Araith Iolo Goch is a satirical Welsh poem of the 15th or 16th century found in the Mostyn manuscript 133.II.1-10.

The poem tells of the failure of a shy youth to get his true-love. The youth sends an emissary to court her, but the maiden will not take such a step before getting together with her kindred and counselors. The emissary asks when that will be, and she responds with a reference to traditional Welsh story which amounts to “never”. The emissary keeps asking and the maiden keep answering with one learned reference to traditional Welsh story after another. Finally, after getting 14 such answers after the original one, all which amount to “never” put very elegantly and poetically, the lad returns with his answers.

The name Iolo Goch refers to a well-known poet of that name who lived c. 1320 to c. 1398 and whose poems showed a similar timidity in love affairs.

The true unknown author of the poem refers to events in the story of Culhwch and Olwen, but not always to the exact version that has come down in surviving texts. Or perhaps the poet does not always remember properly. There also references to otherwise unknown tales, including one about Glewlwyd Mighty-grasp.


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