The People &
Language of Early Scotland
Throughout the first millennium the Britons dominated much of central
and southern Scotland. They spoke a language closely related to old Welsh
or Cornish and left proof of this in the place names around Strathclyde
small group of trees
for video lesson in deciphering Scotland's place names.
The following verses are a cradle song sang from mother to son, written
in old Welsh around AD 650. It may well be the earliest poem composed
by a women in the whole of the literature of Britain.
for video reading of 'Dinogad's Coat'
Specked, specked, Dinogad's Coat,
I fashioned it of pelts of stoat.
Twit, twit, a twittering,
I sang, and so eight slaves would sing.
When your daddy went off to hunt,
Spear on his shoulder, club in his hand,
He'd call the hounds so swift of foot:
'Giff, Gaff - seek 'im, seek 'im, fetch, fetch.'
He'd strike fish from a coracle
As a lion strikes a small animal.
When to the mountain your daddy would go,
He'd bring back a stag, a boar, a roe,
A speckled mountain grouse,
A fish from Derwennydd Falls.
Of those your daddy reached with his lance,
Whether a boar, a fox, or a lynx,
None could escape unless it has wings.
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