Tydi a roddaist – a translation

A composition from a station platform…

Tydi a roddaist by Arwel Hughes (scroll down for my translation)

A while ago, I wrote about a fantasy journey I made with the help of my trusty 1922 Bradshaw Railway Timetable. I went to Wales because I spent a lot of time there in my formative years; went to work there eventually and learned a lot of Welsh from an early age there too.

I was always passionately fond of the language (I wouldn’t dream of saying I was fluent) and the landscape; the music and the literature; even the weather! Because as we all know, the sun does shine there most days!

Over the years, I have been struck by Welsh composers and how they managed to imbue their works with that same Welsh colour, spirit and soul. Such writers as Dilys Elwyn Edwards of the beautiful songs; Dr Caradog Roberts – one of the most original hymn tune writers; Arwel Hughes – whose works deserve to be better known; as well as a whole host of other composers.

Wales is a land of singers and is particularly noted for having produced great soloists and choirs – especially male voice choirs.

One piece always transfixed me. Here it is. It is called “Tydi a Roddaist” and the music was written by Arwel Hughes on Shrewsbury railway station in the 1938. Hence A Composition from a station platform. The hymn itself is by T. Rowland Hughes (1903-1949) who died young.

The music and the hymn are magical and I hope you like them.

After about fifty tries, I have translated the words myself. I have done that in the rhythm of the hymn so that they will fit the music.

I trust that my efforts will not be too disappointing to the people in Wales – I have tried to keep the spirit of the Welsh words. Please enjoy! Hwyl fawr i bawb!

There are also some literal translations on the web.

Tydi, a roddaist liw i’r wawr,
A hud i’r machlud mwyn;
Tydi, a luniaist gerdd a sawr,
Y gwanwyn yn y llwyn:
O! cadw ni rhag colli’r hud
Sydd heddiw’n crwydro drwy’r holl fyd.

Tydi, a lunaist gan i’r nant,
A’i su i’r goedwig werdd;
Tydi, a roist i’r awel dant,
Ac i’r ehedydd gerdd:
O! cadw ni rhag dyfod dydd
Na yrr ein calon gan yn rhydd.

Tydi, a glywaist lithriad traed
Ar ffordd Calfaria gynt;
Tydi, a welaist ddafnau gwaed
Y Gwr ar ddieithr hynt:
O! cadw ni rhag dyfod oes
Heb goron ddrain, na chur, na chroes. Amen.

Translation:

O Thou who gave the dawn its form
And gently set the sun;
O Thou who formed the song and scent
Of sylvan springtime green;
Oh! save us lest the magic goes
That every place in this world knows.

O Thou who gave the brook his song
And murmuring green forest made;
Who gave the breeze its biting tongue
The lark its serenade;
Oh! save us lest we see a day
That cause our heart’s song go away.

O Thou who once heard hesitant steps
On Calvary’s hill of shame;
Who saw the blood in trickling drops
From Man on path so strange;
Oh! save us from our future loss;
No crown of thorns, nor pain, nor cross. Amen.

Tydi a Roddaist 

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6 thoughts on “Tydi a roddaist – a translation

  1. Oh my, this had my chest slightly heaving with emotion. What a truly blessed hymn. The timbres are rich and deep. It rather exposes the soul when listening. Special. very…VERY special. I love hey lyrics you translated, Vox. Well done. Good imagery. A polished entry today!

  2. Thank you for this wonderful translation. This hymn has the best “Amen” there is, at least as I heard it sung, I think, by the Treorchy Male Voice Choir.

    1. Hello Linda, You’re welcome! It took quite a while to put together I will freely admit. I totally agree with you about the “Amen.” I first heard what I always thought of as the definitive recording in the 1970s (although I believe it to have been made earlier than that) – which was by Morriston Orpheus Male Voice Choir. The recording turned up on youtube and I linked to it. No sooner had I done that and the recording was removed, so I listened to a lot before deciding to go with this one. Each of the recordings of “Tydi a roddaist” has its own merits and there are others outstanding too but I went for this one because the massed voices came closest to the Morriston Orpheus sound. I think that Arwel Hughes made an outstanding contribution to Welsh music with (at least) this hymn setting and at the same time, created a piece which is as universal in its appeal as it is national. A great hymn and a great composition. Thank you for your lovely comment; it is much appreciated. See if you can get to hear the Morriston Orpheus version from the 1960s. When you hear them start the harmony at “lliw i wawr” well, you’ll know what I mean. Diolch yn fawr iawn a phob lwc i chi!

  3. I was looking for the words to Tydi a Rhoddaist because my choir is performing it, so I stumbled across the blog. Very well written, and a great translation. Diolch am y blog!

    1. Hello Iwan, Thank you for stopping by to read it and thank you for your kind comment. It is a most beautiful work isn’t it? Best wishes for your choir’s performance too. Pob lwc i chi a cofion gorau!

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