Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/151

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


111
RURAL SPORTS

life hard if it had to be lived without a hawk. The sport was also, upon occasion, enjoyed by women.

The hawks, of which only the females were used in hunting, were caught wild when young. The female was used because, as Turberville tells us, "The female of all birds of prey and ravin is ever more huge than the male, more venturous, hardy, and watchful." There were many kinds of birds in use; and, though this chapter is headed by the term now best known in connection with the sport, the Elizabethan never lost sight of the distinction between the short-winged "hawk" and the long-winged "falcon." The "falcon towering in her pride of place" is a higher order of animal than a "fine hawk for a bush." It is scarcely necessary to enumerate here the different varieties of birds in use for hunting save to say that the female peregrine falcon has given her name to the art of falconry; for, says Turberville, "The falcon doth pass all other hawks in boldness and courtesy, and is most familiar to man of all other birds of prey."

The young of the wild hawks were, when captured, immediately put through a severe and cruel course of training in order to fit them for the field. Now that this sport has gone out of fashion, and with it our familiarity with its terms, one is likely to overlook the technical significance