The noble arte of venerie or hunting VVherein is handled and set out the vertues, nature, and properties of fiutene sundrie chaces togither, with the order and maner how to hunte and kill euery one of them. Translated and collected for the pleasure of all noblemen and gentlemen, out of the best approued authors, which haue written any thing concerning the same: and reduced into such order and proper termes as are vsed here, in this noble realme of England. The contentes vvhereof shall more playnely appeare in the page next followyng.
Gascoigne, George, 1542?-1577., Turberville, George, 1540?-1610?, attributed name., Fouilloux, Jacques du, 1521?-1580. Vénerie.
Page  124

Howe to kill an Hart when he is at bay, and what is then to be doone. Chap. 41.

[illustration]

VVHen a Hart is at Baye, it is dangerous to go in to him, & especially in rutting time. For at that time their heads are venomous & most perillous, & thervpon came this prouerbe. If thou be hurt with Hart, it brings thee to thy Beare, But Barbers hand wil Bores hurt heale, therof thou needst not feare.

The which hath not bin sayd for nothing, as hath bin proued by many examples. For we read of an Emperor named Basill,Page  125 which had ouercome his enimies in many battels, and had done great deeds of Chiualrie in his Countrie, and was yet neuerthe∣lesse slayne with an Harte in breaking of a Bay. Behold gentle Reader the vnconstancie of variable fortune. A Prince whiche had done so many deedes of prowesse amongst men: which had both comforted his 〈◊〉, and discomforted his enimies: which had peaceably defended his people, and courageously assaulted suche as sought to subuert his dominion, was at the last in the pryde of his pleasure, in the pursute of his pastime, and in the vnexpected day of his destenie, vāq•…ished, slayne, and gored with the hornes of a brute Beast: yea (that more is) by a fearefull beast, and such an one as durst not many dayes nor houres before haue beheld the coūtenance of the weakest mā in his kingdome: A Beast that fledde from him, and a beast whom he constreyned (in his owne defence) to do this detestable mu•…der. This ex∣ample may serue as a mirrour to al Princes and Potestates, yea and generally to all estates, that they brydle their mindes from proferyng of vndeserued iniuries, and do not constrayne the simple sakelesse man to stand in his owne defence, nor to do (like the worme) turne agayne when it is troden on. I woulde not haue my wordes wrested to this construction, that it were vn∣lawfull to kill a Deare or such beasts of venerie: for so should I both speake agaynst the purpose which I haue taken in hande, and agayne I should seeme to argue against Gods ordināces, since it seemeth that suche beastes haué bene created to the vse of man and for his recreation: but as by all Fables some good mo∣ralitie may be gathered, so by all Histories and examples, some good allegorie and comparison may be made. And to returne to the matter, I might recite many other stories and examples, but this may suffize to admonish all Huntesmen that they go wisely and warily to a Harte when he is at Baye: as hereafter I will more largely declare. You shall vnderstand then, that there are Bayes in the water and Bayes on the lande, and if an Harte be in a deepe water, where the Huntesman cannot come at him, the best thing that he can do, shalbe to couple vp his houndes, and that for many causes: for if they shoulde long continue in Page  126 the water, it would put them in great daunger to founder and marre them, or if the water be broad & deepe, they might chaunce (through eagernesse of their game) to drown. For a Hart which is spent, will not willingly leaue a great water, when he seeth the hounds and the huntsmen come in to him, but will swimme vp and downe in the middest of the streame, and neuer come neare the bankes. And therefore I say the huntesman shall doe wel to take vp his hounds, and to stand close vpon a cleare wind vntill the Harte may come out of his owne free will, the whiche peraduenture he wil quickly do, when he heareth no longer noise after him. And if the huntesman stande clo•…e and vpon a cleare winde, he may chance to haue a blowe at him with his sword•… as he commeth out. But if he fayle thereof, and that the Hart be once past him, let him suffer him to passe farre inough before he vncouple his hounds, for if a Hart heare any sodeine noyse com∣ming after him, he may chance to returne vnto the soyle. But if he perceiue that the Harte will not come out of the water, then let him get a boate, or if he can swymme, let him put off his clothes, and swymme to him with a Dagger readie drawne to kyll him, and yet let him well beware howe he assayle him, vn∣lesse the water be verie deepe. For if it be so shallowe that an Hart may stande vpon the bottome, he may chaunce to giue the huntesman a shrewde blowe, if he take not heede at the •…rst en∣counter: marie where it is deepe he hath least force. It hath beene my happe oftentimes to kyll in this sorte verie great Hartes, and that in sight and presence of diuers witnesses, and afterwardes I haue guided their deade bodyes to the banke swymming. As touching the baye on the lande, if the Harte be frayed and burnished, then the huntsman ought well to regarde and consider the place. For if it be in a playne and open place, where there is no wood nor couert, it is daungerous and harde to come in to him: but if it be by an hedge side, or in a strong thirke or queadx, then whyles the Harte doth stare and looke vp∣on the houndes, the huntesman may come couertly amongst the bushes behynde him, and so maye easily kyll him: and if the Harte turne heade vpon him, let him runne behynde some tree, Page  127 or couer him selfe in the thycke quickly, or shake some 〈◊〉 rudely and boysterously before him. Or else when you see an Hart at Baye, take vp the houndes, and when the Harte turneth heade to flee, galloppe roundely in, and before he haue ley sure to turne vpon you, it is a thing easie ynough to kyll him with your sworde.