Gelert, Llewelyn's Dog
The spearman heard the bugle sound,
And cheerily smiled the morn,
And many a brach and many a hound
Attend Llewelyn's horn.
And still he blew a louder blast,
And gave a louder cheer –
Come Gelert! Why art thou the last
Llewelyn's horn to hear?
Oh where does faithful Gelert roam?
The flower of all his race
So true, so brave, a lamb at home
A lion in the chase.
'Twas only at Llewelyn's board
The faithful Gelert fed;
He watched, he served, he cheered his lord,
And sentinel'd his bed.
In sooth he was a peerless hound,
The gift of Royal John –
But now no Gelert could be found,
And all the chase rode on.
And now as over rocks and dells
The gallant chidings rise,
All Snowdon's craggy chaos yells
With many mingled cries.
That day Llewelyn little loved
The chase of hart or hare.
And scant and small the booty proved –
For Gelert was not there.
Unpleased Llewelyn homeward hied,
When near the portal seat
His truant, Gelert, he espied
Bounding his lord to greet.
But when he gained his castle door,
Aghast the chieftain stood.
The hound all o'er was smeared with gore,
His lips, his fangs, ran blood.
Llewelyn gazed with wild surprise:
Unused such looks to meet,
His favourite checked his joyful guise
And crouched, and licked his feet.
Onward in haste Llewelyn passed –
And on went Gelert, too –
And still where'er his eyes were cast,
Fresh blood-gouts shocked his view.
O'erturned his infant's bed he found
The blood-stained covert rent,
And all around the walls and ground
With recent blood besprent.
He called his child – no voice replied!
He searched with terror wild.
Blood, blood he found on every side
But nowhere found his child.
Hell bound! My child's by thee devoured
The frantic father cried,
And to the hilt his vengeful sword
He plunged in Gelert's side.
His suppliant look, as to earth he fell,
No pity could impart,
But still his Gelert's dying yell
Past heavy o'er his heart.
Aroused by Gelert's dying yell
Some slumberer wakened nigh.
What words the parent's joy can tell
To hear his infant cry.
Concealed beneath a mangled heap
His hurried search had missed.
All glowing from his rosy sleep
His cherub boy he kissed.
Nor scratch had he, nor harm nor dread
But the same couch beneath
Lay a great wolf, all torn and dead –
Tremendous still in death.
Ah! What was then Llewelyn's pain
For now the truth was clear,
The gallant hound the wolf had slain
To save Llewelyn's heir.
Vain, vain was all Llewelyn's woe
Best of the kind, adieu!
The frantic deed which laid thee low
This heart shall ever rue!
And now a gallant tomb they rise
With costly sculpture decked
And marbles storied with his praise
Poor Gelert's bones protect.
Here never could a spearman pass,
Or forester, unmoved;
Here oft the tear-besprinkled grass
Llewelyn's sorrow proved.
And here he hung his horn and spear
And oft, as evening fell,
In fancy's piercing sounds would bear
Poor Gelert's dying yell.
The Hon. W. R. Spencer.