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WALES. Vol. I] NOVEMBER, 1894. [No. 7. OWEN, BY THE GRACE OF GOD PRINCE OF WALES. " And all the courses of my life do show I am not in the roll of common men. And bring him out, that is but woman's son, Can trace me in the tedious ways of art, And hold me pace in deep experiments." Shakespeare, King Henry IV., I., iii., 1. OWENUS, dei gratia Princeps Walliae," —these are the words on a seal of yellow wax on the back of a letter in which Owen Glendower admits, on con¬ ditions, the spiritual sovereignty of the anti-pope Benedict XIII. over Wales. Two more striking figures than the rebel prince and the rebel pope,—Owen Glendower and Peter de Luna,—it would be difficult to find even in the full annals of the later Middle Ages. Their striking character, their daring plans, their vigour and ability, the gleams of good fortune that only threw into greater relief the hopelessness of their aims, the setting of their star,—all these win for them the sympathy of the historian who tries to detect their mistakes and to discover the causes of their fall. In history, as in Shakespeare's play, the glimpses we get of Owen Glendower are not very many, but he is very majestic whenever he shows himself. In Welsh literature brilliance and mystery are his characteristics. Sometimes his star shines over great victories; at other times Owen disappears in the gloom of failure and defeat, and his poets summon him in vain from all parts of the world to save his people. The ease with which he united Wales, his many victories, his speedy re¬ appearance after a crushing defeat, the mystery connected with his life and with his death,—these made him the idol of the Welshman and the terror of the English¬ man, leagued with the powers of light according to the one, and leagued with the powers of darkness according to the other. As in his own lifetime, Owen Glendower has still his periods of appearing and of disappearing. In the iron gloom of the Lancastrian reigns,—a period of persecution and of selfishness,—every attempt was made to destroy his work and to make his people forget his name. To the men who had followed him, and to their sons, he was asleep, not dead. But a series of repressive laws were passed to destroy the very vestiges of the freedom of which he was the champion. Nearly two centuries after his death, in one of the plays of the greatest English poet, he suddenly re-appears, in his old majesty and grandeur. He stands shoulder high above the mean and selfish race of the politicians and warriors of his own time. I do not mean to say that Shakespeare read Glendower's histoiy in any other than the chronicles of his time; and I am heartily tired of the ignorant eulogies of Shakespeare on account of his so-called many-sidedness, and of his " being true to the spirit of history." Shakespeare was a typical Englishman of the sixteenth century,—full of the patriotism and of the prejudices of those times, full of the sixteenth century indifference to religion and of the English love for truth and morality, full of adoration for the queen and intensely political,—and he is great because his plays are the expression of the great period in which he lived. In every great prince he saw the Tudor sovereign of his own time. As Spenser saw in Arthur the glory of the Welsh dynasty of his own time, so Shakespeare read into Welsh Glendower the glories of Welsh Elizabeth. To him Llywelyn and Glendower were great because the mighty queen, whose 289 19