« PreviousContinue »
kindly in the affair. We throw out these little hints for invalids, or persons, who, like ourselves, are teazed with delicate con stitutions; and by observing them they will, we can assure them, benefit accordingly. To the strong all things are strong, therefore, they may do as they please: still we should have advised even Sampson himself not to have plunged into the Jordan, or the Euphrates, or any other convenient river, till he had somewhat digested the half-ox he ate last,--and our Sampsonian friends and readers will do well to take our hint, and be sapient. To them, therefore, verbum sap,—to all others a merry bathe in the Derwenty--without the companionship of sharks.
SONGS OF IDLE HOURS.
Of our own native island ?-oh never!
But we cannot say, farewell for ever!
The chain may be darkling our hearth;
'Twas the land, the dear land of our birth!
Of our own native island-oh never!
But we cannot say, farewell for ever!
We are riding upon the blue sea,
With freedom around and above us,
And where are the bosoms that love us ?
The light of each beautiful brow,
They are naming the wanderers now!
Of our own native island ?-oh never!
And peaceful be thy slumber,
Thy gentle heart encumber.
On which the light is glowing
Ever should be flowing!
Dream, Maiden, dream,
And lovely be the vision ; Thy spirit borne in thought
Through fields and flowers Elysian ; And if ought should bring
A thought of earth before thee, May it be the hand of love
Scattering rose-leaves o'er thee!
My Love at Home.”
My love at home, I name thee not
When there are others by,
Or mark the rising sigh :
When none are listeners there,
I breathe it in my prayer! We're parted—I to seek a clime
Far Oer the southern sea,
It will be day with thee.
May mourn a darksome fåte,
With hopes and joy elate.
* The Peasant's Song for Spring." There's a voice abroad, it comes sweetly o'er
From mountain and valley, from bowes and brake,
Like the soft lute notes young love can awake,
Their amorous tales to the flowers to-day,
Are playfully dancing away, away.
Up, brothers, up, ere the sun is up,
And laughingly blesses the grass-covered earth ; And wherefore delay with the festival cup
To welcome the Spring in her beautiful birth : For the joy she sheds, for the blessing she brings. Our smiles should ever be Spring's-yes--Spring's.
For a kiss of that blood-rich mouth,
I pine-and not in vain;
Breathes incense from my brain.
That may not basely die!
Sweet lady! tell me why.
I'll kiss thee ere the moon
Ere they in daylight swoon!
ROB THE RED-HAND.
The north-western extremity of Caernarvonshire terminates in a congregation of rocky mountains, which, stretching northwards towards the sea, constitutes a bold and precipitous boundary to the beautiful bay of Cardigan. Interspersed, however, among the mountain wilds are several secluded and fertile vallies, inhabited by farmers more or less wealthy, and enlivened by hamlets more or less populous. It is a beautiful sight to see from the top of the Glyder Vach, one of the tributary mountains of Snowdon, this large extent of mountain scenery, with the intervening vallies, watered by fine rivers, well wooded, and fertile in cultivation, and the Atlantic in the distance, stretching towards the horizon in mea
It is, I say, a beautiful sight to gaze over such a scene, and over so magnificent a display of God's creative power. Standing on the summit of this southern ridge, the eye, that small but exquisite organ, travels over miles of space, concentrating the whole, and carrying it to our sense, filling the soul with admiration and wonder, and the heart with gladness and gratitude.
A hundred years ago, as now, the inhabitants of this upland district were strictly a pastoral and a secluded people-solely occupied with the culture of their farms, by the produce of whichexported chiefly from the neighbouring parts of Caernarvon, Barmouth, and Pwllheli-they obtained all the necessaries of life, and occasionally a small proportion of its more simple luxuries.
Regarding them in the light of a retired and simple-minded race (for abundantly simple-minded they were) it might be imagined that their condition was almost Arcadian; and that the toils of the day were rewarded with the sweetest blessings which could follow those toils ; in short, that they went to bed happy, and were contented, refreshed, and cheerful. But this was not, altogether, the
The whole of that wild district was haunted by an extraordinary personage called Robin-y-Llawrudd, or Rob the Red-hand -a sort of Welsh Dom-daniel-being half man, half devil-a wizard, a necromancer and God knows what to boot.
The event which imparted to Rob his cognomen of Red-hand will throw some light upon his character, and serve as a convenient introduction to the reader. Let us first premise, that by the old Welsh law, in case of murder, and what we now call manslaughter, he only, who actually struck the blow, was considered criminal.“ The aiders and abettors," as an old writer has it, were never hearkened after;" and although this law had long become obsolete among the statutes, still, among the peasantry, whoever, either in a fray or otherwise, has “killed his man," obtained a title, fixed formerly by law, which was not altogether uncommon, which was that of Llawrudd, or Red-hand,
At a fair in a village in the upper district of the Cantred, or hundred of Tal-y-bont, a greater number than usual of the mountain black cattle was brought for sale, and, consequently, a larger congregation of drovers had been brought together. The Welsh drover is a person of habits somewhat strange and peculiar. His iron frame is animated by a spirit correspondingly hard, energetic, irascible, and woefully pugnacious. He is wonderfully tenacious of his own breed, as well as that of his cattle; and will uphold the fame of his own particular district-even “ to the death,” no matter what may be the special virtue appertaining to such district, whether it be wrestling, foot-ball, bandy (now more generally known as hockey,) single-stick, or cock-fighting, this latter being a pastime much indulged in by the Welsh in that age of blessed barbarism.
At the principal pot-house in the village, there is a particular room on fair-days, appropriated to those who feel inclined to indulge in a little innocent flirtation, mingled with a decent portion of mirthi and carousal. This is called the Room-clós, or closeroom, from the lucus a non lucendo mode of naming things-for, instead of being a room-close, it is, in fact, a room-common. Into this room crowd the lads with their lasses, and, it usually happens, that a fiddler or harper finds his way in, too; so that the amusement of dancing is superadded to the others, and carried on with the true mountain-gusto, notwithstanding the lumber of two or three pressbeds, à meal-chest, an old churn, a spinning-wheel, and other furniture usually to be found in a Room-close.
Rob, whose real name was Robert Owen, had sought the Roomclos at Llanyihangel on the day in question, with a mountain-lass, to whose resistless charms he had long acknowledged himself a willing captive. Now, Rob was proverbially ugly. A head of huge and ungainly dimensions, covered, moreover, with black bushy hair, surmounted a body square, strong and broad, while sturdy and dwarfish legs, slightly bending forward, seemed but an unsafe support for his stout frame; but the long, wide, and apparently flat feet to which they were affixed, compensated for the security which the form of his legs rendered dubious. His arms were thick and short--even proportionably short for his diminutive body, but his hands were, like his feet, long, large, and bony. It may be readily conceived that no beauteous features appertained to so deformed a being: nor did they. His face corresponded in breadth and coarseness, with his enormous head; and his features, again, corresponded with his face—they were large, spreading, and massive, like those of the granite bust of the young Memnon. Yet was his eye of surpassing brilliancy, and had it not been almost hidden under a far-projecting orbit, and dark, bushy, beetling brows, this feature might have been termed really handsome, and would, in some degree, have redeemed his countenance from a general charge of uglinesss.
From this description, it will be seen, that Rob was not such a youth as lords might envy, and ladies love to look upon. But there was even yet another cause of scorn and contumely, over which, as over his personal deformity, he had no controul. Rob was the fruit of an unhallowed union. No priest's benison, so it was generally believed, had sanctioned the love, if love it was, of his erring parents; and, as is frequently the case in Wales, his mother was a member of the lowest class of society, while his father was rich, of good rank, and high family. His parents had both been dead some years: and while a son, legitimately born, inherited the property, and title of Sir Reginald Owen, Rob was shunned by his family, and left to follow the occupation of a drover, or rather a grazier, on a farm which his father had bequeathed to him.
A certain consciousness of superiority, which arose as much from Rob's comparative wealth, (for he was a grazier of some substance) as from his undoubted physical strength, had imbued him, ugly and distorted as he was, with a degree of pride, that made him at all times, and especially upon such an occasion as that to which I have referred, an object of very particular dislike and ridicule to those with whom he associated. This strange being piqued himself, also, on the rank and antiquity of his father's family, so that, that which was a subject of scorn and jest to others, was, to him, a source of boasting and complacency. On the present occasion, no sooner did he enter the room, than, in accordance with his want of popularity, he was loudly assailed with “Here comes · Robin Penmawr, * he is too late for the dance,” and a loud laugh testified