"my Ghossips cock", 1641?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Apr 23 19:36:20 UTC 2008

At 2:26 PM -0400 4/23/08, Joel S. Berson wrote:
>What is the sense of "cock" in the following quotation (OED2, under
>gossip, n., 2.a?
>  1641 Brome Joviall Crew ii. (1652) D2b, He makes us even sick of
>his sadness, that were wont to see my Ghossips cock to day; mould
>Cocklebread; daunce clutterdepouch [etc.].
>(I note that OED2 has "penis" from 1614.)

Rght, but remember: "pudoris causa, not admissible in polite speech
or literature".  In terms of antedating, we can push it back a bit
farther.  Farmer & Henley cite Henry V (1600), II.i, which I assume
is a reference to the pun in the following exchange.  (Note also
Pistol's illeism in the relevant passage.)


Good Corporal Nym, show thy valour, and put up your sword.

Will you shog off? I would have you solus.

'Solus,' egregious dog? O viper vile!
The 'solus' in thy most mervailous face;
The 'solus' in thy teeth, and in thy throat,
And in thy hateful lungs, yea, in thy maw, perdy,
And, which is worse, within thy nasty mouth!
I do retort the 'solus' in thy bowels;
For I can take, and Pistol's cock is up,
And flashing fire will follow.

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