Изображения страниц

was born, is still shewn to travellers. It is built in the Ro. man style of architecture, and has one tower eminent above the rest, called the eagle's tower, from the circumstance of an eagle being carved upon it. The town is surrounded by a wall, and appears to have been formerly well fortified : in its neighbourhood large flocks of sheep are fed. From the sea-shore they saw Harlech castle, and Kader-Idris, by some persons reckoned higher than Snowdon. Dr. Walker having, when wandering on the beach, met with one of the natives who appeared extremely intelligent, he asked him respecting that strange phenomenon a livid fire, which appeared to rise from the sea, and which, as he had heard, committed such terrible devastation in the neighbourhood.

“ It is but too true," replied the stranger, “houses, barns, stacks of hay and corn, fall a prey to this devouring, and novel element; while the grass in the neighbourhood was poisoned by the effects of the conflagration *."

Dr.WALKER." How very extraordinary, and how very terrific !"




FROM Caernarvon, our travellers proceeded to Bangor, from whence they embarked for Beaumaris. From a fine lawn in the front of this town the mountains of Caernarvon present a beautiful outline, and after strolling in its environs for some time, the Doctor suddenly recollected that there was a church about three miles north-west of Beaumaris, dedicated to St. Justin Geraint, and that his tomb was still to be seen at Llaniestin; thither, therefore, they bent their steps, in order to inspect this curious relic of antiquity. / St. Justin was the son of a Devonshire Prince, and retired with his three brothers into the congregation of Germanus, or German, at St. Germain's, in Devonshire; but St. Justin


* This remarkable phenomenon is recorded in the Philosophical Transactions.

withdrew to North Wales, about the end of the sixth cen. tury. The effigy of the saint is habited in a cope, fastened at the breast with a rich fibula, or broach; beneath this garment he has a short mantle, or scapular, over his, tunic. This mode of dress was of the highest antiquity, and remained in vogue, for royal personages, until the time of Henry v.



[ocr errors]

OUR travellers did not fail to visit those remains of Druidical antiquity which are still enveloped in the gloom of thick vaks.

Upon inspecting one of those large stones of memorial, which are found in various parts of the British Isles, placed on three others of considerable magnitude, Edward expressed much surprize, how the large one could be raised by a people so little acquainted with the laws of mechanics as the ancient Britons.

DR. WALKER. “I would not advise you to fancy the Druidical part of the community, at least, as so very ignorant. They were, on the contrary, well informed upon many subjects. Their initiation into the sacred priesthood, demanded abilities of no common order, and their noviciate was long and attended with trials both of judgment and virtue. That. they were in the possession of many useful arts and sciences there is little doubt. Some one of the Roman writers, I forget at this moment whom, mentions that they had the power of drawing the sun and moon close to them, and by means of a crystal leus they always 'set fire to their sacrifices. As they kept all knowledge confined entirely to their own order, their extraordinary influence over the vulgar, is no object of wonder,--for, independently of their sacred character as priests, who in all ages and in all countries have acquired a powerful ascendancy over the human mind, --their knowledge enveloped in mystery, in outward signs and wonders, was calculated deeply to impress their votaries with high ideas of their superiocity and supernatural power.


“ As a proof of this I shall only mention one instance, of their cruel application. Llogans *, or rocking stones, are found in different parts, the most noted of which is that near Drew Steington, in Devonshire. It is seated in the channel of a river, is of granite, and is ten feet high. These stones the Druids persuaded their votaries were inhabited by the spirit of the indwelling deity, and to this awful test they brought the supposed criminal, over whose head the sword of justice was suspended, and the descent of which was alone delayed, till the animated mass as he approached to touch it, declared by its tremulous motion that he was guilty."

EDWARD.-"How very shocking, that they should thus abuse their power, and pervert the use of knowledge.'

DR.WALKER.“ So it is : but the mysteries of the inquisition are a proof that we need not go back to the times of Druidism, in order to prove, that the mind of man is scarcely equal to bear with moderation and meekness'-superiority either of power or abilities.

“In the first early ages of Druidism, one called Cwydd, or Gwydd, held the supreme office of Druid, instructor, and lawgiver ;-in the course of time this office was divided into two, viz. the one called Derwydd (druid) or superior instructor; the other O-vydd (Ovate) or subordinate instructor, both going by the name of bards. Again, another division was made, into Druids, Bards-braint, or privileged bards, and Ovates. No one could become Druid unless he had been Bard-braint. The dress of the Druids was white, and that of the Druid in his habit of ceremonial judgment was very grand. On his head he wore a golden tiara t, and his neck was encircled by a breast-plate of judgment, which according to Irish tradition, had the power of squeezing his neck if the Druid gave false judgment: beneath this hung the glain-neidr, or serpent's egg, and the girdle which confiaed his dress is supposed to have been fastened by the magic lens I. The glain-neidr were fabricated by the


* Llogan seems to have a connection witb Llông, the stone of the covenant and the stone of the ark. Valancey thinks rocking is a corruption of Ruachan, i, e. divining, or augury.

+ One of these tiaras was dag up at Limerick, in Ireland ; it was of gold, and neatly chased.

A Lens of this description was found in Ireland. It is six inches long by four and a half broad; it is surrounded by stones of various colours, and set in brass mixed with silver.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Druids in council, and hence arose the proverb in Wales, when several people appear plotting together-" What ! they are blowing the glain!" These eggs were of different colours, according to the class of the Druids for which they were destined. Those for the Druids being white; those for the Bards blue; the colour of their dress being emblematical of truth and peace ; and those for the Ovates green,

the symbol of learning.

Of their sacrifices and Druidical rites, I cannot venture a description ; but I am sure I have told you enough to excite your curiosity, and this is a subject that cannot be lightly scanned. If you wish for any further information upon the subject, you must do as I have done before you, read*."

Having returned to Beaumaris for the night, they on the next morning directed their steps northward, in order to inspect the Parys mountain, which contains the most considerable quantity of copper ore ever known. The outward appearance of the mountain is extremely rude, and the country around it wild and desolate in a great degree. On every side enormous rocks of coarse white quartz arise; and over the small lake which is contiguous to it, no bird is ever known to pass, for it is equally fatal with the waters of the Avernus to the feathered tribe. The pestilential fumes from the burning heaps of copper, extend for many miles round: and this part of the island presents a scene of desolation scarcely to be equalled in the British Isles. From this dreary spot our travellers gladly proceeded to Holyhead, where they embarked for Dublin.

* For this very slight sketch relating to the Druids, the anthor is indebted to a Work written by Dr. Meyrick on the costumes of the ancient Britons,





see the

Dublin is the second city in the British dominions, and presents a nople object when approached from the sea. The parliament-house is a magnificent structure, and the linenhall is a noble building. Dublin contains about 200,000 in. habitants, and its views from Merion-square are extremely beautiful. As however our travellers were anxious to make the tour of Ireland speedily, they devoted but two or three days to its capital, and accordingly on the fourth day after their arrival they recommenced their journey. Pray, Sir, as we pass through Wicklow, shall we not copper

mine at Cronbane." “ Why no, for we shall be pressed for time in our Irish tour, and must, therefore, confine ourselves to visiting the most prominent features of Ireland, and you must in many instances content yourself with brief sketches of those of minor importance. The county of Wicklow produces gold as well as copper. Some considerable masses of this precious metal, were found in a brook running from west to east to the river of Avonmore, about seven: English miles west of Arklow, and on the declivity of the mountain called Croughan Kinshelly. This mine is now: worked for government, and it is said that very massy

vein has lately been discovered."

Upon arriving at Wicklow, our travellers did but stay to refresh themselves with some of its celebrated ale, which ina deed forms a principal part of its trade, and then continued


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »