The Celtic Literature Collective

The Dialogue of Melwas and Gwenhyfer
Llanstephan 122.

Black is my steed and brave beneath me
No water will make him fear
And no man will make him swerve

Green is my steed of the tint of leaves
No disgrace like his who boasts and fails:
He is no man who fulfills not his word

........................................ the forefront of the fray
No man holds out but Kei the tall, son of Sevin

It is I that will ride and will stand,
And walk heavily on the brink of the ebb:
I am the man to hold out against Kei.

Pshaw, young man, it is strange to hear thee!
Unless thou be other than thou lookest
Thou wouldst not, on of a hundred, hold against Kei

Gwenhwyvar of the bright face
Do not insult me small though I be:
I would hold against a hundred myself

Pshaw, young man of black & yellow!
After scanning long thy looks
Methought I had seen thee before

Gwenhwyvar of the ......... face
Tell me if you know it
Where you saw me before

I have seen a man of moderate size
At Arthur's long table in Devon
Dealing out wine to his friends

Gwenhwyvar of facetious speech
It is woman's nature to banter:
There it is thou didst me see

I have heard this poem called both "The Dialogue of Melwas and Gwenhyfar" and "The Dialogue of Arthur and Gwenhyfar."  The former seems to make more sense, of course, and so I have stuck with Melwas (the Melegant of Malory) instead of Arthur.  I'm not sure what manuscript this comes from; I saw it alluded to in The New Arthurian Encyclopedia, and had a friend send me a copy of the poem.  It obviously is about the abduction episode, which can be read of in The Life of Gildas.

What's interesting is that it makes some implication that it is Kei (Kay) who is having an affair with Gwenhyfar and not Lancelot, who is non-existent.

Williams, Mary. "An Early Ritual Poem in Welsh." Speculum vol. 13 no. 1. January 1938. pp 38-51.

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