The War-song of Dinas Vawr

Original Text: 
Thomas Love Peacock, The misfortunes of Elphin (London: T. Hookham, 1829). B-10 9077 Fisher Rare Book Library
2But the valley sheep are fatter;
3We therefore deemed it meeter
4To carry off the latter.
5We made an expedition;
6We met a host, and quelled it;
7We forced a strong position,
8And killed the men who held it.
9On Dyfed's richest valley,
10Where herds of kine were browsing,
11We made a mighty sally,
12To furnish our carousing.
13Fierce warriors rushed to meet us;
14We met them, and o'erthrew them:
15They struggled hard to beat us;
16But we conquered them, and slew them.
17As we drove our prize at leisure,
18The king marched forth to catch us:
19His rage surpassed all measure,
20But his people could not match us.
21He fled to his hall-pillars;
22And, ere our force we led off,
23Some sacked his house and cellars,
24While others cut his head off.
25We there, in strife bewild'ring,
26Spilt blood enough to swim in:
27We orphaned many children,
28And widowed many women.
29The eagles and the ravens
30We glutted with our foemen;
31The heroes and the cravens,
32The spearmen and the bowmen.
33We brought away from battle,
34And much their land bemoaned them,
35Two thousand head of cattle,
36And the head of him who owned them:
37Ednyfed, king of Dyfed,
38His head was borne before us;
39His wine and beasts supplied our feasts,
40And his overthrow, our chorus.


1] Dinas Vawr is a castle which has been stormed. The song is sung by the revelling conquerors on the night of the victory. The scene of the story is ancient Wales. Vawr (i.e., Welsh fawr) means `great', corresponding to Gaelic mor (courtesy of Richard A. B. Price, University of Sussex). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
J. D. Robins
RPO Edition: 
2RP.2.158; RPO 1996-2000.