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Cotgrave's World: Book 14 Money

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Thoughts, proverbs and Sayings from the 16th Century

Extracts from a French to English dictionary by, R Cotgrave. Published 1611.

'Denier sur denier bastit la maison'
Penny upon penny builds the house;
little by little, great matters are affected,
great works finished.
[ money is a good servant,
but a bad master].
['Why not? Of all gods it's Wealth, that
compels our deepest reverence'
Juvenal, satire 1, 110-15.]

'Armour faict beaucoup, mais argent faict tout'
Love is potent, but money omnipotent.
Or, love is powerful but money is,
all powerful.
[Ecclesiastes, 10-19.
A feast is made for laughter,
And wine makes life merry,
But money is the answer
For everything.

'Quand tous peches sont vieux avarice est encores-ieune'
The love of wealth continues young
when all other sins grow old.

'Argent fait pendre les gens'
Money brings many men to the gallows. But that was the law then, it could not be a useful proverb in our times? Better said, money brings poor men to the gallows. But today it seems there are no crimes warranting death, but if the law was chiseled in stone who defaced it.

'Quand argent faut tout faut'
When money is missing, all is missing.

'Quand argent faut finaison nulle'
No bargain,
or satisfaction without money.

'Ou richesse est peches est'
Where wealth is, offences are.

'Qui n'a argent en bouche ait de moins de miel ou bouche'
Let him who cannot spend freely
speak fair.

'Qui n'a laine bovie a la fontaine'
Let him that has no wealth
drink at the well.

'De grosse table a l' estable'
He that in housekeeping
spends more than he is able,
may fall to horse keeping
and die in a stable.

'Grasse cuisine maigre testament'
A fat kitchen a leaner will.

'Credos, qui fait credos charge son dos'
He that lends often loses.

'Qui n'a mineur n'a honneur'
He that lacks money lacks honour.

'Qui a argent a des chapeau'
He that is rich is revered; or,
he that has money
lacks neither hat nor hood;
he that has a store of coins,
has a store of all needful things;
for money speaks all languages,
and buys all things.

'Marchandise qui plaist est demy vendue'
Please the eye, pick the purse;
content the eye
and your bargain is half made.

'Toute chose se vend au pres d'oeil'
All things are sold at the price,
the eye sets on them.

'Nul soules mondain sas helas'
There is no worldly comfort
without crosses, or corrosives too bare.

'Prou despendre, et peu gaigner saccage le mesnager'
Lavish expense and little gain
put a housekeeper to much pain.

'Ventir de valours robbe de bureau'
Choice food, and costly fare,
do make the back go bare.

'Aujourd huy caisser demain casse'
Today in cast, tomorrow cashiered; or,
Today in request, tomorrow cased;

, broken, burst, quashed to pieces.

'L'on endure tout sors que trop d'asfe'
We say all things may be suffered
saving wealth.

'Sac plein dresse l'oreille'
The full purse, a full ear procures.

'Argent comptant porte medecine'
Ready money is ready medicine;
or procures any medicine.

'Faire de l'argent avec les dents'
To grow rich by fasting hard;
to starve the belly to feed the purse.

'Quand argent faut tout faut'
He that lacks money, lacks all things.

'Quelque scaviour que soit on l'homme, S'il n'a de l'argent, on s'en mocque'
The most skillful lacking money
are but scorned

'Celuy est homme de bien qui est homme de biens'
He is righteous, that is a rich man
(says the worldling.)

'Tant vaut l'homme qu'il se rompt'
A man is prized by his land, (priced,
prized, praised, honnoured
for his wealth.)

'Qui a argent a des chapeaux'
Most men salute the monied man; or,
he that has money, has most things.

'C'est argent qu' argent vaut'
Nothing but money is money worth.

'Argent ard gent'
Money burns many,
0r the love thereof
inflames their hearts.

'Argent faict guerre'
It moves men to begin,
and enables them to follow it.

'A rich homme, n'en chaur qui ami luy soit'
A rich man needs no friends;
nor needs to care who he befriends. Or, (which is most ordinary and most true) respective no man's friendship.

'A qui est l'asne si le tienne par la queue'
Let him that owes the ass, hold him by
the tail, he that has a suit to follow, or a
thing to keep, may think no solicitor, so good, a watch-men, so fit, as himself,
and will take the law
into his own hands.

'Marchandisen n'espargne nuls'
The merchants ware bids men beware,
for he will gain by his father; or, merchandise holds no friendships, yields no favours, has no consideration but for gain.

'On n'a jamais bon marche de mauvaise marchandise'
For naughty wares, no price is low
enough; or, his bargain is not cheap
that has ill ware for his money.

'Profit sans vertu ne vaut vn festu'
Dishonest gains are not worth a chip,
or there is no scoundrel
like a dishonest rich man.

'Argent frais, et nouveau ruine le liovenceau'
The abundant, or free use of money
ruins youth.

'Qui vient est beau, qui apporte encores plus beau'
A man's presence does much,
but his purse does better.

'Argent faict tout'
All (earthly) things are commanded
and compassed by it.

'En argent soit le capitol de celuy la qui le veut mal'
(belike, because the keeping of it,
is both sinful and casual.)

'Vn trouble ne brise dents'
Thick wine breaks no man's teeth;
sweet things go down
without a shoehorn.

'Trop est trop; & trop n'est point bon'
Too much is too much, or,
too much is good for nothing.

'Avarice fait petit monceau'
Small is the heap that avarice affords
(when wealth comes either to be
displayed or distributed).

'Qui n'a honte il n'aura ia honneur'
He that lacks shame,
shall never much credit win.

'Qui plus qu' il n a vaillant despend il fait la corde a quoyse pend'
He who spends more than he is worth,
makes a rope to end his life.

'Qui n'a argent en bourse ait du moins du mel en bouche'
He that cannot pay, let him pray.

'En argent soit le capital de celuy la qui te ueut mal'
Let money be thy enemies whole stock.

'Aujour d'uy facteur demain fracteur'
Today a banker, tomorrow bankrupt.

'Au jour d'uy marchant demain meschant'
Today a trader, tomorrow a traitor.

'D'evesque devenir musnier'
From rich to poor,
of noble to base,
of venerable, to, miserable;
to fall from a high estate to a low one;
(the original was)

'Qui combat avec les armes d'argent est asseure de variocre?'
He that doth fight with silver armies,
is sure to overcome.
Soldiers win or lose battles,
but money, wins wars.