What are the lyrics to the Welsh National Anthem – and what do they mean?

1 March 2019, 09:42 | Updated: 21 March 2019, 11:14

What are the lyrics to the Welsh National Anthem?
What are the lyrics to the Welsh National Anthem? Picture: Getty Images

By Sofia Rizzi

‘Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’ – or ‘Land Of My Fathers’ in English – is Wales’ rambunctious National Anthem. But what do the lyrics mean, and who wrote them?

Here’s everything you need to know about Wales’ national song, from its composer to its lyrics and English translation.

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What are the lyrics to ‘Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’?

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

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

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.

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.

Wales v Australia - International Friendly
‘Land Of My Fathers’ is sung at the beginning of rugby matches. Picture: Getty

Who composed it – and who has performed it?

With Wales’ impressive choral heritage in mind, it’s no surprise the national anthem of the Land of Song is one of the most memorable out there.

Its creation was a family affair: the lyrics were written by Evan James and the melody composed by his son, James James, in January 1856.

The song, ‘Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau’, which translates to ‘Land Of My Fathers’, is traditionally sung at the beginning of rugby matches and at national events. World-renowned Welsh singers Bryn Terfel and Katherine Jenkins have both sung the anthem at multiple sporting events.

What do the lyrics mean?

The song talks of Wales' rich heritage and culture of poetry, music, patriotic heroes, linguistic pride and, of course, Wales' inimitable landscape. It translates as the following:

1. This land of my fathers is dear to me
Land of poets and singers, and people of stature
Her brave warriors, fine patriots
Shed their blood for freedom

Chorus:
Land! Land! I am true to my land!
As long as the sea serves as a wall
For this pure, dear land

May the language endure for ever.

2. Old land of the mountains, paradise of the poets,
Every valley, every cliff a beauty guards;
Through love of my country, enchanting voices will be
Her streams and rivers to me.

3. Though the enemy have trampled my country underfoot,
The old language of the Welsh knows no retreat,
The spirit is not hindered by the treacherous hand
Nor silenced the sweet harp of my land.

Bryn Terfel and Katherine Jenkins perform the Welsh anthem at Wales v Australia
Bryn Terfel and Katherine Jenkins perform the Welsh anthem. Picture: Getty