Monument to a Dog

21 Aug

Monument to a Dog

Boatswain's likeness courtesy of Newstead Abbey

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 in Newfoundland May 1803,

and died at Newstead Nov 18th, 1808.


When some proud son of man returns to earth

Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth

The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe

And storied urns record who rests below

When all is done, upon the tomb is seen

not what he was, but what he should have been.

But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend

The first to welcome, foremost to defend

Whose honest heart is still his master’s own

Who labors, fights, lives, breathes for him alone

Unhonored falls, unnoticed all his worth

Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth

While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven

and claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour

Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power

Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust

Degraded mass of animated dust!

Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,

Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!

By nature vile, ennobled but by name,

Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.

Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn

Pass on–it honors none you wish to mourn.

To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;

I never knew but one–and here he lies 

Boatswain Monument

Lord Byron’s Inscription on the monument

built for his beloved Newfoundland

Boatswain, 1808


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