Owain Glyndyr's War Song
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

The tune is The Rising of the Lark, written by Elizabeth Grant (1745-1814). The words relating to Owain Glyndyr were written by Felecia Hemans sometime before the 1870s.

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In 1400 Owain Glyndyr (Owain ab Gruffydd or Owen Glendower) led a revolt against English rule in Wales. Glendower was descended from the princes of Powys. He had studied law in London and served with Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV). When he returned to Wales he found the oppressive English rule had stirred resentment. His feud with Lord Grey of Ruthin sparked an uprising in Northern Wales. By 1404 he controlled most of Wales and established a Welsh parliament. In 1405 the tide turned. He was defeated by Prince Henry (later Henry V). By 1408 Prince Henry had captured the main strongholds in Wales and thereafter Glendower was only able to conduct sporadic guerrilla fighting.

Saw ye the blazing star?
The Heav'ns looked down on Freedom's war
And lit her torch on high!
Bright on the Dragon crest
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 Glyndyr's name!

At the dead hour of night,
Marked 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!
Oh! eagle of the battles, rise,
The hope of Gwyned wakes;
It is your banner in the skies
Thro' each dark cloud that 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 ay.
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!
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From Our National Songs
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Information on Owen Glendower from
Encyclopedia Britannica, Micropedia, Vol IV
University of Chicago, 1977