Ar Hyd y Nos

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"Ar Hyd y Nos" (English: All Through the Night) is a Welsh song sung to a tune that was first recorded in Edward Jones' Musical and Poetical Relics of the Welsh Bards (1784). The most commonly sung Welsh lyrics were written by John Ceiriog Hughes (1832-1887), and have been translated into several languages, including English (most famously by Harold Boulton (1859–1935)[1]) and Breton. One of the earliest English versions, to different Welsh lyrics by one John Jones, was by Thomas Oliphant in 1862.[2]

The melody is also used in the hymns "Go My Children With My Blessing” (1983), “God That Madest Earth and Heaven” (1827) and "Father in your Love Enfold Us[3]".

The song is highly popular with traditional Welsh male voice choirs, and is sung by them at festivals in Wales and around the world.[4]

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.[5]


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.
Hyd y nos.
O mor siriol, gwena'r 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.
Hyd y nos.
Translation[citation needed]
All the stars' twinkles say
All through the night
"This is the way to the realm of glory,"
All through the night.
Other light is darkness
To show true beauty
The Heavenly family in peace
All through the night.
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.
Through the night.

Singable English lyrics to the same tune were written by Sir Harold Boulton in 1884:[7]

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 sleeping,
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.


There is evidence that the song has undergone the folk process to some degree, yielding several similar but modified versions.[8] In one alternative 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.[9]

Another alternative 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.[10]

Yet another alternative 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 singable and 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.[citation needed]

The tune is also used in the hymn "For the Fruit of All Creation" by Fred Pratt Green.[11] 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."

In popular culture[edit]

In music[edit]

In film[edit]

In television[edit]

  • The TV movie A Child's Christmas in Wales features the family singing the song towards the end of the film, but in English.
  • In season 3 of the series Angel, the character Daniel Holtz is frequently heard singing the English version of this song.
  • In the episode "Thursday's Child" in season 5 of Road to Avonlea, Alec King (played by Cedric Smith) sings the English version of this song to his son Daniel. However, the lullaby applies to everyone else awake in the household, given the recent bout of tuberculosis in the youngest daughter, Cecily, which has thrown the family into crisis.
  • In Season 1, Episode 3 "Denial, Anger, Acceptance" of HBO's popular television show The Sopranos, Meadow Soprano and her choir sing the English version of the song, intercut with the mock execution of Christopher Moltisanti, and the real execution of Brendan Filone.
  • In Series Two, Episode 26 of Monty Python's Flying Circus, the first two lines of the Welsh version are heard as an opening to a sketch about Welsh coal miners.
  • In Season Three, Episode 14 of Shining Time Station, Stacy Forgets Her Name, Grace and Rex in the Jukebox Band sing the first section of their lullaby medley to help Stacy Jones who has lost her memory.
  • In season 2, episode 4 of the American television series The Alienist, nurse Libby Hatch is humming the melody as she is seen lying next to the Matron she just killed.

In video games[edit]

  • Chapter IV of the 2015 video game The Order: 1886 features the Sir Harold Boulton lyrics of the folk song on a collectible wax cylinder in the psychiatric ward of the Royal London Hospital.

Sheet music gallery[edit]

See also[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. ^ "Father in your Love Enfold Us - All thru the Night".
  4. ^ Hywel, John (1987). Famous Songs of Wales/Caneuon Enwog Cymru. Penygroes, Caernarfon: Gwynn. ISBN 0-900426-60-8.
  5. ^ "TIR - Cerys Matthews - iTunes Preview". Rainbow City Records. Retrieved 30 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Ar Hyd Y Nos/All Through The Night". Cymdeithas Madog. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  7. ^ " entry".
  8. ^ "All Through the Night (Ar Hyd Y Nos)". Fresno State - The Ballad Index. California State University, Fresno. Retrieved 2020-07-12. I've seen a text which is about 95% identical to the one I know (too close to be an independent translation), but with some different words. - RBW
  9. ^ All Through the Night Translation,
  10. ^ Free Sheet music of All through the night,
  11. ^ Hymnal "Praise for the Lord" #919, words copyright 1970 by Hope Publishing Co.
  12. ^ "UR Research". University of Rochester Research. Retrieved 2022-02-09. v. l. no.1. All through the night
  13. ^ Jones, Victoria (5 October 2015). "Who wrote Hymns and Arias and what's it about? Why is it sung at Wales rugby matches?". Walesonline. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Kingston Trio - Last Month of the Year". Discogs. 1960. Retrieved 2022-05-09.
  15. ^ "A Run for Your Money (1949)". IMDb.
  16. ^ "The Proud Valley". Library of Congress. Retrieved 26 January 2020.

External links[edit]