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To the Editors of the Cambrian Quarterly. GENTLEMEN, In the Graphic Historical Illustrator, edited by Mr. Brayley, vol. i. p. 208, just published, is a wood-engraving, purporting to represent a cromlêch, near Newport, Pembrokeshire, called Coeten-Arthur. It is described as “consisting of four upright irregular stones, each about seven feet and a half high, upon three of which rests an immense top stone, eighteen feet in length, and nine feet across in the widest part. At one end it is nearly three feet in thickness. Its mean breadth is about six feet and a half, the narrowest end not being more than four feet in width.” The woodcut was executed from a drawing by Dudley Costello, Esq.
Now, on looking into a sketch-book of mine, of the year 1820, I find a very different representation, one in which the top stone appears immense, instead of little larger than the uprights, and the pencil memorandum states the length thirteen feet, the width nine feet, and depth four ; that it is at a short distance from Newport, and stands in a field called Pare y goeten, supported by only two of the upright stones.
As there exists this discrepancy, I am induced to send you a copy of the sketch, in order that the two may be compared with the original, if there be only one, as is my impression; or that it may be announced in your pages that there are two cromlechs, each of which has been correctly drawn.
I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,
Most truly yours,
SAML. R. MeyRICK, K. H. Llys GODRIC, (or GOODRICA COURT,) Sin HENYORDD, 5 Mis Tachwedd, 1832.
DR. ROBERT RECORDE. Extract from a Letter written by Mr. Joseph Morris to Sir
Samuel Rush Meyrick, dated Shrewsbury, May 3, 1832. If it would not be unpardonable to notice here one or two subjects which are irrelevant to the matter of your inquiry, I would mention, that I observe with regret, that no correspondent of the Cambrian Quarterly has given an answer to the inquiry of Elvaeliad, (vol. iii. p. 365,) relative to the birth-place and biography of Dr. Recorde, the celebrated mathematician.
Of Dr. Recorde I am not able to give a biography, but assuredly he was a Welshman, a native of Tenby, in Pembrokeshire, being the son of Thomas Recorde, Esq. of that place, by his first wife Rose, daughter of Thomas Jones of Machynlleth, co. Montgomery, and he was grandson of Roger Recorde, Esq. of “ Est Wel,” in Kent; Richard Recorde, elder brother of the doctor, (of Tenby, too,) had three sons and five daughters, the eldest son (and heir), nephew of course to the doctor, was Robert Recorde, who was living at Tenby in the year 1597. He had at that time four sons and five daughters; his two younger brothers and his five sisters were also then living, and were all of them married.
I take the liberty of mentioning this fact to you, sir, because inquiries of this nature are apt to excite a certain degree of general interest in all those circles under the cognizance of which they come, and, it is to be hoped, that some able correspondent of the Cambrian Quarterly will properly elucidate the subject.
To the Editors of the Cambrian Quarterly. GENTLEMEN, Mr. WILLIAMS, in acknowledging and returning the courtly courtesy of the obeisance with which the champion for the Teutonic origin of this motto, according to the refined etiquette of the chivalric ritual enters the lists against him, begs leave to remind Sir Samuel Meyrick that Mr. W. has not presumed boldly to assert, but merely to suggest, a new interpretation of this device, which might happily reconcile it to a Cambrian derivation.
Unpardonably temerarious indeed would it have been for an esquire, who has not won his spurs, to have ventured boldly to assert any thing on the subject of armorial bearings, in contradiction to the high authority of the stalwart knight of the ancient armour. In truth, Sir Samuel is so completely covered all over
cap a piè with “helm and haubecks twisted mail,” that he leaves no one assailable part about him open to attack, whilst the keen but highly polished edge of his weapon is irresistible. Mr. Williams, therefore, in token of his discomfiture and defeat, drops the point of his lance and his pen to Sir Samuel, trusting to him, as to a true knight, that he will accept this amende honorable for
ransom, and grant him a sauf conduit from the tournament. The very few observations Mr. W. has now to make, are offered rather by way of explanation and to cover his retreat, than with any intention on his part of prolonging so unequal a combat.
In the first place, both Sir Samuel and Mr. W., in honourable warfare, are in duty bound to admit that the construction put upon the motto by our tierce partie,” with whom we both of us differ in opinion, by Peris, has been recognized by no less authority than that of a German prince, a man of letters, whose work has been stamped by the “Imprimatur” of the venerable Goëthe, the first of modern German literati, in the very teeth of all that national prejudice which must have led the Germans to have preferred a Teutonic to a Celtic origin of the motto. The book to which Mr. W. alludes, “ Tour in England, Ireland, and France,” by a German Prince, is now in everybody's hands, and it is only necessary to refer to page 77 of the first volume of this work, where the Eich Dyn of Peris is preferred, as the true interpretation, to the Ich Dien, which is there considered a corruption. To Peris then, at least, are we Welshmen indebted for the honour that, for ever hereafter, it may be presumed a certain number of copies of the Cambrian Quarterly will find their way to the capitals of Berlin and Vienna.
The origin of the French mottoes of our Norman princes, and of those of the House of Orange, both of them closely connected with France, and consequently with her language, is too well known to need any explanation, but that of our Prince of Wales can only be conjectured. Besides, there is great difference between the French devices and that of Ich Diene ; that Dieu et Mon Droit, and “ Je Maintiendrai,” are “ totidem verbis” exclusively French; the words, of which they are respectively composed, form part of no other language than that of France; but the component words of the Prince of Wales's motto are, at this day, and without the change of a single letter, as good Welsh as they are German. In fact, Ich and Dien appertain in common to the Celtic and the Teutonic, only they imply very different meanings accordingly as they are interpreted in this or that tongue, and whether • I serve,” or “ Behold destruction !" be the more appropriate motto for a warrior prince is, after all, mere matter of taste.
If, as it is stated, “ the effigy on the monument represents the
Black Prince's appearance in war," it should seem, in some sort, an infringement of this testamentary request to place his head on a tournament helmet instead of on a war helmet ; the prince, be it observed, only desiring to have the “ visage mue,” the face uncovered. And if it was the effigies of his “ appearance in war,” that the prince particularly wished to have represented on his tomb, one should also have thought that the distinctive badge of his arms of peace “ had no business there.” Besides, we are told that the plume was common to this prince's father and his brothers. What then was it, if he did not wear this scroll, that distinguished him from them in the battle field?
In answer to the objection that the Welsh interpretation of Ich Dien “is so unlike any other motto on record,” it may be alleged that we certainly have a number of minatory mottos breathing defiance to the enemy, though none perhaps exactly similar to this. Such, for instance, is the Welsh motto of the Wilkins' family, Syn ar dy hùn, “ Take care of thyself!" at once threatening and forewarning. Then, of a more modern description, we have Aut vincere aut mori; Bella! Horrida Bella ; “ Avance !” and a great number of the same kind.
Mr. W. is obliged to Sir S. M. for correcting the error in which he had fallen respecting the Picts, in supposing them to have been so called from their being picti, or painted; although it is an error into which Mr. W. has been led by no less authority than that of Pomponius Mela, of Camden, of almost all our English historians and antiquaries, and also of one of our historical poets of equestrian rank, who tells us,
« The naked Pict, his enemies to scare,
Paints on his skin the semblance of a bear."
It seems, however, they were called Picts, Gwyddel Fichti, and Pictish;* not, as has been generally supposed, from their pictorial, but their predatory propensity, a quality which does not seem to entitle them to that character for superior civilization which Sir Samuel vindicates by asserting “ they were far more civilized than the Maceatæ and the Caledonians, who, three hundred years before, had painted their faces," since to pilfer and to paint seem equally repugnant to our ideas of refinement.
Here Mr. W. begs leave to submit, with very great deference to Sir Samuel Meyrick, whether this expression of Eumenius, “ Caledonum aliorumque Pictorum sylvas,” might not warrant the inference that the Picts and the Caledonians were the same people; or at least that the Caledonians were included in the more general name of Picts.
* Pictish, in the old Caledonian language, signified pilferers or plunderers.
Sir Samuel, in his note on Mr. W.'s expression, “The proud battalions of braggart France," inquires, “ Why, braggart?” Why, because the French, in all ages, have been disposed to brag a little too much. Mr. W. has not impugned their valour. A nation may be, at the same time, very boastful and very brave; and that this is the case with France can scarcely be denied. Mr. W. is glad, however, to have this opportunity of acknowledging that the French are, in war, a brave and generous enemy, and in peace the most amiable and kind and delightful of friends. But still the Gallic cock is apt to crow a little too much. And to prove this, we have only to open Ville-Hardouin, Joinville, Froissart, or Monstrelet. But, without citing their Fanforranades before the battles of Cressy, Poictiers, and Agincourt, it will be quite sufficient to refer to the following grandiloquous expression, trumpeted forth in one of Bonaparte's general orders during the Peninsular war:
When, after three short months, I shall have driven the leopard into the sea,” &c.
Mr. W., in retiring from the field discomfited, but not dissatisfied, consoles himself with the reflection, and this he speaks seriously, and badinage apart, that he has been the means of eliciting, from perhaps the only person capable of affording it, much valuable additional information on a very curious subject, hitherto but little understood by our best antiquaries.
To the Editors of the Cambrian Quarterly. GENTLEMEN, As neither Pennant nor his followers (the guide books) have ever noticed, that the battlements of the Eagle Tower, in Caernarvon castle, were all surmounted with busts, perhaps you will not deem the fact unworthy of notice in your valuable miscellany.
Though much mutilated by time and weather, they present a series of armed heads of the time of Edward I. Three of the most perfect, taken from parts not contiguous, are sketched above. Several wear the tournament-helmet, with the indica