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Cwm_Rhondda

Cwm Rhondda

Cwm Rhondda, the Welsh name for the Rhondda Valley, is a popular hymn tune written by John Hughes (1873-1932). It is usually used in English as a setting for William Williams' text Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (or, in some traditions, Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer), originally Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch in Welsh, translated by Peter Williams in the 1771 hymnal Hymns on Var­i­ous Subjects. In Welsh it is usually a setting for a hymn by Ann Griffiths, Wele'n sefyll rhwng y myrtwydd.

Hymn text

Present-day

History

The hymn has evolved and shortened over time from an original version, written in 1745, with five verses. The following version is taken from the Welsh hymnbook of the Calvinist and Wesleyan Methodists, published by the assemblies of the two churches.
Original Translation
Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch,
Fi bererin gwael ei wedd,
Nad oes ynof nerth na bywyd
Fel yn gorwedd yn y bedd:
Hollalluog, hollalluog,
Ydyw’r Un a’m cwyd i’r lan.
Ydyw’r Un a’m cwyd i’r lan.

Colofn dân rho’r nos i’m harwain,
A rho’r golofn niwl y dydd;
Dal fi pan fwy’n teithio’r mannau
Geirwon yn fy ffordd y sydd:
Rho imi fanna, rho imi fanna,
Fel na bwyf yn llwfrhau.
Fel na bwyf yn llwfrhau.

Agor y ffynhonnau melus
Sydd yn tarddu o’r Graig i maes;
Colofn dan rho’r nos i’m harwain,
A rho golofn niwl y dydd;
'R hyd yr anial mawr canlyned
Afon iechydwriaeth gras:
Rho imi hynny, rho imi hynny,
Dim imi ond dy fwynhau.
Dim imi ond dy fwynhau.

Pan fwy’n myned trwy’r Iorddonen—
Angeu creulon yn ei rym,
Ti gest hwnnw gynt dy hunan,
Pam yr ofnaf bellach ddim?
Buddugoliaeth, buddugoliaeth,
Gwna imi waeddi yn y llif!
Gwna imi waeddi yn y llif!

Ymddiriedaf yn dy allu,
Mawr yw’r gwaith a wnest erioed:
Ti gest angau, ti gest uffern,
Ti gest Satan dan dy droed:
Pen Calfaria, Pen Calfaria,
Nac aed hwnw byth o’m cof.
Nac aed hwnw byth o’m cof.

Lord, guide me through the wilderness,
A pilgrim weak of aspect,
There is neither strength nor life in me,
As though lying in the grave,
Almighty,
It is Thou who shalt take me to that shore.


Give Thou a pillar of fire to lead me in the night,
And a pillar of mist in the day,
Hold me when I travel places
Which are rough on the way,
Give me manna,
Thus shall I not despair.


Open the sweet springs
Which gush forth from the rock,
All across the great wilderness
May a river of healing grace follow:
Give this to me
Not for me but for Thy sake.

When I go through Jordan -
Cruel death in its force -
Thou Thyself suffered this before,
Why shall I fear further?
Victory!
Let me cry out in the torrent.


I shall trust in Thy power,
Great is the work that Thou hast always done,
Thou conquered death, Thou conquered hell,
Thou hast crushed Satan beneath Thy feet,
Hill of Calvary,
This shall never escape from my memory.

Meanings

The hymn describes the experience of God's people in their travel through the wilderness from the escape from slavery in Egypt, , being guided by a cloud by day and a fire by night, to their final arrival forty years later in the land of Canaan, . During this time their needs were supplied by God, including the daily supply of manna, .

The hymn text forms an allegory for the journey of a Christian throughout their life on earth requiring the Redeemer's guidance and ending at the gates of Heaven (the verge of Jordan) and end of time (death of death and hell's destruction).

Instances of use

The hymn has been sung on various British state occasions such as the funerals of Diana, Princess of Wales and the Queen Mother.

The hymn is also featured prominently in the soundtrack to the 1941 film How Green Was My Valley, directed by John Ford. The soundtrack, by Alfred Newman, won that year's Academy Award for Original Music Score.

Other hymn texts

God of grace and God of glory

Some hymnals use this tune for the hymn God of Grace and God of Glory written by Harry Emerson Fosdick in 1930.

Lo, between the myrtles standing

Non-religious uses

Wales

Apart from church use, probably its best known use is as the 'Welsh Rugby Hymn', often sung by the crowd at rugby matches, especially those of the Wales national rugby union team. There it is common for all voices to sing the repeat of the last three syllables of the last-but-one line, e.g. evermore, strength and shield (which in church use is repeated only in the bass and alto parts, if at all).

England

The tune has also long been popular with British football crowds, with the words changed variously to "We'll support you evermore", or the irreverent You're Not Singing Anymore, "Who's the bastard in the black", "Feed the Goat and he will score" or - directed at any Welsh or rural club, in reference to the urban legend that lonely Welsh farmers copulate with farm animals - "What's it like to shag a sheep?".

References

Media

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