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of imagery and thought. When writing in the fashion of the times his lines are cold and constrained, often forced and unnatural;—he appears hampered by confinement, and sings, to use his own phrase, though in a different application, “like a committed linnet;"_when he escapes from his thraldom, the gay air of a gallant high-thoughted cavalier graces every line. We will conclude this paper with a few scattered lines which we remarked in our perusal, but which, though worthy of notice, were not, for different reasons, of importance enough to be introduced into the body of our extracts.
In the duel of the toad and spider, he speaks of a description of punishment more horrible than any other we remember to have heard of.
“Now as in witty torturing Spain,
In the triumphs of Philamore and Amoret, he has this finely expressed comparison.
"as at a coronation,
He compares a toad and a spider, about to engage with each other, in these terms.
“Have you not seen a carrack lie
Perhaps a black patch on a lady's cheek, covering a bee's sting, was never before mentioned in terms so exalted as the following
“And that black marble tablet there,
Arr. IX.-The History of the Gwedir Family. By Sir John Wynne, the first Baronet of that name:
. Cui genus, a proavis ingens.-Virg. 8vo. London, 1773.
Sir John Wynne, the historian of the Gwedir family, was the representative of one of the wealthiest and most ancient families in North Wales. He was born in 1553, and married Sidney, daughter of Sir William Gerard, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, by whom he had nine sons and two daughters. In 1611, he was created a baronet, and died fifteen years afterwards, at the advanced and venerable age of seventy-three. The baro-, netcy terminated in his grandson, Sir John, in default of male issue; but some of the first houses in the principality claim an alliance with the family through the female branches, as the Burrells, Lords Gwydyr;-(who are also representatives of the extinct dukedom of Åncaster,)—the Wynns of Wynnstay and Penniarth,—the Vaughans of Nannau and Hêngwrt, and the Mostyns of Mostyn and Gloddaeth.
But, in addition to these hereditary qualifications, Sir John Wynne possessed others more immediately obvious and endearing. Endowed with nearly every characteristic of the warm-hearted Cambro-Briton, he was, also, an elegant scholar, a kind and affectionate father, and an upright and benevolent man. Generous, patriotic, hospitable, and remarkably tenacious of the honour and antiquity of his family, he affords, in his character, an admirable specimen of a thorough-bred Welshman, whose genial virtues infinitely more than counterbalance his trilling and innocent eccentricities. To improve a mind naturally and powerfully imbued with a thirst for knowledge, he visited Italy in his youth,* and afterwards returned to Wales, where he passed his time in the midst of his dependants, cultivating their esteem, and alleviating the misery of the poor around him.
It was during this part of his life, that he compiled his “ History;" the principal object of which appears to be the deduction of his pedigree from Griffith ap Cynan, who swayed the
* The celebrated Archbishop Williams, who was tutor to the Baronet's sons at St. John's College, Cambridge, characterizes him as a man,
Multorum mores hominum, qui vidit, et urbes.
sceptre of North Wales, during the latter part of the eleventh and the commencement of the twelfth century; and the zeal and industry which the worthy baronet has evinced in a cause so very unimportant, when abstractedly considered, to any but himself and his friends, is admirably illustrative of his own indefatigable perseverance, and of that of his genealogy-loving countrymen.* He has spared neither pains nor expense in procuring all the old, neglected, and forgotten documents, which might in any way tend to elucidate his subject; and it must he confessed, that, after a good deal of toil and trouble, he has succeeded in most satisfactorily establishing the yalidity of his descent from one of the best and wisest monarchs that ever reigned in Wales. And this task he has accomplished in a very entertaining and masterly manner. Instead of merely confining himself to the genealogical tree, and its nearest and most conspicuous branches,
-telling us, that Griffith ap Cynan had so many children, the eldest of whom was Owen Gwynedd, who had a son by his first wife Gwaladys, named Yorwerth Drwndwn, or Edward with the broken nose, and so forth ;-he launches out collaterally, and diverges most amusingly, into the history of each particular period, recapitulates the most remarkable events,--and fails not to relate as many of the heroic exploits of his ancestors, as he can possibly prove them to have performed...
In this manner he has collected and narrated many important and interesting historical facts, and made his “History" really worthy of its title ; so much so, indeed, that nearly every subsequent historian has made frequent reference to it; and that amiable and accomplished antiquary, Bishop Percy, deemed it so excellent a work, that he enriched it with four copious and accurate genealogical tables, besides several learned and valuable notes. Well, indeed, may we apply to the baronet of Gwedir, the merited compliment which he himself paid to a contemporary antiquary; designating him as a man,“ to whom his country is much beholden, preferring nothing more than the honour thereof, which he most carefully raketh out of the ashes of oblivion, in searching, quoting, and coppying, to his great chardge, all the ancient records he can come by.”
The “amor patriæ, indeed, glowed brightly in the bosom of our author; and it was his ardent patriotism, added to a qua
“ Genealogiam quoque generis sui,” writes Giraldus Cambrensis, who travelled through Wales in 1188," etiam de populo quilibet observat, et non solum avos, atavos, sed usque ad sextam vel septimam, et ultra procul generationem memoriter et promptè genus enarrat."
Cambriæ Descriptio.cap. 17. lity still more congenial to the mountaineer,*--namely, pride of ancestry, that first prompted him to undertake the task, and afterwards stimulated him to industry in its execution, and however ridiculous this latter virtue--for pride of ancestry is a virtue-may appear, when exercised without discrimination by the illiterate and the vulgar; yet, in the genuine Welsh gentle, man, it is an ornament which derives additional brilliancy, from the very influence which it possesses over the mind and manners of the individual.-But we wander from the work before us. 1.5. The most valuable and interesting feature in the History of the Gwedir Family, is the clear and comprehensive view which it exhibits of the manners of the Welsh, at a time when they were little better than actual barbarians; and at a period when “not having the fear of God before their eyes,” they despised all manner of restraint, and all manner of moral and divine coercion. It is chiefly on this account, that we have undertaken á review of it ; and as some one or other of the good baronet's progenitors were more or less interested in all the sanguinary feuds which we are about to detail, we cannot have better authority, or a more amusing and circumstantial narrator. . is *** Before we proceed, however, to transcribe any part of our author's narrative, we will take a cursory glance at the state of Wales, previous to the time when Sir John's ancestors became so conspicuous; and we willt hen select from the Gwedir History such extracts as will elucidate still more clearly, the “ bloody and ireful quarrels of that disastrous - period, which immediately preceded the union of Wales with England....
The laws which passed in the English parliament, at the beginning of the fifteenth century, in consequence of the insur
* “ The inhabitants of mountains form distinct races, and are careful to preserve their genealogies. Men in a small district necessarily mingle blood by intermarriage, and combine at last into one family, with a common interest in the honour and disgrace of every individual. Then begins that union of affections, and co-operation of endeavours, that constitute a clan. They who consider themselves as ennobled by their family, will think highly of their progenitors; and they, who, through successive generations, live always together in the same place, will preserve local stories, and hereditary prejudices. Thus every mountaineer can talk of his ancestors, and recount the outrages which they suffered from the wicked inhabitants of the next valley.".
Dr. Johnson's Journey to the Western Isles.
+ “God hath shewed such mercy to our kind,” says Sir John, " that ever since the time of Rodericke, the son of Owen Gwynedd, Lord of Anglesey, there lived in the common-wealth, in eminent sorte, one or other of our name, and many together at times.” ni :
rection of Owen Glyndwr, subjected the Welsh to a state of bondage, the most deep and severe.* While they were yet in arms, the provisions of these statutes could not be enforced ; but no sooner was the rebellion quelled, than they were put into execution with the most relentless and oppressive vigilance. With Owen Glyndwr expired the last glimmer of the regal power of the principality, and the Welsh, no longer animated by the presence of their native princes, and actuated solely by their passions, degenerated into a state of gloomy and savage ferocity. Their keen and warlike disposition, no longer kept alive by the power of an hereditary enemy, sank into sanguinary feuds among themselves, or became actively engaged in the pleasures of the chace. The rude inhabitants of the mountain districts still retained an enthusiastic predilection for that boisterous mode of living, bequeathed to them by their ancestors, and, indignantly spurning the adoption of the more refined habits of their conquerors, it was long, very long, ere they began to imitate the more polished manners of the English. · The period which succeeded Glyndwr's abortive attempt to regain the liberties of his country,—was one of gloom and anarchy, and one which our regard for historical truth compels us to pronounce most barbarous and disgraceful. Its history, as Mr. Pennant truly observes, is the history of revenge, of perfidy, and of slaughter. As in the calamitous wars between the “Rival Roses,”-father rose against son, brother against brother, and kinsman against kinsman': and much as we may admire the noble and heroic struggles of the Welsh, in defence of their independence for so many years, we cannot but deeply lament and deprecate their want of unanimity,--the ferocity of their manners,-and the turbulence and cruelty, which at this particular period characterized their still undaunted spirit. In so disturbed a state was the principality at this time, that no gentleman dared to venture abroad unarmed, or unguarded. “Questioning with my uncle,” says our author, " what should move him to demolish an old church, which stood in a great thickett, and build it in a plaine, stronger and greater than it was before; his answer was, he had good reason for the same, because the countrey was wild, and he might be oppressed by his enemies on the suddaine in that woodie countrey ; it therefore stood him in a policie to have diverse places 'of retreat. Certaine it was, that he durst not goe to church on a Sunday, from his house of Penanmen, but he must leave the same guarded with men, and have the doores sure barred and boulted, and a watchman to stand at
: * See particularly the second and fourth statutes of Henry IV. and the first of Henry V.