return to main page

Dream of Rhonabwy

A Welsh Tale from Red Book of Hergest, ca. 1400
from The Mabinogion, tr. by Lady Charlotte Guest, (1877)

Madawc the son of Maredudd possessed Powys within its boundaries, from Porfoed to Gwauan in the uplands of Arwystli. And at that time he had a brother, Iorwerth the son of Maredudd, in rank not equal to himself. And Iorwerth had great sorrow and heaviness because of the honour and power that his brother enjoyed, which he shared not. And he sought his fellows and his foster-brothers, and took counsel with them what he should do in this matter. And they resolved to dispatch some of their number to go and seek a maintenance for him. Then Madawc offered him to become Master of the Household and to have horses, and arms, and honour, and to fare like as himself. But Iorwerth refused this.

Madawc the Son of Maredudd Maredudd ap Bleddyn, the father of Madawc, after much contest acquired possession of the sovereignty of the whole principality of Powys. He married Hunydd the daughter of Eunydd, chief of one of the fifteen tribes of North Wales, and Lord of Dyffryn Clwyd and Allington, and died in 1129 ; his son Madawc succeeded him in one-half of his possessions, which thence acquired the name of Powys Fadawc. Maredudd had been one of the most strenuous and successful opponents of the Normans, celebrated by the national records. It was he who checked the progress of Henry I., who, in one of his invasions of Wales, narrowly escaped being slain by a body of archers that Maredudd had dispatched to meet him ; an arrow shot by one of their number actually glanced from the breast- plate of the royal invader. But the son of Maredudd was not distinguished for equal ardour in his country's cause ; on the con- trary, Madawc combined with Henry II. in the attacks he made upon Wales in 1158, and during that monarch's first and unsuccess- ful campaign, took the command of the English ships, and ravaged the shores of Anglesey. In this expedition, however, Madawc was defeated with much loss. Powell says of him, that he was " euer the king of Englands freend, and was one that feared God, and releeued the poore."

He was a prince of more than common talent, and was highly extolled by contemporary bards and historians. Amongst others, Gwalchmai composed several poems in his praise. (Page 2x0. a Myvyrian Archaiology, I. p. 200)

Madawc's wonted prudence appears to have forsaken him in the decline of life. There is an anecdote relating to him which, as it exists only in MS., is probably not generally known,
It is to the effect that in his later years he took for his second wife an English lady, Matilda Verdun by name, upon whom, and upon any children he might have by her, he settled the Lordship of Oswestry. This lady inveigled the prince to Winchester, where her party was power- ful. There, upon some excuse, he was put in durance, and while in that state was prevailed upon to execute another deed, whereby he settled the said Lordship of Oswestry upon Matilda, and any children she might have after his decease. The prince died soon after the execution of this deed, and his body was conveyed from Winchester to Meivod, in Montgomeryshire, the burying-place of his family, where it was deposited in the Church of St. Mary, which he himself had built some years before. His widow, Matilda, scarce took time to dry her tears before she married John Fitzalan, who thereby became Lord of " Oswaldstree." ( John's grandson, Richard Fitzalan, was the first Earl of Arundel of that name. In the time of Edward III. another Richard Fitzalan, fourth in descent from the above-mentioned Matilda Verdun, was at the same time Earl of Arundel, and in right of his mother^ Earl Warren and Surrey. He was also Lord of Clun and Oswaldstree, in Shropshire, and Lord of Bromfield, Yale, Chirkland, and Dinas Bran, in North Wales. )

By his first wife, Susanna, daughter of Gruffydd ab Conan, Prince of North Wales, Madawc left several children.

He built the Castle of Oswestry, and a castle at Caer Einion, near Welshpool. Several places in their neighbourhood, and in that of Meivod still bear his name.

Powys within its Boundaries, etc That part of the ancient principality of Powys, which belonged to Madawc ab Maredudd, extended from the vicinity of Chester to the uplands of Arwystli, now known as the Plinlimmon range of mountains. This is expressly stated by Gwalchmai, in his Elegy upon that Prince, in which he boasts that the sovereignty of his patron reached from the summit of Plinlimmon to the gates of Caerlleon, or Chester. — Myv. Arch. I. 202.

In more remote times Powys was of much greater extent Powell tells us, in his History of Wales, that " Powys before king OfFas time reached Eastward to the riuers of Dee and Seaueme, with a right line from the end of Broxen hilles to Salop, with all the countrie betweene Wye and Seaueme, whereof Brochwel yscithroc was possessed : but after the making of Offas ditch the plaine countrie toward Salop, being inhabited by Saxons and Normans, Powys was in length from Pulford bridge Northeast, to the confines of Caerdigan shire, in the parish of Lhanguric in the Southwest ; and in bredth from the furthest part of Cyuelioc Westward, to Elsmere on the Eastside. This countrie or principalitie of Powys was appointed by Roderike the Great for the portion of his third sonne Anarawd, and so continued intierlie vntill the death of Blethyn ap Convyn. After whom, although the dominion was diminished by limiting parts in seueraltie amongst his sonnes Meredyth and Cadogan, yet at length it came wholie to the possession of Meredyth ap Blethyn, who had issue two sonnes Madoc and Gruffyth, betweene whom the said dominion was diuided." * Madawc's share was further divided amongst his three children, from whose immediate descendants it was gained, by fraud or violence, by their Norman neighbours. Gruffydd's descendants, the first of whom was the celebrated Owain Cyveiliog, succeeded for three generations, to an unbroken inheritance, but in the fourth it was distributed among six sons, and finally passed away to several remote heirs. One, and apparently the most considerable of them, was represented by the Cheretons, afterwards Gray, Barons of Powys, from whom are the Vernons of Hodnet and other illustrious Norman families.

This passage would lead us to consider the Porfoed mentioned in the Tale, as identical with Pulford, and the locality of this place, added to the similarity of names, favours the supposition. The situation, however, of Merford, a lordship in the parish of Gresford, midway between Wrexham and Chester, and of which the name bears at least an equal resemblance to that of Porfoed, renders it doubtful which of the two is alluded to in the text. Merford con- tains some interesting remains of a British camp, called the Roft, commanding a most extensive view of the counties of Chester and Salop.

The Gwauan, in Arwystli, spoken of as being at the other ex- tremity of Powys, may possibly be one of the several spots now bearing the name of Waun in the Plinlimmon range.

The Cambrian Quarterly gives some ancient lines on the confines of Powys: " From Cevn yr Ais, and from Chester to Eisteddva Gurig, and from Garn Gynnull on the river Conwy to Rhyd Helyg on the river Wye."

And Iorwerth made an inroad into Loegria, slaying the inhabitants, and burning houses, and carrying away prisoners. And Madawc took counsel with the men of Powys, and they determined to place an hundred men in each of the three Commots of Powys to seek for him. And thus did they in the plains of Powys from Aber Ceirawc, and in Allictwn Ver, and in Rhyd Wilure, on the Vyrnwy, the three best Commots of Powys. So he was none the better, he nor his household, in Powys, nor in the plains thereof. And they spread these men over the plains as far as Nillystwn Trevan.

Iorwerth Iorwerth was the son of Maredudd ap Bleddyn, by his second wife Eva, daughter of Bledrws ab Ednowain Bendew, chief of one of the fifteen noble tribes. His father bestowed upon him the Lord- ship of Mochnant, near Oswestry, and he went by the name of Iorwerth Goch of Mochnant. Like most princes of his age, Iorwerth was a warrior, and in 1156 he sided with Henry II. against his neighbour Owain Gwynedd, Prince of North Wales, and during the contest that ensued between the English and the Welsh, he took and razed to the ground the castle of Ial or Yale, which Owain had built only ten years previously. The site of this fortress is still to be seen on a tumulus called Tomen Rhodwydd, by the roadside about halfway between Llangollen and Rhuthin. The partiality evinced by Iorwerth to the English interest, caused his nephews, Owain Cyveiliog and Owain Vychan, to unite their forces against him, and they succeeded in expelling him from his patrimony of Mochnant, which they divided between them, the former taking possession of Uwch Rhaiadr, and the latter of Is Rhaiadr. Iorwerth married Maude, the daughter of Roger de Manley of Cheshire.

It is supposed by some, that the tribe (Gwelygordd) of Iorwerth is celebrated by Cynddelw, in his poem called Gwelygorddeu Powys, under the title of Yorwerthyawn. — Myv. Arch. I. 256.

It is also thought that Iorwerth, after his expulsion from Moch- nant, settled on the English side of Ofla's dyke, for we find his grandson (some say his son), Sir Gruflydd Vychan (Sir Gruffydd Vychan was one of the earliest knights of the military order of St John of Jerusalem), called by the Welsh " Y Marchog Gwyllt o Gaer Howel," the Wild Knight of Caerhowel, living at a mansion still known by that name at Edgerly, in the county of Salop, near the ford on the Vyrnwy, which in this Mabinogi is designated Rhyd y Wilure. His descendants continued in the same county ; and among their number we find another " Wild Knight," Humphrey Kynaston the Wild, who during his outlawry, in the reign of Henry VII. was the inhabitant of the cave, in the bold sandstone rock at Ness Cliff, called after him Kynaston's Cave, and concerning whose feats many an old wife's tale is still current in Shropshire.

Aber Ceirawc Aberceirawc, as the name implies, is the point of the confluence of the river Ceiriog with the Dee, which is not far below the town of Chirk, and opposite to Wynnstay Park. Allictwn is doubtless to be fixed at Allington in the immediate vicinity of Pulford, which, as we have already seen, was the extreme boundary of Madawc's pos- sessions to the north-east ; and Rhyd y Wilure is Rhyd y Vorle, in English Melverley, a ford upon the Vyrnwy, not far from the spot where that river falls into the Severn. We find accordingly that, taking Aberceirawc as the centre of operations, Madawc caused the search for his brother to be made a considerable way to the south, and as far to the north as his dominion extended. It is said also that some of the men that were on this quest, went as far as Nilly- stan Trevan, which may possibly be Halistan Trevan, now called Halston, near Whittington, the " Tre wen (or white town) ym mron y coed " of Llywarch Hen. Haliston was a sanctuary from time immemorial ; if Iorwerth was a fugitive, he might have sought it as a place of refuge.

The river Vyrnwy, " the forkt Vurnway " of Drayton, is too well known to need description ; but as its name occurs in the text, it may be permitted to remark, that whenever the bards have occasion to mention it, they do so in a spirit of affection which its beauty could not fail to inspire.

Now one of the men who was upon this quest was called Rhonabwy. And Rhonabwy and Kynwrig Vrychgoch, a man of Mawddwy, and Cadwgan Vras, a man of Moelvre in Kynlleith, came together to the house of Heilyn Goch the son of Cadwgan the son of Iddon. And when they came near to the house, they saw an old hall, very black and having an upright gable, whence issued a great smoke; and on entering, they found the floor full of puddles and mounds; and it was difficult to stand thereon, so slippery was it with the mire of cattle. And where the puddles were, a man might go up to his ankles in water and dirt. And there were boughs of holly spread over the floor, whereof the cattle had browsed the sprigs. When they came to the hall of the house, they beheld cells full of dust, and very gloomy, and on one side an old hag making a fire. And whenever she felt cold, she cast a lapful of chaff upon the fire, and raised such a smoke, that it was scarcely to be borne, as it rose up the nostrils. And on the other side was a yellow calf-skin on the floor; a main privilege was it to any one who should get upon that hide.

Kynwrig Vrychgoch, a Man of Mawddwy Mawddwy was one of the western ^districts of ancient Powys ; it now forms, in conjunction with Talybont, one of the hundreds of Merionethshire. This district includes the wild range of mountains of which Aran Fawddwy is the chief, and was in former times notorious for the wild and lawless character of its inhabitnts, too well known by the appellation of the Gwylliaid Cochion Maawddwy, the red-headed robbers of Mawddwy. The desperate deeds of these men were the terror of all the surrounding country, on which they levied a species of black-mail ; and to such an extent did they carry their violence at last, that it was found necessary in 1554 to issue a commission against them, under which about a hundred of their number were hanged. Some of their kinsmen soon after revenged them by the murder of Baron Owen, of Hengwrt, the chief of the commission, whom they waylaid at Llidiart y Barwn, on his journey to the assizes at Welshpool. After this, vigorous means were taken for their extirpation, and they gradually disappeared. — See Cambro- Briton, I. 184.

Iorwerth Goch, the Iorwerth of the present Mabinogi, had a son named Madawc Goch of Mawddwy, of whom the following notice occurs in a MS. Book of Pedigrees, collected by J. G., Esq., in 1697. " One Llywarch ab Cadfan, an opponent of Prince Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, was slain by this Madog Goch of Mawddwy ; and in reward the Prince gave him the lands of Llywarch and his Arms, which were, Argent, a Chevron party per pale Gules and Or, inter 3 Eagles sable, their heads and one leg grey, trippant, standing on the sable leg : 3 trefoils argent over each head." A singular piece of heraldry.

It is not impossible that Kynwrig's designation of Vrychgoch may have been given in allusion to the characteristic complexion of the men of Mawddwy.

Cadwgan Vras, a man of Moelvre in Kynlleith Kynlleith is a division of the hundred of Chirk in Denbighshire, and takes its name from the river Kynlleith. One of the most remarkable natural features of this district is the isolated mountain Moelvre, the summit of which, called Cyrn y Moelvre, is more than seventeen hundred feet above the level of the sea, and rises precipi- tously from Llyn Moelvre, a lake about a mile in circumference, situate on the western side of the mountain. One of the descendants of Madawc ab Maredudd erected a residence at a place called Moeliwrch, at a considerable elevation on the southern side of Moelvre ; it continued for many centuries in the possession of his family.

Kynlleith is noticed in Cynddelw's Marwnad Fadawg fab Maredudd.— Myv. Arch. I. 213.

And when they had sat down, they asked the hag where were the people of the house. And the hag spoke not, but muttered. Thereupon behold the people of the house entered; a ruddy, clownish, curly-headed man, with a burthen of faggots on his back, and a pale slender woman, also carrying a bundle under her arm. And they barely welcomed the men, and kindled a fire with the boughs. And the woman cooked something, and gave them to eat, barley bread, and cheese, and milk and water.

And there arose a storm of wind and rain, so that it was hardly possible to go forth with safety. And being weary with their journey, they laid themselves down and sought to sleep. And when they looked at the couch, it seemed to be made but of a little coarse straw full of dust and vermin, with the stems of boughs sticking up there-through, for the cattle had eaten all the straw that was placed at the head and the foot. And upon it was stretched an old russet- coloured rug, threadbare and ragged; and a coarse sheet, full of slits, was upon the rug, and an ill-stuffed pillow, and a worn-out cover upon the sheet. And after much suffering from the vermin, and from the discomfort of their couch, a heavy sleep fell on Rhonabwy's companions. But Rhonabwy, not being able either to sleep or to rest, thought he should suffer less if he went to lie upon the yellow calf- skin that was stretched out on the floor. And there he slept.

As soon as sleep had come upon his eyes, it seemed to him that he was journeying with his companions across the plain of Argyngroeg, and he thought that he went towards Rhyd y Groes on the Severn. As he journeyed, he heard a mighty noise, the like whereof heard he never before; and looking behind him, he beheld a youth with yellow curling hair, and with his beard newly trimmed, mounted on a chestnut horse, whereof the legs were grey from the top of the forelegs, and from the bend of the hindlegs downwards. And the rider wore a coat of yellow satin sewn with green silk, and on his thigh was a gold-hilted sword, with a scabbard of new leather of Cordova, belted with the skin of the deer, and clasped with gold. And over this was a scarf of yellow satin wrought with green silk, the borders whereof were likewise green. And the green of the caparison of the horse, and of his rider, was as green as the leaves of the fir-tree, and the yellow was as yellow as the blossom of the broom. So fierce was the aspect of the knight, that fear seized upon them, and they began to flee. And the knight pursued them. And when the horse breathed forth, the men became distant from him, and when he drew in his breath, they were drawn near to him, even to the horse's chest.

And when he had overtaken them, they besought his mercy. "You have it gladly," said he, "fear nought." "Ha, chieftain, since thou hast mercy upon me, tell me also who thou art," said Rhonabwy. "I will not conceal my lineage from thee, I am Iddawc the son of Mynyo, yet not by my name, but by my nickname am I best known." "And wilt thou tell us what thy nickname is?"

"I will tell you; it is Iddawc Cordd Prydain." "Ha, chieftain," said Rhonabwy, "why art thou called thus?" "I will tell thee. I was one of the messengers between Arthur and Medrawd his nephew, at the battle of Camlan; and I was then a reckless youth, and through my desire for battle, I kindled strife between them, and stirred up wrath, when I was sent by Arthur the Emperor to reason with Medrawd, and to show him, that he was his foster-father and his uncle, and to seek for peace, lest the sons of the Kings of the Island of Britain, and of the nobles, should be slain. And whereas Arthur charged me with the fairest sayings he could think of, I uttered unto Medrawd the harshest I could devise. And therefore am I called Iddawc Cordd Prydain, for from this did the battle of Camlan ensue. And three nights before the end of the battle of Camlan I left them, and went to the Llech Las in North Britain to do penance. And there I remained doing penance seven years, and after that I gained pardon."

Argyngroeg A district on the left bank of the Severn close to the town of Welshpool now divided into two townships Gungrog-fawr and Gungrog-fechan in thr parishes of Pool and Guilsfield respectively.
In following Rhonabwy on his visionary journey, it maybe allow- able to suppose him crossing the Vyrnwy at Rhyd y Vorle (Melverley), and then pursuing his course through the Deuddwr, between that river and the Severn, till we come to the plains of Argyngroeg. The district traversed is remarkably fertile. The Cambrian pedestrian, David Thomas, in his metrical description of the Thirteen Counties of Wales, sang its praise about the year 1720. After naming two places excelling in luxuriance, he exclaims "Dau le hyfryd," but above all, the " Dolydd Hafren." Upon the Dolydd Havren it was that Gwalchmai composed his " Gorhoffet," in the twelfth century, while he and his troop of North- Wal Hans were guarding the opposite fords of the Severn against the progress of the English invaders. — Myv. Arch. I. 193.

That portion of the vale that bears the name of Argyngroeg, modernized into Cyngrog, and to which this narrative more particu- larly relates, consists of two townships, distinguished as Cyngrog vawr, and Cyngrog vach, the former in the parish of Pool, the latter in that of Guilsfield, and both side by side stretching to the Severn. When the Irish and other freebooters were expelled in the fourth century by the family of Cunedda Wledig, his son Rhuvon had a great part of Denbighshire awarded him as his portion, which from him was called Rhuvoniog, a name it retains to the present day. In like manner, it is not improbable that Cyngar one of Cunedda's descendants had a portion allotted to him at this place, which by adding the usual termination og to his name would be called Cyngarog, and abbreviated into Cyngrog. The names of Morganwg and Brycheiniog, from Morgan and Brychan, are of similar origin. In Cyngrog vawr lies the site of the Cistercian Abbey of Ystrad Marchell (Strata Marcella), Alba Domus de Marcella, or Street Marshall Abbey, as it is vulgarly called. Having probably been built of wood, no traces of it now remain. The house and farm bearing the name of "The Abbey" belong to the Earl of Powis. The Abbey was founded and well endowed by Owain Cyveiliog, Prince of Powys upper, who, besides much of the upland and sheep pastures of Cyveiliog, and even of Arwystli, granted to its inmates half the fish caught in th j river Dyvi. The monks of Marcella were reduced by decimation under Edward I. and finally expelled by Henry VIII.

From Cyngrog, following the Vale of the Severn, we arrive at the tributary stream of the Rhiw, whose Aber, or confluence with the main stream, gives name by an ordinary abbreviation to the church and village of Berriew ; and a little lower down occurs " Rhyd-y-Groes ar Havren," "The Cross, or Ford upon the Severn."

The Ford still remains, but has been from time immemorial con- verted into a ferry. At this point was carried on the chief commu- nication between western Montgomeryshire, and the adjacent dis- trict of Merioneth towards Shrewsbury. Here also are traces of a second way leading westward towards the Gaer, an evident Roman encampment. The intersection of these two roads appears to have occurred at no great distance from the ford, which doubtless derived its distinctive appellation of Y Groes, either from this circumstance, or from the Rood or Cross often set up both in crossways and upon the margins of fords.

The name Rhyd y Groes, no longer borne by the ford or ferry, is now preserved in that of a farm about two miles and a half distant, in the parish of Fordun near Montgomery, the property of Mr. Price, of Gunley,

Upon the farm itself no remains have been discovered, but several tumuli are found in its neighbourhood, the principal of which, "Hen Domen " (formerly Tre* Baldwyn), is of considerable size. There are also British encampments in the adjacent parishes of Churchstoke and Cher bury. 1

Rhyd y Groes is mentioned in the Welsh Chronicles, as the scene of several conflicts between the Welsh and the Saxons ; in allusion to which are those lines of Drayton,

" Here could I else recount the slaughter'd Saxon's gore, Our swords at Crossford spilt on Severn's wand'ring shore."

Song ix. Lines in which Drayton may probably have had in mind the victory won over the Saxons, in the early part of the eleventh century, by Gruflydd ab Llewelyn, called by way of eminence, lt Y tywysog dewr."

The Ford near Montgomery was named as the place of meeting between Prince Llewelyn ab Gruflydd, and the commissioners of Edward I.

Camlan The battle of Camlan was the last of Arthur's battles, and that in which he lost his life. His opponents were headed by Medrawd, his nephew, the son of his sister Anna and Llew ap Cynvarch. The Triads (Myv. Arch. II. p. 4) .assign two different causes for this battle. The one, the blow given by Gwenhwyvar, Arthur's wife, to Gwenhwyvach ; the other, the blow given to Medrawd by Arthur himself. The events immediately preceding it, together with the account of the battle itself as related in the Triads, and by Grunydd ab Arthur, are briefly as follows.

Lies, emperor of Rome, demanded from Arthur the tribute that his ancestors had paid, from the time of Caswallawn the son of Beli to that of Cystennin, Arthur's grandsire. The Roman Ambassadors proceeded to Caerlleon upon Usk, when Arthur not only denied their claim, but on the ground of the British origin of Bran and Con- stantine, both Roman emperors, determined by a counterclaim to retaliate. Medrawd was appointed Regent of the kingdom, whilst Arthur and his Britons crossed the sea, and fought a battle in the Cisalpine territory, in which the Roman emperor was slain, and both parties sustained severe loss. The result of this encounter encouraged Medrawd to attempt his uncle's throne. He seized upon the royal residence of Gelliwig, dragged the queen Gwenhwyvar from her throne (or, according to some versions, appropriated her as his wife), and, strengthening himself by making treaties with the Saxons, Scots, and Picts, collected a force of eighty thousand men to oppose his uncle's landing. Arthur, however, disembarked at Port Hamwnt, and put his rebellious nephew to flight after a hard fought engagement. Medrawd retreated to Winchester, whither Arthur, after remaining three days on the field of battle to bury the dead, followed him, and gained a second victory ; upon this Medrawd fled into Cornwall, but was overtaken on the banks of the Camlan, supposed to be the river Camel, in that county. The celebrated battle of Camlan ensued. Arthur there gained the victory, but received a mortal wound at the hand of Medrawd, whom, however, he slew upon the field ; he did not himself die on the spot, but was conveyed to Avallach or Avalon, and the crown descended to Cystennin the son of Kadwr, his kinsman. A mystery hangs over the final fate of Arthur.

One of the Triads ( admits that Arthur died, and was buried at Avalon, now Glastonbury, in Somersetshire, where we learn from other authorities that Henry the II. many years afterwards discovered what were said to be his remains, with the inscription,
" Hicjacet Arthurus, rex quondam rexquefuturus"
Giraldus Cambrensis, who says he saw the inscription, gives it thus : " Hie jacet sepultus inclytus Rex Arthurus in insula Avallonia."
(It may be here permitted to quote old Lydgate's verses upon Arthur's disappearance and expected return: — " He is a King crouned in Fairie, With scepter and sword and with his regally Shall resort as Lord and Soveraigne Out of Fairie and reigne in Bntaine ; And repaire again the Round Table. By prophesy Merlin set the date, Among Princes King incomparable, His seate againe to Caerhon to translate, The Parchas sustren sponne so his fate, His Epitaph recordeth so certaine Here lieth K. Arthur that shall raigne againe." ) They were also visited, and a second time disinterred, by Edward I. and his queen. Medrawd, notwithstanding the treachery with which his career ended, had always been considered a valiant warrior, and in the Triad 118 he is styled one of the three kingly knights of Arthur's Court, to whom no one could deny any thing by reason of their courtliness. The peculiar qualities to which his persuasive powers were due, were calmness, mildness, and purity.

Then lo! they heard a mighty sound which was much louder than that which they had heard before, and when they looked round towards the sound, they beheld a ruddy youth, without beard or whiskers, noble of mien, and mounted on a stately courser. And from the shoulders and the front of the knees downwards the horse was bay. And upon the man was a dress of red satin wrought with yellow silk, and yellow were the borders of his scarf. And such parts of his apparel and of the trappings of his horse as were yellow, as yellow were they as the blossom of the broom, and such as were red, were as ruddy as the ruddiest blood in the world.

Then, behold the horseman overtook them, and he asked of Iddawc a share of the little men that were with him. "That which is fitting for me to grant I will grant, and thou shalt be a companion to them as I have been." And the horseman went away. "Iddawc," inquired Rhonabwy, "who was that horseman?" "Rhuvawn Pebyr the son of Prince Deorthach."

And they journeyed over the plain of Argyngroeg as far as the ford of Rhyd y Groes on the Severn. And for a mile around the ford on both sides of the road, they saw tents and encampments, and there was the clamour of a mighty host. And they came to the edge of the ford, and there they beheld Arthur sitting on a flat island below the ford, having Bedwini the Bishop (see St Edeyrn further down) one side of him, and Gwarthegyd the son of Kaw on the other. And a tall, auburn-haired youth stood before him, with his sheathed sword in his hand, and clad in a coat and cap of jet-black satin. And his face was white as ivory, and his eyebrows black as jet, and such part of his wrist as could be seen between his glove and his sleeve, was whiter than the lily, and thicker than a warrior's ankle.

Rhyd y Groes near Welshpool is the site of at least two major battles, but it is the the part of the Severn that is of interest when compared to Culhwch and Olwen where the battle is in the Severn Estuary.
Gwarthegyd the son of Kaw(my entry)
Kaw is a fake name added to pedegree of Geraint to account for the ravagings of Kaw, the Pixtish pirate. The first part is Guoruan/Gwrwan/Gwarw who is known as Winwaloe from the Llandaff Charter made by Arthur's son Noe: [9 - 50v] Penn Alun. (Note the human chain miracle in the Life of the saint he performed that was clearly related to the support of Arthur during the "bore" of the Severn in the defeat of the Gewessei.) Strangely, he is killed by the Twrch Trwyth in Culhwch and Olwen prior to his appearance here, but these resurrections happen many times in the story.

Then came Iddawc and they that were with him, and stood before Arthur and saluted him. "Heaven grant thee good," said Arthur. "And where, Iddawc, didst thou find these little men?" "I found them, lord, up yonder on the road." Then the Emperor smiled. "Lord," said Iddawc, "wherefore dost thou laugh?" "Iddawc," replied Arthur, "I laugh not; but it pitieth me that men of such stature as these should have this island in their keeping, after the men that guarded it of yore." Then said Iddawc, "Rhonabwy, dost thou see the ring with a stone set in it, that is upon the Emperor's hand?" "I see it," he answered. "It is one of the properties of that stone to enable thee to remember that thou seest here to-night, and hadst thou not seen the stone, thou wouldest never have been able to remember aught thereof."

After this they saw a troop coming towards the ford. "Iddawc," inquired Rhonabwy, "to whom does yonder troop belong?" "They are the fellows of Rhuvawn Pebyr the son of Prince Deorthach. And these men are honourably served with mead and bragget, and are freely beloved by the daughters of the kings of the Island of Britain. And this they merit, for they were ever in the front and the rear in every peril." And he saw but one hue upon the men and the horses of this troop, for they were all as red as blood. And when one of the knights rode forth from the troop, he looked like a pillar of fire glancing athwart the sky. And this troop encamped above the ford.

Then they beheld another troop coming towards the ford, and these from their horses' chests upwards were whiter than the lily, and below blacker than jet. And they saw one of these knights go before the rest, and spur his horse into the ford in such a manner that the water dashed over Arthur and the Bishop, and those holding counsel with them, so that they were as wet as if they had been drenched in the river. And as he turned the head of his horse, the youth who stood before Arthur struck the horse over the nostrils with his sheathed sword, so that, had it been with the bare blade, it would have been a marvel if the bone had not been wounded as well as the flesh. And the knight drew his sword half out of the scabbard, and asked of him, "Wherefore didst thou strike my horse? Whether was it in insult or in counsel unto me?" "Thou dost indeed lack counsel. What madness caused thee to ride so furiously as to dash the water of the ford over Arthur, and the consecrated Bishop, and their counsellors, so that they were as wet as if they had been dragged out of the river?" "As counsel then will I take it." So he turned his horse's head round towards his army.

"Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, "who was yonder knight?" "The most eloquent and the wisest youth that is in this island; Adaon, the son of Taliesin." "Who was the man that struck his horse?" "A youth of froward nature; Elphin, the son of Gwyddno."

Iddawc Cordd Prydain The treachery of Iddawc or Eiddilig Cordd Prydain, (possibly Gordd Prydain, hammer of Britain) is the subject of more than one of the Triads (20, 22, 50, 90, 78) where he is said to have betrayed Arthur by divulging his plans. The meeting between him and Medrawd, with their men at Nanhwynain before the battle of Camlan, is spoken of as one of the three traitorous meetings of the Island, for there they plotted the betrayal of Arthur, which occasioned the strength of the Saxons. In another place their ascendancy is attri- buted to Iddawc's magical arts, which there were not warriors in the Island capable of withstanding, so that the Saxons prevailed. This magic, for which he is also greatly celebrated, was taught him by Rhuddlwm Gawr.

The Triad which ranks Iddawc Cordd Prydain amongst the enchanters is prettily versified by Davydd ap Gwilym, (Davydd ab Gwilym s Poems, Cyffelybiad rhwng Morfudd a'r Delyn) who speaks of him as an Irishman.

Iddawc was also, with Trystan and Gweirwerydd Vawr, one of the three stubborn ones, whom none could divert from their purpose ; he is supposed to have afterwards embraced a religious life, probably when he did penance at Llechlas (possibly Glasgow), in North Britain, as mentioned in the Tale. His name is found in the Cata- logue of the Welsh Saints. Professor Rees, however, considers this an error for Iddew ab Cawrda ab Caradawc Vreichvras, arising from the similarity of their names. (Welsh Saints, p. 28a )

Elphin
Elphin was the son of Gwyddno Garanhir, the unfortunate king whose possessions were submerged through the intemperance of Seithenin, the person employed to attend to the sea-banks. Some further particulars concerning him will be mentioned in a subsequent Mabinogi.

Then spake a tall and stately man, of noble and flowing speech, saying that it was a marvel that so vast a host should be assembled in so narrow a space, and that it was a still greater marvel that those should be there at that time who had promised to be by mid-day in the battle of Badon, fighting with Osla Gyllellvawr. "Whether thou mayest choose to proceed or not, I will proceed." "Thou sayest well," said Arthur, "and we will go altogether." "Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, "who was the man who spoke so marvellously unto Arthur erewhile?" "A man who may speak as boldly as he listeth, Caradawc Vreichvras, the son of Llyr Marini, his chief counsellor and his cousin."

Battle of Badon
The battle of Badon or Badon Mount, was one of the later, — Nennius says the twelfth, — and most successful of the battles fought by Arthur and the British elders, against the Saxons under Cerdic. The Britons not only gained the victory, but were by it enabled for some time to hold the Saxons in check.

The date of the battle has been the subject of dispute. From the persons engaged in it, it must be placed in the sixth century. A passage in the Red Book of Hergest, fixes its chronology 128 years after the age of Vortigern. The later Gildas, named Badonicus, from his birth having taken place in the year of the battle, has leit a passage on the subject, which Bede appears to have misinterpreted^ and from which Mr. Stevenson, the last editor of Gildas, places the birth of his author, and therefore the date of the battle, in the year 520.

The site of this conflict is also doubtful. Usher, following Cam- den, fixes it at Bath, and Camden, led probably by the similarity of names, gives his opinion in favour of Banner Down, near that city, upon which, in common, however, with most of the neighbouring heights, are remains of entrenchments more or less perfect. Carte prefers what he calls Mount Badon, in Berkshire. It is remarkable that the latter Gildas speaks of the battle as "obsessio," a siege. He also places " Mons Badonicus " near to the mouth of the Severn " prope Sabrinae ostium "; but this latter passage has been considered an interpolation. Mr. Freeman, whose historical and antiquarian learning entitles his opinion to respect, suggests that Badon may be identical with Badbury Rings, near Wim borne in Dorsetshire.

To quote more poetical authority, the feats performed by the hero Arthur, at the battle of Badon Mount, are thus prettily celebrated in Drayton's verse.
" They sung how he himself at Badon bore that day, When at the glorious gole his British scepter lay ; Two daies together how the battel stronglie stood : Pendragon's worthie son, who waded there in blood, Three hundred Saxons slew with his owne valiant hand."
Song iv.
Cynddelw, and others of the Welsh Bards, speak of this fight with becoming admiration.

Osla Gyllellvawr
Ossa, or Osla, Gyllellvawr has already appeared in the Mabinogi of Kilhwch, pp. 103 and 133, where his prowess in the hunt of the Twrch Trwyth, occasioned the loss of his marvellous knife. From his name, and from the part assigned to him in this Tale, he was probably a Saxon ; the Ossa, it may be, of Nennius's genealogies. This conjecture is strengthened by the epithet " Cyllellvawr " ; the great or long knife, being in some measure associated with the Saxon name, owing to the massacre of Stonehenge, commonly called the " Treachery of the Long Knives," " Brad y Cyllyll hirion." 1 Hen- gist on that occasion is said to have invited the British Chieftains to a banquet and conference at Ambresbury, when beside each was placed a Saxon, who, at a signal agreed upon, drew forth his long knife, and suddenly fell upon his neighbour. This scheme was so effectually executed that four hundred and sixty of the British nobles are supposed to have been slaughtered. They did not, indeed, fall wholly unavenged ; some defended themselves valiantly, and killed many of the Saxons with the stones that lay around. Eidiol, 2 earl of Gloucester, who was fortunate enough to escape the general car- nage, slew seventy Saxons with his own hand ; the Triads say six hundred and sixty. The circle of Stonehenge is said, though with small semblance of probability, to have been erected by the Britons as a monument of this massacre upon the spot on which it occurred.

Caradawc Vreichvras
Caradawc, like Trystan, and many other heroes whose names occur in the Mabinogion, was celebrated both in Welsh and Norman story. He was a son of Llyr Merini, a prince of Cornwall, and himself chief elder of Gelliwig, 8 the royal residence in that part of the Island.

1 Triad ao.— Gruffydd ab Arthur. Myv. Arch. II. 254. 8 Eidiol is associated for his strength with Gwrnerth Ergydlym, who slew the largest bear that ever was seen, with an arrow of straw ; and Gwgan Law- gadarn, who rolled the stone of Maenarch from the valley to the top of the hill, which not less than thirty oxen could have drawn. — Tr. 60.

* Triad 64. His mother was Gwen, grand-daughter ot Brychan, through whose right he is supposed to have become ruler of the district of Brychei- niog. (Jones's History of Brecknockshire, I. p. 53. 2 Triad 29.) According to the Triads, he was one of the battle knights of Britain, 3 and in an Englyn attributed to Arthur himself, he is styled " Caradawc pillar of the Cymry."

His prowess at the battle of Cattraeth, is also sung in the verse of his contemporary Aneurin, 8 who calls several of his fellow-warriors in evidence of his assertion.

" When Caradawc rushed into battle, It was like the tearing onset of the woodland boar, The bull of combat in the field of slaughter, He attracted the wild dogs by the action of his hand. My witnesses are Owain the son of Eulat, And Gwrien, and Gwynn, and Gwriat. From Cattraeth and its carnage, From the hostile encounter, After the clear bright mead was served, He saw no more the dwelling of his father."

From the latter part of this passage, it appears that Caradawc fell in this battle, and the same is again repeated a few lines further on in the passage quoted in the notes to Peredur ab Evrawc.

Several Welsh families trace their pedigree to Caradawc.

Caradawc's horse Lluagor is recorded as one of the three battle horses of the Island. 4

Tegau Eurvron, the beautiful wife of Caradawc, was no less renowned for her virtue than for her charms. In the Triads she is spoken of as one of the three fair ladies, and one of the three chaste damsels of Arthur's Court. (Myv. Arch. I. p. 5. * Trioedd y Meirch, Myv. Arch. II. p. 20. ) She possessed three precious things of which she alone was worthy ; her mantle, her goblet cf gold, and her knife. She is frequently alluded to by the bards.

In Anglo-Norman Romance, Caradawc's cognomen of Vreichvras " with the brawny arm," becomes " Brise Bras and he himself takes his place as a principal hero of the Round Table. His wife preserves her British character and attributes under a Norman garb, and is well known as "faithful among the faithless" of Arthurs Court, the heroine of the mantle, "over her decent shoulders drawn." Sir Caradawc's well-founded confidence in his wife's virtue, enabled him to empty the marvellous Horn, and carve the tough Boar's Head, adventures in which his compeers failed. In token of the latter of them, the Boar's head, in some form or other, appears as the armorial bearing of all of his name.

The Trouveres have a pretty story (Triads 103, 108. • See Metrical and Prose versions of Perceval le Gallois. ) in reference to the appellation of Brise Bras which they rendered the "wasted arm." They tell of an enchanter who fixed a serpent upon Caradawc's arm, from whose wasting tooth he could never be relieved, until she whom he loved best should consent to undergo the torture in his stead. His betrothed on learning this, was not to be deterred from giving him this proof of her devotion. As, however, the serpent was in the act of springing from the wasted arm of the knight to the fair neck of the lady, her brother, Kadwr, earl of Cornwall, struck off its head with his sword, and thus dispelled the enchantment. Caradawc's arm, however, never recovered its prestine strength and size, and hence, according to some authorities, the name of Brise Bras.

In the life of St. Collen, two persons of the name are mentioned, one of whom was the ancestor of St. Collen himself, and was called Vreichvras, because he broke his arm in the battle of Hiraddig, from which injury that arm became larger than the other. He is expressly distinguished from the other Caradawc Vreichvras the son of Llyr Merini. — See Greal, 337.

Then Iddawc took Rhonabwy behind him on his horse, and that mighty host moved forward, each troop in its order, towards Cevndigoll. And when they came to the middle of the ford of the Severn, Iddawc turned his horse's head, and Rhonabwy looked along the valley of the Severn. And he beheld two fair troops coming towards the ford. One troop there came of brilliant white, whereof every one of the men had a scarf of white satin with jet-black borders. And the knees and the tops of the shoulders of their horses were jet-black, though they were of a pure white in every other part. And their banners were pure white, with black points to them all.

Cevn Digoll
On the eastern boundary of Montgomeryshire, we find situated Cevn Digoll, called also " Hir Vynydd," or the Long Mountain. From its natural position, it seems to have been considered as a military post of some importance, and is celebrated as the scene of several remarkable events. There is a Triad relating to the conflicts that took place between Cadwallawn, and Edwin, King of Northum- bria, on Cevn Digoll, in the early part of the seventh century, and which is said to have occasioned one of the three discolourings of the Severn, when that river was discoloured from its source to its estuary. ( 1 Triad lxxv. )

These engagements are thus alluded to in an Elegy upon Cadwall- awn ab Cadvan. — Myv. Arch. I. 121.
"It was on Cevn Digoll that the Welsh maintained their last struggle against Edward I. when Madawc, the son of Llewellyn ab Gruffydd was defeated and taken prisoner by the Lords Marchers. It was also said that Henry VII. encamped on this mountain, on his march from Wales to Bosworth field. On the summit of Cevn Digoll is a circular encampment, called the Beacon Ring. It is several acres in extent, but there is no water within its limits."

"Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, "who are yonder pure white troop?" "They are the men of Norway Cornwall, and March the son of Meirchion is their prince. And he is cousin unto Arthur." And further on he saw a troop, whereof each man wore garments of jet-black, with borders of pure white to every scarf; and the tops of the shoulders and the knees of their horses were pure white. And their banners were jet- black with pure white at the point of each.

March, the Son of Mbirchion
This prince, whose territory is said to have been in Cornwall, was particularly unfortunate in having such a nephew as Trystan, and such a wife as Essyllt, the Yseult La Belle of the Trouveres.
As a possessor of ships he has been noticed, the Triad which represents him as such being cited at p. 406. His grave is men- tioned by the Englynion y Beddau, Myv. Arch. II. p. 81.
Mine: enemy of Arthur being Marcus Conomorus who moved to Brittanny

"Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, "who are the jet-black troop yonder?" "They are the men of Denmark Brittany, and Edeyrn the son of Nudd is their prince."

St Edeyrn is the same as Bedwin (the flat island in the Severn is called Bedwin Sands) and thus Arthur's royal priest (Triad having with him an escotof Saints (using the color back to indicate that they are men of God (Nudd).
Triad 64 (1) The three tribes of the throne of the Isle of Britain. The first is Caerllion upon Usk; and there Arthur has supreme authority, St. David son of Cunedda Wledig being chief bishop, and Maelgwyn of North Wales being chief elder. Second, Celliwig in Cernyw*, and there Arthur has supreme authority, Bedwini being chief bishop, and Caradawg with the Brawny Arm chief elder. Third, Edinburgh in the North; and there Arthur has supreme authority, Cyndeyrn Garthwys being chief bishop, and Gwrthmwl Wledig chief elder.

And when they had overtaken the host, Arthur and his army of mighty ones dismounted below Caer Badou, and he perceived that he and Iddawc journeyed the same road as Arthur. And after they had dismounted he heard a great tumult and confusion amongst the host, and such as were then at the flanks turned to the centre, and such as had been in the centre moved to the flanks. And then, behold, he saw a knight coming, clad, both he and his horse, in mail, of which the rings were whiter than the whitest lily, and the rivets redder than the ruddiest blood. And he rode amongst the host.

"Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, "will yonder host flee?" "King Arthur never fled, and if this discourse of thine were heard, thou wert a lost man. But as to the knight whom thou seest yonder, it is Kai. The fairest horseman is Kai in all Arthur's Court; and the men who are at the front of the army hasten to the rear to see Kai ride, and the men who are in the centre flee to the side, from the shock of his horse. And this is the cause of the confusion of the host."

Thereupon they heard a call made for Kadwr, Earl of Cornwall, and behold he arose with the sword of Arthur in his hand. And the similitude of two serpents was upon the sword in gold. And when the sword was drawn from its scabbard, it seemed as if two flames of fire burst forth from the jaws of the serpents, and then, so wonderful was the sword, that it was hard for any one to look upon it. And the host became still, and the tumult ceased, and the Earl returned to the tent.

"Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, "who is the man who bore the sword of Arthur?" "Kadwr, the Earl of Cornwall, whose duty it is to arm the King on the days of battle and warfare."

Kadwr, Earl of Cornwall
In the wars of Arthur, as recounted by Gruffydd ab Arthur, Kadwr bore a conspicuous part He shared the dangers of the expedition against the Romans, and was present at the battle in which the emperor of Rome was slain. He assisted at the coronation of his sovereign at Caerlleon upon Usk. Kadwr is mentioned in the Triads as one of the three battle knights, who fled neither for spear, nor arrow, nor sword, and who never shamed their leader in the day of conflict. (1 Myv. Arch. II. p. 80)

His son Cystennin succeeded Arthur in his kingdom. Tegau Eurvron, the virtuous wife of Caradawc Vreichvras, and the heroine of the Mantel mal taill£, appears to have been the sister of Kadwr.

Talieisin alludes to him in his poem entitled the Glaswawd
" He will spare no kindred, Neither cousin nor brother ; At the sound of Kadwr's horn Nine hundred are stunned."
Myv. Arch. I. p. 64.

And they heard a call made for Eirynwych Amheibyn, Arthur's servant, a red, rough, ill-favoured man, having red whiskers with bristly hairs. And behold he came upon a tall red horse with the mane parted on each side, and he brought with him a large and beautiful sumpter pack. And the huge red youth dismounted before Arthur, and he drew a golden chair out of the pack, and a carpet of diapered satin. And he spread the carpet before Arthur, and there was an apple of ruddy gold at each corner thereof, and he placed the chair upon the carpet. And so large was the chair that three armed warriors might have sat therein. Gwenn was the name of the carpet, and it was one of its properties that whoever was upon it no one could see him, and he could see every one. And it would retain no colour but its own.

And Arthur sat within the carpet, and Owain the son of Urien was standing before him. "Owain," said Arthur, "wilt thou play chess?" "I will, Lord," said Owain. And the red youth brought the chess for Arthur and Owain; golden pieces and a board of silver. And they began to play.

And while they were thus, and when they were best amused with their game, behold they saw a white tent with a red canopy, and the figure of a jet-black serpent on the top of the tent, and red glaring venomous eyes in the head of the serpent, and a red flaming tongue. And there came a young page with yellow curling hair, and blue eyes, and a newly-springing beard, wearing a coat and a surcoat of yellow satin, and hose of thin greenish-yellow cloth upon his feet, and over his hose shoes of parti-coloured leather, fastened at the insteps with golden clasps. And he bore a heavy three-edged sword with a golden hilt, in a scabbard of black leather tipped with fine gold. And he came to the place where the Emperor and Owain were playing at chess.


And the youth saluted Owain. And Owain marvelled that the youth should salute him and should not have saluted the Emperor Arthur. And Arthur knew what was in Owain's thought. And he said to Owain, "Marvel not that the youth salutes thee now, for he saluted me erewhile; and it is unto thee that his errand is." Then said the youth unto Owain, "Lord, is it with thy leave that the young pages and attendants of the Emperor harass and torment and worry thy Ravens? And if it be not with thy leave, cause the Emperor to forbid them." "Lord," said Owain, "thou hearest what the youth says; if it seem good to thee, forbid them from my Ravens." "Play thy game," said he. Then the youth returned to the tent.

Ravens
The Ravens of Owain feature in the poem Gododdin as eating the carcasses. (Mine;They are symbolic of death and then the request to limit the death of the enemy is obviously refused: they are the hated swine!.
They alsohave already appeared in the Mabinogi of Iarlles y Ffynawn, where they are said to have been three hundred in number, and to have descended to their master from Cynvarch, his paternal grandsire. It seems from passages in the writings of various bards, that the tradition of this singular army was familiarly current in the middle ages. It is alluded to by Bleddynt Vardd, in an Elegy on Davydd, the son of Gruffydd (and brother to Llewelyn, the last of the Welsh Princes), who was imprisoned and put to death by Edward I. about 1283.
" A man he was with a battered shield and a daring lance, in the field of battle; A man proud to seek the furious trampling ; A man whose warriors were proud of their stately array ; A man of the cleaving stroke and broken spear, loving the fight ; A man who caused the birds to fly upon the hosts [of slain] Like the ravens of Owain eager for prey."
Myv. Arch. I. p. 365.
Lewis Glyn Cothi even mentions the particular staff or shaft, by the uplifting of which the Ravens were inspirited to destroy Arthur's pages and attendants, as related in the text.
" Owain son of Urien overthrew The three towers of Cattraeth of old, Arthur dreaded, as the flames, Owain, his ravens, and his parti-coloured staff." — Works, I. 140.
Another poem of his has also an allusion to the " Vran a'r vaner vraith."— I. 72.

That game did they finish, and another they began, and when they were in the midst of the game, behold, a ruddy young man with auburn curling hair and large eyes, well-grown, and having his beard new- shorn, came forth from a bright yellow tent, upon the summit of which was the figure of a bright red lion. And he was clad in a coat of yellow satin, falling as low as the small of his leg, and embroidered with threads of red silk. And on his feet were hose of fine white buckram, and buskins of black leather were over his hose, whereon were golden clasps. And in his hand a huge, heavy, three-edged sword, with a scabbard of red deer-hide, tipped with gold. And he came to the place where Arthur and Owain were playing at chess. And he saluted him. And Owain was troubled at his salutation, but Arthur minded it no more than before. And the youth said unto Owain, "Is it not against thy will that the attendants of the Emperor harass thy Ravens, killing some and worrying others? If against thy will it be, beseech him to forbid them." "Lord," said Owain, "forbid thy men, if it seem good to thee." "Play thy game," said the Emperor. And the youth returned to the tent.

And that game was ended and another begun. And as they were beginning the first move of the game, they beheld at a small distance from them a tent speckled yellow, the largest ever seen, and the figure of an eagle of gold upon it, and a precious stone on the eagle's head. And coming out of the tent, they saw a youth with thick yellow hair upon his head, fair and comely, and a scarf of blue satin upon him, and a brooch of gold in the scarf upon his right shoulder as large as a warrior's middle finger. And upon his feet were hose of fine Totness, and shoes of parti-coloured leather, clasped with gold, and the youth was of noble bearing, fair of face, with ruddy cheeks and large hawk's eyes. In the hand of the youth was a mighty lance, speckled yellow, with a newly-sharpened head; and upon the lance a banner displayed.

Fiercely angry, and with rapid pace, came the youth to the place where Arthur was playing at chess with Owain. And they perceived that he was wroth. And thereupon he saluted Owain, and told him that his Ravens had been killed, the chief part of them, and that such of them as were not slain were so wounded and bruised that not one of them could raise its wings a single fathom above the earth. "Lord," said Owain, "forbid thy men." "Play," said he, "if it please thee." Then said Owain to the youth, "Go back, and wherever thou findest the strife at the thickest, there lift up the banner, and let come what pleases Heaven."

So the youth returned back to the place where the strife bore hardest upon the Ravens, and he lifted up the banner; and as he did so they all rose up in the air, wrathful and fierce and high of spirit, clapping their wings in the wind, and shaking off the weariness that was upon them. And recovering their energy and courage, furiously and with exultation did they, with one sweep, descend upon the heads of the men, who had erewhile caused them anger and pain and damage, and they seized some by the heads and others by the eyes, and some by the ears, and others by the arms, and carried them up into the air; and in the air there was a mighty tumult with the flapping of the wings of the triumphant Ravens, and with their croaking; and there was another mighty tumult with the groaning of the men, that were being torn and wounded, and some of whom were slain.

And Arthur and Owain marvelled at the tumult as they played at chess; and, looking, they perceived a knight upon a dun-coloured horse coming towards them. And marvellous was the hue of the dun horse. Bright red was his right shoulder, and from the top of his legs to the centre of his hoof was bright yellow. Both the knight and his horse were fully equipped with heavy foreign armour. The clothing of the horse from the front opening upwards was of bright red sendal, and from thence opening downwards was of bright yellow sendal. A large gold-hilted one-edged sword had the youth upon his thigh, in a scabbard of light blue, and tipped with Spanish laton. The belt of the sword was of dark green leather with golden slides and a clasp of ivory upon it, and a buckle of jet-black upon the clasp. A helmet of gold was on the head of the knight, set with precious stones of great virtue, and at the top of the helmet was the image of a flame- coloured leopard with two ruby-red stones in its head, so that it was astounding for a warrior, however stout his heart, to look at the face of the leopard, much more at the face of the knight. He had in his hand a blue-shafted lance, but from the haft to the point it was stained crimson-red with the blood of the Ravens and their plumage.

The knight came to the place where Arthur and Owain were seated at chess. And they perceived that he was harassed and vexed and weary as he came towards them. And the youth saluted Arthur, and told him that the Ravens of Owain were slaying his young men and attendants. And Arthur looked at Owain and said, "Forbid thy Ravens." "Lord," answered Owain, "play thy game." And they played. And the knight returned back towards the strife, and the Ravens were not forbidden any more than before.

And when they had played awhile, they heard a mighty tumult, and a wailing of men, and a croaking of Ravens, as they carried the men in their strength into the air, and, tearing them betwixt them, let them fall piecemeal to the earth. And during the tumult they saw a knight coming towards them, on a light grey horse, and the left foreleg of the horse was jet-black to the centre of his hoof. And the knight and the horse were fully accoutred with huge heavy blue armour. And a robe of honour of yellow diapered satin was upon the knight, and the borders of the robe were blue. And the housings of the horse were jet-black, with borders of bright yellow. And on the thigh of the youth was a sword, long, and three-edged, and heavy. And the scabbard was of red cut leather, and the belt of new red deer-skin, having upon it many golden slides and a buckle of the bone of the sea-horse, the tongue of which was jet-black. A golden helmet was upon the head of the knight, wherein were set sapphire-stones of great virtue. And at the top of the helmet was the figure of a flame-coloured lion, with a fiery-red tongue, issuing above a foot from his mouth, and with venomous eyes, crimson-red, in his head. And the knight came, bearing in his hand a thick ashen lance, the head whereof, which had been newly steeped in blood, was overlaid with silver.

Overlaid with fine Silver
The words in the original are " Gwedy latteinu ac aryant coeth," being lattened over with refined silver. Latten, or laton, was a mixed metal of the colour of brass, and was much employed in the fourteenth century for monumental effigies. For this and many other purposes it was prepared in the form of plate, and hence its name seems occasionally to have been used to express a plate or coating of metal generally, as in this particular instance of silver. It may be remarked, that the term "latten'* is still technically applied to the thinnest manufactured iron plate. And the youth saluted the Emperor: "Lord," said he, "carest thou not for the slaying of thy pages, and thy young men, and the sons of the nobles of the Island of Britain, whereby it will be difficult to defend this island from henceforward for ever?" "Owain," said Arthur, "forbid thy Ravens." "Play this game, Lord," said Owain.

So they finished the game and began another; and as they were finishing that game, lo, they heard a great tumult and a clamour of armed men, and a croaking of Ravens, and a flapping of wings in the air, as they flung down the armour entire to the ground, and the men and the horses piecemeal. Then they saw coming a knight on a lofty- headed piebald horse. And the left shoulder of the horse was of bright red, and its right leg from the chest to the hollow of the hoof was pure white. And the knight and horse were equipped with arms of speckled yellow, variegated with Spanish laton. And there was a robe of honour upon him, and upon his horse, divided in two parts, white and black, and the borders of the robe of honour were of golden purple. And above the robe he wore a sword three-edged and bright, with a golden hilt. And the belt of the sword was of yellow goldwork, having a clasp upon it of the eyelid of a black sea-horse, and a tongue of yellow gold to the clasp. Upon the head of the knight was a bright helmet of yellow laton, with sparkling stones of crystal in it, and at the crest of the helmet was the figure of a griffin, with a stone of many virtues in its head. And he had an ashen spear in his hand, with a round shaft, coloured with azure blue. And the head of the spear was newly stained with blood, and was overlaid with fine silver.

Wrathfully came the knight to the place where Arthur was, and he told him that the Ravens had slain his household and the sons of the chief men of this island, and he besought him to cause Owain to forbid his Ravens. And Arthur besought Owain to forbid them. Then Arthur took the golden chessmen that were upon the board, and crushed them until they became as dust. Then Owain ordered Gwres the son of Rheged to lower his banner. So it was lowered, and all was peace.

Then Rhonabwy inquired of Iddawc who were the first three men that came to Owain, to tell him his Ravens were being slain. Said Iddawc, "They were men who grieved that Owain should suffer loss, his fellow- chieftains and companions, Selyv the son of Kynan Garwyn of Powys, and Gwgawn Gleddyvrudd, and Gwres the son of Rheged, he who bears the banner in the day of battle and strife." "Who," said Rhonabwy, "were the last three men who came to Arthur, and told him that the Ravens were slaughtering his men?" "The best of men," said Iddawc, "and the bravest, and who would grieve exceedingly that Arthur should have damage in aught; Blathaon the son of Mawrheth, and Rhuvawn Pebyr the son of Prince Deorthach, and Hyveidd Unllenn."

Selyv the Son of Kynan Garwyn
. He has been already noticed as one of the " grave-slaughtering n warriors of the Island of Britain, who avenged their wrongs from their sepulchres. A satire upon his father, Kynan Garwyn, is printed in the Myvyrian Archaiology, I. p, 168, among the Poems of Taliesin, to whom it is assigned.

Gwgawn Gleddyvrud
We find the name of this chieftain twice occurring in the Triads. He is first noticed as one of the three stayers of slaughter ( The others were Morvran eil Tegid, and Gilbert mab Cadgyffro.— Tr. xxut 1
Commonly called Pryd/dd y Moch. r> Commonly called Pryd/dd y Moch. (ysgym- mydd aereu), and afterwards, as one of the sentinels in the battle of Bangor Orchard. — Tr. lxvi.
His grave is alluded to in the Engl yn ion y Beddau. The passage has been already quoted (p. 354).
The name of his horse, which was Buchestom, is preserved in the Trioedd y Meirch.

And with that behold four-and-twenty knights came from Osla Gyllellvawr, to crave a truce of Arthur for a fortnight and a month. And Arthur rose and went to take counsel. And he came to where a tall, auburn, curly-headed man was a little way off, and there he assembled his counsellors. Bedwini, the Bishop, and Gwarthegyd the son of Kaw, and March the son of Meirchawn, and Caradawc Vreichvras, and Gwalchmai the son of Gwyar, and Edeyrn the son of Nudd, and Rhuvawn Pebyr the son of Prince Deorthach, and Rhiogan the son of the King of Ireland, and Gwenwynwyn the son of Nav, Howel the son of Emyr Llydaw, Gwilym the son of Rhwyf Freinc, and Daned the son of Ath, and Goreu Custennin, and Mabon the son of Modron, and Peredur Paladyr Hir, and Hyveidd Unllenn, and Twrch the son of Perif, and Nerth the son of Kadarn, and Gobrwy the son of Echel Vorddwyttwll, Gwair the son of Gwestyl, and Gadwy the son of Geraint, Trystan the son of Tallwch, Moryen Manawc, Granwen the son of Llyr, and Llacheu the son of Arthur, and Llawvrodedd Varvawc, and Kadwr Earl of Cornwall, Morvran the son of Tegid, and Rhyawd the son of Morgant, and Dyvyr the son of Alun Dyved, Gwrhyr Gwalstawd Ieithoedd, Adaon the son of Taliesin, Llary the son of Kasnar Wledig, and Fflewddur Fflam, and Greidawl Galldovydd, Gilbert the son of Kadgyffro, Menw the son of Teirgwaedd, Gwrthmwl Wledig, Cawrdav the son of Caradawc Vreichvras, Gildas the son of Kaw, Kadyriaith the son of Saidi, and many of the men of Norway and Denmark, and many of the men of Greece, and a crowd of the men of the host came to that council.

Rhiogan
This prince is mentioned in the graves of the warriors.
"Whose is the grave on the banks of the Rhydnant? Khun was his name, of the steady progress, He was a king ; Rhiogan slew him." — My v. Arch. I. p. 82.

Gwair the Son of Gwestyl It would seem that this personage was distinguished as being of a peculiarly dismal disposition, for we find him referred to as such by Llywarch ab Llewelyn( Myv. Arch. II. 8, 10, 20, 8a In some accounts only two of his sons are .said to have been on this expedition, and one of them is called Achlen. Myv. Arch. II. p. x6, 17, 72. 4 lb. I. p. 81. , 8 in an Elegy on Hywel ap Gruffydd, (who died in 1216,) where he tells us, that through grief for his loss, his friends are become like Gwair ab Gwestyl. — Myv. Arch. I. p. 294.
And Einion Wan, in his Elegy on Madawc ab Gruffydd Maelor, a few years later, has the same expression in allusion to Madawc.
" The man who has become like Gwair ab Gwestyl."
Myv. Arch. I. p. 333.
It is not impossible that he is the same person as the Gwevyl mat) Gwestad, of Kilhwch and Olwen, whose melancholy was such that " on the day that he was sad, he would let one of his lips drop below his waist, while he turned up the other like a cap upon his head" (p. 105).
The variation in the names is perhaps not greater than may be accounted for by the errors into which the transcribers of the olden time are well known to have but too frequently fallen.
In one version of the Triads, he is mentioned as one of the three diademed chiefs of the Island, together with Kai, and Try- stan mab Tallwch. (Tr. xxiii. Myv. Arch. II., p. 12. ) But others substitute for his name that of Iluail, the son of Kaw of Cwm Cawlwyd.

Trystan the Son of Tallwch. This personage is better known as the Tristan of Chivalric, and the Sir Tristrem of Metrical Romance, than in his proper character as a chieftain of the sixth century. In the Triads 113, 33, 69, 78, zoa. See also the dialogue between him and: Gwalchmai (p. 375). he is mentioned as one of the three compeers of Arthur's Court, as one of the diademed Princes, as one of the three Heralds, and as one of the three stubborn ones, whom no one could deter from their purpose. His chief celebrity, however, is derived from his unfortunate attachment to Essyllt, the wife of his uncle, March ab Meirchion, which gained him the appellation of one of the three ardent lovers of Britain. It was owing to the circumstance of his having tended his uncle's swine, whilst he despatched iheir usual keeper with a message to this lady,, that he became classed as one of the three swineherds of the Island. There is a further Triad concerning Trystan, in which he is repre- sented as able to transform himself into any shape he pleased. — Myv. Arch. II. p. 80.

Moryen
A warrior whose name repeatedly occurs in the Gododin.

Llacheu the Son of Arthur
Llacheu is mentioned (p. 377) with Gwalchmai, and Rhi- wallon of the broom blossom hair, as one of the learned ones of the Island of Britain, to whom the elements and material essence of every thing were known. He was no less renowned for warlike prowess than for his deep knowledge, and is said to have fallen fight- ing bravely for his country, in the battle of Llongborth, so celebrated in the verse of Lly warch H6n. The death of Llacheu is thus alluded to, in a curious Dialogue between Gwyn ab Nudd and Gwyddno Garanhir. (Myv. Arch. I. p. 166.)
"I know where Llacheu the son of Arthur Renowned in song was slain,

Rhyawd the Son of Morgant
The Triads celebrate him as one of the three irregular Bards of the Island of Britain, the other two being Arthur himself, and Cad- wallawn the son of Cadvan. He also ranked with Trystan, and Dalldav mab Kynin C6v, as one of the three compeers of Arthur's court. Rhuddfrych was the name of his horse. ( Triads lxxxix. 1x3, and Trioedd y Meirch, 5.)

Gilbert the Son op Kadgyffro
Gilbert the son of Kadgyffro, has already been cited (p. 350) with Gwgan Gleddyvrudd and Morvran Eil Tegid, as one of the three stayers of slaughter. His name occurs again in the Trioedd y Meirch (Myv. Arch. II. 8, 10, 20, 8a In some accounts only two of his sons are .said to have been on this expedition, and one of them is called Achlen. ( Myv. Arch. II. p. x6, 17, 72. 4 lb. I. p. 81. ), where his horse is said to have been one of the chief steeds of the Island of Britain, and to have been known by the designation of Rhuddfreon Tuthneidd.

Gwrthmwl Wledig
Gwrthmwl, a prince of North Britain, was the chief elder of Penrhyn Rhionydd, one of the three tribe-thrones or royal cities of the Island. The celebrated St Kentigern was chief Bishop of Penrhyn Rhionydd, during Gwrthmwl's eldership. — Tr. vii. Gwrthmwl's history is brief. It maybe inferred that he was slain by Maelwr of Rhiw or Allt Faelwr, in Cardiganshire, since there are notices in the Triads of his sons, Gwair and Clais, and Arthaual, 9 riding against Maelwr, upon Erch their horse, to avenge their father's fate. It was one of Maelwr's customs never to close his gates against a single horse-load, and thus they gained entrance, and slew him. This was one of the three great horse-loads of the Island of Britain. The first of the three was a burthen of seven persons and a half, borne by Du y Moroedd, the horse of Elidyr Mwynvawr, from Llech Elidyr in the North, to Llech Elidyr in Anglesey. The seven were Elidyr himself, and Eurgain the daughter of Maelgwn Gwynedd, his wife, and Gwynda Gyned, and Gwynda Rheimad, and Mynach Nawmon the counsellor, and Petryleu Venestyr the butler, and Arianvagyl his servant, and Gellfeinesin his jester, who held on with his two hands at the horse's crupper and so was the half person. It does not appear what was the reason of their travelling in so singular a manner. Gwrthmwl Wledig, was also the possessor of one of the spectre bulls of the Island of Britain, or as another version has it, one of the spectre stags ; Carw and Tarw, having been evidently confounded by the copyists. 8 What these sprites were is not explained. According to Beddau y Milwyr, his grave was in the wood of Briavael. (lbid. p. 81) Adaon the Son of Taliesin Adaon or Avaon, son of the chief of the bards, and a bard him- self, was also celebrated for his valour. He was one of those three dauntless chieftains who feared nothing in the day of the battle and strife, but rushed onwards regardless of death. — Tr. 73.

This courage and daring supported him through all the dangers of war. He fell at length by the hand of an assassin, Llawgad Trwm Bargawd or Llawgad Trwm Bargawd Eiddyn, whose name is pre- served only as the perpetrator of this crime. — Tr. 47.

The bold and determined character of Avaon appears to have con- tinued even after death, for there is a Triad (quoted, p. 414) in which Avaon is spoken of as one of the grave-slaughtering ones, so called from their having avenged their wrongs from their graves.

None of his poetry is known to be preserved, except the following which is given in the Englynion y Clyweid. — Myv. Arch. I. 173.

" Hast thou heard what Avaon sang, The son of Taliesin, of the recording verse? The cheek will not conceal the anguish of the heart."

"Iddawc," said Rhonabwy, "who was the auburn haired man to whom they came just now?" "Rhun the son of Maelgwn Gwynedd, a man whose prerogative it is, that he may join in counsel with all." "And wherefore did they admit into counsel with men of such dignity as are yonder a stripling so young as Kadyriaith the son of Saidi?" "Because there is not throughout Britain a man better skilled in counsel than he."

Thereupon, behold, bards came and recited verses before Arthur, and no man understood those verses but Kadyriaith only, save that they were in Arthur's praise.

And lo, there came four-and-twenty asses with their burdens of gold and of silver, and a tired way-worn man with each of them, bringing tribute to Arthur from the Islands of Greece. Then Kadyriaith the son of Saidi besought that a truce might be granted to Osla Gyllellvawr for the space of a fortnight and a month, and that the asses and the burdens they carried might be given to the bards, to be to them as the reward for their stay and that their verse might be recompensed during the time of the truce. And thus it was settled.

"Rhonabwy," said Iddawc, "would it not be wrong to forbid a youth who can give counsel so liberal as this from coming to the councils of his Lord?"

Then Kai arose, and he said, "Whosoever will follow Arthur, let him be with him to-night in Cornwall, and whosoever will not, let him be opposed to Arthur even during the truce." And through the greatness of the tumult that ensued, Rhonabwy awoke. And when he awoke he was upon the yellow calf-skin, having slept three nights and three days.

And this tale is called the Dream of Rhonabwy. And this is the reason that no one knows the dream without a book, neither bard nor gifted seer; because of the various colours that were upon the horses, and the many wondrous colours of the arms and of the panoply, and of the precious scarfs, and of the virtue-bearing stones.



return to main page