Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/160

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


tom of always choosing one's position so that it was possible to loose the hawk against the wind. This fact explains an oft-disputed passage in Hamlet. "When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw [heronshaw.]" A spectator watching a hawk loosed in a southerly wind would be looking away from the sun; consequently he could easily distinguish one from the other. If the wind were in the opposite direction the spectator's eyes would be towards the sun and the two birds be hard to distinguish.

The sport was visually pursued in the open country on horseback; in rough country or in the woods on foot. In the latter case the hunter carried a short pole to assist him in vaulting over the petty streams that he encountered in following his bird. Such game as ducks, herons, geese, pheasants, quail, partridge, plover, woodcocks, etc., were followed with hawks.

Frequently a day's hunting with the hawk was an elaborate affair. Every one would appear on horseback, following the falconer who had charge of the birds. They were carried to the field on such great occasions perched upon a frame called a cadge; and while upon the cadge the hawks were kept hooded and were in charge of the petty official named the cadger. When the dogs had located the game, the falconer took the hawk he