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threatened by a man, who fancied and hymns with great devotion till
a journey to his well, to curse tending the church, invariably read
the prayers in their own houses,
It has been a general
« At his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
To his conline."
< But during this holy season, the
« Some say, that ever 'gainst that season
No fairy takes: no witch hath power to
66 On the morning of Christmas. a large piece of ground in which this
Welshman says (to Henry V.)“ They fire. Much has been said of the did goot service in a garden where innocence with which these meetings heeks did grow, wearing leeks in their are conducted. This may be the Monmouth caps; which, your ma case in some instances, but it is a jesty knows, to this hour is an ho. very common thing for the consenourable padge of the service."'* quence of the intercourse to make
“ The middle and lower classes of its appearance in the world within the people were formerly much ad. two or three months after the mar. dicted to terming, that is, brew- riage ceremony has taken place. ing a barrel of ale at some favourite The subject excites no particular ale-house, and staying there till it attention among the neighbours, was all drunk out. They nerer provided the marriage bę made good went to bed, though the term should before the living witness is brought even last a whole week. They slept to light. Since this custom is en. in their chairs, or on the floor, as tirely confined to the labouring it happened, and the moment they classes of the community, it is not so awoke, they renewed their jollity. pregnant with danger as on a first At length, when the barrel was ex- supposition it might seem. Both hausted, they reeled away home. parties are so poor, that they are The hero of this Bacchanalian route necessarily constrained to render always carried off the spiggot in their issue legitimate, in order to triumph.
secure their reputation, and with it a “ The peasantry of part of Ca. mode of obtaining a livelihood. ernarvonshire, Anglesea, and Me 66 T'heir weddings are usually atrionethshire, adopt a mode of courte tended by all the neighbours, someship, which till within the last few times to the number of thirty or years was scarcely even heard of in upwards. After the ceremony, the England. It is the same that is com- day is dedicated to festivity, and is mon in many parts of America, and chiefly spent in drinking and singtermed by the inhabitants of that ing. At a wedding in the little continent bundling. The lover steals, village of Llanberis, I observed in under the shadow of the night, to the church as many as twenty or the bed of his fair one, into which five and twenty attendants. A col. (retaining an essential part of his lection is made on their return to dress) he is admitted without any the house to defray the expences of shyness or
Saturday or the occasion, to which, of course, Sunday nights are the principal times every one contributes. A good idea when this courtship takes place, of the rest of the business may and on these nights the men some collected from a pleasant account of times walk from a distance of ten a wedding-feast in Cwm y Clo, miles or more, to visit their favourite near Llanberis. damsels. This strange custom seems to have originated in the scarcity of “ A fire of square peat, and sufficifuel, and in the consequent unplea
ently dried, santness of sitting together in the Was spread on the hearth, and at least
four feet wide; colder parts of the year, without a
* Shakspeare's Henry V. act 4th.
Over which took their station six kettles Five butts of boil'ds beef of a gigantic or more,
size, Which promised a feast, when they On the board took their station, with opened their store;
joy and surprise; And round this flat furnace, to keep On these close attended, as guards thein quite hot,
rang’d for pleasure, Were plac'd twelve more vessels, which As many mash'd pease as would heap a held-God knows what.
strike measure, Four cooks, in short bed-gowns, attend With cabbage a pyramid, much like a by desire,
steeple: Like the witches in Macbeth, to stir up All these were surrounded with-thirtythe fire.
eight people. “ Forty trenchers, with dull knives, “ The moment arriving when dinner and forks made no brighter,
was o'er, Were spread on some napkins, which The places were taken by thirty-eight
once had been whiter, Supported by planks, forty feet long, or And then a third set, nearly equal to more,
these, Completely were rais'd on the grass out Sat down to the cabbage, the beef, and
of door. But here we are bound the word table Besides about fifty remaining behind, to offer,
Who stuck to the tankard, for none of That our verse's great dignity never may them din'd. · suffer.
“And now an old dish, open'd wide at The table prepar'd, and the cooking each sioner, completed,
As if it would say—" Pay a shilling 'Twas perfectly needfal the guests should for dinner.” be seated.
Eight strike of brown malt, which CaerLoose boards were erected on stones narvon had seen, with great art;
And cost the bride's father two pounds But proving too hard for a certain and fourteen,
Was brew'd into drink that would make A number of cushions were instantly one man mad, made,
But given a second, would make his But not with a needle.no; form'd with heart glad. a spade.
Each quart brought back sixpence, and The tinest of ling, root and branch from that pretty soon, the common,
His cot was a public-house that afterPard off, prov'd a cushion for man and for woman.
“ The glass going round-no--the “ Now folks, male and female, came inug, I would say, in by whole dozens,
The lads and the lasses began to look Of neighbours, acquaintance, of friends,
gay, and of cousins.
To smile on each other, to toy and to It cxcited surprise, from a region of joke; rocks,
I was an observer, but not a word spoke. That orderly people should issue by “ The bard, in high rapture, his harp flocks.
handled soon, Black stockings, blue cloaks, and men's And twang'd with his fingers, to try if in hats, all admire,
tune; Which appear’d to be every female's at The people selected, and pairing betire.
gan, “ While many a longing eye glanc'd Each lass was indulg'd with choice of
at the board, The word dinner sounded-acceptable Than Amazons more than like fairies word!
Full thirty gay couple to dance on the deceased resided, and are distribat.
green, Joy held his firm station till morning was When; however, the offerings are
ed amongst the poor relatives. — come; When each swain had the pleasure to
made in the church, and the other lead his nymph home.”
mode very rarely occurs, the whole
of the morning or evening prayers « In South Wales, previous to for the day, and the usual part of the weddings of the peasantry, a burial service in the church, are herald, with a crook or wand adorna first read; the next of kin to the ed with ribands, sometimes makes deceased then comes forward to the the circuit of the neighbourbood, altar table, and, if it is a poor perand proclaims his bidding, or invi, son, puts down sixpence or a shil. tation, in a prescribed form ; but ling, but if he is sufficiently opulent, the knight-errant cavalcade on horse- half a crown or a crown, and some back, -- the carrying off the bride,- times even so much as a guinea: the rescue,--the wordy war in rhyme This example is followed by the between the parties, which once other relatives, and afterwards by the formed a singular speciacle of mock rest of the congregation whose situa. contest at the celebration of nup- tion in lifo will afford it, who advance tials, is now almost, if not alto. in turns and offer. When the offering gether, laid aside, throughout every of silver is ended, a short pause enpart of the principality. *
sues, after which, those who cannot “ The funerals are attended by spare any larger sum, come forward greater crowds of people than even and put down each a penny (a hall. their weddings. In the funeral that penny not being admitted). CollecI attended at Llanberis, which has tions, on these occasions, have beco been described in the preceding vo known to amount to ten or fifteen hume, there were at least a hun. pounds, but where the relatives are dred attendants. A custom prevails indigent, they do not often exceed in this country of each individual three or four shillings. In cases of the congregation making some where families are left in distress, offering in money on these occa. this money is usually given by the sions, which, if done in the church, clergyman to them. When the cola is paid as a mark of respect to the lection is entirely finished, the body clergyman. This custom, which is is taken to the grave, the remainder at present confined to North Wales, of the burial service is read, and has doubtless been retained from the the awful ceremony is there closed. Romish religion, where the money The ofierings at Llanbublic, the was intended as a recompence to the parish church of Caernarvon, somepriests, for their trouble in singing times amount to fifty or sixty pounds mass for the soul of the deceased.
a year. In some cases, where the clergyman 66 It is usual, in several parts of is not respected by his parishioners, North Wales, for the nearest fe the offerings are made on the coffin malc relation to the deceased, be at the door of the house where the she widow, mother, sister, or daugh
ter, to pay some poor person of the interment, and then to dress the
It had its name from people give for this custom is, that the custom, which is now discon. the north is the wrong side. The tinued, of the female relative giving true reason, however, is, that for. to the person a piece of cheese with merly it was customary for persons, the money stuck in it, some white on entering a church-yard, and sea. bread, and afterwards a cup of ale. ing the grave of a friend or acquaintWhen this previous ceremony is ance, to put up to heaven a prayer over, the clergyman, or, in his ab. for the peace of their soul; and sence, the parish clerk, repeats the since the entrances to churches were Lord's prayer; after which they usually either on the west or south proceed with the body to the church. side, those persons who were inFour of the next of kin take the terred on the north escaped the combier upon their shoulders; a custom mon notice of their friends, and which is considered as expressive of thereby lost the benefit of their the highest mark that even filial prayers. Thus the north side be. piety can pay to the deceased. If coming a kind of refuse spot, only the distance from the house to the paupers, still-born infants, or per, church be considerable, they are sons guilty of some crimes, were relieved by some of the congrega
buried there.* tion ; but they always take it again 6 In Mr. Pratt's Gleanings thro' before they arrive at the church. Wales, I observe a charmingly ani. I have been informed that, in some mated description of the neatness parts of the country, it is usual to and elegance of the Welsh church. set the bier down and every cross- yards, and of the attention that is way, and again when they enter bestowed by the surviving relatives the church-yard, and at each of these to the graves of their kindred : but places to repeat the Lord's prayer. I am sorry to say, if this gentle.
“ In some parts of Wales it was man has stated facts, that the custom formerly customary for the friends of is not general, as he has asserted ; the dead to kneel on the grave, and it must be completely local. Durthere to say the Lord's prayer for ing the seven months that I spent in several Sundays subsequent to the visiting and examining North Wales,