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THE DERIVATION OF THE WORD ‘BLOODHOUND’   continued
EVIDENCE FROM EARLY USAGE
ONE CAN INSULT SOMEONE by calling him a ‘dog’.  One can make it worse by calling him a ‘cur’, but one would never want to call someone a ‘nobly bred dog’.  It would take all the force away from the insult!  Nevertheless it is apparent that the word ‘bloodhound’ has been used pejoratively from very early times.  A crucial example, showing how early English speakers thought of the word ‘bloodhound’ is in an alliterative poem Morte Arthure of about 1400, maybe a copy of an earlier original.  In it King Arthur applies the word ‘bloodhound’, as a metaphor, to his enemies.  He is speaking to Lancelot, and they are on board ship, returning to England, and preparing for a sea-battle.  His nephew Modred has taken over the kingdom, married Arthur’s queen Waynour (Guinever) and peopled the land with paynims and infidels who despoil the monasteries and ravish the nuns:
King Arthur Quote Let us recover the kingdom, the shore belongs to us, and make them wince angrily, all yon bloodhounds! break them to pieces within the (ship’s) side, and then burn them! heartily hew down yon heathen curs! they are on the rogue's (ie Modred's) side, I swear to you by my hand!
For my purposes, finding this example is an amazing piece of fortune.  We could hardly have expected to find the word in such a clearly revealing context.  In three lines he calls his enemies both ‘bloodhounds’ and ‘tykes’ (ie curs, ill-bred dogs)  If ‘bloodhounds’ had had the connotation ‘dogs of pure, noble breeding’ he could not have used it in the same breath as ‘tykes’, which suggests the opposite!  The meaning ‘blood-seeking dogs’ is entirely appropriate to the context. 

In 1550 Coverdale also uses the word metaphorically:
     “Manasses ...was a very bloodhound and a tyrant.”