Cad Goddeu

an old paper

The Welsh poem Cad Goddeu from the Llyfr Taliesin (Book of Taliesin) dates from the 14th century and is written in Welsh. This means "Battle of the trees" or "Battle of the trees".

The poem tells of the battle between Gwydion with Amaethon and Bran with Arawn, the king of the underworld in Welsh mythology. With the magical animation of the trees to warriors by Gwydion, the "Battle of the Trees" arose, in which Arawn was finally the loser.

There are different versions of the Cad Goddeu and there are also several versions of the translations in circulation. Below one of them.

Cad Goddeu - Battle of the trees

The tops of the beech tree
Have sprouted of late,
Are changed and renewed
From their withered state.

When the beech prospers
Through spells and litanies
The oak tops entangle,
There is hope for the trees.

I have plundered the fern
Through all secrets I spy,
Old Math ap Mathonwy
Knew no more than I.

For with nine sorts of faculty
God has gifted me:
I am the fruit of fruits gathered
From nine sorts of tree.

Plum, quince, whortle, mulberry,
Raspberry, pear,
Black cherry and white
With the sorb in me share.

From my seat at Fefynedd,
A city that strong,
I watched the trees and green things
Hastening alone.

Retreating from happiness
They would fain be set
In the form of the chief letters
Of the alphabet.

Wayfarers wondered,
Warriors were dismayed
At renewal of conflicts
Such as Gwydion made;
Under the tongue root
A fight most dread,
And another raging
Behind in the head.

The alders in the front line
Began the affray.
Willow and rowan tree
Were tardy in array.

The holly, dark green,
Made a resolute stand;
He is armed with many spear points
Wounding the hand.

With foot beat of the swift oak
Heaven and earth rung;
'Stout Guardian of the Door'
His name on every tongue.

Great was the gorse in battle,
And the ivy at his prime;
The hazel was arbiter
At this charmed time.

Uncouth and savage was the fir,
Cruel the ash tree
Turns not aside a foot-breath,
Straight at the heart runs he.

The birch, though very noble,
Armed himself but late:
A sign not of cowardice
But of high estate.

The heath gave consolation
To the toil-spent folk,
The long-enduring poplars
In battle much broke.

Some of them were cast away
On the fields of fight
Because of holes torn in them
By the enemy's might

Very wrathful was the vine
Whose henchmen was the elms;
I exalt him mightily
To ruler of the realms.

Strong chieftains were the blackthorn
With his ill fruit,
The unbeloved whitethorn
Who wears the same suit.

The swift pursuing reed,
The broom with his brood,
The furze but ill behaved
Until he is subdued.

The dower-scattering yew
Stood glum at the fight's fringe,
With the elder slow to burn
Amid fires that singe.

And the blessed wild apple
Laughing in pride
From the Gorchan of Maeldrew
By the rock side.

In shelter linger
Privet and woodbine,
Inexperienced in warfare,
And the courtly pine.

But I, although slighted
Because I was not big,
Fought trees, in your array
On the fields of Goddeu Brig

This page is translated of our german partner-website