The Celtic Literature Collective

The Dialogue Between Myrddin and His Sister Gwenddydd
Red Book of Hergest 577 1.7--583 1.38

I have come hither to tell
Of the jurisdiction I have in the North;
Every region's beauty is known to me.

Since the action at Arderydd and Erydon
Gwendydd, and all that happened to me,
Dull of understanding I am--
Where shall I go for delight?

I will speak to my twin brother Myrddin, 
wiseman and diviner, 
Since he is used to making disclosures 
When a girl goes to him.

I shall become a simpleton's song, 
Ominous with the fears of the Cymry. 
The wind tells me
Rhydderch Hael's standard cannot fall.

Though Rhydderch is pre-eminent
And all the Cymry beneath him--
Who can possibly follow him?

Rhydderch Hael, feller of foes,
Dealt out stabs aplenty
On the blissful day at the ford of Tawy.

Rhydderch Hael, while he is the enemy
Of the bardic city in Clyd
Where will he come to the ford?

I will tell the fair Gwenddydd
Since she has asked so skilfully--
After tomorrow Rhydderch will cease to be.

I ask my far-famed twin,
Intrepid battler,
Who comes after Rhydderch?

As Gwenddoleu was slain at bloody Ardderyd,
And I have come from amid the furze--
Morgant Mawr, son of Sadyrnin.

I ask my far-famed brother,
Who fosters song amid the streams--
Who will rule after Morgant?

As Gwenddoleu was slain at bloody Ardderyd, 
And as I wonder why anyone should see me
The country will call to Urien.

As your hair is white as hoar-frost
And God has answered your need--
Who will rule after Urien?

Great affliction has fallen upon me,
And I am sick of life--
Maelgwn Hir will rule over Gwynedd.

I pine every time I leave my brother,
Tears furrow my tired cheek -
After Maelgwn who will rule?

Rhun is his name, impetuous in battle,
Foremost in the rank of the army -
Woe to Prydain when his day dawns.

As both friend and companion of slaughter
Men will name you leader--
Who will rule Gwynedd after Rhun?

Rhun, renowned in battle!
What I say will come to pass!
Gwynedd will fall next to Beti.

I ask my far-famed twin brother 
Stalwart in the face of hardship 
Who rules after Beli?

Since mountain ghosts have taken my reason
And I myself am full of thoughts--
After Beli, his son Iago.

Since mountain ghosts have taken your reason,
And you are filled with thoughts--
Who will rule after Iago?

He that comes before me with a lofty brow,
Seeking social advancement--
After Iago, his son Cadvan.

Your words have always predicted
That one of universal fame shall appear--
Who will rule after Cadvan?

The whole world shall hear of Brave Cadwallawn.
The heads of his enemies shall fall
And the whole world will admire it

Though I see tears on your cheeks
I am bound to ask--
Who will come after Cadwallawn?

A tall man conferring with others
All of Prydain under one rule--
The Cymry's best son, Cadwaladyr

Whoever comes after one so great
His abilities, are they not worthless?
After Cadwaladyr, Idwal.

I ask you gently,
Far-famed, best of men--I ask
Who will rule after Idwal?

There will rule after Idwal
As a result of another being summon
white-shielded Howel, son of Cadwaladyr.

I ask my far-famed twin broth
Brave in war-cries
Who will rule after Howel?

I will tell of his great War, Gwenddydd
before our parting
After Howel, Rhodri.

Cynan will come to Mona [Anglesey]
Failing in his authority,
And before the son of Rodri is called
The son of Caeledigan will

On the world's account I ask
And answer me gently if you will--
will rule after Cynan?

Since Gwenddoleu was slain at Ardderyd
You feel only fear, sister
Merfyn Vrych, from the region of Manaw.

I will ask my renowned brother
Lucid in song, the best of men
Who will come after Mervyn?

I will declare, not with anger,
but from concern--Prydain will be oppressed
After Mervyn, Rodri Mawr.

I will ask my far-famed twin brother
Intrepid at the sound of the war-cries
Who will rule after the son of Rodri Mawr?

On Conway's banks in the conflict on Wednesday
Admired will be the eloquence
Of the hoary sovereign Anarawd.

I will address my beloved twin broth
Who faced the mockers bravel--
Who will rule after Anarawd?

He who comes next
Is nearer the time of the unseen visitor.
Such will be in the home of Howel

The Borderers, men who hold back,
Will never reach Paradise--
Church or laity, both are as bad.

I will ask my beloved brother
Whom I have heard often celebrated--
Who will rule after the Borderers?

A year and a half to chattering barons
Whose rule shall be short-lived;
Any who stumble will be cursed.

As a companion of and canon of Cunllaith,
Mercy of God on your soul!
Who will rule after the Barons?

One will arise from obscurity
Who nonetheless will fail--
Cynan of the Dogs will hold the Cymry.

On the world's behalf I ask you--
Answer me gently--
Who will rule after Cynan?

A man from a far country
Who will batter down our cities 
They say a king from a baron.

On the world's account I ask,
Since you know the truth--
Who will come after the Baron?

I foretell the name of Serven Wyn,
A true and white-shielded messenger, 
Brave, and strong as a prison wall.

He will cross the lands of the traitors
Two white-shielded Belis
Will appear to cause tumult;
Golden peace will not be.

I ask my far-famed twin brother
Intrepid among the Cymry--
Who will rule after the Belis?

A passionate, beneficent lord 
Who councils defence,
Will rule before a great disaster.

I ask my far-famed twin brother, 
Brave in battle
Who is this passionate one 
Whom you predict--
What name, what man, and when?

Gruffyd his name, brave and handsome, 
he will throw lustre on all his kin, 
And he will rule over Prydain.

I ask my far-famed brother
Intrepid in battle--
Who shall possess the land after Gruffyd?

I will declare it without rancour,
Oppression will follow--
After Gruffyd, Gwyn Gwarther.

I will ask my famous brother
Intrepid in war--
Who will rule after Gwyn Gwarther?

A true and white-shielded messenger,
Brave, and strong as a prison wall.
He will cross the lands of the traitors
Tho will tremble before him as far as Prydain.

I ask my blessed brother,
Indeed, I enquire it--
Who will rule after Serven Wyn?

Alas! fair Gwenddydd, the oracle's words
Are as terrible as those of the Sybil
Of odious stock will be the two Idases;
For land admired, for judgement, vilified.

I will ask my profound brother,
Intrepid in battles--
Who will come after them?

I will predict what no youth will venture 
A king, a lion with a steady hand,
Gylvin Gevel with a wolf like grasp.

I ask my profound brother 
Whom I have tenderly nourished 
After that who will reign?

To the number of the very stars
Will his followers be compared--
He is Mackwy Dau Hanner.

I asked my naked brother
The difficult key, the lords beneficence--
Who will rule after Dau Hanner?

There will be of tongues in the battle,
And fierce conflict among the Cymry--
He is a lord of eight Caers.

I will ask my pensive brother,
Who has read Cado's book--
Who will rule after this lord?

From Rheged [Mersey] he comes--
Since I am seriously questioned--
The whelp of illustrious Henri
Never in his time will there come deliverance.

I will ask my brother, renowned, famous,
Undaunted among the Cymry--
Who will rule after the son of Henri?

Two bridges there will be--
One on the Tav, one on the Tywi,
Confusion upon Lloegyr [England].
After the son of Henri
Such and such a king will bring trouble.

I will ask my blessed brother,
And it is I who ask it--
Who will rule after such and such a king?

A foolish king will come
And the men of Lloegyr will follow him;
The land will cease to prosper under him,

Fair Myrddin, of fame-conferring song,
Wrathful concerning the world--
What will be in the age of the foolish one?

With Lloegyr groaning,
And Cymyr full of woe,
An army will traverse the land.

Fair Myrddin, gifted in speech,
Tell me no falsehood--
What will come after this army?

There will come one of six
Long hidden in concealment;
He will have mastery over Lloegyr.

Fair Myrddin, of fame-conferring stock,
Let the wind revolve in the house--
Who Will rule after that?

Owein will come,
Right to the gates of London,
Bringing good tidings.

Fair Myrddin. most gifted and famed,
I will believe your word--
How long will Owein rule?

Gwenddydd, listen to rumours,
Let the wind whistle in the valley,
Seven years, as it was long since.

I will ask my profound brother, 
Whom I have tenderly nourished, 
Who will then be sovereign?

When Owein comes to Manaw [Man],
Battle for Prydyn [North Britain] will be close at hand,
There will be a man commanding others.

I ask my profound brother, 
Whom I have tenderly nourished, 
After that who will be sovereign?

A good and noble ruler will he be,
Who will conquer the land
And bring joy to all.

I ask my profound brother,
Whom I have tenderly nourished--
Who will be sovereign then?

Let there be a cry in the valley!
Beli Mawr and his whirlwind warriors 
Blessed by the Cymry, woe to Gynt.

I ask my fair famed twin-brother, 
Brave in battle--
After Beli who will possess the land?

Let there be a cry in the Aber!
Beli Hir and his numerous troops 
Blessed by the Cymry, woe to the Gwyddyl [Irish].

I address my far-famed brother,
Mighty in war--
Why woe to the Gwyddyl?

I predict that one prince above others 
Will rule Gwynedd; yet after affliction 
They will have victory over all.

The lord of Morvryn, how strong for us
Was Myrddin Vrych with his mighty host--
What will happen before this joy?

When Cadwaladyr descends
With a great host united with him,
He will defeat the men of Gwynedd--
But then will the men of Caer Gamwedd come!

Don't depart from converse,
From a dislike of questioning--
In what place will Cadwaladyr descend?

When Cadwaladyr descends
To the valley of the Tywi,
Hard pressed will the Abers be,
Brythons will depose Brithwyr.

I ask my profound brother,
Whom I have tenderly nourished--
Who will rule after that?

When a fool knows three languages
In Mona, and his son be honoured--
Gwynedd will be rich.

Who will drive Lloegyr back from the borders?
Who will move upon Dyfed?
Who will succour the Cymry?

The great rout and tumult of Rydderch,
The armies of Cadwaladyr,
Above the river Tardennin
The key will be broken.

Don't leave me here
For dislike of converse--
What death will carry off Cadwaladyr?

A spear will pierce him
Made of wood from a ship.
That day will disgrace the Cymry.

Do not depart from me
For a dislike of converse--
How long will Cadwaladyr rule?

Three months and the long years,
And full three hundred days--
With many battles, he will rule.

I do not depart
For dislike of questioning--
Who will rule after Cadwaladyr?

I will declare to you Gwenddydd,
From age to age predict--
After Cadwaladyr, Cynda.

A hand on the cross of every sword,
Let everyone take care for his life--
With Cynda there is no reconciliation.

I foretell that one prince will come,
A prince of Gwynedd, after much affliction,
Who will over come all opposition.

And as to the tribe of the children of Adam,
Who have proceeded from his flesh,
Will their freedom extend to the judgement?

From the time of Cymry suffer
Without help, and failing in their hope--
It is impossible to say who will rule.

Gwenddydd, delicate and fair,
First will be the greatest in Prydain--
Lament, wretched Cymry!

When killing becomes the first duty
From sea to sea across all the land--
Say, lady, that the world is at an end.

After the extermination becomes the highest duty,
Who will there be to keep order?
will there be a church, and a portion for a priest?

There will be no portion for priest nor minstrel,
nor repairing to the altar,
Until the heaven falls to the earth.

My twin-brother, well you have answered me,
Myrddin, son of Morvryn the skillful--
Yet your tale is a sad one!

I will declare to you Gwenddydd,
Since you have asked me seriously,
Extermination, lady, will be the end.

All that I have predicted
To you Gwenddydd, glory of princes,
Will come to pass--to the smallest detail.

Twin-brother, since these things will happen
Even to the souls of our brethren--
What sovereign will come after?

Fairest Gwenddydd, courteous one--
I declare it powerfully--
There will he no more kings!

Alas, dear one! for the separation to be!
After the tumult to come
You may well be placed in the earth

The air of heaven will scatter
Rash resolutions, whcih decieves, if believed;
Prosperity until the judgement is certain.

By thy dissoulution, you tenderly nourished,
Am I not left cherrless?
A delay will be good destiny when will be given
Praise to him who tells the truth.

Arise from your rest,
Open the books of Awen without fear.
Hear the discourse of a maid,
Give repose to your dreams.

Dead is Morgenau, dead Cyvrennin 
Moryal. Dead is Moryen, bulwark of battle--
The heaviest grief is for you, Myrddin.

I feel heavy affliction.
Dead is Morgenau, dead is Mordav,
Dead is Moryen, I wish to die!

My only brother, chide me not.
Since the battle of Ardderyd I have suffered
It is instruction I seek--
To God I commend you.

I also, I commend thee
To the Chieftain of Chieftains--
Fair Gwenddydd, refuge of songs.

Too long have my songs continued
Concerning universal events to be.
Would to God they had come to pass!

Gwenddydd, be not dissatisfied.
Has not the burden been consigned to earth
Everyone must give up what he loves.

While I live, I will not forsake you,
And until death will keep you in mind 
Your fear is the heaviest blow!

Swift the steed, free the winds--
I commend my blameless brother
To God, the supreme ruler--
Partake of hte communtion before thy death.

I will not receieve the communion
From excommunicated monks,
With their cloaks on their hips--
May God himself give me communion!

I will commend my blameless brother
To the supreme Caer--
May God take care of Myrddin!

I too command my blameless sister
To the supreme Caer--
May God take care of Gwenddydd! Amen!

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