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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Thursday, March 15, 2007


George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824), the great Romantic poet, had a fondness for keeping pets. He is recorded over the years as owning 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.

So did his dogs, of whom he had many: Thunder, Moretto, and Lyon, to name a few. The best known is Boatswain, whom Byron nursed through rabies to no avail, as there was no cure for it at the time. The inscription Byron placed upon Boatswain's tomb is well known, but worthy of repeating:
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.
This Praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery If inscribed over human
ashes, Is but a just tribute to the Memory of BOATSWAIN, a DOG Who was born at
Newfoundland, May, 1803, And died at Newstead, Nov 18th, 1808.

The poem Byron wrote in his dog's memory is high flown in its elegance, but sincere. Read it here. There's an excellent page on Byron and his pets here courtesy of his home, Newstead Abbey.

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