Skene's Four Ancient Books of Wales

LIV. BOOK OF ANEURIN V

Every ode of the Gododin is equivalent to a single song, according to the privilege of poetical composition. Each of the Gwarchans is equal to three hundred and sixty-three songs, because the number of the men who went to Catraeth is commemorated in the Gorchans; and as no man should go to battle without arms, so no bard ought to contend without that poem.

Here now begins the Gwarchan of Maelderw. Taliessin sung it, and it is a privileged ode. His three Gwarchans are equal in poetical competition to all the odes in the Gododin.

_____________

The noise of two Abers around the Caer!
Arouse thyself to arms and splendour!
Cold is the passing and repassing of the breach of battle.
Lover of fame, seekest thou to sleep?
The variegated texture, the covering of heroism,
For the shelterless assault shall be woven.
The breach that has been attempted will not be effected.
Bear the patient exertion of heroism.
Sharply in arms he used to frown,
10 But mildly allured he the intellectual world.
A man that will run when thou pursuest,
Will have the rounded house of the sepulchre for his bed.
Call together, but do not reproach the over-anxious;
And meddle not with the fierce and violent.
Let him who has a just claim break the boundary.
He does not calculate upon praise
Who defends his shelter.
Praise is the meed of those who have made impressions.
The victor gazed towards the fair one.
20 Of bright and prominent uplifted front,
On the ruddy dragon, the palladium of Pharaon,
Which will in the air accompany the people.
Dead is every one that fell on his mouth
In the repulsion of the march of Teth and Teddyd.
Courteous was the great retinue of the wall, of ashen spears.
To the sea thou mayst not come;
But neither thy retreat nor thy counsel will fail,
Thou magnanimous soul in the defence of his boundaries.
No more can they extricate themselves,
30 Extricate themselves before the barrier of Eiddyn.
Cenan, the fair wall of excellence,
Placed a sword on the entrenchment of warriors.
Victorious was the chief
In dispossessing the sovereign,
The inconstant
Gray-headed chief of ministers,
Whose counsels were deep.
The mutually sweet will not produce the mutually bitter.
I have mutually wished,
40 I do mutually wish for the repose of Eulli
The fair aspect of which is filled with deep interest,
On the course on a serene morning.
It allures me, it plays upon my strong desire.
I will ask the men for a dwelling,
In order to lessen the loss.
Happiness was lost and recovered.
The Northern Run, chieftain, thou hast caused to withdraw
The fat one in returning thou wilt cause to return to me.
They call more for large trees than for honeysuckles.
                  (Three lines untranslated).
Let the sovereign stand firm between the looks of Dremrudd,
The ruddy glancer, whose purpose cannot be viewed for a sufficient time,
Whose purpose cannot be viewed for a sufficient time,
By those who with impunity plough the noisy sea.
First to be satisfied is the pale one,
The eccentric, whose throne is of complete form.
Before he was covered, Gownddelw
60 Was a tall man of great worth like Maelderw.
I will extol him who wields the spear,
Whose course is like that of the ruler of the mount,
The pervader of the land, by whose influence I am moved.
With active tumult did he descend to the ravine between the hills,
Nor was his presence a running shadow.
Whatever may befall the high land,
Disgrace shall never happen to the assembled train.

I. It is well that Adonwy came, Adonwy to those that were left.
What Bradwen did, thou hast done; thou didst kill and burn,
Thou didst not keep the rear or the van.
I know the aspect of thy helmet. I have not seen from sea
To sea a worse knight than Odgur.

II. Three hundred golden-torqued ones hastened along
To engage in the conflict; a sally ensued;
And though they were killed, they also killed;
And unto the end of the world honoured they shall be;
And of those who went in mutual amity,
Alas! except one man none escaped.

III. Three hundred wearing the golden torques,
Fond of valorous toil, and headlong in the course;
Three hundred haughty ones,
Unanimous, and equally armed.
Three hundred prancing horses
Did with them hasten.
Three chiefs and three hundred,
Alas! none returned.

IV. Furious in the battle, unreceding in distress;
In the conflict there was no peace if he acted vigorously;
In the day of wrath, shunning was no part of his work;
The aspect of a boar had Bleiddig son of Eli;
Wine was quaffed in brimful vessels of glass;
And the day of battle, exploits did he achieve
On Arvwl Cann, before he died.
Ruddy-tinted carnage used to attract him:

V. Vigorously in the front of battles would he cause the crimson fluid to flow,
Powerful as an instrument in battle,
And splendidly covered with mail.
Report informs me
That the dexterous blade
Will not be manifested
To the diffident.

VI. He would reduce men to ashes,
And make wives widows,
Before his death,--
Breint, son of Bleiddgi;
With spears would he
Cause blood to flow.

VII. Great is the design of him who conceals his vigorous attack;
His weapon he will conceal
Like a hidden treasure.
When all ascended, thou descendest.
Ceneu Gwyn, the blood of the dead how didst thou shed!
Three years and four,
Thou, guardian, didst put on magnificent raiment.
And to protect thee,
Though a youth, it was not right for me, for thou didst not retreat.
Pressent narrates that he was carried away with the arms.

VIII. When he repaired to his native country, his fame was spread abroad;
He poured out the wine, the golden-torqued man!
He would give a gorgeously fine suit to a brave person,
And check a hundred men, courteous hero!
And send away the progeny of a foreign knight;--
The only son of Cian from beyond Bannawg,
Never did in Gododin tread on the surface of the fosse,
While he was, any one more ardent than Lliv.

IX. Anger, the scatterer of the brave, serpent with the piercing pike,
An immovable stone in front of the army;
Accustomed to the preparation of attacks,
And greatly to reward the assaulting lance.
Perfect art thou called from thy just deed,
Leader, director, and bulwark of all that are of the same language:
Tudvwlch, the subduer in battle, the destroyer of Caers.

X. Anger, the scatterer of the brave, serpent with the piercing pike in the front of the army;
Perfect art thou called from thy just deed.
Faithful art thou called from thy faithful deed.
Leader, director, and the bulwark of every tribe,
Meryn, son of Madyeith, it is well that thou art born!

XI. Gwolowy secured a gray wolf, whose roaring was as that of water.
Angor, the scatterer of the brave, an immovable stone in the front of the army.
Ruddy radiance, and horses, and men were in front of Gododin,
Whence so rapidly ascends the address
Of the Bard of the Cymry, Tottarth, in front of Garth Merin.

XII. His shield, with endurance, he would not lower
Before the face of any one; wrong he would not encourage.
Urgent were the requests for horses in the entrance.
The gold of the heroes, the crowd of holly lances covered it with gore,
While his comrade was pierced, he pierced others;
Disgrace to thee he would not bring:
Active in martial valour, he made a noble display,
When he carried away the famous Cyhuran of Mordei.

XIII. Falsely it was said by Tudleo,
That no one's steeds were overtaken by Marchlew,
As he was reared to bring support to all around:
Powerful was the stroke of his sword on the adversary;
Eagerly ascended the ashen spear from the grasp
Of his hand, from the narrow summit of the awful pile.

XIV. Direct us to heaven, the wished-for home of order!
Woe to us on account of constant lamentation and grief!
When the strangers came from Dineiddyn,
Every wise man was banished the country.
In the contention with Lloegyr of various conflicts,
Nine score for every one were made prostrate.
An array of horses, harness, and silken robes,
Gwaednerth arranged conspicuously from the battle.

XV. From the retinue of Mynyddawg that hastened
In splendid order around the store of beverage regaled they themselves,
From the banquet of Mynyddawg, my mind has become sad,
Because of those of my true kinsmen I have completely lost.
Of three hundred golden-wreathed heroes, who marched to Catraeth,
Alas! except one man none escaped.

XVI. The retinue of Gododin rode on
Swan-coloured horses with quivering manes and drooping harness,
And in front of the host, the throng descended,
In defence. of his generalship, and the mead of Eiddyn,
By the advice of Mynyddawg.
The shields were moved about,
The lances fell
Upon fair brows,
While the men were languidly dropping like fruit from the tree.
They bore no reproach, men that did not skulk.

XVII. Have I not drunk mead on the march,
A banquet of wine before Catraeth as a preservative?
When he made slaughter with his unyielding lance
In the conflict, it was no inglorious sight to see where thou wert.
A monster wag no frightful object to thee while effecting deliverance,
Terrible and shielded Madawg Elved.

XVIII. When they fairly met, there was no escaping for life.
Dialgur of Arvon fetched bright gold at the request
Of the Brython. High-mettled were the horses of Cynon.

XIX. Llech Lleudu, and Tud Lleuvre,
The course, the course of Gododin.
A hand! a hand! a counsel! a counsel!
A tempest over the sea! a vessel from beyond sea!
The host of Heidiliawn, the host of Meidlyawn, a degenerate host,
Moving from Dindywydd.
Battered was the shield before the bull of conflict, the van was broken.

XX. Golden-mailed warriors were there on the walls of the Caer;
Slow was the excess, but the tumult of battle was not dilatory.
One feeble man with his shouts kept away
The birds of the region, like Pelloid Mirain.
No one living will relate what happened
At Lliw, about the banks of Llwch Llivanad;
No one living will relate of any one to whom in the day of conflict
Cynaval was not equal in merit.

XXI. No achievement to-day around Neimyn!
The same covering envelopes men of the noblest descent.
A numerous host engaged in battle which is worth relating,
The son of Nwython killed of the golden-torqued ones
A hundred chieftains, as far as it is related, the vehemence
Was greater than when a hundred men went to Catraeth.
He was like a mead-fed hero with a large heart.
He was a man of hosts; energetic was he in his coat of mail,
He was a man of conflict, fierce was he on the ridge of Cavall.
No man among a thousand brave warriors
Handled a spear, or a shield, or a sword, or a dagger,
Who was a braver man than Neim the son of Nwython.

XXII. While there was a drop, they were like three lions in purpose;
In the battle three brave, prompt, active lions.
Bribon who wielded the thick lance,

XXIII. Accustomed was he to defend Gododin against a hero,
In the van of battle, against vehement ones,
Accustomed was he, in the manner of Alan, to be swift;
Accustomed was he before a horde of depredators to make a descent;
Accustomed was the son of Golystan, though he was
A sovereign, to listen to what his father said;
Accustomed was he, in the interest of Mynyddawg, to have a perforated shield,
And a ruddy lance, before the vigorous chief of Eiddyn.

XXIV. The rulers did not celebrate the praise of the holy one.
Before the attack of the numerous host, the battle was broken through.
Like a raging fire through combustibles.
On Tuesday, they put on their splendid robes;
On Wednesday, bitter was their assembly;
On Thursday, messengers formed contracts;
On Friday, there were carnage and contusion;
On Saturday, they dealt mutual blows;
On Sunday, they were pierced by ruddy weapons;
On Monday, a pool of blood, knee-deep, was seen.
The Gododin, after tedious toil, cannot relate it.
Before the tents of Madawg after the return.

XXV. A grievous descent was made in front of the hoarded riches;
The first to chase them was a person renowned for activity;--
Gwannannon, honoured in the mead banquet, whose prowess I will extol;
And next to him the brave-minded and heroic
Eithinyn the renowned, the son of Bodw.

XXVI. Men of excess went with them,
Who had been revelling in wine and mead,
In the banquet of Mynyddawg.
We are greatly grieved at the loss
Of a man of such terrible energy;
Like thunder from heaven was the clashing of his shield,
From the agitation caused by Eithinyn;

XXVII. Swift and heroic he was when at early dawn
He would arise to lead his band;
But whether leading or following
Before a hundred he stood prominent.
He was so disposed to (assault) them,
As to drink mead or wine;
He was so unsparing,
When he transfixed the foes,
And forward was his course towards them.

XXVIII. Rapidly and heroically with the dawn they marched
To the conflict, with the commander in front of the course;
Gwair was greeted by the fluid gore
In the van of the battle;
He was a beloved friend
In the day of distress.
The defence of the mountain, the place,
And the forward beam of war, wore a murky hue.

XXIX. His lances were seen among the hosts
Vigorously employed for mutual defence against the foe;
Before the din of his shields they concealed themselves,
They lay hid before Eiddyn, the lofty hill;
And of as many as he found none returned;
Of him the truth is related and sung:
Obstinately would he pierce armour, when he caused a trembling;
And he whom he pierced, would not be pierced again.
Repeated are the lamentations that his presents are gone;
His friends were as numerous as bees;
And before he was covered under the sward of the earth,
He caused the mead to flow.

XXX.     (Five lines untranslated.)
The Gododin will not relate at the early dawn
Of any to whom Cynaval was not equal.

XXXI. Blade weapons, broad and ruddy, were abundant before he was covered,
The hero who filled the plain with slaughtered men.
He was a joyous chief, an unflinching wolf-like hero, a firm wolf
In the camp, with a submissive retinue blessing him;
Before he was arrested, he was not feeble.
Perfect art thou called from thy righteous deed;
Leader, director, and bulwark of all that are of the same language,
Tudvwlch, the subduer in battle, the destroyer of Caers.

XXXII. The slayer of hosts is gone to the black glebe:
A piece of earth has made
Sweet bitter to the people.
Withered leaves are driven too and fro on his patrimony;
It was not for the advantage of the country that the sod (should cover him);
The bull of conflict never retreated the width of an acre.
Sad is the fate that it should thus be!

XXXIII. He pierced upwards of three hundred of the foe,
He slaughtered the centre and the extreme;
He was worthy to be at the head of an army, most gentle;
He fed his horses upon barley in winter,
Black ravens croaked on the wall
Of the beautiful Caer. He was an Arthur
In the midst of the exhausting conflict,
In the assault in the pass, like Gwernor the hero.

XXXIV. I ought to sing to Cynon with the flesh-spears:
In action, and before the desolating spears of Aeron,
His hand was reckoned at the head of hoary heroes.
To me was distributed the best fare among the daring ones,
To the advantage of Mynyddawg, knight of the people,
He appointed me to harass the enemy
On Catraeth, where the golden-torqued heroes were loquacious.
They pierced and slaughtered those who stood before them;
Whelps committed ravages about their territories.
There was scarcely in the lists, on the part of the Brython,
At Gododin, from a distance a man better than Cenon.

XXXV. It is incumbent on me to celebrate the complete acquisition
Of our warriors, who around Catraeth made a tumultuous rout,
With confusion, and blood, and treading, and trampling,
Where valour was trampled, and vengeance taken because of the contribution of mead.
As to the carnage of the combatants,
Cibno does not relate after the excitement of battle.
Since he has received the communion he shall be interred.

XXXVI. Birds were allured (untranslated).
          (One line untranslated.)
He put on gold before the battle-shout, in the front rank of the accomplished heroes.
         (Three lines untranslated.)
Cibno the son of Gwengad had a long and splendid retinue.

XXXVII. I owe a complete song to the dog of Gwerunyd.
Let joy be in the chamber.        *        *        *