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| | | Cylchgronau Cymru - Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru
Symud i'r prif gynnwys

NOYEMBER 9th, 1889. CYMRU FU. 71 It is given under the head o£ Kent in Grose's ProDÌncial Glossary (1811) with the subjoined ex- plmation:— "Many poor gentlemen were knighted by Roberf, Earl of Essex, in his expedition to Cales, a.d. 1596, when lie conferred that honour on sixly persons; for this he was blamed by Queen Elizi- beth as making the honour of knighlhood too cheap. As every Welshman is a gentleman, there must inevitably be among tliem a number of poor ones, as well as among the Northern lairds, who have not lill lately suffered any of their family to engage in commerce or trade. A j eoman was an independent man, somewliat le*s than a gentle- man (a term formerly not so liberally dealt out as at present). A yeoman occupied his own land, killed his own mutton, and wore the fleeces of his own sheep, spun in his house. The yeominry ofEentwere famous for their riches. This class of people is now entirely extinct, the title of gentleman being almost as universally claimed in En«land as in Wales." Comds. MEN WHOM I HAVE KNOWN. By Charles \Vilkins, F.G.S. Thomas Stephens: Author of The Literaiure of the Cymry. Nearly twenty years have passed since Thomas Stephens died ; but while a crowd of bards have drifted into forgetfulness since then, the reputation of the author of the Literature of the Cymry has shone out more vividly, and the value of his intel- lectual researches awaken ed deeper respect. I first knew Stephena when he was an assistant >n a chemÌBt's shop. This was in the days when Merthyr was, as Carlyle would have phrased it, a huge aggregation of hideosities—its days un- savoury and its nights hideous with the roar and fire of Avernus, its ironworks crowdcd with gaunt, untrained men of every nationality, even a Jew working at the rolls; its guardian of the peace a solitary parishconstable, useless as a need ; its roads innocent of pavements, its gutters redolent of everything but of Araby. HIS YOÜTH. I re-call Stephens now, after the lapse of many years, as he was in his young manhood, with a bright, pleasant smile on his face, the light of in- tellect in his eyes. Time had not soured him, or study made him cynical. A few years and the boy who had come from leafy Glyn-Neath to be a druggist's assistant had gained Ihe position of the leading chemist in the Iron Metropolis. But he never forgot his own people, and to the last regarded his father with the truest respect and affection. There was, it is true, little sentiment in his nature. Born in one of the loveliest valleys of Wales, where, up to the advent of the iron horse, fairy legends held full sway, he regarded Nature with a practical eye, and the poetry and sentiment of life, such as that of which Wordsworth and Longfellow were high priests, as in the scope of üghter minds. THE STT7DENT. Reared up in the critical school of Unitariauism, which had not scrupled to select the Divine utterances for subject matter of keenest criticism, Stephens's mind was trained in the severest track of analytical investigation, and as he progressed in knowledge, the bias was plainly visible, more towards the German school of philosophic criticism than towards the poetic school of the bards. The German acceptance of his critical researches in Welsh history was very thorough. In a little way we had both been students of German, and I well recollect his honest pride as we jointly translated a German opinion of his Literature, of the Cymry, and his amusement as the writer des- cribed him as an armed knight tilting at the Gods in the Cymric heavens, and bringing them down into the dust. In closing years he one day said with a laugh " the only bit of German I retain is the solution of one uf the mysteries of life—' Du bist grosse und Ich hein klein ' (Thou art great and I am little)," a solution, by the way, which Sir Edwin Arnold in his Light of Asia has revived :— " How lizard fed on ant, and snake on him, And kite on both..... The shrike chasingthe bulbul which did hunt The jewelled butterflies, titl everywhere Eftch sl«w a slayer and in turn was slaln."