Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

grant smell ; her blood spotted the stones, which, like the Rowers of Adonis, annually commemorate this fact, by assuming a colour unknown to them before. But the most wonderful part of the story is yet to come.

St. Bruno contemplated with dismay the approach of his niece's head, and when it stopped, after gazing at it for some time, he stooped and deliberately picking it up, he carried it to the spot, where the body still lay, and very nicely replaced it: strange to relate, the severed member reunited itself to the body, and St. Winifred arose blooming as before,-after which she lived fifteen years, and was buried, when she died, at Gwytherin, where her bones rested, till king Stephen surrendered them to the abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul, at Shrewsbury. “ There now, Edward,” said Dr. Walker, " is a legend you may repeat in Italy, when the wonderful story of our Lady of Loretto is related to you."

The road from St. Winifred's well to St. Asaph, is remarkably picturesque, along a little valley bounded on one side by hanging woods, beneath which the stream hurries towards the sea.

The northern part of the county of Flint, is washed by the river Dee, and the land rises suddenly from its banks in fine inequalities, clayey and fruitful in corn and grass, for near four miles, to a mountainous tract, that runs parallel to it for a considerable way. The lower part is diversified by picturesque dingles, enriched with oaks, which run from the mountains, and open to the sea. The inferior part abounds with coal and freestone; the upper with minerals of lead and calamine, and immense strata of lime-stone and cherl. The principal trade of the county is mining, and smelting. A lofty range of mountains rises upon the west, and forms a bold frontier. Upon quitting St. Asaph, our travellers entered the beautiful vale of Clwyd, adorned with villages and small towns, luxuriant corn fields, extensive meadows, watered by a fine and gentle stream, extending about twenty miles in one direction, and from five to seven miles in the other. The prospect of this luxuriant vale, from the castle of Denbigh, is beyond description beautiful.

“ We must see Conway castle," said the Doctor, “but it is not in the direct road to Bangor.”

“Oh never mind that, Sir," replied Edward, “ I should like to see it

very much."

« And Penmoenmawr too;" resumed his tutor.

« Well then give orders for our departure, and let's be gone.”

As they advanced into Denbighshire, the country assumed a more mountainous and Alpine aspect. “I could almost fancy myself in Switzerland,” said Dr. Walker, as they wound through the different defiles of the mountains leading to Penmoenmawr. “See, Edward, how yon tall rock towers proudly above the neighbouring mountains. Penmoenmawr is next to Snowdon in height."

Edward gazed with delight on the huge precipices and rocky fragments, which projecting above and below the road they were passing, presented. alternate masses of deep embrowned shade, and huge projections glowing with the rich tint of an autumnal sunset. As they ascended the side of the mountain next the sea, the features of the scene were changed, for here all was calm and tranquil. Not a breeze ruffled the ocean, which like a mirror, reflected back distinctly the small fishing vessels, whose sails flapped idly for lack of wind, while the sturdy, fishermen put forth all their strength and rowed for land. The sun at length set gloomily magnificent, and the sky gradually assuming a deeper hue, the driver quickened his pace, and pointing to the sea. fowl, which skimmed lightly over the gloomy deep,-'Twill be a tempest to night;'' said he, “ for this dead calm and those birds foretel it.?'

Our travellers were, however, so fortunate as to reach Conway just as the first heavy drops began to fall, and from their inn they anxiously watched its progress. About 11 o'clock the clouds began to disperse, and the moon was seen peeping oco casionally through the midnight gloom, till at length she burst upon them in silvery splendour. Yet the rain still fell violently, when, to the surprise of Edward, on turning suddenly round, he beheld a magnificent luminous arch. He uttered an exclamation of surprise. “ 'Tis a lunar rainbow,' said the Doctor, “ observe it well ; you see it has no prismatic colours except at one end, and those are so faint we can hardly distinguish them. And do you not perceive that the sky within it is considerably paler than any other part of the atmosphere? It is really an immense arch! We are very fortunate, Edward, to see this curious phenomenon, for though this is not the first that has been seen, yet many

clever and observing men never saw Iris lunaris in their lives; and

Aristotle himself only observed two in the course of fifty

years *."



[ocr errors]

On the following morning our travellers visited the cele. brated castle of Conway, built by Edward I. Conway castle is built on a high rock, overhanging the sea, and for strength and grandeur stands unrivalled, at least in Wales. It is strengthened by ten round towers, and four turrets that are considerably, higher than the towers. The walls are battlemented, and are from twelve to fifteen feet in breadth. One of the towers has fallen into the sea, the rock on which it stood having given way. In the interior, the hall is the principal object of attraction, it is beautifully arched, and its extensive roof is supported by nine stone pillars. It is one hundred feet long, thirty feet high, and as many broad.

From Conway our travellers bent their steps towards the South, and arrived at Llanwrst, after a most romantic drive through a beautiful valley bordered on each side by lofty mountains. Here is an elegant bridge built by Inigo Jones, to adorn and benefit his native place. Having breakfasted at Llapwrst, Dr Walker procured a guide to lead them across the country to. Snowdon, the boast and wonder of Wales. Upon arriving at the foot of the mountain, they left their horses at a small hut, and their guide presented them with spiked sticks, to assist them in ascending : with some little difficulty they passed the two first miles, the ground being rather boggy, but as every step now gave them a more ex. tensive prospect, they chearfully continued their route, and at length arrived on the summit of Snowdon, where a pros. pect of such extent and grandeur opened to their view, as to render Edward for a time speechless. The top of Snowdon is

[ocr errors]

*. The lavar Iris described above, was seen at Brompton, by the Author, on Monday the 5th of July, 1819, between 11 and 12 o'clock, The moon was at the full on the following Wednesday, at 3 in the afternoon.

[ocr errors]


called Y Widdfa, or the Conspicuous; it nearly terminates in a point, for the highest plain is about six yards in circumference only. From this elevated spot may be seen, hills and dales, rocks and mountains, lakes, rivers, and seas. The distant mountains of Yorkshire, Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man, are all visible, while the surrounding country, which from the plains appears covered with stupendous rocks, loses its appearance of grandeur, assuming that of the beautiful only. It is called in Welch, Eryri, which signifies the hill of Eagles.

“ Snowdon was held as sacred by the ancient Britons, as Parnassus was by the Greeks, and Ida by the Cretans,” said the Doctor : “ and even now, Edward, if you will but sleep one night upon its summit, (and the air is mild and serene,) you will awake to-morrow inspired, full as much as if had taken a nap on the hill of Apollo.”

EDWARD.-"I dare say I should, Sir, but I have no wish to court inspiration at so great a risk. Pray, Sir, what is the nature of this huge mountain ?

DR.WALKER._" Granite most probably. See in that fissure is a large coarse crystal—and there are cubic pyritæ, the usual attendants on Alpine tracts. I observed too, as we ascended, near the top several large columnar stones, and some pieces of lava. You know the pagan Britons worshipped rivers and mountains."

On their descent, their paths were again crossed by flocks of sheep; and, peeping over an inaccessible precipice, they often observed goats, which, upon being discovered, would bound from rock to rock, till they were completely out of sight.

“ What is the name of the village at the bottom of the mountain," said Edward, addressing the guide.

“ That,” replied the mountaineer, “ is Beth Gelert." “ Indeed !” ejaculated the Doctor, “ poor Gelert !"

“ Who was Gelert, Sir, that appears to excite your sym. pathy so much ?" asked Edward.

DR.WALKER." A greyhound. Come sit down on this rock, for I am rather weary, and while we rest ourselves, I will relate to you his sad story, which I dare say is familiar to our guide.

“Llewellyn having received the present of a beautiful greyhound from his father-in-law, king John, this animal be: came his constant and favourite companion. One day, how,

[ocr errors]

ever, when Llewellyn blew his horn, and the hounds came bounding from every quarter at the well-known sound, Gelert, (that was the greyhound's name,) was not to be found; after waiting some little time for the flower of all his race,' - the chace rode on,' - but the chief, who missed his favourite received but little pleasure from the sport—for Gelert was not there.' |

“ Upon returning to his castle, his favourite dog was at the door, and as soon as he saw his lord, he sprang

forward to meet him. Llewellyn gazed with astonishment at the animal, which was almost covered with blood. Passing quickly on, he entered the chamber, where his son lay, (Princes were not then attended as they are now,) and there he saw on all sides blood-but not his child. Turning over a heap of blood-stained vestments, he called franticly on his son, and receiving no answer, he plunged his sword up to the hilt in Gelert's side, supposing he had killed him. The dying yell of the greyhound waked the child, which, hidden under some part of the clothes, the chief had in his haste passed by, now explained the secret of Gelert's absence.What words can paint this chieftain's grief, when under the same heap he spied a grim and enormous wolf dead, which he was now convinced his faithful dog had killed in order to preserve his.

He erected a tomb on the spot to his memory, which is to this day called Beth Gelert, or the grave of Gelert.”

EDWARD.--" Oh poor Gelert ! I could almost be very silly upon the occasion.”

DR.WALKER. "Why I confess I think, a tear would be no disgrace upon such an occasion. But come, let us resume our descent, and learn one thing from this traditional factto curb our passions. Had Llewellyn been less precipitate, think what feelings of boundless pleasure would have at-. tended the discovery of his child, instead of those of deep remorse. Of this be sure, excess of passion needs but its own effects as punishment.

From Snowdon our travellers. proceeded to Caernarvon, across a mountainous country, which, as they drew near the town, became more fertile and populous, and there they resolved to remain a day or tw.o. Caernarvon is a walled town, opposite the Isle of Anglesea, about 8 miles from Bangor, and stands pleasantly situated on the banks of the Menai. Its castle was built by Edward I.; and the queen's bed chamber, in which the unfortunate Edward the Second


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »