THE MUMBLES’ LIGHTHOUSE.

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“Amidst the storms, — when winds and waves are high,
Unmoved I stand, — undimm’d I shed my light;
And through the blackness of December’s sky
I pour effulgence on the seaman’s sight.”

INSCRIPTION FOR A LIGHTHOUSE.

THE Mumbles’ Lighthouse is much frequented by visitors from Swansea
during the season. Few jaunts of this character can be productive of more enjoyment
than a trip from Swansea to Oystermouth Castle and the Mumbles’ rocks. The road,
issuing from the western extremity of Swansea, follows the shore of the bay, with the
open sea on the left, and on the right a range of wooded hills; of which advantage has
been taken for the site of numerous pretty villas. Some gentlemen’s seats occupy the
intervening level, and their plantations skirt the high-road. Of these Singleton Abbey and
Woodlands are the principal. As we near the extremity of the bay the scene is indeed
beautiful. Oystermouth Castle, and the pretty village of the same name, lead the visitor
onwards till he reaches a broken, breezy headland, the only ascent to which is by a
kind of Sheep-path, which zigzags its way to the summit of a narrow promontory
terminating in two islands, and on the farther of which is situated the Mumbles’
Lighthouse. It is a structure admirably adapted for the purpose to which it is devoted. To
every building of this description, devoted to the preservation of human life, a profound
interest is attached; and we cannot but observe at a single glance how invaluable these
Lights have been, and ever must be, where the danger of shipwreck is so greatly
increased by the rugged nature of a coast — here walled in by precipitous cliffs, and
there scattered with rocks that appear and disappear according to the tide. The means
thus happily adopted along the Welsh coast have been crowned with success; and how
comfortable is it to reflect, when calmly seated at our winter hearths, that — while
the “winds howl round our steady battlements,” and “ships break from their moorings,” —
there are friendly lights sparkling around our coasts, to cheer and direct the bewildered
mariner in his course, to show him his danger, and to point out “a way to escape.”

To understand the importance of lighthouses, we need only remind the reader of
the published “Statement,” that the number of British vessels alone, which have been
annually returned as wrecked, amounts to five hundred and fifty ;- — namely, “ three
shipwrecks every two days throughout the year.” The average burden of merchant-
vessels is about one hundred and ten tons ; and if we value old and new together

at half the price of building, we have £330,000 for the worth of the whole, which, by
deducting the value of sails, masts, and other materials saved from some of those
stranded, may be reduced to £300,000. If we add an equal sum for the cost of the
cargoes, the whole loss from shipwrecks will amount to £600,000. This statement
proceeds on an old estimate from 1793 to 1829; but M’Culloch, in the supplement to
his Dictionary, says that the number of ships actually lost, or driven ashore, in 1833,
amounted to eight hundred. It is probable, then, that the annual lost by shipwreck is not
much short of a million sterling. If one-fifth of this loss could be prevented by additional
lighthouses, the saving of money would amount to a million in five years, — to say
nothing of the still more important saving in human life. We are anxious — not on the
score of economy only, but of humanity — to place these lamentable facts before the
eyes of Government, from whose hands the mitigation at least, if not the removal, of
such disasters is confidently expected.

In the rock immediately under the lighthouse is a large cavern, called Bob’s
Cove, — a very characteristic feature, and a chief attraction to pleasure parties, who
resort hither at low water for the sake of the view, which from this isolated point is very
striking and variegated : —

“Town and hamlet, sea and shore,
Wooded steep and mountain hoar;
Ships that stem the waters blue,
All concentrate in the view.”

Expanding to the eastward is the beautiful curve of Swansea Bay and the
distant mountains; on the westward, the broken coast of Gower; in front, the boundless
expanse of ocean. The bracing sea breezes Inhaled upon this exposed promontory,
its elastic turf, and the magnificent prospect It everywhere commands never fail to
produce a most agreeable and salutary exhilaration, and constitute the finest medical
and physical tour in the world.

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