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Cymraeg

Folk songs


The Mari Lwyd Song

The Mari Lwyd in St Fagans.
The Mari Lwyd in St Fagans.

Well, gentle friends
Here we come
To ask may we have leave
To ask may we have leave
To ask may we have leave
To sing.

If we may not have leave,
Then listen to the song
That tells of our leaving
That tells of our leaving
That tells of our leaving
Tonight.

We have cut our shins
Crossing the stiles
To come here
To come here
To come here
Tonight.

If there are people here
Who can compose englynion
Then let us hear them now
Then let us hear them now
Then let us hear them now
Tonight.

If you've gone to bed too early
In a vengeful spirit,
Oh, get up again good–naturedly
Oh, get up again good–naturedly
Oh, get up again good–naturedly
Tonight.

The large, sweet cake
With all kinds of spices:
O cut generous slices
O cut generous slices
O cut generous slices
This Christmas–tide.

O, tap the barrel
And let it flow freely;
Don't share it meanly
Don't share it meanly
Don't share it meanly
This Christmas–tide.


SFNHM Tape 7. Collected October 1953 at Brynmenyn, near Bridgend, Glamorgan, from William Morgan Rees (railway worker, b. 1883), Woodlands, Brynmenyn, near Bridgend, Glamorgan, who recalled the annual visits of the Mari Lwyd in the area to the north–east of Bridgend up until around 1933.


Notes

Mari Lwyd (?Grey Mare/?Holy Mary) was the name most generally applied in Wales to the horse–figure formerly carried from door to door by wassail–singing groups during the Christmas season. This figure (which is, of course, represented in other countries) seems to have been once known all over southern Wales but during the present century relatively little has been seen of it outside of Glamorgan, where it is not yet completely extinct. The attendant ritual began with the singing of traditional stanzas by the Marl Lwyd group at the door, soliciting both permission to sing and entry into the house, and issuing a challenge to a versifying contest. The seven verses given in the present volume (which, incidentally, reflect local dialect forms) represent this opening phase only.

Click here to download the music to The Mari Lwyd Song