1587 Jock = a Scotsman, or a horseman -- or "Jacky"?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Feb 1 14:48:41 UTC 2010

At 2/1/2010 03:33 AM, Robin Hamilton wrote:
>>At 1/31/2010 10:16 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>>  I meant the earliest generic front-name type nickname for any ethnic
>>>All the early contenders seem to date from the 17th C.
>>[Joel wrote:]
>>In that case, the "Jock" from 1587 is a contender:
>>_The Famovs Victories of Henry the fifth: Containing
>>the Honourable Battell of Agin-Court As it was plaide by the Queenes
>>Maiesties Players_.  [no author.] London: Printed by Thomas Creede,
>>1598.  One of the characters is "Iock".  [Harvard says: "One of the
>>sources of
>>Shakespeare's Henry IV [sic!], probably written about 1587." --Hand
>>list to Old English plays.]  Full view, downloadable.
>[Robin wrote:]
>Well, *one argument is that it's a forerunner of Naughty Prince Hal / Good
>King Henry, and so early (thus 1587).  As good or a better case can be made
>that it's a catchpenny lashup put together to cash in on the popularity of
>the two Henry IV plays and the concluding Henry V.
>(_The Famous Victories_
>is entered in the Stationers' Register in 1594 before it's published in
>1598, and may have been revised in the interim to carry the events up to the
>recently staged battle of Agincourt.)

(My "sic" was from wondering how the Battle of Agincourt got into
Henry IV!  Now I know.)

>Whatever, the point is moot, since "Iock." as a speech prefix in the text is
>a shortening of the full name of the character in question -- Iockey, a
>horseman, no Scotsman he.
>Indeed, "Iockey" is none other than (under the guise of Sir John Oldcastle)
>our old friend Falstaff,

A little knowledge (mine) is a dangerous thing!  However, I wonder if
a little more applies a correction to Robin's "horseman" above.  From
the OED for jockey (n.):

{dag}3.    a. One who manages or has to do with horses; one who deals
in horses, a horse-dealer. Obs. or dial.  From 1638-.

  {dag}4. One who rides or drives a horse; a postillion, courier; a
charioteer. Obs.  From 1643-.

  5. a. spec. A professional rider in horse-races. (The chief current
sense.)  From 1670-.

Rather, I suspect that the _Famovs Victories_' "Iockey" is a
"diminutive or familiar by-form" of John (Oldcastle) -- with some
teasing in the use of a diminutive for Falstaff? -- as in:

1. a. A diminutive or familiar by-form of the name Jock or John,
usually with the sense 'little Jock, Jacky, Johnny'; hence,
applicable (contemptuously) to any man of the common people (chiefly
Sc.); also, a lad; an understrapper. (Cf. JACK n.1 2.)  a1529 SKELTON
Agst. Scottes 90 Kynge Iamy, Iemmy, Iocky my io. 1594 SHAKES. Rich.
III, V. iii. 304 Iockey [a1548 HALL Chron. Iack] of Norfolke, be not
so bold, For Dickon thy maister is bought and sold.

Otherwise, wouldn't we have an antedating of the OED's "jock[ey]" = horseman?


>and _The Famous Victories_ begins (sort of -- the
>correspondence with anything in any of the three Henry plays is less than
>exact) just after the Gadshill incident in 1 Henry IV --  i.e. towards the
>end of 1 Henry IV, Act II, scene iv.
>Further, it's printed in blackletter/gothic, suggesting a *really downmarket
>readership, gothic being the font favoured by the printers of coney-catching
>pamphlets and broadsides.  It might be difficult to read, but it induced a
>sense of cheerful familiarity in the intended audience.

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