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Welsh Melodies/The Rock of Cader Idris



[It is an old tradition of the Welsh bards, that on the summit of the mountain Cader Idris, is an excavation resembling a couch; and that whoever should pass a night in that hollow, would be found in the morning either dead, in a frenzy, or endowed with the highest poetical inspiration.]

I lay on that rock where the storms have their dwelling,
    The birthplace of phantoms, the home of the cloud;
Around it for ever deep music is swelling,
    The voice of the mountain-wind, solemn and loud.
'Twas a midnight of shadows all fitfully streaming,
    Of wild waves and breezes, that mingled their moan;
Of dim shrouded stars, as from gulfs faintly gleaming;
    And I met the dread gloom of its grandeur alone.

I lay there in silence—a spirit came o'er me;
    Man's tongue hath no language to speak what I saw;
Things glorious, unearthly, pass'd floating before me,
    And my heart almost fainted with rapture and awe.
I view’d the dread beings around us that hover,
   Though veil'd by the mists of mortality's breath;
And I call'd upon darkness the vision to cover,
    For a strife was within me of madness and death.

I saw them—the powers of the wind and the ocean,
    The rush of whose pinion bears onward the storms;
Like the sweep of the white-rolling wave was their motion—
    I felt their dim presence, but knew not their forms!
I saw them—the mighty of ages departed—
    The dead were around me that night on the hill:
From their eyes, as they pass'd, a cold radiance they darted,—
    There was light on my soul, but my heart's blood was chill.

I saw what man looks on, and dies—but my spirit
    Was strong, and triumphantly lived through that hour;
And, as from the grave, I awoke to inherit
    A flame all immortal, a voice, and a power!
Day burst on that rock with the purple cloud crested,
    And high Cader Idris rejoiced in the sun;—
But oh! what new glory all nature invested,
    When the sense which gives soul to her beauty was won![1]

  1. 1. No note is attached here.