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To the Editors. GENTLEMEN, In the article on Irish Mythology, in your last number, by Sir S. R. Meyrick, a description is given of a Druidical Monument, in the county of Kilkenny, bearing the inscription BELI DIUOSE; and which is adduced by Sir S., as it has been by numbers before him, in support of an hypothesis respecting the worship of Bel, and its concomitant superstitions among the Irish. And, as this alleged ancient inscription, according to the above interpretation, is calculated to mislead, not only as it regards the mythology of the Irish, but the alphabetical characters in use among that people, it may not be unservice able to state that the whole affair is one of the veriest deceptions in existence, and, even unintentional as it must originally have been, may now be placed upon an equality with the best and most successful antiquarian hoax ever practised. For this sacred and so highly venerated inscription of BELI DIUOSE, is nothing more or less than the name of E. CONID 1731, read upside down, who was a cutter of millstones, and a few years ago well remembered in the neighbourhood. And from the nature of the stone, “ siliceous brescia,” or millstone grit, there can be no doubt that, in thus cutting his name upon it, he intended to appropriate it to himself, for the purpose of converting it into a millstone.
It is true that, in reading the name E. Conid 1731 upside down, which it appears was the method adopted by the Irish antiquaries, in order to make Beli Diuose of it, some of the letters will appear reversed, i. e. upside down, which in the uninitiated might have excited some degree of suspicion, and induced them to try how the words would read from the opposite side; but with the more erudite, this was a circumstance calcu. lated more firmly to establish a character of antiquity, as being in accordance with the Etruscan and Phænician alphabet.
When old Ned Conid cut his name upon this stone, he little dreamed that his apotheosis was so near, and that in half a century he was to be numbered among the gods: and if some other antiquarian subjects were examined with greater attention, they might possibly exhibit very different features to what they now do. And if Sir S. Meyrick would engage in the personal examination of the Round Towers which he refers to, and bring to the undertaking the same tact and discernment which he has evinced in other branches of antiquarian research, I doubt not he would be able to set at rest this so long agitated question respecting these extraordinary buildings, by determining their era and style of architecture, and possibly also the purpose of their erection
Besides those towers mentioned in Ireland and Scotland, there is one in the centre of Peel Castle, in the Isle of Man, which, as far as I could perceive, differs from the generality of the others only in having a flight of stone steps on the outside, leading to the entrance, and projecting battlements on the top.
There is likewise another at Carriggeen, in the county of Limerick, which is not noticed in Ledwich's catalogue; and in which, although the key-stone of the entrance has slipped a little down out of its place, there is enough to mark an arch of regular masonry, though not perfectly circular: while the windows exhibit curious specimens of a grotesque pointed top on the outside of the ogée character, formed of only two inclining stones, and of the square, tapering, or Egyptian style within.
August 27, 1832.
WITH ES USED INSTEAD OF CORDS OR HARNESS.
We find withes were used as substitutes for hempen cords in yoking cattle to the plough and to the wain in very ancient times in Wales. The word withe is taken from the Welsh wydd, (pronounced wyth,) which signified trees. This is also very probably the derivation of weeds, since before this country was cleared of its immense forests, trees were only a larger species of weeds, so that wydd and weed were synonymous.
A TOMBSTONE, IN TOWYN CHURCH-YARD.
The person whose virtues it records, was for half a century a gardener, attached to the Ynys-y-maengwyn family.
IF honest labour, industry, and truth,
Can claim from righteous heaven a just reward-
How poor and patient merit claims regard.
His honest heart was only known to few,
His worth too little known-his name lohn Hugh.
ADVENTURES OF A WELSH MEDICAL STUDENT.
(Continued from page 334.)
The light of morn had appeared, and the radiance of full day was shining over one of the grandest views in nature, namely, the mountain vista as seen from Beaumaris Bay. I was reposing on the brow of a small hill, and gazing intently on the sublime and varied scene before me; the light breeze was whistling among the foliage, and the distant bleating of the lamb was feebly heard. No human being as visible over the whole survey; the paradise at that moment seemed made for me alone; and that beneficent Being whose breath is life, had stamped upon the appearance of that scene an evidence of its peace.
The turrets of an abbey-looking building, obscured from the full view by the creeping shrubs, which apparently had held a sway over it for many ages, and now seemed to be its only support, lay upon the left of the view : my sketch-book was in my hand, and I pencilled hastily an outline of the scene. Suddenly the breeze ceased even its former whispering, and the clouds were dark and lowering, and the perfect stillness of nature gave me warning of the approach of tempest. I descended the hill towards the ruin, and happily reached it in time to shelter myself from its drenching effects. One end of the abbey, consisting of three or four small rooms, had been wrested from the ruthless grasp of decay, and converted into a somewhat habitable dwelling. I entered beneath an ivy-mantled archway, ornamented with the mouldering remains of heraldic grandeur; and, after knocking loudly a few times at a large oaken nailed door (such an one as commonly, even at this day, adorns the entrance to the village church), it was slowly opened by an aged man, whose venerable brow bore a few white hairs scattered amid the wrinkles of decrepid age; his face was deeply lined, thin, and compressed, but the mouth and eye still retained an expression of intelligence, of manly and honest independence. The old man regarded me attentively for a few moments, then wiped from his face a tear which had almost unconsciously been shed, and beckoned me to follow him. “ You are a stranger," said he, as we were traversing a low narrow passage, which led to a small kitchen, “but as such you are welcome to the shelter of my humble roof; the storm is awfully raging, but it will soon subside.” My host beckoned me to take one of the rough seats by the side of a large fire of mawn (turf); and placing a huge wooden bowl of milk, and an
oaten cake, upon the table before me, he requested me to partake with him of the morning's refreshment. I had often pictured to my mind, when immured within the walls of a London hospital, where disease and death were around me, and the low piteous moaning of some unhappy victim to the vices and miseries of a town-life sunk deeply to my heart, with what pleasure I would exchange that scene, for the quiet retirement of humble poverty apart from ambition, to live as Byron expresses it
“With some fair spirit for my minister ;'' no more to hear of those with whose career my recollection had been tainted, no more to feel myself a portion of my former existence; but to live anew, and to feel anew, to destroy every trace of the past, and to endeavour to embody a more glorious futurity; and yet to what purpose ? perhaps, to recommence a more flagrant course; for the despotism of iniquity appears to attach itself to whatever is pleasurable, as well as to that which is painfully otherwise : the emblems of departed magnificence; the contrast of past grandeur with present simplicity; the humble fare within the walls perhaps of a palace; the noble lofty bearing of man, with the spirit of the lion evidently broken ; worn down like the granite rock by the billows of the all powerful ocean,or hollowed by the continued dripping of small pearly drops of earth’s pure distillation. What reflections do these natural and too frequent objects of our observation create within our minds ?-curiosity and deep sympathy; more especially the latter of these qualities, because we can never refuse the balm when our own wounded feelings need so often the soothing influence of confidence and friendship.
In the following little history, therefore, I register one of the many causes of the unhappiness of mankind, and contented shall I be, if the pen delineates that moral which the crayon of the mind sketches as one of the baneful effects of the present artificial state of society.
(Founded on Fact.) In the gardens adjoining a very extensive mansion, where romance might have depicted in all its wildness the horrors of living apart from any of the family of man, -by the light of the silvery moon which had just emerged from a cloud, and which had imparted to the waters of a small lake that mercurial lightness the most brilliant influence “of heaven's pale planet,” two figures were seen slowly walking and earnestly conversing in that easy and endear
We are compelled, as in our last number of the Adventures, to remain silent regarding names and localities.
ing manner that marks a perfect accordance of mind and disposition, even when playful perverseness may induce either to take the most opposite view to the opinion and wish of the other. The one was a female whose age could scarcely have attained sixteen years, of small fair features of the most expressive form, and light blue eyes which sparkled with so much brightness as almost to shame the orb of love herself: altogether, the appearance of the young lady pourtrayed that spirit of heroism and self-determination that parents need not congratulate themselves on the fairer sex of their offspring possessing. The other individual, was (as my readers have no doubt anticipated,) a young and elegant man of three and twenty years of age, of dark and intelligent, but of an extremely mild, expression of countenance; he was somewhat tall and thin, and from his demeanour and dress might be regarded as a clergyman somewhat inferior to his fair companion in his aristocratic bearing, but, nevertheless, possessing every external indication of gentlemanly refinements. They walked on, in a playfully careless mood, to an angle of the path where a small winding of the way diverging, led to a retired grotto, to which they bent their steps. The shadows of the different trees which crossed the walk gave a gloomy variety to the scene, reminding one much of the track of human life, generally all brilliancy here, while another step produces sombreness and misery, the future lying, like the dark grotto before, in uncertain obscurity. Seated in a deep recess of the retreat I have mentioned, was one whose eye rested with malignant scrutiny on the every action of the ill-fated lovers; a dark cloak concealed the person and the lower features of the demon's face; and, as the intended victim approached, a hand, having within its grasp a pistol, gently disengaged itself from the folds of the garment. There was a tremulous agitation on the part of the unfortunate girl, apparently in anticipation of some unseen evil; she twice started, and seemingly wished to return; while her companion and lover chid her fears, and supported her with his arm : they were within a few paces of the grotto; the moon's soft light was hid behind a dense cloud; the report of a pistol was heard, and the flash of light from the recess followed by a deep sigh, as if nature had made her one and only effort, and could feel no more: the rustling among the underwood, and a white garment borne rapidly along, was the only evidence that an untimely fate had, perhaps, separated for ever, the unfortunate victims of a parent's cruel caprice.*
About thirty years since, an incident occurred in North Wales, the features of which much corresponded with the particulars of this story, the intended victim in that instance recovered: but, to preserve a feeling of romance, nothing less than a tragical issue will at present suit our sanguinary intent.