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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 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,                                      And gave a lustier cheer,                                              “Come, Gelert, come, wert never last                         Llewellyn’s horn to hear.                                                  “O where does faithful Gelert roam                                        The flower of all his race;                                                 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 Gelert could be found,                                 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 Gelert was not there.

Unpleased, Llewellyn homeward hied,                           When, near the portal seat,                                              His truant Gelert he espied                                          Bounding his lord to greet.

But when he gained the castle-door,
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,
His favourite checked his joyful guise,
And crouched, and licked his feet.

Onward, in haste, Llewellyn passed,
And on went Gelert too;
And still, where’er his eyes he cast,
Fresh blood-gouts shocked his view.

Overturned his infant’s 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 searched 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.

Aroused by Gelert’s dying yell,                                     Some slumberer wakened nigh;                                     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
The cherub boy he kissed.

No hurt 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 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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