Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

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 re.'

And now a gallant tomb they raise,

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

Poor Gelert's bones protect.

There never could the spearman pass,

Or forester, unmov'd; There, oft the tear-besprinkled grass

Llewelyn's sorrow provd.

And there he hung his horn and spear,

And there, as evening fell,
In fancy's ear, he oft would hear

Poor Gelert'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.""

Dolymlynllyn, August 11, 1800.


“ Dies the dark yew, and cypress fair,

Which long poor Gêlert's ashes shaded,
And shall the bays I planted there

Not sooner far than they be faded ?

No-dews more soft than morning wears

Have dropp'd, their lowly bloom to cherish;
Hallow'd by beauty's virgin tears,
No bays, not even mine, can perish!”

By the Ilonourable William Robert Spencer.

It is difficult to dive to the origin and real facts of a tradition. Traditions of this kind belong to every country. I have vainly searched many works for information regarding the one in question; but a Welsh scholar believes it to be founded on truth, and that it may be trusted. As the Princes of Cambria always maintained a bard in their households ; the event of Llewelyn's dog savivg his child ever really happened, a poem must have been composed on the occasion, and may still exist among the records of the Principality.



At any rate it is certain that Llewelyn existed, married the princess Joan or Jane, the daughter of John (who died about 1237), and had a son. He also resided in the neighbourhood of Snowdon. Leland in his Itinerary, under Houses of Religion, mentions Bethkellarth as having a priory of “ White Freres by Bangor dedicate to Jesu.” He also states that “ Lluelen that married Jane, King John's daughter, lay at Treurewe Castell a myle from Conwey Abbay."

Camden says, at Bethkelert, under Snowdon, now a mean village, was a priory of black canons, the oldest foundation in Wales except Bardsey, or Bangor. Others say, they were of the order of St. Gilbert, and that the priory, which was endowed by Owin Gwynedd, existed even previous to his times, and had its lands augmented by Llewelyn.

Pennant calls it Bedd Kelert Augustine Priory, and states there is a charter of lands bestowed on it by Llewelyn ap Jorwerth, or the Great, who began his reign in 1194. The priory is called elsewhere the Abbey de Valle, S. Mariæ Snawdonia. The fame of the hound is said to have been handed down in some Welsh lines, which have been thus translated.

“The remains of famed Gêlert, so faithful and good,

The bounds of the Cantred conceal;
Whenever the doe or the stag he pursued

His master was sure of a meal."

[ocr errors]

From the story of Gêlert was derived a very common Welsh proverb:

“I repent as much as the man who slew his greyhound.” It was believed Llewelyn erected a tomb over his remains, on the spot where afterwards the parish church was built, hence called Bedd Gelert, or the Grave of Gelêrt. A stone is now all that is pointed out as marking the place of his interment. Goodlake, in his · Courser's Manual,' says, it is recorded that Gelert was a brindled hound. Llewelyn ap Jorwerth himself died in 1240. “ This valiant and noble prince,” says Powel, “ governed Wales well and worthily, fifty and six years, when he passed out of this transitory life and was honourably buried at the abbey of Conwey.”

« PreviousContinue »