Now, many years and many kings had come and gone. Merlin the {19}
Briton was famous throughout the world as king and prophet. He
was law-giver to the proud South Welsh, and he foretold the future to their leaders.
A time came when it happened that a quarrel arose among
several of the princes of the realm. In a savage war they had
ravaged the unoffending populace in city after city.
Peredur, prince of the North Welsh, was campaigning against
Gwenddolau, who ruled the kingdom of Scotland. The day fixed for
battle had arrived, and the commanders had taken the field. Their
troops had begun the struggle, and on both sides alike men fell in the tragic slaughter.
Merlin had come to the war with Peredur, and so, too, had
Rodarch, king of the Cumbrians, fierce fighters both. They killed
the enemy before them with their dread swords; and three brothers
of the prince, who had followed him to the wars, were everywhere
in the fight, killing, and destroying the battle lines. So fiercely and
impetuously did they rush through the dense ranks that they were
soon struck down and killed.
Merlin, you grieved at that sight, and your sad lament was heard
throughout the army, as you lifted up your voice in these words:
'Surely a malignant fate cannot have been so vindictive as to take
from me all these my companions, men such that many a king and
many a distant kingdom have stood in fear of them till now?
'O man's uncertain fate, death ever near, ever with power to
strike him with its hidden lance and drive the poor life from
his body!
'O glory of youth, who will now stand by my side in battle to turn
back the princes who coixie to do me ill and their hordes that press
upon me?
'Brave youths, your very bravery has taken from you your sweet
years, your sweet youth itself. A moment back, and you were
tearing through the formations in battle array, striking down all
opposition. Now you lie heavy on the earth, red with fresh blood.'
So with fast-running tears he mourned amid the strife and wept
for his heroes. The terrible fighting ceased not, the lines of battle
clashed, foe fell to foe. Blood flowed on every side, and the people
of both nations died.
At last the Britons rallied their scattered forces and drew together.
Together they made an armed rush across the field, attacked the {60}
Scots, dealt wounds and laid them low. They did not slacken until
the enemy battalions turned away and fled among the by-ways.
Merlin called his companions from the battle-field and instructed
them to bury the brothers in. a richly decorated chapel.
He mourned for his heroes; his flooding tears had no end. He
threw dust upon his hair, tore his clothes and lay prostrate on the
ground, rolling to and fro. Peredur and the other princes and
commanders offered comfort. He would not take their comfort and
rejected their entreaties. So for three long days he wept, refusing
food, so great the grief that consumed him.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.