My sister-in-law brought with her several of her CDs when she came to visit, and we have been enjoying the temporary addition to our musical library. One of these CDs is We'll Keep a Welcome, a collection of what have become known as traditional Welsh songs, sung by the Welshman Bryn Terfel. Many of them are inspiring, beautiful, and even moving examples of traditional musical art. An excerpt from the introduction to the album reads:
"Picture, if you will, then, the chapel, full to the bursting point, especially during a cymanfa ganu (singing festival), where hymns like Hyfrydol or Calon lan would be sung in full voice by the entire congregation. An eagerly awaited feature of Welsh Nonconformist worship was the minister's address. These sermons were often lengthy, and frequently the preacher would be so moved that he would actually break into song. This was a manifestation of the Welsh characteristic known as hwyl (literally 'fervour').
The hymn Calon lan by Gwyrosydd is one that I have thoroughly enjoyed making a part of my own heart as I sing to the Lord. The last stanza makes it clear that Christ is the source and sustainer of a pure heart, and when sung from that clear understanding it is edifying. I will share the English translation with you here (because I don't know Welsh!).
I seek not a life of riches,
earthly gold nor finest pearls.
All I seek that is a heart that is happy,
a heart that is honest, a heart that is pure.
A heart that is pure and full of goodness,
fairer than the beautiful lily;
only a heart that is pure can sing,
sing by day and sing by night.
Were I to cherish earthly riches,
they are swift and fleet of wing:
a heart pure and virtuous
riches and eternal gain will bring.
Night and morning does my longing
rise aloft on wings of song,
that God, for the sake of my Savior,
grant me a heart that is pure.
May God grant all of us a pure heart for the sake of our Savior!