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17


THE MOUNTAIN FIRES.

["The custom retained in Wales of lighting fires (Coelcerthi) on November eve, is said to be a traditional memorial of the massacre of the British chiefs by Hengist, on Salisbury plain. The practice is, however, of older date, and had reference originally to the Alban Elved, or new-year."—Cambro-Briton.

When these fires are kindled on the mountains, and seen through the darkness of a stormy night, casting a red and fitful glare over heath and rock, their effect is strikingly picturesque.]


Light the hills! till heaven is glowing
    As with some red meteor's rays!
Winds of night, though rudely blowing,
    Shall but fan the beacon-blaze.
Light the hills! till flames are streaming
    From Yr Wyddfa's sovereign steep,1[1]
To the waves round Mona gleaming,
    Where the Roman track'd the deep!

Be the mountain watch-fires heighten'd.
    File them to the stormy sky!
Till each torrent-wave is brighten'd,
    Kindling as it rushes by.
Now each rock, the mist's high dwelling,
    Towers in reddening light sublime;
Heap the flames! around them telling
    Tales of Cambria's elder time.

Thus our sires, the fearless-hearted,
    Many a solemn vigil kept,
When, in ages long departed,
    O'er the noble dead they wept.
In the winds we hear their voices—
    "Sons! though yours a brighter lot.
When the mountain-land rejoices,
    Be her mighty unforgot!"



  1. 1Yr Wyddfa, the Welsh name of Snowdon, said to mean the conspicuous place, or object.