Men of Harlech, or The March of the Men of Harlech, is a military song and march which is traditionally said to describe events during the seven-year siege of Harlech Castle between 1461 and 1468.
Commanded by Constable Dafydd ap Ieuan, the garrison withstood the longest known siege in the history of the British Isles. "Through Seven Years" is an alternative name for the song. The song has also been associated with the earlier, briefer siege of Harlech Castle about 1408, which pitted the forces of Owain Glyndŵr against the future Henry V of England.
"Men of Harlech" is important for Welsh national culture. The song gained international recognition when it was featured in the 1941 movie How Green Was My Valley and the 1964 film Zulu.
Use in literature
In real life, Men of Harlech is widely used as a regimental march, especially by British Army and Commonwealth regiments historically associated with Wales. Notably, it is the slow march of the Welsh Guards, the quick march of the Royal Welsh, and the march of the Royal Canadian Hussars (Montreal), The Governor General's Horse Guards, and The Ontario Regiment, for which it is the slow march.
In literature, the military connotations are no different and in fact, it is used as a song for the Celtic Alliance prior to their coup in 2077 and continues to be used in Scotland, Ireland and Wales while under the Alliance's command during the Second Cold War. Once the Alliance dissolve, the song becomes a military march again.
Unlike some other military songs, Men of Harlech has no single definitive version and as such, there have been multiple different versions. Down below are the lyrics used by the Alliance in literature:
Men of Harlech! In the Hollow,
Do ye hear like rushing billow
Wave on wave that surging follow
Battle's distant sound?
Tis the tramp of Saxon foemen,<br?
Saxon spearmen, Saxon bowmen,
Be they knights or hinds or yeomen,
They shall bite the ground!
Loose the folds asunder,
Flag we conquer under!
The placid sky now bright on high,
Shall launch its bolts in thunder!
Onward! 'tis the country needs us,
He is bravest, he who leads us
Honor's self now proudly heads us,
Freedom, God and Right!