Hen Wlad fy Nhadau Lyrics

Hen Wlad fy Nhadau, Welsh National Anthem

The Welsh National Anthem, "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" (Land of my Fathers) is an iconic National Anthem and is generally considered to be amongst the finest anthems of the world. The Welsh National Anthem's lyrics and melody were composed by Evan and James James. The original manuscript of Hen Wlad fy Nhadau is stored in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth. It is always sung in Welsh and the English is almost never heard.


Hen Wlad fy Nhadau, memorial to the composers in Pontypridd
Memorial in Pontypridd to the composers of the Welsh National Anthem - Evan and James James -More "About Wales Articles", click here...

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    Welsh National Anthem - Composers 

    James James (also known by the bardic name Iago ap Ieuan) (1832–1902) was a harpist and musician from Hollybush, Blackwood, Wales. He composed the tune of the Welsh national anthem, Hen Wlad fy Nhadau.

    James was born on 4 November 1832, at the 'Ancient Druid Inn', Hollybush, in the parish of Bedwellty, Monmouthshire. He was the son of Evan James (1809–1878) and Elizabeth Stradling of Caerphilly. His father, a Welsh poet who wrote under the penname of leuan ab lago, moved with his family to Pontypridd, where he carried on the business of weaver and wool merchant, in about 1844. His son James assisted him in the business.

    First known as "Glan Rhondda" (the banks of the Rhondda)

    James James composed the melody which was later to be known as Hen Wlad fy Nhadau in January 1856. Its initial title was Glan Rhondda (The banks of the Rhondda), giving rise to the tradition that the tune had come to James as he walked on the bank of the river Rhondda. His father wrote the lyrics that eventually became the words of the Welsh national anthem. The story is that James asked his father if he could put some words to the tune he had just composed. Apparently, it took just one night and by the following day all three verses and chorus were written. 

    Hen Wlad fy Nhadau Lyrics - Welsh and English

    On almost every occasion, only the first verse of Hen Wlad fy Nhadau is sung but all three verses are listed below. The English version is hardly ever sung.

    Hen Wlad fy Nhadau Lyrics (in Welsh)

    Verse 1
    Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
    Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
    Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mad,
    Tros ryddid collasant eu gwaed.

    Gwlad, Gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad,
    Tra môr yn fur i'r bur hoff bau,
    O bydded i'r heniaith barhau.

    Verse 2
    Hen Gymru fynyddig, paradwys y bardd;
    Pob dyffryn, pob clogwyn, i'm golwg sydd hardd,
    Trwy deimlad gwladgarol, mor swynol yw si,
    Ei nentydd, afonydd, i mi.

    Verse 3
    Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad dan ei droed,
    Mae hen iaith y Cymry mor fyw ag erioed,
    Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad,
    Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.

    A translation of the words to the Welsh National Anthem in English is as follows;

    Hen Wlad fy Nhadau Lyrics (translated into English)

    Verse 1
    The land of my fathers is dear to me,

    Old land where the minstrels are honoured and free;
    Its warring defenders so gallant and brave,
    For freedom their life's blood they gave.

    Home, home, true I am to home,

    While seas secure the land so pure,
    O may the old language endure.

    Verse 2
    Old land of the mountains, the Eden of bards,

    Each gorge and each valley a loveliness guards;
    Through love of my country, charmed voices will be
    Its streams, and its rivers, to me.

    Verse 3
    Though foemen have trampled my land 'neath their feet,

    The language of Cambria still knows no retreat;
    The muse is not vanquished by traitor's fell hand,
    Nor silenced the harp of my land.


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    Last update 1st January 2023

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