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Welsh Melodies/The Hirlas Horn



Fill high the blue hirlas that shines like the wave3[1]
    When sunbeams are bright on the spray of the sea;
And bear thou the rich foaming mead to the brave,
    The dragons of battle, the sons of the free!
To those from whose spears, in the shock of the fight,
    A beam, like heaven's lightning,4[2] flash'd over the field;
To those who came rushing as storms in their might,
    Who have shiver'd the helmet, and cloven the shield;
The sound of whose strife was like oceans afar,
    When lances were red from the harvest of war.

Fill high the blue hirlas! O cup-bearer, fill
    For the lords of the field in their festival's hour,
And let the mead foam, like the stream of the hill
    That bursts o'er the rock in the pride of its power:
Praise, praise to the mighty, fill high the smooth horn
    Of honour and mirth,5[3] for the conflict is o'er;
And round let the golden-tipp'd hirlas be borne
    To the lion-defenders of Gwynedd's fair shore,
Who rush'd to the field where the glory was won,
As eagles that soar from their cliffs to the sun.

Fill higher the hirlas! forgetting not those
    Who shared its bright draught in the days which are fled!
Though cold on their mountains the valiant repose,
    Their lot shall be lovely—renown to the dead!
While harps in the hall of the feast shall be strung,
    While regal Eryri with snow shall be crown'd—
So long by the bards shall their battles be sung,
    And the heart of the hero shall burn at the sound.
The free winds of Maelor1[4] shall swell with their name,
    And Owain's rich hirlas be fill'd to their fame.

  1. 3"Fetch the horn, that we may drink together, whose gloss is like the waves of the sea; whose green handles show the skill of the artist, and are tipped with gold."—From the Hirlas Horn of Owain Cyfeiliog.
  2. 4"Heard ye in Maelor the noise of war, the horrid din of arms, their furious onset, loud as in the battle of Bangor, where fire flashed out of their spears?"—From the same.
  3. 5"Fill, then, the yellow-lipped horn—badge of honour and mirth."—From the same.
  4. 1Maelor, part of the counties of Denbigh and Flint, according to the modern division.