Reflections on modern culture, America, the progress of reason and freedom, and on any other subject of interest to me.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Men of Harlech, Lie Ye Dreaming?
Men of Harlech is a traditional Welsh song, which has many different versions of its lyrics. It tells the story of a Saxon invasion of Wales, and the Welsh defending their land and freedom. It's a rousing song to hear performed. If only the West still exhibited the spirit immortalized in this song. Unfortunately, we still lie dreaming.
In this Charlotte Church rendition, the first part is sung in Welsh, but it switches to English when the male choirs joins in. Here is the English portion of the lyrics:
Hark, I hear the foe advancing Barbed steeds are proudly prancing Helmets in the sunbeams glancing Cymru fo am byth Men of Harlech, lie ye dreaming See ye not their falchions gleaming While their pennons gaily streaming Cymru fo am byth. From the rocks resounding Let the war cry sounding Summon all at Cambria's call The haughty foe surrounding Men of Harlech, on to glory See your banner famed in story Waves these burning words before ye, Cymru fo am byth!
That line in Welsh, Cymru fo am byth, means something like "Cambria ne'er can yield!"
And here are two other versions of the song, which I like even better. The first one, I think, has the best poetry. The second one is the best philosophically.
Men of Harlech, lyrics by John Oxenford
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 Honor'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, 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.
The views expressed on Edelweiss are my own, and do not represent an official position of Objectivism or of Ayn Rand. I recommend Ayn Rand's writings to learn about her philosophy first hand. You will be amply rewarded for your efforts.
"Edelweiss, edelweiss, Every morning you greet me. Small and white, Clean and bright, You look happy to meet me. Blossom of snow May you bloom and grow, Bloom and grow forever. Edelweiss, edelweiss, Bless my homeland forever."
"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry, 1775