Duck Dynasty Versus John of Salisbury: Can You Name Any Man Of Distinction Who Has Been An Enthusiast In The Sport Of Hunting?
(Dynasty = Die Nasty)
Can you name any man of distinction who has been an enthusiast in the sport of hunting? The heroic son of Alceus, although he pierced the bronze-hoofed hind and brought sweet calm to Erymanthus' grove, had in view not his own pleasure but the general good. Meleager slew the boar that ravaged Caledonia, not to give pleasure to himself but to free his country from the scourge. The founder of the Roman race laid low the seven huge stags not to sate his vanity and pleasure but to keep himself and his followers alive. It is from their purpose and result that deeds are judged. An act is seemly if the cause that preceded it is honorable. Who ever formed an army of hunters and dogs except for the purpose of battling beasts with courage not his own? Why shouldn't he? Perhaps he will bag a tiny beast, a timid hare, with his elaborate equipment. But if the booty be more glorious, a deer maybe or boar, and the hunter's efforts be conspicuous, spontaneous applause bursts out, the huntsmen are wild with joy, and the head of the victim with the usual trophies will be born before the conquering hero. One would think that the capture of the king of the Cappadocians was being celebrated, to judge by the blare of trumpet and squeal of pipe proclaiming the victory. When a female animal is caught, then gloom prevails, or when a noble beast is laid low by the cunning of the trappers rather than by their prowess.
If a wild goat or hare be the victim, it is thought unworthy of the glory of a triumph. Then, too, there are no exultant blasts of horn or trumpet from the eighth grade of Capricorn until the beginning of Gemini. The triumphant pipe and horn are silent unless a wolf or lion, more dreadful foe, or tiger or panther becomes our prey — a triumph which, thank God, is rarely ours. Despite this, the long space of the year is taken up with the various interests of the hunt.
In Asia the Albanians possess dogs more powerful than lions, which they fear as little as the most timid beast, thanks to the courage of the hounds and their own skill. In fact, there is no wild beast known braver or stronger than these dogs. They were brought into Asia from Africa by Hercules after he had vanquished the three-headed monster Geryon, and he bequeathed to them, as it were, the prowess of downing lions. In addition, this butchery requires skill and exacts it. It possesses its artists at whom you will marvel as he "Gesticulates with brandished knife," and now with blunted sword, should you chance to be present at their sacred rites. Be careful, however, not to misuse any of their hunting jargon in speaking, for you will be flogged or be branded with ignorance of all propriety in displaying your lack of knowledge of their technique. In our day this knowledge constitutes the liberal studies of the higher class. This forms the underlying principles of rectitude; this is the short cut for the blessed to the acme of happiness, a goal which our ancestors taught could be reached only by climbing the steep and laborious path of virtue.
The Gauls scoff at the people of Emilia and Liguria, asserting that they make their wills, arouse the neighborhood, and pray for arms if an invading tortoise threatens their frontiers. This reputation has risen from the fact that no attack of any kind has found them unprepared. How can our own people avoid derision since, with still greater commotion, more worry, trouble, and expense, they think it proper to proclaim formal war against wild beasts? Yet they pursue with less ferocity those beasts which mankind justly regards as its greatest and most malignant enemies. The wolf, the fox, the bear, and all harmful animals are undisturbed while others are slaughtered, and are allowed to commit their depredations before the very eyes of the huntsmen.
Hannibal is said to have slain a Roman who at his bidding had killed in single combat an elephant. He remarked that the Roman was unworthy of living in that he could be forced to enter a contest with beasts, although it is nearer the truth to say that he did not wish a captive to be rendered famous by the glory of an unprecedented triumph, nor those beasts by whose valor he had terrorized nations to be maligned. Is one then worthy of life whose sole interest in it is the trivial one of waging cruel warfare against beasts?
Those who delight in that type of hunting in which birds are taught to pursue their kind, if you think that this sort of bird-catching is to be included in the term hunting, are afflicted with a milder form of insanity but with similar levity. Hunting on the ground, as it is more dependable, is also more profitable than that in the sky - John of Salisbury