Related Searches
Definitions

lives out

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

"Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" (usually translated as "Land of My Fathers", (dear country of my fathers) is, by tradition, the national anthem of Wales. The words were written by Evan James and the tune composed by his son, James James, both residents of Pontypridd, Glamorgan, in January 1856. The earliest written copy survives and is part of the collections of the National Library of Wales.

Origins

Glan Rhondda (Banks of the Rhondda), as it was known when it was composed, was first performed in the vestry of the original Capel Tabor, Maesteg, (which later became a Workingmen's Club), in either January or February 1856, by Elizabeth John from Pontypridd, and it soon became popular in the locality.

James James, the composer, was a harpist who played his instrument in the public house he ran, for the purpose of dancing. The song was originally intended to be performed in 6/8 time, but had to be slowed down to its present rhythm when it began to be sung by large crowds.

Popularity

The popularity of the song increased after the Llangollen Eisteddfod of 1858. Thomas Llewelyn of Aberdare won a competition for an unpublished collection of Welsh airs with a collection that included Glan Rhondda. The adjudicator of the competition, "Owain Alaw" (John Owen, 1821-1883) asked for permission to include Glan Rhondda in his publication, Gems of Welsh melody (1860-64). This volume gave Glan Rhondda its more famous title, Hen wlad fy nhadau, and was sold in large quantities and ensured the popularity of the national anthem across the whole of Wales.

At the Bangor Eisteddfod of 1874 Hen Wlad fy Nhadau gained further popularity when it was sung by Robert Rees ("Eos Morlais"), one of the leading Welsh soloists of his day. It was increasingly sung at patriotic gatherings and gradually it developed into a national anthem.

First recorded Welsh-language song

Hen wlad fy nhadau was also one of the first Welsh-language songs recorded when Madge Breese sang it on 11 March 1899, for the Gramophone Company, as part of the first recording in the Welsh language.

National anthem

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau has been established as the Welsh National Anthem by tradition over a hundred years; although in common with other British anthems, it has not been established as such by law. It is recognised and used as an anthem at both national and local events in Wales. Usually this will be the only anthem sung, such as at national sporting events, and it will be sung only in Welsh using the first stanza and refrain. But on some official occasions, especially those with royal connections, it is used in conjunction with the national anthem of the United Kingdom, God Save the Queen. Before BBC Wales television started to broadcast 24 hours a day, the Chorus of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau was played at the closedown, followed by the first three lines of God Save the Queen. HTV Wales, on the other hand, played the full verse of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau and God Save the Queen before broadcasting 24 hours a day.

The existence of a separate national anthem for Wales has not always been apparent to those from outside the country. In 1993 the newly-appointed Secretary of State for Wales John Redwood was embarrassingly videotaped opening and closing his mouth during a communal singing of the national anthem, clearly ignorant of the words but unable to mime convincingly; the pictures were frequently cited as evidence of his unsuitability for the post. According to John Major's autobiography, the first thing Redwood's successor William Hague said, on being appointed, was that he had better find someone to teach him the words. He found Ffion Jenkins, and later married her.

Versions of Hen Wlad fy Nhadau are used as anthems in both Cornwall, as Bro Goth Agan Tasow, and Brittany, as Bro Gozh ma Zadoù.

Lyrics

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd,
Dros ryddid collasant eu gwaed.

(Cytgan)

Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad.
Tra môr yn fur i'r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i'r hen iaith barhau.

Hen Gymru fynyddig, paradwys y bardd,
Pob dyffryn, pob clogwyn, i'm golwg sydd hardd;
Trwy deimlad gwladgarol, mor swynol yw si
Ei nentydd, afonydd, i mi.

(Cytgan)

Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad tan ei droed,
Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ag erioed,
Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad,
Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.

(Cytgan)

Translations

The following is a fairly free translation in verse.

The land of my fathers is dear unto me,
Old land where the minstrels are honoured and free:
Its warring defenders, so gallant and brave,
For freedom their life's blood they gave

Land!,Land!,True I am to my land!
While seas secure,
this land so pure,
o may our old language endure.

O land of the mountains, the bard's paradise,
Whose precipice, valleys lone as the skies,
Green murmuring forest, far echoing flood
Fire the fancy and quicken the blood

For tho' the fierce foeman has ravaged your realm,
The old speech of Wales he cannot o'erwhelm,
Our passionate poets to silence command
Or banish the harp from your strand.

A more literal translation is:

The old land of my fathers is dear to me,
Land of poets and singers, famous men of renown;
Her brave warriors, very splendid patriots,
For freedom shed their blood.

Nation [or country], Nation, I am true to my Nation.
While the sea [is] a wall to the pure, most loved land,
O may the old language [sc. Cymraeg] endure.

Old mountainous Wales, paradise of the bard,
Every valley, every cliff, to me is beautiful.
Through patriotic feeling, so charming is the murmur
Of her brooks, rivers, to me.

If the enemy oppresses my land under his foot,
The old language of the Welsh is as alive as ever.
The muse is not hindered by the hideous hand of treason,
Nor [is] the melodious harp of my country.

Other translations include:

The land of my fathers is dear to me,
Old land where the minstrels are honoured and free;
Its warring defenders so gallant and brave,
For freedom their life's blood they gave.

Home, home, true am I to home,
While seas secure the land so pure,
O may the old language endure.

Old land of the mountains, the Eden of bards,
Each gorge and each valley a loveliness guards;
Through love of my country, charmed voices will be
Its streams, and its rivers, to me.

Though foemen have trampled my land 'neath their feet,
The language of Cambria still knows no retreat;
The muse is not vanquished by traitor's fell hand,
Nor silenced the harp of my land.

and:

The land of my fathers, the land of my choice,
The land in which poets and minstrels rejoice;
The land whose stern warriors were true to the core,
While bleeding for freedom of yore.

Wales! Wales! fav'rite land of Wales!
While sea her wall, may naught befall
To mar the old language of Wales.

Old mountainous Cambria, the Eden of bards,
Each hill and each valley, excite my regards;
To the ears of her patriots how charming still seems
The music that flows in her streams.

My country tho' crushed by a hostile array,
The language of Cambria lives out to this day;
The muse has eluded the traitors' foul knives,
The harp of my country survives.

Cultural influence

The Welsh poet Dylan Thomas is on record as saying "The land of my fathers. My fathers can have it!", probably in reference to Wales itself, rather than the song.

Gwynfor Evans named his history of Wales Land of my fathers: 2,000 years of Welsh history. It was a translation of the Welsh original, Aros Mae.

The Welsh reverse £1 coins minted in 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000 bear the edge inscription PLEIDIOL WYF I'M GWLAD ("true am I to my country"), from the refrain of "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau".

Parodies

Swansea poet Nigel Jenkins wrote an English phonetic version of the first verse for the benefit of English speakers, said to be largely inconspicuous in chorus as long as one doesn't smile:

My hen laid a haddock, one hand oiled a flea,
Glad farts and centurions threw dogs in the sea,
I could stew a hare here and brandish Dan's flan,
Don's ruddy bog's blocked up with sand.

Dad! Dad! Why don't you oil Auntie Glad?
Can whores appear in beer bottle pies,
O butter the hens as they fly!

References

External links

Search another word or see lives outon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;