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Their musical instruments charm and delight the ear with their sweetness, are borne along by such celerity and delicacy of modulation, producing such a consonance from the rapidity of seemingly discordant touches, that I shall briefly, repeat what is set forth in our Irish Topography on the subject of the musical instruments of the three nations. It is astonishing that in so complex and rapid a movement of the fingers, the musical proportions can be preserved, and that throughout the difficult modulations on their various instruments, the harmony is completed with such a sweet velocity, so unequal an equality, so discordant a concord, as if the chords sounded together fourths or fifths. They always begin from B filat, and return to the same, that the whole may be completed under the sweetness of a pleasing sound. They enter into a movement, and conclude it in so deli, cate a manner, and play the little notes so sportively under the bluntes sounds of the bass strings, enlivening with wanton levity, or communi. cating a deeper internal sensation of pleasure, so that the perfection of their art appears in the concealment of it. « Si lateat, prosit:
ferat ars deprensa pudorem." “ Art profits when concealed,
“ Disgraces when revealed.” : From this cause those very strains which afford deep and unspeakable mental delight to those who have skilfully penetrated into the mys, teries of the art, fatigue rather than gratify the ears of others, who seeing, do not perceive ; and hearing, do not understand ; and by whom the finest music is esteemed no better than a disorderly noise, and will be heard with unwillingness and disgust.
• They make use of three instruments, the harp, the pipe, and the crwth, or crowd.
They omit no part of natural rhetoric in the management of civil actions, in quickness of invention, disposition, refutation and confirmafion. In their rhymed songs and set speeches, they are so subtile and ingenious, that they produce in their native tongue, ornaments of wonderful and exquisite invention both in the words and sentences; hence arise those poets whom they call bards, of whom
many in this nation, endowed with the above faculty, according to the poet's observation;
**Plurima concreti fuderunt carmina Bardi.” • Put they make use of alliteration in preference to all other ornaments of rhetoric, and that particular - kind which joins by consonancy the first letters or syl ables of words. So much do the En lish and Welsh nations employ this ornament of words in all exquisite composition, that no sentence is esteemed to be elegantly spoken, no oration to be otherwise than uncouth and unrefined, unless it be polished by the file of this rule.!
The writer of these paragraphs could not be an ignorant man; churchman, as he was, and surrounded by superstition, confined not unfrequently to his cloister for a long time together, and poring over legends and relics, yet he had acquired knowledge of various kinds, and his mind had evidently attained considerable cultivation; in describing the science of others, he has manifested, not merely a refin d musical intelligence of the art, but an eloquence of style, and a sensibility of expression, which are worthy of a later age.
Annexed to this chapter is a valuable dissertation on Bardism, for which Sir R. C. H. is obliged to Mr. Owen. We also are happy in acknowledging our obligations to that gentleman, and regret that our limits forbid us from doing it justice.
We learn from it that there were three Orders of Bards: the Bards proper, the Druids, (Priests,) and the Ovates. The Bardie was the predoninant class; it was the privileged national college of the Britons. To this primary Order appertained the perpetuation of the privileges and customs of the system; and also of the civil, and moral institutes, and learning. The Ovates were such of the Bards as cultivated particular arts and sciences : therefore it was the Order to which belonged artists and mechanics of every description. Mr. Owen thinks it was the origin of Free Masonry. The theology of the Bards admitted the existence of one Supreme Being: they considered the soul as a lapsed intelligence; privation of knowledge was its punishment, and possession of knowledge was deemed essentially to imply bappiness.
They supposed the existence of innumerable worlds, and, not unlike the Brahmans, that the soul by way of punishment was cast into the lowest of them, from whence it might gradually rise according to “ the progression of intelligences through all modes of being, approximating eternally toward Deity itself. Further, that this earth was originally covered with water, which gradually subsiding, land animals appeared of the lowest and least perfect species,” which were followed by new and superior orders in the scale of being. The ce, remonies of the Druids, are slightly hinted at; and some which are described as being of the first importance by the Latin writers, are here considered as of " less note" : such as cutting the misletoe with a golden hook by the presiding Druid; gathering the cowslip, &c.
The Bards had aphorisms, political, moral, and religious, comprized in verses united in the form of triplets or triads. The system is still preserved, as to the general principles, within a small district of Glamorganshire; but has become nearly unknown in every other part of Wales for several : ages,
The character of King Edward I. has been blackened by an imputation of the greatest cruelty towards the Bards; he has been accused of issuing an edict for their extermination. Our editor strongly doubts the fact: and it seems very probable that the King's supposed edict was only a threat, or was re
stricted to a small body peculiarly obnoxious to him. Mr. Pennant, in his Tour through North Wales, informs us, that in 15. Hen. VIII. an Eisteddfod, or general meeting of the Bards, was held at Caerwys in Flintshire; and in 1568, under Queen Elizabeth, a royal commission was issued for the same purpose, appointing also the same place. This commission is the last that has been granted : it is in possession of the Mostyn family, together with the silver harp, about six inches in length, which froin time immemorial has been the badge of honour.
We are not so totally enveloped in Antiquarian lore'as to be indifferent to the present improvements, which the spirit of modern times is effecting. We learn with pleasure that the superior accommodations of the southern counties have at length reached the northern ; in the latter district, says Sir Richard,
Large tracts of land have been rescued by embankments from the raxages of the sea: new inns have been built ; and new roads of communi. cation have been cut through the most mountainous and apparently impracticable districts. And here let me pay a just and grateful tribute to the laudable zeal and disinterested exertions of an English pobleman (Lord Penrhyn) who has devoted the profits of a large estate to the public good ; who at his own expence, has formed an extensive tract of excellent road, has established a sea-port, and introduced into the very bowels of the mountains an industrious and numerous population. But the most important improvement of the country has been totally overlooked, namely, Planting : the native woods diminish daily. In a very few years many estates will not furnish even an oak for a gate post.' p. 403, 404.
The theory of the pointed arch as proposed by Sir R. C. H. is ingenious; and his examples are instructive. His advice to Landscape Painters, Architects, &c. is well intended; and may be useful, to young artists, especially. The work concludes with a list of books relating to Wales.
It is proper that we should notice the useful and elegant accompaniments with which the taste of the editor has enriched these volumes. They comprise five or six maps, which illustrate the dissertations; more than twenty plates of antiquities, of which some are selected from the works of our best Antiquaries, and about thirty views of principal places mentioned in the work, engraved by that excellent artist, the late Mr. Byrne.
The portrait of Giraldus, which forms the frontispiece to the first volume is “free from all common place ideas of fat contented ignorande looking downwards upon the earth :” his character was that of activity, and promptitude, of perseverance, and resolution. He was chaplain to King. Henry II. secretary to his son John when in Ireland, where he refused
two bishoprics, and an archbishopric, for the sake of his favourite St. David's, which he could not attain, till he found it impossible to accept it. Relinquishing all his em. ployments, he passed the last seventeen years of his life in à cloister, and died about A. D. 1220, aged 74.
We close our account of this splendid publication with offering our sincere thanks to the learned editor for the pleasure his remarks have afforded us, and we cannot but recommend the attention of our noblemen and gentlemen, in pursuance of so good an example, to topographical antiquities. We should thank them, however, on behalf of the literary world, ifia the publication of their researches, they would abate the cost, in some copies, at least, though at the same time they must abate the splendour. The present work we regard as a valuable acquisition to British history, and to the knowledge of ancient manners and progressive civilization: it is placed within the reach of noblemen, who will not read it; why should it not be placed within the reach of scholars, who will?
Art. II. Communications to the Board of Agriculture, Vol. IV.
(Concluded from p. 686.) IN N proceeding through these papers, the next division is
XIV. On various Subjects, viz. No. CXLI., on National Produce, by the Rev. Dr. Robertson, of Granton, near Edinburgh. In this valuable paper, Dr. Robertson shews that by putting the whole of the land in England and Wales, which is fit for cultivation, under a proper course of alternate tillage and pasture, an immense annual addition would be 'made to the wealth and population of the country. He estimates the increased value of the crops at 40 millions annually, the present gross value being 54 ; and believes that an additional population to the amount of 6 millions might be easily maine tained.
The idea is a good one, though we much doubt whether the crops could be made to average so high as Dr. R. has calculated. On the other hand, we think he has underrated the superficial extent of the country, proceeding on so vague an estimate as the measurement of Cary's Map would furnish. Had a more authentic statement been resorted to, the results would have appeared proportionably more important.
No. cxlii. Food for man from grass and arable. An uninteresting scrap that ought to have been added to the head XIII. grazing and tillage compared, if inserted at all.
No. CXLUI., Embanking, by Mr. John Smith, of Chatteris.
Mr. S. recommends a good plan for improving old embankments, which are penetrated by the water.
• I first cut a gutter,' he says, 'eighteen inches wide, through the old bank, down to the clay, (the fen substratum being generally clay), the gutter is made near the centre, but a little on the land side. This gutter is afterwards filled
in solid manner with tempered clay, and to make the clay resist the water, a man in boots always treads the clay as the gutter is filled up. As the fen-moor lies on clay, the whole of this cheap improved and durable mode of water-proof banking, costs in the fens only six-pence per yard. This plan was tried last autumn, on a convenient farm, and a hundred acres of wheat were sown on the land. The wheat and grass-lands on this farm are now all dry, whilst the fens around are covered with water.'
No. cxliv., Thatch, by the Rev. R. Duncan, Kilmarnock. We should heartily concur with this gentleman, in recommending slate instead of thatch for farm-houses and offices, not only for the reasons he mentious, but also because thatch is a great harbour for vermin; but we fear the difference of expense, and in some parts the difficulty of procuring the materials, will always be impediments to the introduction of slating, as a general practice; besides which, it might have occurred to him, that a farmer generally builds his barns and stables of crooked and refuse timber feiled in the neighbourhood, which will not admit of that straight and regular form of toof which is required for slating.
We are now to examine the Miscellaneous papers.
1. The speech of the Right Honourable Lord Carrington delivered at the Board of Agriculture, on Tuesday March 15, 1863. To this are added some official papers, referred to by his Lordship. We have before incidentally mentioned this speech, of which a large part is occupied by refuting some imputations cast on the Board in Parliament, in consequence of its circulating copies of resolutions, entered into by the Grand Jury of the county of York, in March, 1800, stating that one of the greatest obstacles to inclosure, and the due improvement of agriculture, is the want of a fair and permanent compensation for tithes in kind.
Another considerable part of this speech details the backwardness of the East India Company to promote the importation of rice in the scarcity of 1800. It is imputed to their delays and discouragements that the supply did not arrive to meet the severe exigency of the times; nor indeed till the plentiful harvest of 1801 had made it unnecessary, when becoming a drug on the market, it subjected Government to the payment of 350,000l. in completion of the price guaranteed to the importers.