This is one of the most moving passages from a book that I have ever read and, it inspired the above painting.
From Edith Pargeter’s (AKA Ellis Peters) The Brother’s of Gwynedd
The Brothers of Gwynedd Edith Pargeter
[ June 1282]
Lying as it does in a cleft of the northern hills, with the great mountain mass of Penmaenmawr to the east, Moel Wnion to the west, and Foel- Fras to the south, the morning sun never enters Aber. But to look out at dawn to the north, over the narrow salt marshes to Lavan Sands and the sea, that is wonderful. The deepening light, first tinted like feathers of doves, then flushing into rose, then glowing like amber, comes sweeping westward from Conway over the sea, to strike in a glitter of foam and sand on the distant coast of Anglesey across the Strait from us, as if a golden tide had surged across the sea-green time, and flooded the visible world with light. That was such a morning. The only time that Eleanor’s eyes left Llewelyn’s face was to gaze at the morsel of sky seen through the open doorway, and he divined the last thirst that troubled her, she who loved the sun. If he could not take her where it would shine upon her, at least she might still look upon its beauty from the shadows.
He sat down beside her on the edge of the brychan, and lifted her against his shoulder, and carefully gathering the blankets of the bed about her, took her up in his arms. She made no sign or sound of pain, but only a soft sigh, and with his cheek pressed steadyingly against her hair he carried her out onto the guard-walk, and the few yards around the stony bulk of the tower to the northern parapet and stood cradling her as the sun rose, their faces turned towards the sea.
There in the open the air sweet and cool, and below us, beyond the shore road, the reeds and grasses of the marsh stood erect like small bright lances, every one separate, going down in lush tufted waves to where the sands began, with a great exultation of sea-birds filling the air above. The level sunrays made all the surface of the Strait a dance of fireflies, but beneath the glitter the deeps shone green as emeralds, and darker blue in the centre, and the shallows where the sand showed through were the colour of ripening wheat. Along the distant shore was the Franciscan Friary of Llanfaes, the burying-place of the princesses of Gwynedd. In the morning light it appeared as the distant harbour of desire, absolute in beauty and peace.
She lay content in his arms and on his heart, her cheek against his cheek, and her eyes drew light from the picture on which she gazed, and grew so wide and wise in their hazel-gold that there was a moment when I believed he had won the battle. He knew better.
‘Cariad!’ she said, and her breath caught and halted long, gently began again, and again sank into stillness.
He held her for a great while after that, but there was no more sound, and no more movement, and that was all her message to him. She did not leave him without saying farewell. Yes! Cariad!
When he went out from the chamber where she lay, his face was a better likeness of death than hers.