Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
 
Wales: Celyddon
The Apple-trees of Celyddon
From the Welsh
 
Translated by Thomas Stephens

WAS there such a gift given to any one as at the dawn of day
Was given to Merddin ere age had overtaken him?
Sevenscore and seven sweet apple-trees,
Of equal height, age, and magnitude,
They are a mark of a sovereign’s benevolence,        5
And are overshadowed by lovely foliage.
A maid with beauteous ringlets watches over them,
Gloywedd by name, with teeth of pearly whiteness.
 
Sweet and excellent apple-tree!
Thou wilt be heavy when laden with fruit,        10
And I am full of care and trouble for thy safety,
Lest the woodmen
Should destroy thy root, and injure thy seed,
And prevent any more apples from growing on thee;
And I tear myself wildly with anxiety;        15
Anguish pains me, and no clothes protect my body;
These were the gift of Gwenddolau the free giver,
Who is now, as he was not.
 
Sweet apple-tree of delicate growth,
Thy shade is celebrated, profitable, and comely;        20
Princes will combine upon false pretences,
With false, luxurious, and gluttonous monks,
And idle talkative youths, to get thy fruit;
They all prophesy warlike exploits to the Prince.
 
Sweet apple-tree of vigorous growth and verdant foliage,        25
Large are thy branches, and beautiful thy form,
It was beautiful to see thee in a robe of vivid green,
Ere war had caused my heart to grieve;
But my wrongs shall yet be avenged,
And the legions of Pengwern shall revel on mead.        30
 
Sweet apple-tree growing in the lonely glade!
Valor shall still secure thee from the lords of Rhydderch;
Bare is the ground around thee, trodden by mighty warriors,
Their heroic forms strike their foes with terror.
Alas! Gwendydd loves me not, greets me not,        35
I am hated by the chiefs of Rhydderch,
I hare ruined his son and his daughter,
Death relieves all, why does he not visit me?
For after Gwenddolau no princes honor me.
I am not soothed with diversion,        40
I am no longer visited by the fair,
Yet in the battle of Arderydd I wore golden torques,
Though I am now despised by her who is fair as snowy swan.
 
Sweet apple-tree! covered with delicate bloom,
Growing unseen in the sequestered wood;        45
At break of day the tale was told me,
That the high commissioned chief of Menwydd is offended with me;
Twice, thrice, yea, four times in one day,
It rung in my ears ere the sun had marked the hour of noon;
O Jesus, why had I not been destroyed,        50
Before I had the misfortune to slay the son of Gwenddydd?
 
Sweet apple-tree, which formest a stately grove,
The wild dogs of the wood seek shelter about thy roots,
Yet shall my prophetic song announce the re-coming
Of Medrawd, and Arthur leader of hosts;        55
Again shall they rush to the battle of Camlan,
And only seven escape from the two days’ conflict.
Let Gwenhwyvar remember her crimes,
When Cadwaladr resumes possession of his throne,
And the religious hero leads his armies.        60
Alas my lamentable destiny! hope affords no refuge,
Gwenddydd’s son is slain, and by my accursed hand.
 
Sweet apple-tree, of richest fruit,
Growing in the lonely woods of Celyddon;
All seek thee for the sake of thy fruit,        65
But in vain until Cadwaladr comes to the conference of Rhyd Rheon,
And Kynan advances to oppose the Saxons;
Then shall Britons be again victorious,
Led by their graceful and majestic chief;
Then shall be restored to every one his own,        70
And the sounder of the horn of gladness proclaim
The song of peace and days of happiness.
 
Delicious apple-tree with blossoms purely white,
To those who eat them, sweet are the apples
That have always grown on trees        75
Which grow apart, with wide-spreading branches.
The nymph who appears and disappears, prophesies explicitly
In signs of troublesome times which will surely come;
A fleet with anchors shall come on the sea,
Seven ships, with seven hundred sailing over the waves;        80
They will descend on the shore under flights of arrows,
And of those who come, there shall not return
More than seven to their former home.
 
Delicious apple-tree of splendid growth!
Its root has fed both it and me,        85
When with shield on my shoulder and sword on my thigh,
I slept all alone in the woods of Celyddon.
*        *        *        *        *
 
 
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