O, What Is That Upon Thy Head?

Alternative names: A Pyth Yw Henna War Dha Ben? (As used by Bagas Degol), Nancledra (as used by Dalla)

Tune type: Song 

Tune key: D Mixolydian

Time signature: 4/4

Attribution: Trad.


Tune noted at Nancledra, near Penzance, Cornwall, circa 1852, by Joseph White, and communicated Jan, 1905.

Only one verse was remembered by Mr White. He communicated the fragment to Dr. George Gardiner.

O, what is that upon thy head,
So dazzling and so light?
O, what is that upon thy breast,
Which shines so clear and bright?

Upon my head there’s glorious Hope,
Upon my breast my shield,
And with my sword I mean to fight
Until I’ve gained the field.

Reference: Journal of the Folk Song Society, 1905, No. 7, p95.