Dafydd y Garreg Wen

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X:1 T:Dafyddy Garreg-wen M:3/4 L:1/8 R:Air Q:"Elegiac" B:Edward Jones – Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards (1784, p. 154) Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:Amin (Ae)dcBA|A2^G2A2|E^GBdcB|Tc4B2|A2a2g2|f2 ed e2|c2 edcB|[E4c4]:| |:{ed}c2 ecgc|d2 cBA^G|ABcA d/c/B/c/|B6|Acec'ba|edcB c2|B>c A2^G2|[C6A6]:|]

DAFYDD Y GARREG WEN (David of the White Rock). Welsh, Air (3/4 time). A Minor. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. A popular Welsh traditional song, the tune first appears in Edward Jones's first edition of Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards (1784), a collection of Welsh harp music. The title refers to the 18th century blind harper and composer David Owen-y Garreg Wen, or 'the White Rock' was the name of the farm on which he lived near Porthmadog in Caernafonshire, Wales. The tradition of calling one by the first name and the house where he lived was common in Wales at the time, and still is sometimes heard. David was said to have had his harp continually at his side. He died young, at age 29, and, as the story goes, before expiring he asked for his instrument and played this melody, requesting that it be played on a single Welsh harp at his funeral. Jones (1784) remarks:

It is a general tradition in Caernarvonshire, that a Bard of this name lying on his death-bed, called for his Harp, and performed this plaintive Tune which he desired should be repeated at his Funeral. Ever since it has been called by his name and that of Carreg-Wen, the house where he lived in that county, which still remains. Whether is was of higher antiquity, or was originally conceived by the dying Bard, is uncertain.

The words below were written in the 19th century by poet John Ceiriog Hughes:

"Cariwch," medd Dafydd, "fy nhelyn imi,
Ceisiaf cyn marw roi tôn arni hi.
Codwch fy nwylaw i gyrraedd y tant;
Duw a'ch bendithio fy ngweddw a'm plant!"

Neithiwr me glywais lais angel fel hyn:
Dafydd, tyrd adref, a chwarae trwy'r glyn!
Delyn fy mebyd, ffarwel I dy dant!
Duw a'ch bendithio fy ngweddw a'm plant!"

Dafydd said, 'Bring me my harp, I'll try to put a tune on it before I die. Raise my hand to reach the string. God bless you my widow and my children.
Last night I heard the voice of an angel saying: 'Dafydd, come home and play through the glen!
Harp of my childhood, farewell to your music, God bless you my widow and my children.

David was the hero of Sir Walter Scott's poem "The Dying Bard."

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Johnson (The Kitchen Musician No. 5: Mostly Irish Airs), 1985 (revised 2000); p. 18. Jones (The Musical and Poetical Relicks of the Welsh Bards), 1784; p. 154. Edward Jones (A choice collection of 51 Welsh airs), 1863; p. 38. John Thomas (Y Caniedydd Cymreig/The Cambrian Minstrel), 1845; p. 103.

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