Welsh Journals

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WALES. Vol. II.] DECEMBER, 1895. [No. 20. THE WELSH PEOPLE AND THEIR NATIONAL EMBLEMS. By William Edwards Tibebuck. How is it we do not see more of the national em blems in Wales? Why do we not oftener see the signs of the harp, the goat, the leek, or the red dragon in the practical things of life ? I do not in this connection count much upon the somewhat familiar Prince of Wales's feathers, for they represent a man rather than a country and its historic sentiments ; though even if the three feathers were to be regarded as the principal emblem of Wales, they are not, in my opinion, familiar enough in association with the nationality of Wales. My experience is that very few people in Wales are aware of the value,—even the business value,—of these national emblems as language between one individual and another. Until it is pointed out they do not seem to be conscious of the many uses the national emblems might be put to with effect,—practical, decorative, poetic, and even politic; not for annual gatherings, great meetings, or occasional street parades only, but for daily service in the most practical things of life where there is legitimate opportunity for nurturing the sentiments of country, of people, of home, and of national aspirations. Few things lor example are more com¬ monplace and practical than butter. Well, I go into Denbigh market and the first pound of butter that I happen to see has embossed on it, in almost impertinent relief, —a Scotch thistle. This, I fancy, may be one of those excusable rare exceptions, and I pass on. The next beautifully clean basket of butter has its pounds singled out by the figure of a bird. But what bird ? It might be the effigy of anything between a sparrow or a swallow and an eagle. With patriotic thoughts of Snowdon I try to see it some¬ thing like an eagle ; but no, it is nationally indefinite,—it is anything. The next round pound has a golden star in its hemisphere ; but it sends one to the night and the heavens instead of keeping one in the day and in Wales. On the next I find a cow,—and not a good milker I'm sure,—looking as if truly in pound. But cows are not more particularly related to butter in Wales than they are anywhere else ? Only one condition would reconcile me to the imprint of a cow on Welsh butter,—namely, that it be of the old Welsh black breed. On another pound of butter I read the name of a farm, and though not an emblem, there is some national satisfaction in this case, for the name is at least Welsh. Now why should not national sentiment be aptly united with decoration in these cases ? Why not the Welsh harp, or the dragon of Wales, or the goat, or the eagle, or some Welsh motto, or a medallion portrait of some Welsh hero, or the im¬ pression of a local castle, or the coat of arms of some noted local Welshman ? Any vicar or minister, if consulted, could soon devise a distinctive national or purely local emblem that would serve the practical purpose of distinguishing each make of butter, and yet disseminate that historic sentiment which in the end comes out in vivifying the consciousness of a national past, present, and future. 34 529