Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Hymn of Cymraeg: Calon Lân

Some time in the second half of the 1800s, the lyrics of Calon Lân, the Welsh hymn was written by Gwyrosydd. Gwyrosydd is the bardic name chosen by Daniel James, who, not surprisingly, is best known today because he put the words to a tune created by John Hughes, a not too well known composer born in Dowl­ais, Wales. Daniel James was a poet, and of course, a hymn writer too, he is remembered mostly because this mere hymn. Calon Lân is perhaps one of the most popular Welsh traditional hymns and song and when people sing it, they do it only in original Welsh, very very, rarely this hymn is sung in English. Here up to these times, incidentally while we are the involuntary spectators of the greediest moments of hour western civilization, and the most profound clash of our values, come to us the voice and music of "Calon Lân" from the feelings and ethics of those people from a not too far away past of Wales. In here, I put the lyrics, which I have borrowed from Wikipedia and two translated versions of it, in English. In additions, below a "YouTube" featuring the sensational talent of Faryl Smith, an extraordinary 13 year-old Mezzo-Soprano. Therefore, read the lyrics and if you like the words and their meaning, then let's sing together with Faryl our pure heart forever... at least in Welsh for this time.

Lyrics of Calon Lân (A Pure Heart)

Nid wy'n gofyn bywyd moethus,
Aur y byd na'i berlau mân:
Gofyn 'rwyf am galon hapus,
Calon onest, calon lân.

Calon lân yn llawn daioni,
Tecach yw na'r lili dlos:
Dim ond calon lân all ganu
Canu'r dydd a chanu'r nos.
Pe dymunwn olud bydol, Hedyn buan ganddo sydd; Golud calon lân, rinweddol, Yn dwyn bythol elw fydd.
Hwyr a bore fy nymuniad
Gwyd i'r nef ar adain cân
Ar i Dduw, er mwyn fy Ngheidwad,
Roddi i mi galon lân.

Alternative words:
  • Verse 1, line 3: Gofyn wyf am fywyd hapus
  • Verse 2, line 2: Chwim adenydd iddo sydd
  • Verse 3, line 2: Esgyn ar adenydd cân
  • Chorus, line 3: Does ond calon lân all ganu
I don't ask for a luxurious life,
the world's gold or its fine pearls,
I ask for a happy heart,
an honest heart, a pure heart.

A pure heart full of goodness
Is fairer than the pretty lily,
None but a pure heart can sing,
Sing in the day, sing in the night.
If I wished for worldly wealth,
It would swiftly go to seed;
The riches of a virtuous, pure heart
Will bear eternal profit.
Evening and morning, my wish
Rising to heaven on the wing of song
To God, for the sake of my Saviour,
Give me a pure heart.
English translation
I’d not ask a life that’s easy,
Gold and pearls so little mean,
Rather seek a heart that’s joyful,
Heart that’s honest, heart that’s clean.
Heart that’s clean and filled with virtue,
Fairer far than lilies white,
Only pure hearts praise God truly,
Praise him all the day and night.
Why should I seek earthly treasures,
On swift wings they fly away,
Pure clean hearts bring greater riches
That for life eternal stay.
Dawn and sunset still I’m searching,
Reaching on a wing of song,
Give me Lord, through Christ my Saviour
That clean heart for which I long.
Alternative Translation in rhyme (by permission of author Malcolm Cowen )

Due to restrictions, I needed to find a video of the video. This below it is fine, and you will enjoy the voice of Faryl Smith.

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