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BATTLE OF ARGOED LLWYFAIN.
BY WILLIAM WHITEHEAD, ESQ.
[Late Poet-Laureat. )
MORNING rose ; the issuing sun
Saw the dreadful fight begun;
And that sun's descending ray
Clos'd the battle, clos'd the day.
Flamdwyn pour’d his rapid bands,
Legion's four, o’er Reged's lands..
The numerous host, from side to side,
Spread destruction wild and wide,
From Argoed's summits, forest-crown'd,
To steep Arfynydd's utmost bound.
Short their triumph, short their sway,
Born and ended with the day!
Flush'd with conquest Flamdwyn said,
Boastful at his army's head,
“ Strive not to oppose the stream,
Redeem your lands, your lives redeem.
Give me pledges Fflamdwyn cried;
Never, Urien's son replied,
Owen of the mighty stroke;
Kindling, as the hero spoke,
Cenau, Coel's blooming heir,
Caught the flame and grasp'd the spear;
Shall Coel's issue pledges give
To the insulting foe, and live ?
Never such be Britons' shame,
Never, till this mangled frame,
Like some vanquish'd lion, lie
Drench'd in blood, and bleeding die.
“ Day advanc'd : and ere the sun
Reach'd the radiant point of noon,
Urien 'came with fresh supplies :
Rise, ye sons of Cambria, rise,
Spread your banners to the foe,
Spread them on the mountain's brow;
Lift your lances high in air,
Friends and brothers of the war;
Rush like torrents down the steep,
Thro' the vales in myriads sweep;
Fflamdwyn never can sustain
The force of our united train."
Havoc, havoc rag'd around,
Many a carcase strew'd the ground:
Ravens drank the purple flood,
Raven plumes were dyed in blood;
Frighted crowds from place to place,
Eager, hurrying, breathless, pale, Spread the news of their disgrace,
Trembling as they told the tale.
These are Taliessin's rhimes,
These shall live to distant times,
And the Bard's prophetic rage
Animate a future age.
Child of sorrow, child of pain,
Never may I smile again,
If, 'till all-subduing death
Close these eyes, and stop this breath,
Ever I forget to raise
My grateful songs to Urien's praise.
Stately the feast, and high the cheer:
Girt with many an armed peer,
And canopied with golden pall,
Amid CILGARRAN's castle hall,
Sublime in formidable state,
And warlike splendour, Henry sate ;
Prepar'd to stain the briny Alood
Of Shannon's lakes with rebel blood.
Illumining the vaulted roof,
A thousand torches Aam'd aloof:
From massy cups, with golden gleam
Sparkled the red metheglin's stream:
To grace the gorgeous festival,
Along the lofty-window'd hall,
The storied tapestry was hung:
With minstrelsy the rafters rung
Of harps, that with reflected light
From the proud gallery glitter'd bright:
While gifted bards, a rival throng,
(From distant Mona, nurse of song,
From Teivi, fring’d with umbrage brown,
From Elvy's vale, and Cader's crown,
From many a shaggy precipice
That shades Ierne's hoarse abyss,
And many a sunless solitude
Of Radnor's inmost mountains rude,)
To crown the banquet's solemn close,
Themes of British glory chose;
And to the strings of various chime
Attemper'd thus the fabling rhyme.
« O’er Cornwall's cliffs the tempest roar'd,
“ High the screaming sea-mew soard;
« On Tintaggel's topmost tower
“ Darksome fell the sleety shower ;
« Round the rough castle shrilly sung
“ The whirling blast, and wildly Aung
“ On each tall rampart’s thundering side
“ The surges of the tumbling tide:
" When Arthur rang'd his red-cross ranks
« On Conscious Camlan's crimson'd banks :
“ By Mordred's faithless guile decreed
“ Beneath a Saxon spear to bleed!
" Yet in vain a paynim foe
“ Arm'd with fate the mighty blow;
“ For when he fell, an elfin queen,
16 All in secret, and unseen,
« O’er the fainting hero threw
“ Her mantle of ambrosial blue;
“ And bade her spirits bear him far,
“ In Merlin's agate-axled car, Vol. XIII.