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EARLY HISTORY OF THE BLOODHOUND . .  continued:  On The Talbot

On The Talbot

AS WITH THE SLEUTH-HOUND, it is sometimes claimed that the Talbot is the original of the Bloodhound, and that it was so known in its earliest days, the modern word being a later name.  In what I have been able to uncover, the evidence is that there is no word for the Bloodhound earlier than “Bloodhound” itself.  The Oxford English Dictionary has this to say about “Talbot”:

“Understood to be derived from the ancient English family name Talbot...  but evidence is wanting. “Chaucer has Talbot as the name of an individual dog, and in quot c1449, John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, is called ‘Talbott, oure good dogge’ (in allusion to the badge of the family) but it is not clear what is the connection between these applications, or which of the senses was the earlier.” [References to the heraldic Talbot seem earlier than those to the real dog.]
In the mid sixteenth century, “Talbot” was still popular as the name of an individual hound, as is illustrated by parallel examples from The Boke of St Albans and Turbervile.  In the former, the cries with which a huntsman should encourage his hound by name are all illustrated in French:
And iff any fynde of the haare[hare] ther[where] he hath bene      255 And he hight[is called] Richer or Bemounde, thus to hym bedyne[command]: “Oy s, a Bemounde le vaillant!, and I shall yow avowe Que quida trover la cowarde ou la court cowe!” That [is] Bemonde the worthe without any fayle That weneth[thinks] to fynde the coward with the short tayle.   *
[   *   Footnote - Many of these early accounts of hunting are versions of earlier ones.  Cf.  William Twici (Venour le Roi d’Engleterre - huntsman to the King of England) in Le Art de Venerie c1327: “oyez a Beaumon le vailant, que il quide trover le Coward od la courte cowe” . . “Hark to Beaumon the valiant, for he thinks to find the coward with the short tail” (Medieval translation).



 [  Plate 4 MB140112: Plate 2 ]