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WALES Vol. IV.] SEPTEMBER, 1897. [No. 41. A PLEA FOR OUR CELTIC PLACE-NAMES. By Y Dl)AU Wynne, authors of " One of the Royal CtlU," " What the Celts are doiny," &c. MONO the many questions relating to Cymru, dis- cussed in these days, there is one which ap¬ pears to have escaped atten¬ tion, and yet it should be a sub¬ ject of interest to all true lovers of their country. I refer to the Anglicization of our place-names, carried on in many cases to the entire adoption of English appellations in lieu of the dear old native ones. There are some who may consider the question of slight importance, but I would remind such that there is no more enduring monuments to a race than the names their mountains, streams, and valleys, bear through the ages. To illus¬ trate this by one example,—the Red Indians are dying out before the white man's advance, throughout the continent of North America, but as long as the Alleghanies rear their crested peaks, as long as the Mississippi winds its stately way to the ocean, so long will the memory of a passing race remain, and the red man not be entirely forgotten in the lands that once owned his sway. Our ancestors lived their allotted span of life, and then passed away from earth, leaving to us the sacred heritage of our mountain land, committing to our hands the perpetuation of their language, manners, and customs. How do we Cymry of the present day requite that trust ? In this nineteenth century, it is left to the antiquary alone to lament the wholesale sweeping of national place-names into the great gulf of oblivion. During the last twenty years, three great factors have been at work under¬ mining our language. I allude to the general introduction of railways, bringing in a flood of English settlers; to emigration, draining the land of its old race; and to Forster's Education Act, making English compulsory in the schools. Our family names are hopelessly Normanized. Could a Cymro of the eleventh century revisit our part of the world, he would imagine by the frequent repetition of such names as Roberts, Edwards, Williams, and so on, that his be¬ loved country had become a mere Norman province. But our place-names ! At least let us, before it is too late, unite in one general effort to retain them, and so hand down, in unbroken purity, to the generations of the future, what no less an authority than Matthew Arnold calls Celtic place-names,— " Poems in themselves." Yes, history, romance, legend, is often hidden under the names that the mystical, poetic, ardent Celt has scattered like gems over the land. And these memorials to our dead forefathers should be most jealously guarded by us, if we can lay claim to George Meredith's description of the modern Cymry, when he writes,— " Now to the Cymry and the pure Celt, the past, is at their elbow continually. The past has lost neither face nor voice behind the shroud,—nor is the animate soul wanting to it. Other races forfeit 17 193