The Hirlas Horn
(Y Corn Hirlas)
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

The Hirlas Horn was a drinking-horn. It was long, blue and rimmed with silver. It was also used to sound an alarm on the battlefield.

On his way to Bosworth Field, Henry VII (then the Earl of Richmond) stopped at the home of Dafyyd ab Ieuan in Cardinganshire. After he was crowned, Henry sent his former host a hirlas, mounted in silver with "heraldic devices of much beauty". During the civil wars the hirlas came into the possession of the Earl of Carbery and was then at the seat of the Earl of Cawdor in Carmarthenshire. (This information from Antiquities of Wales.)

The English lyrics are by Mrs. Hemans.

Fill high the blue Hirlas!
That shines like a wave,
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 flight
A beam like Heav'n's lightning,
Flash oe'er 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, cupbearer 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 pow'r
Praise, priase to the mighty
Fill high the smooth horn
Of honor and mirth,
For the conflict is o'er;
And round let the golden tipp'd
Hirlas be borne
To the lion defenders
Of Gwynnedd's fair shore,
Who rush'd to the field
Where the glory was won,
As eagles that soar
From their cliffs to the sun!

Related Links
From The Songs of Wales
The Royal Edition
See Bibliography for full information.