THE IRISH WOLF-HOUND
As fly the
shadows o'er the grass
He flies with step as light and sure,
He hunts the wolf through
starts the deer by Lisanoure,
The music of the Sabbath bells,
O Con! has not a sweeter
Than when along
the valley swells
cry of John MacDonnell's hound.
His stature tall, his body
His back like night, his breast like snow,
His forleg pillar-like and strong,
His hind leg like a bended bow,
Rough curling hair, head long and thin,
His ear a leaf so small and round --
Not Bran, the favorite dog of Finn,
Could rival John MacDonnell's hound.
AT THE DOG SHOW
An Irish Wolfhound)
Long and grey and gaunt he lies,
among dogs; his eyes
Deep and clear of sight, appraise
meaningless and shuffling way
Of human folk that stop to stare.
One witless woman seeing there
How tired, how contemptuous
He is of all the smell and fuss
Asks him, “Poor fellow, are you
and weary to the quick
Of heat and noise from dawn to dark.
He will not even stoop to bark
His protest, like the lesser
Would he might know, one gazer read
longing in his face,
The thirst for wind and open space
stretch of limbs to him
There came a little, dapper, fat
bustling man, with cane and spat
And pearl-grey vest and derby
Such were the judger and the
Katharine Lee Bates
Wisest of dogs was Vigi, a tawny-coated
That King Olaf, warring over green hills of Ireland,
His merry Norse were driving away a mighty herd
feasts upon the dragon-ships, when an isleman dared a word:
"From all those stolen hundreds, well
might ye spare my score."
"Aye, take them," quoth the gamesome
king, "but not a heifer more.
Choose out thine own, nor hinder
us; yet choose without a slip."
The isleman laughed and
whistled, his finger at his lip.
Oh, swift the bright-eyed Vigi went darting
through the herd
And singled out his master's neat with a nose
that never erred.
And drave the star-marked twenty forth, to the
wonder of the king,
Who bought the hound right honestly, at the
price of a broad gold ring.
If the herd-dog dreamed of an Irish voice and
of cattle on the hill,
He told it not to Olaf the King, whose
will was Vigi's will,
But followed him far in faithful love and
bravely helped him win
His famous fight with Thorir Hart and Raud,
the wizard Finn.
Above the clamor and the clang shrill sounded Vigi's bark
when the groaning ship of Raud drew seaward to the dark,
Thorir Hart leapt to the land, bidding his rowers live
Olaf and Vigi strained hard on the fugitive.
'Twas Vigi caught the runner's heel and
stayed the wind-swift flight
Till Olaf's well-hurled spear had
changed the day to endless night
For Thorir Hart, but not before
his sword had stung the hound,
Whom the heroes bore on shield to
ship, all grieving for his wound.
Now proud of heart was Vigi to be borne to ship
And many a day thereafter, when the bitter thrust was
Would the dog leap up on the Vikings and coax with his
Till 'mid laughter a shield was leveled, and Vigi rode
BRAN AND THE BLOODY TREE
Finn the son of Fiona Finn rode into
the cabin yard
Where Bran was beating a great wolf-hound,
Roped to a tree three times around;
But the fall of the club was
the only sound,
For the brave and the strong die hard.
Beneath the slant of his feathered hat
the face of Finn grew red;
His hand was quick to his hunting gun
That shone -- a threat in the mountain sun --
stroke -- an' your life is done!
Make loose the dog!" he said.
Bran stood straight in the sunlight and
blinked at the morning sky;
His tongue was stiff with the taste
And the voice of Finn was in his ear:
forgive ye, clean and clear,
But never the dog nor I!
"His kin have crouched at the feet of
Kings and you think to kill his pride!"
The rope fell slack to
the bloody ground,
Then up from the tree gat the great
And followed Finn as he reined him round
over the mountain-side.
Then thunder spake from the silence and
shattered the Bloody Tree,
And the heart of Bran was filled with
As the ground was washed of its clotted red,
cross of black stood in its stead,
As the dawn rose tremblingly.