There's Welsh blood, I'm biased. But even so there is something about the national anthem of Wales that must grab everyone by the solar plexus and run.
It's a song of defiance; a rebel yell which flashes two fingers at all who tried to destroy them. While so many anthems are aggressive - the US one would read the same, if you just swapped the lyrics to 'we hate the British'; while the English one is mostly about killing Scots - Land of my Fathers yells 'come and get me, if you can'.
And I was quite deliberate in mentioning the whole hand gesture there. That's Welsh. Medieval longbow archers, captured in battle, would have their two fingers cut off. It stopped them ever being able to draw back another bow. The Welsh lined up to intimidate their opposition by demonstrating that they could still release a deadly volley of arrows. They showed their two fingers to the enemy.
The whole of Welsh history is a study in self-defense and fighting back in order not to be obliterated. That a national anthem exists at all must be viewed as something of a miracle. As it does, it's little wonder that the whole ethos of it is one of exultant pride, tinged with relief, echoing the very Welsh sentiment of 'yma o hyd' - We're still here.
The muse has eluded the traitors' foul knives, The harp of my country survives.
In translation, those are the last two lines of the last verse, before the uplifting, screaming 'Nation! Nation! True am I to my country!' It's the part that always gets me.
Of course, any translation is going to be indistinct. I've heard it rendered, The spirit wasn't hindered by the awful, treacherous hand, Nor the sweet harp of my country, or the part about the harp substituted for the language of my country goes on.
They're all right. Words and sentiments are intertwined in the lyrics, 'Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad, Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.' It means all of those things.
This was a land and people founded upon the bardic traditions. The harp wasn't just a musical instrument. It told the histories, genealogies and legendary tales; it touched spirituality and knowledge; it reported the current news and found precedents in the past; it encapsulated a whole culture. At least it did, in the right hands.
Language is important. National self-identity can only exist where there is a shared, common language. Other tongues may enter to enrich it, but the invaders have only won out, when the lexicon of the subdued is finally dead.
But language is more than just words. It's in the non-verbal communication and the unspoken understanding too. Old friends or close family wouldn't need to even look at each other to know what is being thought. Experience and personal history tell them enough. Thus it can be with nations too.
The bardic harp of Wales is its language. No matter what was thrown at the country and its people, the awen, the spirit, the muse, the cultural inheritance, the spiritual life and inspiration goes on. No invader managed to kill what it fundamentally meant to be Welsh. Yma o hyd.
So indulge me. If you've never heard this anthem before, then hear it first in the original Welsh; because, in so many ways, that is the point. If having a national anthem was a miracle, then the fact that it was written in the native tongue is something beyond that. Any gambler would say that it shouldn't exist at all, and if it did, then it has to have been in English by now. It's not - The harp of my country survives.