The Bells of Rhymney

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The Bells of Rhymney is a song first recorded by folk singer Pete Seeger, using words written by Welsh poet Idris Davies. The lyrics to the song were drawn from part of Davies' poetic work Gwalia Deserta[1] ("Wasteland of Wales"), which was first published in 1938. The verses it contained were inspired partly by such mining disasters as that at Marine Colliery at Cwm near Ebbw Vale in 1927, and by the failure of the 1926 UK General Strike, the Great Depression in the United Kingdom and their combined effects on the South Wales valleys. The "Bells of Rhymney" stanzas follow the pattern of the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons. In addition to Rhymney, the poem also refers to the bells of a number of other places in South Wales, including Merthyr, Rhondda, Blaina, Caerphilly, Neath, Brecon, Swansea, Newport, Cardiff, and the Wye Valley.

Verse 1[2]:
Oh what can you give me?
Say the sad bells of Rhymney.
Is there hope for the future?
Cry the brown bells of Merthyr.
Who made the mine owner?
Say the black bells of Rhondda.
And who robbed the miner?
Cry the grim bells of Blaina.

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