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The Battle of Badon Hill
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A musical account of King Arthur's greatest battle. Got to #1 in its category.
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Tom Byrne
Tom Byrne
The Last Druids
Sun Aug 01, 2004
Rock : Instrumental Rock
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Charts position
» highest in charts:   # 4   (260,303 songs currently listed in Rock)
» highest in sub-genre:   # 1   (32,040 songs currently listed in Rock > Instrumental Rock)
About the song
The first part of this track is a lament for the Goddodin - an ancient British army which spent a year training (mainly on mead), before engaging a much less well equipped, but much more numerous saxon army at Catterick, Yorkshire in the early 7th Century. They were all wiped out, apart from Aneirin, one of the last poets of ancient Britain, who recorded the disaster. The second part of the the track harks back 100 years previously when the Britons under Arthur smashed the Saxons at Mount Badon, a decisive battle which ushered in the Arthurian era.

Note on the lyrics:

This was originally a song, written during the miners' strike in mid-80s Britain - a very divisive time. The lyrics reflect that spirit of the age. I include them only for completeness, as the piece is now an instrumental. The lyrics were published as a poem in their own right in Pendragon magazine.

Brutus, referred to in the song, is the legendary founder of Britain, an escapee from Troy. The original name for London, according to some chroniclers, was 'New Troy', or Troia Nova, and the local people were called the Trinovantes.
Lyrics
Europa fell a-writhing to the monster from the east;
Stood Albion alone before the dark, consuming beast.
So beacons burned out brightly from the crest of every hill
To summon all to share this greatest test of Britons' will.
The beacons bright on Badon Hill
Would spurn the night on Badon Hill;
So bright
Burned Badon Hill.

From misty eastern marshes to meadow marches west,
From Alba to Cambria, the humblest men and best,
They left their farms and families, they marched with common will
They hit the road to head to Badon Hill.

The beacons bright on Badon Hill
Would spurn the night on Badon Hill;
So bright
Burned Badon Hill.

A brotherhood, these sons of Brutus met the brutish foe,
And on the brow of Badon Hill they laid invaders low.
Though dead for fifteen centuries these men could teach us still
How Britons stood united on the brow of Badon Hill.

The beacons bright on Badon Hill
Would spurn the night on Badon Hill;
So bright
Burned Badon Hill.

Where today is unity when old folk die of cold?
Where today is unity when millions take the dole?
When children play precariously by ruined mine and mill -
I'll hit the road to head to Badon Hill!

The beacons bright on Badon Hill
Would spurn the night on Badon Hill;
So bright
Burned Badon Hill.

The guardians of the Grail have failed to feed the famished land,
But spread instead its fruits among their own exclusive band.
A wasteland lies awaiting for the words to break the spell;
I'll hit the road and bawl them from the brow of Badon Hill!

A question bawled from Badon Hill
A nation called to Badon Hill
Come all
To Badon Hill

Ask it:

'Whom does the Grail serve?'

A pilgrimage to Badon Hill will pass by fields and towns,
By forest glades, by motorways, by hills, by dales, by downs.
The magic once within the land reveals itself there still
When pilgrims pass these places on the road to Badon Hill!

The beacons bright on Badon Hill
Would spurn the night on Badon Hill;
So bright
Burned Badon Hill.

Beneath the British asphalt lies Albion asleep,
Within the soul-soil sterile, his seed is buried deep.
We'll shake Him from His slumber, we'll tend thats seed until
Those beacons burn once more on Badon Hill!

The beacons bright on Badon Hill
Would spurn the night on Badon Hill;
So bright
Burned Badon Hill.