Eglwys Arras / The Church at Arras



Eglwys Arras

Rhuai’r fagnel wrth ei hochor,
Yn nhrymeddion du y nos,
Ac ‘roedd mwg ar ben yr allor
O ergydion tân y ffos;
Y canhwyllau wedi diffodd,
A’r addolwyr wedi ffoi,
Ninnau yno gyda’r rhengoedd,
I’w chysgodion wedi troi.

Lle bu Ffrances yn cyffesu,
Ac yn cyfri’r mwclis mân,
Daethom ninnau i lochesu
Rhag ergydion brwydrau’r tân;
Ac yng nghysgod clyd ei hochor
Hawdd oedd canu dan ei thŵr,
A chael mygu ar yr allor,
O beryglon yr holl stwr.

Nid oes eisiau cloch i ennyn
Bechgyn Cymru ar eu traed:
Y mae ysbryd cân ac emyn
Yn cartrefu yn eu gwaed;
Ac yn nyddiau yr alanas
Aeth emynau’r Nef i’r gad,
A chlywodd muriau eglwys Arras
Donau hen gapeli’r wlad.

Bellach nid yw’r byd yn dewis
Agor ffosydd ar y ddôl,
Ac mae Ffrances fach a’i mwclis
Wedi dyfod yn ei hôl;
Lle mae’r Ffrancwr gyda’i dylwyth,
Yn cyffesu dan ei gur,
Y mae eco ‘Aberystwyth’
Eto’n aros yn y mur.

(Gan Percy Hughes, Sir Fôn, yn ei lyfr, ‘Clychau’r Wlad’, Gwasg y Bala, 1931.)

The Church at Arras

One could hear the big gun and its sighing
In the dark and the sadness of night,
The smoke round the altar that’s lying
Came from the fire of a trench in its might;
There was never a candle a‑lighting,
The congregation it was all on the run,
To give us some break from the fighting
To its shadows we had furtively come.

Where Frances once went to Confession
And wound her small rosary beads
We came, a tired weary procession,
To flee Mars and his fierce fiery steeds;
Safe inside its cosy‑walled mortar
It was easy to sing by the tower,
And we had a quiet puff on the altar
Where no shrapnel or blast made us cower.

No bell‑peal is needed nor drum
To bring lads from Wales to their feet:
The spirit of a hymn that is sung
Is the pulse that makes their hearts beat;
So in a time of death and of malice
Some heavenly hymns went to war
And the walls of that church out in Arras
Heard tunes from Welsh chapels afar.

Now the world it no longer needs
The digging of trenches through corn,
Little Frances is there with her beads
In that church once again she’s forlorn;
And a Frenchman and his family they tarry,
They confess their sins and they pray,
Where a hymn to a tune by Joe Parry
Echoes still in its walls to this day.

(By Percy Hughes, Anglesey, in his book, ‘Clychau’r Wlad’ (‘Country Bells’), Gwasg y Bala, 1931.)



Translation: Barry Tobin.

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