« IndietroContinua »
Unhappy chief! would nought avail,
No signs impress thy heart with fear, Thy lady's dark mysterious dream,
Thy warning from the hoary seer? Three ravens gave the note of death,
As through mid air they winged their way; Then o'er his head, in rapid fight,
They croak,--they scent their destined prey. Ill omened bird! as legends say,
Who hast the wonderous power to know, While health fills high the throbbing veins,
The fated hour when blood must flow. Blinded by rage alone he passed,
Nor sought his ready vassals' aid : But what his fate lay long unknown,
For many an anxious year delayed. A peasant marked his angry eye,
He saw him reach the lake's dark bourne,
But never from that hour return.
Where should the chief his steps delay?
Yet knew uot where to point their way. His vassals ranged the mountain's height,
The covert close, and wide-spread plain; But all in vain their eager search,
They ne'er must see their lord again, Yet fancy, in a thousand shapes,
Bore to his home the chief once more Some saw him on high Moel's top,
Some saw him on the winding shore. With wonder fraught the tale went round,
Amazement chained the hearer's tongue;
Yet fondly o'er the story hung.
His aged nurse, and steward grey,
Or mark the flittering spirit stray. Pale lights on Cader's rocks were seen,
And midnight voices heard to moan; 'Twas even said the blasted oak,
Convulsive, heaved a hollow groan: And, to this day, the peasant still,
With cautious fear, avoids the ground; lo cach wild branch a spectre sees,
And trembles at each rising sound. Ten annual suds had held their course,
In summer's smile, or winter's storm; The lady shed the widowed tear,
As oft she traced his manly form. Yet still to hope her heart would cling
As o'er the mind illusious play,– Of travel fond, perhaps her lord
To distant lands had steered his way.
'Twas now November's cheerless hour,
Which drenching rain and clouds deface , Dreary bleak Robell's tract appeared,
And dull and dank each valley's space.
And dashed the foamy spray on high ;
And angry frowned the evening sky.
His dark-grey steed with sweat besprent,
Could scarcely gain the hill's ascent.
Loud sounded round the outward wall
To know what meant the clamorous call. "O! lead me to your lady soon;
Say,—it is my sad lot to tell,
She long has proved she loved so well.”
The menials look surprise and fear:
And touched the notes for grief's woru ear.
A mellowed sorrow marked her look:
The graceful stranger sighed and spoke:“O could I spread one ray of hope,
One moment raise thy soul from woe,
My words at ease unfettered fow!
The story claims thy full belief:
Suspense removed is some relief.
Great Glyndwr's friend, thy kindred's foe; Ah, let his name no anger raise,
For now that mighty chief lies low.
By wizard's dream or potent spell,
'Řeft of his aid the Percy fell ;-
As if for violated faith,
Vindictive still for Hotspur's death.
Where winds the Wye her devious flood;
In some lone cot, or desert wood.
He gained by toil his scanty bread;
And her brave sons to glory led!
“ To penury extreme, and grief,
A shriek from all the damsels burst,
That pierced the vaulted roofs below;
A living form of sculptured woe. " " To Sele's sad widow bear the tale
With stupid stare, and vacant gaze, Nor let our horrid secret rest;
Full on his face her eyes were cast, Give but his corse to sacred earth,
Absorbed !-she lost her present grief, Then may my parting soul be blest.' -— And faintly thought of things long past. " Dim waxed the eye that fiercely shone,
Like wild-fire o'er the mossy heath,
Which oft had dealt the mortal stroke. To hear the tale,-behold the man.
Then, conscious, from the scene withdrer : A rebel deemed, with him I Hed;
The peasant's work with trembling haste, With him I shunned the light of day. And lay the wbitened bones to view “ Proscribed by Henry's hostile rage, Back they recoiled !-the right hand still, My country lost, despoiled my land,
Contracted, grasped a rusty sword; Desperate, I fled my native soil,
Which erst in many a battle gleamed, And fought on Syria's distant strand.
And proudly decked their slaughtered lorda O, had thy long lamented lord
They bore the corse to Vener's sbrine, The holy cross and banner viewed,
With holy rites, and prayers addressed; Died in the sacred cause! who fell
Nine white-robed monks the last dirge sang, Sad victim of a private feud !
And gave the angry spirit rest. “Led, by the ardour of the chace,
It must be remembered that the real Far distant from his own domain ; From where Garthmaelan spreads her shades, history of Howel Sele's death is to be The Glyndwr sought the opening plain.
collected from Mr. Pennant's account of
their sudden feud already related ; though “ With head aloft, and antlers wide,
he by no means distinctly states whether A red buck roused, then crossed in view, Glyndwr caused him to be placed in the Stung with the sight, and wild with rage, oak after he had been slain, or “im
Swift from the wood fierce Howel flew. mured” him alive and left him to perish « With bitter taunt, ard keen reproach,
It is rather to be inferred that he was He, all impetuous, poured his rage,
condemned by his kinsmen to the latter Reviled the chief as weak in arms,
fate. According to Pennant he perished And bade him loud the battle wage. in the year 1402, and we see that his living
burial place survived him, pierced and “ Glyndwr for once restrained his sword, hallowed by the hand of time, upwards And, still averse, the fight delays;
of four centuries.
Sir Philip SIDNEY'S OAK.
In an elegant volume called “ Sylvar Still mournful must my tale proceed,
Sketches, a companion to the park and And its last act all dreadful sound. the shrubbery, with illustrations from the
works of the poets by the author of the " How could we hope for wished retreat Flora Domestica,” there is a delightful His eager vassals ranging wide ?
assemblage of poetical passages on the His blood hounds' keen sagacious scent, oak, with this memorial of a very celeO'er many a trackless mountain tried ?
brated one: « I marked a broad and blasted oak,
“ An oak was planted at Penshurst on Scorched by the lightning's livid glare
the day of sir Philip Sidney's birth, of Hollow its stem from branch to root,
which Martyn speaks as standing in his And all its shrivelled arms were bare. time, and measuring twenty-two feet “ Be this, I cried, his proper grave !
round. This tree has since been felled, (The thought in me was deadly sin.)
it is said by mistake ; would it be intiAloft we raised the hapless chief,
possible to make a similar mistake with And dropped his bleeding corpse within." regard to the mistaker?
“ Several of our poets have celebrated At the dispersion of the Jews under this tree: Ben Jonson in his lines to Adrian, about the year 134, an incre. Peashurst, gays,—
dible number of all ages and sexes * Thou hast thy walks for health as well as
were sold at the same price as horses, ir sport;
a very famous fair called the fair of the Thy mount to which thy Dryads do resort,
turpentine tree : whereupon the Jews
St. Where Pan and Bacchus their high seats have had an abhorrence for that fair." made,
Jerome mentions the place at which the Beneath the broad beech and the chesput shade, Jews were sold under the name of “ AbraThat taller tree which of a nut was set, ham's tent;" where, he says, “is kept an At his great birth where all the muses met. annual fair very much frequented." This There in the writhed bark are cut the names place op Mamre's fertile plains,” is Of many a sylvan taken with his fames.' i alleged to have been the spot where “ It is mentioned by Waller :
Abraham entertained the angels.*
Mean Temperature ... “Southey says, speaking of Pe hurst
Sidney here was born.
The festival of this saint, who was the Was planted; it grew up a stately oak,
first bishop of Ardmore, in the county of And in the beauty of its strength it stood Waterford, is held on the twenty-fourth And flourished, when its perishable part
of the month. The brief memoir of St. Had mouldered dust to dust. That stately oak Declan, by Alban Butler, did not seem Itself hath mouldered now, but Sidney's name to require notice of him on that day; but Endureth in his own immortal works."
the manner wherein the feast was cele“ This tree was 'frequently called the larized in an Irish paper, as to claim
brated in 1826, is so remarkably particu'bare oak,' by the people of the neigh
attention. bourhood, from a resemblance it was supposed to bear to the oak which gave
Ardmore and its Patron name to the county of Berkshire. Tradition says, that when the tenants went the friend and companion of St. Patrick,
St. Declan is represented to have been to the park gates as it was their custom and, according to tradition, Ardmore was to do to meet the earl of Leicester, when they visited that castle, they used to adorn century by St. Declan, who was born in
an episcopal see, established in the fifth their hats with boughs from this tree. Within the hollow of its trunk was a seat
this county, and was of the family of the
Desii. He travelled for education to which contained five or six persons with Rome, resided there for some years, was ease and convenience."
afterwards ordained by the pope, returned to his own country about the year 402,
and about that time founded the abbey THE OAK OF MAMRĒ.
and was made bishop of Ardmore. He We are told that this oak was standing lived to a great age; and his successor, in the fourth century. Isidore affirms St. Ulthan, was alive in the year 550, that when he was a child in the reign of A stone, a holy well, and a dormitory, in the emperor Constantius, he was shown the churchyard, still bear the name of St, a turpentine tree very old, which declared Declan. « St. Declan's stone" is on the its age by its bulk, as the tree under beach; it is a large rock, resting on two which Abraham dwelt; that the heathens others, which elevate it a little above the had a surprising veneration for it, and ground. On the twenty-fourth of July, distinguished it by an honourable appel- tie festival of the saint, numbers of the lation." Some affirm that it existed lowest class do penance on their bare within the last four centuries.
knees around the stone, and some, with
• Bayle, art. Abraham.
* Bayle, art, Barcochebas.
great pain and difficulty, creep under it, miraculous powers. It is said to have in expectation thereby of curing or pre- been wafted from Rome upon the surface venting, what it is much more likely to of the ocean, at the period of St. Declan's create, rheumatic affections of the back. founding his church at Ardmore, and to. In the churchyard is the “ dormitory of have borne on its top a large bell for the St. Declan," a small low building, held in church tower, and vestments for the saint. great veneration by the people in the At a short distance from this sacred neighbourhood, who frequently visit it in memorial, on a cliff overhanging the sea, order to procure some of the earth, which is the well of the saint. Thither the is supposed to cover the relics of the crowds repair after the devotions at the saint.
rock are ended. Having drank plentifully On the twenty-fourth of July, 1826, of its water, they wash their legs and feet several thousand persons of all ages and in the stream which issues from it, and, both sexes assembled at Ardmore. The telling their beads, sprinkle themselves greater part of the extensive strand, which and their neighbours with the fluid. forms the western side of the bay, was These performances over, the grave of the literally covered by a dense mass of peo- patron saint is then resorted to. Hunple. Tents and stands for the sale of dreds at a time crowded around it, and whiskey, &c. were placed in parallel crush each other in their eagerness to rows along the shore; the whole at a dis- obtain a handful of the earth which is tance bore the appearance of a vast en believed to cover the mortal remains of campment. Each tent had its green ensign Declan. A woman stood breast high in waving upon high, bearing some patriotic the grave, and served out a small portion motto. One of large dimensions, which of its clay to each person requiring it, floated in the breeze far above the others, from whom in return she received a penny exhibited the words “ Villiers Stuart for or halfpenny for the love of the saint. The
abode of the saint's earthly remains has At an early hour, those whom a reli- sunk to the depth of nearly four feet, its gious feeling had drawn to the spot, com- clay having been scooped away by the menced their devotional exercises by finger nails of the pious. A human skull passing under the holy rock of St. Declan. of large dimensions was placed at the The male part of the assemblage were head of the tomb, before which the people clad in trowsers and shirts, or in shirts bowed, believing it to be the identical alone ; the females, in petticoats pinned skull of the tutelar saint. above the knees, and some of the more
This visit to St. Declan's grave comdevout in chemises only. Two hundred pleted the devotional exercises of a day, and ninety persons of both sexes thus pre- held in greater honour than the sabbath, pared, knelt at one time indiscriminately by those who venerate the saint's name, around the stone, and passed separately and worship at his shrine. The tents under it to the other side. This was not which throughout the day, from the duties effected without considerable pain and paid to the “patron,” had been thronged difficulty, owing to the narrowness of the with the devotionalists of the morning, passage, and the sharpness of the rocks. resounded from evening till daybreak, Stretched at full length on the ground on with sounds inspired by potations of the face and stomach, each devotee moved whiskey; and the scene is so characterforward, as if in the act of swimming, and ised by its reporter as to seem exaggethus squeezed or dragged themselves rated.** through. Upwards of eleven hundred persons of both sexes, in a state of half
NATURALISTS' CALENDAR. nudity, were observed to undergo the Mean Temperature ... 63 · 35. ceremony in the course of the day. A reverend gentleman, who stood by part of the time, was heard to exclaim,“ O, great
July 29. is their faith.” Several of their reverences passed and re-passed to and from the
St. Martha. chapel close by the “ holy rock," during On the festival of this saint of the Rothe day. The “ holy rock," of so great mish church, a great fair is held at Beauveneration, is believed to be endued with caire, in Languedoe, to which merchants
• Hyland's History of Waterford.
• Wate: furd Mail.
and company resort from a great distance would have done had tliere been any good round. It is a great mart for smugglers ground for believing in its existence. and contraband traders, and is the harvest Be this as it may, the fabulous story of of the year both to Beaucaire and Taras- the dragon was the occasion of establishcon; for, as the former is not large enough ing an annual festival at Tarascon, the to accommodate the influx of people, reputed origin of which seems no less faTarascon, in Provence, which is separated bulous than the story itself. According from it by the Rhone, is generally equally to the tradition, the queen, consort to the full.
reigning sovereign of the country, unaccountably fell into a deep and settled me
lancholy, from which she could not be Tarascon, according to a popular tra- roused.” She kept herself shut up in her dition, has its name from a terrible beast, chamber, and would not see or be seen a sort of dragon, known by the name of by any one; medicines and amusements the tarasque, which, in ancient days, in
were in vain, till the ladies of Tarascon fested the neighbourhood, ravaging the thought of celebrating a festival, which country, and killing every thing that came they hoped, from its novelty might imin its way, both man and beast, and elud. ing every endeavour made to take and press the mind of their afficted sovereign.
A figure was made to represent the destroy it, till St. Martha arrived in the
“ tarasque," with a terrible head, a territown, and taking compassion on the ge- ble mouth, with two terrible rows of teeth, neral distress, went out against the mon- wings on its back, and a terrible long tail. ster, and brought him into the town in At the festival of St. Martha, by whom chains, when the people fell upon him the “ tarasque” was chained, this figure and slew him,
was led about for eight days successively, St. Martha, according to the chronicles by eight of the priccipal ladies in the of Provence, had fled from her own coun
town, elegantly dressed, and accompanied try in company with her sister Mary by a band of music. The procession was Magdalen, her brother Lazarus, and se- föllowed by an immense concourse of veral other saints both male and female. people, in their holyday clothes; and duThey landed at Marseilles, and imme- ring the progress, alms were collected for diately spread themselves about the coun- the poor. All sorts of gaieties were exhitry to preach to the people. It fell to the bited; balls, concerts, and shows of every lot of St. Martha to bend her steps to- kind—nothing, in short, was omitted to wards Tarascon, where she arrived at the accomplish the purpose for which the fesfortunate inoment above mentioned. She tival was instituted: continued to her dying day particularly
And her majesty condescended to be to patronise the place, and was at her own amused: that hour her melancholy ceased, request interred there. Her tomb is shown and never after returned. Whether the in a subterranean chapel belonging to the honour of this happy change was wholly principal church.
It bears her figure due to the procession, or whether the in white marble, as large as life, in a re
saint might not assist the efforts of the cumbent posture, and is a good piece of patriotic ladies of Tarascon, by working sculpture, uninjured by the revolution.
a miracle in favour of the restoration of In the church a series of paintings repre- the queen's health, is not on record; but sent the escape of St. Martha and her her 'malady never returned; and the companions from their persecutors, their
people of Tarascon were so much delightlanding in Provence, and some of their ed by the processsion of the “ tarasque," subsequent adventures. She is the patron that it was determined to make the saint of Tarascon.
festival an annual one.
It is presumed that the story of a beast ravaging the neighbouring country had This festival was observed till the revo. its origin in fact; but that instead of a lution; but in the reign of terror,” the dreadful dragon it was a hyena. Bouche, people of Arles, between whom and those however, in his Essai sur l'Histoire de of Tarascon a great jealousy and rivalship Provence, while he mentions the popular had for many years subsisted, came in a tradition of the dragon, makes no mention body to the laiter place, and, seizing the of the supposed hyena, which he probably "tarasque,” burnt it in the market-place.