The Celtic Literature Collective

Sitting High Upon a Hill
Red Book of Hergest X

Sitting high upon a hill, battle-inclined is 
My mind, and it does not impel me onward:
Short is my journey, my tenement is laid waste.

Sharp is the gale, it is bare punishment to live;
When the trees array themselves in gay colours
Of summer; violently ill I am this day.

I am no hunter, I keep no animal of the chase;
I cannot move about:
As long as it pleases the cuckoo, Let her sing!

The loud-voiced cuckoo sings with the dawn, 
Her melodious notes in the dales of Cuawg:
Better is the lavisher than the miser.

At Aber Cuawg the cuckoos sing, 
On the blossom-covered branches:
The loud-voiced cuckoo, let her sing a while!

At Aber Cuawg the cuckoos sing, 
On the blossom-covered branches:
Woe to the sick that hears their contented notes.

At Aber Cuawg the cuckoos sing:
The recollection is in my mind!
There are that hear them that will not hear them again!

Have I not listened to the cuckoo on the ivied tree?
Did not my shield hang down?
What I loved is but vexation; what I loved is no more.

High above the merry oak, 
I have listened to the song of birds.
The loud cuckoo-every one remembers what he loves.

Songstress with the solacing song! her voice is grief- exciting:
Subject to wander, with the flight of the hawk, 
The loquacious cuckoo at Aber Cuawg.

The birds are clamorous; humid are the glens:
Let the moon shine; cold the midnight hour:
Distracted is my mind from the torment of disorder.

White-topped is the hill; long the midnight hour:
Every ingenious one will be honoured:
I owe the indulgence of sleep to old age.

The birds are clamorous; the beach is wet:
Let the leaves fall; the exile is unconcerned:
I will not conceal it, I am ill this night.

The birds are clamorous; the strand is wet:
Clear is the sky; large the wave:
The heart is palsied with longing.

The birds are clamorous; the strand is wet:
Conspicuous is the wave with its ample range:
What was formed in my youth,
I could love, if I could have it again.

Clamorous are the birds on the scent;
Loud the cry of dogs in a desert;
Again clamorous are the birds.

In the beginning of summer, gay are all varied seeds!
When the warriors hasten to the conflict, 
I do not go, infirmity will not Leave me.

In the beginning of summer, it is glorious on the course, 
When the warriors hasten to the field of battle; 
I shall not go, infirmity separates me.

Hoary is the mountain summit; the tops of the ash are brittle:
From the Abers the fair wave is impelled:
Laughter is far from my heart.

What is it to me this day at the end of the month?
In the social banquet I have left it:
Distracted is my mind; a fever has made choice of me.

Quick is the sight of the sentinel;
Let the idle use courtesy:
Distracted is my mind; disease preys upon me.

Riches like a bowl encircling mead, 
The happy man will not wish for:
It is a precious thing to know patience.

Riches like a bowl round the cheering beverage, 
The gliding stream, the refreshing shower, 
And the deep ford: the mind is stirred to treachery.

To foment treachery is an iniquitous deed;
There will be pain where there will be purifying;
It is to sell a little for much.

Let the wicked be fomenting treachery; 
When God will judge, at the long day, 
Dark will be falsehood, truth clear.

There is danger in repelling the graduated visitor;
Men are joyous over the beverage:
Frail is the reed, of riches an emblem.

Hear the wave of sullen din, and loud, 
Amidst the pebbles and gravel:
Distracted is my mind from delirium this night.

Branching is the top of the oak; bitter the taste of the ash:
Sweet the cow-parsnip; the wave is laughing:
The cheek will not conceal the affliction of the heart.

The heaving sigh tells upon me,
After my experience
God will not bestow on the wicked what is good.

To the wicked what is good will not be given; 
But sorrow and anxiety:
God will not undo what he is doing,

The son of sickness has been a brisk youth, he had
An active share in the court of the king;
May God be propitious to the diviner!

As to what is being done, it will come to pass, 
Let him that reads it consider:
What is detested by man here, is detested by God above.