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by his death, Wales is deprived of one of its noblest ornaments. His genius was sublime, his talents were of the highest order, his intellect of immense grasp; in short, his was a master mind. His Christian philanthropy was unbounded, and of him it might truly be said, “ Do William Howels an ill turn, and you make him your friend for ever.” In him was united all the masculine energetic mind of the man, with all the exquisitely tender sensibilities of the woman. As a preacher he was perfectly original; every thought, every idea, was peculiarly his own; he would, in a few words, explain truths which might have been expanded into volumes. No error, however subtle, could escape his eagle eye; and each met a full and perfect refutation from his eloquent tongue. His usefulness was great; many were reclaimed by him from vice and folly, and many were comforted and led on in the Christian life under his ministry. His private life was an exemplification of the truths he taught from the pulpit." He was a father in Christ, ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (“ I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”—On the 18th of November, at Rhos, in the county of Denbigh, Wm. Hughes, late of Faenol, in the 52d year of his age. On the 2d of November, at Naples, the Right Hon. Noel Hill, Lord Berwick, of Attingham, near Shrewsbury. His lordship’s title and estates devolve upon the Hon. W. Hill, formerly member for that borough.—On the 19th of November, in the 68th year of his age, Edward Davies, esq. Castle street, Ruthin.—On the 13th of November, at Cardigan, in the 41st year of his age, Lieutenant Charles Davies, royal navy, youngest son of the late Edward Davies, esq. of Cardigan.—On the 26th of November, after a very short illness, aged 10 years, Louisa Emma, second daughter of Wm. Wynne Sparrow, esq. of Red hill, Beaumaris, Anglesey.-On the 17th of November, aged 32, William Meredith, eldest son of the late John Parry, esq. of Gadden, Denbighshire. On the 7th of November, Mrs. Pitts, Kyre House, near Tenbury.—On the 2d of December, at his residence, Peterstone court, near Brecon, in his 78th year, the Rev. Thomas Powell, m.a. one of his Majesty's justices of the peace for the counties of Brecon and Glamorgan, a deputy-lieutenant of the former county, and senior alderman of the borough of Swansea.-Lately, Thomas Leathart, esq. of Cloudesley square, Islington.
PRICES OF SHARES OF CANALS IN WALES. Brecknock and Abergavenny, 73.10; Glamorganshire, 290; Montgomery, 85; Shrewsbury, 250; Swansea, 190.
Closing price 22d December.- Brazilian Bonds, 47; Chilian, 16; Colombian, 9; ditto, 1824, 104; Danish, 68.15; Greek, 26; Peruvian, 10.5; Portuguese, 49.10; Prussian, 1818,99; ditto, 1822, 100; Russian, 1822, 98 15; Spanish, 1821 and 1822, 16; ditto, 1823, 15; Dutch, 41.17.6; French Rentes, 98.25; ditto, 68.50.
December 22.- Bank Stock, 189}; 3 per cent. red. 833 ; 3} per cent. —; 34 per cent. red.916; 4 per cent. 1021; Long Annuities, 16.10.
No. 18.–APRIL 1, 1833.-Vol. V.
THE ANTIQUE, THE PICTURESQUE, AND THE LITERARY SPIRIT IN WALES.
To her antiquities and her scenery chiefly, Wales is indebted for what degree of celebrity she possesses. To these it is owing that the most strongly marked, the most beautiful, if not the most interesting, historically, of the three sister provinces of Great Britain is not to this day but a certain extent of acres, like the moors of Yorkshire, or fens of Lincolnshire. That she does not possess claims of another kind, especially in her ancient national poetry, I am far from insinuating. On the contrary, although to my great regret not Cambro-British enough in my scholarship to enter into its beauties, I cannot doubt the fact so strongly avowed by the learned in Celtic lore that it is of a very high order. Even through all the disguise of translations, I have enjoyed starts of the vis vivida animi bursting out in some of her old poets, which do indeed “stir the heart like the sound of a trumpet.” But my purpose, in the first place, is to consider that taste for the antique and the picturesque which has been instrumental in drawing to our mountains admirers, visitors, and residents; and hence, if in no more exalted a light, must be regarded as a subject of some interest to all Welshmen.
THE TASTE FOR THE ANTIQUE. There is an old, very false, very prevalent scandal against antiquarianism, as a narrow-minded, grubbing, fusty, dusty, ridiculous kind of pursuit or rage. An antiquary! What is the image conjured up even in your mind, most enlight
ened reader of the Cambrian Quarterly, at this moment, by that word ? Is it not a withered curmudgeon of a man, gloating on a long-buried medal or coin, his face as yellow green with bile and smoke-drying, as that of some old emperor or hero the object of his gaze, with rust, that precious green rust, which is of more price in his estimation than the treasure itself which it has half-eaten up? Ridicule, from the pens of men whose fame has given it wings to fly far and wide, has transmitted to us this caricature of their drolling fancy, as the vera effigies of an antiquary. Now, to my mental optics, that word raises objects the most opposite possible to that absurd and grotesque one. Venerable, deeply feeling, grandly thinking men, stand before me. I see Sir Thomas Browne, by a lamp, pondering over his urns, "dug up in a field near Walsingham;" I see the antiquary Lord Bacon, and the antiquary Raleigh, and far in the shades behind, the antiquary Pliny the Elder, all busied in exploring the past for their histories of Life and Death, and this World; I see the antiquary Spenser busied with it also, adorning it with the flowers of Parnassus, writing his “Ruins of Time,” amongst the grassy Roman bricks and cement of fallen Verulam, down to our last only popular antiquary Scott, collecting his ballad antiquities among the dales and antique hamlets of Ettrick Forest. I mean that almost all great men, in the walk of mental greatness, have left evidence of this retrospective bent of mind. The past is the poet's own region as truly as the world of imagination. The calling of the true poet is to create; that of the antiquary to recreate; the same principle of proud pleasure stimulates both. But the latter enjoys the nobler triumph, inasmuch as to restore objects of curiosity or beauty, which were become, or fast becoming “airy nothings,” to give back their places, their names, is a nobler achievement than even to give to “airy nothings a local habitation and a name.”
The true antiquary is engaged in a constant strife against the two most terrible powers which besiege man and his works,-time, and oblivion; that time which saps and consumes, and that forgetfulness which buries all which man most vehemently desires to preserve or have held in eternal remembrance. A decisive victory over those enemies, in other words, fame, or immortality, is the very loftiest aspiration of the loftiest minds. The humblest pioneer in an army whose cause is rational and purpose noble, can never be mean or ridiculous as an agent; so neither can the man engaged in the endeavour, however feeble, to preserve the perishable treasures of past ages. Let us contrast the character embued with this conservative cast of mind, with that wholly free from it. Two persons come unawares on a castle ruin. One merely gives such casual regard to it as any singular pile, a fantastic modern house for instance, would attract. He is as impatient of a long stay and perambulation of its green skeleton walls and deserted courts, as the other is of his apathy. His companion lingers behind alone; he longs to learn who fought and conquered, and fell, in that fortress of a hundred sieges; he wishes to know the dates of them, the first founder, the last occupant. He descends into the green and damp pit, choked up with stones fallen from the ivy-hung topmost turrets, which was once the dungeon of some dark-minded absolute tyrant; and wishes he could know every captive's name and story whose tears and blood have moistened its floor of rock. This last is an antiquary in spirit; the former a commonplace man, whose mind is engrossed with the present, or a matter-of-fact man. I would ask which of these two persons exhibits a more exalted cast of mind?. The one may be employed in some worthy mental pursuit possibly, but neither do I see any thing unworthy, any thing but what commands my respect in the solemn curiosity of the other. But, supposing the minds of both not preoccupied, it is probable that the contemplative man's is of infinitely greater reach, and his heart stirred by feelings far deeper and tenderer than those of the other.
A man of mean intellect gives his day to the world, that is, to his wordly interest, and his nights to forgetfulness; while one of a more exalted range of thought, steals a joy behind the back of day, (if we may use the expression,) which to him involves as deep an interest, though but busied about matters wholly void of self-interest, as the other's less generous, if more prudential, topics of reflection. For what more generous, even if romantic and fantastic, mood of mind can we imagine, than that which ardently employs itself, not with some living great man, powerful to serve or enrich us, not a robed monarch, or his minister of state, but the pale powerless dead; the monarch in his lead and serecloth, unveiled, by chance, in his ghastly resurrection after many hundred years' sepulture? If the mind which such discovery touches almost with the grand and startling effect of a supernatural visitation, as if the “ buried majesty of Denmark” had actually appeared with the glimpsing moonlight on its greened panoply, does grow visionary, does catch somewhat of the fine phrenzy of the mad, in their imaginative intensity; it need not excite wonder, nor ought it to tempt ridicule. “This is one ring of the very coat of mail worn in such a great battle by such a renowned prince,” says the antiquary. “What then? 'Tis but a rusty hoop after all,” says the anti-antiquary. And his retort is natural. It is no more to him, for he can no more conceive the deeply abstracted thoughts which hover round that relic in the other's mind, than the woodman, who lays the axe to the oak in the midst of the forest, can see those combinations of picturesque beauty which it helps to form in the eye
of some pensive traveller at that moment viewing the orange and green autumnal foliage of its spreading top, forming part of that fine distant forest he sees hanging on the mountain side, and so longs to visit and explore. The mighty maze of ancient time, so dark, yet so picturesque, so inviting to the mind's eye, is that distant forest. To return from this digressive simile, to our imagined opening of a royal tomb; what can be more impressive, more morally sublime than such a rumination? To say—this is the very hand that fought fights which changed the aspects of this our planet, in relation to its grand tenant? this is the skull that girt, as with a citadel, the mind which thought them: or perhaps more delightful to memory,—thought a revolution in morals, that humanized whole succeeding ages, altering not only the physical world without, but the intellectual within us, to which all the interest of that physical is subservient? To encounter tangibly, visibly, beings of history or tradition, which have become rather names than things to us, is a surprise founded on the same tender, disinterested, fine feeling, which constitutes the joy of meeting one alive, whom we have believed long since dead. There are feelings, strong as life, or the horror of death, which yet are not to be reasoned on, and produce on man and the world all the effects of the most reasonable passions, which we never stay to question the reason of obeying. The desire of fame, of enduring, when we shall have long ceased to be in the thoughts and respect of beings yet unborn, is of all feelings the
wildest, most unreasonable, and has produced the noblest and most important effects, of all feelings common to man's nature. He, therefore, who laughs at the antiquary for highly valuing the smallest genuine relic, has not reason on his side, if he has the laugh, so surely as he may imagine. The principle which gives it value is one no less grand, solemn, and mys