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Y Gododdin

Celtic Historic Literature by Aneirin, translation by Joseph Clancy


Early he rose, at matins.
When warriors charge in a band, in the lead, leading, following,
Before hundreds the first to charge.
He was as eager for slaughter as for drinking mead and wine.
So savage he was, he slaughtered the foe, Ithael, bold in attack.


He plunged into the pit, head first, not a thought in his clever head.
Bright his fame for slaughter on the wall, Owain's exploit, mounting the rampart,
He plied his spear-shaft before he fell, pursuing death, songs of destruction.
Graceful his gestures, to give and to grieve.
Pallid death, the task of his gauntlet, he bore in his hand, mail-coats emptied.
No pouring a lord's prize from his coffin in earth.
Chill and bitter his fame, pallid cheeks, handsome when a maiden passed judgement,
Owner of steeds and dark trappings and ice-bright shields, comrade in combat, climbing, falling.


War-leader, he leads to battle.
The land's war-band loved fierce reaping.
Bloody soil for a fresh grave, war-gear for his crimson garment.
Trampling on armour, armour trampled, weariness descends like death.
Spears splintered when battle began, no clear path for the spear-stroke.

verses 72, 73 & 74