The Celtic Literature Collective

The Praise of Taliesin
Book of Taliesin XII

Messengers to me are come, so numerously are they sent,
We shall bring a mutual conflict, so great is my bosom.
Like the effect of the oar in the brine is the liquor of Beli,1
Like a light shield on the back of a shadow.
Like wrath and indignation from the protection
Of a Caer, and nine hundred govenors became dead.
There will be a battle on Menei, a vehement retribution.
There will be more on Conwy, the scar of angry strife shall cause it.
Cold death the destiny of the ready muse,
From the vehement blade by the stroke of Edyrn.
Three elegant unrestrainable, fell, heavily laden with forces,
Three fleets in the stream, an omen of the day of gloom.
Three evenings of battle for three proper
Countries: a boat was made a burying place.
Three of every three: three sins
And Eryri2 a hill of judgement.
A host of Saxons: the second they were, a third affliction.
The Cymry widowhood awaits women.
Before the presence of Cynan3 fire broke out.
Cadwaladyr4 will bewail him.
He injured the country with pain,
Straw; and roof of houses; the house he burnt.
There will be a wonder.
A man with the daughter of his brother.
They will cite what is steel
Of the lineage of Anarawd.
From him proceeded
Coch, wise his prudence.
He will not spare nor defend
Either cousin or brother.
At the voice of the warrior's horn,
Nine hundred (were) anxious,
Of universal affliction.
Thou wilt be calling forth verdancy from affected praise,
It will run to such as is oppressed in bosom.


1. ...liquor of Beli: presumably Beli's mead is a propellant of men? And is the Beli one of the contemporary kings, or is it the mythical Beli Mawr?

2. Eryri: Mount Snowdon.

3. Cynan: Cynan Garwyn (White Shanks) ap Brochfael, king of Powys (c545-613); like Cadwallader (see below), he was prophecied to return in the future and fight off the Saxons and Normans.

4. Cadwaladyr: Cadwallader the Blessed, the last king of the Britons, who was exiled to Rome in the seventh century. Early nationalistic legends claimed that Cadwallader would return (such as in the "Armes Prydein Vawr"), much like Arthur is later said to return, in order to defeat the Saxons (later Normans).

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