The Life of Saint Cadog

Here begins the Prologue to the Life of Saint Cadog

   After a long interval of time the aforesaid king Gwynllyw, depending now on his kingdom, desired with ardent affection on account of the excessive sweetness of her fame that a certain girl should be joined to him in lawful wedlock, born of most noble lineage, of elegant appearance, very beautiful moreover in form, and clad in silk raiment, whose name was Gwladus, the daughter of a certain regulus, who was called Brychan. Accordingly he sent very many messengers to the virgin’s father to the end that they might more resolutely demand that she might be given to him as wife. But the father of the girl, having received the message, was indignant, and, full of anger, refused to bestow his daughter on him, and slighted the messengers, and dismissed them without honour. They, taking this very badly, returned, and told their lord what had been done to them. When he had heard, the king, raving with excessive fury, armed with all possible speed three hundred of his young men to take the aforesaid girl by force. Then starting at once on their journey, when they reached the court of the aforementioned regulus, which is called Talgarth, they found the said virgin sitting with her sisters before the door of her chamber and at leisure in modest conversation, whom they immediately took by force, and beat a hasty retreat. When this was known, her father, Brychan, moved by grief of heart, sorrowing inwardly at the loss of his beloved daughter, called to his aid all his friends and his subjects to recover his daughter. When all his helpers had assembled together, with rapid steps he follows up the enemy and his confederates. Gwynllyw, when he had seen them, ordered that the oft-mentioned girl should be brought up to him, and he made her ride with him. He, carrying the girl cautiously with him on horseback, preceded the army not indeed for flight, but to await his soldiers and to exhort them manfully to war. But Brychan with his men, boldly attacking the savage king and his satellites, slew two hundred of them and followed them up as far as the hill, which is on the confines of either country, which in the Britannic tongue takes the name Boch Rhiw Cam, which means the cheek of the stony way. But when Gwynllyw had arrived at the borders of his land, safe in body with the aforesaid virgin, although sorrowful at the very great slaughter in the fight with his adversaries, lo, three vigorous champions, Arthur with his two knights, to wit, Cai and Bedwyr, were sitting on the top of the aforesaid hill playing with dice. And these seeing the king with a girl approaching them, Arthur immediately very inflamed with lust in desire for the maiden, and filled with evil thoughts, said to his companions, ‘Know that I am vehemently inflamed with concupiscence for this girl, whom that soldier is carrying away on horseback.’ But they forbidding him said, ‘Far be it that so great a crime should be perpetrated by thee, for we are wont to aid the needy and distressed. Wherefore let us run together with all speed and assist this struggling contest that it may cease.’ But he, ‘Since you both prefer to succour him rather than snatch the girl violently from him for me, go to meet them, and diligently inquire which of them is the owner of this land.’ They immediately departed and in accordance with the king’s command inquired. Gwynllyw replies, ‘God being witness, also all who best know of the Britons, I avow that I am the owner of this land.’ And when the messengers had returned to their lord, they reported what they had heard from him. Then Arthur and his companions being armed they rushed against the enemies of Gwynllyw and made them turn their backs and flee in great confusion to their native soil. Then Gwynllyw in triumph through Arthur’s protection together with the afore­said virgin Gwladus, reached his own residence, which was situated on that hill, which thenceforward took from his name the British appellation Alit Wynllyw, that is, Gwynllyw’s Hill. For from Gwynllyw is named Gwynlliog, and Brycheiniog from Brychan.
   Here begins the Life of the same Saint. January 24th.