The subject of this large and imposing work by Richard Ansdell is the twelfth century Welsh tale of King Llewelyn the Great and his faithful wolfhound Gelert, falsely accused of trying to harm his master's infant son Gruffud. The moment depicted is shortly after Llewelyn discovers that the blood on Gelert's jaws is not that of his son but of the huge wolf the hound has slain to protect the child from harm. Alas Llewelyn has already inflicted the mortal wound upon the innocent Gelert.
"Hell Hound! by thee my child devoured,
The frantic father cried:
And to the hilt his vengeful sword
He plunged in Gelert's side.
Concealed beneath a mangled heap
His hurried search had missed,
All glowing from his rosy sleep,
His cherub boy he kissed.
Ah, what was then Llewellyn's pain,
For now the truth was clear;
The gallant hound the wolf had slain
To save Llewellyn's heir.
Vain, vain was all Llewellyn's wo:
'Best of thy kind, adieu!
The frantic deed which laid thee low,
This heart shall ever rue."
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