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and y tylwyth têg, i. e. the blessings of their mothers, the fairies or fair household, meaning that they were fair of form, though most foul in mind. The stories related of these fairies, as well as of witches, who were supposed to play tricks with the milk-maid, and spoil the butter, are similar to those heard in England: Fairies are undoubtedly of Gothic origin, as appears from Icelandic Sagas and the Edda, or Runic mythology : they were divided into good and bad, and regarded by the Northern · tribes as having the absolute disposal of the human race. From the Goths the superstition spread, with their arms, among the nations whom they subdued and enslaved. The same idea prevailed on the continent of Asia, and particularly in the East. Mr. Mallet observes, that the notion is not every where exploded, that there are in the bowels of the earth fairies, or a kind of dwarfish and tiny
beings of human shape, remarkable for their riches, their activity, l and their malevolenee.' In many countries in the North, the people are still firmly persuaded of their existence. In Iceland at this day the good folks show the very rocks and hills in which they maintain that there are swarms of these small subterraneous men of the most tiny size, but of the most delicate figures. Our Welsh fairies are certainly of the same family-hatched in the same hot-bed of imagination. Let us compare the legends of Edmund Jones * with the above description of Mr. Mallet. The latter tells us, they are little, active, and malevolent, and that they reside in rocks and mountains; the sad historian of Aberystruth says, they appeared often in the form of dancing companies; and when they danced, they chiefly, if not always, appeared like children, and not as grown men, leaping and frisking in the air,' that they were desirous of enticing people into their company, and then used them ill;" that they were
quarrelsome to a proverb, insomuch that it was said of people 4 at variance, Ni chydunant hwy mwy na bendith eu mammau; ? 2. c. they'll no more agree than the fairies; that they seemed * not to delight in open plain ground of any kind far from stones
and wood, nor in watery but in dry grounds not far from trees. The parallel is here remarkably correct, and the inference will naturally occur that both had the same origin. There are indeed few of our popular superstitions that may not be traced up to some opinion which was consecrated by the religion of the Goths or Celts; nor (to use the language of Mallet) ' need we always except
those which seem in some respects to hold a conformity to doctrines or practices which the Christian religion alone could have taught
" Besides these diminutive representatives of men, the Welsh have also fiends peculiar to themselves, or at least generally forgotten by the majority of the inhabitants of the island; these they call civn Anwnt or Anwn's dogs. Anwn is translated by Owen, unknown but it is rather as 'poor plodding Richards' has it, anwfn, bottomless;
" * History of the Parish of Aberystruth.
+ Cambrian Register, Vol. I. p. 179.
and the prince of this country who is personified in the Mabynogion may be called the king of immensurable darkness, of that boundless void or space in which the universe floats, or is suspended. This being (say the gossips) is the enemy of mankind, and his dogs are frequently heard hunting in the air, some time previous to the dissolution of a wicked person: they are described, in the beautiful romance to which I have referred, to be of a clear white colour with red ears; no one, with us, pretends to have seen them, but the general idea is, that they are jet-black.To these dogs I conceive Shakespeare alludes in his Tempest, when he talks of noise of hunters heard in the air, and spirits in the shapes of hounds, and not to Peter de Loier, who,' says Malone in a note, [states that] · Hecate* did use to send dogges unto men to fear and terrify them, as the Greeks affirmed.'
“ The corpse candle, which precedes the death of some person in the neighbourhood, and marks the route of the funeral from the house of the deceased to the church, is also a very common topic among our peasantry, who believe it confined to the diocese of St. David's: a tradition is likewise very commonly received among them, which preserves the memory of certain extraordinary and wonderful feats of strength, performed by two oxen of prodigious size, called ychain banog, or the oxen of the sunimits of the mountains. Davies in his Celtic Researches calls them
elevated oxen,' and supposes them to allude to a sacrifice made by Hu Gadarn, or Hu the Mighty; but whatever may have been the origin of the legends told of these oxen, the tradition seems to have been derived from the mythology of the Druids, and in some measure confirms the antiquity of the Triads, from whence it is evidently derived t.
«« The funerals in Wales, and the ceremonies preceding and following them, very much resemble those of the Irish, as described in that admirable little volume, entitled Castle Rack Rent. The straw on which the deceased lay, is set on fire soon after the breath departs, which is a sigual of that event. We have our gwylnôs or night of watching, and when ale can be procured in the neighbourhood, a llawennôs or night of rejoicing, though this latter phrase is more generally appropriated to the night before a wedding, when the friends of the bridegroom meet and spend the hours in mirth, for the supposed purpose of watching the bride and preventing her flight or concealment. These wed. dings were formerly attended with some very extraordinary customs, all of which are now disused in the towns and their vicinities; but in the hills some few remain, particularly what is called the
« * The Prince of Anwn and Hecate are man and wife, and both are the parents of this fable. For this and many other pecu. liarities relative to Wales, Shakespeare was probably indebted to sir John Price the antiquary, a native of Breconshire, who lived much in the English court in the reigns of Henry the Eighth and his daughter Elizabeth.”
" + See Triad 75 in the first volume of Myvyrian Archeology
Bidding; and we still occasionally see the herald of this event announcing it to the friends, relations, and acquaintance of the bride and bridegroom. He bears in his hand a long hunting pole or staff, to the top of which is nailed or tied a bunch of ribbons of various colours: after greeting the family as he approaches the house, leaniig upon his support like the datceiniad pen pastwn of old, he with great gravity and solemnity addresses them nearly in the words mentioned in the Gentleman's Magazine of December 1791, page 1103*, with this difference, that in Brecknockshire fish is not enumerated among the dainties of which the guests are invited to partake: the form of this invitation I have endeavoured in vain to obtain, though it is still occasionally heard in the Highlands; but the substance is a promise of cakes and ale, pipes and tobacco, chairs to sit down on, &c., and an undertaking on behalf of the intended bride and bridegroom, that they will return the favour to such of their visitors as may thereafter claim it.
" On the evening preceding the marriage, the bride's female friends bring her several articles of household furniture: this is called stafell f. On the morning of the ceremony, the lady affects coyness, and sometimes conceals herself, but is fortunately always discovered and rescued from the party who are resolved to carry her off. Upon approaching the church, another scene of confusion and bustle ensues: it should seem now, that some of the company are determined to prevent the celebration of the marriage; one of her male friends, behind whom she is mounted on horseback, though generally without a pillion, makes many attempts to escape and run away with her; but the companions of her future husband succeed in dragging her (“s nothing loth”) to the altar. Upon this occasion, the racings and gallopings on both sides are really alarming to by-standers unaccustomed to these exhibitions; and it is astonishing that more accidents have not happened in these sham flights and pursuits. Previously to the young couple's setting out for church, as well as at the public house in the village, where they generally retire for a short time after the ceremony is over, the friends of both parties subscribe, according to their abilities, each a few shillings, and the sum is particularly noticed by one of the company; as it is expected to be returned to every person
“* The intention of the bidder is this: with kindness and amity, with decency and liberality, for Einion Owen and Llio Elis, he invites you to come with your good-will on the plate; bring current money; a shilling, or two, or three, or four, or five; with cheese and butter we invite the husband and wife, and children, and men-servants, and maid-servants, from the greatest to the least: come there early, you shall have victuals freely, and drink cheap, stools to sit on, and fish if we can catch them; but if not, hold us excusable; and they will attend with you when you call upon them. They set out from such and such a place.
" + Literally ihe chamber, but it means here furnishing, a urniture for the chamber.
then present who may thereafter be entitled to it on a similar occasion; for this contribution has been lung settled to be of the nature of a loan, and has been sued for and recovered at law." P. 284–9.
In the eleventh chapter are particulars of the agriculture, soils, tenures, farms, cattle, sheep, &c. of Breck nockshire. These, though all subjects of eminent local importance, will not greatly interest the general reader, and we shall therefore hasten to conclude our account of this volume; which closes with an Appendix, containing several tables of the population of the county at different periods ; the genealogies of Bryjchan Brecheiniog, Prince or Lord of Brecknock, and his descendants, from about the year 1100 to the present time; lists of sheriffs, judges, and members of Parliament; and various other papers, illustrative or explanatory of the information detailed in the body of the work. The consideration of the second volume must be reserved for our next; together with our remarks on the engravings in the present one.
(To be continued.)
Coxe's Memoirs of Lord Walpole.
[Concluded from p. 181 of this Volume.] AFTER citing such a flagrant instance of the “vain conjectures," "perverted reasonings,” and “ inaccuracy of quotation,” by means of which Belsham has contrived to vilify his country, calumniate his sovereign, and violate the sanctity of historical truth; we shall extract a specimen of our author's style of narrative. It exhibits some of the fatal effects of dissentions in the British cabinet, and likewise developes the perverse policy, which appears to have actuated the cabinet of Vienna during nearly a century.
“ On his return to England [in. 1739], Mr. Walpole found the people in a state of ferment and agitation, wild with schemes of vengeance for the Spanish depredations, and sharing in imagination the treasures of Peru and Mexico. He was not, how. ever, hurried away by these dreams of vengeance and conquest; he had uniformly promoted the pacific system of his brother, and united with him in opposing the precipitate declaration of war.
as About this time,' to use the words which conclude his. apology, the depredations of the Spaniards on the British com,
merce in the West Indies, encouraged by the turbulent spirit ? of the Queen of Spain, and out of resentment for the great • illegal trade, carried on contrary to treaty, by the English, with
the Spanish American coast and ports, had given a handle to the disaffected and discontented party (increased by the accession • of those in Parliament. who belonged to the court of the late Prince of Wales), to raise a great ferment in the nation, to occasion warm debates in Parliament, and strong resolutions and addresses to the crown, against such violent proceedings; with an advice to his majesty to try once more amicable measures to obtain reparations, and to prevent the like injuries for the future. In consequence of which, a convention was negotiated and i concluded with Spain, by which that king acknowledged our
grievances, agreed to pay in three months a certain sum in satisfaction, and to discuss and determine in five months, by
plenipotentiaries on both sides, the respective complaints, in order to put a final end to all differences between the two nations. This convention, after a long and solemn debate, was approved by Parliament; but most of the members of his majesty's council, excepting Şir Robert Walpole and his brother, were so alarmed, and betrayed such apprehensions of the popular discontent and cries, that their Catholic majesties, being informed of it by their minister in England, and convinced that thee clamours would force his majesty and his ministry into war with them, refused to make the payment of the money, stipulated for satisfaction, at the stated time; and consequently "a rupture ensued between the two nations, in which France
privately supported the Spaniards, while neither the Emperor nor the States seemed disposed to take any part.'
“ From this period Mr. Walpole remained in England; but held no ostensible place under government. He did not, however, intermit
' his political labours; but continued the same attention to public business, and supplied the cabinet with numerous papers, deductions, and memorials, relative to the conduct of foreiga attairs, during that crtical period which immediately preceded and followed the death of the Emperor Charles the Sixth.
" His sagacity led him to foresee that the war with Spain must occasion a rupture with France, and to appreciate the necessity of forming some plan of united measures to counteract the
preponderance which that power had acquired on the continent. 'He: had no reliance on the co-operation of the Emperor, whose rash and impolitic schemes had reduced his country to a state of weakness and degradation * Charles had no sooner concluded a pacia fication with France, Spain, and Sardinia, than, in alliance with Russia, he attacked the Turks, with the sanguine hopes of procuring an indemnification on the side of Hungary for his losses in Italy. But the disasters, of a single campaign compelled him to
"* In one of his letters to Mr. Trevor, he says, We find they (the court of Vienna) begin to open their eyes; it is better they should do it themselves, than we should pretend to lift up their ! eyelids for them; for we can't make them see if they have a
mind to be blind. and if that be the case, things are well enough.' January 25, 1738-9.