Gwaith Dafydd Ap Gwilym NotesThis satire is said to have been composed in response to the following englyn in which Rhys Meigen claimed to have had sexual intercourse with Dafydd's mother: Dafydd gau merydd gi mall, Tydi fab y tadau oll, Gwenais dy fam, gam gymell, Uwch ei thin, och, yn ei thwll. False sluggish Dafydd, rotten dog, you son of all the fathers, I pierced your mother, crooked thrusting, abover her arse, alas, in her hole.According to tradition Rhys Meigen fell down dead when he heard Dafydd's satire. The tradition is recorded with very similar wording in H 26 and Pen 49, and it is likely that the source was a note accompanying the poem in the Vetustus manuscript. This is the Pen 49 text: yr Englyn or blaen a ganwyd ar geinaw Ddyw nadalig ym-mhlas lln' ap Glm' Vychan ap Glm' ap Gwrwared yn Neheubarth, A Dafydd a wnaeth yr owdl or blaen i Rys Meigen ac ai canodd yn i wydd, ac ynte a syrthiodd yn farw, os gwir a ddywedant. (The preceding englyn was sung at dinner on Christmas Day in the court of Llywelyn ap Gwilym Fychan ap Gwilym ap Gwrwared in Deheubarth. And Dafydd composed the preceding awdl to Rhys Meigen and sang it in his presence, and he fell down dead, if they tell the truth.) It was commonly believed in Wales and Ireland that a poet's satire could cause harm, and even kill people (see Johnston, 2005, chapter 13), and Rhys Meigen himself would certainly have believed in the power of satire. Terror could have caused him to fall ill and die on the spot or soon afterwards. The tradition about his death is supported by references in the debate between Dafydd ap Gwilym and Gruffudd Gryg. Gruffudd says at the end of his third poem (27.66), ' 'Mogel, nid mi Rys Meigen' (take care, I'm not Rhys Meigen). And Dafydd warns him in his reply (28.58-60), ' 'Mogel di fod . . . yn Rhys wyrfarw . . . a las â gwawd' (be careful lest you become Rhys, twisted and dead, who was killed by poetry). But bardic debates are not dependable as factual evidence because of the strong element of imaginative fantasy which they contain. it is not impossible that it was Dafydd's claim in the debate which gave rise to the tradition recorded in the Vetustus. The note in Pen 49 suggests that the poems by Rhys Meigen and Dafydd may have had a ceremonial context. There are numerous examples of medieval Welsh poets satirizing one another quite savagely and crudely as entertainment for a gathering at festivals such as Christmas. There are also examples of contentions between a court poet and a poet from another region (e.g. that between Casnodyn and Trahaearn Brydydd Mawr slightly earlier than the time of Dafydd ap Gwilym, GGDT poem 13, GC poem 11). Since Rhys and Dafydd are said to have recited their poems at the court of Dafydd's uncle (see notes to poems 5 and 6), it is likely that Dafydd played the role of court poet. This exchange may have taken place during the period of his bardic education with his uncle (see Introduction). Dafydd and Rhys Meigen are linked again in a series of four stanzas supposedly spoken by each in turn, preserved in manuscripts from the 17th century onwards. The first two of these are printed in GDG p. 419 (poem xix), where Dafydd is seen answering an englyn by Rhys ordering him to fetch hay for the horses. In the other two stanzas reference is made to the composition of poetry. It is unlikely that these verses are the genuine work of the two 14th-century poets (see further 'Cerddi'r Apocryffa' poem A5), but they are evidence of a traditional connection between the two. Apart from the poem noted above none of Rhys Meigen's work has survived, and nothing is known about him other than what can be deduced from this exchange, namely that, in Dafydd's opinion at least, he was one of the clêr or lowly minstrels. The only region called Meigen is the one near Welshpool in Powys, and it is probable that Rhys was a native of that region. 2. Gwalchmai Gwalchmai ap Meilyr, one of the court poets of Gwynedd in the 12 th century (see CBT I, 127-313). gwrolGai Hir King Arthur's nephew Cai was famed for his tall stature, see note on. iawnGai angerdd in 44.13. 72. Cyndëyrn The most well-known saint of this name is the one associated with St Asaph's, but this could also be the patron-saint of Llangyndeyrn in Carmarthenshire. 76. Dinbyrn The only other reference to this character is the one by Einion ap Gwalchmai in a praise-poem to Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, 'angerdd Dinbyrn' (CBT I, 25.17). Nothing is known of him, but it can be assumed that he was a traditional hero.