Albion, Art, Folk Tale, symbolism

Sylvan Man…

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…So, Merlin became a sylvan man.

He lived on roots and grasses, the fruit of trees,

and mulberries of the thicket.

For a summer he remained immersed in the woods,

unmindful of self and kin.


When winter came he had no food to live on…

He raised a lament:

‘What, now, shall I do?

The trees stand without leaves and fruit,

the south wind and the rain have dispensed with them.

Now, I wander, the old wolf beside me, hard hunger

has weakened us both.

We fill the air with our howling

and stretch out tired, wasted, limbs on the earth.’


A traveller journeying through the wood

heard Merlin’s lament, issuing from a hazel thicket,

but was unable to catch him as he, again, fled.


The traveller reported to King Rhydderch of the Cumbrians,

who was married to Merlin’s sister, Ganieda.


The king sent out messengers to find Merlin,

and one of them eventually came upon the renegade,

reclining by a fountain, on a mountain top,

an old wolf laid down beside him…