(To play). To run with the hare and hold with the hounds; to blow both hot and cold; to say one thing and do another. The allusion is to a cheating game practised at fairs. A belt is folded, and the player is asked to prick it with a skewer, so as to pin it fast to the table; having so done, the adversary takes the two ends, and looses it or draws it away, showing that it has not been pierced at all.
He forced his neck into a noose, To show his play at fast and loose; And when he chanced t'escape, mistook, For art and subtlety, his luck.