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Famous Welsh Hymns and their History

Cwm Rhondda or what is commonly known as "Bread of Heaven"

The following are the English and Welsh versions of the hymn, as given in the standard collections.

 

John Hughes wrote the first version of the tune, which he called "Rhondda", in 1905 for the Cymanfa Ganu (hymn festival) in Pontypridd, when the enthusiasm of the 1904–1905 Welsh Revival still remained.[2] The present form was developed for the inauguration of the organ at Capel Rhondda, in Hopkinstown in the Rhondda valley, in 1907.[3] Hughes himself played the organ at this performance, using the English translation of William Williams's words because of the large number of English-speaking industrial workers who had immigrated to the area.[4] The name was changed from "Rhondda" to "Cwm Rhondda" by Harry Evans, of Dowlais, to avoid confusion with another tune by M O Jones.

source: Wikepedia

 

 Myfanwy


 

[Welsh]
[English]

Pa ham mae dicter, O Myfanwy,
Yn llenwi'th lygaid duon ddi?
A'th ruddiau tirion, O Myfanwy,
Heb wrido wrth fy ngweled i?
Pa le mae'r wen oedd ar dy wefus
Fu'n cynnau 'nghariad ffyddlon ffol?
Pa le mae sain dy eiriau melys,
Fu'n denu'n nghalon ar dy ôl?

2. Pa beth a wneuthym, O Myfanwy,
I haeddu gwg dy ddwyrudd hardd?
Ai chwarae oeddit, O Myfanwy
 thanau euraidd serch dy fardd?
Wyt eiddo im drwy gywir amod
Ai gormod cadw'th air i mi?
Ni cheisiaf fyth mo'th law, Myfanwy,
Heb gael dy galon gyda hi.

3. Myfanwy boed yr holl o'th fywyd
Dan heulwen disglair canol dydd.
A boed i rosyn gwridog ienctid
I ddawnsio ganmlwydd ar dy rudd.
Aug hofiar oll o'th add ewidion
A wnest i rywun, 'ngeneth ddel,
A rho dy law, Myfanwy dirion
I ddim ond dweud y gair "Ffarwel".

Why is it anger, O Myfanwy,
That fills your eyes so dark and clear?
Your gentle cheeks, O sweet Myfanwy,
Why blush they not when I draw near?
Where is the smile that once most tender
Kindled my love so fond, so true?
Where is the sound of your sweet words,
That drew my heart to follow you?

2. What have I done, O my Myfanwy,
To earn your frown? What is my blame?
Was it just play, my sweet Myfanwy,
To set your poet's love aflame?
You truly once to me were promised,
Is it too much to keep your part?
I wish no more your hand, Myfanwy,
If I no longer have your heart.

3. Myfanwy, may you spend your lifetime
Beneath the midday sunshine's glow,
And on your cheeks O may the roses
Dance for a hundred years or so.
Forget now all the words of promise
You made to one who loved you well,
Give me your hand, my sweet Myfanwy,
But one last time, to say "farewell".

 

 

The remains of Castell Dinas Bran stand above the Welsh town of Llangollen. The brooding site is the backdrop for the sad love story of Myfanwy. She is a princess and renowned for her beauty throughout Powys in Wales. Myfanwy is proud of her looks and wants her many suitors to proclaim her beauty in song and verse. Many come to court her but are not able to compose songs that truly reflect her looks. She rejects them all.

However, in the valley beneath the castle lives a poor bard Hywel ap Einion. Taking his courage in his hands the young bard goes to the castle and sings and plays for Myfanwy. Whilst he performs his song to her she is captivated and will look at no other. Hywel ap Einion believes his love for her to be reciprocated because of this.

His hopes and dreams are thwarted when a rich, handsome and more articulate man comes to seek her affection. The dejected Hywel then wanders the forests and lands of Difrdwy  and recites this sad poem to his unrequited love:

 

Myfanwy is a popular Welsh song that is thought to derive inspiration from the story of Myfanwy of Dina Bran. It was composed by Joseph Parry in 1875 with lyrics by Richard Davies (1833 – 1877), who used as his pen name Mynyddog.  Joseph Parry (21 May 1841 – 17 February 1903) was born in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. At the age of 13 years his family moved to United States of America. He lived in Danville, Pennsylvania where there was a significant Welsh community. When admitted to the Gorsedd  at the National Eisteddfod of Wales in 1865 he took the bardic name "Pencerdd America". In Wales, Brittany and Cornwall a bardic name is one adopted by poets. The term Gorsedd refers to a gathering of bards in these three Celtic nations.

Joseph Parry returned from the USA and following a period studying music became Professor of Music at the University of Wales. He composed the opera Blodwen in 1878. This was the first opera written in Welsh with the libretto by Richard Davies, who had died in 1877. The birthplace of Joseph Parry, 4 Chapel Row, Merthyr Tydfil, is now a museum and open to the public from April – September.

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