Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

4 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

LITERARY AND OTHER NOTES.

Newyddion
Dyfynnu
Rhannu

LITERARY AND OTHER NOTES. By NORICK. EISTEDDFOD REVERIES." The Eisteddfod has come. Two years ago, I wrote an article in the KELT, giving what I considered sound advice to my fellow-countrymen in the Metropolis, who would be called upon to arrange for the great Festival. A typical Saxon daily was greatly perturbed by my frankness and honesty in that article, and devoted a column and a half of its valuable space to a deter- mined attempt to lead me back to a saner and more Saxon view of things. Their space, for once, was wasted, and it is a source of very great pride to me to realise that the intellect of London Welsh life has adopted all my suggestions, with one exception. I shouldn't be surprised if I found them adopting that during the Eisteddfod week, for I know that it appeals to many of them. It had something to do with the Saxons' long pocket. As my readers may remember, my mind on that occasion was occupied with the Mammon side of the Eisteddfod. It wanders in a very different direction to-day. I have been asking myself all the week serious questions about the present and the future of our great national institution, and almost unconsciously I have come to put them down on paper for the majority of the readers of the KELT to smile over, and in the hope that just one or two of them may linger and think. As a nation, we are apt to forget that the Eisteddfod is in itself a work of art. Art is something infinitely more universal, more Catholic—using that word in its mediaeval sense—than the mere painting of pictures, the writing of prose or of poetry, and the setting of thoughts or emotions to music. It means, when one follows the word to its burrow, the production of beautiful things- the bursting of the bud into flower, or the flower into fruit. And when my friends twit me, and my foes taunt me, with the insinua- tion that the Welsh people have produced no work of art, I always shout, with a fire in my eye, Fools and unbelievers, go to the Eis- teddfod there you will find the highest and noblest work of art-an idea, in itself too subtle and too fairy to define, but crystallised at last into fact, and that by a consistent effort of the democracy." # Let the future of the Eisteddfod be what it may, I shall always regard it as the most beautiful of the products of the Welsh mind and imagination—the Feast of democratic culture, a national Holy Day, when peasant and herd bring forth from their solitudes their garlands to adorn the Shrine of Ceridwen. In this the Eisteddfod, to my mind, is typical of the true difference between Celtic and Saxon culture. Our literature is a liter- ature of the whole people, while English literature, infinitely greater in achievement probably, is after all the literature of a few —one might almost say of a cult. All through our poetry there is a ballad note, and our songs derive half their charm from their words. We are only beginning to learn the magic of colour and brush, and the power of stone and chisel. Our arts are of the people, products of hamlet and hillside, of anvil and plough, of hearth and field. And the Eisteddfod is the great national symbol of that fact, which after all is perhaps the most glorious fact in our history. For that reason, whatever be the cost or the sacrifice, the Eisteddfod must be kept true to its birth and its past. Loyalty to birth and tradition is the great condition of the success of all really nationalist institu- tions. In his charming essay, Literature and the Living Voice," which appeared in the Contemporary Review some three years ago, W. B. Yeats gave expression to the same truth. The Provencal Movement, the Czech, have all, I think, been attempting, when we examine them to the heart, to restore what is called a more picturesque way of life, that is to say, a way of life in which the common man has some share in imaginative art." This should be the golden motto of the Welsh Eisteddfod-to make the common man, if only for a few days or a few hours in his life time, feel the highest pleasures of imagination. The Eisteddfod can and must be in our life the great instru- ment by means of which, as a nation, we shall be able to combat the awful Octopus of a joyless, ugly, irreligious bigotry. Its very existence should always be for the peasant a justification of his belief in the holiness of comradeship, song and dance. Our artistic salvation lies in the spirit of the Eisteddfod. The interest the Eisteddfod takes in the rescue of the old Welsh Folk Songs is a good omen for the future, from this point of view, and the London Committee has given some of these old gems a prominent place in its musical programme. There is a possibility of a new art in the development of the old Folk Song, an art which will be the child of a true marriage of passion between poetry and music; and which some day may give Wales and other Celtic countries a great theatre and a great stage. Hitherto, the drama has not had any hold on Wales, and for a very good reason. The few who have tried to write for a stage in Wales have thought of an English stage, and have tried to copy an English drama. They would do well to read and see Synge's Riders of the Sea," or Shadows of the Glen," so that they may realise how the life of the sailor and the shepherd can be made to contribute to a drama. Some day, perhaps, the Eis- teddfod may do something for Welsh drama in this way. At any rate, some of us hope and believe that it will.

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