake
Was hollow'd out, or one snow-feather fell
III. - 198
Before these things I was, .. where, or from whence,
I know not, .. who can tell? But then I was,
And in the shadow of the Spirit stood;
And I beheld the Spirit, and in him
Saw all things, even as they were to be;
And I held commune with him, not of words,
But thought with thought. Then was it given me
That I should choose my station, when my hour
Of mortal birth was come, .. hunter, or chief,
Or to be mightiest in the work of war,
Or in the shadow of the Spirit live,
And he in me. According to my choice,
For ever, overshadow'd by his power,
I walk among mankind. At times I feel not
The burthen of his presence; then am I
Like other men; but when the season comes,
Or if I seek the visitation, then
He fills me, and my soul is carried on,
And then do I forelive the race of men,
So that the things that will be, are to me
Amalahta lifted then his eyes
A moment; .. It is true, he cried; "we know.
III. - 199
The reach of mortal powers. Ayayaca
Hath also heard the warning.
As I slept,
Replied the aged Priest, upon the Field
Of the Spirit, a loud voice awaken'd me,
Crying, I thirst! Give, .. give! or I will take!
And then I heard a hiss, as if a snake
Were threatening at my side ... But saw you nothing?
Quoth Madoc. Nothing; for the night was dark.
And felt you nothing? said the Ocean Prince.
He answered, Nothing, only sudden fear ...
No inward struggle, like possession? .. None.
I thought of the Beloved Teacher's words,
And crost myself, and then he had no power.
Thou hast slept heretofore upon the Field,
Said Madoc: didst thou never witness voice,
Or ominous sound? Ayayaca replied,
Certes the Field is holy! it receives,
All the year long, the operative power
Which falleth from the sky, or from below
Pervades the earth; no harvest groweth there,
Nor tree, nor bush, nor herb is left to spring;
III. - 200
Is gathered, till the circle of the months
Be full; then, when the Priest, by mystic rites,
Long vigils, and long abstinence prepar'd,
Goeth there to pass the appointed night alone,
The whole collected influence enters him.
Doubt not but I have felt strange impulses
On that mysterious field, and in my dreams
Been visited; and have heard sounds in the air,
I knew not what; .. but words articulate
Never till now. It was the Wicked One!
He wanted blood.
Who says the Wicked One?
It was our fathers' God! cried Neolin.
Sons of the Ocean! why should we forsake
The worship of our fathers? Ye obey
The White Man's Maker; but to us was given
A different skin and speech and land and law.
The Snake God understands the Red-Man's prayer,
And knows his wants, and loves him. Shame be to us,
That, since the Stranger here set foot among us,
We have let his lips be dry!
Madoc, who, at Cadwallon's look, represt
His answering anger. We will hold a talk
III. - 201
That the Great Spirit will from Evil Powers
Protect his people. This, too, be ye sure,
That every deed of darkness shall be brought
To light, .. and woe be to the lying lips!
[ 202 ]
Had Queen Erillyab sent her hunters forth.
They from the forest now arrive, with store
Of venison; fires are built before the tents,
Where Llaian and Goervyl for their guests
Direct the feast; and now the ready board
With grateful odour steams. But while they sate
At meat, did Amalahta many a time
Lift his slow eye askance, and eagerly
Gaze on Goervyl's beauty; for whate'er
In man he might have thought deform'd or strange
Seemed beautiful in her, .. her golden curls,
Bright eyes of heavenly blue, and that clear skin,
Blooming with health and youth and happiness.
He, lightly yielding to the impulse, bent
His head aside, and to Erillyab spake.
IV. - 203
That woman for my wife, that we may be
Brethren and friends. She, in the same low tone,
Rebuked him, in her heart too well aware
How far unworthy he. Abash'd thereby,
As he not yet had wholly shaken off
Habitual reverence, he sate sullenly,
Brooding in silence his imagin'd wiles,
By sight of beauty made more apt for ill;
For he himself being evil, good in him
And now Madoc, pouring forth
The ripe metheglin, to Erillyab gave
The horn of silver brim. Taste, Queen and friend,
Said he, what from our father-land we bring,
The old beloved beverage. Sparingly
Drink; for it hath a strength to stir the brain,
And trouble reason, if intemperate lips
Abuse its potency. She took the horn,
And sipped with wary wisdom. .. Canst thou teach us
The art of this rare beverage? quoth the Queen,
Or is the gift reserv'd for ye alone,
By the Great Spirit, who hath favour'd ye
In all things above us? .. The Chief replied,
All that we know of useful and of good
IV. - 204
While he spake, Erillyab past
The horn to Amalahta. Sparingly!
Madoc exclaim'd; but, when the savage felt
The luscious flavor and the poignant life,
He heeded nought beyond the immediate joy.
Deep did he drink, and still with clinching hands
Struggled, when from his lips, unsatisfied,
Erillyab pluck'd the horn with sharp reproof,
Chiding his stubborn wilfulness. Ere long
The generous liquor flush'd him: he could feel
His blood play faster, and the joyful dance
Of animal life within him. Bolder grown,
He at Goervyl lifts no longer now
The secret glance, but gloats with greedy eye;
Till, at the long and loathsome look abash'd,
She rose, and nearer to her brother drew,
On light pretence of speech, being half in fear.
But he, regardless of Erillyab now,
To Madoc cried aloud, Thou art a King,
And I a King! .. Give me thy sister there,
To be my wife, and then we will be friends,
And reign together.
Let me answer him,
IV. - 205
Their language, and will set aside all hope,
Yet not incense the savage. .. A great thing,
Prince Amalahta, hast thou ask'd! said he;
Nor is it in Lord Madoc's power to give
Or to withhold; for marriage is with us
The holiest ordinance of God, whereon
The bliss or bane of human life depends.
Love must be won by love, and heart to heart
Linked in mysterious sympathy, before
We pledge the marriage vow; and some there are,
Who hold, that, e'er we enter into life,
Soul hath with soul been mated, each for each
Especially ordained. Prince Madoc's will
Avails not, therefore, where this secret bond
Hath not been fram'd in Heaven.
The skilful speech,
Which, with wild faith and reason, thus confirm'd
Yet tempered the denial, for a while
Silenced him, and he sate in moody dreams
Of snares and violence. Soon a drunken thirst,
And longing for the luscious beverage,
Drove those dark thoughts aside. More drink! quoth he.
Give me the drink! .. Madoc again repeats
His warning, and again with look and voice
IV. - 206
Impatient, cries aloud, Am I a child?
Give, give! or I will take! .. Perchance ye think
I and my God alike cry out in vain!
But ye shall find us true!
Give him the horn!
Cadwallon answered; there will come upon him
Folly and sleep, and then an after-pain,
Which may bring wisdom with it, if he learn
Therefrom to heed our warning. .. As thou say'st,
No child art thou! .. The choice is in thy hand; ..
Drink, if thou wilt, and suffer, and in pain
He clinch'd the horn, and swill'd
The sweet intoxication copious down.
So bad grew worse. The potent draught provok'd
Fierce pride and savage insolence. Aye! now
It seems that I have taught ye who I am!
The inebriate wretch exclaim'd. This land is mine,
Not hers; the kingdom and the power are mine!
I am the master!
Hath it made thee mad?
Erillyab cried. .. Ask thou the Snake-God that!
Quoth he; ask Neolin and Aztlan that!
Hear me, thou Son of the Waters! wilt thou have me
IV. - 207
And store me with this blessed beverage,
And thou shalt dwell in my domains; .. or else,
Blood! blood! The Snake-God calls for blood; the Gods
Of Aztlan and the people call for blood;
They call on me, and I will give them blood,
Till they have had their fill!
Meanwhile the Queen,
In wonder and amazement heard, and grief;
Watching the fiendish workings of his face,
And turning to the Prince at times, as if
She looked to him for comfort. Give him drink,
To be at peace! " quoth Madoc. The good mead
Did its good office soon; his dizzy eyes
Roll'd with a sleepy swim; the joyous thrill
Died away; and, as every limb relax'd,
Down sunk his heavy head, and down he fell.
Then said the Prince, We must rejoice in this,
O Queen and friend, that, evil though it be,
Evil is brought to light: he hath divulged,
In this mad mood, what else had been conceal'd
By guilty cunning. Set a watch upon him,
And on Priest Neolin; they plot against us;
Your fall and mine do they alike conspire,
Being leagued with Aztlan to destroy us both.
IV. - 208
Have let the treason pass. Be wary, then,
And we shall catch the crafty in the pit
Which they have dug for us.
A look of anger, made intense by grief,
On Amalahta. .. Cursed be the hour
Wherein I gave thee birth! she cried; that pain
Was light to what thy base and brutal nature
Hath sent into my soul. .. But take thou heed!
I have borne many a woe and many a loss,
My father's realm, the husband of my youth,
My hope in thee! .. all motherly love is gone, ..
Sufferance well nigh worn out.
When she had ceas'd
Still the deep feeling fill'd her, and her eye
Dwelt on him, still in thought. Brother! she cried,
As Madoc would have soothed her, doubt not me!
Mine is no feeble heart. Abundantly
Did the Great Spirit overpay all woes,
And this the heaviest, when he sent thee here,
The friend and the deliverer. Evil tongues
May scatter lies; bad spirits and bad men
May league against thy life; but go thou on,
Brother! He loves thee, and will be thy shield.
[ 211 ]
Ja se aproveita do vento;
E de evidente alegria
Os Portuguezes ja cheios
Sobre o conves estam todos;
Na terra se vam revendo
Igrejas, Palacios, Quintas,
De que temrn conhecimento,
Daqui, dalli apontando
Vam ledamente co dedo.
Todos fallando demostram
Seus jubilos munifestos;
Vai de hum notavel silencio.
Seu excessivo alvoroco
Tumultuante, que dentro
No peito sente, lhe causa
De sobresalto os effeitos.
Quanto mais elle chegrando
Vai ao suspirado termo,
Mais se lhe augmenta o gostoso
Susto no doce projecto."
Mona, the dark island. - I. p. 4.Ynys Dowyll, the dark island.
Aberfraw. - I. p. 5.The palace of Gwynedd, or North Wales. Rhodri Mawr, about the year 873, fixed the seat of government here, which had formerly been at Dyganwy, but latterly at Caer Seiont in Arvon, near the present town of Caernarvon. "It is strange," says Warrington, "that he should desert a country where every mountain was a natural fortress, and, in times of such difficulty and danger, should make choice of a residence so exposed and defenceless." But this very danger may have been his motive. The Danes, who could make no impression upon England against the great Alfred, had turned their arms upon Wales. Mona was the part most open to their ravages; and it may have been an act as well of policy as of courage in the king to fix his abode there. He fell there, at length, in. battle against the Saxons. A barn now stands upon the site
of the palace, in which there are stones, that, by their better workmanship, appear to have belonged to the original building.
Richly would the king
David! King Owen's son ... my father's son, ...
He is the headstrong slave
The guests were seated at the festal board. -- II. p. 12.The order of the royal hall was established by law. "The men to whom the right of a seat in the hall belongs
are fourteen; of whom four shall sit in the lower, and ten in the upper, part of the hall. The king is the first; he shall sit at the pillar, and next him the chancellor; and after him the gliest, and then the heir apparent, and then the master of the hawks. The foot-bearer shall sit by the dish opposite the king, and the mead-maker at the pillar behind him. The priest of the household shall be at another pillar, who shall bless the meat, and chant the Pater Noster. The crier shall strike the pillar above the king's head. Next him shall be the judge of the palace; and next to him the musician, to whom the right of the seat belongs. The smith of the palace shall be at the bottom, before the knees of the priest. The master of the palace shall sit in the lower hall, with his left hand towards the door, with the serving-men whom he shall choose; and the rest shall be at the other side of the door; and, at his other hand, the musician of the household. The master of the horse shall sit at the pillar opposite the king, and the master of the hounds at the pillar opposite the priest of the household." -- Laws of Hoel Dha'.
Keilriog;... and Berwzyn's after-strife. - II. p. 14.1165. The king gathered another armie of chosen men, through all his dominions, as England, Normandy, Anjow, Gascoine, and Gwyen, sending for succours from Flanders and Brytain, and then returned towards North Wales, minding utterlie to destroy all that had life in the land; and coming to Croes Oswalt, called Oswald's Tree, incamped there. On the contrarie side, Prince Owen and his brother Cadwallader, with all the power of North Wales; and the Lord Rees, with the power of South Wales; and Owen Cyveilioc and the
sonnes of Madoc ap Meredyth, with the power of Powyss, and the two sonnes of Madoc ap Ednerth, with the people betwixt Wye and Seavern, gathered themselves togither, and came to Corwen in Edeyrneon, proposing to defend their country. But the king understanding that they were nigh, being wonderfull desirous of battell, came to the river Ceireoc, and caused the woods to be hewn down. Whereupon a number of the Welshmen understanding the passage, unknown to their captains, met with the king's ward, where were placed the picked men of all the armie, and there began a hote skirmish, where diverse worthie men were slaine on either side: but in the end the king wanne the passage, and came to the mountain of Berwyn, where he laid in campe certaine days, and so both the armies stood in awe of each other; for the king kept-the open plains, and was afraid to be intrapped in straits; but the Welshmen watched for the advantage of the place, and kept the king So straitlie, that neither forage nor victuall might come to his camp, neither durst anie soldiour stir abroad. And, to augment their miseries, there fell such raine, that the king's men could scant stand upon their feete upon those slipperlie hilles. In the end, the king was compelled to retura home without his purpose, and that with great loss of men and munition, besides his charges. Therefore in a great choler he caused the pledges eies, whom he had received long before that, to be put out; which were Rees and Cawdwalhon the sonnes of Owen, and Cynwric and Meredith the sonnes of Rees, and other." -- Powell.
The fool that day, who in his masque attire
a pretty odd jocular tenure; viz., by finding a man to go before the king's army for forty days, when he should make war in Scotland (some records say in Wales), bareheaded and barefooted, in his shirt and linen drawers, holding in one hand a bow without a string, in another an arrow without feathers." -- Gibson's Camden.
Though I knew
Seest thou never
made them more eager to seek revenge, then quieted them in ant tumult" -- Holinshed. Among these unhappy hostages were some sons of Owen Gwynedh.
I hate the Saxon. -- II. p. 16.Of this name Saxon, which the Welsh still use, Higden gives an odd etymology. "Men of that cowntree ben more lyghter and stronger on the see than other scommers or theeves of the see, and pursue theyr enemyes full harde, both by water and by londe, and ben called Saxones, - of Saxum, that is, a stone; for they ben as hard as stones. and uneasy to fare with." -- Polycronycon, 1. 26.
The page who chafed his feet. - II. p. 16."The foot-bearer shall hold the feet of the king in his lap fiom the time when he reclines at the board till he goes to rest, and he shall chafe them with a towel; and, during all that time, he shall watch that no hurt happen to the king. He shall eat of the same dish from which the king takes his meat, having his back turned toward the fire. He shall light the first candle before the king at his meal." -- Laws of Hoel Dha.
The officer proclaimed the sovereign will. - II. p. 18.The crier to command silence was one of the royal household: first he performed this service by his voice, then by
Accubuerit is the word in Wotton's version. It is evident that the king must have lain at his meal, after the Roman fashion, or this pedifer could not have chafed his feet.
striking with the rod of his office the pillars above the king's head. A fine was due to him for every disturbance in the court.
The Chief of Bards
"12. There are three Circles of Existence: the Circle of Infinity, where there is nothing but God, of living or dead, and none but God can traverse it; the Circle of Inchoation, where all things are by Nature derived from Death, -- this Circle hath been traversed by man; and the Circle of Happiness, where all things spring from Life, .. this man shall traverse in Heaven.
"13. Aninated Beings have three States of Existence: that of Inchoation in the Great Deep, or Lowest point of Existence; that of Liberty in the state of Humanity; and that of Love, which is Happiness in Heaven.
"14. All animated Beings are subject to three Necessities: beginning in the Great Deep; Progression in the Circle of Inchoation; and Plenitude in the Circle of Happiness. Without these things, nothing can possibly exist but God.
"15. Three things are necessary in the Circle of Inchoation: the least of all animation, and thence Beginning; the materials of all things, and thence Increase, which cannot take place in any other state; the formation of all things out of the dead mass, and thence Discriminate Individuality.
"16. Three things cannot but exist towards all animated Beings, from the nature of Divine Justice: Co-sufferance in the
Circle of Inchoation, because without that none could attain to the perfect knowledge of any thing; Co-participation in the Divine Love; and Co-ultimity, fiom the nature of God's Power, and its attributes of Justice and Mercy.
"17. There are three necessary occasions of Inchoation: to collect the materials and properties of every nature; to collect the knowledge of every thing; and to collect power towards subduing the Adverse and the Devastative, and for the dives tation of Evil. Without this traversing every mode of animated existence, no state of animation, or of any thing in nature, can attain to Plenitude."
Till Evil shall be known,
Death The Enlarger. - II. p. 18.Angau, the Welsh word for Death, signifies Enlargement.
The eternal newness of eternal joy. -- II. p. 18.Nefoedd, the Welsh word for Heaven, signifies Renovation. "The three Excellences of changing the mode of Existence in the Circle of Happiness: Acquisition of Knowledge; beautiful Variety; and Repose, from not being able to endure uniform Infinity and uninterrupted Eternity.
"Three things none but God canl do: endure the Eternities of the Circle of Infinity; participate of every state of
Existence without changing; and reform and renovate every thing without the loss of it. " The three Plenitudes of Happiness: Participation of every nature, with a plenitude of One predominant; conformity to every cast of genius and character, possessing superior excellence in One; the Love of all Beings and Existences, but chiefly concentred in one object, which is God; and in the predominant One of each of these will the Plenitude of Happiness consist." - Triads of Bardism, 40, 38, 45.
- - - he struck the harp
"Three fleets arrived, vessels of the main, three powerful fleets of the first-rate, furiously to attack him on the sudden: one from Iwerddon, * the other, full of well-armed Lochlynians, making a grand appearance on the floods; the third from the transmarine Normans, which was attended with an immense though successless toil.
"The dragons of Mona's sons were so brave in action, that there was a great tumult on their furious attack; and before the prince himself there was vast confusion, havoc, conflict, honorable death, bloody battle, horrible consternation; and, upon Tal Malvra, a thousand banners. There was an outrageous carnage, and the rage of spears, and hasty signs of violent
indignation. Blood raised the tide of the Menai, and the crimson of human gore stained the brine. There were glittering cuirasses, and the agony of gashing wouncds, and the manngled warriors prostrate before the chief, distinguished by his crimson lance. Loegria was put into confusion; the contest and confusion was great; and the glory of our Prince's wide-wasting sword shall be celebrated in an hundred languages to give him his merited praise." -- Panegyric upon Owen Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales, by Gwalchmai the son of Melir, in the year 1157. -- Evan's Specimens of Welsh Poetry
Dinevaeor. -- III. p. 21.Dins Vawr, the Great Palace, the residence of the Princes of Deheubarth, or South Wales. This also was erected by Rhodri Mawr.
Hoel seiz'd the throne. - III. p. 21.I have taken some liberties here with the history. Hoel kept possession of the throne nearly two years. He then went to Ireland to claim the property of his mother Pyvog, the daughter of an Irish chieftain. In the mean time, David seized the government. Hoel raised all the force he could to recover the crown, but, after a severe conflict, was wounded and defeated. He returned to Ireland with the remains of his army, which probably consisted chiefly of Irishmen, and there died of his wounds. -- Cambrian Biography.
- - - hast thou known the consummated crime,
The history of Cynetha and his brothers is very honestly related in the Pentarchia.
Proh pudor! hunc oculis patruus privavit Oenus
Testiculisque simul, fundum dum raptat avitum;
Honel ab irato suspensus rege Johanne,
Et Leolinus, cum privarunt lumine fratres.
As thy fair uplands lessen'd on the view. -- IV. p. 34."Two of the names of Britain were derived from its hills, -- Clas Merddlin, the high lands in the sea; and Clas Meiddlin, the hilly lands or fields." -- E. Williams's Poems.
Seen, low lying, through the haze of morn. -- IV. p. 35.What sailors call Cape Fly-away.
St. Cyric.- IV. p. 41.The saint to whom sailors addressed themselves; the St. Elmo of the Welsh.
It was usual for all, even females, who went from North Wales in pilgrimage to St. David's, to pass the dangerous strands and sail over the rough bays in slight coracles, without any one to guide or assist them; so firmly were they convinced that that saint, and St. Cyric, the ruler of the waves, would protect them." -- E. Williams's Poems.
Gwenhidwy. -- IV. p. 41."A Mermaid. The white foamy waves are called her sheep; the ninth wave, her ram. The Welsh have two proverbs concerning her: Take the Mermaid's advice, and save thyself; Take shelter when you see the Mermaid driving her flocks ashore. -- E. Williams.
Where at their source the floods, for ever thus,
Did the Waters
Or this Earth,
colnmercia sunt spiritalia, ita in profundis Oceani nares quasdam mundi constitutes, per quas emissi anhelitus, vel reducti, modo;effilent maria modb revocent." -- Solinus, cap. 36.
"I suppose the waters," says Pietro Martire, "to be driven about the globe of the earth by the incessant moving and impulsion of the heavens, and not to be swallowed up and cast out again by the breathing of Demogorgon, as some have imagined, because they see the seas, by increase and decrease, to flow and reflow." -- Dec. 3. c. 6.
- - - gentle airs which breath'd,
Low nets of interwoven reeds. -- V. p. 47."And for as much as I have made mention of their houses, it shall not be greatly from my purpose to describe in what manner they are builded. They are made round, like bells or.round pavilions. Their frame is raysed of exceeding high trees, set close together, and fast rampaired in the ground, so standing aslope, and bending inward, that the toppes of the trees joyne together, and bear one against another, having also within the house certain strong and short proppes or posts,
which susteyne the trees from falling. They cover them with the leaves of date trees and other trees strongly compact and hardened, wherewith they make them close from winde and weather. At the short posts, or proppes, within the house, they tie ropes of the cotton of gossampine-trees, or other ropes made of certain long and rough roots, much like unto the shrubbe called Spaertunz, whereof in old time they used to make bands for vines, and gables and ropes for shippes. These they tie overthwart the house from post to post; on these they lay, as it were, certain mattresses made of the cotton of' gossampine-trees, which grow plentifully in these islandes. This cotton the Spanyards call Alyodon, and the Italians Boinbasine; and thus they sleepe in hanging beddes." -- Pietro Martire.
Will ye believe
A still earlier author mentions such a sight in the Straits as a miracle. "As they sailed from Algeziras, a fish came flying through the air, and fell upon the deck of the Infante's Galley, with which they had some fresh food that day; and
because I, who write this history, have never heard or seen of any like thing, I here recount it, because it appears to me a thing malrvellous, and in my judgment out of the course of nature." -- Geones Eannes.
"At Barbadoes, the negroes, after the example of the Charaibs, take the flying fish very successfully in the dark. They spread their nets before a light, and disturb the water at a small distance: the fish, rising eagerly, fly towards the light, and are intercepted by the nets." -- McKinnen. -- These flying fishes, says the writer of Sir Thomas Roe's Voyage, "are like men professing two trades, and thrive at neither."
Language cannot paint
Herbert has given this fish a very extraordinary character upon the authority of the ancients.
"The Dolphin is no bigger than a salmon: it glitters in the ocean with a variety of beautiful colors; has few scales; from its swiftness and spirit, metonymically sirnamed the Prince and Arrow of the Sea; celebrated by many learned pens in sundry epithets; Philalthropoi, for affecting men, and Monoganzoi, for their turtle constancy; generated they be of sperme, nourisht like men, imbrace, join, and go 10 months great. In faciem versi dulces celebrant hymenaos Delphines,
similes hominis complexibus hoerent. A careful husband. over his gravid associate, detesting incest, abhorring bigamy, tenderly affecting parents, whom, when three hundred years old, they feed and defend against hungry fishes, and, when dead (to avoid the shark and like marine tyrants), carry them ashore, and there (if Aristotle, AElyan, and Pliny erre not) inhume and bedew their Sepulchres; they were glad of our company, as it were affecting the sight and society of men, many hundred miles in an eager and unwearied pursuit, frisking about us; and, as a poet observed,
Emerguntque iterum, redeuntque sub sequora rursus,
Inque chori ludunt speciem lascivaque jactant
Corpora, et acceptum patulis mare naribus efflant."
The Stranger's House. -- V. p. 52."There is in every village of the Susquehannah Indians a vacant dwelling called the Stranger's House. When a traveller arrives within hearing of a village, he stops and halloos; for it is deemed uncivil to enter abruptly. Two old men lead him to the house, and then go round to the inhabitants, telling them a stranger is arrived fatigued and hungry. They send them all they can spare, bring tobacco after they are refreshed, and then ask questions whence they come and whither they go." -- Franklin.
- - - a race
Her husband's war-pole. -- VI. p. 55.The war-pole is a small peeled tree painted red, the top and boughs cut off short. It is fixed in the ground opposite the door of the dead warrior, and all his implements of war are hung on the short boughs of it till they rot." -- Adair.
This author, who knew the manners of the North American Indians well, though he formed a most wild theory to account for them, describes the rites of mourning. "The widow, through the long term of her weeds, is compelled to refrain from all public company and diversions, at the penalty of an adulteress, and likewise to go with flowing hair, without the privilege of oil to anoint it. The nearest kinsmen of the deceased husband keep a very watchful eye over her conduct in this respect. The place of interment is also calculated to wake the widow's grief; for he is intombed in the house, under her bed;. and, if lihe was a war-leader, she is obliged, for the first moon, to sit in the daytime under his mourning war-pole, which is decked with all his martial trophies, and must be
heard to cry with bewailing notes. But none of them are fond of that month's supposed religious duty, it chills or sweats and wastes them so exceedingly; for they are allowed no shade or shelter."
Battlements that shone
Torquemada also says "that the temple and palace courts at Mexico were so highly polished, that they actually shone like burnished gold or silver in the sun." -- T. 1. p. 251.
I have described Aztlan like the cities which the Spaniards found in New Spain. How large and how magnificent they were; may be learned from the "True History of the Conquest of Mexico," by Bernal Diaz. This delightful work has been abridged into English by Mr. Keating; and, if the reader has not seen it, he may thank me for recommending it to his notice.
Gomara's description of Zempoallan will show, that cities, as splendid in their appearance as Aztlan, did exist among the native Americans.
"They descried Zempoallan, which stoode a myle distant from them, all beset with fayre orchardes and gardens, verye pleasaunte to beholde: they used alwayes to water them with sluices when they pleased. There proceeded out of the towne many persons to behold and receyve so strange a people unto them. They came with smiling countenance, and presented unto them divers kinde of floures and sundry fruites,
which none of our menne had heretofore seene. These people came without feare among the ordinance. With this pompe, triumph, and joy, they were received into the citie, which seemed a beautifull garden; for the trees were so greene and high, that scarcely the houses appeared.
"Sixe horsemen, which hadde gone before the army to discover, returned backe as Cortez was entering into the citie, saying that they had scene a great house and court, and that the walles were garnished with silver. Cortez commanded them to proceed on, willing them not to show any token of wonder of any thing that they should see. All the streetes were replenished with people, whiche stoode gaping and wondering at the horses and straungers. And, passing through a great market-place, they saw, on their right hand, a great walled house made of lyme and stone, with loupe-holes and towers, whited with playster that shined lyke silver, being so well burnished, and the sunne glistering upon it; and that was the thing that the Spaniards thought had beene walles of silver. I doe believe, that, with the imagination and great desire which they had of golde and silver, all that shined they deemed to be of the same metall." -- Conquest of the Weast India.
Cortes himself says of Cholula, that he counted above four hundred temple-towers in that city; and the city of Iztapalapa, he says, contained from twelve to fifteen thousand inhabitants. -- Carta de Relacion, 16, 20.
A floating islet. -- VI. p. 59.Islets of this kind, with dwelling-huts upon them, were common upon the Lake of Mexico. They were moved at
pleasure from bay to bay, as the inhabitants wanted sunshine or shelter." -- Clavigero.
Each held a burning censer in his hand. -- VI. p. 60."Tendilli," says the old translator of Gomara, "according to their usance, did his reverence to the captaine, burning frankincense, and little strawes touched in bloud of his own bodie. And, at Chiauiztlan, the lord toke a little chafyng-dishe in his hande, and cast into it a certaine gum, whyche savoured in sweete smel much like unto frankincense; and with a censer he smoked Cortez, with the ceremonye they use in theyr salutations to theyr gods and nobilitie. So also the Tlascallan embassadors burnt copal before Cortes, having thrice made obeicence; and they touched the ground with their hands, and kissed the earth.
The nexte day, in the morning, the Spaniards came to Chololla; and there came out near ten thousand Indians to receyve him, with their captaynes, in good order. Many of them presented unto him bread, foules, and roses; and every captayne, as he approached, welcomed Cortes, and then stood aside, that:the rest, in order, mighte come unto him; and, when he came entering into the citie, all the other citizens receyved him, maryelling to see such men and horses."
After all this came out all the religious menne, as priests and ministers to the idols, who were many and straunge to behold, and all were clothed in white, lyke unto surplices, and hemmed with common threede. Some brought instruments of nlusicke like unto cornettes; others brought instruments made of bones; others an instrument like a ketel covered with skin; some brought chafing-dishes of coals, with
perfumes; others brought idols covered; and, finally, they al came singing in their language, which was a terrible noyse, and drew neere Cortes and his company, sensing them with sweete smelles il their sensers. With this pomp of solemnitie, which truely was great, they brought him unto the cittie." -- Conquest of the Weast India.
Gage's. account of Mexico is copied verbatim from this old translation, even, in some places, to the literal error of using the hard c instead of z, which the g with the cedilla lrepresents.
The Great Temple: 'twas a huge, square hill. -- VI. p. 60.The great Cu of Mexico -- for thus these mounds were called - had a hundred and fourteen steps to the summit; that of Tezcuco, a hundred and fifteen; of Cholula, a hundred and twenty. Gold and jewels, and the different seeds of the country, and human blood, were thrown in the foundations. The Spaniards found great treasures when they levelled the Cu at Mexico to make room for a church to Santiago. -- Bernal Diaz.
The lines which follow describe its structure, as related bv Clavigero and by the Spanish conquerors. The Tower of Babel is usually painted with the same kind of circuitous ascent.
The Tambour of the God. -- VI. p. 61.Gumilla (c. 36) describes a prodigious drum used as a signal to assemble the people, in time of danger, by some of the Orinoco tribes, especially by the Caverres, to whom the invention is ascribed. It is a hollowed piece of wood, in thickness about an inch, in girth as much as two men can clasp,
in length about eleven or twelve feet. This is suspended by a with at each end from a sort of gallows. On the upper surface are three apertures like those in a fiddle; and in the bottom of the instrument, immediately under the middle of the middle aperture, which is shaped like a half-moon, a flint about two pounds in weight is fastened with gum. This is said to be necessary to the sound. Both ends of this long tube are carefully closed; and it is beaten on the middle aperture with a pellet, which is covered with a sort of gum called Currucay. Gumilla positively affirms, and on his own knowledge, that its sound may be heard four leagues round. This is scarcely possible. I doubt whether the loudest gong can be heard four miles; and it is not possible that wood can be made as sonorous as metal.
Ten Cities hear its voice. -- VI. p. 61.There, in the great Cu, they had an exceeding large drum; and, when they beat it, the sound was such, and so dismal, that it was like an instrument of hell, and was heard for more than two leagues round. They said that the cover of that drum was made of the skin of huge serpents." -- Bernal Diaz.
After Cortes had been defeated, he always heard this drum when they were offering up the reeking hearts of his men. The account in Bernal Diaz of their midnight sacrifice, performed by torchlight and in the sight of the Spanish army, is truly terrific.
He lights me at my evening banquet. -- VI. p. 64.The King of Chalco, having treacherously taken and slain two sons of the King of Tetzcuco, had their bodies dried, and placed as candelabras in his palace to hold the lights." -- Torquemada, i. 151.
This same king wore round his neck a chain of human hearts set in gold, -- the hearts of the bravest men whom lie had slain or taken, and sacrificed." -- Ditto. 152.
The more usual custom was to stuff the skin of the royal or noble prisoner, and suspend it as a trophy in the palace or the house of the priest. Gomara's account of this custom is a dreadful picture of the most barbarous superstition which ever yet disgraced mankind. "On the last day of the first month, a hundred slaves were sacrificed: this done, they pluckt off the skinnes of a certaine number of them; the which skinnes so many ancient persons put, incontinent, upon their naked bodies, all fresh and bloudy as they were
fleane from the dead carcases. And, being open in the backe parte and shouldcers, they used to lace them, in such sort that they came fitte upoln the bodies of those that ware them; and, being in this order attired, they came to daunce among many others. Ian Mexico, the king himself did put on one of these skinnes, being of a principall captive, and daunced among the other disguised persons, to exhalte and honour the feast; and an infinite number followed him, to behold his terrible gesture; although some hold opinion, that they followed him to contemplate his greate devotion. After the sacrifice ended, the owner of the slaves did carry their bodies home to their houses, to make of their fieshe a solemlne feaste to all their friendes, leaving their heads and heartes to the priests, as their dutie and offering; and the skinnes were filled with' cotton-wool or strawe, to be hung in the temple and kyng's palayce for a memorie." -- Conquest of the Weast India.
After the Inga Yupangui had successfully defended Cuzco against the Chancas, he had all of them who were slain skinned, and their skins stuffed and placed in various attitudes, some beating tambours, others blowing flutes, &c., in a large building which he erected as a monument for those who had fallen in defending the city." -- Herrera, 5, 3, 12.
Oh, what a pomp,
They had also slinges, staves, speares, swordes, bowes and arrowes, skulles, splintes, gantlettes, all of wood, gilte, or else covered with feathers or leather; their corslets were made of cottonwoole; their targettes and bucklers, gallant and strong, made of woode covered with leather, and trimmed with laton and feathers; theyr swordes were staves, with an edge of flint stone cunningly joyned into the staffe, which would cutte very well, and make a sore wounde. Their instruments of warre were hunters' hornes, and drummes, called attabals, made like a caldron, and covered with vellum." -- Conquest of the Weast India.
In the inventory of the treasure which Grijalva brought fiom his expedition are a whole harness of furniture for an armed man, of gold, thin beaten; another whole armor of wood, with leaves of gold, garnished with little black stones; four pieces of armor of wood, made for the knees, and covered with golden leaf. And among the presents designed for the king were five targets of feathers and silver, and twenty-four of feathers and gold, set with pearls, both curious and gallant to behold.
They pil'd a heap of sedge before our host. -- VII.. 70.When the Spaniards discovered Campeche, the Indians heaped up a pile of dry sedge, and ranged themselves in troops. Ten priests then came from a temple, with censers and copal, wherewith they incensed the strangers, and then told, them by signs to depart, before that pile, which they were about to kindle, should be burnt out. The pile was immediately lighted; the priest withdrew without another word or motion; and the people began to whistle, and sound
their shells. The Spaniards were weak, and many of them wounded; and they prudently retired in peace." -- Bernal Diaz, 3.
At the sacring of the popes, when the new-elected pope passeth (as the manner is) before St. Gregory's Chapel, the master of the ceremonies goeth before him, bearing two dryreeds, at the end of the one a burninfg wax candle tied, and at the end of the other a handfull of flax, the which he setteth on fire, saying, with a loud voice, Pater Samete, sic transit gloria mundi. -- Ccamerarius.
The Arrow of the Omen. -- VII. p. 70.The Tlaxcaltecas had two arrows, which they regarded with great reverence, and used to augur the event of a battle. Two of their bravest chiefs were to shoot them at the enemy, and recover them or die. If the arrow struck and wounded, it was held an omen that the fight would be prosperous; but, if they neither struck nor drew blood, the army retired." -- Torquemada, i. 34.
This is more particularly noticed by Gomara. "In the warres, the Tlascallans use their standerde to be carried behynde the army; but, when the battyle is to be fought, they place the standerde where all the hoste may see it; and he that commeth not incontinent to hys ancient payeth a penaltie. Their standerde hath two crossebow arrowes set thereon, which they esteeme as the relikes of their ancestors. Thys standerde two olde soldiers and valiant menne, being of the chiefest captaynes, have the charge to clrrie; in the which standerde, an abusion of southsaying, eyther of losse or victory, is noted. In. this order they shote one of these arrowes
against the first enemies that they meete; and, if with that arrowe they do eyther kill or hurte, it is a token that they shall have the victorie; and, if it neyther kill nor hurte, then they assuredly believe that they shall lose the field." -- Conquest of the Weast India.
The bowmen of Deheubarth ...
Thus also Trevisa, in his lame rhymes:
And the other Venedocia;
The first shoteth and arowes beres,
That other dealeth all with spere.
The white deer-skin shroud. -- VIII. p. 78."The Indians use the same ceremonies to the bones of their dead as if they were covered with their former skin, flesh, and ligaments. It is but a few days since I saw some return with the bones of nine of their people, who had been two months before killed by the enemy. They were tied in white deemskins separately; and, when carried by the door of one of the houses of their family, they were laid down opposite to it, till the female relations convened, with flowing hair, and wept over them about half an hour. Then they carried
them home to their friendly magazines of mortality, wept over them again, and then buried them with the usual solemnities. The chieftains carried twelve short sticks, tied together in the form of a quadrangle, so that each square consisted of three. The sticks were only peeled, without any painting; but there were swanfeathers tied to each corner. They called that frame the White Circle, and placed it over the door while the women were weeping over the bones." -- Adair.
On softest fur The bones swere laid. -- VIII. p. 79.When the body is in the grave, they take care to cover it in such a manner that the earth does not touch it. It lies as in a little cave, lined with skins, much neater, and better adorned, than their cabins." -- Charlevoix.
Adair was present at one of their funerals. "They laid the corpse in his tomb in a sitting posture, with' his feet towards the east, his head anointed with bear's-oil, and his face painted red; but not streaked with black, because that is a constant emblem of war and death. He was dressed in his finest apparel, having his gun and pouch and trusty hickory bow, with a young panther's skin full of arrows,.alongside of him, and every other useful thing he had been possessed of, that when he rises again they may serve him in that tract of land which pleased him best before he went to take his long sleep. His tomb was firm and clean inside: they covered it with thick logs so as to bear several tiers of cypress-bark, and such a quantity of clay as would confine the putrid smell, and be on a level with the rest of the floor. They often sleep over these tombs; which, with the loud wailing of the women,
at the dusk of the evening and dawn of the day, on benches close by the tombs, must awake the memory of their relations very often; and, if they were killed by an enemy, it helps to irritate and set on such revengeful tempers to retaliate blood for blood."
'Twas in her hut and home, yea, underneath
Pabas. -- VIII. p. 79.Papa is the word which Bernal Diaz uses when he speaks of the Mexican priests; and in this he is followed by Purchas. The appellation in Torquemada is Quaquil. I am not certain that Bernal Diaz did not mean to call them Popes, and that Purchas has not mistaken his meaning. An easy
alteration made it more suitable for English verse than the more accurate word would have been.
I perceive by Herrera (3, 2, 15) that the word is Mexican, and that the Devil was the author of it, in imitation of the church.
Ipalnemoani, He by whom we live. -- VIII. p. 81."The Mexicans had some idea, though a very imperfect one, of a supreme, absolute, and independent Being. They represented him in no external form, because they believed him to be invisible; and they named him only by the common appellation of God, or, in their langunage, Teotl; a word resembling still more in its meaning than its pronunciation the Teos of the Greeks. But they applied to him certain epithets, which were highly expressive of the grandeur and power which they conceived him to possess, Ipalnemoani, "He by whom we live;" and Tloque Nahuaque, "He who has all in himself." -- Clavigero.
Torquemada has a very characteristic remark upon these appellations. "Although," says he, "these blinded men went astray in the knowledge of God, and adored thn Devil in his stead, they did not err in the names which they gave him, those being truly and properly his own; the Devil using this cunning with them, that they should apply to him these, which, by nature and divine right, are God's; his most holy Majesty permitting this on account of the enormity and shamefulness of their depraved customs, and the multitude of their iniquities." -- L. vi. c. 8.
The Great Spirit, who in mountain caves
The prince had no sooner gained the point that overlooks this wonderful cascade (the Falls of St. Anthony) than he began with an audible voice to address the Great Spirit, one of whose places of residence he supposed this to be. He told him he had come a long way to pay his adorations to him, and now would make him the best offerings in his power. He accordingly
first threw his pipe into the stream; then the roll that contained his tobacco; after these, the bracelets he wore on his arms and wrists; next an ornament that encircled his neck, composed of beads and wires; and, at last, the ear-rings from his ears. In short, he presented to his God every part of his dress that was valuable. During this, he frequently smote his breast with great violence, threw his arms about, and appeared to be much agitated.
"All this while, he continued his adorations, and at length concluded them with: fervent petitions that the Great Spirit would constantly afford us his protection on our travels, giving us a bright sun, a blue sky, and clear, untroubled waters; nor would he leave the place till we had smoked together with my pipe in honor of the Great Spirit." -- Carver.
The Spirit of the Lord
"Edwin of Northumbria had summoned his chiefs and counsellors to advise with him concerning his intended conversion. The first person who delivered his opinion was Coifi, the Chief Priest of the Idols. 'For this which is preached to us,' said he, 'do you, O King, see to it, what it may be. I will freely confess to you what I have learnt, that the religion which we have held till now has no virtue in it. No one of your subjects has devoted himself to the worship of our Gods more earnestly than I, and yet many there are who have
received greater bounties and greater favours from your hand, and have prospered better in all their undertakings and desires. Now, if our Gods could have done any thing, they would rather have assisted me than them.' To this another of the nobles added, 'The present life of man upon earth, when compared with the future, has appeared to me, O King, like as when you and your Chiefs and servants have been seated at your supper, in winter time, the hearth blazing in the centre, and the viands smoking, while without it is storm, or rain, or snow, and a sp arrow flies through the hall, entering at one door and passing out at another; while he is within, in that little minute he does not feel the weather, but after that instant of calm, he returns again to winter as from winter he came, and is gone. Such and so transitory is the life of man, and of what follows it or what preceded it we are altogether ignorant. Wherefore, if this new doctrine should bring any thing more ceriain, it well deserves to be followed." -- Lib. 2. c. 13.
John Wesley has preserved a very interesting dialogue between himself and the Chicasaws.
"Q. Do you believe there is One above who is over all things? Paustoobee answered, We believe there are four Beloved Things above, the Cloud, the Sun, the Clear Sky, and He that lives in the Clear Sky.
"Q. Do you believe there is but one that lives in the Clear Sky?
"Q. We believe there are Two with him; Three in all.
"Q. Do you think He made the Sun and the other Beloved Things?
"A. We cannot tell. Who hath seen?
"Q. Do you think He made you?
"A. We think He made all men at first.
"Q. How did He make them at first?
"A. Out of the ground
"Q. Do you believe He loves you?
"A. I do not know. I cannot see him.
"Q But has He not often saved your life ?
"A. He has. Many bullets have gone on this side, and many on that side, but he would never let them hurt me. And many bullets have gone into these young men, and yet they are alive.
"Q. Then cannot He save you from your enemies now?
"A. Yes, but we know not if he will. We have now so many enemies round about us, that I think of nothing but death; and if I am to die, I shall die, and I will die like a man. But if He will have me to live, I shall live. Though I had ever so many enemies, He can dcstroy them all.
"Q. How do you know that?
"A. From what I have seen. When our enemies came against us before, then the Beloved Clouds came for us; and often much rain and sometimes hail has come upon them, and that in a very hot day. And saw when many French and Choctaws and other nations came against one of our towns, and the ground made a noise under them, and the Beloved Ones in the air behind them, and they were afraid, and went away, and left their meat and their drink, and their guns. I tell no lie, all these saw it too.
"Q. Have you heard such noises at other times?
"A. Yes, often; before and after almost every battle.
"Q. What sort of noises were they? ...
"A. Like the noise of drums and guns and shouting
"Q. Have you heard any such lately ?
"A. Yes; four days after our last battle with the French.
"Q. Then you heard nothing before it?
"A. The night betore I dreamed I heard many drums up there, and many trumpets there, and much stomping of feet and shouting. Till then I thought we should all die; but then I thought the Beloved Ones were come to help us. And the next day I heard above a hundred guns go off before the fight began, and I said, when the Sun is there the Beloved Ones will help us, and we shall couquer our enemies; and we did so.
"Q. Do you often think and talk of the Beloved Ones?
"A. We think of them always wherever we are. We talk of them and to them, at home and abroad, in peace and in war, before and after we fight, and indeed whenever and wherever we meet together.
"Q. Where do you think your souls go after death?
"A. We believe the souls of red men walk up and down near the place where they died, or where their bodies lie, for we have often heard cries and noises near the place where any prisoners had been burnt.
"Q. Where do the souls of white men go after death?
"A. We cannot tell; we have not seen.
"Q. Our belief is that the souls of bad men only walk up and down: but the souls of good men go up.
"A. I believe so too; but I told you the talk of the nation.
"Mr. Andrews. They said at the burying they knew what
you was doing. You was speaking to tile Beloved Ones above to take up the soul of the young woman.
"Q. We have a book that tells us many things of the BĒloved Ones above; would you be glad to know them?
"A. We i.ave no time now but to fight. If we should ever be at peace, we should be glad to know.
"Q. Do you expect ever to know what the white men know?
"Mr. Andrews. They told Mr. O. they believe the time will come when the red and white men will be one,
"Q. What do the French teach you?
"A. The French Black Kings (the Priests) never go out. We see you go about: we like that; that is good.
"O. How came your nation by the knowledge they have?
"A. As sooon as ever the ground was sound and fit to stand upon, it came to us, and has been with us ever since. But we are young men, our old men know more; but all of them do not know. There are but a few whom the Beloved One chuses from a child, and is in them, and takes care of them and teaches them. They know these things, and our old men practice, therefore they know: but I do not practice, therefore I know little." -- Wesley's Journal, No. 1. 39.
Dolwyddelan. -- X. p. 93."Dolwyddelan is situated in a rocky valley, which is sprinkled with stunted trees, and watered by the Lleder. The boundaries are rude and barren mountains, and, among others, the great bending mountain, Seabod, often conspicuous from most distant places. The castle is placed on a high rock, precipitous on one side, and insulated. It consists of two square
towers, one 40 feet by 25; the other, 32 by 20: each had formerly three floors. The materials of this fortress are the shattery stone of the country, yet well squared, the masonry good, and the mortar hard. The castle yard lay between the towers." -- Pennant's Snowdon.
The rudeness and barrenness of the surrounding mountains I can well testify, having been bewildered and benighted upon them.
"In the beginning of Edward the Fourth his reign, Dolwyddelan was inhabited by Howell ap Evan ap Rhys Gethin, a base son, captain of the country, and an outlaw. Against this man, David ap Jenkin rose and contended with him for the sovereignty of the country; and, being superior to him in the end, he drew a draught for him, and took him in his bed at Penanonen with his concubine, performing by craft what he could not by force; for, after many bickerings between Howell and David, David being too weak, was fayne to fly the country, and to goe to Ireland, where he was a year or thereabouts. ITn the end he returned, in a summer time, having himself and all his followers clad in greene; which, being come into the country, he dispersed here and there among his friends, lurking by day and walking by night for fear of his adversaries; and such of the country as happened to have a sight of him and of his followers, said they were fayries, and so ran away." -- Gwydir History.
Nor turned he now
in the neighborhood of Cader Idris, near the river Kregennan, I saw the remains of Llys Bradwen, the Court or Palace of Ednowain, chief of one of the fifteen tribes of North Wales, either in the reign of Gruffydd ap Cynan, or soon after. The relies are about thirty yards square; the entrance about seven feet wide, with a large upright stone on each side by way of doorcase; the walls, with large stones, uncemented by any mortar. In short, the structure of this palace shows the very low state of architecture in those times; it may be paralleled only by the artless fabric of a cattle-house." -- Pennant's Snowdon.
The Hirelas. -- X. p. 95.Mr. Owen, to whose indefatigable industry Cimbric literature is so much indebted, has favored me with a literal version of this remarkable poem:
When the dawn uprose, a shout was given;
Foes were sending a luckless destiny.
Mangled with ruddy wounds, our men, after heavy toil,
were seen scattered about the wall of the Vale of Maelor
I chased away the strangers inured to contention,
dauntless in the conflict, with red stained weapons.
Who insults the brave let him beware his presence!
The result of molesting him is a source of affliction.
Pour out, thou Cup bearer, thus yielding pleasure,
The Horn in the hand of Rhys, in the hall of the director of bounty,
the hall of Owen, that has ever been maintained on spoil,
The feasting of a thousand thou mayest hear; open are the gates.
Cup-bearer! I am sad and silent: has he not left me?
Reach thou the Horn for mutual drinking:
Full of sorrow am I for the leader of the hue of the ninth wave;
long and blue its characteristic, gold its cover:
so bring it forth with Bragod, a liquor of exalted pledge,
into the hand of the froward Gwgan, to requite his deed.
The whelps of Goronwy are mighty in the path of wrath,
aptly springing whelps, confident their feet,
men who claim a reward in every difficulty;
Men in the shout greatly valued, of mighty deliverance.
The Shepherd of Havern (Severn) it elates the soul to hear them
Sounding the Horns of mead that greatly rouse desire.
Pour out thou the Horn covered with a yellow top,
honorably drunk with overfrothing mead;
and, if thou seekest life to one year's close,
diminish not its respect, since it is not meet;
And bear to Grufydd, the crimson-lanced foe,
wine with pellucid glass around it;
the dragon of Arwstli, safeguard of the borders,
the dragon of Owen, the generous, of the race of Cynvyn,
a dragon from his beginning, and never scared by a conflict
of triumphant slaughter or afflicting chase.
Men of combat departed for the acquirement of fame,
armed sons of the banquet with gleaming weapons;
* The ninth wave is an expression much used by the Welsh poets. It occurs in the "Hoienau" of Myrddin: "I will prophesy before the ninth wave." -- Arch. p. 135. So in the eulogy on Eva: "Eva, of the hue of the spraying foam before the ninth wave." -- Ach. p. 217.
they requited well their mead, like Belyn's men of yore;
fairly did they toil while a single man was left.
Pour out thou the Horn, for it is my purpose
That its potent sway may incite a sprightly conversation,
in the right hand of our leader of devastation,
gleaming beneath the broad, light shield;
in the hand of Ednyved, the lion of his land irreproachable;
all-dexterous in the push of spears, shivered away his shield.
The tumult hurries on the two fearless of nature;
they would break as a whirlwind over a fair retreat,
with opposing fronts in the combat of battle,
where the face of the'gold-bespangled shield they would quickly break.
Thoroughly stained, their shafts, after head-cleaving blows;
Thoroughly active in defending the glory-bounded Garthran;
and there was heard in Maelor a great and sudden outcry,
with horrid scream of men in agony of wounds;
and, thronging round the carnage, they interwove their paths.
as it was in Bangor round the fire of spears,
when two sovereigns over horns made discord,
when there was the banquet of Morac Morvran.
Pour thou out the Horn! for I am contemplating
where they defend both their mead and their country.
Selyc the undaunted, of the station of Gwygyr,
look to it, who insults him of eagle heart!
and Madoc's only son, the generous Tudyr of high renown,
and the claim of the wolf, a slayer with gleaming shafts.
Two heroic ones, two lions in their onset,
two of cruel energy, the two sons of Ynyr;
two, unrestrained in the day of battle their onward course,
of irresistible progress and of matchless feat.
The stroke of the fierce lions fiercely cut through warriors
of battle leading forms, red their ashen thrusters
of violence, bending in pursuit with ruthless glory.
The shivering of their two shields may be likened
to the loud-voiced wind, over the green sea-brink
checking the incessant waves; so seemed the scene of Talgarth.
Pour out, thou Cup-bearer! seek not death,
the Horn with honour in festivals
the long blue bugle of high privilege, with ancient silver
that covers it, with opposite lips,
and bear to Tudyr, eagle of conflicts,
a prime beverage of the blushing wine.
If there come not in of mead the best of all
the liquor from the bowl, thy head is forfeit
to the hand of Moreiddig, the encourager of songs:
may they become old in fame before their cold depositure!
Brothers blameless! of highly soaring minds,
of dauntless vigour earning your deserts,
warriors who for me have achieved services,
not old with unsightliness, but old in dexterity,
toilers, impellers, leaders that are wolves
of the cruel foremost rank, with gory limbs.
Brave captains of the men of Mocnant, a Powysian land,
both possess the prowess of the brave;
the deliverers in every need, ruddy are their weapons,
securely they would keep their bounds from tumult,
praise is their meed, they who are so blest. --
Cry of death, was it? be the two to me then changed!
O my Christ! how sad am I from these wounds!
By the loss of Moreiddig, greatly is his absence felt.
Pour thou out the Horn, for they do not sigh for me!
the Hirlas, cheeringly in the hand of Morgan,
a man who deserves the homage of peculiar praise.
Like poison to the happy is the track of his spear;
a matter accursed is the abiding his blade,
smooth its two sides, keen its edges.
Pour out, thou Cup-bearer! from a silver vessel
the solemn festive boon with due respect.
On the Plain of Great Gwestun I saw the raw throbbing.
To baffle Goronwy were a task for a hundred men;
the warriors a mutual purpose did accomplish there,
supporters of the battle, heedless of life.
The exalted chief did meet the dispersed ones of slaughter,
a governor was slain, burnt was a fort on the flood mark of the sea;
a magnanimous prisoner they fetched away,
Mairyc, son of Grufydd, the theme of prophetic song.
Were they not all bathed in sweat when they returned,
for full of sunshine were the extended hill and dale?
Pour thou out the Horn to the mutually toiling ones,
the whelps of Owen with connected spears in united leap;
they would pour abroad in a noted spot
a store where the glittering irons go rebounding;
Madoc and Meiler, men nurtured in depredation,
for iniquity the stemming opponents,
the instructors for tumult of a shield-bearing host,
and froward conductors of subjects trained for conflicts.
It is heard how from the feast of mead went the Chief of Catraeth;
upright their purpose with keen-edged weapons;
the train of Mynyddoc, for their being consigned to sleep,
obtained their recording, leaders of a wretched fray!
None achieved what my warriors did in the hard toil of Maelor, --
the release of a prisoner belongs to the harmonious eulogy.
Pour out, thou Cupbearer sweet mead distilled
of spear impelling spirit in the sweating toil,
from bugle horns proudly overlaid with gold
to requite the pledge of their lives.
Of the various distresses that chieftains endure
no one knows but God and he who speaks.
A man who will not pay, will not pledge. will abide no law,
Daniel the auxiliary chief, so fair of loyalty.
Cup-bearer, great the deed, that claims to be honoured,
of men refraining not from death if they find not hospitality.
Cup-bearer, a choicest treat of mead must be served us together,
an ardent fire bright, a light of ardently bright tapers.
Cup-bearer, thou mightest have seen a house of wrath in Lledwn land,
a sullenly subjected prey that shall be highly praised.
Cup-bearer, I cannot be continued here: nor avoid a separation;
Be it in Paradise that we be received;
With the Supreme of Kings long be our abode,
Where there is to be seen the secure course of truth.
The passage in the poem would have stood very differently; had I seen this literal version before it was printed. I had written from the faithless paraphrase of Evans, in which every thing characteristic or beautiful is lost.
Few persons who read this song can possibly doubt its authenticity. They who chose to consider the Welsh poems as spurious had never examined them. Their groundless and impudent incredulity, however, has been of service to literature, as it occasioned Mr. Turner to write his "Vindication," which has settled the question for ever.
St. Monacel.- X. p. 100."In Pennant-Melangle church was the tomb of St. Monacella, who protecting a hare from the pursuit of Brocwell Yscythbrog, Prince of Powis, he gave her land to found a religious house, of which she became first abbess. Her hard bed is shown in the cleft of a neighboring rock; her tomb was in a little chapel, now the vestry; and her image is still to be seen in the churchyard, where is also that of Edward, eldest son of Owen Gwynedh, who was set aside from the succession on account of a broken nose, and, flying here for safety, was slain not far off, at a place called Bwlch Croes Iorwerth. On his shield is inscribed, "Hic jacet Etward." -- Gough's Camden.
I had procured drawings of these monuments, designing to have had them engraved in this place; but on examination it appears that Mr. Gough has certainly been mistaken concerning
one, if not both. What he supposed to be the Image of St. Monacel is the evidently only the monumental stone of some female of distinction, the figure being recumbent, with the hands joined, and the feet resting upon some animal.
The place of meeting was a high hill-top. -- XI. p. 102.The Bardic imeetings, or Gorseddau, were held in the open air, on a conspicuous place, while the sun was above the horizon; for they were to perform every thing in the eye of light, and in the face of the sun. The place was set apart by forming a circle of stones, with a large stone in the middle, beside which the presiding Bard stood. This was termed Cylc Cyngrair, or the Circle of Federation; and the middle stone Maen Llog, the Stone of Covenant.
Mr. Owen's very curious introduction to his translation of Llywarc Hen has supplied me with materials for the account of the Gorsedd, introduced in the poem. That it might be as accurate as possible, he himself and Edward Williams the Bard did me the favor of examining it. To their knowledge, and to that of Mr. Turner, the historian of the Anglo-Saxons, and to the liberality and friendliness with which they have ever been willing to assist me therewith, I. am greatly and variously indebted.
The Bard at these meetings wore the distinguishing dress of his order, a robe of sky blue, as an emblem of truth, being unicolored, and also as a type, that, amid the storms of the moral world, he must assume the serenity of the unclouded sky. The dress of the Ovydd, the third order, or first into which.the candidate could be admitted, was green. The Awenyddion, the Disciples, wore a variegated dress of blue,
green, and white, the three Bardic colors; white being the dress of the Druids, who were the second order. The Bards stood within the circle, bareheaded and barefooted; and the ceremony opened by sheathing a sword, and laying it on the Stone of Covenant. The Bardic traditions were then recited.
Himself, albeit his hands were stain'd with blood,
Six of the elder Bards are enumerated in the Triads as having borne arms in violation of their Order; but in these latter days the perversion had become more frequent. Maeiler, the Bard of Grufydd ab Cynan, distinguished himself in war; Cynddelw, Brycdydd Mawr, the Great Bard, was eminent for his valor; and Gwalchmai boasts in one of his poems that he had defended the Marches against the Saxons." -- Warrington.
The Bard's most honorable name. - XI. p. 105.No people seem to have understood the poetical character so well as the Welsh; witness their Triads.
"The three primary requisites of poetical Genius; an eye that can see Nature, a heart that can feel Nature, and a resolution that dares follow Nature.
"The three foundations of Genius; the gift of God, man's exertion, and the events of life.
"The three indispensables of Genius; understanding, feeling, and perseverance.
"The three things which constitute a poet; genius, knowledge, and impulse.
'The three things that enrich Genius; contentment of mind, the cherishing of good thoughts, and exercising the memory." -- E. Williams's Poems. Owen's Llywarc Hen.
Cimbric lore. -- XI. p. 105.The Welsh have always called themselves Cymry, of which the strictly literal meaning is Aborigines. There can be no doubt that it is the same word as the Cimbri of the ancients; they call their language Cymraeg, the Primitive Tongue." -- E. Williams's Poems.
Where are the sons of Gavran, where his tribe
discover some islands, which, by a traditionary meimorial, were known by the name of Gwerdonnau Llion, or the Green Islands of the Ocean. This expedition was not heard of afterwards, and the situation of those islands became lost to the Britons. This event, the voyage of Merddin Emrys with the twelve Bards, and the expedition of Madoc, were called the three losses by disappearance." -- Cambrian Biogqraphy.
Of these Islands, or Green Spots of the Floods, there are some singular superstitions. They are the abode of the Tylmwyth Teg, or the Fair Family, the souls of the virtuous Druids, who, not having been Christians, cannot enter the Christian heaven, but enjoy this heaven of their own. They, however, discover a love of mischief, neither becoming happy spirits, nor consistent with their original character; for they love to visit the earth, and, seizing a man, inquire whether he will travel above wind, mid wind, or below wind: above wind is a giddy and terrible passage; below wind is through bush and brake: the middle is a safe course. But the spell of security is to catch hold of the grass; for these beings have not power to destroy a blade of grass. In their better moods, they come over and carry the Welsh in their boats. He who visits these islands imagines on his return that he has been absent only a few hours, when, in truth, whole centuries have passed away.
If you take a turf from St. David's Churchyard, and stand upon it on the sea shore, you behold these islands. A man once, who had thus obtained sight of them, immediately put to sea to find them; but they disappeared, and his search was in vain. He returned, looked at them again from the enchanted turf, again set sail, and failed again. The third time
he took the turf into his vessel, and stood upon it till he reached them.
The inhabitants of Arran More, the largest of the south isles of Arran, on the coast of Galway, are persuaded that in a clear day they can see Hy Brasail, the Enchanted Island, from the coast, the Paradise of the Pagan Irish." -- Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis: Bealsford's Ancient Topography of Ireland.
General Vallancey relates a different history of this superstition. "The old Irish," he says, "say that great part of Ireland was swallowed up by the sea, and that the sunken part often rises, and is frequently to be seen on the horizon from the northern coast. On the North-west of the island, they call this enchanted country Tir Hudi, or the City of Hud, believing that the City stands there which once possessed all the riches of the world, and that its key lies buried under some druidical monument. When Mr. Burton, in 1765, went in search of the Ogham monument, called Conane's Tomb, on Callan mountain, the people could not be convinced that the search was made after an inscription, but insisted that he was seeking after an enchanted key that lay buried with the hero, and which, when found, would restore the enchanted city to its former splendor, and convert the moory heights of Callan mountain into rich and fruitful plains. They expect great riches whenever this city is discovered."
This enchanted country is called O Breasil, or O Brazil, which, according to General Vallancey's interpretation, signifies the Royal Island. He says it is evidently the lost city of Arabian story, visited by their fabulous prophet Houd, .. the City and Paradise of Irem! He compares this tradition with
the remarks of Whitehurst on the Giant's Causeway, and suspects that it refers to the lost Atlantis, which Whitehurst thinks perhaps existed there.
Is that very remarkable phenomenon, known in Sicily by the name of Morgaine le Fay's works, ever witnessed on the coast of Ireland? If so, the sulperstition is explained by an actual apparition. -- I had not, when this note was written, seen Mr. Latham's account of a similar phenomenon at Hastings (Phil. Trans. 1798), which completely establishes what I had here conjectured. Mr. Nicholson, in his remarks on it, says the same thing has been seen from Broadstairs, and that these appearances are much more frequent and general than has usually been supposed.
In his crystal Ark,
Merddin was the Bard of Emrys Wledig, the Ambrosius of Saxon history, by whose command he erected Stonehenge, in memory of the Plot of the Long Knives, when, by the treachery of Gwrtheyrn, or Vortigern, and the Saxons, three hundred British chiefs were massacred. He built it on the site of a former circle. The structure itself affords proof that it cannot have been raised much earlier, inasmuch as it deviates from the original principle of Bardic circles, where no appearance of art was to be admitted. Those of Avebury, Stanton Drew, Keswick, &c., exemplify this. It is called by
the Welsh Gwaith Emrys, the work of Ambrosius. Drayton's reproach, therefore, is ill founded:
Thou hast forgot their names who reared thee for their glory.
The Welsh traditions say that Merddin made a House of Glass, in which he went to sea, accompanied by the Nine Cylveirdd Bards, and was never heard of more. This was one of the three disappearances from the Isle of Britain. Merddin is also one of the three principal Christian Bards of Britain: Merddin Wyllt and Taliesin are the other two. -- Cabrian Biography.
A diving House of Glass is also introduced in the Spanish Romance of Alexander, written, about the middle of the 13th century, by Joan Lorenzo Segura de Astorga.
Non yaz en escrito, e es grave de creer;
Si es verdat e non. yo non he y que veer,
Pero no lo quiero en olvido poner.
Dicen que por saber que facen los pescados,
Como viven los chicos entre los mas granados,
Fizo cuba de vidrio con puntos bien cerrados,
Metios en ella dentro con dos de sus criados.
Estos furon catados de todos los meiores,
Por tal que non oviessen dona los traectores,
Ca que el o que ellos avrien aguardadores,
Non farien a sus guisas los males revoltores.
Fu con bonas cadenas bien presa e calzada,
Fu con priegos firmes a las naves pregada,
Que fonder non se podiesse e estodiesse colgada.
Mando que quinze dias lo dexassen hy durar,
Las naves con todesto pensassen de test andar,
Assaz podrie en esto saber e mesurar,
Metria en escrito los secretes del mar.
La cuba fue fecha en quel Rey acia,
A los unos pesaba, a los otros placia:
Bien cuidaban algunos que nunca ende saldria,
Mas destaiado era que en mar non moriria.
Andabal bon Rey en su casa cerrada,
Seia grant corazon en angosta posada;
Veia toda la mar de pescados poblada,
No es bestia nel sieglo que non fus y trobada.
Non vive en el mundo nenguna creatura
Que non cria la mar semejante figura;
Traen enemizades entre si por natura,
Los fuertes d los flacos danles mala ventura.
Estonce vio el Rey en aquellas andadas
Como echan los unos a los otros celadas
Dicen que ende furon presas e sossacadas,
Furon desent aca por el sieglo usadas.
Como si los ovies el Rey por subiugados,
Yenien fasta la cuba todos cabezcolgados,
Tremian todos antel como mozos moiades.
Juraba Alexandre per lo su diestro llado,
Que nunca fura domes meior accompannado;
De los pueblos del mar tovose por pagado,
Contaba que avie grant emperio ganado.
Otra faciana vio en essos pobladores,
Vio que los maiores comien a los menores,
Los chicos a los grandes tenienos por sennores,
Maltraen los mas fuertes a los que son menores.
Diz el Rey, soberbia es en todolos iugares,
Forcia es enna tierra e dentro ennos mares:
Las aves esso mismo non se catan por pares,
Dios confunda tal vicio que tien tantos lugares.
Nacio entre los angelos 6 fizo muchos caer.
Arramolos Dios per la tierra, e dioles grant poder,
La mesnada non puede su derecho aver,
Ascondio la cabeza, non osaba parecer.
Quien mas puede mas face, non de bien, mas de mal,
Quien mas a aver mas quier, e morre por ganal;
Non veeria de su grado nenguno so igual:
Mal peccado, nenguno no es a Dios leal.
Todos son entre si a bandos derramados;
De vicio e de soberbia son todos entregados,
Los flacos de los fuertes andan desafiados.
Se como sabel Rey bien todesto osmar,
Quisiesse assimismo it derechas iulgar,
Bien debie un poco su lengua refrenar,
Que en tant fieras grandias non quisiesse andar.
De su gradol Rey mas oviera estado
Mas a sus criazones faciesles pesado;
Temiendo la ocasion que suel venir privado,
Sacaronlo bien ante del termino passado.
The sweet flow of language and metre in so early a poem is very remarkable; but no modern language can boast of monuments so early and so valuable as the Spanish. To attempt to versify this passage would be laborious and unprofitable. Its import is, that Alexander, being desirous to see how the fish lived, and in what manner the great fish behaved to the little ones, ordered a vessel of glass to be made, and fastened with long chains to his ships, that it might not sink too deep. He entered it with two chosen servants, leaving orders that the ships should continue their course, and draw him up at the end of fifteen days. The vessel had been made perfectly water-tight. He descended, and found the fish as curious to see him as he had been to see the fish. They crowded round his machine, and trembled before him as if he had been their conqueror, so that he thought he had acquired
another empire. But Alexander perceived the same system of tyranny in the water as on the land, the great eat the little, and the little eat the less; upon which tyranny he made sundry moral observations, which would have come with more propriety from any other person than from himself. However, he observed the various devices which were used for catching fish, and which, in consequence of this discovery, have been used in the world ever since. His people were afraid some accident might happen, and drew him up long before the fifteen days were expired.
The poet himself does not believe this story. "People say so," he says; "but it is not in writing, and it is a thing difficult to believe. It is not my business to examine whether it be true or not; but I do not choose to pass it over unnoticed." The same story was pointed out to me by Mr. Coleridge in one of the oldest German poems; and, what is more remarkable, it is mentioned by one of the old Welsh bards. Davies's Celtic Researches, p. 196. Jests, and the fictions of romance and superstition, seem to have travelled everywhere.
Flathinnis. -- XI. p. 106.Flath-innis, the Noble Island, lies surrounded with tempests in the Western Ocean. I fear the account of this paradise is but apocryphal, as it rests upon the evidence of Macpherson, and has every internal mark of a modern fiction.
In former days, there lived in Skerr * a magician of high
* Skerr signifies, in general, a rock in the ocean.
A magician is called Druidh in the Gaelic.
renown. The blast of wind waited for his commands at the gate; he rode the tempest, and the troubled wave offered itself as a pillow for his repose; his eye followed the sun by day; his thoughts travelled from star to star in the season of night; he thirsted after things unseen; he sighed over the narrow circle which surrounded his days; he often sat in silence beneath the sound of his groves; and he blamed the careless billows that rolled between him and the Green Isle of the West.
One day, as the Magician of Skerr sat thoughtful upon a rock, a storm arose on the sea. A cloud, under whose squally skirts the foaming waters complained, rushed suddenly into the bay; and from its dark womb at once issued forth a boat, with its white sails bent to the wind, and hung around with a hundred moving, oars; but it was destitute of mariners, itself seeming to live and move. An unusual terror seized the aged magician: he heard a voice, though he saw no human form. "Arise! behold the boat of the heroes! arise, and see the Green Isle of those who have passed away!"
He felt a strange force on his limbs: he saw no person, but he moved to the boat. Immediately the wind changed; in the bosom of the cloud he sailed away. Seven days gleamed faintly round him; seven nights added their gloom to his darkness; his ears were stunned with shrill voices; the dull murmurs of winds passed him on either side; he slept not, but his eyes were not heavy; he ate not, but he was not hungry. On the eighth day, the waves swelled into mountains; the boat was rocked violently from side to side; the darkness thickened around him; when a thousand voices at once cried aloud, The isle! the isle! The billows opened wide before
him; the calm land of the departed rushed in light on his eyes.
"It was not a light. that dazzled, but a pure, distinguishing, and placid light, which called forth every object to view in their most perfect form. The isle spread large before him, like a pleasing dream of the soul, where distance fades not on the sight, where nearness fatigues not the eye. It had its gently sloping hills of green: nor did they wholly want their clouds; but the clouds were bright and transparent, and each involved in its bosom the source of a stream,-a beauteous stream, which, wandering down the steep, was like the faint notes of thebhalf-touched harp to the distant ear. The valleys were open and free to the ocean; trees loaded with leaves, which scarcely waved to the light breeze, were scattered on the green declivities and rising ground; the rude winds walked not on the mountain; no storm took its course through the sky. All was calin and bright; the pure sun of autumn shone from his blue sky on the fields. He hastened not to the west for repose, nor was he seen to rise from the east: he sits in his mid-day height, and looks obliquely on the Noble Isle.
In each valley is its slow-moving stream: the pure waters swell over the bank, yet abstain from the fields; the showers disturb them not, nor are they lessened by the heat of the sun. On the rising hill are the halls of the departed, -- the high-roofed dwellings of the heroes of old.'
The departed, according to the tale, retained, in the midst of their happiness, a warm affection for their country and living friends. They sometimes visited the first; and by the latter, as the Bard expresses it, they were transiently seen in
the hour of'peril, and especially on the near approach of death. It was then that at midnight the death-devoted, to use the words of the Tale, were suddenly awakened by a strange knocking at their gates; it was then that they heard the indistinct voice of their departed friends calling them away to the Noble Isle; "a sudden joy rushed in upon their minds, and that pleasing melancholy which looks forward to happiness in a distant land." Macpherson's Introduction to the History of Great Britain.
"The softer sex among the Celtae," he adds, "passed with their friends to the fortunate isles. Their beauty increased with the change; and, to use the words of the Bard, they were ruddy lights in the Island of Joy."
Where one emerald light
"Urim and Thummim were the Philosopher's stone; and it was this which gave light in the Ark.
"For God commanded Noah to make a clear light in the Ark, which some take for a window; but since the text saith, Day and night shall no more cease; it seems it did then cease; and therefore there could be no exterior light.
"The Rabbis say that the Hebrew word Zohar, which the Chaldees translate Neher, is only to be found in this place. Other Hebrew Doctors believe it to have been a precious stone hung up in the Ark, which gave light to all living creatures therein. This the greatest Carbuncle could not do, nor
any precious stone which is only natural. But the Universal Spirit, fixed in a transparent body, shines like the sun in glory; and this was the light which God commanded Noah to make." -- Paracelsus' Urim and Thummim.
Rhys ab Grufydd ab Rhys. -- XlI. p. 110.Was one of the bravest, wisest, most liberal, and most celebrated of the princes of South Wales. He is thus praised in the Pentarchia:
Quantus ut ipse fuit, modeo civibus Hectoris instar,
Fortis in hostiles modo tarmas instar Achillis.
Ultus avos patrise fere sexaginta per annos,
Quot fusas acies. quot castra recepta, quot urbes,
Spes patrise, columen pacis, lux urbis et orbis,
Gentis honos, decus armorum, fulmenque duelli,
Quo neque pace prior, neque fortior alter in armis.
In Hearne's Collection of Curious Discourses are these funeral verses upon Lord Rhys, as preserved by Camden:
Hoc est Rhesus obiit, Cambria tota gemit.
Subtrahitur, sect non moritnr, quia semper habetur
Ipsius egregium nomen in orbe novum.
Hic tegitur, sect detegitur, quia fama perennis
Non sinit illustrem voce latere ducem.
Excessit probitate modcum, sensu probitatem,
Eloquio sensum, moribus eloquium.
Rhys ap Gryffith, say the Chronicles, was no less remarkable in courage than in the stature and lineaments of his body, wherein he exceeded most men. Royal Tribes.
Beavers. -- XII. p. 111.When Giraldus Cambrensis wrote, that is, at the time whereof the poem treats, the only beavers remaining in Wales or England were in the Towy. Inter universos Cambrise, seu etialn Loegrik fluvios, solus hic (Teivi) castores habet.
The beaver is mentioned also in the laws of Hoel Dha; and one of those dark, deep resting-places or pits of the, river Conway, which the Spaniards call the remanzsos del rio, is called the Beavers' Pool.
The Great Palace, like a sanctuary,
Goauan of Powys-land. -- XII. p. 116.Properly Gwgan; but I have adapted the orthography to an English eye. This very characteristic story is to be found, as narrated in the poem, in Mr. Yorke's curious work upon the Royal Tribes of Wales. Gwgan's demand was for five pounds, instead of ten marks: this is the only liberty I have taken with the fact, except that of fitting it to the business of the poem by the last part of Rhys's reply. The ill-humor in which the Lord of Dinvawr confesses the messenger had surprised him, is mentioned more bluntly by the historian: "Gwgan
found him in a furious temper, beating his servants and hanging his dogs." I have not lost the character of the anecdote by relating the cause of his anger, instead of the effects.
The Bay whose reckless waves
The two other arrant drunkards were both princes. The one set fire to the standing corn in his country, and so occasioned a famine; Gwrtheyrn, the other, is the Vortigern of Saxon history, thus distinguished for ceding the Isle of Thanet, in his drunkenness, as the price of Rowena. This worthless king is also recorded as one of the three disgraceful men of the island, and one of the three treacherous conspirators,
whose families were for ever divested of privilege. Cambrian Biography.
Bardsey. -- XIII. p. 121."This little island," says Giraldus, "is inhabited by certain monks of exceeding piety, whom they call Culdees (Calibes vel Colideos). This wonderful property it hath, either from the salubrity of its air, which it partakes with the shores of Ireland, or rather from some miracle by reason of the merits of the saints, that diseases are rarely known there; and seldom or never does any one die till worn out by old age. Infinite numbers of saints are buried there."
On his back,
"Riding through Abergwilly, we saw several of these phenomena resting with their bottoms upwards against the houses, and resembling the shells of so many enormous turtles; and indeed a traveller, at the first view of a coracle on the shoulders
of a fisherman, might fancy he saw a tortoise walking on his hinder legs." -- Windham.
The Saxon pirates ventured to sea in vessels of basketwork covered with skins: they were also used by the ancient Spaniards. Perhaps the Coracle succeeded the canoe, implying more skill than is necessary to scoop out a tree, or hollow it with fire, and less than is required to build a boat. The boats of bark, which the savages of Canada use, are equally ingenious, and possess the same advantages.
Prince Hoel's lay of love. -- XIV. p. 136.Eight poems by Prince Hoel are preserved; they are here given in Mr. Owen's translation.
1.My choice is a lady, elegant, slender, and fair, whose lengthened white form is seen through the thin blue veil; and my choicest faculty is to muse on superior female excellence, when she with diffidence utters the becoming sentiment; and my choicest participation is to become united with the maid, and to share mutual confidence as to thoughts and fortune. I chuse the bright hue of the spreading wave, thou who art the most discreet in the country, with thy pure Welsh speech, chosen by me art thou: what am I with thee? how! dost thou refrain from speaking? ah! thy silence even is fair! I have chosen a maid, so that with me there should be no hesitation; it is right to choose the choicest, fair one; choose, fair maid!
2.I love the white glittering walls on the side of the bank,
clothed in fresh verdancy...
cloathed in fresh verdancy, where bashfulness love, to observe the modest sea men's course; it would be my delight, though I have met with no great return of love in my much desired visit on the sleek white steed, to behold my sister of flippant smile; to t.alk of love since it has come to my lot; to restore my ease of mind,. and to renew her slighted troth with the nymph as fair as the hue of the shore beating wave.
From her country who is bright as the coldly-drifted snow upon the lofty hill, a censure has corne to us, that I should he so treated with disdain in the Hall of Ogyrvan.
Playful, from her promise was new-born expectation; .. she is gone with my soul away: I am made wretched! .. Am I not become for love like Garwy Hir to the fair one of whom I am debarred in the Hall of Ogyrvan!
3.I love the castle of proud workmanship in the Cyvylei, where my own assuming form is wont to intrude; the high of renown, in full bustle, seek admittance there, and by it speaks the mad resounding wave.
It is the chosen place of a luminary of splendid qualities, and fair; glorious her rising from the verge of the torrent, and the fair one shines upon the now progressive year in the wild of Arvon, in the Snowdonian hills.
The tent does not attract; the glossy silk is not looked on by her I love, with passing tenderness: if her conquest could be wrought by the muse's aid, ere the night that comes, I should next to her be found.
4.I have harnessed thee to-day, my steed of shining gray; I will traverse on thee the fair region of Cynlas; and I will hold a hard dispute before death shalll cut me off in obstructing sleep, and thus obstructing health; and on me it has been a a sign, no longer being the honoured youth, the complexion is like the pale blue waves.
Oppressed with longing is my memory in society; regret for her by whom I am hated! whilst I confer on the maid the honoured eulogy; she, to prosper pain, deigns not to return the consolation of the slightest grace
Broken is my heart! my portion is regret, caused by the form of a slender lady, with a girdle of ruddy gold; my treatment is not deserved, she is not this day where my appointed place was fixed. Son of the God of Heaven! if before a promise of forbearance she goes away, woe to me that I am not slain.
5.When the ravens rejoice, when blood is hastening, when the gore runs bubbling, when the war doth rage, when the houses redden in Ruzlan, when the red hall is burning, when we glow with wrath; the ruddy flame it blazes up to heaven; our abode affords no shelter; and plainly is the bright conflagration seen from the white walls upon the shore of Menai.
They perished on the third day of May, three hundred ships of a fleet roving the ocean; and ten hundred times the number the sword would put to flight, leaving not a single beard on Menai
6.Five evening tides were celebrated when Frence was saved, when barbarian chiefs were made to fly, when there was pressure round the steel-clad bodies; should a weapon yet be brandished round the beard, a public triumph would my wrath produce, scouring the bounds of Lorgyr, and on her habitation hurling ruin; there should be the hand of the hastening host upon the cross, the keen edge slaughtering, the blade recking with blood, the blood hue over the abject throng, a blood veil hiding its place of falling, and a plain of blood, and a cheek suffused with gore.
7.I love the time of summer; then the gladly-exulting steed of the warrior prances before a gallant chief; the wave it crowned with foam; the limb of the active more quickly moves; the apple tree has arrayed itself in another livery; bordered with white is my shield on my shoulder, prepared for violence I have loved, with ardency of desire, the object which I have not attained.
Ceridwen, fair and tall, of slowly languid gait, her complexion vies with the warm dawn in the evening hour, of a splendid delicate form, beautifully mild and white hued presence! in stepping over a rush nearly falling seems the little tiny fair one; gentle in her air, she appears but scarcely older than a tenth year infant. Young, shapely, and full of gracefulness, it were a congenial virtue that she should freely give; but the youthful female does more embarrass good fortune by a smile, than an expression from her lips checks impertinence.
A worshipping pilgrim she will send me to the celestial presence; how long shall I worship thee? stop and think of thine office! If I am unskilful, through the dotage of love, Jesus, the well-informed will not rebuke me.
8.Fair foam-crowned wave, spraying over the sacred tomb of Ruvon the knave, the chief of princes, behold this day I love the utmost hate of England, a flat and unergetic land, with a race involved in every wile. I love the spot that gave rne the much desired gift of mead, where the seas extend a tedious conflict. I love the society and thick inhabitants therein, ard which, obedient to its lod, directs its view to peace. I love its sea-coast and its mountains, its city bordering on its forest, its fair landscape, its dales, its water and its vales, its white sea-mews and its beauteous women. I love its warriors and its wll-trained steeds, its woods, its strongholds, and its social domicil. I love its fields clothed with tender trefoil, where I had the glory of a mighty triumph. I love its cultivated regions, the prerogative of heroism, and its far extended wild, and its sports of the chase, which, Son of God! have been great and wonderful: how sleek the melodious deer, and in what plenty found! I atchieved by the push of a spear an excellent deed between the chief of Powys and happy Gwynez, and upon the pale hued element of ever-struggling motion, may I accomplish a liberation from exile. I will not take breath until my party comes; a dream declares it, and God wills it to be so, fair foam-crowned wave spraying over the grave.
Fair foam-crowned wave, impetuous in thy course, like in
colour to the hoar when it accumulates; I love the sea coast in Meirionyz, where I have had a white arm for a pillow. I love the nightingale upon the privet-brake in Cymmer Denzur, a celebrated vale. Lord of heaven and earth, the glory of the blest, though so far it is frorn Ceri to Caerliwelyz, I mounted the yellow steed, and from Maelienyz reached the land of Reged between the night and day. Before I am in the grave, may I enjoy a new blessing from the land of Tegyngyl of fairest aspect! Since I am a love-wight, one inured to wander, may God direct my fate! fair foam-crowned wave of impetuous course.
I will implore the divine Supreme, the wonderful in subjugating to his will, as king, to create an excelling muse for a song of praise to the women, such as Merzin sung, who have claimed my bardic lore so long, who, are so tardy in dispensing grace. The most eminent in all the west I name, from the gates of Chester to the port of Ysgewin: The first is the nymph who will be the subject of universal praise, Gwenliant, whose complexion is like the summer's day. The second is another of high state, far from my embrace, adorned with golden necklace, fair Gweirvyl from whom not token nor confidence have I obtained, nor has any of my race; though I might be slain by two edged blades, she whose foster brother was a King, should be my theme; and next for the handsome Gwladys, the young and modest virgin, the idol of the multitude, I utter the secret sigh; I will worship her with the yellow blossoms of the furze. Soon may I see my vigour rouse to combat, and in my band my blade, bright Leucu, my companion, laughing, and whose husband laughs not from anxiety. Great anxiety oppresses me, makes me sad; and longing,
alas! is habitual for fair Nest, for her who is like the apple-tree blossom; and for Perwewr, the centre of my disire; for Generys the chaste, who grants not a smile for me: may continuance not overcome her! for Hunyz, whose fame will last till the day of doom; for Hawis, who claims my choicest eulogy. On a memorable day I had a nymph; I had a second, more be their praise; I had a third and a fourth with prosperity; I had a fifth, of those with a skin white and delicate; I had a sixth, bright and fair, avoiding not the temptation, above the white walls did she arrest me; I had a seventh, and this was satiety of love; I had an eighth in recompence for a little of the praise which I sang: but the teeth must opportunity bar the tongue.
Ere ever Saxon set his hateful foot
"This name was appropriately given to it; for Ynys Prydain signifies the Beautiful Isle." -- Cambrian Biography. E. Williams.
The contumnacious Prince of Mathraval. -- XV. p. 144."Oenum de Cevelioc, quia solus inter Walliae principes Archipraesuli cum populo suo non occurrerat, excommunicavimus. Oenus iste pra aliis Cambrim principibus, et lingnu dicacis extiterat, et in terrae sum moderamine ingenii perspicacis." -- Giraldus Cambrensis.
Even as Owen in his deeds
Winning slow Fanmine to their aid. -- XVII. p. 162.I am much affected," says old Fuller, "with. the ingenuity of an English nobleman, who, following the camp of King Henry III. in these parts (Caernarvonshire), wrote home to his friends, about the end of September, 1243, the naked truth indeed as followeth: 'We lie in our tents, watching, fasting praying, and freezing: we watch for fear of the Welshmen who are wont to invade us in the night; we fast for want of meat, for the half-penny loaf is worth five-pence; we pray to God to send us home speedily; we freeze for want of winter garments, having nothing but thin linen betwixt us and the wind.,'"
Be not thou
Dost think to root thyself in dead men's graves,
And yet to prosper?
Webster's White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona.
Never shall her waking eye
I have thought it unnecessary to give a connected account of the Bardic system in these notes, as it has been so well done by my friend, Mr. Turner, in his Vindication of the Ancient British Poems.
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We neighbor nearer to the Sun. -- I. p. 182.Columbus inferred this from the elevation of the pole at Paria. "How it cometh to pass," says Pietro Martire, "that at the beginning of the evening twilight it is elevate in that region only five degrees in the month of June, and in the morning twilight to be elevate fifteen degrees by the same quadrant, I do not understand: nor yet do the reasons which he bringeth in any point satisfy me; for he saith that he hereby conjectured that the earth is not perfectly round, but that, when it was created, there was a certain heap raised thereon, much higher thlan the other parts of the same. So that, as he saith, it is not round after the form of an apple or a ball, as others think, but rather like a pear as it hangeth on the tree; and that Paria is the region which possesseth the supereminent or highest part thereof, nearest unto heaven. In so much, that he earnestly contendeth the earthly paradise to be situate in the tops of those three hills which the watchmen saw out of the top castle of the ship; and that the
outrageous streams of the fresh waters which so violently issue out of the said gulfs, and strive so with the salt water, fall headlong from the tops of the said mountains." -- Pietrao Martire, Dec. 1, Book 6.
Tezcalipoca. -- II. p. 186.A devout worshipper of this Deity once set out to see if he could find him: he reached the sea-coast; and there the God appeared to him, and bade him call the Whale, and the Mermaid, and the Tortoise to make a bridge for him, over which he might pass to the house of the Sun, and brine back from thence instruments of music, and singers, to celebrate his festivals. The Whale, the Mermaid, and the Tortoise accordingly made the bridge; and the man went over it, singing, as he went, a song which the God taught him. As soon as the Sun heard him, he cautioned all his servants and people not to answer to the song; for they who answered would be obliged to abandon his House, and follow the Singer. Some there were, however, who could not resist the voice of the charmer; and these he brought back with him to earth, together with the drum called Huahuneth Tepunaztli. -- Torquesauda, L. 6, c. 43.
The particular sacrifice related in the poem is described by this author, L. 10, c. 14. It is sufficient merely to refer to my authorities in such instances as these, where no other liberty has been taken than that of omission.
She gather'd herbs, which, like our poppy, bear
The field of the Spirit. -- III. p. 196.Every spring, the Akanceas go in a body to some retired place, and there turn up a large space of land, which they do with the drums beating all the while. After this they take care to call it the Desert, or the field of the Spirit. And thither they go in good earnest when they are in their enthusiastic fits, and there wait for inspiration from their pretended Deity. In the mean while, as they do this every year, it proves of no small advantage to them; for by this means they turn up all their land insensibly, and it becomes abundantly more fruitful. -- Tonti.
Before these things, I was. -- III. p. 198."The manner in which, he says, he obtained the spirit of divination was this: He was admitted into the presence of a Great Man, who informed him that he loved, pitied, and desired to do him good. It was not in this world that lie saw the Great Man, but in a world above. at a vast distance from this. The Great Man, he says, was clothed with the Day, yea, with the brightest Day he ever saw; a Day of many years, yea, of everlasting continuance! This whole world, he says, was drawn upon him, so that in him the Earth, and all things in it, might be seen. I asked him if rocks, mountains, and seas were drawn upon or appeared in him? he replied, that every thing that was beautiful and lovely in the earth was upon him, and might be seen by looking on him, as well as if one was on the earth to tarke a view of them there. By
the side of the Great Man, he says, stood his Shadow, or Spirit; for he used chichung, the word they commonly make use of to express that of the man which survives the body, which word properly signifies a shadow. This Shadow, he says, was as lovely as the Man himself, and filled all places, and was most agreeable as well as wonderful to him. Here, he says, he tarried some time, and was unspeakably entertained and delighted with a view of the Great Man, of his Shadow, and of all things in him. And, what is most of all astonishing, he imagines all this to have passed before he was born; he never had been, he says, in this world at that time; and what confirms him in the belief of this is, that the Great Man told him that he must come down to earth, be born of such a woman, meet with such and such things, and, in particular, that he should once in his life be guilty of murder; at this he was displeased, and told the Great Man he would never murder. But the Great Man replied, I have said it, and it shall be so; which has accordingly happened. At this time, he says, the Great Manl asked him what he would choose in life; he replied, first to be a Hunter, and afterwards to be a Powwow, or Divine; whereupon the Great Mani told him he should have what he desired, and that his Shadow should go along with him down to earth, and be with him for ever. There was, he says, all this time, no word spoken between them: the conference was not carried on by any human language; but they had a kind of mental intelligence of each other's thoughts, dispositions, and proposals. After this, he says, he saw the Great Man no more, but supposes he now came down to the earth to be born; but the Shadow of the Great Man still attended him, and ever after continued to appear to him in
dreams and other ways. This Shadow used sometimes to direct him in dreams to go to such a place and hunt, assuring him he should there meet with success, which accordingly proved so; and, when he had been there some time, the Spirit would order him to another place; so that he had success in hunting, according to the Great Man's promise, made to him at the time of his choosing this employment.
"There were some times when this Spirit came upon him in a special manner, and he was full of what he saw in the Great Man; and then, he says, he was all light, and not only light himself, but it was light all around him, so that he could see through men, and knew the thoughts of their hearts. These depths of Satan I leave to others to fathom or to dive into as they please; and do not pretend, for my own part, to know what ideas to affix to such terms, and cannot well guess what conceptions of things these creatures have at these times when they call themselves all light." - David Berainerd's Journal.
Had Brainerd been a Jesuit, his superiors would certainly have thought him a fit candidate for the crown of martyrdom, and worthy to be made a saint. He found one of the Indian conjurers who seemed to have something like grace in him, only he would not believe in the Devil.
"Of all the sights," says he, "I ever saw among them, or indeed anywhere else, none appeared so frightful, or so near akin to what is usually imagined of infernal powers; none ever excited such images of terror in my mind as the appearance of one who was a devout and zealous reformer, or rather restorer, of what he supposed was the ancient religion
of the Indians. He made his appearance in his pontifical garb, which: was a coat of bears skins, dressed with the hair on, and hanging down to his toes; a pair of bear-skin stockings; and a great wooden face, painted the one half black, and the other tawny, about the color of an Indian's skin, with an extravagant mouth, cut very much awry; the face fastened to a bear-skin cap, which was drawn over his head. He advanced towards me with the instrument in his hand that he used for music in his idolatrous worship, which was a dry tortoise-shell with some corn in it, and the neck of it drawn on to a piece of wood, which made a very convenient handle. As he came forward, he beat his tune with the rattle, and danced with all his might, but did not suffer any part of his body, not so much as his fingers, to be seen; and no man would have guessed, by his appearance and actions, that he could have been a human creature, if they had not had some intimation of it otherwise. When he came near me, I could not but shrink away from him, although it was then noonday and I knew who it was, his appearance and gestures were so prodigiously frightful. He had a house consecrated to religious uses, with divers images cut out upon the several parts of it: I went in, and found the ground beat almost as hard as a rock with their frequent dancing on it. I discoursed with him about Christianity; and some of my discourse he seemed to like, but some of it he disliked entirely. He told me that God had taught him his religion, and that he never would turn from it, but wanted to find some that would join heartily with him in it; for the Indians, he said, were grown very degenerate and corrupt. He had thought, he said, of leaving all his friends, and travelling abroad, in order to find some
that would join with him; for he believed God had some good people somewhere that felt as he did. He had not always, he said, felt as he now did, but had formerly been like the rest of the Indians, until about four or five years before that time; then he said his heart was very much distressed, so that he could not live among the Indians, but got away into the woods, and lived alone for some months. At length, he said, God comforted his heart, and showed him what he should do; and since that time he had known God, and tried to serve him, and loved all men, be they who they would, so as he never did before. He treated me with uncommon courtesy, and seemed to be hearty in it; and I was told by the Indians that he opposed their drinking strong liquor with all his power; and, if at any time he could not dissuade them from it by all he could say, he would leave them, and go crying into the woods. It was manifest he had a set of religious notions that he had looked into for himself, and not taken for granted upon bare tradition; and he relished or disrelished whatever was spoken of a religious nature, according as it either agreed or disagreed with his standard. And, while I was discoursing, he would sometimes say, 'Now, that I like; so God has taught me;' and some of his sentiments seemed very just. Yet he utterly denied the being of a Devil, and declared there was no such creature known among the Indians of old times, whose religion, he supposes, he was attempting to revive. He likewise told me that departed souls all went southward, and that the difference between the good and bad was this, that the former were admitted into a beautiful town with spiritual walls, or walls agreeable to the nature of souls; and that the latter would for ever hover round those
walls, and in vain attempt to get in. He seemed to be sincere, honest, and conscientious in his own way, and according to his own religious notions, which was more than I ever saw in any other pagan; and I perceived lie was looked upon and derided by most of the Indians as a precise zealot, who made a needless noise about religious matters. But, I must say, there was something in his temper and disposition that looked more like true religion than any thing I ever observed amongst other heathens." -- Brainerd.
Why should we forsake
"An old country fellow in Livonia being condemned, for faults enormous enough, to lie along upon the ground to receive his punishment, and Madam de la Barre, pitying his almost decrepit age, having so far interceded for him as that his corporal punishment should be changed into a pecuniary mulet of about fifteen or sixteen pence, he thanked her for her kindness, and said, that for his part, being an old man, he would not introduce any novelty, nor suffer the customs of' the country to be altered, but was ready to receive the chastisement which his predecessors had not thought much to undergo; put off his clothes, laid himself upon the ground, and received the blows according to his condemnation." -- Ambassador's Travels.
- - - her flaxen hair,
"Grufydd, in his person, was of moderate stature, having yellow hair, a round face, and a fair and agreeable complexion; eyes rather large, light eyebrows, a comely beard, a round neck, white skin, strong limbs, long fingers, straight legs, and handsome feet. He was, moreover, skilful in divers languages, courteous and civil to his friends, fierce to his enemies, and resolute in battle; of a passionate temper, and fertile imargination. .. Angharad, his wife, was an accomplished person: her hair was long, and of a flaxen color; her eyes large and rolling; and her features brilliant and beautiful. She was tall and well proportioned, her leg and foot handsome, her fingers long, and her nails thin and transparent. She was good-tempered, cheerful, discreet, witty, and gave good advice as well as alms to her needy dependants, and never transgressed the laws of duty."
END OF VOL. I.
Southey's use of Clavigero
Clavigero wrote his Storia antica del Messico in Italy, after the expulsion of his religious order from his native Vera Cruz. The four-volume work was published in Italian at Cesena in 1780-81 and was reprinted in English, in London, the same year that he died -- in 1787. Robert Southey read the 1787 translation by Charles Cullen with special interest, for Clavigero filled in many gaps in Mexican culture and history for Southey. The other Spanish historians could tell him much about the Spanish conquest of Mexico, but Clavigero wrote from the perspective of a native-born citizen of the New World and he had many things to say about life in Mexico which Southey could find nowhere else. Among that unique information, suppllied by a contemporary eye-witness to things Mexican, was Clavigero's story of the Mayan hero Votan.
Quite possibly Robert Southey started out his research for the "Aztlan" portion of the Madoc epic by reading the accounts of Bernal Diaz and Juan de Torquemada. These the multi-lingual Southey could read in rare Spanish editions in the library at Oxford, or perhaps at the British Museum in London. But Clavigero he could buy for himself, in a freshly printed English version, any time after 1787. Southey cites Clavigero three times in Book I (regarding floating islands, the great temple, and Aztec gods) and ten times in Book II (in regard to Aztec repentance, Quetzalcoatl, ritual dance, Tlaloc's paradise, treatment of captives, battling mountains, a coronation oath, bloody sport, the circle of years, and avian omens). It comes as no surprise that Southey does not provide a specific note on Clavigero's Votan -- for the English poet incorporates Votanic elements into Quetzalcoatl, and then uses the legend of Quetzalcoatl to flesh out his own tale of Prince Madoc (the legendary forerunner of Cortez, the Spanish conqueror, who, in his own way, also modeled some of his actions upon those expected of a returned Quetzalcoatl).
Although Southey does not supply the necessary Votanic passages from Clavigero, other writer have given their English versions of the legend. A convenient excerpt may be found on page 204 of John T. Short's 1879 book, The North Americans of Antiquity:
The Chiapanese have been the first peoplers of the new world, if we give credit to their traditions. They say that Votan, the grandson of that respectable old man who built the great ark to save himself and family from the deluge, and one of those who undertook the building of that lofty edifice which was to reach up to heaven, went by express command of the Lord to people that land. They say also that the first people came from the quarter of the north, and that when they arrived at Soconusco, they separated, some going to inhabit the country of Nicaragua and others remaining in Chiapas." (Hist. Ant. del Messico Eng. trans., 1807, vol. i.)What Clavigero says about the Mayan hero Votan being a grandson of Noah is significant. The claim may be simply a priestly interpolation into an authentic American legend, but it serves to provide Votan with a father who helped build the great ark of the Deluge. Such a father could instruct Votan in how to manage a ship on the high seas, and how to provision such a ship for an extended journey to an unknown landing place. Just as important is the claim Clavigero makes for Votan having been one of those who attempted to build the Tower of Babel -- but who left that doomed enterprise in a company of his associates, whose language remained unconfounded. Having departed the Plain of Shinar, Votan could build his own barques and sail to the promised land "by express command of the Lord."
Robert Southey makes little use of these particular elements of the Votan legend. There is no Tower of Babel and grandson of Noah in his 1805 Madoc. But there are plenty of references back to Clavigero, the teller of the Votanic account, and a reader of Southey, back in the first or second decade of the nineteenth century, could have found a copy of Clavigero and discovered his story of Votan in its pages with little or no problem.
Spalding's use of Southey and Clavigero
What follows is conjecture, but it is conjecture based upon irrefutable possibilities and facts. It is supposed that Solomon Spalding read Robert Southey's Madoc, either in a British edition or an American reprint, by 1812 at the latest. Not only are there some evident borrowings from Madoc in the text of Spalding's Oberlin manuscript, there are other borrowings to be found in the Book of Ether -- a production attributed to the pen of Solomon Spalding by the Rev. Clark Braden, Dr. William H. Whitsitt, and other student's of Spalding's work. Given this claim, it is possible to extrapolate the probability that evidences of Southey's themes found in the Book of Ether got there through the agency of Solomon Spalding.
The most interesting of these probable borrowings are a constellation of thematic elements involving the character in the Book of Ether known as the "brother of Jared." Like Clavigero's Votan, the brother of Jared was a descendant of Noah, who worked on the Tower of Bable (or was present at its building), whose language was not confounded, who gathered companions, traveled across the sea in barques to the Americas, at the command of the biblical God, and who, once he arrived in the New World, established a great civilization there. As before stated, Southey's selective use of the Votan legend is not something he explicitly documents in his end-notes. He does, however, present in those same notes some unique information, which establishes the chain of evidence, from Clavigero, to Southey, to Spalding, to the Book of Ether.
On page 269 Southey provides a note explaining his mention of the "one emerald light" that through "the green element for ever shines." In speaking of this under-sea light, Southey brings up the topic of how the interior of the magician Merlin's legendary ship was illuminated. Southey speaks the magical, light-emitting stone (or set of two stones) called the "urim and thummim." When "Merlin with his band of Bards" sought the transatlantic "Green Islands" he went to sea in a "crystal Ark," able to plunge down to the "secret depths of Ocean." To light the interior of Merlin's submarine barque, Southey says he needs invent no source of radiance, for the explanations of Paracelsus have already provided for this need -- in revealing that the "Urim and Thummim were the Philosopher's stone; and it was this which gave light in the Ark." If any legendary magician had the necessary knowledge to procure the urim and thummim, it would have been Merlin, of course.
Several LDS scholars have equated Clavigero's Votan with the mysterious "brother of Jared" spoken of in the Book of Ether (see, for example, Moses Thatcher's 1881 articles in The Contributor and B. H. Roberts 1904 treatise), but none have ventured to comment upon this equally strong thematic parallel provided by Southey and Paracelsus (a.k.a. Julius Auroleus Phillipus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, author of books such as Of the Chymical Transmutation, Genealogy and Generation of Metals & Minerals: Also, Of the Urim and Thummim).
The magical stone of God that lights the interior of an ancient ocean-crossing submarine is also to be found in the Book of Ether. There the brother of Jared procures a set of sixteen of these light-emitting stones -- activated through Divine Providence -- and places them in his own submarine barques. It goes without saying that some (or perhaps all) of these stones are also "interpreters" (magical oracular devices), just like the biblical urim and thummim are said to be by certain students of the religious occult. Noah took the light-giving urim and thummim into his ark -- so Merlin does the same. But the Jaredites, having eight submarines, need a sixteen of this kind of magical stone (in pairs, like the urim and thummim), and the brother of Jared (Clavigero's Votan?) supplies them to the hopeful mariners.
The number of thematic parallels between the story of Votan (coupled with that of Merlin's submarine) and the story told in the Book of Ether are just too many to attribute to coincidence. Robert Southey's book brought references to Clavigero and Paraclesus to the hands of Solomon Spalding. All Spalding had to do was to join the story of Votan with that of Merlin's submarine. The result is Mahonri Moriancumr, the leader of the Jaredites in the Book of Ether. For more on this same idea, see the last paragraphs of this writer's comments on Pablo Felix Cabrera, who was another early teller of the Votan legend.
The thematic parallel between the shining stone Merlin used to illuminate his underwater barque, and the shining stones used by the Book of Mormon's Jaredites to illuminate the interiors of their underwater barges is pointed out in these two Nov. 2005 discussion threads, archived at the "FAIR Message Boards" web-site:
page ten -- posting #4:
(Uncle Dale -- Posted: Nov 5 2005, 10:00 AM)
page one -- posting #5:
(Uncle Dale -- Posted: Nov 25 2005, 02:07 PM)
page three -- posting #2, and
page three -- posting #13
(Uncle Dale -- Posted: Feb 28 2006, 07:21 PM