Gwerful Mechain

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Gwerful Mechain (fl. 1460–1502), who lived in Mechain in Powys, is perhaps the most famous female Welsh-language poet after Ann Griffiths (1776–1805), who was also from northern Powys, and the only female medieval Welsh poet from whom a substantial body of work has survived. Little is known of her life, but it has been stated that she was a descendant of a noble family from Llanfechain.[1]

Her work, composed in the traditional strict metres, including cywyddau and englynion, is often a celebration of religion and sex, sometimes within the same poem. Probably the most famous part of her work today is her erotic poetry, especially Cywydd y Cedor ("Ode to the Pubic Hair"), a poem praising the vulva. It is a work in which she upbraids male poets for celebrating so many parts of a woman's body. "Let songs about the quim circulate," she adjures her readers. As to the pubic hair: "Lovely bush, God save it."

Her year of birth has also been said to have been 1460.[2]


Howells, Nerys Ann (ed.) Gwaith Gwerful Mechain ac Eraill, University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, 2001, ISBN 0-947531-26-2

  1. ^ Koch, John T (2006). Celtic Culture: Aberdeen breviary-celticism. ABC-CLIO. p. 862. 
  2. ^ Olsen, Kirsten, Chronology of Women's History, p 55, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1994, ISBN 0-313-28803-8, ISBN 978-0-313-28803-6, retrieved via Google Books on 26 May 2009

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