London, June 22 : He might have the honour of being called England's greatest romantic poet, but when it came to fobbing off his female admirers, Lord Byron chose a rather boorish way.
The female fans would send him locks of hair with their fan letters. And to swoon over in return, Byron sent them clippings not from his own head but from his pet Newfoundland dog, it has been claimed.
John Murray VII, chairman of his family's publishing house, which was founded in 1768 and worked with Byron, said the story had been passed down through the generations, reports Times Online.
Murray said the fans to whom Byron sent the hair would have been under the impression that it was his, "but it sometimes belonged to his beloved dog Boatswain. Byron was devoted to Boatswain and to send the women his hair was his little joke".
The publishing house's archives - explored in a new book, 'The Seven Lives of John Murray', to be published in July - contain more than 100 locks of hair from women Byron seduced.
They include one of his most famous lovers, Lady Caroline Lamb, who was so obsessed with Byron that after he ended their relationship she cut off her locks to make herself look like a Cambridge choirboy he had recently seduced.
The hair fragments have been kept since the 19th century in a small envelope in the archives of John Murray, labelled "Caro Lamb hair". Many of Lamb's letters to Byron are also in the archive.