The Celtic Literature Collective

The "Drystan" Poem
Black Book of Carmarthen

Though I love the sea-shore, I hate the sea
That (its) wave should cover the rock of the hero
Brave, constant, courteous, generous, a strong support (?).
A victorious protector is (wont to be) the mounting-block of poets.
The dispenser of fame has done an ill-omened favour--
Till Judgement the grief for it will endure.

Though I love the sea-shore, I hate the wave;
The violence of the wave has made a cold (sad) breach between us
I shall lament while I live because of this:
A nimble deed, the wasing over of me (=his?) breast.
Though it fills the mind, it does not excite the heart,
(And) after (?) Cyheig, let there be reconciliation between us.

I am remorseful because of his expedition
When the strong man hastened afar to (his) death;
We two were a brave and constant company
There where the water carries the leaves

Drystan is enraged at your coming (?),
I will not accept my casting out (by you)(?):
For my part, I have betrayed March for you (?).
To avenge Cyhelig--it would be my desire--
On account of his sweet converse,
Alas, dwarf, your anger was hostile to me.

This version was translated by Rachel Bromwich in Studia Celtica, v. XIV-XV 1979-80. p. 57-8.