Skene's Four Ancient Books of Wales

XXXI. BLACK BOOK OF CAERMARTHEN XXX

I. Keen is the gale, bare the hill,
It is difficult to find a shelter;
The ford is turbid, frozen is the lake,
A man stands firm with one stalk.

II. Wave after wave rolls towards the shore;
Loud the shoutings in front of the heights of the hill,
If one but just stands out.

III. Cold is the place of the lake-before the winter storm;
Dry the stalks of broken reeds;
Lucky is he who sees the wood in the chest.

IV. Cold is the bed of fish in the shelter of a sheet of ice;
Lean the stag; the topmost reeds move quickly;
Short the evening; bent the trees.

V. Let the white snow fall in deposits;
Warriors will not leave their duty;
Cold are the lakes without the appearance of warmth.

VI. Let the white snow fall on the boar frost;
Idle is the shield on the shoulder of the aged;
The wind is very high; it has certainly frozen.

VII. Let the snow fall on the surface of the ice;
Gently sweeps the wind the tops of thick trees;
Firm is the shield on the shoulder of the brave.

VIII. Let the snow descend and cover the vale
Warriors will hasten to battle;
I shall not go;--infirmity will not let me!

IX. Let the snow fall from the side of the slope
Prisoner is the steed, lean the cattle
Cold is no pleasure to-day.

X. Let the snow fall; white is the mountain-region;
Bare the timber of the ship on sea;
A host of men will cherish many counsels.

XI. Golden hands are around the horns, the horns in agitation;
Cold the stream, bright the sky,
Short the evening, bending are the tops of trees.

XII. The bees (live) on their store; small the clamour of birds,
The day is dewless;
The hill-top is a conspicuous object; red the dawn.

XIII. The bees are under cover; cold also is the ford,
Let the frost freeze as long as it lasts:
To him that is soft may dissolution happen!

XIV. The bees are in confinement this very day;
How withered the stalks, hard the slope;
Cold and dewless is the earth to-day.

XV. The bees are in shelter from the wet of winter;
Blue the mist, hollow the cow-parsnip;
Cowardliness is a bad quality in a man.

XVI. Long the night, bare the moor, hoary the cliff;
Gray the fair gull on the precipice;
Rough the seas; there will be rain to-day.

XVII. Dry the wind, wet the road,
The vale assumes its former appearance.

XVIII. Cold the thistle-stalks; lean the stag;
Smooth the river; there will be fine weather.

XIX. Foul the weather on the mountain; the rivers troubled;
Flood will wet the ground in towns;
The earth looks like the ocean!

XX. Thou art not a scholar, thou art not a recluse;
Thou wilt not be called a monarch in the day of necessity.
Alas! Cynddilig, that thou wert not a woman!

XXI. Let the crooked hart bound at the top of the sheltered vale;
May the ice be broken; bare are the lowlands;
The brave escapes from many a hardship.

XXII. The thrush has a spotted breast,
Spotted the breast of the thrush;
The edge of the bank is broken
By the hoof of the lean, crooked, and stooping hart.

XXIII. Very high is the loud-sounding wind;
It is scarcely right for one to stand out.

XXIV. At All-Saints it is habitual for the heath-tops to be dun;
High-foaming is the sea-wave,
Short the day:--Druid, your advice!

XXV. If the shield, and the vigour of the steed,
And of brave, fearless men, have gone to sleep,
The night is fair to chase the foe.

XXVI. The wind is supreme; sore and bare the trees,
Withered the reeds; the hart is bounding;
Pelis the False, what land is this?

XXVII. If it poured down snow as far as Arvwl Melyn,
Gloom would not make me sad;
I would lead a host to the hill of Tydwl.

XXVIII. For thou knowest, with equal ease, the causeway,
The ford, and the ascent, if snow were to fall,
When thou, Pelis, art our guide.

XXX. Anxiety in Prydain will not cause me to-night
To march upon a region where there is the greatest wailing,
From following after Owain.

XXXI. Since thou bearest arms and shield upon thee,
Defender of the destructive battle,
Pelis, in what land wast thou fostered?

XXXI. The man whom God releases from a very close prison,
Ruddy will be his spear from the territory of Owain,
Lavish of his entertainments.

XXXII. Since the chieftain is gone to earth,
Pursue not his family;
After mead seek no disgrace.

XXXIII. The morning with the dawn of day,
When Mwg Mawr Drefydd was assaulted,
The steeds of Mechydd were not trained up.

XXXIV. Joy will be to me of no benefit,
Owing to the news which apprises me
That a wooden cover is upon Mechydd!

XXXV. They met around Cavall;
A corpse is there in blood through injustice,
From the rencounter of Rhun and the other hero.

XXXVI. For the staffers of Mwg have slain Mechydd;
Drudwas did not perceive the day;
Creator of heaven! thou hast caused me severe affliction!

XXXVII. Men are in the shout (of war); the ford is frozen over;
Cold the wave, variegated the bosom of the sea;
The eternal God give us counsel!

XXXVIII. Mechydd, the son of Llywarch, the undaunted chief,
Fine and fair was his robe of the colour of the swan,
The first that fastened a horse by the bridle.