The original “Crawshay’s Bailey”

This is found by googling “Geiriau Caneuon Cymraeg” adn a lot of the old songs come up. “Y Mochyn Du”, “The Back Pig”, “An Muiche Dubh”, starts as follows.

Holl drigolion bro a bryniau
Dewch i wrando hyn o eiriau,
Fe gewch hanes rhyw hen fochyn
A fu farw yn dra sydyn.

I translate this as follows in the same rhythm and rhyme pattern:

All who live in these old mountains
Now come and listen to refrains
The story of a black old swine,
A sudden end, a swift decline.

Then the refrain sent over yesterday. This was converted by Crawshay’s Welsh speaking workers into a savage and famous satire on inhuman exploitation in approximately the same metre and rhythm, but different rhyme

Crawshay’s bailey had an engine,
But his engine wouldn’t go,
So he pulled it on a string
All the way to Nant y Glo.

The bailey is a bailiff. The first Labour M. P. was elected for Merthyr Boroughs. Conditions were appalling beyond all belief. So this is the obvious downside of the first industrial revolution. We studied Dowlais and Cyfarthfa in Pontardawe Grammar School for O level history.


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