"jockey", 1632 [published 1637], antedates 1670-; also "masty"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Aug 27 00:10:54 UTC 2010

Shirley, James.
Hide Parke: A Comedie, As it vvas presented by her Majesties
Servants, at the private house in Drury Lane.
Licensed 1632; published 1637.
[For holdings: EEBO, Harvard, and see Worldcat.]

The Dramatic Works and Poems of James Shirley, Now First Collected ... .
[With notes by William Gifford and Alexander Dyce.]
London: John Murray, 1833.

Act IV, Scene iii [the initial lines].  [page 510.]

Vent. He must be a Pegasus that beats me.
Rid. Yet your confidence may deceive you; you will ride.
Against a jockey, that has horsemanship.
Vent. A jockey! A jackanapes on horseback rather;
A monkey or a masty dog would shew
A giant to him; an I were Alexander,
I would lay the world upon my mare; she shall
Run with the devil for a hundred pieces,
Make the match who will.

[Other passages with "jockey" appear later in Scene iii (511 and
520).  While "Jockey" is a character's name, these three instances
with lower case clearly are the common noun.]

["Rid." is not a rider, but rather an "amorous servant[] to mistress
Carol".  "Vent." is "Venture", who bets on his horse.]

Antedates OED2 "jockey" sense 5.a., "spec. A professional rider in
horse-races.", 1670--.  [Thee text, above and elsewhere, clearly
indicates that there was a race for money.  I did not search the text
to discover whether or not he was a professional (paid for his efforts).]

In passing:  "masty" (adj) sense 1.b. "burly, big-bodied", interdates
draft rev. Mar. 2009  a1593 -- 1660.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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