Sunday, December 9, 2012

Excerpt from 'Cad Goddeu'


I was at the fortress of Nefenhir
where trees and grass rushed into battle
minstrels sang
warriors clashed
the war-like hosts
that Gwydion made
Neifion was invoked
as was Christ of the inception
until the time of redemption
by the Lord of all he made
The Lord responded
'through words of reconciliation
conjure noble trees
together as a host
and resist the mob,
unused as they are to battle.'
When trees were conjured
their hope in tree-form
that brought before them trees
plucked from four harp-strings
they cast-down in battle
three war-weary chieftains
sadness tortured the maiden
cut through by the battle cry
Flaxen-tipped the maiden's hair
the spoils of the restless cow.
They did nos manage to disperse us
with the blood of men up to our thighs
the greatest of three bloodsheds
known to the world
and one that happened
was in the form of a flood
and Christ was crucified
with the day of judgement near at hand
The alder at the front line
that foraged first
the willow and rowan trees
were late to join the army
The spiky blackthorn
was eager for slaughter
beloved and powerful
resisted all they saw
rose-trees ventured forth
against a venomous host
the raspberry-tree formed
they made an enclosure
box and honeysuckle,
and ivy in its prime
the surge of giant gorse
cherry trees raised the alarm
Birch-tree, in its great beauty
was delayed by donning his armour,
though not out of cowardice,
but rather from its greatness
Almond trees of valuable nature
foreign wood with exotic form
pine trees in the hall's place of honour
in the great throne of battle
oak, the best, was exalted
before the other rulers
the lime-tree in all its fury
flinched not a single foot
slew in the centre,
then on the left and the right
hazels were adjudged
worthy of the fray
the privet, blessed are they
battle-bull, king of the world
on sea and estuary
the beech excelled
the holly, greened anew
was in the battle
superlative in his cry,
terror dealt from its hand
briony burst forth
breaking the battle ranks
bracken destroyed
broom headed for battle
in the furrows of wounding.
Gorse was not denied
though it be the peasant's bane
Heather, fine and victorious
bewitched your warriors
even pursued your men
The oak rushed
before him heaven and earth trembled
Borage, valiant warrior
his name on the courtry floor
the congress of elms
causing terror
rebuffing all onslaughts
when their defences were breached
Pear, superlative in oppression
on the field of battle.
Their aim to rush into the fray
the awesome thorn-apple
The chestnuts shamed
the pine with its thrust
Jet's nature is black
The mountain's nature is to be bent-backed
The tree's nature is slim at daybreak
Powerful is the nature of the high seas
Ever since I sensed the time [of year]
when leaflets adorn the tips of the birch trees
our revival removing the enchantment [of winter]
The crowns of the oaks have ensnared us
by the incantations of Maeldderw
laughing on the cliff-side
the lord in battle-array.

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