Arthurian and Grail Poetry

Urien of Yrechwydd or Urien Yrechwydd

This poem is taken from the Llyfr Taliesin. The poem's setting is the Rheged, the kingdom of Urien, which included Northern Cumberland as far as Carlisle and stretched northwards to Ayr and eastward to Catterick. Aneirin's Gododdin is considered by some to be a battle elegy for the failed attempt to recover Catterick after Urien's death. The second verse is a standard style closure used in praise songs.
The text is as edited and annotated by Sir Ifor Williams. The translation is by Saunders Lewis.

Urien Yrechwydd

Uryen yr echwyd. haelaf dyn bedyd.
lliaws a rodyd y dynyon eluyd.
Mal y kynnullyd yt wesceryd.
llawen beird bedyd tra vo dy uuchyd.
ys mwy llewenyd gan clotuan clotryd.
ys mwy gogonyant vot Uryen ae plant.
Ac ef yn arbennic yn oruchel wledic.
yn dinas pellennic. yn keimyat kynteic.
lloegrwys ae gwydant pan ymadrodant.
agheu a gawssant a mynych godyant
llosci eu trefret a dwyn eu tudet
ac eimwnc collet a mawr aghyffret
heb gaffel gwaret. rac vryen reget.
Reget diffreidyat clot ior agor gwlat
vy mod yssyd arnat. O pop erclywat
dwys dy peleitrat pan erclywat kat.
kat pan y kyrchynt gwnyeith a wneit.
Tan yn tei kyn dyd rac vd yr echwyd.
Yr echwyd teccaf ae dynyon haelhaf.
gnawt eigyl heb waessaf. am teyrn glewhaf.
glewhaf eissyllyd tydi goreu yssyd.
or a uu ac a uyd. nyth oes kystedlyd.
pan dremher arnaw ys ehalaeth y braw.
Gnawt gwyled ymdanaw am teyrn gocnaw.
Amdanaw gwyled. a lliaws maranhed
eurteyrn gogled arbenhic teyrned.

Ac yny vallwyf hen
Ym dygyn agheu aghen.
ny bydif ym dirwen
na molwyfi vryen.

Urien of Yrechwydd

Urien of Yrechwydd most generous of Christian men,
much do you give to the people of your land;
as you gather so also do you scatter,
the poets of Christendom rejoice while you stand.
More is the gaity and more is the glory
that Urien and his heirs are for riches renowned,
and he is the chieftain, the paramount ruler,
the far-flung refuge, first of fighters found.
The Lloegrians know it when they count their numbers,
death have they suffered and many a shame,
their homesteads a-burning, stripped their bedding,
and many a loss and many a blame,
and never a respite from Urien of Rheged.
Rheged's defender, famed lord, your land's anchor,
all that is told of you has my acclaim.
Instense is your spear-play when you hear ploy of battle,
when to battle you first come 'tis a killing you can,
fire in their houses ere day in the lord of Yrechwydd's way,
Yrechwydd the beautiful and its generous clan,
The Angles are succourless around the fierce king
are his fierce offspring. Of those dead, of those living,
of those yet to come, you head the column.
To gaze upon him is a widespread fear;
Gaity clothes him, the ribald ruler,
gaity clothes him and riches abounding,
gold king of the Northland and of kings king.

Until I am old and ailing,
in the dire necessity of death,
I shall not be in my element
if I don't praise Urien.