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JOHN CLELAND
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Dictionary of Love
The Dictionary of Love
Keyword Search Coxcomb

Coxcomb

Is a term of such extensive comprehension, that it takes in near the whole race of mankind, from the throne to the peasant's cottage. All ranks, all orders of men, are liable more or less, to that vanity, which is its fundamental, and only varies in its signs of eruption.

There are coxcomb-kings, coxcomb-judges, coxcomb-physicians, coxcomb men of letters, coxcomb men of business; even professions have their peculiar distinctions of coxcombry. The gravity of an apothecary, who carries his profession printed in his face, is not less a symptom of coxcombry, than a hat and feather in a declared beau.— Mr. Addison even thought no fine gentleman could exist without a dash of the coxcomb. My Lord Rochester says, that it is a character not to be acquired but by much pains and reflection; that, in short, God never made a coxcomb worth a groat. The women in general are so fond of this character, that, however they snuff at the title, the attributes of it are the principal means of succeeding with them. An intrepid, self-assured coxcomb, who is called so to-day, passes to-morrow for a pretty fellow with them; on no better grounds than having kept inflexibility to it, and beat them at their own weapons of pride and insolence. The lady is vain; so is the coxcomb: she affects to despise him; he disdains to dangle after her. One would think these were no promising dispositions to come to a good understanding. But, let them alone, and it will happen to them, as to two persons, who, taking different ways to walk round a garden, being by turning their back to one another, and are sure to meet again in their circuit.


Omitted text:
All ranks, all orders of men, are liable more or less, to that vanity, which is its fundamental, and only varies in its signs of eruption. There are coxcomb-kings, coxcomb-judges, coxcomb-physicians, coxcomb men of letters, coxcomb men of business; even professions have their peculiar distinctions of coxcombry.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)