Lux Nova
The Secret Vault: Lux Nova


Please complete the highlighted fields

Register Password Reset

Cotgrave's World: Book 3 Ladies of the night

[ Home ] [ Biography ] [ Books ] [ Quotes ]

Thoughts, proverbs and Sayings from the 16th Century

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

Mettre toutes pierres en oeuvre'.
To employ, or make use of, everything.
(this phrase is also applied to a wench,
that suffers any man's stones to grind
at her mill.)

Courir l'esguillette.'.
To be mad for prick,
to run up and down after her lechery,
like a salt bitch;
to play the common whore;
(in old times common wenches were
enjoyed to wear a point
on one of their shoulders,
thereby to distinguish them
from those that professed honesty.)

Tousiours ouvert comme la bourse
d'vn advocat.'.

Always open like an advocates purse.

Putain sait comme la corneille,
plus se laue, & plus noire est elle'.

A whore is like a crow,
The more she washes,
the blacker she is,
viz, the more she excuses,
the more she betrays herself.

Femme sotte se cognoist a la cotte'.
The foolish woman's
by her weeds is discerned;
the woman's garment
shows how fond she is. Or,
the robes that women do array,
their private fooleries bewray.
[Sotte: f. of Sot. Cotte=coat, frock etc.]

Mauvaise fille se mocque de sa mere'.
So, does then a filthy bird array her nest.

Fille de ioye'.
A whore, punk, harlot, queeny, strumpet, cockatrice, common hackney, pleasant sinner.

Effronte en putain'.
As impudent as a whore'.

Plus couard qu'un lievre'.
More heartless than a whore.

Les folies femmes n'aiment
que pour pasture'.

A whore affects your purse not you,
for she loves you only when you pay her.

Qui se couche avec le chiens
se leue avec des puces'.

They that lay down with dogs
Rise up with fleas; or,
In filthy company
what can one gain but filth.
How many men
have laid down with a whore,
only to wake up to the applause
clap, clap clap.

Elle n'est si fine que la corde
n'y apparoisse'.

As cunning as she thinks herself to be,
her tricks may be discerned.
A metaphor, from cloth,
whose thread may be seen.

Tout ce que le clerc laboure
solle femme deuore'.

All that a scholar gains
his wench consumes.
All the clerk can scrape together,
his troll devours.

Il n' est si bon que femme n' assortte'.
[even] The wisest [men] man's assotted
[besotted] by a woman. Or,
even the best of man
may be beguiled by a woman.

Viudes chambres sent Dames folles'. Or,

viudes chambres sont les dames folles'.
Empty chambers [beds] make women play the wanton. Or,
the empty bedroom,
bids farewell
to sisters,
and chastity. M.

On y va comme asne desbastez'.
{said of those that meet at stolen lechery}v They go at it hotly, furiously with
Terrible appetite.
[for ass' discharged of their burdens,
Unsaddled, and set at liberty are
The friskiest creatures alive].

En moisslons Dames chambrieres sont'.
Ladies are but drudges,
or wait on themselves
as long as harvest lasts.
[during times of plenty,
her love endures,
she takes from the table,
as she able, of age and beauty
she takes no notice,
but when winter comes,
it sheds new light.
The sugar, all but dried up, all's left
is a poisoned, bitter sweet cup. M.]

La viandre creuse,
(ascavoir les beates a deux pieds').

Wenches, trulls, female rascals.

Lamais putain n' ayma preud homme
ny grasse geline'.

Never did a whore love an honest man,
Nor a wanton wife a weak man.

A doxie, common hackney,
hedge whore, one that will lay down
under any stall, or any corner of the street.

Amour de garse, saut de chien
Ne dure si l'on ne dit, tien.'.

Whores and dogs fawn on a man
no longer than he feeds them;
or, a whore's love and a dog's leaping,
continue only when they are paid or fed.

Elle a mis le bouquet sous l'oreille'.
Of a widow; she would fain be had,
won, or married.
Of a whore; she may [for money] be had,
won or used.
In France, when they rode, or,
lead out horses for sale,
they used to stick flowers-posies
under their ears.
Perhaps such women were of the habit
of carrying a flower or two
to signal their readiness to be deflowered.
[the word

bouquet' signified,
nosegay or posy of flowers.]

Ciencture doree,'.
A golden girdle {in former times worn
only by such as went for honest women,
noted whores were forbidden it.
[from the girdle of the Amazon Queen,
the same as Berenices hair],

Fair barbe'.
To assemble together in troops,
(as bees, do before, or about the
door of the hive before they swarm)
a phrase in use among
the whore's of Langueboc.

Cornicon': m.
a little horn; also, a deers head when it is young, or but new put out; also, a play at quoites, wherein a piece of horn is led or laid for a mark; or a play at bowls with a mistress (for they commonly play at pricks,) termed cornichon.

Femme safre, & yvrongnesse,
de son corps n'est pas maistresse'.

A wanton and wine drinking woman,
her body yields to open shame.
[yvrongnesse- a drunken woman
or sow {female pig].

Brinquenaudee.' a common hackney,
a wench that is often swined.

Se ranger au montoir'.
Metaphorically from a horse to a wench,
that suffers a man to get on;
or settles herself
to give him the easier getting on.

Pelerine de Venus'. A punk, a whore.

On plume l' oye sans la faire crier'.
The silly goose complains not when
she is plucked.

Vn rabat de bride'.
A job, or cheek, which a horse gives himself with his bridle, [as like a man's tongue in her cheek, so to speak];

a prick-Madame; a prick teaser. Rabat-rabbit?
[ according to many women today, a rabbit is better than a man, and it is mankind that is predicted to end, not woman kind, just ask the bee, the wasp, ants, spiders and more, which sex really rules the world].
Like unto prayer.

De femme volage, & friande en tout
temps bon heur nous defende'.

From women light, and lecherous,
good fortune
still deliver us.