Ar Hyd y Nos

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Ar Hyd y Nos (English: All Through the Night) is a Welsh folksong sung to a tune that was first recorded in Edward Jones' Musical and Poetical Relics of the Welsh Bards (1784). The Welsh lyrics were written by John Ceiriog Hughes, and have been translated into several languages, including English (most famously by Harry Boulton[1]) and Breton. One of the earliest English versions was by Thomas Oliphant in 1862.[2]

The melody was used by John Gay in The Beggar's Opera.[3] It is also used in the hymn "Go My Children With My Blessing."

The song is highly popular with traditional Welsh male voice choirs, and is sung by them at festivals in Wales and around the world.[3]

The song is also sometimes considered a Christmas carol, and as such has been performed by many artists on Christmas albums, including Olivia Newton-John and Michael McDonald, who sang it as a duet on Newton-John's 2007 album Christmas Wish. Cerys Matthews sang it solo on her 2010 album Tir.[4]

American spiritual singer Anthony Brown recorded the English version by Sir Harold Boulton on his 2006 album Each Other's Light, Songs Of Peace, Hope And Justice.[5]

"Ar Hyd Y Nos", recorded in 1899

Lyrics[edit]

Welsh[6]
Holl amrantau'r sêr ddywedant
Ar hyd y nos
"Dyma'r ffordd i fro gogoniant,"
Ar hyd y nos.
Golau arall yw tywyllwch
I arddangos gwir brydferthwch
Teulu'r nefoedd mewn tawelwch
Ar hyd y nos.
O mor siriol, gwena seren
Ar hyd y nos
I oleuo'i chwaer ddaearen
Ar hyd y nos.
Nos yw henaint pan ddaw cystudd
Ond i harddu dyn a'i hwyrddydd
Rhown ein golau gwan i'n gilydd
Ar hyd y nos.
English[7]
All the stars' twinkles say
All through the night
"This is the way to the realm of glory,"
All through the night.
Darkness is another light
That exposes true beauty
The Heavenly family in peace
All through the night.
O, how cheerful smiles the star,
All through the night
To light its earthly sister
All through the night.
Old age is night when affliction comes
But to beautify man in his late days
We'll put our weak light together
All through the night.

Different English lyrics were written by Sir Harold Boulton in 1884[citation needed] and set to the same tune.

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping
Hill and vale in slumber steeping,
I my loving vigil keeping
All through the night.
While the moon her watch is keeping
All through the night
While the weary world is sleeping
All through the night
O'er thy spirit gently stealing
Visions of delight revealing
Breathes a pure and holy feeling
All through the night.

Variations[edit]

In an alternate version, the second verse is substituted with:

Angels watching ever round thee
All through the night
In thy slumbers close surround thee
All through the night
They will of all fears disarm thee,
No forebodings should alarm thee,
They will let no peril harm thee
All through the night.[8]

Another alternate version features a more neutral, night song text:

Deep the silence 'round us spreading
all through the night.
Dark the path that we are treading
all through the night.
Still the coming day discerning
by the hope within us burning.
To the dawn our footsteps turning
all through the night.
Star of faith the dark adorning
all through the night.
Leads us fearless t'wards the morning
all through the night.
Though our hearts be wrapt in sorrow,
from the hope of dawn we borrow
promise of a glad tomorrow
all through the night.[9]

Yet another alternate version of the second verse is as follows:

You my child a babe of wonder
All through the night
Dreams you dream can't break from thunder
All through the night
Through your dreams you're gently healing
Visions of delight revealing
Slumber time is so appealing
All through the night

A. G. Prys-Jones wrote a more literal but still rhyming version:

Ev'ry star in heaven is singing
All through the night,
Hear the glorious music ringing
All through the night.
Songs of sweet ethereal lightness
Wrought in realms of peace and whiteness;
See, the dark gives way to brightness
All through the night.
Look, my love, the stars are smiling
All through the night.
Lighting, soothing and beguiling
Earth's sombre plight:
So, when age brings grief and sorrow,
From each other we can borrow
Faith in our sublime tomorrow,
All through the night.[7]

The tune is also used in the hymn "For the Fruit of All Creation" by Fred Pratt Green.[10]

The first verse of Green's lyrics (used widely in the harvest season and at Thanksgiving) ends with these words:

"For the plowing, sowing, reaping, silent growth while we are sleeping, Future needs in earth's safekeeping, thanks be to God."

Cultural references[edit]

In music[edit]

  • Ferdinand Ries used the tune and variations upon it in Ouverture bardique (WoO 24, 1815).
  • British composer Cyril Scott used the tune for the first of his three British Melodies for piano (1912).
  • The doo-wop group The Mystics, in the line-up that included Paul Simon (then recording at Jerry Landis) had a hit with a sped-up version.


In film[edit]

In television[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Krehbiel, Henry Edward, ed. Famous Songs. Cincinnati: John Church Co., 1902.
  2. ^ published in Welsh Melodies, With Welsh And English Poetry, by John Jones (Talhaiarn) & Thomas Oliphant. Author: John Thomas
  3. ^ a b Hywel, John (1987). Famous Songs of Wales/Caneuon Enwog Cymru. Penygroes, Caernarfon: Gwynn. ISBN 0-900426-60-8. 
  4. ^ "TIR - Cerys Matthews - iTunes Preview". Rainbow City Records. Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Each Other's Light, Songs of Peace, Hope and Justice - Anthony Brown - iTunes Preview". Brown, Anthony (2006). Retrieved 30 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "Ar Hyd Y Nos/All Through The Night". Cymdeithas Madog. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "LISTSERV 15.5 - WELSH-L Archives". LISTSERV Archives. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  8. ^ All Through the Night Translation, http://www.mcglaun.com/thru_night.htm
  9. ^ Free Sheet music of All through the night, http://www.labbe.de/liederbaum/index.asp?themaid=5&titelid=83
  10. ^ Hymnal "Praise for the Lord" #919, words copyright 1970 by Hope Publishing Co.
  11. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041831/soundtrack?ref_=tt_trv_snd

External links[edit]