The Song of the Western Men, also known as Trelawney, is a Cornish patriotic song. It has been referred to many times as the National Anthem of Cornwall.

It was sung at the funeral of Dr. James Whetter, a Cornish nationalist and true Cornish man.


A good sword and a trusty hand!
A merry 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!
 
And shall Trelawny live?
Or 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 shall Trelawny live?
Or shall Trelawny die?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!
 
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
 
And shall Trelawny live?
Or shall Trelawny die?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!
 
And shall Trelawny live?
Or shall Trelawny die?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!
 
The reason why!

Following are the two translated Cornish versions of Trelawney, the first translated by Henry Jenner in 1905



‘Ma lel an leuv, ‘ma’n kledha mas
‘Ma’n golon lowen, gwir!
Tus Mytern Jams ‘wra konvedhes
Pandr’yll Kernowyon sur!
Yw ornys le ha prys ankow?
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
Mes ugans mil a dus Kernow
A wodhvydh oll an kas.
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
Mes ugens mil a dus Kernow
A wodhvydh oll an kas.
‘Medh aga Hapten, krev ha dreus,
Gwas lowen ev a veu,
“A pe Tour Loundres Karrek Loos,
Ni a’n kergh mes a’n le.”
“Ni ‘dres an Tamar, tir dhe dir,
A pe ‘vel Havren down,
Onan hag oll, dhe’n den eus fur;
Dhe’gan lettya ‘fedh own.”
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
Mes ugens mil a dus Kernow
A wodhvydh oll an kas.
“Pan wrellen dos dhe Fos Loundres,
Dhe wel a bleg dhyn ni;
Ownegyon oll, gwrewgh dos yn-mes
Dhe dus eus gwell eso’hwi!”
“Yn karhar kelmys rag ankow
Mirowgh Trelawny bras!
Mes ugans mil a dus Kernow
A wodhvydh oll an kas.”
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
Mes ugens mil a dus Kernow
A wodhvydh oll an kas.

Henry Jenner 1905




Gans kledha da ha dorn yw lel,
Gwir lowen an golon
Yth aswon Mytern Jamys fel
Pandr’wrello Kernowyon.
Yw ordnys prys ha le ankow?
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
Ottomma ugens mil Gernow
A wodhvydh oll an kas.
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
Ottomma ugens mil Gernow
A wodhvydh oll an kas!
Yn-medh an kapten, byw y woos,
Gwas joliv yn mesk kans:
“Tour Loundres kyn fe Karrek Loos
Y’n delirvsen dehwans.
Ni a dres Tamar, tir dhe dir,
An Havren ny’gan lett;
Ha skoodh reb skoodh, kowetha wir,
Piw orthyn ni a sett?
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
Ottomma ugens mil Gernow
A wodhvydh oll an kas!
Devedhys bys yn fos Loundres
“Gwel teg dhyn” ni a gri;
“Dewgh mes, ownegyon oll, dewgh mes,
Gwell dus on esowgh hwi!”
Trelawny yw avel felon
Fast yn karharow tynn
Mes ugens mil a Gernowyon
Godhvos an ken a vynn.
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
‘Verow Trelawny bras?
Ottomma ugens mil Gernow
A wodhvydh oll an kas!
 

Cornish Translation

Robert Stephen Hawker, the well known and eccentric Vicar of Morwenstow is thought to have published the song in its most recent form during 1824 and had it published anonymously. He said,


With the exception of the choral lines,
And shall Trelawny die?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!’
‘ and which have been, ever since the imprisonment by James the Second of the seven bishops — one of them Sir Jonathan Trelawny — a popular proverb throughout Cornwall, the whole of this song was composed by me in the year 1825. I wrote it under a stag-horned oak in Sir Beville’s Walk in Stowe Wood. It was sent by me anonymously to a Plymouth paper, and there it attracted the notice of Mr Davies Gilbert, who reprinted it at his private press at Eastbourne under the avowed impression that it was the original ballad. It had the good fortune to win the eulogy of Sir Walter Scott, who also deemed it to be the ancient song. It was praised under the same persuasion by Lord Macaulay and by Mr Dickens, who inserted it at first as of genuine antiquity in his Household Words, but who afterwards acknowledged its actual paternity in the same publication.’


The history of that Ballad is suggestive of my whole life. I published it first anonymously in a Plymouth Paper. Everybody liked it. It, not myself, became popular. I was unnoted and unknown. It was seen by Mr Davies Gilbert, President of the Society of Antiquaries, etc., etc., and by him reprinted at his own Private Press at Eastbourne. Then it attracted the notice of Sir Walter Scott, who praised it, not me, unconscious of the Author. Afterwards Macaulay (Lord) extolled it in his History of England. All these years the Song has been bought and sold, set to music and applauded, while I have lived on among these far away rocks unprofited, unpraised and unknown. This is an epitome of my whole life. Others have drawn profit from my brain while I have been coolly relinquished to obscurity and unrequital and neglect.


Hawker of Morwenstow, by Piers Brandon

Here is a video of the Song of the Western Men being sung with national pride and feeling.

The Trelawney Singers outside Chapel Street Methodist Church in Penzance in 2012
Robert Stephen Hawker
Lady Clara Coltman Vyvyan 1885 - 1976 aka C C Rogers