Skene's Four Ancient Books of
LXX. RED BOOK OF HERGEST
Christ Jesus! who art in complete possession of light,
The strength of the feeble Christian in the gloom;
Christ, the mysterious One! in order to produce seriousness
May utterance be given to my bardic lays;
May my bards, when they chant, be attended to;
May my bardic word from the golden chair be kept;
May my poem above books be read.
As a canon by him who chants the Paternoster.
Believe in God, and God will not reject thee;
10 Believe! from his court no vanity will affect thee;
Believe that He suffered on a Friday,
And that He arose to overcome a host.
From the mutual sullenness of royal chiefs a tumult shall be heard;
By virtue of unity, the compact of Rosser,
May the Saxons hasten away before distress!
On the borders a standing army will be complained of.
Unprofitable Maelenydd will be molested,
Lawless, with rights, without a Caer.
20 Around the land of Mael a long battle will be heard;
Around the banks of Gwyran there will be a gory scene;
Around Buallt eager will be the tumult at the close of day,
Beards in flight from mortal cowardice.
Around Aber Cammarch may be greeted
The chief, the joy of his retinue.
Then will the poet be free from anxiety,
From celebrating the completion of splendid actions,
From the primitive language, penance, and paternosters,
From the value of respect when thou art addressed.
30 Ask of the Supreme Being, from the depth of adoration,
Of adoration, success from above the light,
To the steel against Lloegyr which corrupts the paternoster,
To his friends, his flag, and his standard.
A man from concealment, prompt, brave, and wrathful,
Will appear, to command a multitude;
He will cause terror at the commencement,
And easily break the boundary on a Friday,
Friday: believe it is no falshood.
The Saxons will retreat from his oppression over the country.
40 About Aber Cammarch there will be ignominy,
Excessive tumult, shouting, blades, and men in battle-array.
And a splendid banner, it is no error,
And a dragon causing the death of a leader:
Lloegrians will be uttering doleful lamentations,
And men in the dire shout bewailing their brains.
A man over Lloegyr which corrupts religion,
Will come to command his army;
He will cause a happy beginning.
For a long time, as regards the land, he will disappear,
50 The hero of a disturbed country.
There will be a mutual sharpening of blades, a mutual havoc concerning baptism.
It will be time like doomsday; and gifts will be given to the poet,
The action will be heard all over the land.
His driving and impelling forces will have no end.
His gifts, according to established rights, he will pour forth.
Let us deserve and love Caer Leriydd,
Because of the voice of Cod whose favour is unfeigned.
Until we shall have been long through.
60 Purity is a state of freedom from frailty.
Precious will be the gifts of baptism from my Lord,
Seek mercy, for fear of the element of discord.
Around Buallt the troops of the public host
Cause a tumult: there is complaint for each destruction.
When disbanded let the hordes of Henri fly.
Obscure is the top of the Caer where ruins meet.
Alun, the foremost in beauty, is all commotion,
Dispersion, ruin, and disgrace are all over it:
70 The slaughter shocks one when thou relatest it;
To relate its severe loss thou canst not,
From the contention of a baron of short co-operation,
There will be a white corpse, without head, without beauty,
There will be spare horses, worthless to be destroyed.
And men with unfriendly looks about Ceri,
And loud uproar, and thrusting, and shouting,
And groaning in every . . .
Actively will the sons of Cymry call upon Dewi
Who loveth peace and mercy . . .
80 Fellow-ranger of the green woods!
Painful, piercing grief affects me.
Conflicts are pangs of anguish to the upright.
The life of a man is pursued like that of a wretch,
By the strong ones of Lloegyr who corrupt equity.
Let us meet them and see their death!
The union of Saxons is but for a night;
Of ignoble descent they are in the banquet of mead;
They make compacts without mutual entertainment and sociality;
And break them with a violent rupture:
90 Barons whose co-operation is of short duration.
And the ruler of what land in Gwyned, inferior in speech,
Can relate the fatigue and trouble of pursuing them?
Look if you can see any paltry spoil.
The tumult of slaughter is heard again.
Let reparation be made if there is military law.
It is peaceless treachery if a man is to be denied the hope
Of being brought to God at once.
Hosts get rich on full march.
A plaintiff is strong while investigating his claim.
100 A man was killed by an unlucky obstruction.
True, it is incumbent on the innocent to die,
But it is a disgrace before God to cause his death.
There is a deliverer ten times to the brave.
God will be pleased when every language shall have ceased.
Health by means of penance is a painful restriction.
May he give us through hope,
In the end, mercy through a just compact! Amen.