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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

Wales: Argoed Llwyfain

The Battle of Argoed Llwyfain

By Taliesin (c. 534–c. 599)

Translated by William Whitehead

MORNING rose: the issuing sun

Saw the dreadful fight begun;

And that sun’s descending ray

Closed the battle, closed the day.

Fflamddwyn poured his rapid bands,

Legions four, o’er Reged’s lands.

The numerous host from side to side

Spread destruction wild and wide,

From Argoed’s summits, forest-crowned,

To steep Arfynydd’s utmost bound.

Short their triumph, short their sway,

Born and ended with the day!

Flushed with conquest Fflamddwyn said,

Boastful at his army’s head,

“Strive not to oppose the stream,

Redeem your lands, your lives redeem.

Give me pledges,” Fflamddwyn cried;

“Never,” Urien’s son replied,

Owen of the mighty stroke:

Kindling, as the hero spoke,

Cenau, Coel’s blooming heir,

Caught the flame, and grasped the spear.

“Shall Coel’s issue pledges give

To the insulting foe, and live?

Never such be Briton’s shame,

Never, till this mangled frame

Like some vanquished lion lie

Drenched in blood, and bleeding die.”

Day advanced: and ere the sun

Reached the radiant point of noon,

Urien came with fresh supplies.

“Rise, ye sons of Cambria, rise,

Spread your banners to the foe,

Spread them on the mountain’s brow,

Lift your lances high in air,

Friends and brothers of the war,

Rush like torrents down the steep,

Through the vales in myriads sweep,

Fflamddwyn never can sustain

The force of our united train.”

Havoc, havoc raged around,

Many a carcass strewed the ground:

Ravens drank the purple flood,

Raven plumes were dyed in blood;

Frighted crowds from place to place

Eager, hurrying, breathless, pale,

Spread the news of their disgrace,

Trembling as they told the tale.

These are Taliesin’s rhymes,

These shall live to distant times,

And the Bard’s prophetic rage

Animate a future age.

Child of sorrow, child of pain,

Never may I smile again,

If till all-subduing death

Close these eyes, and stop this breath,

Ever I forgot to raise

My grateful songs to Urien’s praise!