‘"The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the thick bushes." As you say, there is something awful in thunder.’

‘There are all kinds of noises above us,’ said Belle; ‘surely I heard the crashing of a tree?’

‘"The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedar trees,"’ said I, ‘but what you hear is caused by a convulsion of the air; during a thunder-storm there are occasionally all kinds of aerial noises. Ab Gwilym, who, next to King David, has best described a thunderstorm, speaks of these aerial noises in the following manner:-

‘Astonied now I stand at strains,
As of ten thousand clanking chains;
And once, methought that, overthrown,
The welkin’s oaks came whelming down;
Upon my head up starts my hair:
Why hunt abroad the hounds of air?
What cursed hag is screeching high,
Whilst crash goes all her crockery?’

You would hardly believe, Belle, that though I offered at least ten thousand lines nearly as good as those to the booksellers in London, the simpletons were so blind to their interest, as to refuse purchasing them!’

‘I don’t wonder at it,’ said Belle, ‘especially if such dreadful expressions frequently occur as that towards the end; - surely that was the crash of a tree?’

‘Ah!’ said I, ‘there falls the cedar tree - I mean the sallow; one of the tall trees on the outside of the dingle has been snapped short.’

‘What a pity,’ said Belle, ‘that the fine old oak, which you saw the peasants cutting up, gave way the other night, when scarcely a breath of air was stirring; how much better to have fallen in a storm like this, the fiercest I remember.’

‘I don’t think so,’ said I; ‘after braving a thousand tempests, it was meeter for it to fall of itself than to be vanquished at last. But to return to Ab Gwilym’s poetry: he was above culling dainty words, and spoke boldly his mind on all subjects. Enraged with the thunder for parting him and Morfydd, he says, at the conclusion of his ode,

‘My curse, O Thunder, cling to thee,
For parting my dear pearl and me!’

‘You and I shall part, that is, I shall go to my tent, if you persist in repeating from him. The man must have been a savage. A poor wood-pigeon has fallen dead.’

‘Yes,’ said I, ‘there he lies, just outside the tent; often have I listened to his note when alone in this wilderness. So you do not like Ab Gwilym; what say you to old Gothe? -

‘Mist shrouds the night, and rack;
Hear, in the woods, what an awful crack!
Wildly the owls are flitting,
Hark to the pillars splitting
Of palaces verdant ever,
The branches quiver and sever,
The mighty stems are creaking,
The poor roots breaking and shrieking,
In wild mixt ruin down dashing,
O’er one another they’re crashing;
Whilst ‘midst the rocks so hoary
Whirlwinds hurry and worry.
Hear’st not, sister - ’

‘Hark!’ said Belle, ‘hark!’

‘Hear’st not, sister, a chorus Of voices - ?’

‘No,’ said Belle, ‘but I hear a voice.’

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