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The Mabinogion Vol. 2   By: (1858-1920)

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{The salmon of Llyn Llyw. "And they heard a great wailing and lamenting from the dungeon.": p0.jpg}


In this second volume, as in the first, I have given Lady Charlotte Guest's translation exactly as she wrote it. It would have been easy to make it a more faithful reproduction of the Welsh by occasionally changing a word, or by making a phrase more simple in diction. But the reader would not have forgiven me for placing before him a translation that was not Lady Charlotte Guest's. I have again ventured, however, after a careful comparison of the translation with the original, to put in the form of footnotes a more accurate or more literal rendering of passages which Lady Charlotte Guest did not read aright, passages which she has omitted, and passages the real meaning of which she seems to me to have failed to grasp.

The first two tales in this volume make up, with "The Dream of Rhonabwy," the second volume of the original edition. "The Dream of Rhonabwy" was placed in my first volume, with "The Lady of the Fountain" and "Peredur" the two tales that form the first volume of the original edition. The oldest of the tales the Mabinogion proper will all be included in the third volume.




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Arthur was accustomed to hold his Court at Caerlleon upon Usk. And there he held it seven Easters, {7a} and five Christmases. And once upon a time he held his Court there at Whitsuntide. For Caerlleon was the place most easy of access in his dominions, both by sea and by land. And there were assembled {7b} nine crowned kings, who were his tributaries, and likewise earls and barons. For they were his invited guests at all the high festivals, unless they were prevented by any great hindrance. And when he was at Caerlleon, holding his Court, thirteen churches were set apart for mass. And thus were they appointed: one church for Arthur, and his kings, and his guests; and the second for Gwenhwyvar and her ladies; and the third for the Steward of the Household and the Suitors; and the fourth for the Franks, and the other officers; and the other nine churches were for the nine Masters of the Household, and chiefly for Gwalchmai; for he, from the eminence of his warlike fame, and from the nobleness of his birth, was the most exalted of the nine. And there was no other arrangement respecting the churches than that which we have mentioned above.

Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr was the chief porter; but he did not himself perform the office, except at one of the three high festivals, for he had seven men to serve him; and they divided the year amongst them. They were Grynn, and Pen Pighon, and Llaes Cymyn, and Gogyfwlch, and Gwrdnei with Cat's eyes, who could see as well by night as by day, and Drem the son of Dremhitid, and Clust the son of Clustveinyd; and these were Arthur's guards. And on Whit Tuesday, as the King sat at the banquet, lo! there entered a tall, fair headed youth, clad in a coat and a surcoat of diapred satin, and a golden hilted sword about his neck, and low shoes of leather upon his feet. And he came, and stood before Arthur. "Hail to thee, Lord!" said he. "Heaven prosper thee," he answered, "and be thou welcome. Dost thou bring any new tidings?" "I do, Lord," he said. "I know thee not," said Arthur. "It is a marvel to me that thou dost not know me. I am one of thy foresters, Lord, in the Forest of Dean, and my name is Madawc, the son of Twrgadarn." "Tell me thine errand," said Arthur. "I will do so, Lord," said he. "In the Forest I saw a stag, the like of which beheld I never yet." "What is there about him," asked Arthur, "that thou never yet didst see his like?" "He is of pure white, Lord, and he does not herd with any other animal through stateliness and pride, so royal is his bearing... Continue reading book >>

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