The Ash Grove / Llwyn Onn

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Melody - Seq. by Barry Taylor
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Top: traditional with loose translation on right
Middle: variant version
Bottom: set of English lyrics

Ym mhalas Llwyn Onn gynt, fe drigai pendefig,
Efe oedd ysgweiar ac arglwydd y wlad;
Ac iddo un eneth a anwyd yn unig,
A hi nôl yr hanes oedd aeres ei thad.
Aeth cariad i'w gweled yn lân a phur lencyn,
Ond codai'r ysgweiar yn araf ac erch,
I aethu'r bachgennyn, ond gwyrodd ei linyn,
A'i ergyd yn wyrgam i fynwes ei ferch.

2. Rhy hwyr ydoedd galw y saeth at y llinyn
Â'r llances yn marw yn welw a gwan;
Bygythiodd ei gleddyf trwy galon y llencyn,
Ond ni redai cariad un fodfedd o'r fan.
Roedd golud, ei darpar, yn hen ac anynad,
A geiriau diwethaf yr aeres hardd hon,
Oedd, 'Gwell gennyf farw trwy ergyd fy nghariad
Na byw gyda golud ym mhalas Llwyn Onn.'

The grand Ash Grove Palace was home to a chieftan
Who ruled as the squire of a handsome domain;
His beautiful daughter had many rich suitors
But offers of marriage she met with disdain.
She only had eyes for a pure-hearted peasant,
Which kindled a rage in her proud father's chest,
He shot at her sweetheart, but misfired the arrow,
Which sunk itself deep in his dear daughter's breast.

2. That jealous, cruel warrior was powerless to save his daughter
She fell to the ground in agony, pierced by his dart;
He then unsheathed his broadsword to slay her defenceless lover,
And drove a steel blade through the poor man's pure heart.
So much hatred and bitter sorrow and years of repentence,
Was all this great chieftan earned from his vast treasure trove:
The girl cried: 'I would rather die here now beside my lover,
Than live out a life of grief in the lonely Ash Grove'.


Y lloer oedd yn codi dros gopa'r hen dderwen
A'r haul a fachludai i ddyfnder y don.
A minnau mewn cariad a'm calon yn curo,
Yn disgwyl f'anwylyd dan gysgod Llwyn Onn.
Mor wyn y bythynnod gwyngalchog ar wasgar
Hyd erchwyn cyfoethog mynyddig fy mro:
Adwaenwn bob tyddyn, pob boncyff a brigyn
Lle deuai cariadon i rodio'n eu tro.
2. Mor hir y bu'r disgwyl o fore hyd noswyl,
Mor gyndyn bu'r diwrnod yn dirwyn i ben:
A minnau mor hapus, ac eto mor glwyfus,
A'm meddwl a'm calon yn eiddo i Gwen:
Cysgodion yr hwyr oedd yn taenu eu cwrlid,
A hir oedd ymaros ar noson fel hon;
Ond pan ddaeth fy nghariad cyflymai pob eiliad,
Aeth awr ar amrantiad, dan gysgod Llwyn Onn.

The ash grove, how graceful, how plainly tis speaking,
The harp wind through it playing has language for me.
Whenever the light through its branches is breaking
A host of kind faces is gazing on me.
The friends of my childhood again are before me,
Each step wakes a memory as freely I roam.
With soft whispers laden its leaves rustle o'er me,
The ash grove, the ash grove again alone is my home.
2. Down yonder green valley where streamlets meander
When twilight is fading I pensively rove.
Or at the bright noontide in solitude wander
Amid the dark shades of the lonely ash grove.
Twas there while the blackbird was cheerfully singing
I first met that dear one, the joy of my heart.
Around us for gladness the bluebells were springing
The ash grove, the ash grove that sheltered my home.
3. My laughter is over, my step loses lightness,
Old countryside measures steal soft on my ears;
I only remember the past and its brightness,
The dear ones I mourn for again gather here.
From out of the shadows their loving looks greet me,
And wistfully searching the leafy green dome,
I find other faces fond bending to greet me,
The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home.

Sorry to be a pendant, but the first two verses of the Welsh lyrics are quite different in meaning to the English lyrics printed.

"Ym mhalas Llwyn Onn gynt, fe drigai pendefig" translates as "In the grand Ash Grove Palace there lived a bold chieftan", and the lyrics go on to describe his daughter's love for a man he disapproved of, whom the chieftan shoots at but misses, inadvertantly hitting the girl, before running his sword through her paramour. The song ends with the lines "Gwell gennyf farw trwy ergyd fy ngharaid/Na byw gyda golud ym mhalas Llywn Onn", which is the daughter's dying lament: "Tis better to die by my own lover's side/Than to live on in sorrow in the Ash Grove Palace."

This is a popular version of the song in Welsh, so I'm not suggesting you should do away with these lyrics; I just think you might usefully post an accurate translation of them. - Sebastian Secker Walker.

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