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steep, indented cliffs,
gray and time-worn, cast their gloomy shadows into the valley. A world of solitude stretched out before us, stamped with startling and majestic characters by an omnipotent hand. And this deep and rugged pass, where all was now so still and peaceful, had been the scene of many a wild and thrilling adventure, of many a dark and bloody crime. Here too, the fierce warriors of feudal times had mingled in wild and desperate conflict, and here, among these very glens and mountain-passes, the brave old Britons had mustered their forces against the Norman, under the banner of the great Llewellyn.
For seven miles the road winds through this dark and savage region, a scenery ever varying in form and appearance, yet ever the same in its chief characteristic- a sublime, imposing, almost terrific, grandeur. At length, a turn in the road brought in view the end of the Pass. On the terminal cliff rose the solitary tower of a ruined casile ; while beyond lay the green, fertile vale of Llanberris. The eye, wearied with the rough and rugged sterility of the rocky crags, dwelt with delight on the opening prospect, as it faded into distant and softening vistas; the wild sublimity of the mountains melting into the gentle beauty of the valley. The driver snapped his whip, and in a few minutes we stupped at the little yellow inn at the foot of Snowdon. Every thing about the place had a quiet and domestic look; you might easily have mistaken it for a country farm-house. A hen, with a little brood of chickens, were picking up the crumbs about the door, and a vain coxcomb of a peacock was spreading his dorsal glories in the sun. Bundles of fagots were piled up around the yard; fishing-poles leaned against the garden wall, and the garden itself, with its rows of marigolds and tulips and roses, and a bright little stream rippling among them, lay smiling under the parlor window. The great white housedog came fawning round, with the air of an old acquaintance; and, indeed, I have noticed that large dogs have always, as a general thing, seemed to have a kind of fellow-feeling for me. I found an old thumbworn guide-book lying on the table, and looked to see what it could tell me of the old castle of Dolbadern, which, centuries ago, had guarded the entrance to the Pass. I always had a fondness for ruins, those inspiring old memorials and venerable relics, which link the busy present with the dim and dreamy past. Time seems to have flung around them a kind of hallowing beauty, as if half relenting the ruin he has wrought. I had determined to visit the dilapidated and picturesque old tower, when I first got a glimpse of it, in the opening of the pass; and I asked Harry to accompany me. But he had other business on his hands just then, and he begged to be excused. He had been out on a little exploring expedition on his own account, he told me, and had discovered that there was capital fishing in the streams around the house; and, moreover, the landlord had told him there was a juvenile Niagara at the base of the mountain ; so, if I had a taste for old castles, and such rubbish, I must be content to enjoy them alone. On the whole, I was glad that he had determined to investigate the water-power of the valley, for I preferred to go alone; and with a happy consciousness of superior judgment, I started for Dolbadern castle. It was farther than I at
first supposed. I asked a ragged little urchin, who I met on the road, if he could guide me by some shorter path, across the meadows. He stared at me, and shook his head, and I saw that he could not speak a word of English. With what a strange tenacity these Welsh cling to their rough and strong old language! The boy fumbled round among his rags, and thrusting his hand down into a deep, labyrinthine pocket, pulled out some beautiful specimens of spar, from the mines. I gave him a shilling for the lot, and he scampered off in great glee, leaving me alone again. Soon I met a hoary-headed peasant, toiling along under a burthen of fagots, looking very like the pictures of Christian in the Pilgrim's Progress, tottering under the weight of his sins. With that civility and courtesy which uniformly characterize the lower orders of the country, the old man directed me to a narrow path across the fields. It led directly to the foot of the cliff on which the now solitary tower was standing, and clambering up the steep acclivity, I sat down to rest among the ruins.
Dolbadern was the strongest of those fortresses which in feudal times had guarded the mountain-passes into Anglesia and Caernarvon. The situation was singularly picturesque. It stood on a bold and lofty rock on the borders of the beautiful lake of Llanberris. Rude and craggy mountains towered on every side around it, while the green and peaceful valley lay slumbering below. The ruins were spread over the entire summit of the steep, projecting cliff. A single tower, nearly a hundred feet in height, was all that now remained of the once impregnable fortress. It was in this tower, in its deepest and darkest dungeon, that Prince Owen the Red was held captive for twenty-eight years, by his brother, the last Llewellyn. He had united with a younger brother, in a treasonable conspiracy against the throne, and here he paid the penalty of his crime. A spiral stairway wound round the time-dismantled walls, and I climbed up carefully over the loose and broken steps, steadying myself by the ivy vines which ran in wild and luxurious confusion over the ruins. There was little in the scene to remind the stranger of those feudal conflicts and that mad ferocity which had once distracted this peaceful valley. A landscape, wild and stern, in its rare and peculiar beauty, was spread out before me. Snowdon, once the beloved resort of the princes of the land, now lonely and deserted, reared its purple peaks in gloomy grandeur against the sky ; quiet and pleasant little hamlets were nestling among the valleys; the wild crags of the Pass frowned darkly in the distance, and the silvery lake was spread out at my feet. Every thing was calm, and quiet, and peaceful; and, as if in derision of its ancient terrors, an amiable old cow was reclining at the very foot of the once dreaded don. jon. Times had changed sadly with the old castle of Dolbadern, since the days of chivalry and romance, when Llewellyn, with his train of nobles, was wont to resort to its lordly towers; when often, under its now ruined walls, as Spenser tells us,
The spearman heard the bugle-horn,
When cheerily smiled the morn;
Obey'd Llewellyn's horn.
It would have been interesting to trace the causes which had wrought such a transforming influence on the character and spirit of the people of Wales, once the lordly masters of the soil, bold, turbulent, impetuous, and independent, now a peaceful, honest, loyal peasantry; feeling no stimulus to exertion beyond that of their daily wants; their desires and their hopes conforming themselves to the narrow scale of regular toils and humble employments. But the day was rapidly slipping away, and I concluded not to do it. So I plucked a leaf of the ivy that clambered over the highest point of the wall, and carefully descending the dangerous stairway, returned again to the inn. My friend was iinpaliently waiting my arrival ; in a moment, traveling-coats were adjusted, cigars were lighted, and we were on the road to Caernarvon. The little wretch of whom I had purchased the crystals, had evidently spread the report that minerals were at a premium ; troops of wild, ragged little rascals came rushing out after us, holding up their specimens in their dirty fists, and splitting their throats with their villainous yellings.
“Jolly Jove, the cloud compelling, high on hoar Olympus dwelling,
Terror-stricken at the tumult, would have tumbled from his throne.” It was growing late when we reached Caernarvon, and we proceeded at once to visit its celebrated castle. I was disappointed in its appearance. There was, it is true, much that was striking and grand in the ample and majestic proportions of this colossal castle. But the realities of the present were brought in strange and ludicrous juxtaposition with the poetry of the past. Fishing-sloops and coasters were lying under the walls ; barrels and boxes were piled up against the gray old towers ; lamp-oil and molasses mingled with chivalry and romance, “ Show you the castle, sir ? show you the castle? Look out for that dray, sir. Pull the bell, and the woman will come. Shil. ling, please, sir-thankee, sir-here comes the woman, sir.” The heavy door of the castle closed behind us, and shut out something of the work-a-day world. Still it seemed to me to smell of turpentine and lumber, and I vainly strove to recall the beauty and magnificence which had surrounded it, in the chivalrous days of the Norman conqueror. It is a vast irregular structure, covering more than an acre in extent, and was built by Edward I., with a view to overawe his conquered but turbulent subjects. How well it answered the purpose, may be surmised from the fact, that they one day took it by assault, and hung the governor out of the window. It now serves only as a wonder for the modern architect, and a means of support to the old woman at the gate. The turrets rise majestically over the embattled parapet, and the whole has an air of forlorn grandeur, mingled with massy strength. I ascended the lofty eagle tower, whose ivy-mantled walls are now fast yielding to the assaults of time. The guide pointed out the room where the unfortunate Edward II., the first Prince of Wales, was born. With considerable difficulty I knocked out a piece of the hard Roman cernent, as a memento, and flung it at a couple of belligerent cats, from the top of the tower. As we descended into the
tennis court, our attention was directed to a gloomy looking iron-barred dungeon at the base of the tower. I kneeled down and looked through the gratings. It was dismal and dark, but I could just discern a human skull lying on the floor. It might have been the last mouldering remains of some miserable prisoner, who had breathed out his life there, a victim of feudal violence and revenge. Yes, it might have been so; but it looked to me precisely as if it had been put there for effect. I had not yet forgotten the turpentine and molasses.
The shades of evening were gathering around us as we again approached the old see of Bangor. I descended from the carriage and walked slowly towards the town. The warm, rich light of a summer's sunset illumined the hill-tops, and bathed valley and glen in a soft and mellow beauty. The distant mountains appeared vaster in their dimness, and the silver Menai was adorned with a milder and gentler beauty. The gray spire of the old cathedral and the ivy-clad walls of Beaumaris castle seemed to have become enshrouded in a more holy and reverential gloom. I walked leisurely along, musing on the wild glory of the past and the quiet beauty of the present, and entered the town just as the last pencilings of twilight were fading from the clouds that encircled the misty summit of Snowdon. So ended a day in Wales.'
We have often wondered how those, like most of our readers, who fare sumptuously every day at the literary banquet spread out for them by our cherished Alma Mater, could manifest so much impatience and greediness to devour our humblo Maga, which consists of mere crums that fall from the other Table, or picked bones (Division Productions) left at the conclusion of its liberal feast. Of course, those who live outside these classic shades, and enjoy not the privileges that the dwellers here do, with hunger for their best sauce, might be expected to snatch at anything that will satisfy their cravings, however coarse and unpalatable. And on a second thought, we even see a reason also for the impatience of the first mentioned class. Those who are fed altogether on dainties soon come to loathe them, and long after more common food. On the same principle, then, we suppose, your alderman-fed minds turn with relish to the uninviting course it may be that we dish up for them. Or, perhaps, they philosophize upon the subject, and make a meal from our humble food, that they may return with a keener zest to their accustomed fare. But, be that as it may, we claim to give this month a holyday dinner, inasmuch as we have served up a sort of dessert in the shape of the fine arts. We place this first in the course, according to a good old English custom, which is to commence with the lightest and most easily digested, and thence proceed to the more substantial. We beg of our readers, however, not to partake so bountifully of this, as to cloy their appetite for what follows. We know it is dangerous .to begin with a dainty, such as we now offer, for the reason that it requires so much better an after-course. Whether we have succeeded in obtaining such a course, modesty forbids us to say. We at least hope it will not fall behind what can reasonably be expected. At any rate, we shall speak freely of the portrait, for it is not our genius that we praise, but our liberality; and this, in a bargain like that between our readers and us, we have living examples, in the editorial corps, for unblushingly publishing from the house-tops. We have run no express to Halifax, of which we can boast and claim favor from our subscribers and the public; but we have to the land of the fine arts, and publish therefrom the very latest production, in advance of all cotemporaries. We have not leagued ourselves with any evil spirits to accomplish our purpose, but we have with certain agents and embassadors of the graces. We have encountered no opposition from the elements to frustrate our plans, but we have frorn certain avaricious desires to which human nature is subject. We failed in the attempt to get up a portrait for our volume in the manner that all other portraits have been got up, viz. by subscriptions for copies enough to pay the whole expense, and leave free as many as would be required for the magazine. But we were not to be put down so. After having encountered dangers to life and limb in the aforeinentioned enterprise, we took the responsibility upon our own hands, and here we give the result. We hope our subscribers will appreciate our endeavors to benefit and please them, and taking the will for the deed, excuse our shortcomings (if we have any) in that respect.
We have not room in this number for the accustomed extracts from the journal of our conclave. We cannot, however, deny our readers and ourselves the pleasure of presenting some account of the more recent “movements and doings" of its members. King Jowl has abdicated the throne, though by particular request he still continues to render his valuable assistance to the club. Ho seems to have become thoroughly convinced of the unsatisfying nature of human power, and, like Charles V. of Germany, he gladly renounced its cares and responsibilities. He will read you an homily, a full hour in length, upon the vanity of human wishes and grandeur, of which he tells you he can speak from experience. In contrast with the troubles and vexations of a public life, he delights to dwell on the happy, quiet, and tranquil enjoyment of a private station ; and he has committed to memory Horace's ode upon the subject, so perfectly, that he can repeat it backwards or forwards without the least stammering or hesitancy. He expresses a thorough contempt for public fame, so uncertain and so unjust
. It is, he says, a candle uncovered and exposed to the night wind, which may be seen at a distance it is true, but then is liable at any moment to be blown out ; while, on the other hand, the reputation of a private man is like the same candle in a lantern, though not so conspicuous, yet so protected as to have little danger of being extinguished.
Hal has been so busy, I suppose, reading the favors then received that he has not attended a single meeting of the club since St. Valentine's Day. He thinks he has received some of the tenderest and most touching little verses that the English language is capable of expressing, which he wished to inflict upon our readers, but was prevented by the unsusceptibleness of the other Editors. It is really a treat, though, to hear Hal talk about the ladies. He boasts of having obtained such expertness in the wear, that he can tell, by a single glance, their position and character. Ho says the true tons are known by their firm step and indifferent carriage ; they have the boldness of soldiers, and stand your gaze with unflushed cheeks and eyes as cold as winter snows on a New England mountain; all which seems to assert, .don't think yourself particularly worthy of my notice.' The commonalty he distinguishes by their flauntiness of dress and affected demureness, tov arch for the merest novice to mistake for modesty. One trait of this affectation he calls the most provoking of all. It is a custom with them to cast a thick, green gauze veil before their face, when about six paces distant from you; which, no doubt, he contends, is intended to attract the notice they would otherwise escape; but which kind of taking the reil he seems to consider decidedly none-ish. Again he recoguizes his special favorites, the rosy-cheeked country girls, by their timid glances and sudden blushes, which shows them conscious of being criticised, from the color of their eyes to the turn of their ankles.
Of the rest of our body, we can only say, that Hotspur has left town, for parts unknown; that Bardolph keeps the usual even tenor of his way; and that Lean Jack has altogether abjured punning. It is true, the plant reformation is of slow growth in his case, as well as others. You could hardly expect him to break off at once. But those who know him best, say there is a decided change for the better. The last pun he was heard to utter, was when he expressed his determination to abstain for the future—for he said be had become convinced it was blasphemous, since it was taking the name of things in vane.'
Nos. V and VI, Vol. V, of “ The Nassau Monthly," have been received, and fully sustain the growing reputation of this College periodical. "When shall we meet again,” received too late for insertion in this number, but shall appear in the