John Blackwell (Alun), was born of very poor parents at Mold in 1797. Beginning life as a shoe-maker, his successes at the Eisteddfods of Ruthin and Mold in 1823 attracted the attention of the gentry of the neighbourhood, and a fund was formed to send him to the University. He took his degree from Jesus College, Oxford, in 1828, and died rector of Manordeifi 1840. His works were published under the title of “Ceinion Alun,” in 1851 (Isaac Clarke, Ruthin), and his poems were re-published in 1879, by Mr. Isaac Foulkes of Liverpool, in the “Cyfres y Ceinion.”Song of the Fisherman’s Wife.
Hush, restless wave! and landward gently creeping, No longer sullen break;All nature now is still and softly sleeping, And why art thou awake?The busy din of earth will soon be o’er,Rest thee, oh rest upon thy sandy shore.
Peace, restless sea; e’en now my heart’s best treasure Thou bearest on thy breast;On thee he spends a life that knows no leisure A scanty wage to wrest.Be kind, O sea, whose limits boundless are,And rest, oh rest, upon thy sandy bar.
Ah, cease to murmur: stay thy waves from warring, And bid thy steeds be still;Why should’st thou rage, when not a breeze is stirring The treetops on the hill?To sheltered haven bring my husband’s barkEre yet the shadows fall and night grows dark.
Full well may women weep, we wives and daughters Whose men are on the deep;But who can tell our anguish when thy waters In stormy anger leap?Be gentle to him, sea, and rage no more,But rest, oh rest, upon thy sandy shore.
Thou heedest not, O sea without compassion, But ravenest for thy prey;I turn to One who can control thy passion, And wildest waves allay;And He will take my loved one ’neath His care,And make thee rest upon thy sandy bar.An Idyll.
Do you know—have you seen—my sweet Dolly,Who pastures her flocks on Eryri? Her eyes like a dart, Have pierced my heart,Oh, sweeter than honey is Dolly.
Oh, yes, I know well your sweet Dolly,Whose cot’s at the foot of Eryri, No tongue upon earth Can tell of her worth,So lovely, so winning is Dolly.
For tender and bashful is Dolly,Not fairer nor purer the lily, No name under heaven So fitly is givenFor the harpist to sing of as Dolly.
Not tender, not tender to Dewi!No maiden so cruel as Dolly! With many a tear I beseech her to hear,But deaf to my wooing is Dolly.
I have done all I could for her pleasing,I have gathered her goats for the milking, ’Twas surely no sin, If I hoped I might win,Sweet kisses in payment from Dolly.
Her breast’s like the snowflakes when falling,So white—and so cold to my pleading. My heart will soon break For very love’s sake,So cold, so bewitching is Dolly.
Three wishes, no more, I would utter—God bless my sweet Dolly for ever, May I gaze on her face Till I finish life’s race,Then die—in the arms of my Dolly....