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Taliesin's texts in Magus

Updated: Jun 27

Following are Taliesin's texts, as translated by W. F. Skene (1869) and John Gwenogvryn Evans (1915) and adapted by the composer in Magus (2008).

I. The Battle of the Trees

I have been in a multitude of shapes,

Before I assumed a consistent form.

I have been a sword, narrow, variegated,

I will believe when it is apparent.

I have been a tear in the air,

I have been the dullest of stars.

I have been a word among letters,

I have been a book in the origin.

I have been a string in a harp,

Disguised for nine years in water in foam.

II. Song to the Wind

Guess who it is.

Created before the deluge.

A creature strong,

Without flesh, without bone,

Without veins, without blood,

Without head, and without feet.

The student of the stars

Knows their substance.

Marca mercedus

Ola olimus

Luna lafurus

Jubiter venerus

From the sun freely flowing

The moon fetches light.

Remembrance is not in vain,

No cross if not believed.

III. The Fold of the Bards

I am a harmonious one;

I am a clear singer.

I am steel;

I am a druid.

I am a serpent;

I am love.

IV. The Prediction of Kadwaladr

The knight of the swift bay horse

with the double face, creates turmoil:

With treachery afoot a blessing

his death and burial in Snowdonia.

When our warlord comes he will make,

In a mead in Prydein, a chief place.

His manifest life will invigorate morals,

and his confines will be for us an Eden.

There will come, thither,

a Saxon seeking hospitality.

Grief he will know;

from excess of presumption,

he will sin.

The yoking of a wife by a vassal

will renew old hatred.

He will know grief:

from presumption comes contempt;

he commits treason.

Did you see my friend

playing with my spouse?

I saw a slim corpse,

and crows full of activity.

But the catastrophe lacks

the prostrate form

of the swordstroke.

And beyond the banks of...

ac am lan.

V. Juvenile Ornaments of Taliesin

Knowest thou what thou art

When thou art sleeping

Whether a body or a soul,

Or a secrecy of perception?

Knowest thou where should be

The night waiting the passing of the day?

Death having a foundation

in ev’ry country is shared.

Death above our head,

Wide is its cov’ring

High above the canopy of heaven.

Man is oldest when he is born.

And is younger, younger continually.

VI. The Hostile Confederacy

In the deep, below the earth;

In the sky, above the earth.

There is one that knows

What sadness is, better than joy.

How many winds, how many streams,

How many streams, how many winds.

How many rivers in their courses,

How many rivers there are.

The earth, what its breadth;

Or what its thickness.

I know the noise of the blades,

Crimson on all sides, about the floor.

The breath when it is black,

When is best that has been.

A wife when she is lovely,

Milk when it is white,

When are red the hips,

Or a woman when restless,

When the night comes on.

What is the imagination of trees?

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