The Celtic Literature Collective

Armes Prydein Vawr
The Prophecy of Prydein the Great
Book of Taliesin VI
From The Four Ancient Books of Wales

The Awen1 foretells the hastening of
The multitude, possessed of wealth and peace;
And a bountiful sovereign, and eloquent princes.
And after tranquillity, commotion in every place,
Heroic men raising a tumult of fierce contention.
Swift the remorse of defending too long.
The contention of men even to Caer Weir, the dispersion of the Allmyn.2
They made great rejoicing after exhaustion,
And the reconciling of the Cymry and the men of Dublin,
The Gwyddyl of Iwerdon, Mona, and Prydyn,
Cornwall and Clydemen their compact with them.3
The Brython will be outcasts, when they shall have done,
Far will be foretold the time they shall be.
Kings and nobles will subdue them.
The men of the North4 at the entry surrounding them,
In the midst of their front they will descend.

Myrdin5 foretells these will meet,
In Aber Peryddon1, the stewards of the kings;
And though there be no right of slaughter they complain.
Of one will of the mind they will refuse.
Stewards their taxes would collect;
In the treasures of Cymry, there was not that they would pay.
One that is a proprietor says this.
There will not come one that will pay in slavery.
The great Son6 of Mary declareth, when it did not break out
Against the chief of the Saxons and their fondness,
Far be the scavengers to Gwrtheyrn of Gwynedd.
He drove the Allmyn to banishment.
No one will attain to anything, but what earth will deprive.
They know not what may be passing in every outlet.
When they bought Thanet7, through lack of discretion,
With Hors and Hengys8, who were in their career,
Their prosperity has been derived from us without honour.
After a secret, the captive was worked upon at the Ynver.
Drunkeness will be pleased with much liquor of mead,
Poverty will bear with the death of many.
Terrors will bear with the tears of women;
An enervated chief will excite a wailing.
The sorrow of time world will bear with much irritation.
When the scavengers of Thanet are our kings,
May the Trinity ward off the blow that is intended.
To agitate the land of the Brython, and the Saxons at variance.
Sooner may their kings be in banishment,
Than the Cymry should go into exile.

The great Son of Mary declareth, when will not break out
The Cymry against the surmise of a baron, and princes;
Foremost ones in asking, examples, one law they complain,
One meeting, one council, of one voice they are.
There were none, however great, who did not speak.
Except to dispense with Surmises they would not agree.
To God and David9 they recommended themselves.
Let him pay, let him refrain from a refusal to Allmymm.
Let them make ill reports of the wants of the townsman.
The Cymry will meet the Saxons.
For various mutual consumption and resistance.
Of the excessively great army, when they have experience,
And on the hill, at the blades and shout, they will tremble,
And on the Gwy severe rencounters will follow them.
And a banner will come, rough it will descend.
And like the budded blossoms the Saxons will fall.
The Cymry gathering strength with union of actions.
First and last the Granwynyon were in a strait,
The stewards to the value of their deceit prostrating them.
Their army in the running of blood surrounding them.
Others on their feet through woods will retreat.
Through the ramparts of the city they wilt flee.
A war without returning to the laud of Prydyn.10
The council will be broken by hand, like the sea they will glide away.
The stewards of Caer Ceri dishonoured complain.
Some the valley and hill do not decline,
To Aber Peryddon they came not well.
Tremendous taxes they collect.
Nine score hundred men they descend.
Great mockery, except four, they did not return.
Tranquillity to their wives they say,
Their shirts full of gore they wash.
The Cymry, foremost in asking, profuse of soul,
The men of the South will defend their taxes,
With sharp-ground blades utterly they will kill.
There will be no advantage to the physician from what they do.
The armies of Cadwaladyr11, mighty they come,
The Cymry were exalted, a battle they made.
A slaughter without measure they assailed.
In the end of their taxes, death they know.
0thers, large branches they planted.
For age of ages their taxes they will not leave off.
In wood, in plain, on lull,
A candle in the dark will go with them.
Cynan12 opening a forward way in every descent.
Saxons against the Brython, woe they will sing.
Cadwaladyr a pillar with his princes.
Though prudence utterly attending to then.
When they drop their covering over their support.
In affliction, and the crimson gore on the cheeks of the Allmyn.
At the end of every expedition spoil they lead.
The Saxon on journey as far as Caer Wynt13 formerly who sooner skulked?
Happy they, the Cymry, when they say,
The Trinity delivered us from time former trouble.
Let not Dyved or Glywyssyg tremble.
The praise of stewards will not affect kings,
Nor shall time councils of the Saxons obtain what they say.
Meads shall not cause drunkenness with us,14
Without the payment by fate of what we have.
From orphaned sons and others a few
Through time intercession of David and the saints of Prydeyn,
As far as the stream of Arlego they will flee out.

The Awen foretells, the day will come,
When he will come to summon to one council,
One company, one council, and Lloegyr15 being burnt.
In the hope of detracting our most comely army.
And the song of another country will flee always.
lie knows not a hiding-place for my goods, and where will be a shelter?
They raise a barking, like a bear from the mountain.
To pay flattery their country will bleed.
Again shall come the toil of spears, fierce and sharp
The friend shall not spare the body of his companion.
Again shall come the head of a salmon without brains;
Again shall come widowed women and spare horses.
Again shall come a terrible shout from the assault of the warriors,
And many hands unequal before scattering armies.
The messengers of death met together,
When stood carcases according to their origin,
The tax will be avenged and the value daily,
And the many niessages on the false army.

The Cymry have prevailed through the rencounter,
Completely unanimous: of one voice, of one faith.
The Cymry have prevailed to cause battle.
And the tribes of many a country they will collect,
And the holy banner of David they will raise,
To lead the Gwyddyl through the dark blue sea.
And the faction of Dublin with us stood,
When they come to the battle, they will not deny them selves;
They will ask the Saxons what they seek:
how much of debt from the country they hold?
Whence is their route when they settled?
Whence their generation? from what land did they come?
Since the time of Gwrtheyrn16 they trample upon us.
Truth will not be obtained in the land of discord.
Did they not trample entirety on the privilege of our saints?
Did they not entirely break through the miracles of David?
The Cymry will keep themselves, when they visit.
The Allmyn will not go from the places they stand on,
Until they shall have paid seven times the value of what they did.
And death shall scatter to the value of their wrong.
The kin of Garmawn will pay of honour,
In four years and four hundred.
Valiant men long-haired, the Lord will incite:
And a driving of the Saxons from Iwerdon17 there will be.
Thence will come from Lengo, a wanton fleet.
Time battle was ruined, the armies were torn.
There will come from Alclud18, men, bold, faithful,
To drive from Prydein bright armies.
There will come from Llydaw19, a seasonable ally,
Warriors from their war-horses will not regard their origin.
Saxons on all sides into disgrace will come;
Their age has passed away; there is not a country.
Death has been accomplished to the black auxiliary.
Disease and duty will deliver us,
After gold and silver and what is congenial.
Let a bush be their shelter in reward of their bad faith.
Let the sea be, let an anchor be, their counsellors.
Let gore be, let death be, their auxiliary.
Cynan and Cadwaladyr, mighty in armies;
They will be honoured until judgment: prosperity will attend them.
Two tenacious chiefs; profound their counsel.
Two that will overcome the Saxons, with the aid of the Lord.
Two generous ones, two treasurers of a merchantís country.
Two fearless ones, ready, of one fortune, of one faith.
Two exalters of Prydein of bright armies.
Two bears do not know shame barking daily.
Druids foretell what great things will happen.
From Mynaw20 to Llydaw in their hands will he.
From Dyved to Thanet they will possess.
From the light to the ground along their Abers.
Their chief partly paid for the land.
A nakedness on Cynon, Saxons wi1l not be.
The Gwyddyl wi1l return to their native country,
The Cymry will raise up a mighty auxiliary.
Armies about ale from the tumult of soldiers.
And the kings of God that have kept their faith
Will summon to every fleet: trouble will end;
And Cynan will reconcile them with each other.
Cynon will not call in as combatants,
Save the scavengers of Cadwaladyr, and his merchants.
Like a Cymro, joyful of speech he will be,
About the afflicted isle swarms wil1 cease;
When the carcases stand according to their race,
Even to Aber Santwic it will be noised,
That the Allmyn are about to emigrate abroad,
One after another, breaking afresh upon their race.
The Saxons at anchor on the sea always.
The Cymry venerable until doomsday shall be supreme
They will not seek books nor be covetous of poets.
The presage of this isle will be no other than this.
We will praise the King that created heaven and earth.
May David be a leader to the combatants.
Ynyr in Gelli Caer21 for God he is;
He will not die, he will not run away, he will not exhaust
He will not fade, lie will not fail, he will not bend, be will not tremble.


1. Awen: divine poetic inspiration; Taliesin is said to have gained awen from the cauldron of Cerridwen.

2. Allmyn: English, either from Alemani, a large Germanic tribe, or a word meaning "others".

3. Gwyddyl... Clydemen: Gwyddyl are the Irish, Mona is Anglesey, Prydyn is northern Britain and southern Scotland, and Clydemen refers to Strathclyde.

4. The men of the North: the Gwyr Gogledd, men such as Urien of Rheged and Peredur of York.

5. Myrdin: Myrddin, now known as Merlin; originally a nobleman and bard who went mad, he later became known as the magician of Uther and Arthur's court.

6. the Great Son: though here refering the Jesus, the original word here is Mabon, who is also known as the Young God, son of the Great Mother.

7. Thanet: part of Kent

8. Hors and Hengys: the legendary Saxon settlers of Britain, brought over by Vortigern; their names mean "Horse and Stallion," and they are likely a reflex of the Indo-European Divine Twins, who are associated with horses.

9. David: St. David of Wales

10. Prydyn: northern Britain, as distinguished from Prydain, which is the whole of the isle.

11. Cadwaladyr: Cadwalader the Blessed, last king of the Britons, who was exiled and died in Rome in 681.

12. Cynan: presumably Cynan Garwyn, another late hero of the Britons.

13. Caer Wynt: Winchester

14. Meads shall not cause drunkenness with us: mead was the payment of warriors; in Y Gododdin, the warriors were drunk on mead before fighting, and were lost. Here, there will be no loss.

15. Lloegyr: England.

16. Gwrtheyrn: the infamous Vortigern, king before Ambrosius Aurelianus's time, who brought Saxon mercenaries to Britain to fight the Picts and Scots; this began the Saxon settlement of Britain.

17. Iwerdon: Ireland

18. Alclud: Dumbarton

19. Llydaw: Brittany. (Thanks to Iwan Smith for pointing this out.)

20. Mynaw: Isle of Man?

21. Gelli Caer: Gelligaer in West Glamorgan?

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