Monday, June 26, 2023

Devil Dogge? I Say Good Boye


Everyone's heard of Charles the First's talented if impetuous cavalry commander, Prince Rupert of the Rhine (PROTR), but did you know he had a war dog called Boy? Boy was a large and rare hunting poodle(!) given to the prince by the Earl of Arundel when Rupert was imprisoned in Linz during the Thirty years War.

When the English Civil War broke out, Boy joined his master on the Royalist side and valiantly ran with the King's cavalry against the insurrectionist Paliamentarians. These hated Boy with puritan fervor, assigning the dog magical powers.


Boy, they claimed, was a devil dog, a Lapland sorceress in canine form with the ability to speak arcane languages, a mix between Hebrew and High Dutch, apparently. He could prophecy, perform acts of espionage, make himself invisible and far more besides; Boy was bullet and knife proof, a valuable asset on the battlefield.

One Royalist pamphleteer lampoons doggish puritan superstition thus, in Observations Ʋpon Prince Rupert's white Dogge called Boye:

He is weapon-proofe himself, and probably hath made his Master so too, my self and the rest whom you have imployed to be of the conspiracy against him, have alwayes failed of our at∣tempts, as if something more then witchcraft watcht over him. Once I gave him a very hearty stroke, with a confiding Dagger, but it slided off his skin as if it had beene Armour of proofe nointed over with Quick-silver. Besides he hath been tempted with pieces of Capon and other choice morcells, as well seasoned all, as poyson and extemporary prayer could doe it: but the Cur as obstinately rejected them, as if he had knowne beforehand what they were, so that they hurt him no more then the plague-plaister, sent in the Letter did Mr. Pym.

Read Observations, it's short and amusing, but alas Boy wasn't bulletproof and met his end at the battle of Marston Moor in 1644, which saw the Royalists defeated with Rupert himself having to flee the field.

I'm no expert but I think the figure in the foreground is a LAPLAND WITCH

On Charles' defeat, Rupert left England only to return at the Restoration and serve as an Admiral in the Second Dutch War. How did this bold cavalryman become an Admiral? Therein lies another tale. 

In the meanwhile, here at the Compound we salute you PROTR and your dog, what a good boye.




LL said...

I thought that you were going to announce the arrival of a devil dog at the compound to try and fill the space left by Blue Warrior.


You need a Boy.

Dad of Six said...

What LL said.

I never thought I'd see poodle and hunting in the same sentence, except maybe using the poodle as bait. I love this blog for all the things I learn about.

Anonymous said...

Surprise: standard poodles are aggressive hunting dogs, mini-poodles are nasty ankle biters, and the trendy poodle-lab crosses that you see everywhere these days which people hope will be the ideal dog (gentle like a lab, and with the poodle no-shedding trait) are instead loud, aggressive, and fiercely territorial. An evil breed, with all the makings of a good war dog.

Anonymous said...

“poodle and hunting in the same sentence”

Ho yezz. Poodles (pudelhunde) are, or were, water retrievers. Just the fellow you want to jump into the lake and swim out to fetch that duck or goose you shot.


LSP said...

Blue Terminator 2.0 hasn't arrived yet, LL. But all in good time.

LSP said...

It is curious, DOS. I was a bit taken aback too.

Have at him, pudle.

LSP said...

Thanks for that, SP. Now Boye makes sense.

Was he fiercely loyal and running to his master in the bean field when he was shot? Perhaps.

LSP said...

I didn't know that, Mike. Thanks for the info.