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A Memorial to Boatswain

Lord Byron

Byron had always loved animals and acquired a variety of pets.  It's been written that Byron owned during his lifetime, in addition to his dogs  . . . a bear, a fox, three or four monkeys, a parrot, five cats, an eagle, a crow, a falcon, five peacocks, two guinea hens, an Egyptian crane, a badger, three geese, a heron, a goat with a broken leg, and his many horses.  All, except the horses, resided indoors at Byron's homes in England, Switzerland, Italy and Greece.  The last dog he owned, Lyon, traveled back to England with Byron's coffin in 1824.

None of these are as well known as his Newfoundland dog, Boatswain.  The monument to his beloved pet's memory still stands in the garden of Byron's ancestral home, Newstead Abbey, in Nottinghamshire, England.

Although the inscription on the monument states the day of death as the 18th, Byron had written on the 18th, he died on the 10th.   He wrote to his friend, Francis Hodgson, on Nov. 18th, 1808:

". . .Boatswain is dead!  he expired in a state of madness on the 10th, after suffering much, yet retaining all the gentleness of his nature to the last, never attempting to do the least injury to any one near him."
In the 1833 edition of Thomas Moore's book, Letter and Journals of Lord Byron,  Mr. Moore wrote:
". . .the poor animal having been seized with a fit of madness, at the commencement of which so little aware was Lord Byron of the nature of the malady, that he more than once, with his bare hand, wiped away the slaver from the dog's lips during the paroxysms. . . "
It was said that Boatswain was bitten by a rabid dog while following a postboy to Mansfield.

No doubt, if you are a pet owner,  you have probably heard of this inscription, and there are many articles on the Internet pertaining to it. ( I, myself, have a T-shirt and a coffee cup with Lord Byron's memorial to Boatswain*)

Click here to read

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*The place that I obtained the shirt and mug  is Nors of Main.  They are also involved in protecting Newfoundland dogs from abuse, abandonment and neglect.  If you are a Newfoundland dog lover and are interested in learning more about this project, click on:
Safe Haven Project