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The 'lay of Graelent' is an old French Breton Lay, composed sometime in the second half of the 12th Century. The authour of this lay is unknown, but from their descriptions of life in the lay, they appear to be more familiar with the bourgeous townsfolk than life of the nobles at court.

Graelant shares some simularities of story with Marie de Frane's lay Lanval, both are likely drawn from the same celtic legend. Graelant is probably closer to the original version, being more fast-moving and straightforward and having more elements of the supernatural that belong in celtic myths.

The lay is written in octasyllabic rhyming couplets, as was the fashion in 12th century France.

Graelant survives in two manuscripts: MS Fonds Francais 2168 (Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris) and MS Novelles Aquisitions Francaises 1104 (Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris). Both are later copies (13th Century?) of several lays, but are remarkably similar in content. Small changes show that these copies have been partially rewritten, but the majority of the lay has remained unchanged, and the language of the lay can be used to date the original composition.



  • Weingartner, R. (ed), 1985, "Graelent and Guingamor: Two Breton Lays" Garland Publshing, Inc, New York, ISBN 0-8240-8914-6

translation method: Side by side transcribed old french and modern english line by line translation, no attempt to rhyme lines.