Talk:Men of Harlech

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Songs (Rated C-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Songs, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of songs on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the quality scale.
Checklist icon

Discussion of lyrics[edit]

The article for this song seems reasonably good. The lyrics should be moved to Wikisource? JPB 19:02, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Probably should be moved, but I'm too lazy - all that dragging and dropping! --Jpbrenna 22:11, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Should there not be a copy of the welsh lyrics on this article? Emoscopes 04:03, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

Yes, but as Joshuabowman suggested, both Welsh and English lyrics should probably appear at Wikisource, not here.--Jpbrenna 04:23, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

None of these is the version I learned at school. I found it on another site but hesitate to post it without an attribution:

Men of Harlech (another version)

Fierce the beacon's light is flaming With its tongues of fire proclaiming Chieftains, sundered to your shaming Strongly now unite

At her call, all Arfon rallies War cries rend her hills and vallies Troop on troop, with headlong sallies Hurtle to the fight

Chiefs lie dead and wounded. Yet, where first was grounded, Freedom's flag still holds the crag; Her trumpet still is sounded.

There we'll keep her banner flying, While the pale lips of the dying Echo to our shouts defying HARLECH for the right!

Shall the Saxon army shake you Smite, pursue and overtake you? Men of Harlech, God will make you Victors, blow for blow.

The swollen rivers of Eryri Sweep the vale with flooded fury Gwalia from her mountain eryie Thunders on the foe.

Now avenging Briton, Smite as he has smitten Let your rage on history's page In Saxon blood be written.

His lance is long, but yours is longer. Strong his sword, but yours is stronger. One stroke more, and now your wronger At your feet, lies low.

The article is unclear as to which version is the original (though it seems confident in the identity of the first lyricist) or when the music or words were first written. It seems clear though theat it is of 18th or 19th century origin which makes the comment that it was "used during the Anglo-Welsh wars" completely wrong.

Cyclopaedic 09:53, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

And yet another version, that I learned at school, is the one starting "Men of Harlech! In the Hollow, Do ye hear like rushing billow" given on [1]. Before now, I never knew there was more than one version, so I've learned something today... --Froggienation 21:18, 28 August 2007 (UTC)

A possible inconsistancy... Origin of the song[edit]


The article says the song refers to the battle with 'Owain Glyndwr' but on the 'Harlech Castle' page it says it is in reference to a battle 60 years later. Just thought you might want to check. ???

Later. 15:29, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Good point. I always thought it was the Roses siege. It was traditionally said to commemorate the bravery of Constable Dafydd ap Ieuan ap Einion and his men during the 7 year siege of the Castle in the War of the Roses. This is what the Harlech town website, the S4C website, the BBC, and the books I have state. I am altering the page to reflect this.

Some references: 'The Oxford Companion to British History David Rees, The Son of Prophecy: Henry Tudor's Road to Bosworth Dictionary of Ancient & Medieval Warfare by Matthew Bennett (2001) Winnie Czulinski, Drone On!: The High History of Celtic Music (Sound And Vision, 2004) Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911 ed The Routledge Companion to Medieval Warfare - Page 291 Black's picturesque guide to North Wales - Page 209 Black Adam and Charles, ltd - 1857

The only refs I can find which make reference to it coming from the siege against Glyndwr’s men are on the web and most appear to have got it via Wikipedia. I think this may be a modern idea. My books on Glyndwr don’t mention it.

Has anyone got some printed sources for this?

B) The lyrics listed for 1860 are incorrect. Besides the fact the Welsh and English do not correspond this web site which references the Welsh folk Museum gives an entirely different version for the 1860 English lyrics by Baker and John Jones (Talhaiarn).

When the version first line “Glyndwr, see thy comet flaming” were first added they were unreferenced and undated:

Someone later said it was the translation of the 1860 version but it looks to me that it is a modern version of some kind. The lyrics don’t seem to be in Victorian or 18th century style. I can find few refs for this version on the web.

Has anyone got some sources for this? Otherwise I am going to alter the entry. --Machenphile 08:47, 23 August 2007 (UTC)

Definitely another Welsh version[edit]

The only complete Welsh version of this song I've ever heard is not included here. The first verse begins 'Harlech cafod dy baneri' (or pronounced Cymraeg is not too great) and ends in 'Cymru fo am byth' (and no, it has no relation to the version Charlotte Church sings).

I can't actually find it on the internet, which amazes me because I've heard about three different recordings by famous choirs (including the Morriston Orpheus Choir, who all use the version I'm referring to. Perhaps someone reading this might have a hard-copy reference to it? Rob Lindsey 09:24, 16 December 2006 (UTC)

There's a good reason for that; the version you're talking about is actually a) remarkably rare (personally, I've only heard Orpheus perform it), and b) not complete. As I recall, it's exactly half the length of the four versions that I know. It's original source so far as I know is (bizarrely enough) A Treatise on the Language, Poetry, and Music of the Highland Clans by Donald Campbell. I think (though I'm not certain) that it was published in 1858 (i.e. before this article currently claims the earliest Welsh lyrics appeared). Why Campbell included Harlech in there I don't know, but it's one of half-a-dozen Welsh melodies, along with a trio of Irish and a baker's dozen of Scottish tunes. It's also worth noting that these lyrics match the 1862 version, which is accompanied by Oliphant's English version, which in turn is identical to the 1830 English-only version, which Oliphant apparently penned but for some reason didn't put his name to until later. Seeing as even Oliphant claimed that the Welsh version came first, it's likely the 1858 lyrics he chose to accompany the 1862 printing were the ones he'd heard - or recalled hearing - before writing the 1830 version, and were thus written sometime between 1794 and 1830. Whether or not they're the original, however, is anyone's guess. (Because, you know, this doesn't all make it even more confusing).
The most common version (and the one I usually do personally, which I suppose biases me) is the Hughes version, which starts, "Wele goelcerth wen yn fflamio." There are also two versions attributed to Talhaiarn (other than the one 1863 version previously referenced) that are both truncated (the final eight bars only occurs after the second verse in both). IcarusPhoenix (talk) 03:46, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

The lyrics of the first half to the rare version can be found on the Morriston Orpheus Choir webpage. The second half of this version which the Treorchy Male Voice Choir sing seems to only exists on p.217 of A Treatise on the Language, Poetry, and Music of the Highland Clans by Donald Campbell. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:56, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

I think the lyrics belong here[edit]

I came to learn about the song, having heard a reference to it years ago in a Monty Python sketch (where one hears a performance introduced, "Men Of Harlech, for bicycle bells only"). I think the article about a song should have all the significant lyrics. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Mooncaine (talkcontribs) 05:05, 20 March 2007 (UTC).

Too many versions[edit]

No look, this is getting out of hand. There are far too many versions set out in full in the article. Private versions such as Canadian Hussars or Wrexham FC aren't notable enough to appear in full in an article about an ancient song, though they might be mentioned. This is the English language Wikipedia and full Welsh lyrics have no place here, as they will be incomprehensible to the vast majority of readers.

In the absence of consensus about no more than three sets of lyrics considered notable, I think all of them should be removed. My suggestion, though. would be that lyrics demonstrated to have been published in mainstream songboooks with a wide circulation be retained, and the rest removed.

The really notable thing about this song is that there are so many versions, and no apparently dominant version. That is what the article should discuss. Who did write it, and with what lyrics? Cyclopaedic 19:04, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

→Surely it would make sense to include the (previously included) lyrics of the linked to MP3 file (the Royal Regiment of Wales version)? It would seem to make sense for no other reason but the sake of clarity of people who visit the page. Psicic 16:26, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

→Agreed and done. (Forgot to login first though!) Markparker 08:33, 1 October 2007 (UTC)


Remember that copyright subsists in song lyrics, or adaptations of them. They can only be reproduced here if out of copyright or appropriately licensed. Cyclopaedic (talk) 09:25, 26 July 2009 (UTC)


Wikipedia is open source so as it is not making any money out of these lyrics, i see no harm. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Opensource4ever (talkcontribs) 21:23, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Two issues. First, we can only reproduce the lyrics if the copyright holder of the lyrics permits it. Secondly, you state that Wikipedia is open source, which is not correct. Wikipedia uses the CC-BY-SA 3.0 License. --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 20:56, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Im afraid i must support opensource4ever on this 1, wikipedia is so people can find information, not be censored to this extent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Themuffinmaniscool (talkcontribs) 17:44, 19 September 2009

Removing copyright violations is a legal requirement, not censorship. --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 17:46, 19 September 2009 (UTC)
User at IP address again reverted the deletion of the copyvio material. Please refrain from doing so. Cyclopaedic (talk) 21:38, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

More on origins[edit]

I did some fairly extensive Googling to try to find the song's origins and citations for them, but only ended up adding to the confusion with conflicting sources for authorship and first publication of the lyrics. Two older books actually suggested that the music was composed during the siege, but (not being a musical historian) I dismissed this as fundamentally unlikely. Cyclopaedic (talk) 11:31, 26 September 2009 (UTC)

Examples of use[edit]

I have again culled examples of use by [my school / university / regiment / sports club]. Please refrain from adding more. the article says that the song is widely used around the world, so isolated examples (or lists) do not add anything to an article about the song. Cyclopaedic (talk) 15:10, 13 January 2014 (UTC)

Mabon's 1910 Election Song[edit]

" Men of Harlech " is a patriotic song whose pattern lends itself to adaptations for various purposes e.g. comedic often, and this is an example taken from page 41 of ' Democratic Rhondda, Politics and Society, 1885 - 1951 ' by Chris Williams, UWP 1996 -

Mabon's 1910 Election Song

Rhondda men be strong in action,

We must rout the Tory faction,

And to win in this Election,

Mabon is our man.

The Tories' rule is Autocratic,

We must have it Democratic;

Therefore, with voice emphatic,

House of Lords must go.

Nought but tribulation,

Give they to the nation;

The People's votes and not the Lords'

Must govern legislation:

Vote for Freedom, no Protection,

Vote for Progress, no defection,

Vote for Mabon, next Election -

Strike a Free Trade blow.

( That is how it appears in this book - but for my own purposes I have split this up into four line sections, made the punctuation more emphatic and re-written one line as ' Give they to our nation ' instead etc. Mabon won the 1910 election, of course ... )DaiSaw (talk) 06:01, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

lyrics again[edit]

In case it is any use, here is a fairly literal English translation of the Welsh words that appear in the Welsh language article (which there is no need to paste here in full, but it's the version that starts "Wele goelcerth wen yn fflamio"). This is my own translation, so I guess that usual caveats about unsourced material would apply.

See a white bonfire flaming
and tongues of fire shouting
for the brave to come to strike
once again as one.
By the shouts of princes,
The voice of enemies, the clatter of weapons,
And the galloping of the cavalry,
Rock that clashes on rock.
Arfon will never be subdued
It is sung eternally;
Wales will be as Wales was
Eminent among nations
In the white light of yonder bonfire
On the lips of a dying Welshman
Independence is calling
For her bravest man.
The enemy may not kill and pursue.
Harlech! Harlech! Arise to pursue them.
The great Giver of our Freedom
gives us strength.
See Wales and her armies
Pouring down from the mountains
They rush like waterfalls
They bound like the flood!
Success to our cavalry
In restraining the stranger's sword!
May he know in his heart
How the sword of a Briton pierces.
Sword will play against sword,
Steel hit against steel.
See Wales's banner on high.
Freedom will go with her!

The word translated "Briton" in the last verse is of course as in Britons (Celtic people) - not the modern usage that includes the English!

Money money tickle parsnip (talk) 20:57, 24 April 2015 (UTC)