The Celtic Literature Collective

The Death-son of Cunedda
The Book of Taliesin XLVI
From The Four Ancient Books of Wales

I AM Taliesin the ardent;
I will enrich the praise of baptism.
At the baptism of the ruler, the worshipper wondered,
The conflict of the rocks and rocks and plain.
There is trembling from fear of Cunedda the burner,
In Caer Weir and Caer Lliwelydd.
There is trembling from the mutual encounter.
A complete billow of fire over the seas,
A wave in which the brave fell among his companions.
A hundred received his attack on the earth,
Like the roaring of the wind against the ashen spears.
His dogs raised their backs at his presence,
They protected, and believed in his kindness.
The bards are arranged according to accurate canons.
The death of Cunedda, which I deplore, is deplored.
Deplored be the strong protector, the fearless defender,
He will assimilate, he will agree with the deep and shallow,
A deep cutting he will agree to.
(His) discourse raised up the bard stricken in poverty.
Harder against an enemy than a bone.
Pre-eminent is Cunedda before the furrow (i. e. the grave)
And the sod. His face was kept
A hundred times before there was dissolution. A doorhurdle
The men of Bryniich carried in the battle.
They became pale from fear of him and his terror chillmoving.
Before the earth was the portion of his end.
Like a swarm of swift dogs about a thicket.
Sheathing (swords is) a worse co~vardice than adversity.
The destiny of an annihilating sleep I deplore,
For the palace, for the shirt of Cunedda;
For the salt streams, for the freely-dropping sea.
For the prey, and the quantity I lose.
The sarcasm of bards that disparage I will harrow,
And others that thicken I will count.
He was to be admired in the tumult with nine hundred horse.
Before the communion of Cunedda,
There would be to me much cows in summer,
There would be to me a steed in winter,
There would be to me bright wine and oil.
There would be to me a troop of slaves against any advance.
He was diligent of heat from an equally brave visitor.
A chief of lion aspect, ashes become his fellow-countrymen,
Against the son of Edern,1 before the supremacy of terrors,
He was fierce, dauntless, irresistible,
For the streams of death he is distressed.
He carried the shield in the pre-eminent place,
Truly valiant were his princes.
Sleepiness, and condolence, and pale front,
A good step, will destroy sleep from a believer.

1. "son of Edern": Cunedda was the son of Edern son of Padern.  Cunedda founded the dynasty of Gwynedd in the third or fourth century--literally, he was "ruler of the Votadini" (Latin for "Gwynedd").  Moreover, his lineage suggests Roman parentage--"Edern son of Pader" is "Aeternus son of Paternus," common Roman names.

Most rulers of Wales could trace their lineage back to him; even the British royal family of today could, if they felt like it: through Henry II to Scotland, from Kenneth mac Alpin to Bruide, who was descended of Maelgwn Gwynedd, who was descended of Cunedda.  Fun piece of trivia for ya.