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OPEN LETTERS TO WELSH LEADERS…

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OPEN LETTERS TO WELSH LEADERS OF OPINION. No. XIV. MR. LEWIS MOREIS, M.A. DEAR MR. MORRIS,-80mehow, though I know you so well, I never could call you anything but "Mr. Morris," and even now, when writing an Open Letter to you, I cannot, as I have hitherto done to others, address you by your Christian name. I don't knew whether that's a sign of greatness in you, or modesty in me. My intimate friends and the Saturday Review would probably hold different opinions. In any case, it points out one of your great faults-a certain stand-offishness which is pardonable in a great poet, but which, in a politician, is fatal. I-know you have a kind heart and a sympathetic temperament; what great poet is in these lacking But you don't impress people with the idea that you possess these great, qualities. These be democratic days and even a poet, if he wishes to be popular, must cultivate comradeship. I wonder it you can tolerate American verse-1 won't offend YOllr good taste by calling it poetry—but it is expressive. When big vessels meet, they say Taey saloot and sail awaj. Jest"the same are you and me- Lonesome ships upon a sea Each one sailing his own jog For a port beyond the fog. Let your speaking trumpet blow Lift your horn and cry" Hullo Say "hullo" and "how d'ye do," Other folks are good as you, Wen ye leave yer house of clay Wanderin' in the Far Away Wen you travel through the strange Country t'other side the range, Then the souls you've cheered will know Who ye be, and say hullo." Now your native town, Carmarthen, though once the premier town of Wales, where the noblemen and gentry kept a town house,' and where, with unruly followers, they disturbed the kmgs peace, is now, like its ruined castle, little but the shadow of a glorious past, It still produces its great men its Picton, its Brinley Richards its Hugh Price Hughes, its Lewis Morris. But it is little more than a small country town. Yet even here your writings are better known than your person. It was all very well for Horace to write" Odi pro- fanum vulgus et arceo," but, then, Horace was a different man to you. In his study he could affect a dignified contempt for the vulgar; but when his short, squat figure was seen hurrying through the streets of vainly tryin°" to rid himself of a bore that held buttonholed" him, his face red with unwonted exertion and wearing a comical look of puzzled resignation, he looked as undignified as the real Morien 1 at the Gorsedd. and it was impossible not to have a fellow-feeling for this b"ourgeois, thoroughly human figure. It is different with you. When you stalk (I can't describe it better—a fifth form boy would say incedis")—when you stalk in all the majesty of your two yards of length, clad in that brown velveteen coat, which, like com- moners' rights, is of immemorial antiquity, with eye bereft of the poet's frenzied roll, and glancing at the passers-by with disdainful haughtiness, you look the picture of the anax undron. the cold, proud Lord," whose untimely fate you have so pathetically described in your epic, and who vr as never loved, Nor was Horace ever possessed with the ambition to represent his fellow-citizens, as tedile, or tribune, or consul You are not cofttent Xvfth being the greatest Jiving Welsh poet; you ToSist needs descend from heaven to deal whh the affairs of men. And why not ? We live in a prac- tical atre. Mr. William Morris. the poet,' as the Saturday Reviler calls him, is a manufacturer, and >svhy should not Mr. Lewis Morris, of Peabryn, be ;an M P. ? I am only sorry, though I aei not sur- prised that you al?e not already m Parliament. You are not cut ottt for contesting Parliamentary seats in this democratic, not to say, 'demagoguic age. You remind me of Coriolanu? seeking the suffrages oi his fellow-citizens. When you beseech the democracy i'er its voices," it is-with a proud heart you wear your humble weeds. all recognise your'merits, as the Romans did those of Coriolarius, btet you should do wtat the haughty mtriciaii tr'ed in vain to do. Since, he said, the wisdom of their choice is r^tlier to have my hat than rav heart, I will practise the insinuating nod and be off to them most ceunterfeitly that is sir, I "frillcounterfeit the bewitchment of some popular man. and give it bountifully to the de- sirers." This he tried to do witfc indifferent success. His procd soul could not brock for long to ask; •alms of the" mutable rank>ecented many." Ä-t: one moment he asks for their" most sweet voices With scornful humility; at-the next he breaks OU^ M'OiI:t sweet voices Bfetter it is to die, better to starve, Than crave the hire whiclftlirst we do deserve. Why in this wolvish toge -should I stand here To beg of Hob and Dick,that do appear, Their needless vouches? custom calls mo to*i. Rather than fool it so, Let the high office and the) tonour go '-To one tha.t would do thus. Thenlhe proceeds with a qfeiefcehange of thought— 1 amrha.If through: "The one part suffered, the other will I do. Suohffeas been your attitadertowards the Carmar- then electors Conscious that you hav« first « deserved the honour thatT«u now do crave^t i^ withihalf-restrained impatieaje that jou -»atch theS Blow movements,and behold that you^re^not so iiMispensable as you hail thought. When the iManelly Liberals eeem to prefer the claims of their fellow-townsman to -"yours, you caaa. only see two ways otexplain^ bliiidafifes. "Either I am not 80 well.roown "at We," you said, I had fondly suppled or the constituency is bek*w the average in mtellect- 'Ual £ >a.a«"itv The retort of tke Satni dap ft. f u w and cruel: that you m»v be known.«t home than you supfose, and that the constituency may be aibove the average in intel- ,1ectuÜ,CF,pacity. And because the Llane&lj Li- berals uwere slow to srecogniao your ..pobticai claims, "SJO* speak o Ihe people, /Asiif you were a god to punish, not A nan of their iBiirmity. •We all recognise the nobility.of so. mens oaaiscia recti" '.defying- the worH in ariM; but whaa the hero public!? climbs d« wn," -one*. s apt to lool: at • the former de fiance as ebullition of temper&>na not as the result of a conscioitiness of r||ht. Your "-climJft! down ibave not ^een dignifced. We pardoned., though we-regrettei. the words | pu applied to <3a vmberlain .years ag% twitting turn ^wijth {itis 41 ej^glass audi&is orchiCj stinking. of vulgar weal^t. but yo*r public apology o&y ^maide.tlie oUqb-si more ptA-k. Corii anus had 10 'be«d!h4B haugh^r* spirit, i £ »fe3 wished ito be consaS and,y^u had to ^tract andmake a mrtue of yo«r -eixoier <&y saym^ it was a,lfc elsh Qha*&cteristic, 35 xyou.^lsfced to wt'te M-P-a#er your.sname. Bui -such .episodes dofy.ot comm^td a t0 a con4 ^tituenoy, and ptaride amus# menc tos^he Phiiis- ttifxe-Sa^PB. Thus: it is that for the lar- twenty. years you **eem toibe.on the btlnk of bei^ g retur»d to Par- lament: Init thowgfe you:h»«-i '■ pined# o long. you have found fsuitiou mvck you. So it is thfet you:ha\te the utdying woim of sen* which frets and gnaws the vnsatisfied soul." T^u will esex&e ipy quoting. *y°u so muet better thaaffklp; bm you remind IjUe of .Sisyphusmainly struggling :tp jroll t^e ,.1top.eto tthe m,oii«^ain's sumnsit. The halting figUM bentitseV again To the -Jd task,acd up the cigged.ste^, Thrust ilhe great stick with gjoamrigs^ Slowljv with dreadful toil, And strtjg^le and^4rain,and heeding har.dsand kntt^.s, And more than mortal strength against the hill He pressed-tthe wretthed one! -illI Wlth le^g pain He tremVl«t un the -svmtuit, a gijunt fonji, Now gaining #iow regaling, no-.vsn act To -win the now borne down again, f- And thin tli« i&evitablc crash—th» mass f Leaping from to org £ ( I can't trutMaJdy say that Ingret that .second letter of yours the .efeictorate, i'or it has given '-Ils a chance of heholdiJiug the nvist intei^sting ] contest that has <rJ^r taketi place in Wales. The ]Poet and the warrk?r. the juian of tko pen anf the Iftan of the sword 'Truly.& most inspiring fight, and all the better be<3»tise botJi are true Welshman lovers of their eonntry. To me nothing h%s happened in Wales of late years to llliloke me Soí) Ptoiiy. of my native land to see two si^rh noble tnen contending as to who shail represent the de- in Parliament. As y<0& said, xay dear I.ewis ah you see I more familiar ^hen I ttink of your affection for YDur country the day hat: passed when Wales returned the most feeless of ker sons or foster Hons to Parliament, should we sead dumb dfiven ,cattle there iQng as heroes like Major Jones and you are still Unprovided witb a seat? Truly you are you two foemeu worthy of each other a e1, JjD I may speak of what I am sure will °uly be a friendly contest. The Major has the ad- vantage of you in knowledge of Welsh, You mias the royal road to a Welbhman's heart by not Possessing '• the old fair treasure of our native *peech." Yon have yourself pre now in a. passage ^hich I cannot at this moment recall sung your at your- igucranw of the toi^T"- ol Pafydd ap Gwilym and Goronvvy Owen. Great is the power of eloquence A wonderful gift^is to be '• eloquent to move, and -strong to teach in any language but a still rarer gift it it is in aspeaker to make an audience hang on his lips when addressing them in either cf two languages..And this gift-of the gods is yoer rival's. Both of you also have won fame amotg the Saeson. Major Jones, after fighting his way up from the ranks and after covering his name and the country of his birth sfith glory by his U3&flinching courage-w the field of battle, came back to England and has since proved that peace has her triumphs no less renowned trail war." He has become known all the world Q"£1' as a literary man of the highest; class, a writes- of standard books in biography, .1 history, and statistics, while as editor of the Shi j)piny World—to descend to my lowly pursuit —he has shown that he is one of the smartest of livus.g journalists. It were super- fluous — almost impertinent—on my part to enumerate your great works, your songs of Two Worlds, your Epic .of Hades, your Songs Unsung, Vision of Saints, aiid others, that I believe will live as long as the Eoglish language lasts. I do not say that you rank among the first of English poets. I would not like to say that you are the equal of Tennyson, or even of Swinburne. But I believe that your works will be read when many of Swinburne's will be forgotten. You have the i divine afflatus, and though you have failed to reach the highest niche in the temple of poesy, you can say as°once you said of another who was put in competition with Apollo, God-iike 'tis To climb upon the icy ledge, and fall Where other footsteps dare not. Let carping critics say that you have too many heaven-kissed summits," and snow-clad tops," and subtle undertones." and jewelled shrines," and '• gadding vines," and" youug-eyed Innocence," and" rosebuds pearled with dew." Let them sneer at your description of a perfect woman, with a child in her arms— Fused by some cosmic interlacing curves Of beauty into a new innocence, or of a blank verse such as Which seta itself to Be. And yet is He— Quondam dormitat Homerus," we used to be told, and our old friend Horace said, "nec semper arcum tendit Apollo." You can afford to scorn such captious critics; the majority—ay, and an intelligent majority—of your readers will say, with John Bright, that your Epic of Hades is another gem added to the wealth of the poetry of our language," What recks it that these all- knowing Saturday Reviewers say you are only a second-rate poet 1 Why, they call Gray and Cowper second-rate and, I in common with most people, prefer the poet who sings of the greatness of Knowledge, and Duty, and Strength, and Love, and Purity, and the "Life God-lighted, and the sacrifice" in chaste and noble language than a prosy Wordsworth or an unwholesome Shelley. Nor should I forget that it is not only in in poetry that you have made your mark as a writer. Few, possibly, know that you are an old Oxford prizeman. Was it the Lothian or the Arnold historical prize that you won for an essay ? And it is still fondly remembered at the city (11 the Isis how it was that the only prize essay man that came from Wales, before Owen Edwards, has developed into one of our greatest modern poets, while the only Welshman who has ever won the Newdigate has developed into the prosiest of Oxford dons. Both you and yout rival, also, have rendered sterling service to the cause of Welsh education. You were among the first promoters of the scheme for establishing an University College at Aber- ystwyth, an I when the experiment was still doubt- ful nowhere throughout Wales could there be found a sturdier advocate of its claims. Every educational movement has received your most un- grudging support; and atill Welshmen are glad to see that the old warrior is foremost in demanding a University for Wales. Nor must we forget your rival's services in the contemplation of yours. We must not forget what Major Jones has done for Cardiff College how he got too department of music established, and secured the appointment of Dr. Parry as Professor of Music how he organised the appeal to the country for money, worked for the «stablishment of a workmen's college, and raised, in conjunction with others, a sum of £14.,000 for that object; has successfully advocated the establishments a School of Medi- ciwc, an Engineering Department. Law Buildings, aaad Technical Instruction.; how he has, at great personal inconvenience, in spite of the stress of •fflher work, addressed countless meetings, •arid how indefatigailily he has worktd <on the va-iou3 committees of the College. iBoth of you belong to historic families in Wales. I don't mean thatvoc are descended from Iorwerth Drwyndwn or Owes. Gwynedd or Rhys ap Tewdwr or any other of the founders of the fourteen Royal Tribes of Wales. The first Lewis Morris was the, son of an Anglesea cooper, and the father of Daniel Rowlands is unknown to fame. You have a higher claim to the respect of every Welshman you are descended from two of the greatest and noblest Welshm-eii that ever lived. You, dear Lewis, are descended from the great Lewis Morys, of Anglesea, Llewelyn Ddu o Fon," the leader of the literary revival of the last century, the patron. and lifelong fmend of Goronwy Owen, the dis- coverer and the nourisher of his genius—his friend in the little prosperity that befel him, his friend more than ever in the troublous days of his adversity—the founder of the Cymmrodorion, the Maecenas of Ieaian Brydydd Hir, and the author! of Morwynion Glan Meirionydd." Your great ancestor would the still a greater name in Weilfili) literature, but far the genius that he helped .aad unenviously ridnnired-" Y gwr enwog Goronwy." He was the cfirst< of a series—a long series by .this time, thankiieaven.—of men who did their utmost; to raise the -moral, educational, and social .cø.n- dition of Wales. It was of him that G^noiuvfy Gethin sang— Ar y.sydd i'r oes hon Yn fawrddysg awen feirddion, A gwiw lesfrydi'w glwysfron, Bryd araT i'w bro dirion, Agos oil y'nt (leg, weis lion, o ddysg abl ei ddysgyblion, and while echoing jiis wish, A phoed iraith gofihad a mawl I'w arglwjddawl ryglyddon, j I feel that, if it wepc only that you are of Ltew€%n Ddu's ki-fch and kin, without any ooagpiGuoais merit of Jpour own, I would say "Grod .8pe6d to ji you." ASFoU are descended from the man .who did most t« start the literary revival of the last century, m your opi onent is descended fcam the;' man who,,aibove all-ether, changed the meHgiousi condition,><af Wales—Daniel Rowlands, oi Xdan-tj geitho. X^aan not one of those who are wont to; I trace the history of Wt'les only from the Met&odist; revival of the last cent iry, nor am I one of those; short-sighted; people nj.'io ascribe every chaæge inti Welsh chacfiteter to theu-eligious movement. JLike; every other aceformatior., the revival of the last', century wat ^preceded .^y a Renaissance, a literary; revival; am<$it is impossible to say how £ a<r ,the, one acted upon the other. But still it is almost! impossible to,,exaggerate the influence of Daaiel. Rowlands on-the historj' of his country; aaad I cannot forget, that whale Lewis Morys «ras! r lamented by ffite of Wal« greatest poets. Daniel | Rowlands was.imourned 2/j- Cymru's per-gazuad- -vdd," William#.jPantyceljg.1. In any case, it is r^nost interesting to see the descendants of the eha«a- Ifions of both the literary a%* religious movements; ■9i the last ^ritury contesting Carmarthe^j boroughs to^Jarj. The Btirdd a'r Gler," the! bards and the clergy, have aj.vays been at bitter; fesvd in Wales;<^me part ot the spirit of both! factions have cow- down to their posterity for i hetf we have one the stock ^of Lewys Morys o FOB pitted in FRIENDLY rivalry, against one who is dm tended' from fee Rev. Daniel Rowlands. If 6 stranger saw^you both addressing a meeting he w-wld put Majof,>rones down.a.s the poet, and you at. the warrior. $011 are of pfr-:t God-jiiM as Zeus, and }f.a.jJ.,r Jones loolse .much more, like your de- scriptioB«of a poet— A youth who vc leaned Against the tmi^r<of a dark cy»uess. A 8orrft^ful, and soul, Such as sifinetimes he knpws, who meefc? the gaze, Mute, uue^mplaining, y,et»jyost pitiful. Jtor do roufl&rike the or^wary beholder^s having the pain "iWhich fills a port's eyes. You will forgive me, I am rStune. for comparing an-") perhaps contracting you you miiti know everyone is doin^j that now .asd a poor jotunalist has ne.ught to dc but follow is. everybody's wake and sei?:e the p^vchological Moment for doing things. I'm not going toyrophesy wkoW get chosen, hub th ings. I'm not going toyrophesy wkoW get chosen, hub I'll say tMs. that whichever it Ii. a good man Drill be left out .in the cold. I'll say *aore, the good mav. won't fae out long*. You cant get both rft- tnrn^d for the Carmarijjen Boroughs—but there are other constituencies where a g<God man is needed. If Major Jones does not exceed, he needn't be discouraged as long as he ca1j. get his pick from Mr. Schnadhorst; and if you are dis- appointed again, you can console yourself with the thought that you have never bc^n confronted with such an antagonist before, and that there are othgr constituencies in Wales who would be glad to welcome one of Cymru's most illustrious sons. But if you never do enter Parliament, von can console yourself with the reflection that, as Rixon Morgaa said, your worka will read wb&a 'I puny names will be unheard of.; Dig num. laude virum Mttsa rctat mori." And if the old sore still rankles, even when you are poet Laureate, I will quote for your consolation tv.o extracts one from Major Jones', and the other from your own favourite author :— O poet a new nobility is conferred m groves and pastures, and not in castles, or ;by the sword- blade, any longer. The conditions -&re hu.ru. Ihiu equal: Thou shalt leave the world, &»d know the Muse only. Thou shalt i" know any longer the times, customs, graces, politics, or opinions of men, but take all from the muse. God wills also that thou abdicate a duplex and. manifold life, and thou be content that others speak for tbee. Others shall be thy gentlemen, and shall represent all courtesy and worldly life for thee others shall do the great and resounding actions also. Thou shalt lie close hid with nature, and canst not be afforded to the Capitol or the Ex- 1 change, The world is full of renunciations and apprenticeships, and this is thine thou must pass for a fool and a churl for a long season. This is the screen and sheath in which Pan has protected his well-beloved flower, and thou shalt be known only to thy own, and they shall console thee with tenderest love. And this is the reward; that the ideal shall be real to thee. and the impressions of the actual world shall fall like summer rain, copious, but not troublesome, to thy invulnerable essence. Thou shalt have the whole land for thy park and manor, the sea for thy bath and naviga- tion, without tax and without envy; the woods and the rivers thou shalt own and thou shalt possess that wherein others are only tenants and boarders. Thou true land-lord! sea-lord! air- lord Wherever snow falls, or water flows, or birds fly, wherever day and night meet in twi- light, wherever the blue heaven is hung by clouds, or sown with stars, wherever are forms with trans- parent boundaries, wherever are outlets into celes- tial space, wherever is danger and awe and love, there is Beauty, plenteous as rain, shed for thee, and though thou shouldst walk the world over, thou shalt not be able to find a condition inoppor- tune or ignoble." Or you may console yourself with what one of our greatest modern poets has said in undying verse in one of his finest pieces, More it i" than ease, Palace and pomp, honours and luxuries, To have seen white Presences upon the hills, To have heard the voices of the Eternal GoJs. —With best wishes. I am, dear Lewis, your candid friend, THEODORE DODD.

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