Calon Lan

 

Calon Lân is a Welsh song, the words of which were written in the 19th century by Daniel James (23 January 1848 – 11 March 1920) to a tune by John Hughes (1872-1914).

To me this is one of the most beautiful songs I know. The first time I read the words it sent tingles up and down my spine.  So I tried to produce an English version that did some justice to the original.

Since then it’s slowly taken off. Arthur Bellis arranged it about 1976, and it gets used regularly by choirs, especially in NW England. Then it was used on BBC’s Songs of Praise, and now it’s been used by Russell Watson on his collection “Anthems: Music to Inspire a nation

Copyright of this English text to the arrangement by Cerys Matthews is registered with the Performing Rights Society (PRS).

Use of this text to any other arrangement is normally freely available for amateur, charitable and religious purposes, as specified in copyright.

Calon Lân English Translation

I’d not ask a life that’s easy,
Gold and pearls so little mean,
Rather seek a heart that’s joyful,
Heart that’s honest, heart that’s clean

 Heart that’s clean and filled with virtue,
Fairer far than lilies white,
Only pure hearts praise God truly,
Praise him all the day and night.

Why should I seek earthly treasures,
On swift wings they fly away,
Pure clean hearts bring greater riches
That for life eternal stay.

Heart that’s clean and filled with virtue,
Fairer far than lilies white,
Only pure hearts praise God truly,
Praise him all the day and night.

Dawn and sunset still I’m searching,
Reaching on a wing of song,
Give me Lord, through Christ my Saviour
That clean heart for which I long.

Heart that’s clean and filled with virtue,
Fairer far than lilies white,
Only pure hearts praise God truly,
Praise him all the day and night.

Welsh Original

Nid wy’n gofyn bywyd moethus,
Aur y byd na’i berlau mân:
Gofyn wyf am galon hapus,
Calon onest, calon lân.

Calon lân yn llawn daioni,
Tecach yw na’r lili dlos:
Dim ond calon lân all ganu-
Canu’r dydd a chanu’r nos.

Pe dymunwn olud bydol,
Hedyn buan ganddo sydd;
Golud calon lân, rinweddol,
Yn dwyn bythol elw fydd.

Calon lân yn llawn daioni,
Tecach yw na’r lili dlos:
Dim ond calon lân all ganu-
Canu’r dydd a chanu’r nos.

Hwyr a bore fy nymuniad
Esgyn ar adenydd cân
Ar i Dduw, er mwyn fy Ngheidwad,
Roddi i mi galon lân.

Calon lân yn llawn daioni,
Tecach yw na’r lili dlos:
Dim ond calon lân all ganu-
Canu’r dydd a chanu’r nos.

English Text copyright Malcolm Cowen 1975

 Posted by at 5:50 pm

  2 Responses to “Calon Lan”

  1. This translation is wrong! The words in welsh are canu’t dydd a Chanu’r nos , translate to english are, sing in the day and sing in the night.

    • Rydych chi’n iawn wrth gwrs. “Canu’r dydd a chanu’r nos” yw “Sing [all] the day and sing [all] the night”.
      Yn yr un fordd mae “lili dlos” yn saesneg “pretty lillies” nid “lillies white”.

      Ond mae hon yn fersiwn i ganu, fersiwn metrical, nid fersiwn gair i air.

      ————————-

      You are of course correct “Canu’r dydd a chanu’r nos” in English is “Sing [all] the day and sing [all] the night”.
      In the same way “lili dlos” in English is “pretty lillies” not “lillies white”.

      But this is a version to sing, a metrical version, not a word for word translation.

      Malcolm Cowen

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