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The following poem was written by Michael Ellis to his “three magnificent and much loved Irish Wolfhounds...Beric, Warwick and Gandalf.

 

AILBE, THE HOUND OF RENOWN

By Michael Ellis

Today I just slumber in the warm sun,                                 Wag my tail and go for a run,                                              And people say, “Is it a dog or a horse?”                               As I stand by my master, obedient of course!

Oh...look into my eyes, can you not see,                       Through the mist of time to Inisfree?                                       In my blood flows the strength to pull a wolf down,           Know you not of ‘Ailbe’, the Hound of Renown?

Owned by Mesroida, the King of Leinster,                         And coveted by the Kings of Connacht and Ulster!                A King’s ransom to buy just one of my breed,                      To own the Hound of such strength and speed!

Six thousand milch cows and a chariot of war,                    And two fine horses to pull it, what’s more,                         The same to be given after a year,                                   Never has there been a sale so dear!

Now Mesroida could not sell the same dog twice,              Only one would have the chance to pay the price.           Would it be the King of Ulster or that of Connacht,            Who would meet the cost of the dog he sought?

Mesroida told both sides that they could each have the beast,   And as the rival factions came face to face at the feast,             Tempers were lost and red blood did spill,                                While laughing Mesroida watched from o’top of a hill.

At the height of the battle, admidst the mayhem,                        The hound sprange to assist the Ulstermen.                               Clash of steel upon steel rang out like a bell,                               The growls of the dog were like the Hound of Hell!

He seized the axe-arm of the Connacht Prince.                           The crush of his teeth made the nobleman wince,                      Clarion call of Retreat sounded clear through the mist,               The Hound and the Ulstermen were too strong to resist.

Horses and chariots raced away o’er the heath,                        While the dog held the Prince in a grip of death!                        The Prince cried for help with all of his might,                            As the Connacht army withdrew in full flight.

A charioteer, with one sweep of his sword,                               Severed the dog’s head with ne’er a word,                               Yet such was the power in the clamp of its teeth,                      That the head gripped the arm from Ballagmoon to Westmeath!

Away cross the river, the spume flying fast,                               With his war-blade he prised the jaws open at last.                    It splashed in the water and with one accord,                            It was known from then after as ‘Hound’s Head Ford’.

Or spoken as ‘Ath Cind Chon’.                                                 Ailbe the Hound of Heroes lives on!                                          My breed has spread from Athens to Rome,                             From the wild Black Sea to green Erin, my home.

I’ve vanquished huge Mastiffs in the Bloody Roman Games,      Protected a child from a ferocious wolf’s aims,                          And you ask me if I am a horse or a dog,                                 I am neither, you fool, can you not see through the fog?             I’m the Great Hound of Ireland, the noblest of breed,               Renowned for my loyalty, love, beauty and speed.

(Inspired by on olde Irish Legend.)

For Your Eyes Only

Irish Wolfhound eyes.....there is something about them that draws a person in.  You will see many paintings and drawings by various artists that often highlight just the eyes.  Thanks to Colleen Ellis, a wolfhound owner herself you can see for yourself.  Just click on the above link ‘For Your Eyes Only’ and sit back and enjoy!

 

 Gelert

The spearman heard the bugle sound,                               And cheerily smiled the morn;                                            And many a brach and many a hound,                              Obeyed Llewelyn's horn.

And still he blew a louder blast,                                         And gave a lustier cheer:                                                   "Come, Gelert, come, wert never last                                 Llewelyn's horn to hear-

"Oh, where does faithful Gelert roam,                               The flower of all his race;                                                 So true, so brave, a lamb at home,                                     A lion in the chase?"

'Twas only at Llewelyn's board                                          The faithful Gelert fed;                                                      He watched, he served, he cheered his lord,                     And sentinelled his bed.

In sooth he was a peerless hound,                                     The gift of royal John ;                                                      But now no Gelert 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 and hare;                                              And scant and small the booty proved,                              For Gelert 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 gained his castle door,                                  Aghast the chieftain stood ;                                               The hound all o'er was smeared with gore,                        His lips, his fangs, ran blood.

Llewelyn gazed with fierce surprise;                                  Unused such looks to meet,                                               His favourite checked his joyful guise,                              And crouched and licked his feet.

Onward in haste, Llewelyn passed,                                    And on went Gelert too,                                                     And still, where'er his eyes he cast,                                    Fresh blood gouts shocked his view.

O'erturned his infants bed he found,                                 With blood-stained covert rent;                                         And all around the walls and ground                                With recent blood besprent.

He called his child-no voice replied-                                 He reached with terror wild;                                             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                                      He plunged in Gelert's side.

His suppliant looks as prone he fell,                                 No pity could impart;                                                         But still his Gelert's dying yell

Passed heavy o'er his heart.                                              Aroused by Gelert's dying yell,                                          Some slumberer wakened nigh-                                         What words the parents 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,                                         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.

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 decked;                                            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 Gelert's dying yell.

And, till great Snowdon's rocks grow old,                         And cease the storms to brave,                                          The consecrated spot shall hold  The name of Gelert's      grave.

W.R.Spencer (1769-1834)

The grave of this famous dog (Gelert) is in a North Wales village called Beddgelert (literally, the Grave of Gelert). Here is Gelert's story in poetry, followed by George Borrow 1854 account in his wonderful "Wild Wales".

IWild Wales

 by George Borrow

Llywelyn during his contests with the English had encamped with a few followers in the valley, and one day departed with his men on an expedition, leaving his infant son in a cradle in his tent, under the care of his hound Gelert, after giving the child its fill of goat's milk. Whilst he was absent a wolf from the neighbouring mountains, in quest of prey, found its way into the tent, and was about to devour the child, when the watchful dog interfered, and after a desperate conflict, in which the tent was torn down, succeeded in destroying the monster. Llywelyn returning at evening found the tent on the ground, and the dog, covered with blood, sitting beside it. Imagining that the blood with which Gelert was besmeared was that of his own son devoured by the animal to whose care he had confided him, Llywelyn in a paroxysm of natural indignation forthwith transfixed the faithful creature with his spear. Scarcely, however, had he done so when his ears were startled by the cry of a child from beneath the fallen tent, and hastily removing the canvas he found the child in its cradle, quite uninjured, and the body of an enormous wolf, frightfully torn and mangled, lying near. His breast was now filled with conflicting emotions, joy for the preservation of his son, and grief for the fate of his dog, to whom he forthwith hastened. The poor animal was not quite dead, but presently expired, in the act of licking his master's hand. Llywelyn mourned over him as over a brother, buried him with funeral honours in the valley, and erected a tomb over him as over a hero. From that time the valley was called Beth Gelert.<BR>

Here is another lovely poem by Michael Ellis that I have been able to add to my collection with the kind permission of Colleen Ellis.  Thank you again Colleen!

A GIFT FROM THE GODS

By

Michael Ellis

Towards the red setting sun, across the blue sea,                   Lies an Emerald Isle called Inisfree                                               By the grey wind-torn crags and green grassy sods                Is the very last bastion of the old, ancient Gods

Through mists of time at the height of the feast                     The Gods gave the Warlords a wondrous beast                        So tall and proud stood this noble hound                                   That the revellers silenced and uttered no sound

Then the fairies and elves crept out to behold                         The Gift from the Gods, more precious than gold.                  In one magic moment, a new breed was born,                         Then Jack-O-the-green came and blew on his horn

From behind a bush, by a small waterfall,                                  Came a tiny white horse, just six inches tall                              Trotted out to the Hound and you know what is more?       Gave homage to his glory by kissing his paw.

You say “tis not true”, don’t believe what I say?                      Yet the great Irish Wolfhounds are still here today!              And the picture of Warwick in the Forest is plain                    When the tiny white horse came and did it again!

 

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