Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

ones. Sir Richard Wynn, of Gwydir, chamberlain to Catherine, Queen of Charles Il., presented her majesty with one of this kind, which still retains a place in the regal crown. These fine pearls are but seldom met with, and the search of them does not constitute a continual source of employment. The other variety, the Cragen las, is found in abundance, yet not so plentifully as formerly, on the bar at the mouth of the river; and, as the method of procuring the pearls is curious, I shall subjoin the following particulars: When the tide is out, the fishers, men, women, and children, proceed in a body to the bar and adjacent shores, with their sacks and baskets, which they continue to fill until driven away by the return of tide. They then separate, and each family goes to its hut, which is sunk down in a vast hill of the empty shells, accumulated for several years. This hut is furnished with a large crochan, supported by three legs, into which the muscles are put; a fire is kindled beneath, and when the shells are opened, the fish is picked out and thrown into a tub. When all the shells are emptied, a boy enters the tub, and, with his naked feet, stamps upon the fish until it is reduced to a sort of pulp; when water is poured in, the animal matter floats, which is called solach, and is used as food for ducks, while the sand, particles of stone, and the pearls, settle in the bottom. After numerous washings, the sediment is carefully collected and thoroughly dried; when the larger stones have been removed, they place a small quantity at a time on a large wooden plate, and with a feather, each pearl is separated. This is not a very tedious operation, as, by holding the plate a little on one side, the pearl, from its globular form, immediately rolls down. The pearls are then taken to the agent, who pays for them so much per ounce. There is an extraordinary degree of mystery hanging over the future destination of these pearls: for many years the fishery has been a perfect monopoly, and the late proprietor, if I use not an unjustifiable term, has been said to have made £1000 a year by them. There is little doubt but that there is an immense profit, with little trouble, gained by the purchaser, who alone knows how to dispose of them. The price paid to the fishers at this present time is half-acrown an ounce, which is a somewhat advanced price, in consequence of an opposition party purchasing as many as they can procure. The former purchaser has, however, a considerable advantage, as he is the owner of the Crochanau, at Cevnvro, which is the extremity of the Morva,

where the fish are boiled. The present notice may probably meet the eye of one who may be able to throw aside this veil of mystery, and I do not despair of soon finding out how they are, or can be, disposed of, so as to secure to the industrious fisher his just proportion of the profits. The pearls, in general, are small, and have no lustre,* being of a dirty white colour, and sometimes irregular in shape; occasionally they are found of a black or dark blue colour; besides these, I have never seen any other variety, though, from the following extract from Richard of Cirencester, they have been found of other colours: “There are, besides (în Britain) several sorts of shell fish, among which are muscles, containing pearls often of the best kind, and of every colour; that is, red, purple, violet, green, but principally white, as we find in the venerable Bede's Ecclesiastical History.

Ty Deon; Hydrev 25, 1832.

P. s. When reading the interesting History of the White Mole, Cambrian Quarterly, vol. iv. p. 377, I recollected having seen several specimens of a beautiful variety of the Mouse, from a farm, near Plasnewydh, in Anglesey. They were of a light cream colour, spotted with black: they were taken from a corn stack, and by no means uncommon; indeed, from their numbers, they could not have been lusus nature, but a particular species. This was in 1825. I have not been there since; but some of your readers in that neighbourhood may be induced, I hope, from this notice, to give us a more detailed account; and, I think, they must be well known in the neighbourhood.

LL. C.

* We believe that the finest foreign pearls, in their unpolished state, present rather a dark appearance.-Edrs.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

Author of Britain's Historical Drama," the Royal Minstrel,

Rogvald,&c.
Land of the warrior and the mountain harp,
Thy name, majestic Cambria, hath a spell
To charm my soul with homage; for renown
Enshrines the relics of the Cymry's power,
Still seen on Saxon desert, hill, and plain,
Where altar, rampart, tomb, and temple stand,
And broken legends tell of other days.
How do I love, by moonlight eve, to sit
Beside the lonely graves of chiefs unknown:
Round which its coronal of purple gems
The autumn heath-flower binds! Then fancy flings
Dreams of romance, bright as her own loved star,
O'er nature's welcome sabbath of repose;
And I behold the shadowy warrior pass,
In gleaming arms, with eagle plume of power,
Leading his spectre bands, whose bossy shields
And giant forms flash out like meteor light,
Till all in darkness fade. Then pensive leans
The hunter youth, with his strong bow of steel,-
The grey stone lies, that marks the hero's tomb.
While, like a moonbeam struggling through a cloud,
The maid of Tormath, in her beauty, comes
Dim from the distance, breaking into light:
Her snowy arms around the youth she throws,--
And, as heaven's orb, behind a dark storm sinks,
Vanish those shapes of love. No form is there,
Save the dun roe and giant elk, that lifts
Proudly his antlers to the weary blast,
Which whistles through them shrilly. *

Sweet it is,
Prythian, to wander on thy mountain holds,
Which time shall ne'er destroy; and mark the light
Flung by the rosy sky along their lines;
When, from his ruby throne, the regal sun
Hath, in his pomp, withdrawn those lingering gleams,
The emblems are of thy time-hallowed fame,
Shed o'er the twilight of departed years,
Awakening noble themes. Then softly come
On the low winds, that every hill-born flower

• The Segh, or savage deer. The antlers of some of these beasts found in Britain “branched out,” says Whitaker, " to so enormous a width, that the tip of one was nearly eleven feet distant from that of the other.

Fondly caress, the wild harp's witching strains,
And choral melodies of Druid band
Around the evening sacrifice, to Him
Whose glory heaven's pure sapphire temple fills,
While the pale clouds that on the mountain rest,
Tower like the altar-smoke of victim slain.

When the dark Saxon in his sternness came
Like a fierce torrent sweeping through the isle.-
Ye patriot fathers of the lyre and sword,
Right nobly sunk amid its blood-red waves,
And perished for your altars and your homes !
Then, Cambria, dear-loved name, thy guarded hills,
Freedom's last refuge and her gory grave,
Long, long opposed the incursions of the foe;
And oft proud Snowdon thy storm-girded heights
From steep to steep with thund’ring war-cries rang,
Till the blood-gorging eagle screamed with joy,
As thy brave spearmen laid th' oppressor low.
Then in thy halls, where hung the lance and shield,
And royal chieftains sat at solemn feast,
Thy bards awoke the song of other days,
And lay triumphant o'er the Saxon horde,
'Till shook the roof with martial clang and shout.
But soon the midnight of oblivion fell
Dark on their golden harpstrings,-low were fallen
The mighty bearers of the sword and spear ;
The warrior bird, child of the sun, came down
From her high flight, and with the grizzly wolf
Strove for the battle-prey.-On the red field
Sunk Cambria's pride, last of the princely line
That wore the Celtic crown !—Then shrieked the ghosts
Of ages past from thy dim cloud-veiled rocks,
Proud Snowdon, king of mountains; shadowy bard,
And white-robed seer, dashed from their airy harps
The wild lament, and through thy deep defiles
From cliff to cliff the wailful requiem rang!
Deep silence reigned in kingly hall and bower,
And for the war-song and the gorgeous feast,
The splendid pageant and the sprightly dance,
The lich-owl ʼmid the shattered ruins mocked
The pale wayfaring moon, the surly bear*
Couched on the regal hearth, and as the blast
Whistled along the ivy tapestried walls
The wolf howled savagely.-

* “ The bear shall be on the heath.” Saron poem.— The British bear was transported into Italy for the sports of the amphitheatre.

Cambria beloved,
Though fell oppression on her death-pile bound
Fame-honoured liberty, thy genius springs
From her cold ashes, bright and beautiful,
Like the sole bird of Araby's blest clime,
Clad in resplendent dyes. Thy stormy night
Of blood and death is past, and glory dawns;
The glory of the Bardic harp and song,
O'er all the mountains scattering golden light.

What though no more
Thy flowery plains with battle-clash resound
Of iron chariots, or the warlike peal
Of stern-souled riders, as they lift the spear
And dash amid the spray,—though waves no more
This magic banner of the sun, that woke
The shout of death along thy blood-stained ranks ;*
Nor in thy oaken groves, sweet Mona, when
The sun turns all their morning leaves to gold,
The holy chantings swell of Druid choir,
And trumpet hymn to day's young rising god,
Yet in thy halls again, Isle of the blest, +
The spirit-kindling strings of their loved harps
Thy Bards sweep joyously 1-

Sons of the Seer,
To ancient legend strike the minstrel chords,
For wild romance hath o'er your hills and vales
Her spells of witching flung And strike ye shall
The magic lyre, till Cambria's mountains shout,
From the proud eagle's throne to Wye's dark towers,
In thunder their applause. The sound shall stir
The dry bones of the valley; they shall spring
Again to life, at touch of golden wire;
Such sweet enchantment breathes in Bardic song.
Like mighty winds that sweep the lofty brows
Of Penmaen Mawr, and loud as wintry swell
Of Caunant's giant cataract shall rush
The spirit of past ages on the sons

Of Cambria's land of music, waking all * “There was a flowing streamer attached to it, interwoven with the threads of wrath, and it was regarded as possessing a miraculous power of protection from military disgrace. By these circumstances I deem myself justified in styling it a magical Aag or standard." “ The Irish Druids had the standard of the sun and the dragon." -- Notes to Gwarchan Maelderw.

# It has been supposed by many authors, among whom is Milton, that Mona and the Isle of Man were the Elysian Islands of happy spirits.-Sce also Tzetzes.

Alluding to the last Eisteddvod.

« ПредишнаНапред »