The Celtic Literature Collective

The Calends of Winter
Red Book of Hergest VII

The Calends of winter, hard is the grain;
The leaves are on the move, the plash is full
In the morning before he sets off,
Woe to him that trusts to a stranger.

The Calends of winter, the time of pleasant gossiping, 
The gale and the storm keep equal pace;
It is the work of the wise to keep a secret.

The Calends of winter the stags are lean, 
Yellow, the tops of birch, deserted the summer dwelling; 
Woe to him who for a trifle deserves disgrace.

The Calends of winter, the tops of the branches are bent;
Uproar from the mouth of the vicious is common;
Where there is no natural gift there will be no learning.

The Calends of winter, blustering is the weather, 
Unlike the beginning of summer; 
Except God, there is none that divines.

The Calends of winter, gay the plumage of birds;
Short the day; loud the cuckoos;
Mercifully has the most beneficent God made them.

The Calends of winter, it is hard and dry;
Very black is the raven, quick the arrow from the bow;
At the stumbling of the old, the smile of the youth is apt to break out.

The Calends of winter, lean is the stag:
Woe to the weak! if he chafes, it will be but for a short while;
Truly better is amiability than beauty.

The Calends of winter, bare is where the heath is burnt, 
The plough is in the furrow; the ox at work; 
Amongst a hundred there is hardly a friend.

The calends of winter in Welsh refers to November 1, better known as Hallowe'en or Samhain.