Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

LLYN COCH HWYAD,-MY LAST BOTTLE. To him whose piscatory ambition is satisfied with Thames punt-fishing, who derives sport from the ignoble nibble of a gudgeon, or the sluggish weight of a hooked-barbel, and whose heart pants for no heartier enjoyment than to be rowed about by a greasy faced porter-swollen waterman, I do not address myself. "The muddy flow of gas-tar bilge water, duly flavored with sundry concatinations of animal and vegetable filth, par exemple, dead dogs for the sausagemaker, and fermenting cabbage-stumps (a sauce piquante, ready prepared) for the potage aux legumes of a shilling restaurateur, --with Westminster or Vauxhall-bridge in the "glorious distance,” and wharfs and warehouses on either side,-above, the firmament shrouded in an impenetrable density of yellow vapor-rendering a passing view of blue sky almost a miracle; all these are my utter abomination. How different, and how exhilarating to the mind, at least to my mind, is a visit to an upland lake! there you are, among rocks and clouds, perfectly independent of the world below, indifferent to her bickerings, her crimes, and her jealousies; this feeling alone is fit for an emperor: and then comes the early bright morning, the minnow spinning like lightning; you cannot descry its revolutions, and “the run," and the captive, burnished with vermilion and gold, springing from the lake, with a shoot full two yards above its surface-nay, dashes and splashes about, until the very corruch * follows his struggles; or the westerly warm breeze rippling at midday, fatally destructive to the beautiful trout, inviting the experienced fly-fisher to the pool, whose department of the “gentle art" is more elegant and interesting than any other; these are delightful indeed. But if you are bent upon killing large quantities of trout, in a moderately deep hilllake, use the flue.

In July, two seasons ago, I visited a favorite lake in North Wales, called Llyn Coch Hwyad, (the pool of the Red Duck.) The air was exceedingly cold, and I knew that with the minnow, the worm, or fly, success was hopeless. 4

A portable wicker boat, of most ancient Celtic origin, still used in Wales and Ireland, and I believe in Scotland, Anglice, coracle.

+ Though generally quarterly publications abound in learned disquisition, politics in all its branches, and philosophy in its erudite, but frequently abstrusively dry detail, still I think that they should not exclude what is philosophical as well as entertaining; the habits and peculiarities of animals

I therefore set the flue-nets,-no sinecure I assure you, to be blown about on a mountain lake, stormy, with a north wind, cuttingly severe, stinging and benumbing the hands, and half a dozen flues, each forty yards in length, to lay from a rocking coracle, buoyant a sa cork.—This, I repeat, for the information of the uninitiated, is no sinecure. Well, the difficulty being overcome, I retraced my steps to the shepherd's cottage, tired indeed, but hungry, ravenously hungry; no sauce like keen air and hard work! My wallet, containing hunter's beef and brown bread, together with eau de vie of the best quality, soon appeared on the oaken table, a feast for any man; but for me, a feast indeed, Cæna Pontifica, Cena Aditialis. Mallen, the shepherd's pretty daughter, was placing several little additions to the meal on the table, and, for a single instant, I inclined my head towards Mallen, when a crash interrupted us both. Heaven and earth! the bottle lay upon the flags, broken in an hundred pieces. The shepherd's dog,

Courge,” the shaggy thief, with a spirit of curiosity inseparable from his tribe, had pushed his rough nose into the wallet, and the panacea of my woes, the starved fisherman's elixir, brandy, my only bottle of brandy, to its last drop, streamed on the earth.

Alas, reader, thou wilt not surely smile at my misfortune; pierced through and through by the frosty air, and actually drowsy with fatigue on the hills, many miles from civilized comforts, is indeed no cause for merriment. I have read of

have occupied the attention of the most learned men; it will not therefore, I trust, be considered inappropriate, to introduce here a slight notice of a little bird, not so well known as I think it should be, I allude to the Totanus Hypoleucus or sandpiper: by baiting small hooks with worms on the margin of lakes in the summer, any number may be taken; it is not a cruel death, for the little animal is quickly suffocated, and there is no article of food more delicate than the flesh of the sandpiper, after he has sojourned for a short time at an inland lake. This reminds me of the destructiveness of hooks to another class of aquatic fowl. The owner of a large meer, in Shropshire, a few years ago, perceived a rapid diminution in the number of his wildducks, the keepers were on the alert, but could not for a long time account for the circumstance. One evening, however, they perceived two men engaged on the banks of the meer, moving with noiseless caution, and the keepers succeeded in arresting them in the very act of laying a very simple, but destructive duck-trap; it consisted of strong twine attached to a baited hook; in the middle of the twine, half a brick was fastened, and poised upon the bank ; when the duck swallowed the hook, his fluttering drew the brick into the pool, the weight of which dragged the bird's head under water, and bis submersion ensued before he could alarm his companions with a single quack.

the privations of war,--of Hannibal and his followers in the Alps,--of the Poles, the suffering Poles, banished by despotism to eternal snows,—God help them, for I have had a taste of it myself at Llyn Coch Hwyad, and I can pity them. But what is to be done? Here I am, a living iciele. I must get Mallen to make me a roaring turf fire, and I must send Evan to Llanervail, a village five miles off, for whatever the little inn will afford. Let me see, 'tis now three o'clock, Evan will be back before five; pretty good work thou wilt say, reader. But you do not know that wild looking animal Evan, the shepherd, five feet eight, limbs of brass, lightly made too, with a chest that a Bondstreet dandy would give his most bewitching curl for,ample play for lungs there,-homely living, pure mountain air, and constant exercise, these will enable Évan to bound over the hills not quite, but very nearly, as fast as the wild sheep. But here comes Evan. “ Well, Evan, here I am, thanks to Courge, with neither brandy or cwrw; and you must start off for Llanervail for either one or the other, and lose no time on the road, man.” I had no need, however, for further orders; after all, the fickle goddess befriended me. Old John Getthyn, the smuggler, had lately been visiting the bill, and had dispensed a bountiful supply of Erin's potteen among the shepherds ;--quickly and amply were the solids and fluids discussed : oh, glorious potteen, half an hour made me another man ! I returned, like “ giant refreshed,” to the flues, where I found nine trout, one more than five pounds weight, battling in the meshes like an otter. Poor fellow, I saved him further trouble; popped him into the coracle, took another modicum of potteen, and thought no more of “ My Last Bottle.”

a

TRIAD FROM THE WELSII.

By the late EDWARD WILLIAMS.
Three things with contempt have I treated through life,
A soldier that lives upon rapine and strife;
A miser that coffers detestable gains;
And fashion's dull puppy, that thing without brains.

COPY OF AN ANCIENT UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPT. Vol. KKKK, page 207—9, Carte's MSS., Bodleian Library, Oxford.

(OFFICE AND FUNCTIONS OF THE OLD BARDS.) The office and function of the British or Cambrian Bards was to keep and preserve Tri chof ynys Brydain, that is, the three records or memorials of Brittain, which otherwise is called the Bruttish antiquitie, which consisteth of three parts, and is called Tri chof; for the preservation whereof, when the Bards were graduated at their commencements, they were rewarded with treble reward, one reward for every cof, as the ancient Bard, Tudur Aled doth recite of this Trichof: and his reward of the same at his commencement and graduation of the royall wedding of Evan ap Davidd ap Ithel Vychan, of Northopp, in Inglefield, in FAintshire, which he on the cerd marunad of the said Ievan ap Davidd Ithel recited thus:

Cyntaf neuadd in graddwyd,
Vy oror llys f'eryr lluyd ;
Am Dri chof im dyrchafodd

Yn neithior Nwn a thair rodd. And soe you may see that he was exalted and graduated att the said wedding for his knowledge in the said Tri chof, and was rewarded with three severall rewardes, one for every cof. The one of the said three cof is the history of the notable arts of the Kings and Princes of this Land of Bruttaen and Cambria. And the second of the said three cof is the language of the Brittons, for which the Bards ought to give account for every word and syllable therein, when they are demanded thereof, and to preserve the ancient tongue, and not to intermix it with any forraigne tongue, or to bring any forraigne word amongst it to the prejudice of their owne words, whereby they might be forgotten or extirped.

And the third cof was to keepe the genealogies or descents of the nobility, their division of lands and armes; for the descents, armes, and division of lands were but one of the three cof: The ancient Bards had a stipend out of every plowland in the countrey for their maintenance, and the said Bards also had a perambulation or a visitation once every three years to the houses of all the gentlemen in the country, which was called Cylch clera, for preserving of the said Trichof, at which perambulation they did collect all the memorable things that were done and fell out in every country that concerned their profession to take notice of, and write

it downe; soe that they could not be ignorant of any memorable artes, the death of any great person, his descent, division or portion of landes, armes, and children, in any countrey within their perambulation. At which perambulation the said Bards received three rewards, being a sett and a certain stipend from every gentleman to whose house they were entertained in their perambulation, which stipend or reward was called clera. Cerdd foliant is the poemes of laude and praise made in the commendation of a gentleman or a gentlewoman in his lifetime.

Cerdd farunad are mournfull poemes, made in lamentation of a gentleman's death after his decesse. Those men that I call and tearme here by the title of gentleman, is called, in our language, Gur bonhedic ; and there is noe mann by the law admitted to be called Gur bonhedic but he that patternally descendeth from the Kings and Princes of this land of Brittain; for bonhedic is as much as nobilis in Latin, and the paternall ascent of every gentleman most ascend to royall persons, from whom every gentleman did hold his lands and his armes.

And if a gentleman be soe descended by father and mother, then is he stiled or tituled by the lawe, bonhedic canhugnawl, which signifieth a perfect nobleman by father and by mother: and this title bonhedic is the first title that a man hath, and remaineth in his blood from his birth to his death; and this title bonhed cannot be really given by any man whatsoever to any man, or any that hath it really be deprived of it. All other titles may be taken from man, and may extinguish by his death or other casualties, but this cannot; for he bringeth this title into the world, and is not extinguished by his death, for it remaineth in his blood to his posteritie, soe that he cannot be severed from it.

Common persons of late yeares have taken upon them the title of bonhed or generositie, but they are not really bonhedic, but are soe called or tearmed for fashion-sake, by reason of their wealth, offices, or behaviour, which are but transitory things; and bonhed consisteth in no transitory thing, but in a permanent. Soe that hereby you may understand that the gentrie of the countrey had a speciall interest in the Tri cof; for the historyes were the arts and deedes of their ancestors and kinsmen, and the preservation of the language, armes, descents, and divisions of lands, were their owne proper service, and therefore the stipend paid by them to the Bards was not constituted without good cause thereunto,

« ПредишнаНапред »