Scenes in North Wales
There is a local interest attached to mountain scenery, arising not only from a natural concentration of grand and majestic objects, but also from a spirit of independence and ardent love of liberty with which the mountaineer, invariably, seems to be inspired. The great deeds of Leonidas were done amidst the rocks and glens;—Switzerland displays her hatred of tyranny in an undying affection for the memory of Tell;—while from the chivalrous exploits of Glandwr, brandishing high the torch of liberty, a stream of light has issued, that seems to have poured its rays into the deepest recesses of his native glens. The demi-anarchy of the feudal system occasioned the erection, in Gwynedd, of many stately castles, whose lonely ruins now adorn the petty kingdoms they once overawed. And in the violent struggles of the ancient Briton p. ivto preserve his wild home from Saxon intrusion, originated those yet more splendid palaces, that illustrate like monuments, or like medals, the history of those periods in which they were erected. Notwithstanding the great power by which the Cambrians were overthrown, and the healing measures subsequently pursued to obtain a willing submission to their conquerors, the draught appears to have been imbittered by the introduction of some ingredient not easily detected by historical analysis; for, as a people, the ancient Britons are still totally distinct from the parent state in customs, manners, dress, in feelings, and in language. The tenacity with which they adhere to their primitive tongue, tends to a dissociation from the greater part of the empire, and contributes to the preservation, by intermarriages amongst themselves and otherwise, of a state of society peculiar and extraordinary as existing in the very bosom of the British isles. The Isaurians were a small nation in the heart of the Roman empire; they dwelt among mountains; they saw civilization on every side, p.
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