Wednesday, May 27, 2009
BOATSWAIN - Epitaph to a Newfoundland dog
Two hundred years ago the poet, Lord Byron, erected a tombstone in the grounds of his home, Newstead Abbey, in memory of his Newfoundland;
The opening lines of the inscription reads:
BEAUTY WITHOUT VANITY,
STRENGTH WITHOUT ISOLENCE,
COURAGE WITHOUT FEROCITY,
AND ALL THE VIRTUES OF MAN WITHOUT HIS VICES
BOATSWAIN was a black and white dog with some hunsky-like features, which born in Newfoundland in 1803 and brought to England to become the poet's favourite companion.
It is said that Lord Byron would take a boat out on his lake and once in deep water, would tip the boat and throw himself into the water.
Whenever this occurred, BOATSWAIN would seize his master by the collar and drag him to shore.
Lord Byron was rather eccentric man kept a menagerie of animals including a bear, but his other Newfoundland, THUNDER was less bold when facing the large beast.
BOATSWAIN bravery led him into a fight with a mongrel infected with rabies. The bite was fatal and BOATSWAIN succumbed to the dreadful disease.
But BOATSWAIN's line was to continue and it is recorded that when Lord Byron died his remains were returned from Greece and on the voyage his body was accompanied by a black and white Newfoundland - a direct descendant of the bard's faourite pet.
Pic: the famous dedication engraved on a tombstone in 1808.