Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
 
VI. Animate Nature
Beth Gêlert
William Robert Spencer (1770–1834)
 
THE SPEARMEN heard the bugle sound,
  And cheerily smiled the morn;
And many a brach, and many a hound,
  Obeyed Llewellyn’s horn.
 
And still he blew a louder blast,        5
  And gave a lustier cheer,
“Come, Gêlert, come, wert never last
  Llewellyn’s horn to hear.
 
“O, where does faithful Gêlert roam,
  The flower of all his race;        10
So true, so brave,—a lamb at home,
  A lion in the chase?”
 
In sooth, he was a peerless hound,
  The gift of royal John;
But now no Gêlert could be found,        15
  And all the chase rode on.
 
That day Llewellyn little loved
  The chase of hart and hare;
And scant and small the booty proved,
  For Gêlert was not there.        20
 
Unpleased, Llewellyn homeward hied,
  When, near the portal seat,
His truant Gêlert he espied,
  Bounding his lord to greet.
 
But, when he gained his castle-door,        25
  Aghast the chieftain stood;
The hound all o’er was smeared with gore;
  His lips, his fangs, ran blood.
 
Llewellyn gazed with fierce surprise;
  Unused such looks to meet,        30
His favorite checked his joyful guise,
  And crouched, and licked his feet.
 
Onward, in haste, Llewellyn passed,
  And on went Gêlert too;
And still, where’er his eyes he cast,        35
  Fresh blood-gouts shocked his view.
 
O’erturned his infant’s bed he found,
  With blood-stained covert rent;
And all around the walls and ground
  With recent blood besprent.        40
 
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-hound! my child ’s by thee devoured,”        45
  The frantic father cried;
And to the hilt his vengeful sword
  He plunged in Gêlert’s side.
 
Aroused by Gêlert’s dying yell,
  Some slumberer wakened nigh:        50
What words the parent’s joy could tell
  To hear his infant’s cry!
 
Concealed beneath a tumbled heap
  His hurried search had missed,
All glowing from his rosy sleep,        55
  The cherub boy he kissed.
 
Nor scathe had he, nor harm, nor dread,
  But, the same couch beneath,
Lay a gaunt wolf, all torn and dead,
  Tremendous still in death.        60
 
Ah, what was then Llewellyn’s pain!
  For now the truth was clear;
His gallant hound the wolf had slain
  To save Llewellyn’s heir.
 
 
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