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THE REV. W. WILLIAMS, (CALEDFRYN). The removal of this eminent Welsh scholar from the land of his birth to the metropolis, has awoke in his admirers a sense of the gratitude which they owe him. A subscription has been opened to present him with a substantial testimo- nial in consideration of his valuable services in the promotion of Welsh literature. We trust that the offering will be creditable alike to the bard and to the consistency of those who profess so much admiration of his genius. Caledfryn as a poet attracted attention in early life. The first cluster of grapes* promised that the vine would be a fruitful one. In the effusions of the youth we discover originality of style, and independence of judgment, which few, we believe, will deny to be characteristic of the man. He made his first appearance on the stage at a period when Dewi Wynn had thrown a charm around the Cynganedd of Welsh poetry, and was the idol of countless pigmy imitators, who would have spurned the thoughts of an Archangel unless they were couched in the stiff jargon of opposite gutturals. There was another more ancient school of bards whose favourite haunts were the well-furnished rectory, the .servants' hall of some lord of the soil, and the poets' corner in some tavern of bardic fame. Yet there were among the poets of that day a sprinkling of talented and respectable men of the clergy and laity, but their works prove to our sorrow that they were spell-bound by the mesurau caethion, and were ready to sacrifice some fine thoughts at the shrine of Cynganedd. Thus the genius of the rising generation was misdirected; the native awen was buried under a heap of meaningless words; and our national poetry, like a Chinese foot, was beautified to deformity. At this period the criticisms of the Rev. Walter Davies, who like Dr. John- son is less as a poet than as a judge of poetry, attracted the attention of a few young men, and gave them an impulse in the right direction. Ieuan Glan Geirionydd, Cawrdaf, and more particularly Caledfryn, broke the spell; they left the trodden paths of the fathers, who aimed at being the stand- ards of Welsh poetry, and proved in their own compositions that the inspiration of true poetry could njake even the alliteration of the mesurm caethion subservient to itself. Caledfryn as a poet excels in the happy combination of simplicity and grandeur. In reading the poetry of some of our famed bards we are under the impression that every line must have cost the author immense labour; but we would suppose that Caledfryn's poetry could be composed at the rateoftwenty lines per minute. Let any one try the ex- periment and he will find how much easier it is to imitate stiff art than simple nature. Caledfryn's poetry flows like a deep, pellucid river; language and rhythm fall in as con- tributary streams, while the reader is borne along on its smooth surface through scenes of enchantment ever new. Those who remain unreconciled to the mesurau caethion after reading his poetical works, will ever remain so. Christmas Evans once said," Ilawyr, 'sana £'n leieo'r mesurau caethion yma, ond mi fedraf fwynhau gwaith Caledfryn, UHtith does gantho fe ddin} 0 r and p'ond a'r ffladr." Another characteristic of Caledfryn's poetry is the entire absence of supplementary words toiill up the mechanism of his lines. The Rev. Walter Davies said of him, His prosody is correct and smooth, and yet so connected as the best written prose without the interpolation of unnecessary words." Every word seems to be tlte. word and the only appropriate one to express the poet's idea. We 111a take for illustration a specimen or two. The Encjlynion i'r mettydd' comm* cube with the following:— Awenydd a adwaenir—wrth ei gwedd, A gwerth y gwaith wnelir Ni(i yw pob peth a blethir O'r un waed a'r awen wir." This is anything but poetry," exclaims the devotep of Cynganedd. And we can easily picture before our mind's eye one of the Beirdd icrth fi-ainta defoid Beirdd ynys Prydain," taking up this stanza to criticise, with ail the austerity of a monk, and the consequence of a parish psalm linger, Peth fel yna yn Farddoniaeth Dim Cynghanedd t1# buasaifel hyn buasai yn debyg i rywbeth Gwaed awenydd chweg adwaenir—wrth waith Ei nerth eithaf wnflir « Btfnd gwan pob nod a genir, Oiid teyrn waed, ter awen wir." tna beth fydda i yn alio yn ganu." Djgon givir J "We e another specimen from ta ode composed on the occa- sion of Queen Victoria's, visit to our shores, last summer. 1fscribDS the welcome with which she was greeted thus- Holl naturiaeth ein cestyll a'n tyrau, Yr haul a'L wyneb heb utirhyw lenau, Y gwyrddion'tT'rlthoedd*-gerddi citi ffrwytbau,- Y maesydû Hawnion, g\Vynion, ugciniau 9,' agenawg g Arfon greigiawg/agenawg glqgwynau, Y rhyw adeinia'Wg, y mqr a'i donau, Y moelydd a'r cymylau—amneidiant,— Ami hwy wellant-einparch rown llinau." Coedwigoedd. Now, we ask, is there a simple monosyllable in the quotations which we have made that could be dispensed with even in Qbai' prose ? Yet all chimes delightfully iq the ear, while the Jwet's ideas stand in all their intrinsic beauty before the ttiind. There can be no better criterion of the presence of Unnecessary words, than a literal translation into another language. Caledfryn's poetry would pass through this ^ydeal in triumph. v Caledfryn's mlise is at home alike in every department •f poetry, but excels in the descriptive in Ieuan dlan (.mrionydd's opinion. We niay perhaps find hi superior in Jynes. In the production of gems the venerable bard of lietws ft* allowed the pre-eminence. The spirits of Cawidat, leuan &lan Geirionydd, and Eben Fardd, occasionally but st forth like -Hashes of lightning from a cloutl, while every feeling of our Mature stands in awe before them. But we verily believe that in the universality of his talents Caledfryn liyes with- out a rival among our 'Welsh bards, He is quite himself in 0 the extended Awdl and the detached Englyn. The Cywydd, the! Byddest, and the Jitnyn, bear alike the traces of the lutlfiter hand. Caledfryn has probably done greater service to Welsh fwtry'as a critic than even as an author. His work calledi "%ych Barlrdonol" (the Poetical Mirror) has been well Grawn Awen (The Grapes of Song), a volume of pootrjr pub by CalecUryn, when a youth. received, and has been the means of correcting the taste of I our young bards. He has been called to adjudicate on the merits of competing poets on several important occasions. A judge cannot escape being personal in his remarks; the consequence invariably is that he makes himself enemies; all the candidates intend bearing off the prize, therefore all but one must suffer disappointment. Indeed all have been condemned by Caledfryn ere this, for he never awards the prize to the best except that best be worthy. Some have accused him of unnecessary severity on these occasions, but all who know Caledfryn's singleness of purpose, and indomi- table desire to discharge honestly the duties of so important a trust, believe that he aims at something nobler than to torture the feelings of sensitive aspirants for poetic honours. The question has been raised, whether a judge in such cases is authorised to criticise and condemn a number of candi- dates in the public press P His province, say some, is to pro- nounce his decision, awarding the prize to one or more without dissecting the rejected ones. But our opinion is quite the reverse. The office of adjudicator is a public trust, and he should publish why and wherefore he arrives at certain conclu- sions, and let the public have the means to examine and revise such decisions. It is worthy of notice that as far as we can remem- ber at the present moment, no competitor, to whom Caledfryn has refused the palm, has ever dared to publish his work. Why not do this? If the adjudication is unfair an indignant public will soon reverse the judgment as in the case of Dewi Wynn. The snarls of harmless puppies cannot terrify a man of Caledfryn's nerve. We have met with compositions to which were appended Barnwycl tcchod yn fuddugol am V" hon y derbyniodd yr aiodur ariandlws ac 20E o wobr." We tasked our patience to get through page one, and then involantarily exclaimed, "0 that Caledfryn had been the judge The reader that can devour a dozen pages of some of our Awdlau Buddugol must have the vo- racity of a cormorant for everything in the shape of poetry. Caledfryn as an orator deserves particular notice. Nature has favoured him with a countenance which bespeaks the inward man. His voice is clear and nervous. His articulation beauti- fully distinct. His language simple yet chaste, correct yet in- telligible; his self-possession never forsakes him. He ascends not to the bombastic. Who ever heard of Caledfryn tiring ob- solete polysyllables like blank cartridges over the heads of his au- dience ? Yet he never clothes his thoughts in the rags and tatters of vulgar and common-place language. The question how an idea shall be expressed never entered his thoughts, for the whole range of the Welsh language is at his command. He is most happy in his illustrations. We have heard it affirmed by persons of more extensive observation than ourselves that they have never heard his equal in hajar^ illustrations: and to crown all his per- fections as a speaker tinm: is an air of honesty thrown over what- ever he says. In hea Irinv, him we have never lost the impression that dissemblance and gusle are not among the elements of his soul. On this point we may safely say, let his enemies be judges. On the platform he seldom appears to advantage on every-day questions, for he makes no preparation. But when any new question of the times calls him forth, then, when our hackney platform speakers are mûte, we would travel far to hear Mr. Williams. The claims of Tahiti; the condition of the Jews the question of peace or war; oppression and usury in every form, draw out the powers of his eloquence and we verily believe that some of his speeches on these and kindred questions have been delivered with overwhelming power worthy of Henry Brougham in his best days. As a pulpit orator Mr. Williams is probably as well known as any minister in Wales, having visited most parts of the prin- cipality, and on every occasion he has drawn immense crowds after him. Yet, we know of no one of whom it would be more difficult to form a correct estimate from an occasional discourse. But, wherever and under whatever circumstances he is heard, his consecrated eloquence is evident. He commences his discourses in an easy conversational style, which by some is considered to be too offhand for the pulpit, and more becoming the fireside this is a matter to be decided by individual tastes we are rather inclined to admire the familiarity with which he addresses an audience in some instances we have heard him addressing very ignorant co 11- gregations in a manner that would have been thought too quaint by more refined audiences. He is not the only master in Israel whom we could convict of this. Some of our readers may have heard with pleasure our first-rate London and Manchester pastors addressing a motley crowd on a Sunday afternoon in the open air, when they adopt a familiar and homely address without the coarseness of an uncalled and unseat itinerant. When; Caledfryn has gone through the introductory part of his sermon he seems to catch the inspiration of his subject, and the first transition of his voice is very effective. When he raises to de- clamation, in our opinion he loses the attention which he once gained. He wants no such auxiliary, his elocution is keen as a razor, and needs not the bodily exercise of a woodman with a blunt axe. He is always heard with delight and we hope with profit, for he is always understood. He is not great on ac- count of the unfathomable depth of his sermons, The most refined hearer can enjoy his ministry, while he preaches within the comprehension of the meanest. His removal is a public loss to North Wales; we sympathise with the Carnarvonshire churches, and more particularly with the church at Carnarvon over which he so long and so usefully presided, But as Paul was a Hebrew from the Hebrews, so Caledfryn is a Welshman from the Welsh, and goes forth with a firm purpose of collecting together the scattered children of his brethren and kinsmen after the flesh," to the fold of the great shepherd. May his life be long and useful.








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