The Mirror Of Falconry by Pierre Harmont, Hardbound, Dust Wrapper, 513 pages
Weight: 2.10 pounds
This book has been translated by John Loft. Hard bound, dust wrapper, and 513 pages.
Those who have read Loft's translation of d'Arcussia's Falconry will know roughly what to expect from this new work when they are told it concerns the same period and comes in the same format, but where d'Arcussia was discursive and anecdotal these two authors never stray from their subject and St. Aulaire considers it his religious duty to pass on the knowledge he has gained in his half-century of managing and flying birds of prey, as he calls them. He was an excellent instructor. Falconry has come a long way since then and we do not need his instructions but we can still admire his expertise on all fronts and enjoy what he reveals about the different conditions, beliefs, and practices of the times.
Harmont, the professional falconer, was as methodical in setting out his information as he must have been in managing his section of the huge royal falconry establishment, both when at court and when on campaign. He writes with noticeable confidence. It is of particular interest that he flew and looked after two alethes. (It seems unlikely that they were ever brought over from America in numbers). St. Aulaire was a country gentleman but any professional he employed would have been there merely to serve and not to advise him. He was familiar with all the falcons and hawks then available, but his first love was the peregrine. He did not despise goshawks in spite of some prejudice against them and, according to his masterly description of their behaviour, his (unimprinted) hawks differed not a lot from ours. This is a handsome as well as a fascinating volume. It is one to be treasured.