Page images
PDF
EPUB

The Journey to Snowdon. 40. 1os. 6d. boards. White: THIS HIS is a continuation of a Tour to Wales * by Mr. Pen

nant, a gentleman well known in the literary world by his account of Scotland, and other ingenious performances, As Wales is a part of the kingdom abounding in the finest prospects, and most beautiful scenery, and where nature appears in all her sublimity and magnificence, affording, at the same time, an ample field for the curiofity of the naturalist, and food sufficient for the antiquary, an accurate description of it cannot but be acceptable to the public, especially when given by so careful an observer as Mr. Pennant, who has omitted nothing which the information of preceding writers, or which oral or traditional knowlege could procure with regard to every place through which he pafied, and every person or circumstance which he has occasion to mention. Το a native of this country, whose honeft prejudices warmly interest him in every thing that concerns it, the work before us must be doubly agreeable, as the author who is himself, we believe, both a native and inhabitant, takes every opportunity, in his relation of different occurrences, to celebrate the virtues of his countrymen. If the reader, indeed, has not some knowlege of Welch, he will not so well relish the beauties of it. A mere Englishman would even sometimes be puzzled to decypher the following formidable letters,

BWLCH OER-DDRWS, which, notwithstanding, form the running title of page 16, with several others equally illegible.

Impartiality obliges us here to remark, that there is not that ease, terseness, and perspicuity in the style of this performance which we could wish to have met with ; the facts and occurrences recounted, and the observations made, are not well ranged and digested ; add to this, that the diarymanner in which the narrative of the Journey is continued, has something very aukward and uncouth in it.

• Return along the ridge of the hill--fee beneath me the little church of Gwaen-ysher - descend to the church and village Llanafa-quit the turnpike road on the left-ford the Wheler, and after crossing the Clwyd, reach Llewinni, &c.' This method of reciting what happened, may be useful in a

memorandum book, and of service to travellers who are : to go the same road; but a frequent repetition of it in a printed book, is rather tedious and disgusting. We mean * See Crit. Rev. vol. xlv. p. 268.

not,

not, however, by this remark, to derogate from the general merit and utility of this performance, which is, upon the whole, considered as part of a history of the country, both instructive and entertaining, as our readers will perceive by the following extracts, which we have selected as some of the most striking and agreeable.

• In the year 1572, says our author, the resiant burgesses who are voters for a member for the borough of Denbigh, had the courage to withfi and the insinuations, the promises, and the threats, of as unprincipled a lord as this kingdom was ever afAicted with ; who had power to infliet, and will to execute, any. vengeance that opposition to his arbitrary inclinations might excite. In that year it was his pleasure that one Henry Dynne Nould represent this borough in parlement; the burgesses were refractory, and chose another person; which gave rise to the following letter, which I print, as a Jans pareille. « A 1re fent from the earl of Leicester to the bayliffe, aldermen,

and burgeffes, greatlie blaminge them for making choife of the burges of the parliament without his lordship’s consente, and commanding them to allter their electione, and to chose Henrie Dynne. " I have bene latlie advertised how small consideration

youe have had of the I" I wrote unto you, for the nomynasion of yo? burgess, whereat as I cannot but greatlie mervayle (in respect i am yo' l. and you my tenaunts, as also the manie good tournes and comodities wen I have bene allwayes willinge to procure youe, for the benefitte of yor whole state) so do I take the same in fo---, and vill yte so unthankfullie, as yf youe do not uppon receite hereof presentlie revoke the same, and appointe suche one as I shall nominate, namelie, Henrie Dynne, be ye well assured never to loke for any ffriendshipe or favo- at my hande, in any yo' affayres hereafter ; not for any great accompt I make of the thinge, but for that I would not it shou'd be thought that I have so smalí regard borne me at yo' hands, who are bounden to owe (as yo' L.) thus much dutie as to know myne advice and pleasure; that will haplie be aleadged, that yo' choice was made before the receipt lies (in relie I would litle have thoughte that

youe

would have bene fo forgetfull, or rather carelesfe of me, as before yo? élecion not to make me privie therto, or at the least to have fome desire of myne advise therein (having tyme ynoughe so to

do) but as you have of yo' selfes thus rafhlie proceded herein, : without myne asient, soe have I thought good to signifie unto

youe, that I mean not to take it in any wife at yo' hands, and iherefore wysh you more advisedlie to consider hereof, and to deale with me as maye continue my fav towards you, otherwise Joke for no fav' at my hands : and so fare ye well. From the court, this last day of April, 1572.

R. LEYCÉSTER.

. This

of my,

This doughty letter had no effect: the burgesses adhered to their own choice, and Richard Candilhe, gent. stands as member for Denbigh in that year.'

This is a curious letter, and may serve to fhew that the custom of peers interfering in elections, has at least the plea of antiquity in its favour,

There is something droll in the following confession of Mr. Pennant, and the little history annexed to it,

• I hope my countrymen (says he) will not grow indignant, when I express my fears, that in very early times we were as fierce and favage as the reft of Europe: and they will bear this the better, when they reflect, that they keep pace with it in civilization, and in the progress of every fine art.

We cannot deny but that we were, to the excess,

Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel. • Two gentlemen of this house exemplify the assertion. Meiric ap Bleyddyn, resentful of the injuries which he and his tenants received from the English judges and officers, flew one of the first; and hanged several of the latter on the oaks of his woods ; by which he forfeited to the crown the lands, still known in these parts by the name of Têr Meiric Llwyd, or the estate of Meiric Llwyd. As to his person, he fecured it within the sanctuary at Hulston ; and marrying, founded in that neighbourhood the house of Llwyd y Maen.

• Bleyddyn Vychan, another of this race, fell out with his tenants, and in a fit of fury chased them from his estate, and turned it into a forest ; a pretty picture of the manners of the times! The place lies in the parish of Llansanan, and bears the name of Forest to this day.'

From the ftory, as above related, we have reason to suppose that Mr. Pennant's countrymen are apt to be a little quarrelfome. From an inscription which we meet with a little after, a suspicion arises, that they are liable to another weakness also. Mr. Pennant indeed infinuates as much, where he tells us that

In Llenrhaider, a village near Denbigh caftie, in the churchyard is a common altar-tomb of a gentleman, who chose to build his fame on the long series of ancestors which distinguished his from vulgar clay. It tells us, that

HEARE LYETH THE BODY OF
JOHN, AP ROBERT, OF PORTH, AP
DAVID, AP GRIFFITH, AP DAVID
VAUCHAN. AP BLETHYN, AP

GRIFFITH, AP MEREDITH,
AP JERWORTH, AP LLEWELYN,

AP JERORH, AP HEILIN, AP
COWRYD, AP CADVAN, AP

ALAWGWA,

[ocr errors]

ALAWGWA, AP CADELL, THE

KING OF POWYS, WHO
DEPARTED THIS LIFE THE
XX DAY OF MARCH, IN THE
YEAR OF OUR LORD GOD

1642, AND OF

HIS AGE XCV.' For the insertion of this epitaph our author's countrymen have perhaps more reason to be indignant, than for the quotation before given.

When our traveller gets to a place called Bar-mouth, in Meirionydfire, he tells us a very extraordinary ftory, which he attefts, of a fasting woman, and which, for its fingularity, we shall insert.

• My curiosity (says he) was excited to examine into the truth of a surprizing relation of a woman in the parish of Cylynin, who had fasted a most fupernatural length of time. I took boat, had a most pleasant passage up the harbour, charmed with the beauty of the shores, intermixed with woods, verdant pastures, and corn fields. I landed, and, after a short walk, found in a farm called Tydden Bach, the object of my excurfion, Mary Thomas, who was boarded here, and kept with great humanity and neatness. She was of the age of forty-seven, of a good countenance, very pale, thin, but not so much emaciated as might be expected, from the strangeness of the circumstances I am going to relate ; her eyes weak, her voice low, deprived of the use of her lower extremities, and quite bed. ridden; her pulse rather strong, her intellects clear and senfible.

« On examining her, she informed me, that at the age of feven, she had fome eruptions like the measles, which grew confluent and universal; and she became so fore, that she could not bear the left touch : the received some ease by the application of a sheep's skin, just taken from the animal, After this, she was seized, at spring and fall, with swellings and inflammations, during which time she was confined to her bed; but in the intervals could walk about; and once went to Holy-well, in hopes of cure.

• When she was about twenty-seven years of age, she was ate tacked with the fame complaint, but in a more violent manner; and during two years and a half, remained insensible, and took no manner of nourishment, notwithstanding her friends forced open

her mouth with a spoon to get something down ; but the moment the spoon was taken away, her teeth met, and closed with vaft snapping and violence : during that time, the flung up vast quantities of blood.

• She well remembers the return of her senses, and her know. ledge of every body about her. She thought she had slept but

a night,

;

a night, and asked her mother whether she had given her any thing the day before, for she found herself very hungry. Meat was brought to her ; but so far from being able to take any thing folid, she could scarcely swallow a spoonful of thin whey. From this, the continued seven years and a half without any food or liquid, excepting sufficient of the latter to moisten her lips. At the end of this period, she again fancied herself hungry, and desired an egg ; of which she got down the quantity of a nut kernel. About this time, the requeited to receive the facrament; which she did, by having a crum of bread steeped in the wine. After this, she takes for her daily subfistence a bit of bread, weighing about two penny-weights seven grains, and drinks a wine glass of water : sometimes à spoonful of wine, but frequently abstains whole days from food and liquids She sleeps very indifferently: the ordinary func. tions of nature are very small, and very seldom performed. Her attendant told me, that her disposition of mind was mild her temper even; that she was very religious, and very fervent in prayer: the natural effect of the state of her body, long unembarrassed with the grossness of food, and a constant alienation of thought from all worldly affairs.'

Snowdon, the great object of curiosity, for a view of which the journey was undertaken, is thus described.

• The top of Snowdon, which by way of pre-eminence is styled Y WYDDEA or the Conspicuous, rises almost to a point, the mountain from hence seems propped by four valt buttresses ; between which are four deep Cwms, or hollows: each, excépting one, had one or more lakes, lodged in its distant bottom. The nearest was Ffynnon Lâs, or 'The Green Well, lying immediately below us. One of the company had the curiosity to descend a very bad way to a jutting rock, that impended over the monstrous precipice ; and he seemed like Mercury ready to take his fight from the summit of Atlas. The waters of Ffynnon Lâs, from this height, appeared black and unfathomable, and the edges quite green. From thence is a succession of bottoms, furrounded by the most lofty and rugged hills, the greateit part of whose sides are quite mural, and form the most magnificent amphitheatre in nature. The Wyddfa is on one side ; Crib y Distill, with its ferrated tops, on another; Crib Coch, a ridge of fiery redness, appears beneath the preceding; and opposite to it is the boundary called the Lliwedd. Another very fingular fupport to this mountain is Y Clawdd Coch, rising into a farp ridge, fo narrow, as not to afford breadth even for a path.

i The view from this exalted situation is unbounded. In former tour, I saw from it the county of Chefter, the high hilla of Yorkshire, part of the north of England; Scotland, and Ireland : a plain view of the Isle of Man ; and that of Anglesea lay extended like a map beneath us, with every rill visible. I took much pains to see this prospect to advantage; sat

up

at a farin on VOL. LII. Aug. 1781. H

the

« PreviousContinue »