Welsh Melodies/Owain Glyndwr's War Song
OWEN GLYNDWR'S WAR-SONG.
Saw ye the blazing star!1
The heavens look'd down on freedom's war,
And lit her torch on high!
Bright on the dragon crest2
It tells that glory's wing shall rest,
When warriors meet to die!
Let earth's pale tyrants read despair
And vengeance in its flame;
Hail ye, my bards! the omen fair
Of conquest and of fame,
And swell the rushing mountain air
With songs to Glendwr's name.
At the dead hour of night,
Mark'd ye how each majestic height
Burn'd in its awful beams?
Red shone th' eternal snows,
And all the land, as bright it rose,
Was full of glorious dreams!
O eagles of the battle,3 rise!
The hope of Gwynedd wakes!4
It is your banner in the skies
Through each dark cloud which breaks,
And mantles with triumphal dyes
Your thousand hills and lakes!
A sound is on the breeze,
A murmur as of swelling seas!
The Saxon on his way!
Lo! spear and shield and lance,
From Deva's waves, with lightning glance,
Reflected to the day!
But who the torrent-wave compels
A conqueror's chain to bear?
Let those who wake the soul that dwells
On our free winds, beware!
The greenest and the loveliest dells
May be the lion's lair!
Of us they told, the seers,
And monarch bards of elder years,
Who walk'd on earth as powers!
And in their burning strains,
A spell of might and mystery reigns,
To guard our mountain-towers!
—In Snowdon's caves a prophet lay:5
Before his gifted sight,
The march of ages pass'd away
With hero-footsteps bright;
But proudest in that long array,
Was Glendwr's path of light!
- 1The year 1402 was ushered in with a comet or blazing star, which the bards interpreted as an omen favourable to the cause of Glendwr. It served to infuse spirit into the minds of a superstitions people, the first success of their chieftain confirmed this belief, and gave new vigour to their actions.—Pennant.
- 2Owen Glendwr styled himself the Dragon; a name he assumed in imitation of Uthyr, whose victories over the Saxons were foretold by the appearances of a star with a dragon beneath, which Uthyr used as his badge; and on that account it became a favourite one with the Welsh.—Pennant.
- 3"Bring the horn to Tudwrou, the Eagle of Battles."—See the Hirlas Horn of Owain Cyfeiliog. The eagle is a very favourite image with the ancient Welsh poets.
- 4Gwynedd, (pronounced Gwyneth,) North Wales.
- 5Merlin, or Merddin Emrys, is said to have composed his prophecies on the future lot of the Britons, amongst the mountains of Snowdon. Many of these, and other ancient prophecies, were applied by Glyndwr to his own cause, and assisted him greatly in animating the spirit of his followers.