What’s the Breed In this Poem?

William Somervile wrote, ‘The Chace” in 1735, and it was the first detailed description of a particular breed on record. After reading it below, can you name the breed?

It was written in “See there with count’nance blithe,
And with a courtly grin, the fawning hound
Salutes thee cow’ring, his wide op’ning nose
Upward he curls, and his large sloe-black eyes
Melt in soft blandishments and humble joy;
His glossy skin, or yellow-pied, or blue,
In lights or shades by Nature’s pencil drawn,
Reflects the various tints; his ears and legs,
Fleckt here and there, in gay enamel’d pride,
Rival the speckled pard; his rush-grown tail
O’er his broad back bends in an ample arch;
On shoulders clean, upright and firm he stands;
His round cat-foot, straight hams, and wide-spread thighs,
And his low-dropping chest, confess his speed,
Or far extended plain; in ev’ry part
So well proportion’d, that the nicer skill
Of Phidas himself can’t blame thy choice.”

The earliest detailed description of the Harrier is contained in this poem, and it the prose contains many of the points not too different from Harriers we see today.

Image: Harriers by George Vernon Stokes (1873 – 1954)

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