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the names, he would look all about for Sir Astley Cooper's pole, or Abernethy's, or Lawrence's, expecting one very gay in the colours of the fillet winding round it, of course, and ready to treat the popular barber-surgeon with all due civility, and no more, provided his razors drew no blood, and they and his taper beard, when done, had the proper cut. Would he deserve ridicule? by no means. Tell him that the surgeon-barber of his day is the man of science and elegant accomplishments of this, and he will rectify his error. So let the Welsh understand that the "pursuits of literature” are no longer connected with garreteers, starving rhyme-mongers, pocket-book “Emmas'
“ Lauras," or book-making by subscription, but with national honour and even interests, and assuredly the amor patrie inherent in them, will assign to those pursuits their due place in Welsh estimation. Vices, it is said, are but the fag ends of virtues ; at all events, almost every fine quality has its wrong side, which is intolerably coarse. The amor patriæ has it peculiarly, and degenerates into a selfish, a low, a narrow, instead of a noble and enlarged sentiment, by misdirection. The feeling which makes, of an imaginary line dividing a Welsh county from an English one, a real barrier between persons equally British, living under the same laws, affected by the same interests, is anything rather than true patriotism. Yet, while the lower classes of Welsh avow such feeling, by designating English persons coming among them “foreigners," the upper, also, do certainly indulge, if not avow it, by the occasional deviation in favour of such odd topographical claims to respect or patronage, from the golden rule of every upright mind and guide of its wishes, “ detur dignissimo.” That a less competent mechanic is often preferred to a more ingenious one; a less strictly moral clergyman-to an exemplary one ; a medical man, of neither science nor practice, a dangerous blockhead,—to one who has had
every advantage of both; for no better reason than that the mountains, not science, “claimed him for their own,” is a fact notorious to all who know Wales. Let the value of literary distinction be fairly exhibited as even a national object; and the same fervour of nationality which animates a Welshman in the above instances, even to a spirit of martyrdom, as in the last, where it is indulged to the very peril of health, life, and limb,—will surely be enlisted in the cause of advancing his country's pretensions to such distinction.
When a nation is merged in another larger, or more powersul; when it has no longer a distinct government, court, or
senate, it may still claim a distinctive existence through a national literature. Scotland, already alluded to, exemplifies this fact. It is impossible to walk the airy height of that rock on which old Edinburgh stands, under the battlements of her castle, and after climbing some of the dark and dingy alleys or winds of the old town, once Scotland's only capital, look down across the dry loch, over all the private palaces of the new, stretching almost to Leith—all the creation of very recent years, and not be struck with the magnificent results of genius duly fostered by a nation; for to literary, rather than mercantile adventure, is most of that creation attributable. We look in vain for any great source of wealth suddenly opened, any branch of commerce exclusively enjoyed, to account for the rapid elevation of Edinburgh; but we find a remarkable succession of great literary characters, drawing thither the attention of Scotland, of Great Britain, and ultimately of all Europe. As a natural accessory, typographical attended literary excellence, and her printing establishment invited even extra-national genius from distant parts. The Welsh have been noted for pride in pedigree, but that seems nearly extinct; it were a worthy exchange to substitute for it a pride in mental attainments. But Wales might copy Scotland with advantage in her first steps to eminence, in the point of frank admission of those traits in her character which, uncorrected, must for ever keep her behind England, Scotland, and Ireland, in this species of rank. When Smollett became famous, he presently called the attention of the sister country to his pictures of his native land and its sons, and did not spare satire where it was merited. His countrymen were too wise to resent this, for they knew that their foibles they could amend, after proving the means of attracting notice; but that notice, without the aid of his genius working on those materials, they never could attract. They were pleased to be made conspicuous, and built a monument to the memory of their satirist (for such he was occultly,) on the banks of his own Leven.
Another trait perhaps of Welsh character adverse to its exaltation, is that mistaken nationality already noticed. It is time that England and Wales should amalgamate completely, which by no means infers an extinction of the latter's noble tongue, or striking features, or manners of any kind worthy of preservation. The more Wales invites and rejoices in the tide of English manners, that is, old English manners, and the very spring-tide of her better literature,
(not her revolutionary press, through all her mountain retirements, the nearer will Wales approximate to the rural happiness of what England was some sixty years ago.
It seems to me that the remote situation of this division of the United Kingdom would admit the enjoyment of English literature, without the alloy of metropolitan corruption, cant, or sedition, would all influential Welshmen of mind enough for the task, try to render fashionable all innocent works of excellence emanating from the press of London, and encourage spirited imitations of them from native pens, for imitative must precede original efforts.
The man too proud of Wales to admit English literary innovation, appears to me like the shortsighted or perverse Egyptian landowner by the Nile, who would, if he could, raise a dyke against its overflow, forgetting that it overwhelms but to fertilize; and he, too indifferent to its honour to welcome or regard native talent exerted in such a cause, like the torpid possessor of a fine but parched meadow, who should let a never-failing spring gush out at his feet, and flow to waste, or to the sea, for want of a little channel, which, at a small expense and trouble, might conduct it over all its arid waste, quickly rendering it not only fragrant and greatly beautiful, but productive.
Note. The writer's pen must be very faithless to his purpose
if it conveys an idea derogatory to the national character of the Welsh, as implying an incapacity for literature. Indeed, the self-condemnation which this case would also imply, would alone correct the false impression. A province or a people has an art or a pursuit which becomes its characterístic; another, some different one--arms, commerce, or letters; yet each may possess full capabilities for, and even partake, the chosen pursuit of its neighbour. Thus, we call the Swiss not a trading people, and the Dutch not a pastoral people, well knowing, notwithstanding, that Switzerland carries on trade, and Holland has its herds and flocks. All that can be said is, that literature does not stand forth so prominent a national feature in Wales, as it has done for some years past in England, in Scotland, in Germany, and in France; and the reason is this,-that, while the peasantry of Wales evince an ardent fondness for literature, perhaps unequalled in Great Britain, her gentry, with a few honourable exceptions, are most culpably indifferent to the acquirement of scientific knowledge.--EDITORS.
THE FAIR PILGRIM.
From the Welsh of DAFYDD AP Gwilym, who flourished about 1350.
BY E. WILLIAMS, THE SELF-TUTORED GLAMORGAN STONE-MASON.
The charmer of sweet Mona's* Isle,
What hast thou done, thrice lovely maid ?
No, Morvid, no; thy gentle breast
Yet, lovely nymph, thy way pursue,
Yet ere he's number'd with the dead,
* Mona, the Isle of Anglesea.
Without one fear to break thy rest,
O! could I guard thy lovely form
Peace! rude Traeth Mawrt; no longer urge
Traeth Bychan,g check thy dreadful ire,
Abermo,ll from thy rocky bay
• Arvonia, Carnarvonshire. + “ Desart of the storm,” the Snowdon mountains in Carnarvonshire.
| Traeth Mawr (Anglicè, Great Strand,) in Carnarvonshire, noted for its quicksands, and the sudden flowing of its tides; the passage over it is very dangerous, and not to be attempted without a guide, which, however, the pilgrims to St. David's did in those days.
Ś Traeth Bychan, (Little Strand), in Merionethshire, a place equally dangerous.
|| Abermo, a dangerous rocky bay in Merionethshire. i “Proud fanes that once assailed the sky."
A very large tract of fenny country on this coast, called Cantre'r Gwaelod (i. e. the Lowland Canton), was, about the year 500, overflown by the sea, occasioned by the carelessness of those who kept the flood-gates; as we are informed by Taliesin, the famous bard, in a poem of his still extant. There were, it is said, many large towns, a great number of villages, and palaces of noblemen, in this canton; and amongst them the palace of Gwyddno Garanhir, a petty prince of the country. There were lately (and I believe are still) to be seen in the sands of this bay, large stones with inscriptions on them, the characters Roman, but the language unknown. This disastrous circumstance is recorded by many other ancient Welsh writers.