Close to the lovely Rhaeadr du, in the late 18th century an unknown person cut into a rock lines from Thomas Gray’s Alcaic Ode.
The original carving is barely visible now, but next to the rock is a slate tablet with the original Latin verse and an English translation carved into it.
The lines from the Ode are so wonderful that I thought that by way of a change I’d reproduce them here, accompanied by some photos taken at and around the falls.
Alcaic Ode by Thomas Gray.
O thou! the spirit mid these scenes abiding,
Whate’er the name by which thy power be known
Truly no mean divinity presiding
These native streams, these ancient forests own
And here on pathless rock or mountain height,
Amid the torrents ever-echoing road
The headlong cliff, the woods eternal light
We feel the godhead’s awful presence more
Than if resplendent neath the cedar beam,
By Phidins wrought his golden image rose
If meet the homage of thy votry seem
Grant to my youth – my wearied youth – repose.
For any Latin scholars out there here is the original Latin version, and please don’t blame me for the translation. I am most definitely not a scholar of the classics.
O tui, severi religio loci,
Quocunque gaudes nomine non leve
Nativa nam certe fluenta
Numen habet veteresque silums,
Presentiorum et conspicimus Deum
Per invias rupes fera per juga,
Clivosque praeruptos sonantes
Inter aquas, memorumque noctem
Quam si repostus sub trabe citrea
Fulgeret auro el Phidiaca manu
Salve convanti rite fesso et
Da placidam juveni quitem.
This is a lovely wooded valley which is maintained by the National Trust. Not only did it inspire the unknown person to engrave the melancholic ode, but it also inspired artists such as Turner and Gainsborough.
Visit it yourself and be inspired.