Song of the day (3rd June) – Gwilym Bowen Rhys – “Hogyn Gyrru’r Wedd” (The Ploughboy).

   Hey people! 🙂 

   I’d like to share with you all one more song from Gwilym Bowen Rhys’ album Detholiad o hen Faledi I (Selection of Old Ballads I). This song is actually a translation from English, the original traditional English song is called The Farmer’s Boy. It is said to have been written by Charles Whitehead, the brother-in-law of the Reverend Thomas Fownes Smith who was a Baptist minister in Little Leigh in England and the song is allegedly based on Reverend Smith’s life, though it was popular all around England. It’s sung to the tune of the Napoleonic Wars song called Ye Sons of ALbion. The Welsh version was written by the poet Richard Davies Mynyddog. I like this version a lot more than the English one, both in terms of the lyrics, which feel a bit more evocative, and Gwilym’s interpretation. The translation below comes, as is usually the case with Gwilym’s songs on my blog, from Gwilym’s website.  Please keep in mind that, like I said, it’s Gwilym’s English translation of the Welsh translation, rather than the English original. I emphasise that because I’ve had quite a few confused non-Welsh speakers coming here and wondering about Welsh versions of English songs that I’ve shared on here and why the lyrics on my blog aren’t the same that they are familiar with. 🙂 

The sun it sinks over the hill
into the depths like some giant
When a frightful pale boy knocks
on the door of a big farmhouse.
He asks from ‘neath his sack
With his cheeks all grey;
“where can I earn a little poor wage
As a ploughboy?
As a ploughboy?”

“There’s seven of us with my mother
And my father’s in a damp grave
And worse than this, me myself
Is the eldest of all seven,
I’ll do my part, despite my small size
And despite how grey my cheeks are,
If I can only earn a little poor wage
As a ploughboy,
As a ploughboy.”

“If my help is not needed
May I have from you
Some shelter through the wet night
From the cold of the black winter.
After a long night I’ll look for work
So that my cheeks can be restored,
If I can only earn a little poor wage
As a ploughboy
As a ploughboy”

Well the wife of the house lovingly said;
“Take him for goodness sake!”
“ Yes father!” says the daughter
With her tears flowing down.
“It’s a pity that there’s anyone now
Still wandering with grey cheeks”
If he could only earn a little poor wage
As a ploughboy,
As a ploughboy.

The father and mother went before long
To Tan-y-Graig cemetery,
And the house became property of the lad
And the daughter became his wife.
In a pure home he sings a song
With gentle and healthy cheeks,
Remembering the day he came to the house
As a ploughboy
As a Ploughboy.