… After many years had passed under many kings,
Merlin the Briton was held famous in the world…
Peredur, King of North Wales
made war on Gwenddoleu of Scotland…
The troops were fighting, falling on
both sides in miserable slaughter…
Merlin had come to war with Peredur and
so too had Rhydderch, king of the Cumbrians.
Three brothers of the prince who had followed him
through all his exploits broke the battle lines.
They rushed fiercely through the crowded ranks
and soon fell, killed. Then, did Merlin grieve…
‘Could injurious fate be so harmful as to take from me
so many and such great companions, whom recently many
kings and remote kingdoms feared?
O dubious lot of mankind!
O death ever near, which has them in its power
and strikes with its hidden goad
driving out the life from the wretched body!
O glorious youths, who will now stand by my side
in arms, and repel the chieftains who rush to harm me?
Bold young men your audacity has taken your pleasant years from you.
Your broken bodies now roll on the blood strewn ground…’
Merlin called his companions from the battle
and bade them bury the brothers in a richly coloured chapel.
There he bewailed the dead men, rubbing dust in his hair,
tearing and rending his garments…
For three days Merlin lamented,
before a new fury seized him,
and he fled, in secret, to the woods.
– adapted from, The Mystic Life by R J Stewart