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Cotgrave's World: Book 4 Wolves, Sheep, Dogs, Cats, Beasts and Foxes

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Thoughts, proverbs and Sayings from the 16th Century

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

'A mol pasteur le loup chie laine'.
A gentle shepherd makes the wolf shit wool.

'La mauvaise garde paist souvent le loup'.
I'll watch doth fatten the wolf, or,
a sleepy shepherd fattens the hungry wolf.

'Brebis contees mange bien le loup'.
The wolf eats counted as well as
uncounted sheep.
(said of one, who respects nothing
other than the beastly appetite
of his filthy stomach.)

'Depuis que la brebis est vieille
Le loup la mange bien.'.

The sheep is never too old for the wolf;
No matter how tough so ever she be
He eats her well.

'Le loup emporte le veau du povre'
The wolf makes his feast,
Of the poor man's beast.

'Qui se fait brebis le loup mange'.
Those that will needs be sheep,
The wolf devours;
he that carries himself like a sheep,
shall be fleeced, soiled, fouled and fed on.

'Ieune en sa croissance a vn loup
en la panse'.

A youth in growing has a wolf in his guts:
hence, eats ravenously, greedily,
or great amounts.

'Le loup seuit bien que male beste pense'.
One knave well knows the thoughts
or shifts of another.
Wolves fully understand each other.

'Cn crie le loup
Plus, grand qu'il n'est'.

A report that makes mischiefs
greater than they be.

'Qui a le loup compaignon porte
le chien sous l'hocton.'.

Let him that's yolk-ed with a knave
be armed with a cudgel.

'Vn loup ne devore iamais
vn autre loup'.

Those that are alike do seldom disagree;
one knave will bear with another.
[as' one wolf will not devour another.]

'Peu a peu le loup mange l'oye.'.
Little by little
the wolf devours the goose;
by diligence, or degrees,
a man obtains his purpose.

'Regnard qui beaucoup tarre
attend la proye'.

When foxes tarry long {hang around}:
they hope for a purchase.

'A petite achoison le loup
prend le moucon'.

The wolf takes any small occasion to seize on the sheep. [any excuse allows a man to kick a dog, as a tyrant will always justify his crimes, with petty reasons. Hitler blamed the gays for immorality, the gypsies for crime, the Jews for hoarding all the money, the disabled, were pariahs on society, the jobless nothing but lazy scum, every man or women who did not whole heartedly agree with him was an enemy, and even the most obedient were subject to whim; but they say there are people who deny there ever was a holocaust, but then far many more people believe the pyramids of Egypt were built for the burial of pharaohs, even more that believe king Arthur was a real person, and even more that they have been abducted by aliens? It was sad, its gets ever sadder. M.]

'A petit achoison le loup
prend le mouton'.

When tyrants wish to oppress
the innocent,
the slightest pretext is made sufficient.
There is no beast like to a wicked lord.
[Proverbs, 28-15. As a roaring lion
And a ranging bear
So is a wicked ruler
over the poor people.
28-16. the prince that lacketh
understanding is also a great oppressor.]

'Qui veut son chien
luy met la rage sus'.

He that will hang his dog
pretends he is mad.

'charrue de chien ne vaut rien.'.
The plough a dog draws
is not worth the driving.

'Mauvais chien ne trouve ou mordre'.
The currish dog not bold in fight
seeks where to snatch,
not where to hold.

'Habit de beast, ongles de chat'.
A wolf in sheep's clothing.
[ongles. nails, claws, talons.]

'La faim chasse le loup hors du bois'.
Hunger drives the wolf
out of the wood'.

'Homme seul est viande aux loups'.
The lone man is wolves' meat. Or,
The lonely man becomes easy prey
to wolves

'Ill fut mauvais aller au bois quand
les loups se mangent l'un autre'.

It is not good to go into the woods,
when wolves devour one another. Or

'Mauvaise est la saison quand vn loup
mange l' autre'.

Hard is the time when wolves do feed
on wolves; or it be hard times when one
wolf eats another. Or, when a thief robs a thief; when one pirate preys on another. [when rich and powerful kill each
other, the poor have no chance].

'En fin les loups tuent le chien
qui les loups'.

The wolves at length kill dogs
that killed wolves.
[or, those that live by the sword,
die by the sword.]

'Oeil de loup'.
dusky or dark eye; the devil's eyes,
black, blank, a dark void.

'Qui parle du loup on en voit la queue'.
Applied, when the one being spoken
about suddenly appears.
We might say, in such circumstance,
'talk of the Devil!'.

'En fin les loups trent le chien
qui tue les loups'.

At length, the busy body
comes unto his bane.
[Bane, person or thing
that causes misery or distress.]

'A chair de loup sauce de chien'.
The best sauce for course meat
is hunger; or,
the fittest entertainment
for a knave or fool is a cudgel.

'Pendant que les chiens s'entregrondent
le loup devore la brebis'.

While churchman brabble,
Satan feeds on souls. Or
Church men's contentions
Are the devils harvest.

'Danse du loup la queue
entre les jambres'.

The dance of the lechers.
[the dance of the followers of Bacchus, -
Dionysus, Ceres, Rhea, Artemis, Diana,
and many more].

'Le loup alla a' Rome, & y laissa de
son poil, & rien de ses coustumes'.

A knave will return a knave from the best place in the world'. [even the greatest teacher can teach nothing to the brain-dead fool]. However, it is also rendered,

'& mais rien de ses costumes'.
The wolf went to Rome, and there left part of his coat, but none of its ill conditions. Better taken, as an evil man went to Rome, was relieved of his money but was not cured of his evil ways one jot.]

'Tandis que le chien chie le loup sen va'.
While dogs bay-bark,
the wolf steals away. Or

'Tandis que le chien le loup s' ensuit'.
While the dog howls the wolf escapes,
and all advantage gained, is lost with him.

'C'est vne bonne prise que
d'vn ieune loup'.

He hunts well that catches a young wolf.
bad plants are best removed
while they are young.
To nip it in the bud.

'A la fin le regnard sera moine'.
At length the fox turns monk,
[ when he can no longer get away
with playing the knave.] and thus we
say, beware your poultry housewives]

'Le regnard est devenu hermite'.
The fox a hermit has become,
said when an evil,
crafty person grows truly religious.

'Mauvais chien iamais ne veut
compagnon en cuisie'.

Greedy ill-natured people
cannot endure competitors
or companions.

'Iecter son lard aux chiens'.
To spend his fortune idly, unworthily,
wastefully; to bestow much on hungry base, and scurvy people; to lavish it, to squander all away.

'Le loup mourra en sa peauqui ne
l'escorchera vis'.

A knave will sleep,
In a knave's skin,
Until he either loses his coat,
Or his life.
[ A leopard never changes its spots.]

'Au cerf la biere,
au sanglier le barbier'.

The stag a coffin, the boar a barber needs, {the sense being, if thou are hurt by a stag, you'll require a coffin, but if by a wild boar, someone to clean and sew up your wounds. For those former beasts, being hard laid into, lay hard about them.

a stag, red deer, a hart;

a coffin.

Often to stagger,
or turn around, like a stag that is
drunk with browsing in May;
also, to beat up and down,
or fly around,
thereby to deceive
the dogs that pursue him.

A kind of horned serpent.

having horns, or crocked,
of haughty, horn like.

The moon.


'D' oyseaux, de chiens, d' armes, &
d'amours pour vn plasir mille douleurs'.

The pleasure got by hawks, hounds
and armies and love are dearly bought,
with A million harms.

'Iamais tu ne feras d'vn
bruthier vn esperuier'.

A bald and beastly kite
will never prove
a good hawk.

'Oiuseau debonnaire de luy mesmese fait.'.
The gentle hawk half maims (lames) itself.
[ as a squeamish man, will never be a good surgeon, or a brave soldier, nor a weak arm pull a tooth. M.]
["He who cannot look over a battlefield with a dry eye, causes the death of many men uselessly." Napoleon.]

'On ne peut d'vn pigeon
faire vn vif esparvier'.

A pigeon can never be a good hawk.

'Trop tard se repent le rat
entre les pattes du chat'.

The rat can very ill plead the law,
when the cat hath him under her paw.

'Il ne faut estre loup ny en affubler
la peau'.

We must neither be, nor seem nought.

'Telle dent telle moisure.'.
A sharp tooth a smart wound;
such is the tooth; such is the bite.

'Avoir du foiun aux cornes,' or,

'Il du foin aux cornes.'.
He bears hay in his horns;
he is a shrewd, fierce, curst,
or dangerous fellow to meet with.

'Il ne faut iouer au boeuf.'.
An ox is no fit, or safe, playfellow.

'Compere de la pouille,
couste, et despouille.'.

(said of a dangerous companion) one that will both feed on you, and filch from you, and at length wholly fleece you.

'Regnard qui dort la matinee
n'a pas la langue emplum'.

The sleepy fox hath seldom
a feathered breakfast.
[by the street of 'by and by'.
one arrives
at the house of never],

'A regnard [fox] endormi rien
ne chet en la gueule.'.

Nothing is got by drowsiness; preferment must be watched, [over- nurtured] sought or sued for [pursued]; for it does not fall into idle hands or sleeping mouths.

'Chien qui abbaye ne nord pas'.
The barking dog bites little,
and he that says most,
commonly does least.

'Predre Martin, pour regnard.'.
Is alike, to mistake one thing for another.
As a loup-wolf, for a regnard-fox.
Or a devil -{Martin] for a saint;
the deadly for the harmless.

'Dieu gard la Lune des Loups'.
Same sentiment as the gods help those who help themselves,
'God guards the Moon and wolves'. Both falsehoods,
wolves and the moon
have no need of Gods protection.

'Le regnard est devenu hermite'.
When the fox does preach.
[beware your geese].

'Fiens de chien, & marc d'argent
seront tout vn au iour iugement'.

All, will be one at the end of days.

'La fin fait tout'.
The End proves all, or
Is all in all.
the end crowns the work]