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Y Gododdin

Celtic Historic Literature by Aneirin, translation by Joseph Clancy


Man's mettle, youth's years, courage for combat:
Swift thick-maned stallions beneath a fine stripling's thighs,
Broad lightweight buckler on a slim steed's crupper,
Glittering blue blades, gold-bordered garments.
Never will there be bitterness between us:
Rather I make of you song that will praise you.
The blood-soaked field before the marriage-feast,
Foodstuff for crows before the burial.
A dear comrade, Owain; vile, his cover of crows.
Ghastly to me that ground, slain, Marro's only son.


Diademed, to the fore at all times, breathless before a maid, he earned mead.
Rent the front of his shield, when he heard the war-cry, he spared none he pursued.
He'd not turn from a battle till blood flowed, like rushes hewed men who'd not flee.
At court the Gododdin say there came before Madawg's tent on his return
But a single man in a hundred.


Diademed, border guard, setter of snares, a sea-eagle's his rush when aroused,
His bargain was kept to the letter.
He performed as planned, was not routed, before Gododdin's forces was shunned,
Pressing hard for the land of Manawyd.
He would spare neither mail-shirt nor shield; none could, on mead he was nourished,
Ward off the stroke of Cadfannan.

Verses 4, 5 & 6