« PreviousContinue »
AN EVENING RAMBLE.
ONE bright-bright May evening, not very long ago—for indeed it was May this very year, if any merry laughing little girl or boy who may be my reader had been near me, I would have taken them for a Ramble, which, for its beauty and interest should long have remained like a sunny spot amongst the flowers of fair fancies, ever springing in the minds of such as they; and perhaps, they should have joined in a conversation, of which, (if these stories please them, though absent, they
were the subject. However, as I had no such little companions of my walk, perhaps it will do just as well if I describe it to them.
In the West of England, and in a county whose beauties have been celebrated by pens far abler than mine, there is a little spot so beautiful, that after visiting it, the surrounding landscape appears to the eye tame and uninteresting. It is a valley so narrow that from the top of the rocky hills, which, on each side, form its boundary, a conversation may be carried on.
The sides of these hills in some places are clothed with woods, from which issue the notes of the thrush and blackbird, and I know not how many more of the sweet voiced feathered choristers. To the rich songs of these the cuckoo,-worshipper of spring--and the soft loving ring dove add their delightful chorus.
A river so clear and beautiful, that but for its swift motion and its murmuring you would scarcely know water was there, flows through the valley to which it gives its own sweet
Oh! I cannot tell you with how much beauty it bounds like a living thing along its
bed, flinging its bright waters high in the sunbeam, as if wooing it,—now dashing a sparkling drop amongst the tempting petals of a group of flowers, which hang lovingly over its banks, now seeming playfully to chide as its bright waters fret and chafe around a mossy stone which disputes its passage, and then leaping forward more swiftly than before. For a little while it smoothes its waves, and flows with a kind of stately majesty beneath the shadows of huge trees which fling their protecting arms across, and rest upon the opposite bank; and then starting forward with a fresh sprightliness and life it rushes to the opposite side of the valley, and lovingly kisses its hills; whilst with loud music it seems heartily to laugh at the forsaken ones.
Just as this beauteous stream reaches its ocean home, the hills make a sudden curve as if they would intercept its course and keep it in this Valley of Delight for ever; and at a little distance the scene looks like the “Happy Valley,” which kept Rasselas a prisoner; and seems to forbid all communication with the world beyond, except by climbing over the summit of the hills.
Nor is the beauty of the Vale its only attraction. Old legends tell of struggles long and mighty between Giants of greater than human strength and size, and women holding communion with the powers of darkness ;that they fought for the dominion of this earthly paradise; and that after many fearful encounters the mighty men prevailed, and the witches were driven far away to the beetling cliffs which overhang the neighbouring ocean, and there hurled into the sea.
Nor are there wanting high and holy associations to sanctify this fair spot, and to render it, independently of its natural beauty, a place of interest. Here, when our ancestors were just beginning to feel the precious and holy influences of the Gospel, and to be softened from bloody warriors into men,-not less bravebut more forgiving—more merciful,—was born one who was destined by Heaven to tend and nurture to maturity the Holy Church just planted. Upon the banks of this river he passed his gentle childhood, and listened to the pious teaching of those blessed ones who brought to us the glad tidings of salvation. He heard, and his young pure spirit adoring, believed. Even in childhood he mourned over the blindness of many of his countrymen, and often mingled his tears with the waters of the river as he thought upon them. Early he craved and obtained an appointment to the sacred Office of the Priesthood, and then all the energies of his mind were bent to the due discharge of its awful responsibilities. And well were his labours rewarded ! Every trace of the superstitious worship of the Druids was soon banished. The harp of the Bard now sent forth its spirit moving music in praises of the ever blessed Three in One ; and the hills of Cambria and the hearts of her sons echoed the glad sounds.
After a time, this good Saint was called away from his dear native rocks, to superintend the general affairs of the newly planted Church; but from the Episcopal chair of Caerlleon, his thoughts and cares turned with peculiar tenderness towards the scene of his early labours; and in the midst of his arduous duties Gwaynianus would often sigh after the Chapel where his congregation used to meet and offer up their prayers-Capel Llanfihangel.