All that remains of his work are two chains of englynion of intercession to Dafydd ab Owain Gwynedd. These belong to the period 1174-75 when David ruled over the greater part of Gwynedd, including Anglesey. Gwilym Ryfel was one of the friends lamented by Gruffudd ap Gwrgenau in a chain of beautifully written englynion, and from this work (Hendregadredd MS. 76a, Myv. Arch., 257a) it appears that he came from Powys, and that he was killed far from his home, where his blood could not be avenged by his kin. Like Gwalchmai he appears to have been both poet and soldier. It is certain that much of his poetry is lost, for Iorwerth Beli, writing a century or more after his time, names him (Myv. Arch., 317b) one among four, with Llywarch (Brydydd y Moch), Cynddelw, and Dafydd Benfras, as ‘splendid chief poets, fine sons of rare talent,’ which means that he was reckoned among the greatest of the poets of the princes.
Published date: 1959
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