The Celtic Literature Collective

The Death-Song of Madawg
The Book of Taliesin XLI.
From The Four Ancient Books of Wales

MADAWG,1 the joy of the wall,
Madawg, before he was in the grave,
Was a fortress of abundance
Of games, and society.
The son of Uthyr before he was slain,
From his hand he pledged thee.
Erof the cruel came,
Of impotent joy;
Of impotent sorrow.
Erof the cruel caused
Treacheries to Jesus.
Though he believed.
The earth quaking,
And the elements darkening,
And a shadow on the world,
And baptism trembling.
An impotent step
Was taken by fierce Erof,
Going in the course of things
Among the hideous fiends
Even to the bottom of Uffern.2

1. In "Arthur and Eilwod," Madawg is mentioned as a son of Uthyr, and hence the brother of Arthur, who was slain. It is possible that there is an early tradition (or even fact) that Arthur was the younger brother, that Madawg was intended as the successor but was killed by one Erof, and that Arthur was then hidden for safety.

2. Uffern: lit. "hell" from the Latin "inferno"