He has also served as a Royal Author and a Royal Playwright throughout the period when he was writing his works. His works have been translated into many languages, including all Celtic languages, French, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, and Russian.
Mervyn Gwilym was born in the winter of 1685 in Tegewen-yr-Avon, Wales, to Iefan Gwilym, a successful hatter, and Mair Arden, daughter of a Welsh noble. He was the third of eight children, and was baptised on February 1, 1686. His family were ardent Catholics, and the faith stuck with him and influenced a few of his plays.
He probably attended Tegewen Academy, where he learned Latin and Welsh, as well as English, which was a dying language. Iefan Gwilym worked largely with English nobles, and felt it was a noble language to master.
At the age of 18, he married Anne Hywell, a distant relation of King Gavin III. (Her father's second-cousin was Lewis Pugh, uncle of King Gavin III, and brother-in-law of King Arthur I). They has two children, Iafan and Meical.
At the age of 26, Mervyn moved with his family to busy Avalon where he was hired as a thesbian. As an actor, he had regular exposure to many playwrights, and soon became interested in the fame associated with the job.
Works and Summaries
Gwilym decided to try his hand at writing a play. He had previously penned quite a few poems, which met some success. In fact, at least six of his poems were published.
In 1713, he began writing Ibrahim. It is about a Moorish admiral in Venice. He marries a Venetian noblewoman, and is then sent to Malta for the Venetian reconquest of Malta. After a tempest destroys the Maltan fleet, an ensign who is jealous of Ibrahim's wife, creates a plot to fake an affair between his lieutenant and Ibrahim's wife. Ibrahim eventually kills his wife and has the lieutenant hanged.
This piece of literature made Mervyn a notable playwright, but did not achieve international fame. It was first performer in 1714. (OTL Othello)
In 1714, Gwilym began to write Jørgen. It is about a Danish prince who was visited by the ghost of his dead father, the former King. The ghost tells him that his uncle, the ruling King, had murdered his father. After hearing this, Jørgen goes mad, but eventually decides his father was murdered. When Jørgen attempts to kill the new King, he is sent on a diplomatic mission to England. When the King decides to share his plot to kill Jørgen with a young knight, the knight eventually tells Jørgen, who kill his uncle.
This piece of literature thrust Mervyn into national preeminence, and reached audiences in France as well as Alban. It was first performed in 1715. (OTL Hamlet)
Giovanni and Maria
In early 1716, he began to write Giovanni and Maria. It is about two Italian families in Naples.
Death and Legacy
Mervyn Gwilym was traveling to Cardiff from Avalon after a tour which showcased his primary works when he caught a cold. The illness developed into pneumonia, and he was immediately taken into the care of a hospital in Cardiff.
He died April 23, 1720, in St David's Hospital and Infirmary, Cardiff. The King went out to visit Mervyn on his final day, and was seen openly mourning the loss of a close friend. His wife, Anne Hywell-Gwilym and his son Iefan Hywell Gwilym lived on after him. (Meical died at the age of 8 due to illness)