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he obliged to make a disgraceful retreat, after his forces had been reduced by famine and fatigues.
In the year 1402, there was seen in the heavens a blazing star, which the bards interpreted as an omen favourable to the cause of Glyndwr.* Much did the conceit thereof renew the spirit of the Welsh people, and the next success of their chieftain did strengthen their confidence, and give new vigour to their acts. The Lord Grey was a noble peer and a good friend to King Henry. He raised a large army, and encountered Glyndwr on the banks of the Fyrnwy, in the county of Montgomery ; but he was defeated and taken prisoner, and carried by Sir Owen, fast bound, into the wild fastnesses of the Snowdon Hills; but the name of the castle wherein he was kept I know not. Long did he remain in captivity, nor would he have gained his liberty till he had fully paid the sum of ten thousand marks; if Henry, whose favourite he was, had not pitied his hard fate, and issued out a special commission, whereby he did empower Sir William de Roos, and others, to treat with Glyndwr and his council, about the ransom. It was agreed to pay six thousand marks, on the day of St. Martin then ensuing, and to give as hostages for the payment of the residue, his eldest son, and some other persons. Whereupon he was set at liberty, and he and his tenants enjoyed their rights and possessions without molestation. And no sooner was he set free, than, for the security of him and his people, he sought to ally himself to Glyndwr, and therein he so well succeeded, that he obtained in marriage Jane, the third daughter of that mighty chieftain.
Now Sir Owen had a cousin, named Howel Sele, Lord of Nanneu, in Meirioneddshire; and, it is said, that they were bred up together, and that they lived under the same roof, in the time of their boyhood. Yet their dispositions were opposed the one to the other, and no good-will did ever subsist between them. In after life their dislike grew more grievous, as their pursuits became more manly, When Glyndwr strove to support the waning interests of Richard, Séle hastened with his vassals to rally round the standard of the usurper Boling broke, and ever afterward was he a firm friend to the house of Lancaster that house which Sir Owen detested, and set at nought. Whilst the Lord Grey was the foe and prisoner of Glyndwr, it seemed af enough Howel Sele would befriend him, but as soon as his fortunes did change for the better, and he was at peace with Sir Owen, and married to his daughter, then did Howel Sele turn again, and become his most inveterate enemy. 'Tis said, that the Abbot of Cymmer, thinking to reconcile these hostile kinsmen, brought them together, and, to outward appearance, did compass this good design.
Nanneu, the seat of Howel Sele, was situated not far from Dolgelley. The way to it was by a steep ascent, of two miles at the least, and all the sides of the dingles thereabout, were clad with woods and forests. Among the trees of that place, there stands, even at this day,t an oak, venerable
*“ And in the iiii yere of Kynge Henrie's reigne, ther was a sterre seyn in the firmament, yt shewed him self thurgh all the world for di’use tokenynges yt should befall sone after; the which sterre was named and called by Clargie, Stella Comata.”—Caxton's Cronclis.
+ On the night of the 27th July, 1813, this aged tree fell to the ground; and it is remarkable, that the original sketch was taken from nature by Sir Richard Colt Hoare, Bart. on the previous day. It stood within the kitchen-garden walls of Sir Robert William Vaughan, Bart. the present proprietor of Nanneu, by whose ancient and estimable family the domain in which the scene of the above tale is laid, has long been possessed.
for its antiquity, and remarkable for its bigness, and the vast extent of land which its branches spread over; and the trunk thereof is well nigh thirty feet in girth, and, from the marvellous traditions concerning it, it is called Derwen Ceubren yr Ellyll—the Hollow Oak, the haunt of Demons.
Above Nunneu is a high rock, whose top is encircled with a dyke of loose stones. This had been a British post, and, it may be, the hold of some tyrant, for it was named Moel Orthrwn, or the Hill of Oppression. Now it was in the direction of this hill, that Sir Owen and Howel Sele one evening walked out. The pale beams of the moon did shine on the brows of the mountains, brightening every crag, and every spot of rising ground; also.casting over the valleys a soft light, and leaving the forests in the deep gloom of shadiness. Many stars did glitter in the clear sky, and might be seen reflected, with the rays of the moon, in many a lake and rivulet, which appeared like molten silver, sprinkled upon the distant plains and valleys. All was still, and the chieftains were too much stricken with the scene before them, to break the silence which so well accorded therewith. On the sudden a doe bounded forth they knew not whence, and Sir Owen addressing himself to Howel, who was the best archer of his days, said, that there was now a fine mark before him. Then Howel drew an arrow, and fixed it, and bent his bow, and pretending to aim at the deer, he hastily turned, and discharged his arrow full at the breast of Glyndwr. But Sir Owen was clad in armour, beneath his garments, and so he received no hurt. At this act of treachery he was greatly enraged, and he drew his sword: whereupon Sele threw aside the bow, and drew his. They struggled long, and each fought right bravely, and soon was the clashing of their swords heard by the followers of Sir Owen, who hastened to the spot, and would have carried away Howel Sele. But just then his kinsman Gruffydd ap Gwyn rushed forward with his retinue, and attempted
Fierce was the engagement, and obstinately was it contested: and the moon became suddenly overclouded, and the combatants knew not upon whom their deadly blows might descend. Dire was the confusion : for the vassals turned about, and wavered, scarce daring to deal out their vengeance. But the chiefs, goaded on with a furious hate, fought with desperation, and each was determined to ridvhimself of the other. At length, Howel fell. Gryffydd was defeated with much loss of his men: and his houses of Berthlwyd and Cefn Coch were soon after reduced to ashes.
Howel Sele was never seen more amid the haunts of men, nor was his body discovered by any. 'Tis said that he lay for a long time weltering in his blood, at the foot of the hollow oak; and that Sir Owen compelled the Abbot of Cymmer to help him to raise the mangled corse, and place it within the hollow trunk of that same haunted tree. Certain it is, that after forty years from the time of that deadly struggle, the skeleton of a man whose stature was like unto that of Howel Sele was discovered immured therein; but farther I know not.
THE JOKE; OR, STROLLING PLAYERS.
By happy alchymy of mind
THERE was, some twenty years ago,
For though to them dame Fortune deals
I have it, Rover,' cries out Dick, The readiest knave to plan a trick; • I have it; come, give here your hand; And if shall fail what I have plann'd, Let an old woman be my portion, By day and---stop, a little caution--And I'm mistaken or 'twill throttle Her strong affection for the bottle! For, be it known, this worthy dame,--How many at her age the same !--Had got a notion, right or wrong, That weakly age needs something strong : And would involuntary stop, Whene'er she pass'd a corner shop; But, knowing that good sense forbid it, Always most resolutely hid it; But there were times her very eye Would prove,
it was--- an odious lie.' But to the plan---says Dick, · Just go And smug the bottle from below, Then run and get it lined within -• With water, Dick?'---' No, no, with gin:But Rover, with o'erclouding brow, Said, turning out his pockets, • How?'--Light hearts are not to be dismay'd With such a transitory shade As want of cash---and Dick, although He'd not à coin, resolved to go And pawn his shirt, but what he'd yoke The means to carry on the joke. We all know, often at a dash, That ready wit is ready cash; Howbeit, Dick was soon return'd, Well pleased with what his wits had earn'd, 'Twas soon within the cupboard placed, And back to Rover Dick made haste; Who, with the rest, was then rehearsing, Or in dramatic terms conversing Upon the stage. Now enter'd Dick, And feigning, on a sudden, sick, He cries, • Dame Flora, prithee go, And in the cupboard, where, you know, You'll find the bottle ;---go, make haste; And mind you do not stop to taste;'--
• I stop!' she cried, with half a frown,
and I must quickly part;
A FEATHER IN HIS CAP. It was customary among the ancient warriors to honour such of their followers as distinguished themselves in battle, by presenting them with a feather, to place in the cap they wore when not in armour; and no one was allowed that privilege who had not, at least, killed his man. In memory of this old compliment, we still say, when any person has effected a meritorious action, that it will be a feather in his capa