Calon Lân is a Welsh hymn, the words of which were written in the 1800s by Daniel James (23 January 1848 – 11 March 1920) to a tune by John Hughes (1872-1914).
The hymn is very rarely performed in churches. It’s more often associated with Welsh rugby union, being sung before almost every Test match involving the Welsh national team.
“Calon Lân” is unusual among the most popular Welsh traditional hymns and songs in that an English version of the words is not commonly sung. The following English version is one I wrote years ago. It was set to music by Arthur Bellis of Burnage, and performed by a 1000 Male Voice choir at GMex in Manchester. It is sometimes performed by choirs in North West England.
The words were used for the subtitles on Songs of Praise (4/3/2012) where it was sung by Only Boys Aloud.
Calon Lân English Translation
An arrangement of these lyrics has been made by Arthur Bellis
I’d not ask a life that’s easy,
Gold and pearls so little mean,
Rather seek a heart that’s joyful,
Heart that’s honest, heart that’s clean
Heart that’s clean and filled with virtue,
Fairer far than lilies white,
Only pure hearts praise God truly,
Praise him all the day and night.
Why should I seek earthly treasures,
On swift wings they fly away,
Pure clean hearts bring greater riches
That for life eternal stay.
Dawn and sunset still I’m searching,
Rising on a wing of song,
Give me Lord, through Christ my Saviour
That clean heart for which I long.
Translation ©Malcolm Cowen 2008