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Bran, The Crow
Ancient Breton Poem editted by William Sharp (Or EA Sharp), 1896, 1924 found variously at the Continental archive at The Celtic Literature Collective; or 1932. From LYRA CELTICA

We've lately found another lovely reference poem starring Bran. Curious. Here, Bran is a knight, and the story is extremely reminscent of Tristan and Isolde, and in that way, once more, falls under the Arthurian Legends, but from a Cornish/Breton line, rather than the Welsh line we see in Branwen, Daughter of Llyr. See for yourself. :)


Bran. (Or Bran the Crow)

Wounded full sore is Bran the knight ;
For he was at Kerloan fight;
At Kerloan fight, by wild seashore
Was Bran-Vor's grandson wounded sore;
And, though we gained the victory,
Was captive borne beyond the sea.
He when he came beyond the sea,
In the close keep wept bitterly.
"They leap at home with joyous cry
While, woe is me, in bed I lie.
Could I but find a messenger,
Who to my mother news would bear!"
They quickly found a messenger
His best thus gave the warrior:
"Heed thou to dress in other guise,
My messenger, dress beggar-wise!
Take thou my ring, my ring of gold,
That she thy news as truth may hold!
Unto my country straightway go,
It to my lady mother show!
Should she come free her son from hold,
A flag of white do thou unfold!I
But if with thee she come not back,
Unfurl, ah me, a pennon black!
So, when to Leon-land he came,
At supper table sat the dame,
At table with her family,
The harpers playing as should be.
"Dame of the castle, hail! I bring
From Bran your son this golden ring,
His golden ring and letter too;
Read it, oh read it, straightway through!
"Ye harpers, cease ye, play no more,
For with great grief my heart is sore!
My son (cease harpers, play no more!)
In prison, and I did not know!
Prepare to-night a ship for me!
To-morrow I go across the sea."
The morning of the next, next day
The Lord Bran questioned, as he lay:
"Sentinel, sentinel, soothly say!
Seest thou no vessel on its way?"
"My lord the knight, I nought espy
Except the great sea and the sky."
The Lord Bran askt him yet once more,
Whenas the day's course half was o'er;
"Sentinel, sentinel, soothly say!
Seest thou no vessel on its way?"
"I can see nothing, my lord the knight,
Except the sea-birds i' their flight."
The Lord Bran askt him yet again,
Whenas the day was on the wane;
"Sentinel, sentinel, soothly say!
Seest thou no vessel on its way?"
Then that false sentinel, the while
Smiling a mischief-working smile;
"I see afar a misty form--
A ship sore beaten by the storm."
"The flag? Quick give the answer back!
The banner? Is it white or black?"
"Far as I see, 'tis black, Sir knight,
I swear it by the coal's red light."
When this the sorrowing knight had heard
Again he never spoke a word;
But turn'd aside his visage wan;
And then the fever fit began.
Now of the townsmen askt the dame,
When at the last to shore she came,
"What is the news here, townsmen, tell!
That thus I hear them toll the bell?"
An aged man the lady heard,
And thus he answer'd to her word:
"We in the prison held a knight;
And he hath died here in the night."
Scarcely to end his words were brought,
When the high tower that lady sought;
Shedding salt tears and running fast,
Her white hair scatter'd in the blast,
So that the townsmen wonderingly
Full sorely marvell'd her to see;
Whenas they saw a lady strange,
Through their streets so sadly range
Each one in thought did musing stand;
"Who is the lady, from what land?"
Soon as the donjon's foot she reacht,
The porter that poor dame beseecht;
"Open, quickly open, the gate for me!
My son! My son! Him would I see!"
Slowly the great gate open drew;
Herself upon her son she threw,
Close in her arms his corpse to strain,
The lady never rose again.
There is a tree, that doth look o'er
From Kerloan's battle-field to th' shore;
An oak. Before great Evan's face
The Saxons fled in that same place.
Upon that oak in clear moonlight,
Together come the birds at night;
Black birds and white, but sea birds all;
On each one's brow a blood-stain small,
With them a raven gray and old;
With her a crow comes young and bold.
Both with soil'd wings, both wearied are;
They come beyond the seas from far:
And the birds sing so lovelily
That silence comes on the great sea.
All sing in concert sweet and low
Except the raven and the crow.
Once was the crow heard murmuring:
"Sing, little birds, ye well may sing!
Sing, for this is your own countrie!
Ye died not far from Brittany!"


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