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Our young readers are required to James Mackie, by trade a wright, was observe that these “ Tales of the O'Hara asked by a neighbour for what purpose Family" are merely tales, invented to he had some fine deal in his barn. amuse the mind, or create wonder. Yet is timber for my coffin," quoth James. things of this sort are still believed by “ Sure," replies the neighbour, you ignorant people, and in the dark ages they mean not to make your own coffin. You were credited, or affected to be credited, have neither resolution nor ability for the by those who ought to have known better. task.” “ Hout away man," says James, Mr. Brand has heaped together a great “ if I were once begun, I'll soon ca't by many of these superstitions.
hand." The hand, but not the heart,
failed him, and he left the task of making Besides general notices of death, certain it to a younger operator. families were reputed to have particular
This anecdote brought to Mr. Brand's warnings; some by the appearance of a
remembrance what certainly happened in bird, and others by the figure of a tall
a village in the county of Durham, where woman in white, who shrieked about the it is the etiquette for a person not to go
out of the house till the burial of a near house. This in Ireland is called the
relation. An honest simple countryman, banshee, or “ the shrieking woman.”
whose wife lay a corpse in his house, was
seen walking slowly up the village: a In some of the great families an ad, neighbour ran to him, and asked “Where monishing demon or genius was supposed in heaven, John, are you going?" to be a visiter. The family of Rothmur- the joiner 's shop,” said poor John, “ to chas is alleged to have had the bodack
see them make my wife's coffin; it will au dun, “ the ghost of the hill;" and the be a little diversion for me.” Kinchardines « the spectre of the bloody hand.” Gartinberg-house was said to have been haunted by Bodach Gartin,
In Cumberland, wraiths are called and Tulloch Gorms by Maug Monlack, Their business was to appear at the mo
swarths, and in other places “ fetches." or " the girl with the hairy left hand." The highlanders, like the Irish, ima- whose figure they assumed. “Sometimes,”
ment preceding the death of the person gined their deaths to have been foretold by the cries of the benshi, or “the fairies' says Brand,“ there is a greater interval
between the appearance and the death." wife,” along the paths that their funerals
According to Dr. Jamieson, the appearwere to take.
ance of the wraith was not to be taken as
indicating immediate death, “ although, In Wales-the exhalations in church- in all cases, it was viewed as a premoniyards, called corpse candles, denoted tion of the disembodied state." The seacoming funerals. Very few of the good son of the day wherein it was seen, was people of Carmarthen died without ima- understood to presage the time of the gining they saw their corpse candles, or person's departure. If early in the morndeath-lights.
ing, it was a token of long life and even In Northumberland, the vulgar saw old age; if in the evening, it indicated their waff, or " whiff,” as a death token, that death was at hand. which is similar to the Scotch wraith, or the appearance of a living person to himself or others.
A worthy old lady of exceeding veracity, frequently acquainted the editor of
the Every-Duy Book with her supposed In some parts of Scotland, the “ fetch” superhuman sights. They were habitual was called the fye. It was observed to a to her. One of these was of an absent woman in her ninety. ninth year, that she daughter, whom she expected on a visit, could not long survive. “Aye,” said but who had not arrived, when she left she, with great indignation, “ what fye- her chamber to go to a lower part of the token do you see about me?” This is house. She was surprised on meeting quoted by Brand from the “ Statistical her on the stairs, for she had not heard Account of Scotland,” vol. xxi. p. 150; the street door opened. She expressed arid from the same page he cites an anec- her surprise, the daughter smiled and dote to show with what indifference death stood aside to let her mother pass, who is sometimes contemplated.
naturally as she descended, reached
out her hand to rest it on her daughter's THE HAUNTED OAK OF NANNEU, arm as assistance to her step; but the
Near Dolgelly, in Merionethshire. old lady mistook and fell to the bottom of the stairs. In fact her daughter was
On the twenty-seventh of July, 1813, not there, but at her own home. The sir Richard Colt Hoare, bart., the elegant old lady lived some years after this, and editor of “ Giraldus Cambrensis,' was at ber daughter survived her; though, ac- Nanneu,“ the ancient seat of the ancient cording to her mother's imagination and family of the Nanneus," and now the seat belief, she ought to have died in a month of sir Robert Williams Vaughan, bart.
During that day he took a sketch of a venerable oak at that place, within the
trunk of which, according to Welsh traIn 1823, the editor of this work being dition, the body of Howel Sele, a powermentally disordered from too close ap- ful chieftain residing at Nanneu, was implication, left home in the afternoon to mured by order of his rival Owen Glynconsult a medical friend, and obtain dwr. In the night after the sketch was relief under his extreme depression. In taken, this aged tree fell to the ground. Fleet-street, on the opposite side of the An excellent etching of the venerable baroway to where he was walking, he saw a net's drawing by Mr. George Cuitt of pair of legs devoid of body, which he was Chester, perpetuates the portrait of this persuaded were his own legs, though not celebrated oak in its last moments. The at all like them. A few days afterwards engraving on the next page is a mere when worse in health, he went to the extract from this masterly etching: same friend for a similar purpose, and
It stood alone, a wither'd oak on his way saw himself on precisely the Its shadow fled, its branches broke; same spot as he had imagined he had Its riven trunk was knotted round, seen his legs, but with this difference that Its gnarled roots o'erspread the ground the person was entire, and thoroughly a Honours that were from tempests won, likeness as to feature, form, and dress. In generations long since gone, The appearance seemed as real as his own A scanty foliage yet was seen, existence. The illusion was an effect of Wreathing its hoary brows with green, disordered imagination..
Like to a crown of victory
And, as it stood, it seem'd to speak
To winter winds in murmurs weak,
Of times that long had passed it by
Of what it was, and seem'd to wail,
A shadeless spectre, shapeless, pale.
Mrs. Radcliffe.* St. Ann.
The charm which compels entrance to She was the mother of the Virgin Mary, Mr. Cuitt's print within every portfolio of 2nd is a saint of great magnitude in the taste, is the management of his point in Romish church. Her name is in the the representation of the beautiful wood church of England calendar, and the and mountain scenery around the tree, to almanacs.
which the editor of the Every-Day Book There are curious particulars concern- would excite curiosity in those who ing Ann and her husband St. Joachim, in happen to be strangers to the etching. vo.. i. col. 1008.
But this gentleman's fascinating style is independent of the immediate object on
which he has exercised it, namely, “ the NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. Mean Temperature ... 63. 67.
spirit's Blasted Tree," an oak of so great .
fame, that sir Walter Scott celebrates its awful distinction among the descendants
of our aboriginal ancestors, by the lines July 27.
of “ Marmion," affixed to the annexed FALL OF NANNEU OAK.
representation. This is a remarkable incident in the annals of events relating to the memorials • See this lady's “ Posthumous Works," vol. iv.
Stonehenge stanza 53, from whence these lines are of past times.
“ The spirit's Blasted Tree" grew in miles from the beautiful valley of Tal y a picturesque part of Wales, abounding Lyn, the aspect of the country is pecuwith local superstitions and memorials of liarly wild. The hills almost meet at ancient times At the distance of a few their basis, and change their aspect. In
stead of verdure, they have a general rude correct, inasmuch as the tour of an antiand savage appearance. The sides are quary in such a region greatly assists broken into a thousand forms ; some are tasteful discrimination. Within the park spiring and sharp pointed ; but the greater Mr. Pennant saw a mere compost of part project forward, and impend in such cinders and ashes,” the ruins of the house a manner as to render the apprehension of Howel Sele, whose body is alleged to of their fall tremendous. A few bushes have been buried in “ the spirit's Blasted grow among them, but their dusky colour Tree" by Owen Glyndwr. as well as the darkness of the rocks only add horror to the scene. One of the precipices is called Pen y Delyn, from its Owen Glyndwr, or Glendower, is resemblance to a harp. Another is styled rendered popular in England by the Llam y Lladron, or " the Thieves' Leap," most popular of our
dramatic poets, from a tradition that thieves were brought from whoin it may be appropriate to there and thrown down. On the left is take the outlines of his poetical character, the rugged and far-famed height of Cader in connection with the legend of Howel Idris, and beneath it a small lake called Sele's singular burial. Llyn y tri Graienyn, or “ the lake of the The first mention, of Owen Glyndwr, in Three Grains," which are three vast rocks the works of our great bard, is in “ King tumbled from the neighbouring moun. Richard II.” by Henry of Lancaster, tain, which the peasants say were “ Three afterwards king Henry IV. Before he Grains" that had fallen into the shoe of passes over into Wales, he says in the the great Idris, and which he threw out camp at Bristolhere, as soon as he felt them hurting his
Come lords, away, foot.
To fight with Glendower and his complices, From thence, by a bad road, Mr. Pen
A while to work, and after, holiday. nant, in one of his “ Tours in Wales," reached Nanneu. “ The way to Nanneu
This line relating to Glendower, Theois a continual ascent of two miles; and bald deemed an interpolation on Shakperhaps it is the highest situation of any speare, and it has been so regarded by gentleman's house in Britain. The estate
some subsequent commentators. We have is covered with fine woods, which clothe
“ Owen Glendower," however, as one of all the sides of the dingles for many miles.” the dramatis personæ in “
Henry IV.” The continuation of Mr. Pennant's wherein he is first mentioned by the earl description brings us to our tree as he of Westmoreland as “the irregular and saw it: “ On the road side is a venerable wild Glendower :” king Henry calls him oak in its last stage of decay, and pierced “the great magician, damn’d Glendower;". by age into the form of a gothic arch; yet Hotspur terms him a great Glendower;" its present growth is twenty-seven feet and and Falstaff tells prince Henrya half. The name is very classical, Der- “ There's villainous news abroad that wen Ceubren yr Ellyll, the hollow oak, same mad fellow of the north, Percy; and the haunt of demons.' How often has he of Wales, that gave Amaimon the not warm fancy seen the fairy tribe revel bastinado-and swore the devil his true round its trunk ! or may not the visionary liegeman-he is there too; that devil eye have seen the Hamadryad burst from Glendower. Art thou not horribly the bark of its coeval tree.'
afraid ?" The inscription beneath Mr. Cuitt's
In the conference between “Glenprint mentions, that when sir Richard dower” and his adherents, he says to Colt Hoare sketched this oak, it was within Henry Percy :the kitchen-garden walls of sir Robert W. Vaughan.
Sit good cousin Hotspur : “ Above Nanneu," Mr. Pennant men
For by that name as oft as Lancaster tions “ a high rock, with the top incircled Doth speak of you, his cheeks look pale; and,
with with a dike of loose stones: this had been
A rising sigh, he wisheth you in heaven. a British post, the station, perhaps, of
Hot. And you in hell, as often as he hears some tyrant, it being called Moel Orthrwn, Owen Glendower spoke of. or the Hill of Oppression.' Mr. Pen
Glend. I cannot blame liim : at my nativity nant says, the park is “ remarkable for its The front of heaven was full of fieryushapes, very small but very excellent venison :" of burning cressets ; and—at my birth, an affirmation which may be taken for The frame and huge foundation of the earth
Shak'd like a coward
years after, when the skeleton of a large The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes; man, such as Howel, was discovered in The goats ran from the mountains, and the the hollow of the great oak before deberds
scribed ; wherein it was supposed Owen Were strangely clamorous to the frighted had immured himn in reward of his perfidy, fields.
While Owen was carrying him off, his These signs have mark'd me extraordinary; And all the courses of my life do show,
rescue was attempted by his relation I am not in the roll of common men.
Gryffydd ap Geoyn of Ganllwyd in ArWhere is he living, --clipp'd in with the sea,
dudwy, but he was defeated by Owen That chides the banks of England, Scotland,
with great loss of men, and his houses of Wales,
Berthlwyd and Cefn Coch were reduced Which calls me pupil, or hath read to me? to ashes * And bring him out, that is but woman's son, Can trace me in the tedious ways of art,
Sir Walter Scott to illustrate his lines And hold me pace in deep experiments.- in “ Marmion," inserts, among the notes I can call spirits from the vasty deepI cau teach thee, cousin, to command the devil.
on that poem, a legendary tale by the rev.
George Warrington with this preface :On occasion of the chiefs taking leave “ The event, on which this tale is of their wives, before they separate for founded, is preserved by tradition in the battle with the king, Glendower gives family of the Vaughans of Hengwyrt; nor proof of his supernatural powers. The is it entirely lost, even among the comwife of Mortimer proposes to soothe her mon people, who still point out this oak husband by singing to him in her native to the passenger. The enmity between Welsh, if he will repose himself.
the two Welsh chieftains, Howel Sele
and Owen Glendwr, was extreme, and Mort. With all my heart, I'll sitGlend. Do so.
marked by vile treachery in the one, and And those musicians that shall play to you,
ferocious cruelty in the other. The story Hang in the air a thousand leagues from hence; is somewhat changed and softened, as Yet straight they shall be here: sit, and more favourable to the characters of the attend.
two chiefs, and as better answering the
[The music plays: purpose of poetry, by admitting the pasAt. Now, I perceive, the devil understandssion of pity, and a greater degree of sen. Welsh
timent in the description. Some trace of By'r lady, he's a good musician.
Howel Sele's mansion was to be seen a
few years ago, and may perhaps be still Without going into the history of Owen visible in the park of Nanneu, now Glyndwr, it may be observed that he belonging to sir Robert Vaughan, baronet, claimed the throne of Wales, and that the in the wild and romantic tracts of Merio
nethshire. The abbey mentioned passes presages which Shakspeare ascribed to his birth, are the legends of old chroni The former is retained, as more generally
under two names, Vener and Cymmer. cles. Howel Sele, of Nanneu, was his
used. first cousin, yet he adhered to the house of Lancaster, and was therefore opposed THE SPIRIT'S BLASTED TREE. to Owen's pretensions. The abbot of
Ccubren yr Ellyll. Cymmer, in hopes of reconciling them, brought them together, and apparently Through Nannau's Chace as Howel passed,
A chief esteemed both brave and kind, effected his purpose. Howel was reckoned the best archer of his day. Owen while Far distant borne, the stag-hound's cry
Came murmuring on the hollow wind. walking out with him observed a doe feeding, and told him there was a fine Starting, he bent an eager ear,mark for him. Howel bent his bow, How should the sounds return again! and, pretending to aim at the doe, His hounds lay wearied from the chace, suddenly turned and discharged the And all at home his hunter train. arrow full at the breast of Glyndwr, Then sudden anger Aash’d his eye, who wearing armour beneath his clothes received no hurt. He seized on Sele for his On that bold man who dared to force
And deep revenge he vowed to take treachery, burnt his house, and hurried
His red deer from the forest brake. him away from the place; nor was it known how he was disposed of till forty