E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Poor Tassel (A).
A poor hand, a bad workman, no great shakes. The tassel or tiercel was a male goshawk, restricted to princes, and called a tassel gentle.
Venturing this opinion to the brick-maker, he laughingly replied, Come, then, and try your hand at a brick. The trial, however, proved me a poor tassel, amidst the jeers and laughter of the men.C. Thomson: Autobiography, p. 52.