Saturday, June 13, 2009

'The Past is a Foreign Country...'

From Claude Mauger's French Grammar, published 347 years ago, some useful phrases in French and their English equivalent:

A few pages later, there is a wonderful section on chatting-up women. It includes phrases like:

'Madame, if I had that good fortune that my company should be unto you as agreeable to yours is to me, I should have attained the last period of my hopes.'

Enchanting. You can almost forget the syphyllitic lotharios of reality, dodging emptied chamber pots in the more lugubrious parts of London.

And for those of you who wish that you could be transported back in time to the England of Jane Austen, here's an extract I found from an 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue:

Obviously one item needs no comment, but I'm also less than impressed by the 'jeering name for an ugly blind man.'

We may live in the age of reality television, Hello magazine and 'collateral damage', but I still feel fortunate to be living in our vacuous, globally-warmed world, for all its faults.


depesando said...

"a nasty name for a nasty thing"

arf!!! I love it!!!

Lucy Fishwife said...

"My guts cry cupboard" !!!! Will use this one frequently.

Art said...

That's wonderful.

I'll try to insert my nifty new phrases into conversation...we'll see how that goes!