The Celtic Literature Collective

I Have Freely Greeted
The Red Book of Hergest XVII

I have freely greeted, I will freely greet, the familiar greeter of
Urien Reged. May he diffuse his joy abroad!
Gold and silver, how great their consumption and destruction.
(Even) before they could come between the hands of the scatterer!
Ieuav caused loss and sorrow for horses daily;
Ceneu his brother, dilatory in the conflict, was not skilful;
Urien made retaliation for the dishonour
Of Cynon the active, ignonilnious was their execution.
About Aerven, an uncovered precipice, there will come an army.
Selef has been captured; be was incensed for what was to come.
It will fare worse with the free and the bond on their account.
Blades will be reddened, through proud words for the fruit of their trees.
The four men will maintain the place of four hundred,
With the deepest water. I would bless the corrupt in the enclosure on. their account;
And whoever obtains it, may he be blessed for ever!
There will befall a loss from confiding in the claimant;
And hands without thumbs, and blades on the flesh, and a poor master
Puerile age will not be harmonious in the distraction.
There will be no fellowship, nor confidence in any toward others.
A dragon from Gwynedd1 of precipitous lands and gentle towns,
To the Lloegrians will go, when the report of him will spread abroad.
Stonework will be broken, with terrible destruction, in the encounter;
And more will be lost than spared of the Gwyndodians.
From mutual counselling, there will be means of deliverance by sea and land.
There will arise from concealment a man that will be a blessing to the Gwyndodians;
And the Brythyon, though a remnant, will be victorious over the ungentle multitude.
There will conic a time when song will not be cherished, nor will it be elaborate;
The ruler will love wealth, and one sister will be bearish to another.
Killing and drowning from Eleri as far as Chwilvynydd, 
A conquering and unmerciful one will triumph;
Small will be his army in returning from the (action of) Wednesday.
A bear from the south, will arise, meet
The Lloegrians, and kill vast numbers of Powysians.
The affair of Cors Vochno, he that will escape from it will be fortunate;
There will be twelve women, and no wonder, for one man.
The age of youth will fare unbecomingly worse;
After the tumultuous extermination, a bearded man in a hundred will not be a warrior.
Urien of Rheged, generous he is, and will be,
And has been since Adam.
He, proud in the hail, has the most wide-spreading sword
Among the thirteen kings of the North.
Do I know his name--Aneurin the poet with the flowing song,
I being Taliesin, from the borders of the lake of Geirionnydd?

May I not, when old,
Support my sore necessity,
If I praise not Urien. Amen.

1. It is worth noting that Maelgwn Gwynedd, king of Gwynedd and a contemporary of Urien of Rheged, was called "The Dragon of the Isle" by St. Gildas in his De Excido of ca. 540.

Back to Red Book of Hergest
Back to Welsh Texts
Back to CLC