Folk songs


The Mari Lwyd Song

[image: 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.


Y Fari Lwyd.mp3
The Mari Lwyd Song

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
  • National Museum Cardiff

    [image: National Museum Cardiff]

    Discover art, natural history and geology. With a busy programme of exhibitions and events, we have something to amaze everyone, whatever your interest – and admission is free!

  • St Fagans National History Museum

    [image: St Fagans]

    St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open-air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction.

  • Big Pit National Coal Museum

    [image: Big Pit]

    Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. With facilities to educate and entertain all ages, Big Pit is an exciting and informative day out.

  • National Wool Museum

    [image: National Wool Museum]

    Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the Museum is a special place with a spellbinding story to tell.

  • National Roman Legion Museum

    [image: National Roman Legion Museum]

    In AD 75, the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. Today at the National Roman Legion Museum you can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them.

  • National Slate Museum

    [image: National Slate Museum]

    The National Slate Museum offers a day full of enjoyment and education in a dramatically beautiful landscape on the shores of Llyn Padarn.

  • National Waterfront Museum

    [image: National Waterfront Museum]

    The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years.

  • Rhagor: Explore our collections

    Rhagor (Welsh for ‘more’) offers unprecedented access to the amazing stories that lie behind our collections.