Cwm Rhondda

Cwm Rhondda, the Welsh name for the Rhondda Valley, is a popular hymn tune written by John Hughes (1873–1932) and first performed in 1907. It is often erroneously called Bread of Heaven and is usually used in English as a setting for William Williams's text Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah (or, in some traditions, Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer),[1] originally Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch in Welsh, translated by Peter Williams in the 1771 hymnal Hymns on Various Subjects. In Welsh it is usually a setting for a hymn by Ann Griffiths, Wele'n sefyll rhwng y myrtwydd.


Hymn text


Arglwydd, arwain trwy'r anialwch,
Fi, bererin gwael ei wedd,
Nad oes ynof nerth na bywyd
Fel yn gorwedd yn y bedd:
Hollalluog, Hollalluog,
Ydyw'r Un a'm cwyd i'r lan.
Ydyw'r Un a'm cwyd i'r lan

Agor y ffynhonnau melus
'N tarddu i maes o'r Graig y sydd;
Colofn dân rho'r nos i'm harwain,
A rho golofn niwl y dydd;
Rho i mi fanna, Rho i mi fanna,
Fel na bwyf yn llwfwrhau.
Fel na bwyf yn llwfwrhau.

Pan yn troedio glan Iorddonen,
Par i'm hofnau suddo i gyd;
Dwg fi drwy y tonnau geirwon
Draw i Ganaan -- gartref clyd:
Mawl diderfyn. Mawl diderfyn
Fydd i'th enw byth am hyn.
Fydd i'th enw byth am hyn.


Lord, lead me through the wilderness,
Me, a pilgrim of poor appearance,
I don't have strength or life in me,
Like lying in the grave:
Omnipotent, Omnipotent
Is the one who brings me to the shore.
Is the one who brings me to the shore.

Open the sweet fountains
Flowing from the Rock that is;
Give a column of fire to lead me at night,
And give a column of fog during the day.
Give me manna. Give me manna,
So that I shall not falter.
So that I shall not falter.

When I walk the bank of the Jordan,
Cause all my fears to sink;
Take me through the roughest waves
Over to Canaan, a cosy home:
Unending praise. Unending praise
Will be to Your name for this.
Will be to Your name for this.

English literal translation

Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
Hold me with thy powerful hand:
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
Feed me till i want no more.
Feed me till i want no more.

Open thou the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream shall flow;
Let the fiery, cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through:
Strong deliverer, strong deliverer
Be thou still my strength and shield.
Be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death, and hell's destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan's side:
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever give to thee.
I will ever give to thee.

Hymns and Psalms[2]


The hymn has evolved and shortened over time from an original version, written in 1745, with five verses.[3] The following version is taken from the Welsh hymnbook of the Calvinist and Wesleyan Methodists, published by the assemblies of the two churches.

Original Translation
Arglwydd, arwain trwy’r anialwch,

Fi bererin gwael ei wedd,
Nad oes ynof nerth na bywyd
Fel yn gorwedd yn y bedd:
Hollalluog, hollalluog,
Ydyw’r Un a’m cwyd i’r lan.
Ydyw’r Un a’m cwyd i’r lan.

Colofn dân rho’r nos i’m harwain,
A rho’r golofn niwl y dydd;
Dal fi pan fwy’n teithio’r mannau
Geirwon yn fy ffordd y sydd:
Rho imi fanna, rho imi fanna,
Fel na bwyf yn llwfrhau.
Fel na bwyf yn llwfrhau.

Agor y ffynhonnau melus
Sydd yn tarddu o’r Graig i maes;
Colofn dan rho’r nos i’m harwain,
A rho golofn niwl y dydd;
'R hyd yr anial mawr canlyned
Afon iechydwriaeth gras:
Rho imi hynny, rho imi hynny,
Dim imi ond dy fwynhau.
Dim imi ond dy fwynhau.

Pan fwy’n myned trwy’r Iorddonen—
Angeu creulon yn ei rym,
Ti gest hwnnw gynt dy hunan,
Pam yr ofnaf bellach ddim?
Buddugoliaeth, buddugoliaeth,
Gwna imi waeddi yn y llif!
Gwna imi waeddi yn y llif!

Ymddiriedaf yn dy allu,
Mawr yw’r gwaith a wnest erioed:
Ti gest angau, ti gest uffern,
Ti gest Satan dan dy droed:
Pen Calfaria, Pen Calfaria,
Nac aed hwnw byth o’m cof.
Nac aed hwnw byth o’m cof.

Lord, guide me through the wilderness,
A pilgrim weak of aspect,
There is neither strength nor life in me,
As though lying in the grave,
It is Thou who shalt take me to that shore.

Give Thou a pillar of fire to lead me in the night,
And a pillar of mist in the day,
Hold me when I travel places
Which are rough on the way,
Give me manna,
Thus shall I not despair.

Open the sweet springs
Which gush forth from the rock,
All across the great wilderness
May a river of healing grace follow:
Give this to me
Not for me but for Thy sake.

When I go through Jordan -
Cruel death in its force -
Thou Thyself suffered this before,
Why shall I fear further?
Let me cry out in the torrent.

I shall trust in Thy power,
Great is the work that Thou hast always done,
Thou conquered death, Thou conquered hell,
Thou hast crushed Satan beneath Thy feet,
Hill of Calvary,
This shall never escape from my memory.


The hymn describes the experience of God's people in their travel through the wilderness from the escape from slavery in Egypt, Exodus 12-14, being guided by a cloud by day and a fire by night, Exodus 13:17-22 to their final arrival forty years later in the land of Canaan, Joshua 3. During this time their needs were supplied by God, including the daily supply of manna, Exodus 16.

The hymn text forms an allegory for the journey of a Christian throughout their life on earth requiring the Redeemer's guidance and ending at the gates of Heaven (the verge of Jordan) and end of time (death of death and hell's destruction).

Instances of use

The hymn has been sung on various British state occasions such as the funerals of Diana, Princess of Wales and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.[4][5]

The hymn is also featured prominently in the soundtrack to the 1941 film How Green Was My Valley, directed by John Ford. The soundtrack, by Alfred Newman, won that year's Academy Award for Original Music Score. It is also featured at the beginning of The African Queen (film), with Katharine Hepburn singing and playing the organ.[6] Only Men Aloud! also sang an arrangement by Tim Rhys-Evans and Jeffrey Howard on the BBC 1 Show Last Choir Standing in 2008. They subsequently released it on their self titled début album.

Other hymn texts

God of grace and God of glory

Some hymnals use this tune for the hymn God of Grace and God of Glory written by Harry Emerson Fosdick in 1930.

Lo, between the myrtles standing

Wele'n sefyll rhwng y myrtwydd
Wrthrych teilwng o fy mryd;
Er o'r braidd 'rwy'n Ei adnabod
Ef uwchlaw gwrthrychau'r byd:
Henffych fore! Henffych fore!
Caf ei weled fel y mae.
Caf ei weled fel y mae.

Rhosyn Saron yw Ei enw,
Gwyn a gwridog, hardd Ei bryd!
Ar ddeng mil y mae'n rhagori
O wrthddrychau penna'r byd ;
Ffrind pechadur! Ffrind pechadur!
Dyma'r llywydd ar y môr.
Dyma'r llywydd ar y môr.

Beth sydd imi mwy a wnelwyf
Ag eilunod gwael y llawr?
Tystio 'r wyf nad yw eu cwmni
I'w gymharu a'm Iesu Mawr.
O, am aros! O, am aros!
Yn Ei gariad ddyddiau f'oes.
Yn Ei gariad ddyddiau f'oes.

Alternative Welsh

Lo, between the myrtles standing,
One who merits well my love,
Though His worth I guess but dimly,
High all earthly things above;
Happy morning! Happy morning!
When at last I see Him clear!
When at last I see Him clear!

Rose of Sharon, so men name Him;
White and red his cheeks adorn;
Store untold of earthly treasure
Will His merit put to scorn
Friend of sinners! Friend of sinners!
He their pilot o'er the deep.
He their pilot o'er the deep.

What can weigh with me henceforward
All the idols of the earth?
One and all I here proclaim them,
Matched with Jesus, nothing worth;
O to rest me! O to rest me!
All my lifetime in His love!
All my lifetime in His love!

Poetic translation

Full Salvation!

Full salvation! Full salvation!
Lo, the fountain opened wide,
streams through ev'ry land and nation
from the Saviour's wounded side.
Full salvation! Full salvation!
Streams an endless crimson tide.
Streams an endless crimson tide.

Oh, the glorious revelation!
see the cleansing current flow,
washing stains of condemnation
whiter than the driven snow;
Full salvation! Full salvation!
Oh, the rapturous bliss to know.
Oh, the rapturous bliss to know.

Love's resistless current sweeping
all the regions deep within;
thought, and wish, and senses keeping
now, and ev'ry instant clean;
Full salvation! Full salvation!
From the guilt and pow'r of sin.
From the guilt and pow'r of sin.

Life immortal, heav'n descending,
Lo! my heart the Spirit's shrine:
God and man in oneness blending,
Oh, what fellowship is mine!
Full salvation! Full salvation!
Raised in Christ to life divine!
Raised in Christ to life divine!

Care and doubting, gloom and sorrow,
fear and shame are mine no more;
faith knows naught of dark tomorrow,
for my Saviour goes before:
Full salvation! Full salvation!
Full and free for evermore!
Full and free for evermore!

Francis Bottome (1823-94)

Non-religious uses


Parodied as "Men of Cornwall ( or Cwm Kernow .... )" [7]


Apart from church use, probably its best known use is as the 'Welsh Rugby Hymn', often sung by the crowd at rugby matches, especially those of the Wales national rugby union team. There it is common for all voices to sing the repeat of the last three syllables of the last-but-one line, e.g. want no more, strength and shield (which in church use is repeated only in the bass and alto parts, if at all).

The hymn is sung by Ivor the Engine and the Grumbly District Choir at the end of episode 6 of the first series of Ivor the Engine, when Ivor finally achieves his ambition to join the choir.


In the early 20th century, football fans regularly used the variation "You're Not Singing Anymore" when taunting the fans of opposing teams who were on the losing sides.[8]


It is (was) well known that the Parachute Regiment would alter the refrain to read ' God Is Airborne' 'God is Airborne' Airborne Soldiers Evermore, God's a Para Evermore


The BBC's One Foot in the Grave episode "The Beast in the Cage" this song was sung by disgruntled car mechanics to show their contempt for Victor Meldrew's automobile.


  1. ^ John Richard Watson, An Annotated Anthology of Hymns Published 2002, Oxford University Press p. 228. "Hymns Ancient and Modern and the English Hymnal have always printed Guide me, O thou great redeemer, as the first line."
  2. ^ Hymns and Psalms. Methodist Publishing House. 1983. ISBN 0 946550 01 8. 
  3. ^ "Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary Handbook". Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  4. ^ "The Funeral Service of Diana, Princess Wales". BBC. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  5. ^ "She was strength, dignity and laughter". BBC. 2002-04-09. Retrieved 2008-06-10. 
  6. ^ "Soundtracks for The African Queen". IMDB. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  7. ^ "Men of Cornwall (Cwm Kernow)". Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  8. ^ Wighton, Kate; Spanton, Tim (2010-09-28). "Oldencalls". The Sun (London). 


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Cwm Taf NHS Trust — (Welsh: Ymddiriedolaeth GIG Cwm Taf) is an NHS Trust in Wales which was formed on 1 April 2008 following the merger of the North Glamorgan and Pontypridd Rhondda NHS Trusts. Cwm Taf NHS Trust provides healthcare services mainly for the population …   Wikipedia

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  • Rhondda and Swansea Bay Railway — The Rhondda and Swansea Bay Railway connected the coal mines of the Rhondda Valley to the Swansea Bay ports.Connecting with the Taff Vale Railway at Treherbert, it had branches to Aberavon and Port Talbot docks. It was later extended to Swansea… …   Wikipedia

  • Cwm Clydach RSPB Reserve — Coordinates: 51°43′08″N 3°52′59″W / 51.719°N 3.883°W / 51.719; 3.883 For the village in the Rhondda Valle …   Wikipedia

  • Cwm Clydach — For the village in the Rhondda Valley, see Clydach Vale Cwm Clydach is a nature reserve on the outskirts of Clydach, Swansea (Wales). It is run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).It is ancient broadleaved woodland and is home …   Wikipedia

  • River Rhondda — The River Rhondda ( cy. Afon Rhondda) is a river in the Rhondda Valley, South Wales which has two major tributaries; the Rhondda Fawr ( en. Large Rhondda) and the Rhondda Fach ( en. Little Rhondda). Description Despite their names, both… …   Wikipedia

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