Men of Harlech

Men of Harlech is a song about Owain Glyndwr's defence of Cambria from the English
invaders. There are numerous versions of this classic Welsh song. As such, I have several
different versions below. The first two are generally believed to be the first two recorded
versions of this song.

Men Of Harlech - Gems of Welsh Melody (ed. John Owen, "Owain Alaw", 1860)

March ye men of Harlech bold, Unfurl your banners in the field,
Be brave as were your sires of old, And like them never yield!
What tho' evry hill and dale, Echoes now with war's alarms,
Celtic hearts can never quail, When Cambria calls to arms.

By each lofty mountain, By each crystal fountain,
By your homes where those you love Await your glad returning,
Let each thought and action prove, True glory can the Cymru move,
And as each blade gleams in the light, Pray "God defend the right!"

Clans from Mona wending, Now with Arvon blending,
Haste with rapid strides along The path that leads to glory,
From Snowdon's hills with harp and song, And Nantlle's vale proceeds a throng,
Whose ranks with yours shall proudly vie, "And nobly win or die!"

March ye men of Harlech go, Lov'd fatherland your duty claims,
Onward comes the Saxon foe, His footsteps mark'd in flames;
But his march breeds no dismay, Boasting taunts we meet with scorn,
Craven like their hosts shall flee Like mists before the morn.

On the foemen dashing, Swords and bucklers clashing;
Smite with will their savage band Nor think of e'er retreating:
But with a firm unflinching hand, In blood quench ev'ry burning brand,
And for each roof tree cast away A Saxon life shall pay.

Thus each bosom nerving, From no danger swerving,
Soon shall the invader feel The doom of fate rewarding;
They firmly grasp the flashing steel, And as ye strike for Cymru's weal,
Be this your cry, till life's last breath - "Our Liberty or Death!"

The song appeared next in The Songs of Wales, (ed. Brinley Richards, 1873).
In this version the words are by John Oxenford.

An audio rendition of this version is also available Here

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, Ev'ry foe appal.

Echoes loudly waking, Hill and valley shaking;
'Till the sound spreads wide around, The Saxon's courage breaking;
Your foes on ev'ry 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 heaped with dying!
Over might has triumphed 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.

Men of Harlech version found on web

Harlech, raise thy banners o'er us
See the foe array'd before us
Men of Meirion shout the chorus
Cambria live for aye!
Should until the cry is sounding
To our land's remotest bounding
And Eryri is resounding
Cambria live for aye!

Heroes, soldiers, rally
On the foe we'll sally
We will chase the hostile race
From stream and hill and valley
Conquest's banner proudly bearing
We'll exult in their despairing
Victory the shout declaring
Cambria live for aye!

Swords are reddening, life-blood poureth
Loud the din of battle roareth
Louder still the war-cry soareth
Cambria live for aye!

Spears and arrows swift are glancing
Trumpets sounding, charges prancing
Serried ranks with shouts advancing
Cambria live for aye!

Fierce his spirit rages
Who with foe engages
Hand to hand for Fatherland
With honour held for ages.
Wild the conflict, see they're reeling
Vengeance now the sword is dealing
Victory is thunder pealing
Cambria live for aye!

Welsh version of above song

Rhyfelgyrch Gwyr Harlech
Wele goelcerth wen yn fflamio
A thafodau tân yn bloeddio
Ar i'r dewrion ddod i daro
Unwaith eto'n un
Gan fanllefau tywysogion
Llais gelynion, trwst arfogion
A charlamiad y marchogion
Craig ar graig a g ryn.

Arfon byth ni orfydd
Cenir yn dragywydd
Cymru fydd fel Cymru fu
Yn glodfawr ym mysg gwledydd.
Yng ngwyn oleuni'r goelcerth acw
Tros wefusau Cymro'n marw
Annibyniaeth sydd yn galw
Am ei dewraf ddyn.

Ni chaiff gelyn ladd ac ymlid
Harlech! Harlech! cwyd i'w herlid
Y mae Rhoddwr mawr ein Rhyddid
Yn rhoi nerth i ni.

Wele Gymru a'i byddinoedd
Yn ymdywallt o'r mynyddoedd!
Rhuthrant fel rhaeadrau dyfroedd
Llamant fel y lli!

Llwyddiant i'n marchogion
Rwystro gledd yr estron!
Gwybod yn ei galon gaiff
Fel bratha cleddyf Brython
Y cledd yn erbyn cledd a chwery
Dur yn erbyn dur a dery
Wele faner Gwalia'i fyny
Rhyddid aiff â hi!

Men of Harlech by John Guard

1. Tongues of fire on Idris flaring,
News of foemen near declaring,
To heroic deeds of daring,
Call you, Harlech men.
Groans of wounded peasants dying,
Wails of wives and children flying,
For the distant succour crying,
Call you, Harlech Men.
Shall the voice of wailing,
Now be an unavailing,
You to rouse, who never yet
In battle hour were failing?
This our answer, crowds down pouring,
Swift as winter torrents roaring;
Not in vain the voice imploring
Calls on Harlech men.

2. Load the martial pipes are sounding,
Ev'ry manly heart is bounding,
As our trusted chief surrounding,
March we, Harlech men.
Short the sleep the foe is taking;
Ere the morrows morn is breaking,
They shall have a rude awakening,
Roused by Harlech Men.
Mothers, cease your weeping,
Calm may be your sleeping,
You and yours in safety now,
The Harlech men are keeping.
Ere the sun is high in heaven,
They yon fear, by panic riven,
Shall, like frightened sheep, be driven,
Far, by Harlech men.

Men of Harlech as sung by the Royal Regiment of Wales in the chapel at Rourkes Drift.

Men of Harlech - yet another version

Men of Harlech! In the hollow,
Do ye hear like rushing billow
Wave on wave that surging follow
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 bright on high,
Shall launch its bolts in thunder!
Onward! 'tis the country needs us,
He is bravest, he who leads us
Honour's self now proudly heads 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, of wife, of 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!

Men of Harlech stop your dreaming
Can't you see their spear points gleaming
See their warrior's pendants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Harlech stand ye steady
It cannot be ever said ye
For the battle were not ready
Stand and never yield.
Through the hills surrounding
Let this war cry sounding
Summon all to Cambria's call
The mighty force surrounding.
Men of Harlech onto glory
This shall ever be your story
Keep this fighting words before ye
Cambria will not yield

Men of Harlech -- Zulu Version

Men of Harlech stop your dreaming
Can't you see their spear points gleaming
See their warrior's pennants streaming
To this battle field

Men of Harlech stand ye steady
It cannot be ever said ye
For the battle were not ready
Stand and never yield

From the hills rebounding
Let this war cry sounding
Summon all at Cambria's call
The mighty force surrounding

Men of Harlech onto glory
This shall ever be your story
Keep these fighting words before ye
Cambria (Welshmen never) will not yield