Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/164

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unless molested, throughout all the day. But there would be the possibility that he had changed his cover since the harbouring at night. So the huntsman's next task was to ascertain whether the stag had remained in this particular wood. In all likelihood he had, but, in order to make sure, the huntsman would make several circuits, or "ring-walks," about the wood. If the hound did not pick up the scent on any of these except at the original "entry," it was to be inferred that the stag had remained in the wood, or that he had left it at exactly the same point where he had in the first place made his entry. The likelihood of the latter contingency was practically reduced to nothing by making ring-walks at different distances both within and without the wood. If by this time it was broad daylight, the huntsman could rest secure in the belief that he had correctly harboured the stag, who would not of his own accord stir from the position he had chosen for his daytime bed till night. This practice of searching for the hart at night, and the finishing details at dawn, are thus referred to by Shakespeare in A Midsummer-Night's Dream.

"I with the morning's love have oft made sport,
And like a forester the groves may tread,
Even till the eastern gate, all fiery red,
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams,
Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams."