Okay, I acknowledge that the Lord Byron died in 1824.
We’re off work this week and hope to have some day-trips out. I also plan on doing some serious writing as I haven’t done much in April.
Anyway, Monday we thought we’d have a run out to Rufford Country Park and walk around the grounds and the lake. You know, take in the heavy rain that had been forecast!
We missed our junction off the motorway, even though we’ve been enough times to know the way, and decided to see what else there was to see.
Enter the AA Days Out App for the iPhone.
I do like this App. You search your current location and it shows you all the local interesting places to visit.
One of the options was Newstead Abbey, once home (albeit briefly) to Lord Byron and family. My wife, Joanne had been before, but a long time ago. I’ve never been, so why not?
The App told us it was open from Friday – Monday and it was Monday, so we drove down to check it out. Like you do.
The drive into the grounds is where you have to pay. Our money was ready.
The house was CLOSED!
They only open the house on a SUNDAY. Where was that on the App? Right load of rubbish 😀
In this lovely age of austerity they only open the house to paying visitors one day a week and we missed it by 24 hours.
So what do you do? Drive away and go somewhere else? No, we paid to go and have a look around the gardens. It was lunchtime and we had a picnic to eat. It was a little too cold and drizzling with rain to eat on the grass. So we sat in the car.
The gardens were lovely. The rain stopped and we had a nice walk around the different areas. Once of the main places to visit is the monument to his beloved dog, Boatswain, who died of rabies in 1808. The monument is bigger than his own and there is an inscription of Byron’s poem Epitaph to a Dog.
The poem reads:
When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown by 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 labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured 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 tongue hypocrisy, thy heart 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
As we drove away, I still haven’t really been to Newstead Abbey. Maybe next time we’ll go on a Sunday.
Thanks for reading.
- Byron: She Walks in Beauty (guerrillapoem.wordpress.com)
- Lord Byron’s Newfoundland (retrieverman.wordpress.com)