Prince Rupert Addendum: Boye’s Observations on the Nature of Fame


04/03/2013 by noonobservation

Rupert with his ferocious poodle, Boye, burning some drab puritan towns.

Rupert and Boye, burning some drab puritan towns.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine, being excessively interesting and romantic, left little room in my blog post about him for his famous dog; the white poodle, Boye. Loved by the Cavaliers, feared by the Roundheads, Boye became a pawn in the propaganda war between King and Parliament.


In 1638, Prince Rupert was defeated by the Thirty Years’ War and imprisoned at Linz. In order to distract Rupert from the aggressive attentions of the Jesuit priests sent to convert him, and the gaoler’s daughter Susan, the Earl of Arundel gave Rupert a rare white poodle to keep him company during the long Germanic nights.

Back in the 17th Century, before poodles became silly, they were manly and heroic hunting dogs. Boye might have looked a bit like this:

From De Natura et Solertia Canum, published in 1653.

From De Natura et Solertia Canum, published in 1653.
(Artist may have confused poodle with lion.)

Or maybe like this…

An 18th Century poodle by Stubbs.

An 18th Century poodle by Stubbs.

He did not look like this:

Girly modern poodle

Girly modern poodle

The Thirty Years’ War being too obscure a conflict to provide lasting fame, Boye and Rupert took service in the armies of King Charles of England. It was during the English Civil War that Boye reached his apogee, both as a military leader and popular hate figure. Despite his spectacular accomplishments on the battlefield, accusations of witchcraft, espionage and popery permanently damaged his public image.

Always highly sensitive to the press, Boye’s feelings of self-doubt, argue some historians, may have ultimately led to his heroic death at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, where he recklessly charged onto the battlefield to search for his prince, only to be wickedly slain by some heartless, dog/witch-hating Roundhead.

The death of Boye, watched by a weeping witch.

The death of Boye, watched by a weeping witch.

Boye was best remembered by his comrades for his ability to jump up at the name of “Charles” and cock his leg at the name of “Pym”, the commander of the Parliamentarian forces.

Interview: Boye of the Rhine

Using my rather rudimentary knowledge of necromancy, and with the help of my own familiar Kakaritaka (who appears to me in the form of some mould on my kitchen wall), I have been able to ask Boye about the infamous accusations made against him in Observations on Prince Rupert’s White Dog Called Boye (1643). The result is the following pamphlet, the text of which spontaneously appeared on some slippers we soaked in 17th century dog saliva, attached to a car battery. Kakaritaka is full of good ideas.

Observations on the Cruel Nature of Fame, by Prince Rupert’s White Dog, Boye
(Translation by Zephyr Csaky, greyhound-Alsation cross).

Since coming into the country of England, the most vile and infamous slanders have been thrown at my innocent person by those mongrel dogs belonging to the Parliament, who possessing neither breeding, manners, nor proper Kennel Club certificates, have seen fit to hound me as if I were some common Poodle-Labrador cross or other vulgar half-breed.

Yay for Google Books

Yay for Google Books

Firstly, they accuse me of being “…some Lapland Lady, who by nature was once a handsome white woman, and now by Art is become a handsome white Dogge.” I denounce this is a malicious falsehood (apart from the assertion that I am handsome). When I did live and breathe, I had a not inconsiderable privy member which I did attend to most constantly, as those who knew me may attest. Were I a woman, would I have assaulted My Lord Rupert’s shoes in so lusty a manner? Furthermore, I have no knowledge of this place they call Lapland, being no Lap dog, but a hearty, well built poodle dog.

Secondly, they said I could predict the future and “prophesied that the king would enter London before May Day next, with three score thousand horse and foot.” This supposed prophesy disproves itself, since Wikipedia informs me that Good King Charles (God rest him), never got his army closer than Reading. Had I been able to predict the future, I would have set myself up as a manufacturer of ugly puritan hats and never gotten myself shot.

They also claimed I prophesied that “the City, lastly, shall profer him two tubbs of Custard-stuffe to bathe in, which he is not yet resolved to accept of.” Custard-stuffe is well enough for short-haired pointers and greyhounds, but with this coat? Really?

Roundhead dogs were short-haired puritanical sorts.

Illustration showing how the types of dogs favoured by the Roundheads and Cavaliers affected their hairstyles.

It is also said of me that I did speak a concoction of Hebrew and High Dutch into my Lord Rupert’s ear, “…which… was most probably the language of the Beasts before the curse.” I admit that my Dutch hath rather a Bohemian accent, but it is hardly antediluvian. They wilfully misinterpret the legitimate ear-licky-licky I offer to my Prince as the whispering of state secrets. Ear-licky-licky is the natural right and hereditary privilege of all canine classes (as long as it is within a dog-master relationship, and you don’t ear-licky-licky around, like some dogs do).

They also said that I was “weapon-proofe” and able to deflect bullets – I do think I have proved the falseness of this claim most decidedly! In addition, that I could make myself invisible, and disguise My Lord Rupert in a black miasma, allowing him to penetrate their camps and secret meetings. I do admit to making myself invisible once, but only to steal bacon. The cats did all the spying.

Most injurious of all to my heart are the accusations against me of sexual misconduct with My Lord Rupert. Those roundheaded curs allege that I “kisseth the Prince, as close as any Christian woman would,” (by which I presume they mean face-licky-licky) and that we “lye perpetually in one bed, sometimes the Prince upon the Dog and sometimes the Dog upon the Prince, & what this may in time produce, only the close Committee can tell.”

Boye, possibly painted by Rupert's sister Louise.

Boye, possibly painted by Rupert’s sister Louise.

I do accuse the Parliament of being full ignorant of what naturally passes between a dog and his prince, believing in their wicked hearts that a man and a dog cannot share a bed without some mischief ensuing. ‘Tis full true that I have sometimes lain upon My Lord Rupert, causing him to tell me to “get ooff, you Cavalier cur”, or offer me some other loving words, because he loves me very much, and then he rubs my tummy and I settle for sleeping on his feet rather than his face. Prince Rupert has never lain upon me, he being quite heavy.

Lastly, I am accused of being a Cataholic. I like eating cats as much as the next dog, but I don’t have a problem, nor do I see how this is relevant to my religious beliefs.

This is my true and honest testament, and those who doubt it may come and sniff my anus and learn that I am a true-hearted and well-bred dog of sound morals and firm stools.


2 thoughts on “Prince Rupert Addendum: Boye’s Observations on the Nature of Fame

  1. This is a wonderful piece of writing, and a Cataholic? Libelous.

  2. […] moonlighting from his job as under-desk foot-warmer by helping out on my friend Noon Observations blog. I wouldn’t have minded if he had asked but he didn’t. By way of apology he has written […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: