This is a general study of the earliest poetry in Wales, much of which is attributed to the legendary bards Taliesin, Aneirin, and Llywarch Hen, and some of which even deals with those legendary figures Myrddin (Merlin) and Arthur. It also argues that it had a far greater influence on Anglo-Saxon poetry than most scholars have recognized. Finally, it chronicles a clear and major shift in the way the English are viewed by the Welsh. The English turned from being one enemy among many to the agents of all ruin and loss. By the time of the Llywarch Hen and Heledd cycles, the metaphors of the next thousand years of Welsh poetry are established.