LibriVox volunteers bring you 16 recordings of Beth Gêlert, or the Grave of the Greyhound by William Robert Spencer (1770-1834).
This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for July 8th to July 22nd, 2012.
William Robert Spencer, English poet and wit, was the younger son of Lord Charles Spencer and his wife Mary Beauclerk. Spencer’s wit made him a popular member of society. He belonged to the Whig set of Charles James Fox and Richard Brinsley Sheridan and was frequently a guest of the prince of Wales. He did not desire a public life, being content as a writer of “occasional” verse and vers de société.
His writings were greatly appreciated by his contemporaries, being warmly praised by such figures as Sir Walter Scott, John Wilson, and Lord Byron.
(Summary from Wikipedia)
http://www.archive.org/download/bethgeleret_1207_librivox/bethgelert_spencer_rn_64kb.mp3″Running time=6m 29s (mp3@64kb)
Download locations: mp3 128kb : mp3 64kb : ogg vorbis.
Catalogue pages: LibriVox, Internet Archive.
Zip of the entire book (40.7MB@64kb), featuring all 16 readers of this poem, with a total running time of 1h, 24m, 47s.
In addition to the readers, this audio book was produced by:
Book Coordinator: Charlotte Duckett
Meta-Coordinator/Cataloging: David Lawrence
Beth Gêlert, or the Grave of the Greyhound
The spearmen heard the bugle sound,
And cheerly 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, wer’t 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 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.
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 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.
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 storm to brave,
The consecrated spot shall hold
The name of ‘Gelert’s grave’.
This fortnight’s poem can be found here.