Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
 
Wales: Snowdon
Beth Gêlert, or the Grave of the Greyhound
William Robert Spencer (1770–1834)
 
THE SPEARMEN heard the bugle sound,
  And cheerly smiled the morn;
And many a brach and many a hound
  Obeyed Llewelyn’s horn.
 
And still he blew a louder blast,        5
  And gave a lustier cheer:
“Come, Gêlert, come, wert never last
  Llewelyn’s horn to hear.
 
“O, where doth faithful Gêlert roam,
  The flower of all his race,        10
So true, so brave,—a lamb at home,
  A lion in the chase?”
 
’T was only at Llewelyn’s board
  The faithful Gêlert fed;
He watched, he served, he cheered his lord,        15
  And sentineled his bed.
 
In sooth he was a peerless hound,
  The gift of royal John;
But now no Gêlert could be found,
  And all the chase rode on.        20
 
And now, as o’er the rocks and dells
  The gallant chidings rise,
All Snowdon’s craggy chaos yells
  The many-mingled cries!
 
That day Llewelyn little loved        25
  The chase of hart and hare;
And scant and small the booty proved,
  For Gêlert was not there.
 
Unpleased Llewelyn homeward hied,
  When, near the portal seat,        30
His truant Gêlert 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,        35
  His lips, his fangs, ran blood.
 
Llewelyn gazed with fierce surprise;
  Unused such looks to meet,
His favorite checked his joyful guise,
  And crouched and licked his feet.        40
 
Onward, in haste, Llewelyn passed,
  And on went Gêlert too;
And still, where’er his eyes he cast,
  Fresh blood-gouts shocked his view.
 
O’erturned his infant’s bed he found,        45
  With 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;        50
Blood, blood, he found on every side,
  But nowhere found his child.
 
“Hell-hound! my child ’s by thee devoured,”
  The frantic father cried;
And to the hilt his vengeful sword        55
  He plunged in Gêlert’s side.
 
His suppliant looks, as prone he fell,
  No pity could impart;
But still his Gêlert’s dying yell
  Passed heavy o’er his heart.        60
 
Aroused by Gêlert’s dying yell,
  Some slumberer wakened nigh:
What words the parent’s joy could tell
  To hear his infant’s cry!
 
Concealed beneath a tumbled heap        65
  His hurried search had missed,
All glowing from his rosy sleep,
  The cherub boy he kissed.
 
Nor scath had he, nor harm, nor dread,
  But, the same couch beneath,        70
Lay a gaunt wolf, all torn and dead,
  Tremendous still in death.
 
Ah, what was then Llewelyn’s pain!
  For now the truth was clear;
His gallant hound the wolf had slain        75
  To save Llewelyn’s heir:
 
Vain, vain was all Llewelyn’s woe;
  “Best of thy kind, adieu!
The frantic blow which laid thee low
  This heart shall ever rue.”        80
 
And now a gallant tomb they raise,
  With costly sculpture decked;
And marbles storied with his praise
  Poor Gêlert’s bones protect.
 
There never could the spearman pass,        85
  Or forester, unmoved;
There oft the tear-besprinkled grass
  Llewelyn’s sorrow proved.
 
And there he hung his horn and spear,
  And there, as evening fell,        90
In fancy’s ear he oft would hear
  Poor Gêlert’s dying yell.
 
And, till great Snowdon’s rocks grow old,
  And cease the storm to brave,
The consecrated spot shall hold        95
  The name of “Gêlert’s Grave.”
 
 
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