Myfanwy lyrics

‘Joseph Parry’, states Dulais Rhys, ‘was undoubtedly the leading Welsh musician in the second half of the nineteenth century.’ His music could be widely heard in chapels and in other public performances across Wales in that period. He was highly regarded in his field and was much sought after as a composer. Additionally, he put a lot of energy into encouraging the development of music in Wales. In his lifetime he composed ten operas, five cantatas and two oratorios, as well as a wide range of hymns and songs.

Parry was born in 1841 in Merthyr Tydfil in the area of Cyfarthfa– a hub of industrial activity. His upbringing was tough and in his formative years he worked in ironworks and coal mines.

Joseph Parry wrote the melody for Myfanwy, and the poet Richard Davies (Mynyddog – bard name) wrote the lyrics. It has been proposed that Richard Davies’s words were inspired by the 14th-century love story of Myfanwy Fychan of Castell Dinas Brân, and the poet Hywel ab Einion. The story is about unrequited love with the poet Hywel painfully reflecting on his unfulfilled desires. There has been some debate as to whether the melody was composed for the words by Parry or vice versa. 

The first performance of Myfanwy took place in Aberyswyth in 1875 conducted by Parry. It has become a timeless Welsh classic sung by choirs and famous musicians across Wales and further afield.

Segments of Joseph Parry’s life were portrayed in a television series called “Off to Philadelphia in the morning” written by Jack Jones – a mixture of facts and fiction.

The song features in the film How Green Was My Valley and also in the last scene of the Swansea-based movie Twin Town.

At Welsh gifts with heart we stock 30cm slate Myfanwy plaques.

Myfanwy slate plaque

Below are the lyrics for Myfanwy in Welsh and an English translation.

Myfanwy lyrics in Welsh

Paham mae dicter, O Myfanwy,
Yn llenwi’th lygaid duon di?
A’th ruddiau tirion, O Myfanwy,
Heb wrido wrth fy ngweled i?
Pa le mae’r wên oedd ar dy wefus
Fu’n cynnau cariad ffyddlon ffôl?
Pa le mae sain dy eiriau melys,
Fu’n denu nghalon ar dy ôl?

Pa beth a wneuthum, O Myfanwy,
I haeddu gwg dy ddwyrudd hardd?
Ai chwarae’r oeddit, O Myfanwy,
 thanau euraidd serch dy fardd?
Wyt eiddo i’m trwy gywir amod,
A’i gormod cadw’th air i mi?
Ni fynaf byth mo’th law, Myfanwy,
Heb gael dy galon gyda hi.

Myfanwy, boed yr holl o’th fywyd,
Dan heulwen ddisglair canol dydd.
A boed i rosyn gwridog iechyd
I ddawnsio ganmlwydd ar dy rudd;
Anghofia’r oll o’th addewidion,
A wneist i rywun, eneth ddel,
A dyro’th law, Myfanwy dirion,
I ddim ond dweud y gair “Ffarwél”.

Myfanwy lyrics in English

Why does anger, Oh Myfanwy,
Fill your dark eyes?
And your gentle cheeks, Oh Myfanwy,
Without blushing while beholding me?
Where is the smile that was upon your lips
That kindled foolish faithful love?
Where is the sound of your sweet words
That drew my heart after you?

What was it that I did, Oh Myfanwy,
To deserve the frown of your beautiful cheeks?
Were you playing, Oh Myfanwy,
With the golden fires of your poet’s love?
You belong to me, through true proviso,
And is it too much to keep your word to me?
I’ll never leave your hand, Myfanwy,
Unless I have your heart with it.

Myfanwy, may all of your life be
Beneath the sparkling sunshine of midday.
And may blushing roses of health
Dance on your cheek a hundred years.
Forget all your promises,
That you made to someone, pretty girl,
And give your hand, sweet Myfanwy,
Just to say the word “Farewell”.

Bryn Terfel Myfanwy

Opera singer, Bryn Terfel recorded a choral version of the song on his album “We’ll Keep a Welcome”.

Cerys Matthews Myfanwy

 

 Cerys Matthews recorded a guitar version for her 2010 album Tir,

 

References

Joseph Parry & Chapel Row (alangeorge.co.uk)

Joseph Parry – Wikipedia

BBC Wales – History – Themes – Myfanwy of Dinas Bran

 

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