Byron and Boatswain
Seldom can such an epitaph have been written to a faithful friend. Byron was no ordinary poet though and nor seemingly was his loyal, Boatswain an ordinary pet in his eyes and heart.
‘Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.’
When Byron wrote his moving words in 1808, he had deep financial problems. His beloved Newfoundland dog, Boatswain, had died after being bitten by a rabid dog in nearby Mansfield Market Place. The poet concluded to a friend that he had now lost most everything.
Despite his acute pecuniary problems, Byron was driven to demonstrate his love and affection for his dog by commissioning an impressive marble monument at the poet’s ancestral home, Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire.
Boatswain was buried in an elaborate tomb, which was indeed larger and more impressive than that erected for Byron himself in St Mary Magdalene’s Church at Hucknall, after his passing in Missolonghi in Greece in 1824.
I have many times, when wandering and dreaming through dear Newstead’s remains, admired this monument and its fine and devoted words, many of which were faded over the years. I am very happy to read today of its refurbishment.
Dedicated to the memory of my late friend, Alistair Tait. The kindest and warmest dog lover it was my great pleasure to know.
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The Tracks of My Tears
Hi, my name is Stuart Frew and I began The Tears of a Clown in August 2007 after experimenting with a few online ideas as a repository for my thoughts and words. My favoured themes can be located below as can a full site search and historical archives for the site. I like to talk about sport (Hibernian FC in particular), music, history and travel, amongst many diverse topics. I’m trained in Psychology but no, sadly, I can’t read your mind.
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