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Thy sons, Dinas Emlinn, may march in their pride,
And chase the proud Saxon from Prestatyn's side;
But where is the harp shall give life to their name?
And where is the bard shall give heroes their fame?
And oh, Dinas Emlinn! thy daughters so fair,
Who heave the white bosom, and wave the dark hair,
What tuneful enthusiast shall worship their eye,
When half of their charms with CADWALLON shall die?
Then adieu, silver Teivi! I quit thy loved scene,
To join the dim choir of the bards who have been;
With Lewarch, and Meilor, and Merlin the Old,
And sage Taliessin, high harping to hold.
And adieu, Dinas Emlinn! still green be thy shades,
Unconquered thy warriors, and matchless thy maids!
And thou, whose faint warblings my weakness can tell,
Farewell, my loved Harp! my last treasure, farewell!
THE NORMAN HORSE-SHOE.
THE Welsh, inhabiting a mountainous country, and possessing only an inferior breed of horses, were usually unable to encounter the shock of the Anglo-Norman cavalry. Occasionally, however, they were successful in repelling the invaders; and the following verses celebrate a supposed defeat of Clare, Earl of Striguil and Pembroke, and of Neville, Baron of Chepstow, Lords-Marchers of Monmouthshire. Rymny is a stream which divides the counties of Monmouth and Glamorgan: Caerphili, the scene of the supposed battle, is a vale upon its banks, dignified by the ruins of a very ancient castle.
Air-The War-song of the Men of Glamorgan.
RED glows the forge in Striguil's bounds,
And hammers diu, and anvil sounds,
And armourers, with iron toil,
Barb many a steed for battle's broil.
Foul fall the hand which bends the steel
Around the courser's thundering heel,
That e'er shall dint a sable wound
On fair Glamorgan's velvet ground!
From Chepstow's towers, ere dawn of morn,
Was heard afar the bugle-horn;
And forth, in banded pomp and pride,
Stout Clare and fiery Neville ride.
They swore, their banners broad should gleam,
In crimson light, on Rymny's stream;
They vowed, Caerphili's sod should feel
The Norman charger's spurning heel.
And sooth they swore-the sun arose,
And Rymny's wave with crimson glows;
For Clare's red banner, floating wide,
Rolled down the stream to Severn's tide!
And sooth they vowed,-the trampled green
Showed where hot Neville's charge had been;
In every sable hoof-tramp stood
A Norman horseman's curdling blood!
Old Chepstow's brides may curse the toil,
That armed stout Clare for Cambrian broil;
Their orphans long the art may rue,
For Neville's war-horse forged the shoe.
No more the stamp of armed steed
Shall dint Glamorgan's velvet mead;
Nor trace be there, in early spring,
Save of the Fairies' emerald ring.
This and the following piece were published under the title of " Fragments," in the Edinburgh Annual Register of 1809.
WELCOME, grave stranger, to our green retreats,
Where health with exercise and freedom meets!
Thrice welcome, sage, whose philosophic plan
By Nature's limits metes the rights of man;
Generous as he, who now for freedom bawls,
Now gives full value for true Indian shawls;
O'er court and customhouse his shoe who flings,
Now bilks excisemen, and now bullies kings!
Like his, I ween, thy comprehensive mind
Holds laws as mouse-traps baited for mankind;
Thine eye, applausive, each sly vermin sees,
That balks the snare, yet battens on the cheese;
Thine ear has heard, with scorn instead of awe,
Our buckskinned justices expound the law,
Wire-draw the acts that fix for wires the pain,
And for the netted partridge noose the swain;
And thy vindictive arm would fain have broke
The last light fetter of the feudal yoke,
To give the denizens of wood and wild,
Nature's free race, to each her free-born child.
Hence hast thou marked, with grief, fair London's race
Mocked with the boon of one poor Easter chase,
And longed to send them forth as free as when
Poured o'er Chantilly the Parisian train,
When musket, pistol, blunderbuss, combined,
And scarce the field-pieces were left behind!
A squadron's charge each leveret's heart dismayed,
On every covey fired a bold brigade-
La Douce Humanité approved the sport,
For great the alarm indeed, yet small the hurt.
Shouts patriotic solemnized the day,
And Seine re-echoed Vive la Liberté!
But mad Citoyen, meek Monsieur again,
With some few added links resumes his chain;
Then, since such scenes to France no more are known,
Come, view with me a hero of thine own!
One, whose free actions vindicate the cause
Of sylvan liberty o'er feudal laws.
Seek we yon glades, where the proud oak o'ertops
Wide-waving seas of birch and hazel copse,
Leaving between deserted isles of land,
Where stunted heath is patched with ruddy sand;
And lonely on the waste the yew is seen,
Or straggling hollies spread a brighter green.
Here, little worn, and winding dark and steep,
Our scarce-marked path descends yon dingle deep:
Follow-but heedful, cautious of a trip,-
In earthly mire philosophy may slip.
Step slow and wary o'er that swampy stream,
Till, guided by the charcoal's smothering steam,
We reach the frail yet barricaded door
Of hovel formed for poorest of the poor;
No hearth the fire, no vent the smoke receives,
The walls are wattles, and the covering leaves;
For, if such hut, our forest statutes say,
Rise in the progress of one night and day;
Though placed where still the Conqueror's hests o'erawe,
And his son's stirrup shines the badge of law;
The builder claims the unenviable boon,
To tenant dwelling, framed as slight and soon
As wigwam wild, that shrouds the native frore
On the bleak coast of frost-barred Labrador.f
f Such is the law in the New Forest, Hampshire, tending greatly to increase the various settlements of thieves, smugglers, and deerstealers, who infest it. In the forest courts the presiding judge wears as a badge of office an antique stirrup, said to have been that of William Rufus. See Mr. William Rose's spirited poem, entitled "The Red King."
Approach, and through the unlatticed window peep—
Nay, shrink not back, the inmate is asleep;
Sunk 'mid yon sordid blankets, till the sun
Stoop to the west, the plunderer's toils are done.
Loaded and primed, and prompt for desperate hand,
Rifle and fowling-piece beside him stand;
While round the hut are in disorder laid
The tools and booty of his lawless trade;
For force or fraud, resistance or escape,
the saw, the bludgeon, and the crape.
His pilfered powder in yon nook he hoards,
And the filched lead the church's roof affords-
(Hence shall the rector's congregation fret,
That, while his sermon 's dry, his walls are wet.)
The fish-spear barbed, the sweeping net are there,
Doe-hides, and pheasant plumes, and skins of hare,
Cordage for toils, and wiring for the snare;
Bartered for game from chase or warren won,
Yon cask holds moonlight, run when moon was none;
And late-snatched spoils lie stowed in hutch apart,
To wait the associate higgler's evening cart.
Look on his pallet foul, and mark his rest:
What scenes perturbed are acting in his breast!
His sable brow is wet and wrung with pain,
And his dilated nostril toils in vain ;
For short and scant the breath each effort draws,
And 'twixt each effort Nature claims a pause.
Beyond the loose and sable neckcloth stretched,
His sinewy throat seems by convulsions twitched,
While the tongue falters, as to utterance loth,
Sounds of dire import-watchword, threat, and oath.
Though, stupefied by toil, and drugged with gin,
The body sleep, the restless guest within
Now plies on wood and wold his lawless trade,
Now in the fangs of justice wakes dismayed.-
"Was that wild start of terror and despair,
Those bursting eyeballs, and that wildered air,
Signs of compunction for a murdered hare?
Do the locks bristle and the eyebrows arch,
For grouse or partridge massacred in March ?"—
No, scoffer, no! Attend, and mark with awe, There is no wicket in the gate of law! He, that would e'er so lightly set ajar That awful portal, must undo each bar; Tempting occasion, habit, passion, pride, Will join to storm the breach, and force the barrier wide.
That ruffian, whom true men avoid and dread, Whom bruisers, poachers, smugglers, call Black Ned,
A cant name for smuggled spirits.
Was Edward Mansell once;-the lightest heart,
That ever played on holiday his part!
The leader he in every Christmas game,
The harvest-feast grew blither when he came,
And liveliest on the chords the bow did glance,
When Edward named the tune and led the dance.
Kind was his heart, his passions quick and strong,
Hearty his laugh, and jovial was his song;
And if he loved a gun, his father swore,
""Twas but a trick of youth would soon be o'er,
Himself had had the same, some thirty years before."
But he, whose humours spurn law's awful yoke, Must herd with those by whom law's bonds are broke. The common dread of justice soon allies The clown, who robs the warren, or excise, With sterner felons trained to act more dread, Even with the wretch by whom his fellow bled. Then, as in plagues the foul contagions pass, Leavening and festering the corrupted mass,Guilt leagues with guilt, while mutual motives draw, Their hope impunity, their fear the law; Their foes, their friends, their rendezvous the same, Till the revenue balked, or pilfered game, Flesh the young culprit, and example leads To darker villany, and direr deeds.
Wild howled the wind the forest glades along, And oft the owl renewed her dismal song; Around the spot where erst he felt the wound, Red William's spectre walked his midnight round. When o'er the swamp he cast his blighting look, From the green marshes of the stagnant brook The bittern's sullen shout the sedges shook! The waning moon, with storm-presaging gleam, Now gave and now withheld her doubtful beam; The old Oak stooped his arms, then flung them high, Bellowing and groaning to the troubled sky'Twas then, that, couched amid the brushwood sere, In Malwood-walk young Mansell watched the deer: The fattest buck received his deadly shotThe watchful keeper heard, and sought the spot. Stout were their hearts, and stubborn was their strife, O'erpowered at length the Outlaw drew his knife! Next morn a corpse was found upon the fellThe rest his waking agony may tell !