A hawk of a base breed, hence a worthless fellow. Also used as
No thought of honour ever did assay
His baser brest; but in his kestrell kynd
A pleasant veine of glory he did find ...
Spenser: Faerie Queene, book ii, canto iii. 3.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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