The Celtic Literature Collective

The Elegy of the Thousand Sons
Book of Taliesin II

I will offer a prayer to the Trinity,
May the Eternal grant me to praise thee!
In the present course, dangerous
Our work; destruction is a slight impulse of wrath.
They reckon of the saints a tribe,
King of heaven, may I be eloquent about thee!
Before the separation of my soul from my flesh.
Thou particularly knowest in what is my sin.

Thy entreaty before the paternal, governance
May there be to me from the Trinity mercy!
I adore, I earnestly long for the elements of blood,
Nine degrees of the mystic troops of heaven,
And the tenth, saints a preparation of sevens.
Heroic numberer of languages,
A conspicuous sea-shoal of goodly increase.
A number that God will watch with extreme love.
In heaven, in earth, at the end,
In straits, in expanse, in form,
In body, in soul, in habit,
Prudence (is) far from the presence of kings.
I adore thee, Ruler of the land of peace.
Let my soul be in a condition of life;
For ever in (his) court;
A servant of heaven (to be), he will not refuse me.

Apostles and martyrs,
Youths, supplicants of glory,
And Solomon (that) served God:
Of pure speech, of pure walk, thy quality
And a verdant gift will come to me.
As long as I keep my faculties.
Numbers there were clean and holy,
Steps, golden columns of the church.
And many writers have declared,
Skilled in the fully-holy books,
For the multitude discarded anxiety.
May my soul be defended from it!

A number there were in the incondurrence
Of Uffern1, a cold refuge;
During the five ages of the world,
Until when Christ loosened the bondage.
From the deep shore of the abyss of evil
Many God brought through protection,
Two thousand Sons of the children of Ilia.
A bimatu et infra
Slew the amistra.
Edris ertri kila
The tears of Rachel2, it was seen that a plague
Had come to Jerusalem.

The number of the saints of Armorica,
And a number in the form of Toronia,
That had broken the advanced Caer of Roma.
And Poli and Alexandria
And Garanwys and Indra
Tres partes divicia [divided into three parts--MJ]
Asicia, Affrica, Europa [Asia, Africa, Europe].

The number of the saints in Capharnaum3, Marituen, and Naim,
And Zabulon and Cisuen and Ninifen and Neptalim
In Dubriactus and Zorim
In it prophesied Christ, the son of Mary, daughter of Joachim;
From the chief temple of the chief infidel nation.

The number of the saints of Erechalde,
The fame far of the castle of Maria.
That broke not again Syloe
Ecclesie retunde
Phalatie cesarie
Amanion amabute,

And the valleys of Bersabe.
And before the Christian religion the men of Cartasine,
And the severely just ones of Retunde,
The languages, Greek and Hebrew,
And Latin, men of gleaming pervasion.

The number of saints in scores,
Valiant men, golden their party.
Before kings a career of praise,
Warriors, no one was before them in demanding.
In straits, in expanse, in every need,
May they be a city to our body and our soul!

The number of the saints of Sicomorialis,
And isle of Deffrobani.
And the holy multitude that blessed
Water, wine, hostile men destroyed.
And entreating his exalted weight,
Under the stars, saints he planted.

The number of the saints that the upper region holds, 
Effectus re inferior
A superare superior

And armonim and thyfor
And the valley of Enor and Segor,
And Carthage the greater and the less,
And the green isle, the boundary of the sea.

The number of the saints of the Isle of Prydein [Britain],
And Iwerdon [Ireland], a gentle portion.
Multitudes, of beautiful works,
Believed, served with us.

The number of saints, a synod without desire,
From God the divine prophesy.
In every tongue they compose,
About the earth they were,
And so many wisely prophesied
Christ, and before he was, they were.

The number of the saints of the East,
And the concord of the nation of Judah.
Languages of Greek and Hebrew,
And Latin, men of gleaming pervasion.

Seven scores, seven scores, seven hundreds of saints,
And seven thousands and seven ten scores,
November a number implored,
Though martyrs good they came.
Fifteen scores of saints there were
And three thousand children of Morialis.
In these Decembers above relatives
Over the head of Jesus utter sighs.

Twelve thousand in the convention
Believed through the voice of John.
They worship, they deserve a portion,
In heaven they will not be angry.

Nine thousand saints received
Baptism, and religion, and confession.
Notwithstanding death the punishment of people (is) heat,
Uffern, cold its refuge. If the Lord hath satisfied us, 
Through the head of Peter was made the destitute.

Qui venerunt angli
In natale Domini
Media nocte in laudem
Cum pastoribus in Bethleezn.
Nivem anghi de celo
Cum Michaele archanglo
Qui precedunt precelio
Erga animas in mundo
Am nivem nivem angeli.
Precedunt confirmati
Vnistrati baptizati
Usque in diem judicii.
Quando fuit Christus crucifixus ut sibi
Ipse placuisset venissent ibi in auxilium
Plusquam duodecim legiones angelorum.
Toto orbe terrarum.
Jesus Christus videntem in agonia in mundo.
Ut sint nostri auxiium
Duodecim milia miiantein
Ante tribunal stantern.
Qui laudantie laudantium
Tues mores rex regum.

The number that have been, and will be, 
Above heaven, below heaven, how many there are. 
And as many as have believed in revelation,
Believed through the will of the Lord.
As many as are on wrath through the circles,
Have mercy, God, on thy kindred.
May I be meek, the turbulent Ruler,
May I not endure, before I am without motion.
Grievously complaineth every lost one,
Hastily claimeth every needy one.
An exceedingly displeased mind will not run
From (its) present course, when I am angry.
I will declare when I am in the gravel,
From the maintenance of gifts,
From being numbered, from going to be a martyr
In the reckoning of Saint Segerno.
From a word when sin may be to me,
Let there be no sigh from those that hear me.

1. Uffern: lit. "inferno"--hell, the underworld, derived from the Latin inferno; it is different from the earlier, more pagan Welsh concept of Annwfn as the otherworld/underworld.

2. "Rachel...": see Mt 2:16-18, Jer 31:15:

"A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation
Rachel weeping for her children
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more."

3. Capharnaum: Capernaum, the city in Galilee where Jesus began and conducted most of his ministry, and where he found most of his Apostles.

4. "Qui...": for some reason, part of a Latin hymn has been placed into the text. I will attempt to translate this at a later time.

Back to the Book of Taliesin