BELLS OF RHYMNEY

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
BELLS OF RHYMNEY
Idris Davies was a Welsh poet, originally writing in Welsh, but later writing exclusively
in English. He is the only poet to cover significant events in the early 20th century in the
South Wales Valleys and the South Wales coalfield and literally from a perspective at the
coalface. He is now known mostly for “The Bells of Rhymney”, a ballad on the failure of
the 1926 UK General Strike and the Great Depression in the United Kingdom and their
effects on the South Wales coal mining valleys. It’s set to the pattern of the nursery rhyme
Oranges and Lemons that was set to music by Pete Seeger, and became a folk rock
standard.
Oh what will you give me
Say the sad bells of Rhymney
Is there hope for the future,
Cry the bells of Merthyr
Who made the mine owner
Say the black bells of Rhondda
And robbed the miner
Cry the grim bells of Blaina
They will plunder willy-nilly
Cry the bells of Caerphilly
They have fangs , they have teeth
Say the loud bells of Neathe
Even God is uneasy
Say the moist bells of Swansea
And what will you give me
Say the sad bells of Rhymney
Put the vandals in court
Say the bells of Newport
All would be well if, if, if
Cry the green bells of Cardiff
Why so worried, sisters, why
Sang the silver bells of Wye
And what will you give me
Say the sad bells of Rhymney