“The March Of The Men of Harlech” / “Rhyfelgyrch Gwŷr Harlech”
A well known Welsh melody that I was sure was already here but just discovered isn’t. I’ll also chase up some historic transcriptions, and maybe do a transcription or two from the playing of others. Hopefully others will have versions they know to add here.
X: 2 / X:3 “Gorhoffedd Gwyr Harlech”
B: "Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards" - Edward Jones, 1794, page 124
Men of Harlech - Lyrics - Thomas Oliphant - 1862
Hark! I hear the foe advancing,
Barbed steeds are proudly prancing,
Helmets in the sunbeam glancing
Glitter through the trees
Men of Harlech, lie ye dreaming?
See ye not their falchions gleaming,
While their pennons gailey streaming
Flutter in the breeze?
From the rocks rebounding,
Let the warcry sounding
Summon all At Cambria’s call,
The haughty foe surrounding,
Men of Harlech, on to Glory!
See, your banner fam’d in story
Waves these burning words before ye
"Britain scorns to yield!"
‘Mid the fray, see dead and dying,
Friend and foe together lying;
All around, the arrows flying,
Scatter sudden death!
Frighten’d steeds are wildly neighing,
Brazen trumpets hoarsely braying,
Wounded men for mercy praying
With their parting breath!
See! they’re in disorder!
Comrades, keep close order!
Ever they Shall rue the day
They ventured o’er the border!
Now the Saxon flies before us!
Vict’ry’s banner floateth o’er us!
Raise the loud exulting chorus
"Britain wins the field!"
Men of Harlech - Lyrics - John Oxenford -1873
Men of Harlech, march to glory,
Victory is hov’ring o’er ye,
Bright-eyed freedom stands before ye,
Hear ye not her call?
At your sloth she seems to wonder;
Rend the sluggish bonds asunder,
Let the war-cry’s deaf’ning thunder
Every foe appall.
Echoes loudly waking,
Hill and valley shaking;
‘Till the sound spreads wide around,
The Saxon’s courage breaking;
Your foes on every side assailing,
Forward press with heart unfailing,
‘Till invaders learn with quailing,
Cambria ne’er can yield!
Thou, who noble Cambria wrongest,
Know that freedom’s cause is strongest,
Freedom’s courage lasts the longest,
Ending but with death!
Freedom countless hosts can scatter,
Freedom stoutest mail can shatter,
Freedom thickest walls can batter,
Fate is in her breath.
See, they now are flying!
Dead are heap’d with dying!
Over might hath triumph’d right,
Our land to foes denying;
Upon their soil we never sought them,
Love of conquest hither brought them,
But this lesson we have taught them,
"Cambria ne’er can yield!"
Woad (AKA The National Anthem of the Ancient Britons)
"Woad" (AKA: "The National Anthem of the Ancient Britons") is also sung to the tune of "Men of Harlech":
What’s the use of wearing braces,
Vests and pants and shoes with laces,
Spats and hats you buy in places,
Down in Brompton Road?
What’s the use of shirts of cotton,
Studs that always get forgotten?
These affairs are simply rotten,
Better far is woad.
Woad’s the stuff to show men;
Woad to scare your foemen;
Boil it to, a brilliant hue,
And rub it on your back and your abdomen.
Ancient Britons never hit on,
Anything as good as woad to fit on,
Neck, or knees, or where you sit on.
Tailors, you be blowed.
Romans came across the Channel,
All wrapped up in tin and flannel,
Half a pint of woad per man’ll,
Dress us more than these.
Saxons, you can waste your stitches,
Building beds for bugs in britches,
We have woad to clothe us, which is,
Not a nest for fleas.
Romans keep your armours;
Saxons your pyjamas,
Hairy coats were meant for goats,
Gorillas, yaks, retriever dogs and llamas.
Tramp up Snowdon with your woad on,
Never mind if you get rained or snowed on.
Never need a button sewed on.
Go it, Ancient B’s!
Men of Harlech - Welsh Guards - Regimental Slow March
"The Men of Harlech" is used by the Welsh Guards as their regimental slow march.
(Their regimental quick march is "The Rising of the Lark."
Please Miss, what’s a Saxon ?
Men of Harlech
Men of Harlech in the hollow, do you hear like rushing billow
Wave on wave that surging fellow battle’s distant sound
‘Tis the tramp of Saxon foemen, Saxon spearmen, Saxon bowmen
Be they knights or hinds or yeomen, they shall bite the ground
Loose the folds asunder, flag we conquer under
The placid sky, now calm on high shall launch its bolts of thunder
Onward, ‘tis our country needs us, he is bravest, he who leads us
Honor’s self now proudly heeds us: Freedom, God, and Right
Rocky steeps and passes narrow flash with spear and flight of arrow
Who would think of death or sorrow? Death is glory now
Hurl the reeling horsemen over, let the earth dead foemen cover
Fate of friend or wife or lover trembles on a blow
Strands of life are riven, blow for blow is given
In deadly lock or battle shock, and mercy shrieks to Heaven
Men of Harlech, young or hoary would you win a name in story
Strike for home, for life, for glory. Freedom, God, and Right
(the answer was "You are")
Men of Harlech
Sorry, I took it from from here http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/song-midis/Men_of_Harlech.htm and is the story I was expecting.
(and I just remembered - it was "Please Miss Evans …)
The March Of The Men Of Harlech, X:4
|: G3 F E3 F | G2 A2 B2 G2 | c2 B2 A2 G2 | F2 E2 F2 D2 |
G3 F E3 F | G2 A2 B e3 | d B3 A3 B | G4-G2 z2 :|
A3 G F3 G | A2 A2 z4 | d3 c B3 c | d2 d2 z4 |
d3 c B3 c | dedc B3 c | dedc BABc | d2 d2-d2 z2 |
e2 e2 d2 d2 | c2 c2 B2 B2 | A2 cB A2 G2 | F2 E2 F2 D2 |
G3 F E3 F | G2 A2 B e3 | d B3 A3 B | G4-G2 z2 |]
Men of Harlech, X:4
Setting as played at the Golden Guinea pub session, Bristol, UK. (Only played when the session night happens to coincide with St. David’s Day).