Page images

'Twas only at Llewelyn's board

The faithful Gelert fed ;
He watch'd, he served, he cheer'd his lord,

And sentinel'd his bed.
In scoth he was a peerless hound,

The gift of royal John;
But now no Gêlert could be found,

And all the chase rode on.
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

The chase of hart or hare,
And scant and small the booty proved,

For Gêlert 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 gain’d his castle door,

Aghast the chieftain stood :
The hound all o'er was smear'd with gore;

His lips, his fangs ran blood.
Llewelyn gazed with fierce surprise :

Unused such looks to meet,
His favourite check'd his joyful guise,

And crouch'd, and lick'd his feet.
Onward in haste Llewelyn pass’d,

And on went Gelert too,
And still. where'er his eyes he cast,

Fresh blood-gouts shock'd his view.
O’erturn'd his infant's bed he found,

With blood-stain'd covert rent; And all around the walls and ground

With recent blood besprent.

He call'd his child, no voice replied ;

He search'd with terror wild; Blood, blood he found on every side ;

But nowhere found his child. · Hell-hound! my child by thee's devour'd "

The frantic father cried ;
And to the hilt his vengeful sword

He plunged in Gelert's side.
His suppliant looks, as prone he fell,

No pity could impart;
But still his Gêlert's dying yell

Pass'd heavy o'er his heart.
Aroused by Gêlert's dying yell,

Some slumberer waken'd nigh: What words the parent's joy could tell

To hear his infant's cry! Conceal'd beneath a tumbled heap

His hurried search had miss'd :
All glowing from his rosy sleep,

The cherub boy he kiss'd.
Nor scath had he, nor harm, nor dread;

But the same couch beneath
Lay a gaunt wolf, all torn, all 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

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.'
And now a gallant tomb they raise,

With costly sculpture deck'd;
And marbles, storied with his praise,

Poor Gelert's bones protect.

There never could the spearman pass,

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,
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
The name of “Gelert's Grave.'



INVIDIOUS Grave! how dost thou rend in sunder
Whom love has knit, and sympathy made one!
A tie more stubborn far than nature's band.
Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul!
Sweet'ner of lífe, and solder of society!
I owe thee much. Thou hast deserved from me,
Far, far beyond what I can ever pay.
Oft have I proved the labours of thy love,
And the warm efforts of the gentle heart
Anxious to please. O! when my friends and I
In some thick wood have wander'd heedless on,
Hid from the vulgar eye, and set us down
Upon the sloping cowslip-cover'd bank,
Where the pure limpid stream has slid along
In grateful errors through the underwood,
Sweet murmuring; methought, the shrill-tongued

Mended his song of love; the sooty blackbird
Mellow'd his pipe, and soften'd ev'ry note;
The eglantine smell’d sweeter, and the rose
Assumed a dye more deep; whilst ev'ry flower

Vied with his fellow-plant in luxury
Of dress. Oh! then the longest summer's day
Seem'd too, too much in haste; still the full heart
Had not imparted half: 't was happiness
Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed,
Not to return, how painful the remembrance!
Dull Grave! thou spoil'st the dance of youthful

Strikest out the dimple from the cheek of mirth,
And ev'ry smirking feature from the face;
Branding our laughter with the name of madness.
Where are the jesters now? the man of health
Complexionally pleasant? where the droll?
Whose ev'ry look and gesture was a joke
To clapping theatres and shouting crowds,
And made even thick-lipp'd musing Melancholy
To gather up her face into a smile
Before she was aware? Ah! sullen now,
And dumb as the green turf that covers them!
Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?
The Roman Cæsars and the Grecian chiefs,
The boast of story? Where the hot-brain'd youth,
Who the tiara at pleasure tore
From kings of all the then discover'd globe,
And cried, forsooth, because his arm was hamperd,
And had not room enough to do its work?
Alas! how slim, dishonourably slim!
And cramm'd into a space we blush to name!
Proud royalty! how alter'd in thy looks ;
How blank thy features, and how wan thy hue!
Son of the morning: whither art thou gone?.
Where hast thou hid thy many-spangled head,
And the majestic menace of thine eyes
Felt from afar? Pliant and powerless now
Like new-born infant bound up in his swathes,
Or victim tumbled flat upon his back,
That throbs beneath the sacrificer's knife:
Mute must thou bear the strife of little tongues,
And coward insults of the base-born crowd.

That grudge a privilege thou never hadst,
But only hoped for in the peaceful grave,
Of being unmolested and alone.
Araby's gums, and odoriferous drugs,
And honours by the heralds duly paid
In mode and form, even to a very scruple;
O cruel irony! these come too late;
And only mock whom they were meant to honour.
Surely, ihere's not a dungeon-slave that's buried
In the highway, unshrouded and uncoffin'd,
But lies as soft, and sleeps as sound as he.
Sorry pre-eminence of high descent
Above the vulgar-born, to rot in state!
But see! the well-plumed hearse comes nodding on,
Stately and slow! and properly attended
By the whole sable tribe, that painful watch
The sick man's door, and live iqon the dead,
By letting out their persons by the hour
To mimic sorrow when the heart's not sad!
How rich the trappings, now they're all unfurl'd
And glitt’ring in the sun! Trii: mphant entries
Of conquerors, and coronation pompe,
In glory scarce exceed. Great gluis of people
Retard the imwieldy show; whilst, from the case-
And houses' tops, ranks behind ranks close wedged
Hang bellying o'er. But tell us, why this waste?
Why this ado in earthing up a carcase
That's fallen into disgrace, and in the nostril
Smells horrible! Ye undertakers ! tell us,
'Midst all the gorgeous figures you exhibit,
Why is the principal conceald, for which
You make this mighty stir ? . 'Tis wisely done :
What would offend the eye in a good picture,
The painter casts discreetly into shades.
Proud lineage, now how little thou appear'st!
Below the envy of the private man!
Honour, that meddlesome officious ill,


« PreviousContinue »