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Let him, however, not expect too much, and he shall be "blessed.” Now, to whichever hand he pleases to turn from this house, he soon reaches another grandly grotesque vale. To the left, he follows the Irvon, and in less than three miles is in the heart of the mountain solitude; the only specimens, still lingering, of the wild and simple lives of “mountayne men,” uninvaded by English manners or people, are there, curious and primitive as they are, full before him. Not a word of English shall he hear, not a habit of English life shall he find; not a sound shall he catch as he wanders, but screams, bleats, and hollow thunder, of kites, flocks, and buried waterfalls of the river at a vast depth beneath him, following the foot of the high wild bills he is traversing—by a very fair rock road notwithstanding.
If he turn to the right, another river, “unknown to fame,” the Gnuffiad, with its equally romantic and even more lovely vast valley, begins to accompany him at about a mile’s distance; hence he may deviate over a great bank into a parallel vale, descend into its quiet profound ; and lo! another nameless river, (nameless to the world,) the Gammarch, there winds its way among antique houses of shepherd farmers, with their little green redemptions from the waste of rock wildness, sweet and flowering along the water's sides.
But there would be no end of describing all the grand excursions which
be made in the course of even one day, on a pony, from the wells of Llanwrtyd ; excursions, the more interesting for being utterly unknown and unnoticed by all and every writer of Tours and Welsh Guides.
The least known, or unknown, to English persons, of our Welsh rivers, are by far the most worthy of name and acquaintance. The Irvon is probably as little familiar to the summer visitors of Wales as any foreign stream not commercial, yet few routes conduct us through so many charming scenes. Its course is about twenty-five miles, and every mile such as Walton would have deemed worthy of commemoration by a song in its praise. Nowhere could his milkmaid and mother more fittingly have sate milking or chatting, than in the wild yet sweet meadows by its
Having named one Tavarn, let me not forget that in its
course, and close to its flow, is another which, albeit the roof is thatch, and the whole most truly Cambrian to the eye, is more than English to the ear, to the palate, to the empty stomach, and weary limbs; affording a speedy and excellent meal, courteous civility, in the English tongue and manners, a private parlour and good bed; and, I am told, excellent liquors. I can say no more, they being my aversion. To the malt liquor I can speak with all satisfaction. This is the little road-side hostelry of Tavarn-y-Prydd, which is a trifle out of the way to Llanwrtyd, from the village of Llangammarch, for those arriving from Builth, besides, that the slight deviation exchanges a wild and poor mile or two for a rich river-side ride of that length. The river is easily fordable just opposite the house. Doctor Johnson has lauded inns. My taste is humbler. A downright hedge ale-house has great charms for me; but this word does not exclude humble comforts, such as Goldsmith has given to that of his deserted village. Next to that genuine supreme good of this world, a real home, which has “good accommodation for man and heart;" the next good thing (though cum longo intervallo) is a mock-home; that is, a clean parlour in a little lone “public,” by the side of a mountain road, with very little traffic, where a man may sit two hours over his tea (the fine hyson from his own pocket,) smelling the breath of cows; perhaps a honey-suckle, if not too high up the mountains; forgetting himself, not "quite to stone,” but to perfect absenteeism from the affairs of busy life; and not a soul in the house come asking " did you ring, Sir ?" as I am sure would be the case in an inn; not to mention the plague of that (to me) most odious of apparitions, a male waiter, with his white apron and napkin, who would utter the interested question. Where such inquiry is made in these lowlier “publics,” it is not from eagerness to supply you with something fresh to swell the charge, but real attention; and, who would not part with his pleasantest reverie, to answer a kind question put by so pleasant an intruder as a“ daughter of mine hostess,” perhaps brought up at a boarding-school, and retaining nothing of rustic life in manners but what is amiable? In such hospitium, for the restless mind at least, there is a sort of oblivion of a man's former self, his hankerings and disappointments. The feeling of being a stranger, without a name to even those who lodge and entertain him, makes a sort of congeniality between the outer and inner man.
If he have no tie or sympathy with the world left in his heart, it is a great solace to
have his mind released from it also, as it is in this his vagabond nonentity. If his hunger find relief also, we may say that the thinking man and the omnivorous man are both agreeably soothed, and nothing but the feeling man goes craving, (and pray can the first inn in Bath supply that?) so that the little « public” has truly fulfilled that promise, which ever draws me within the old fashioned portal that bears it, “Good entertainment for man and beast;" meaning, no doubt, the grosser mere animal part of man, to which a smoking joint is the most " entertaining of things,” far beyond the Waverley Novels.
As some atonement for the intrusion of this digression, de ale-houses et "publics,” to which the homely comforts experienced at Tavarn-y-Prydd have seduced me, let me conclude with something worthier of “physician's” eulogy than such matters; that is, our primary topic, the wells. Far from depreciating generally the attractions, in toto, of such places of resort, I highly value them when conjoined with those of nature. There are few Pagan rites that I would more willingly revive were the Roman religion ever to come in fashion again, than that of the Fontinalia,on the 13th of October, in honour of the nymphs of wells and fountains, when nosegays were thrown into the water; a matter enough to squabash Llandrindod, at one blow of thought, for where would we find a flower on Llandiindod desert ? and where can we not find them on the sweet banks of the Irvon ? Having touched on Roman matters, I recollect a Latin ode that Mr. Theophilus Jones has preserved in his History of Breck nockshire -- the subject, « Llanwrtyd.” The thing seemed to me so unworthy of its topic, that sitting one golden evening on the turf by the little font, I tried my hand on the
Having not pleased even myself, the Latin I shall not obtrude here; but the burden, the naked thought, seemed to my fond fancy better than my Latinity. I shall try it therefore in an English dress, and leave to better scholars the task of re-translating into Latin, this
ODE TO HEALTH.
(WRITTEN AT LLANWRTYD.)
Who spurns thee, present, with a mad disdain,–
(Chased by the fury pain)
To win thee back, what prayers, what travel-toil,
Still dream thou hidest thee on yon mournful moor,
Till she his steps allure
Hither to her, and peace, and thee, for cure ; Taught to expect it not from thy sole hand, But nature's too-her western breathings bland, Her humming bees, her flowers, and ev'n her aspect grand. Well hast thou chosen here thy seat
Most blessed of all man's divinities, Yea, all in one! with nature great
Yet gracious; where she lies
Lulled all night long with mountain melodies ; And her sweet day steals like a sunny night, Listening to waterfalls, so silent, yet so bright! Thou, life's salvation and life's bliss !
More goddess thou in these blest nooks of earth, Such shepherd's paradise as this,
Where life takes tenfold worth!
Ye happy mountains, happy he whose birth And death is in your shade! whose cradle stood While leaves sung lullaby, by yonder flood, Whose home too by, whose grave beneath, yon mountain wood ! He who resigns the world's poor strife,
Hath found on earth a resurrection, risen To his waked mind's more glorious life,
Winged to forsake its prison.
Hygeia bids thee stay; repose and listen!
A WORD TO THE GAËL.
Celebrated as the Scottish Gaël have ever been since the light of history dawned on Albion, and interesting as have become the people and the romantic country, from the recent popular and happy delineations of those peculiar manners, and singular but venerable usages, so rapidly disappearing, which characterize the Highlanders, it has long been matter of regret and surprise, that no periodical should exist
, to supply the literary wants of so important a part of the empire, and so respectable a portion of the inhabitants of Britain.
That country, the sons of which have spread far and wide the fame of Scotland, where the moral and intellectual character of the people is so conspicuous; that country, we say, ought no longer to remain without a vehicle, in which the patriot can find preserved all important memoranda of his race, and of his father-land; where the fast-fleeting traditions and poetry, and the passing events of his native country, can be faithfully recorded, and transmitted to posterity.
The Teachdaire Gaëlach, the publication of which is unfortunately suspended, promised to supply this desideratum to the Gaël of Albin ; but, although very properly conducted in their vernacular tongue, that language rendered it a sealed book to thousands, who, connected by birth or otherwise with the country, desire with avidity to inform themselves of
every thing which patriotism and the love of mankind can render interesting.
In Wales, the Cymru portion of the Celtæ, a population of 700,000, maintain no less than eighteen periodicals, seventeen of which are written in the Welsh language! Can Celtic Scotland, with its 400,000, remain without some share in the literature of their common race, of which they form so important and influential a division ?*
When Bonaparte read the inimitable poems of Ossian, impressed with the importance of a study of Celtic, as Mr. Logan
It has been ascertained that Scotland, Ireland, or Wales, singly, cannot sustain a periodical erclusively devoted to the literature of either one or the other.