The Celtic Literature Collective

The Dialogue of Melwas and Gwenhyfer
Version Two
Wynnstay I

Who is the man who sits in the common part of the feast,
Without for him either its beginning or its end,
Seated down there below the hall?

Melwas from the Isle of Glass1
Thou with the golden, gilded caskets [of wine]
I have drunk non of thy wine.

Wait a little ??
I do not pour out my wine
For a man who cannot bide, cannot hold out in the fray.

... [lines missing]
... ["]
He would not stand up to Cei in his wine.

I would wade a ford
Even if it were a fathom deep
With a coat of mail (on the shore) of the ebb tide
I am the man who wold stand up to Cei.

Silence, lad, silence to thy idle talk
If thou (art) not better than thy apperance
Thou wouldst not stand up to Cei, if thou wert one of eight.

Gwenhyfer of the deer's glance
Do not despise me although I am young
I ouwld stand up to Cei alone.

Though lad (?) above a number
With thy head red like lungs
Thou art unlike Cei in size.

It is a drunken man's nature to be weak
We will therefore keep to what is right (?)
I am Melwas, let us leave it at that.

Since you have begun
Go on with your conversation
A lad knows who fondles him.

Where before have you seen me?

In a court of honor and privilege
Drinking wine to (?with) his companions
??? in the land of Dyfneint.2

I hate the smile of an old gray-haired man
With his sword like a skewer beneath his chin
Who desires but cannot achieve.

Still more hateful to me
A proud man, timid except in words
Who will not be silent nor draw his sword.

Take that!

You take that!


1. Isle of Glass: lit. Ynys Witrin. Tentatively identified with Glastonbury.

2. Dyfneint: identified by Williams with Devon. (Devon: Dyfneint: Dumnonia.)

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

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