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Trelawny
English: The Song of the Western Men
Regional anthem of Cornwall
Lyrics Robert Stephen Hawker, 1824
Music Robert Stephen Hawker, 1824

"The Song of the Western Men" was written by Robert Stephen Hawker, and is also known by the title of "Trelawny".

Hawker wrote the song in 1824, telling of events that took place in 1688. When the song first appeared many thought it to be a contemporary record of events, although in fact the song contains one or two inaccuracies. The march on London described in this song only reached as far as Bristol, before Trelawny was acquitted by a jury in London and released. Many people have erroneously supposed the song to be ancient, among them, Sir Walter Scott, Lord Macaulay, and Charles Dickens.[1]

Hawker's version of Trelawny was possibly a rework of an original song that is said "to have resounded in every house, in every highway, and in every street."[2]

According to Cornish historian Robert Morton Nance, The Song of the Western Men was possibly inspired by the song Come, all ye jolly Tinner boys which was written more than ten years earlier in about 1807, when Napoleon Bonaparte made threats that would affect trade in Cornwall at the time of the invasion of Poland. Ye jolly Tinner boys contains the line "Why forty thousand Cornish boys shall knawa the reason why."[3]

The Trelawny in Hawker's song was Jonathan Trelawny (1650–1721), who was one of the seven bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London by James II in 1688. Born at Pelynt into an old Cornish family, his father, the 2nd Baronet of Trelawne, was a supporter of the Royalist cause during the English Civil War.

Despite its inaccuracies the song has become the Cornish national anthem and is a regular favourite sung at Cornish rugby union matches and other Cornish gatherings. Also, primary school children in some schools in Cornwall are taught the first verse and chorus, and sing it at events such as Murdoch Day.

Contents

Lyrics

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'Trelawny'

A good sword and a trusty hand!
A faithful heart and true!
King James's men shall understand
What Cornish lads can do!
And have they fixed the where and when?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here's twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!

Chorus

And shall Trelawny live?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here's twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!

Out spake their Captain brave and bold:
A merry wight was he:
Though London Tower were Michael's hold,
We'll set Trelawny free!
'We'll cross the Tamar, land to land:
The Severn is no stay:
With "one and all," and hand in hand;
And who shall bid us nay?

Chorus

And shall Trelawny live?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here's twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!

And when we come to London Wall,
A pleasant sight to view,
Come forth! come forth! ye cowards all:
Here's men as good as you.
'Trelawny he's in keep and hold;
Trelawny he may die:
Here's twenty thousand Cornish bold
Will know the reason why

Chorus

And shall Trelawny live?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here's twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!

Translation into Cornish

Can Tus West

Gans cledha da ha dorn yw lel
gwir lowen an golon,
yth aswon Myghtern Jamys fel
pandr' wrello Kernowyon.
Yw ordnys le ha prys ancow?
'Verow Trelawny bras?
Ottomma ugens mil Gernow
a wodhvydh oll an kas.

'Verow Trelawny bras?
'Verow Trelawny bras?
Ottomma ugens mil Gernow
a wodhvydh oll an kas.

Yn medh an Capten, byw y woos,
gwas jolif yn mysk cans,
"Tour Loundres kyn fe Carrek Loos
Y'n delirvsen diwhans!"
Ni a dres Tamer, tir dhe dir,
an Havren ny'gan let,
ha scoodh ryb scoodh, cowetha wir,
piw orthyn ni a set?

'Verow Trelawny bras?
'Verow Trelawny bras?
Ottomma ugens mil Gernow
a wodhvydh oll an kas.

Devedhys bys yn fos Loundres,
gwel deg dhyn, ni a gri:
"Dewgh mes, ownegyon oll, dewgh mes!
Gwell dus on esowgh whi!"
Trelawny yw avel felon
fast yn carharow tynn,
mes ugens mil a Gernowyon
godhvos an ken a vynn.

'Verow Trelawny bras?
'Verow Trelawny bras?
Ottomma ugens mil Gernow
a wodhvydh oll an cas.

Notes

  • The original words were written about Sir John Trelawny (Grandfather of the Bishop) who was leader of the King's party in Cornwall and on May 13, 1627 was committed to the Tower by the House of Commons for certain "offences against the liberty of free election" and comtempt of the House.[4]
  • "Michael's Hold" may refer to Archangel Michael, commander of the legions of Heaven. Other sources say the line refers to a hold on St Michaels Mount, (i.e.- a prison or cell).
  • There is some doubt as to whether the work was entirely original or an adaptation of an earlier tune, perhaps referring to the 'An Gof' Cornish Rebellion of 1497.
  • "Trelawny" is often referred to as the "unofficial" Cornish anthem and the most popular which is heard at Cornish rugby union matches and other Cornish gatherings, but the Cornish anthem that has been used by Gorseth Kernow for the last 75 plus years is "Bro Goth Agan Tasow" ("The Land of My Fathers", or, literally, "Old Country of our Fathers") with a similar tune to the Welsh national anthem ("Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau") and the Breton national anthem. "Bro Goth Agan Tasow" is not heard so often, as it is sung in Cornish). Those who prefer an anthem in English often use "Hail to the Homeland".

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ Cornish Folk Songs Brycchan Carey's Website
  2. ^ http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/june/7.htm
  3. ^ RootsWeb: CORNISH-L [CON] Trelawney
  4. ^ Edward Byles Cowell. The life and letters of R. S. Hawker (sometime Vicar of Morwenstow). Macmillan And Company Limited, London, 1904. p. 33.  

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