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acquainted with its special secondary meaning. Both verb and noun are, however, sporting terms used in coursing of every kind, whether of the stag, the fox, or the hare. Cote in this technical sense is applied to a brace of greyhounds slipped together at the stag or hare, and means that one of the dogs outstrips the other and reaches the game first. In coursing the stag, it was sufficient if the foremost dog reached and pinched ; in coursing the fallow deer, he was required to pinch and hold; while in coursing the hare, he had to outstrip his fellow and give the hare a turn, in order to secure the advantage of the cote. This will be made clear by the following extracts from Turbervile's short treatise on coursing :
'In coursing at a Deare, if one Greyhound go endwayes by (that is beyond) another, it is accoumpted a Cote, so that he which doth so do by his fellow do reach the Deare and pinch : and in coursing of a redde Deare, that Greyhound which doth first pinch, shall winne the wager : but in coursing of a fallow Deare, your Greyhound must pinche and hold, or else he winneth not the wager.' Again, from the same treatise :
'In coursing at the Hare, it is not materiall which dog kylleth her (which hunters call bearing of an Hare), but he that giveth most Cotes, or most turnes, winneth the wager. A Cote is when a Greyhound goeth endwayes by his fellow and giveth the Hare a turn (which is called setting a Hare about), but if he coast and so come by his fellow, that is no Cote. Likewise, if one Greyhound doe go by another, and then be not able to reach the Hare himselfe and turne her, this is but stripping and no Cote.' The definition of cote in the Duke of Norfolk's celebrated coursing rules, first published in Shakspeare's own day, is identical with Turbervile's; and Mr. Thacker, the best modern authority on the subject, in expounding the definition, says:'A cote is the first performance which takes place, or can be ' expected to take place, after the dogs are slipped at the hare. • One dog outruns the other, and turns the hare, and with a ‘good hare, and with one dog more speedy than the other, this is repeated many times in some courses.' To cote is thus not simply to overtake, but to overpass, to outstrip, this being the distinctive meaning of the term. If one dog were originally behind the other, the cote would of course involve overtaking as its condition, but overtaking simply is not coting. Going beyond is the essential point, the term being usually applied under circumstances where overtaking is impossible—to dogs who start together and run abreast until the cote takes place. So Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, having coted the players in their way, reach the palace first, and have been for some time in
conversation with Hamlet before the strolling company arrive. . In its secondary or metaphorical use, the word uniformly retains the same distinctive meaning. In the literature of the time, to cote others in wealth, beauty, or worth, is to excel them in these respects. Thus Drant, in his translation, or rather paraphrase of Horace, published within a year or two of Shakspeare's birth, applies it to the passion of avarice, the insatiable desire to surpass all others in gain. The lines in which the verb occurs are, in fact, an expansion of the hemistich, Hunc atque hunc superare laborat :
"How happeneth it, his owne estate
That no man lyketh beste?
A bygger bagge doth beare
More flowyng and more cleare:
Unto the greater sorte,
Who lyves in meane apporte :
Now him he doth contende
And so there is no ende.
And all to overgoe,
Who still will bid him hoe.' In its earlier use cote may, indeed, as the etymology suggests, have primarily referred to the hound's reaching the game rather than to his outstripping his fellow in the chase. But as outstripping his fellow was the necessary condition of reaching the game first, this element of meaning gradually became more prominent, until at length, as we have seen, the term, both in its technical and secondary uses, came to mean not simply to overtake but to outgo, to advance beyond, and generally to surpass or excel.
In connexion with coursing, we may note the discussion that has arisen among the commentators on the meaning of lym or lyam, and leash, as applied to hounds. In the wellknown rhyming list of dogs given by Edgar in his assumed character of Poor Tom in · King Lear, one of the kinds specified is lym, or, in other words, lym-hound; and in the First Part of Henry IV.,' leash is used for three, in the phrase "a leash of drawers,' immediately afterwards enumerated as Tom, Dick, and Francis. There has been some hesitation
amongst the editors as to the exact technical meaning and use of these terms. But a single extract from the old · Art of • Venerie 'settles the question :
• We finde some difference of termes betwene hounds and greyhounds. As of greyhounds two make a brase, and of hounds a couple. Of greyhounds three make a lease, and of hounds a couple and a halfe. We let slippe a greyhound, and we cast off a hound. The string wherewith we leade a greyhound is called a lease, and for a hound a lyame. The greyhound hath his collor, and the hound hath his couples. Many other differences there be, but these are most usuall.'
It has been conjectured with much probability that another word, uncape, used in the • Merry Wives of Windsor,' must have been a technical term in foxhunting. It occurs in the humorous scene where the jealous Ford, accompanied by a posse of his friends and neighbours, arrives at his own house, resolved to hunt for the disturber of his peace, whom he declares to be harboured there by the guilty connivance of his wife. On entering the house, he meets the servants going out with the buck-basket in which Falstaff is almost smothered beneath the soiled linen :
* Ford. Pray you, come near: if I suspect without cause, why then make sport at me; then let me be your jest; I deserve it. How now! whither bear
this? • Serv. To the laundress, forsooth.
“Mrs. Ford. Why, what have you to do whither they bear it? You were best meddle with buck-washing.
• Ford. Buck! I would I could wash myself of the buck! Buck, buck, buck! Ay buck; I warrant you, buck; and of the season too, it shall appear.
[Exeunt Servants with the basket.] Gentlemen, i have dreamed to-night; I'll tell you my dream. Here, here, here, be my keys: ascend my chambers; search, seek, find out: I'll warrant we'll unkennel the fox. Let me stop this way first. [Locks the door.] So now uncape.'
Here it seems clear from the context that uncape must be a term connected with foxhunting, but no instance of its technical use has been discovered, and hardly any two editors agree as to its exact meaning. Warburton asserts, with his usual confidence, that it means 'to dig out the fox when earthed'; while Stevens maintains that the term refers to a bag-fox. • The allusion is,' he says, ' to the stopping every hole at which • a fox could enter before they uncape or turn him out of the • bag in which he was brought.' Hanmer substituted the reading uncouple ; and Nares, in support of this interpretation, and with a special eye to Stevens' note, says that · Falstaff is • the fox, and he is supposed to be hidden, or kenneled, someVOL, CXXXVI. NO. CCLXXVIII.
' where in the house ; no expression therefore relative to a bag• fox can be applicable, because such a fox would be already in
the hands of the hunters. The uncaping is decidedly to begin • the hunt after him; when the holes for escape had been
stopped. This seems from the context to be the real meaning of the word. It must indicate the commencement of the hunt, or, in other words, the uncoupling of the hounds. But the text need not be altered to bring out this signification. Though no example of its technical use has yet been found, there can be little doubt that uncape was a sporting term locally or colloquially employed instead of uncouple. Nor, after all, is it very difficult to explain its origin and use in this sense. Turbervile, after stating that amongst other differences, • the greyhound hath his collar and the hound his couples, intimates the existence of many more technical terms, of which those he gives are simply the most usual. Cape might very well have been one of the terms for collar or couple, as it undoubtedly had this meaning in Shakspeare's day. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, while cape meant, as it still does, the top or upper part of a garment, it was usually restricted to a much smaller portion than the word designates now-a part encircling the neck rather than covering the shoulders. It meant, in fact, a neck-band, most commonly of the kind termed a falling-band; in other words, a collar, the larger tippet, covering the shoulders, being termed in contradistinction to the smaller cape or collar, 'a Spanish cape.? Thus Minsheu and Howel give as synonyms for the cape of • a garment, French, collet, explained as the collar of a jerkin, • the neck-piece of any garment’; Spanish, cabeçon, explained as the neck-band of a shirt, the neck of a doublet, the collar
of a garment'; Latin, collare, neck-band, or collar.' The Latin dictionaries of Wase and Coles give the same explanation of cape as part of a dress. Shakspeare himself uses it in the same sense—as another word for neck-band or collar. In the · Taming of the Shrew,' amongst the directions given to the tailor by Grumio for the making of Katharina's robe or dress, are specified, “a loose-bodied gown with a small com
passed cape. Here the epithet compassed means circular, so that the item is equivalent to a small circular collar, or falling band around the throat. Whether cape is a technical term in foxhunting or not, Shakspeare was therefore perfectly entitled to use it, as he evidently does, in the Merry Wives of • Windsor,' as a synonym for couple or collar. As given in the old pictures, the broad, loose, indented leather bands or collars to which the lyam or leash was attached, completely
realise the contemporary notion of a cape, and no mistake could possibly arise from the use of the term in this sense. The words uncape, uncollar, or uncouple would each mean the same thing, while all would be easily, if not equally intelligible.
We may conclude the allusions to hunting by an illustration or two of the beautiful passage in the Midsummer Night's Dream,' where Theseus celebrates the music of his hounds in
full cry :
• The. Go, one of you, find out the forester :
* Hip. I was with Hercules, and Cadmus, once,
The. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind,
Judge, when you hear.' ' Shakspeare might probably enough, as the commentators suggest, have derived his knowledge of Cretan and Spartan hounds from Golding's translation of Ovid, where they are commemorated in the description of Actæon's tragical chase and death. But in enumerating the points of the slow, sure, deep-mouthed hound, it can hardly be doubted he had in view the celebrated Talbot breed nearer home. A contemporary writer celebrates the virtues of these hounds in terms that recall Shakspeare's own description :
For the shape of your hound, it must be according to the climate where he is bred, and according to the natural composition of his body, as thus, if you would choose a large, heavy slow, true Talbot-like hound, you must choose him which hath a round, big, thick head, with