Thursday, October 10, 2019


A Fine Fellow

François Rabelais (1494-1553), Gargantua and Pantagruel, Book II, Chapter XXXII (tr. J.M. Cohen):
Finally, I decided to go back, and going past his beard I dropped onto his shoulders, and from there I got down to the ground and fell right in front of him. And seeing me, he asked: 'Where are you coming from, Alcofribas?' And I answered him: 'From your throat, sir.' 'And how long have you been down there?' he said. 'Since you marched against the Almyrods,' I said. 'But that,' he said, 'is more than six months. How did you live? What did you drink?' I answered: 'My lord, just as you did, and I took a tax of the freshest morsels that came down your throat.' 'Indeed,' he said. 'But where did you shit?' 'In your throat, sir,' I said. 'Ha, ha, but you're a fine fellow!' he said.
In French:
Finablement vouluz retourner, et, passant par sa barbe, me gettay sus ses epaulles, et de là me devallé en terre et tumbé devant luy.
Quand il me apperceut, il me demanda:
« D'ont viens tu, Alcofribas? »
Je luy responds:
« De vostre gorge, Monsieur.
— Et despuis quand y es tu, dist il?
— Despuis, (dis je), que vous alliez contre les Almyrodes.
— Il y a, (dist il), plus de six moys. Et de quoy vivois tu? Que beuvoys tu? »
Je responds:
« Seigneur, de mesmes vous, et des plus frians morceaulx qui passoient par vostre gorge j'en prenois le barraige.
— Voire mais, (dist il), où chioys tu?
— En vostre gorge, Monsieur, dis je.
— Ha, ha, tu es gentil compaignon, (dist il).... »
John S. Farmer and W.E. Henley, Slang and Its Analogues Past and Present, Vol. III: Fla. to Hyps. (1893), p. 133:
GERRY GAN, intj. (Old Cant).—A retort forcible. STOW IT! (q.v.). [From GERRY = excrement + GAN = mouth, i.e., literally, Shit in your mouth.] The common form is: Shit (or a turd) in your teeth; as in Ben Jonson, Bartholomew Fair, 1614. Fr., Tais ta gueule ou j'te chie dedans.

1567. HARMAN, Caveat. GERRY GAN, the ruffian cly thee.
Thomas Harman (16th century), A Caveat or Warning for Common Cursetors, Vulgarly Called Vagabonds (London: T. Bensley, 1814), p. 68:
Gerry gan the Ruffian clye thee.
   A torde in thy mouth, the deuill take thee.


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