Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

a

cases! Lastly, came peace, sweet as a summer night ; ivy-sbrubs, trees, beauty for mind and eye,—the very restiny place of contemplation -To come back to man: dying man is a terrible object: when death's work is done, corruption's commenced, yet more frightful to look on. Who dares to lift but a little the lid of the six weeks' buried coffin? The deadly pallidness, the grim loathsomeness of the half, “ face divine,” are things not to be looked on, bardly to be thought! But time, we will suppose, has broken into the vault and through the double coffin, for us. Behold! neither horror nor loathsomeness, but a not inelegant ruin of a soul's temple,—the unveiled ivory shrine of the departed god! The first stage of destruction has long passed, and the next (not, alas, the last!) is come in its ghastly calm, like that of the moonlight silvered ruin peeping on our path among the mountains.

Those purified white walls of the human citadel have survived the siege of death, and hollowly promise a sort of immortality in their iron-like firmness. (Human bones, we are told, have the hardness of the antediluvian hyæna's, which have outlasted rocks and continents, resisted the deluge, and, perhaps, as old as Adam. Yes; there is in this a sort of dallying of annihilation with us, its victims, like the sportive pausing of a tiger over its yet surviving prey. Durability alone is something for the mind to cling to; the skeleton is the last strong hold for being; the border fortress of a forlorn hope to man, the mental man, in his shocking discomfiture and flight before the“ pale horse and his rider;" down from his 'vantage ground of sentient existence, to the very skirts of the black, boundless, rueful kingdom of night and nought.

But how far might excursive fancy hurry us, in illustration of this principle, as displayed by contrast, in the wildness of death's work doing, and repose when that work is done,-in the besieged and the wall-Howered tower; and the mind in its reeling and rocking in God's judgment storm, and its tranquillity of settled ruin.

Most persons must have remarked that, in almost every small village or town, is to be seen one placid maniac or idiot, the constant spectacle of its grassy or busy street, stationary as the skeleton which the Ægyptians of old made a dumb guest at their feasts, as a memento mori. So one such being seems to haunt every place where men congregate, as if to warn all against the abuse of reason, while they enjoy it, by the sad spectacle of its deprivation.

I entered a border-town of Wales, of very small extent, by a beautiful moon. On a little green, several children were chanting, in English, the child's pretty invitation to his playmates, “ Boys and girls come out to play,-now the moon shines bright as day. To my surprise there came, from under a churchyard yew, in great glee, hurrying through the little gate, a long-bearded tattered man, of seeming old age, and still lofty stature. He seemed not, as is usually the case, to make the thoughtless sport of the village fry, but to cordially join in it: he played at catching them round an oak, as they with him. Nothing but his laugh, which was shrill and hysterical, distinguished him from the children, except his stature.

And this poor being I found was David Beynon.

MERCH IEUANC MEWN DARVODEDIGAETH.

Wrth edrych ar ei delw hardd,
Ei llygaid ac ei gwen;
Meddyliwn am vlodeuyn gardd
Cyn henaint oedd yn hen.
Ni welodd hi vlynyddoedd gwae,
Er hyny gwywa ei gwedd ;
Mal y blodeuyn plygu mae
Cyn henaint tua 'r bedd.
Ei llygaid ceisiant vod yn vyw,
Ond angen ynddynt sydd;
A gwrid ei grudd anwadal yw
Yn symud nos a dydd.
Ei thirion wên,-angeles wen,
A ddwg ar gov y Bardd
Am * vreilw gwyw yn plygu ei ben
Cyn llechn

yn
llwch

yr

ardd.
Mor hoëw vlwyddan bach yn ol,
Mor ysgavn ar ei throed;
Ar ael y bryn,--ar waelawd dól
Yr hoëwaf un o'i hoed :
Ond heddyw prin y symud gam
Gan waëw, megis cledd;
Ei dewis waith, yn mraich ei mam,
Yn dangaws man,-ei BEDD.

TEGID.

• A rose. Rhosyn.

TOUR THROUGH BRITTANY.

(Continued from Vol. iv. page 46.)

As the people of Bas Bretagne differ so materially from the other inhabitants of France in their language and customs, it may be supposed that they are not without some corresponding peculiarities in their national costume: and we accordingly find that they maintain as distinct a character in this as in other particulars. Some of our countrymen, on observing this distinction, have been disposed to imagine that even in this circumstance a resemblance may be traced between the Bretons and the Welsh. But, on examining the subject, I feel satisfied that such an idea must be altogether erroneous: for, however upon a slight inspection some remote resemblance might be fancied to exist, yet if we refer to the general costume of the Welsh, at any period within these last two hundred years, as described to us by old people, and as still seen among the remains of old wardrobes, there is not the slightest foundation for this alleged correspondence as a national distinction. And even the Breton costume, I should apprehend, is not so much a distinct characteristic of that people as the remains of an old style of dress, at one time very general throughout the greatest part of Europe, as may be seen in old pictures, and especially in the woodcuts in old Dutch and Flemish books.

The first article of the Breton dress that I shall name is the hat, which is made of black felt, with a low rounded crown, but with a brim of enormous dimensions, something similar to that once worn by the Quakers of the old school, but much larger than any now in fashion among that people, and regularly turned up at the rim, all round. This description of hat must at all times be extremely inconvenient, and, therefore, though not entirely unknown in other parts of France, yet, with the exception of the Bretons, the French peasantry, wherever it is used, generally loop up the brim against the crown, forming by this contrivance a cocket hat, such as was, till lately, generally worn by military officers, and which doubtless explains the origin of that once fashionable incumbrance. In some parts of France the

same hat is seen, made of straw, though not looped up, like those made of felt.

The next article is the jacket, which is very short, like that worn by sailors, and reaching (such a thing as a long coat being unknown) no lower than the waist, and this is worn by persons of all ages. But the principal characteristic of the Bretons consists in the enormously large breeches which are made so full and so plaited, that they look more like a short petticoat than the same garment as worn in most other countries. This, however, is by no means to be considered as peculiar to the Bretons, inasmuch as the same style of dress was once common in Holland, as may be seen in the old prints before referred to, and of which a recollection is still retained in the proverbial allusion to the magnitude of that portion of a Dutchman's wardrobe. The same characteristic may also be noticed in some of the Swiss Cantons. However, the Breton antiquaries contend that this is only a remnant of the national costume of their Gaulish ancestors, and quote an expression of Martial in proof of their opinion. Although it would be difficult to apply the description to the garb of the Bretons, especially when we remember that the particular garment which gave the designation of Gallia braccata to one division of ancient Gaul, was not, properly speaking, that which is now distinguished by the name of breeches, but the long trousers reaching to the ancles, and at this time so common throughout Europe; and, indeed, in Brittany likewise, with the exception of some of the western districts, where the other distinction is retained.

In the district of Finistère, the male portion of the peasantry dress altogether in black; and when the population is seen congregated, as on Sundays or other fête days, a stranger might be led to suppose that the whole country was in general mourning, so universal is this colour used in the whole of their dress. In other parts of the country the prevailing colour is a drab or grey, the trousers being made of coarse linen, though sometimes of a kind of linsey-woolsey, called Daoulas, from the name of the town where it was originally fabricated and exported. This word, which is the name of a river near Brest, seems very general among the Cymraeg Celts, though, in the countries now occupied by the Gaelic tribes, it is spelt Douglas; nevertheless in pronun

ciation the g is dropped. Thus Douglas, in the Isle of Man, is by the Manx people pronounced Dhawlish, evidently the same with Dawlish, in Devonshire. The word is frequently supposed to be derived from du, black; and glas, blue: but its real etymology is du, black; and glais, a stream. The latter word being frequently met with in that sense in the Principality, as Morlais, Dulais, Blaen-y-glais, Claisfár, &c.

With regard to the costume of the female peasantry, it does not vary much from that of Normandy and other parts of France; the only difference I noticed was, that the Breton cap has long broad lappets hanging down on each side to the shoulders, and which are sometimes pinned up to the crown of the head, thus forming broad loops at each side of the head, as low as the ears, and which some antiquaries would have us believe to be of great antiquity, and refer to the head-dress of an ancient Gaulish statue in proof of their opinion.

But there is one article of dress common to both males and females, which, though not peculiar to the Bretons, yet must not be past unnoticed, as it forms a very remarkable characteristic of continental costume. I mean the sabot, or wooden shoe, that disgrace to civilization, and especially to France, the most civilized of all the continental nations. We have occasionally seen wooden shoes in our own country, i. e. a sole of wood, with the upper part of leather; but the sabot is entirely made of wood, quarters, vamp, and all; without a single morsel of leather or any other material ; being nothing more than a log of wood, with a hole scooped out to contain the foot, and having the point turned up like a crescent. As may be supposed, these receptacles afford but very hard and uncomfortable accommodation for the feet; and, therefore, to meet this inconvenience, it is usual to protect the feet by wrapping them round with rags, or, as is more generally the case, with whisps of hay, and then to stuff them into these excavated timbers, where, after a short time, this primitive garniture is seen starting out, and forming a long and irregular fringe around the ancles. I know not which is the most offensive object in a civilized country, that of actual barefoot squalor, or this remnant of the rudest and most uncouth efforts of barbarian ingenuity. Were the sabot confined to the Bretons, such is my dislike to that

« ПредишнаНапред »