The Cornish National Anthem

Although the status of this song is often disputed most Cornish people consider that the Song of the Western men or “Trelawney” as it is popularly known to be the Cornish National Anthem. The song was written by the Revd Stephen Hawker 1824, telling of events that took place in 1688. The Trelawny in Hawker’s song was Johnathan Trelawney (1650–1721), who was one of the seven bishops imprisoned in the Tower of London by James II in 1688. Born at Pelynt into an old Cornish family, his father, the 2nd Baronet of Trelawney, was a supporter of the Royalist cause during the Civil war. Some believe that Hawker expanded or developed an existing song with the same tune. The song is sung on numerous occasions in Cornwall.

Lyrics

A good sword and a trusty hand!
A faithful heart and true!
King James’s men shall understand
What Cornish lads can do!
And have they fixed the where and when?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!

Chorus

And shall Trelawny live?
And shall Trelawny die?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!
Out spake their Captain brave and bold:
A merry wight was he:
Though London Tower were Michael’s hold,
We’ll set Trelawny free!
‘We’ll cross the Tamar, land to land:
The Severn is no stay:
With “one and all,” and hand in hand;
And who shall bid us nay?

And when we come to London Wall,
A pleasant sight to view,
Come forth! come forth! ye cowards all:
Here’s men as good as you.
‘Trelawny he’s in keep and hold;
Trelawny he may die:
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish bold
Will know the reason why

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