INSCRIBED TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE LADY ELEANOR BUTLER, AND MISS PONSONBY.
1 LUXURIANT Vale, thy Country's early boast,
2 What time great GLENDOUR gave thy scenes to Fame;
3 Taught the proud numbers of the English Host,
4 How vain their vaunted force, when Freedom's flame
5 Fir'd him to brave the Myriads he abhorr'd,
6 Wing'd his unerring shaft, and edg'd his victor sword.
7 Here first those orbs unclosing drank the light,
8 Cambria's bright stars, the meteors of her Foes;
9 What dread and dubious omens*
* Omens. According to the records of Lewis Owen, the year 1349 was distinguished by the first appearance of the PESTILENCE in Wales, and by the birth of OWEN GLENDOUR. Hollingshed relates the marvellous tale of his Father's Horses, being found that night in their stables, standing up to the middle in blood. The Bard, IOLO GOCH, mentions a Comet, which marked the great deeds of Glendour, when he was in the meridian of his glory. See Mr. PENNANT'S TOUR mark'd the night,
10 That lour'd, ere yet his natal morn arose!
11 The Steeds paternal, on their cavern'd floor,
12 Foaming, and horror-struck, "fret fetlock-deep in gore."
13 PLAGUE, in her livid hand, o'er all the Isle,
14 Shook her dark flag, impure with fetid stains;
15 While "DEATH*
* Isaiah., on his pale Horse, "with baleful smile,
16 Smote with its blaring hoof the frighted plains.
17 Soon thro' the grass-grown streets, in silence led,
18 Slow moves the midnight Cart, heapt with the naked Dead.
19 Yet in the festal dawn of Richard's†
† Richard the Second. reign,
20 Thy gallant GLENDOUR'S sunny prime arose;
21 Virtuous, tho' gay, in that Circean fane,
22 Bright Science twin'd here circlet round his brows;
23 Nor cou'd the youthful, rash, luxurious King
24 Dissolve the Hero's worth on his Icarian wing.
25 Sudden it drops on its meridian flight! —
26 Ah! hapless Richard! never didst thou aim
27 To crush primeval Britons with thy might,
28 And their brave Glendour's tears embalm thy name.
29 Back from thy victor-Rival's vaunting Throng,
30 Sorrowing, and stern, he sinks LLANGOLLEN'S shades among.
31 Soon, in imperious Henry's*
* Henry the Fourth. dazzled eyes,
32 The guardian bounds of just Dominion melt;
33 His scarce-hop'd crown imperfect bliss supplies,
34 Till Cambria's vassalage be deeply felt.
35 Now up her craggy steeps, in long array,
36 Swarm his exulting Bands, impatient for the fray.
37 Lo! thro' the gloomy night, with angry blaze,
38 Trails the fierce Comet, and alarms the Stars;
39 Each waning Orb withdraws its glancing rays,
40 Save the red Planet, that delights in wars.
41 Then, with broad eyes upturn'd, and starting hair,
42 Gaze the astonish'd Crowd upon its vengeful glare.
43 Gleams the wan Morn, and thro' LLANGOLLEN'S Vale
44 Sees the proud Armies streaming o'er her meads.
45 Her frighted Echos warning sounds assail,
46 Loud, in the rattling cars, the neighing steeds;
47 The doubling drums, the trumpet's piercing breath,
48 And all the ensigns dread of havoc, wounds, and death.
49 High on a hill as shrinking CAMBRIA stood,
50 And watch'd the onset of th' unequal fray,
51 She saw her Deva, stain'd with warrior-blood,
52 Lave the pale rocks, and wind its fateful way
53 Thro' meads, and glens, and wild woods, echoing far
54 The din of clashing arms, and furious shout of war.
55 From rock to rock, with loud acclaim, she sprung,
56 While from her CHIEF the routed Legions fled;
57 Saw Deva roll their slaughter'd heaps among,
58 The check'd waves eddying round the ghastly dead;
59 Saw, in that hour, her own LLANGOLLEN claim
60 Thermopylæ's bright wreath, and aye-enduring fame.
61 Thus, consecrate to GLORY. — Then arose
62 A milder lustre in its blooming maze;
63 Thro' the green glens, where lucid Deva flows,
64 Rapt Cambria listens with enthusiast gaze,
65 While more inchanting sounds her ear assail,
66 Than thrill'd on Sorga's bank, the Love-devoted Vale. *
* Vaucluse, the celebrated Valley near Avignon, in which Petrarch composed his beautiful Sonnets to Laura.
67 'Mid the gay towers on steep Din's*
* In 1390, Castel Dinas-Brân, now a bare ruin, was inhabited by the lovely Lady MIFANWY VECHAN, of the House of Tudor Trevor. She was beloved by the Bard HOEL. See MR. PENNANT'S TOUR, adorned by a pleasing translation, in English verse, of one of Hoel's Poems in her praise, and complaining of her coldness. The ruins of Castel Dinas-Brân, are on a conoid mountain of laborious access. It rises in the midst of Llangollen Valley. Branna's cone,
68 Her HOEL'S breast the fair MIFANWY fires. —
69 O! Harp of Cambria, never hast thou known
70 Notes more mellifluent floating o'er the wires,
71 Than when thy Bard this brighter Laura sung,
72 And with his ill-starr'd love LLANGOLLEN'S echos rung.
73 Tho' Genius, Love, and Truth inspire the strains,
74 Thro' Hoel's veins, tho' blood illustrious flows,
75 Hard as th' Eglwyseg rocks†
† Eglwyseg rocks. Rocks of the Eagles. They are opposite Castel Dinas-Brân. The Rev. Mr. Roberts of Dinbren asserts, that the word Eglwyseg, has that interpretation. Mr. PENNANT derives it from the name of a Gentleman, to whose memory the neighbouring column was erected; though, in another part of his Tour, he mentions Leland's testimony, that a pair of Eagles built annually in the Eglwyseg rocks, and that a person was let down in a basket to take the young, with another basket over his head, to protect him from the fury of the parent-birds. This tradition favors Mr. Roberts' etymology. That Gentleman has lately added largely to his paternal house, situated on a noble mountain in Llangollen Valley. The house stands near its craggy summit, and looks as if it had begin scooped out of the rocks. A very narrow Valley, containing two sloping copses, and a few bright little fields, with a woody lane winding between them, divides Mr. Roberts' mountain from the opposite elevation of Castel Dinas-Brân. The south-east front of the house looks immediately into this narrow Valley; the barren, and very singular Eglwyseg rocks on the left, and Castel Dinas-Brân in front. Between the base of the latter, and the sloping foot of his own mountain, Mr. R. has the bird's eye prospect of Llangollen Town, and a part of the Vale. — The Author of this Poem, is indebted to the friendly hospitality of MR. and MRS. ROBERTS, for an opportunity (during a fortnight's residence with them last Summer) of contemplating the beauties of their own scene, and of the celebrated VALLEY of LLANGOLLEN. her heart remains,
76 Her smile a sun-beam playing on their snows;
77 And nought avails the Poet's warbled claim,
78 But, by his well-sung woes, to purchase deathless fame,
79 Thus consecrate to LOVE, in ages flown, —
80 Long ages fled Din's-Branna's ruins show,
81 Bleak as they stand upon their steepy cone,
82 The crown and contrast of the VALE below,
83 That, screen'd by mural rocks, with pride displays
84 Beauty's romantic pomp in every sylvan maze.
85 Now with a Vestal lustre glows the VALE,
86 Thine, sacred FRIENDSHIP, permanent as pure;
87 In vain the stern Authorities assail,
88 In vain Persuasion spreads her silken lure,
89 High-born, and high-endow'd, the peerless Twain†
† Peerless Twain. RIGHT HONORABLE LADY ELEANOR BUTLER, and MISS PONSONBY, now seventeen years resident in Llangollen Vale, and whose Guest the Author had the honor to be during several delightful days of the late Summer.,
90 Pant for coy Nature's charms 'mid silent dale, and plain.
91 Thro' ELEANORA, and her ZARA'S mind,
92 Early tho' genius, taste, and fancy flow'd,
93 Tho' all the graceful Arts their powers combin'd,
94 And her last polish brilliant Life bestow'd,
95 The lavish Promiser, in Youth's soft morn,
96 Pride, Pomp, and Love, her friends, the sweet Enthusiasts scorn.
97 Then rose the Fairy Palace of the Vale,
98 Then bloom'd around it the Arcadian bowers;
99 Screen'd from the storms of Winter, cold and pale,
100 Screen'd from the fervors of the sultry hours,
101 Circling the lawny crescent, soon they rose,
102 To letter'd ease devote, and Friendship's blest repose.
103 Smiling they rose beneath the plastic hand
104 Of Energy, and Taste; — nor only they,
105 Obedient Science hears the mild command,
106 Brings every gift that speeds the tardy day,
107 Whate'er the pencil sheds in vivid hues,
108 Th' historic tome reveals, or sings the raptur'd Muse.
109 How sweet to enter, at the twilight grey,
110 The dear, minute Lyceum*
* Lyceum, — the Library, fitted up in the Gothic taste, the painted windows of that form. In the elliptic arch of the door, there is a prismatic lantern of variously tinted glass, containing two large lamps with their reflectors. The light they shed resembles that of a Volcano, gloomily glaring. Opposite, on the chimney-piece, a couple of small lamps, in marble reservoirs, assist the prismatic lantern to supply the place of candles, by a light more consonant to the style of the apartment, the pictures it contains of absent Friends, and to its aërial music. of the Dome,
111 When, thro' the colour'd crystal, glares the ray,
112 Sanguine and solemn 'mid the gathering gloom,
113 While glow-worm lamps diffuse a pale, green light,
114 Such as in mossy lanes illume the starless night.
115 Then the coy Scene, by deep'ning veils o'erdrawn,
116 In shadowy elegance seems lovelier still;
117 Tall shrubs, that skirt the semi-lunar lawn,
118 Dark woods, that curtain the opposing hill;
119 While o'er their brows the bare cliff faintly gleams,
120 And, from its paly edge, the evening-diamond†
† Evening-Star. streams.
121 What strains Æolian thrill the dusk expanse,
122 As rising gales with gentle murmurs play,
123 Wake the loud chords, or every sense intrance,
124 While in subsiding winds they sink away!
125 Like distant choirs, "when pealing organs blow,"
126 And melting voices blend, majestically flow.
* These lines with inverted commas, are from Thomson's Castle of Indolence. But, ah! what hand can touch the strings so fine,
128 "Who up the lofty diapason roll
129 " Such sweet, such sad, such solemn airs divine,
130 "Then let them down again into the soul!"
131 The prouder sex as soon, with virtue calm,
132 Might win from this bright Pair pure Friendship's spotless palm.
133 What boasts Tradition, what th' historic Theme,
134 Stands it in all their chronicles confest
135 Where the soul's glory shines with clearer beam,
136 Than in our sea-zon'd bulwark of the West,
137 When, in this Cambrian Valley, Virtue shows
138 Where, in her own soft sex, its steadiest lustre glows?
139 Say ivied VALLE CRUCIS*
* The picturesque Ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey, one of the most striking objects in this Valley. They are particularly described by Mr PENNANT, and there are engravings of them in his Tour., time decay'd,
140 Dim on the brink of Deva's wandering floods,
141 Your riv'd arch glimmering thro' the tangled glade,
142 Your grey hills towering o'er your night of woods,
143 Deep in the Vale's recesses as you stand,
144 And, desolately great, the rising sigh command,
145 Say, lonely, ruin'd Pile, when former years
146 Saw your pale Train at midnight altars bow;
147 Saw SUPERSTITION frown upon the tears
148 That mourn'd the rash irrevocable vow,
149 Wore one young lip gay ELEANORA'S smile?
150 Did ZARA'S look serene one tedious hour beguile?
151 For your sad Sons, nor Science wak'd her powers;
152 Nor e'er did Art her lively spells display;
153 But the grim IDOL†
† Superstition. vainly lash'd the hours
154 That dragg'd the mute, and melancholy day;
155 Dropt her dark cowl on each devoted head,
156 That o'er the breathing Corse a pall eternal spread.
157 This gentle Pair no glooms of thought infest,
158 Nor Bigotry, nor Envy's sullen gleam
159 Shed withering influence on the effort blest,
160 Which most shou'd win the other's dear esteem,
161 By added knowledge, by endowment high,
162 By Charity's warm boon, and Pity's soothing sigh.
163 Then how shou'd Summer-day or Winter-night,
164 Seem long to them who thus can wing their hours!
165 O! ne'er may Pain, or Sorrow's cruel blight,
166 Breathe the dark mildew thro' these lovely bowers,
167 But lengthen'd Life subside in soft decay,
168 Illum'd by rising Hope, and Faith's pervading ray.
169 May one kind ice-bolt, from the mortal stores,
170 Arrest each vital current as it flows,
171 That no sad course of desolated hours
172 Here vainly nurse the unsubsiding woes!
173 While all who honor Virtue, gently mourn
174 LLANGOLLEN'S VANISH'D PAIR, and wreath their sacred urn.