David Lewis Paget
Beddgelert - (Pron. Beth-Gelert) - Poem by David Lewis Paget
‘There once was a Prince called Llywelyn, Dai bach,
The Lord of this Snowdon Wales,
Back in the mists of the mountain, when times
Saw wolves leave their blood-stained trails.'
(I sat by the Church of St. Mary out there,
The vicar stared out on his fold,
His rheumy old eyes held the myth and the lies
That the Welsh told the people of old!)
I listened, he spoke, and I doubted him then,
The story he told so bizarre,
But when he had finished, I baited my breath,
Walked musingly back to my car.
Llywelyn, the hunter, was given a hound,
A present from England's King John,
A mighty wolf hound that he treasured and took
On his hunting trips, loping along.
The Prince had an heir that was merely a babe,
Still swaddled in linens and veils,
The child was his joy, he'd been blessed with a boy,
He was one of the Princes of Wales.
Llywelyn went hunting abroad with his pack,
The hounds were all baying the way,
The buglers followed, their blasts on the horn
Drove the hogs that were leading the fray!
The hunt brought them venison, gammon and fowl,
The hunt brought them mutton and game,
But Gelert, the hound, was nowhere to be found
Though the Prince called, and bellowed his name.
Llywelyn rode back to the palace at dusk,
Dismounted and looked for his son,
The cot was all bloodstained, the covers were torn
And a sign of the child, there was none!
Then Gelert leapt up, and he greeted the Prince
With a loud joyous cry in the dark,
His fur was all bloodied, his teeth dripped with gore,
And Llywelyn shrank back at his bark.
In thinking his son had been slaughtered, the Prince
Cried out as he lifted his sword,
And ran through the hound as he fell to the ground
And he cursed and he cried, the good lord!
But then came an answering, pitiful cry
From the child that lay under a bed,
The boy was uncut, but was smeared with the blood
Of the wolf that lay next to him, dead!
The throat had been torn from the wolf by the hound,
Brave Gelert defended the son,
And now that the Prince held the child in his arms
He reflected on what he had done!
He cradled the body of Gelert and wept,
And buried in honour his hound,
He set up a stone with the tale that it told
And it stands there today, on its ground.
The place is Beddgelert, in Gwynedd, look you,
And hundreds of years have gone by,
But history tells us, Llewelyn the Great,
Was never again seen to smile!
David Lewis Paget
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