What does this sentence mean?

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lo2

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Hey there

I have started reading 'Our Man in Havana' amusing piece of litterature. One the first page there is a quote by George Herbert saying:

'And the sad man is cock of all his jests.'

I know what a jest is that is: a joke, a trick, something like that

But I have no idea what 'cock of' means.

So could someone please help me with the meaning of this little quote?
 

apex2000

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It is a long time since I read that book so I do not remember that passage. However my interpretation is that the meaning is the same as 'butt of'. This means that he is on the receiving end of his own jests; the joke is on him.:)
 

BobK

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Hey there

I have started reading 'Our Man in Havana' amusing piece of litterature. One the first page there is a quote by George Herbert saying:

'And the sad man is cock of all his jests.'

I know what a jest is that is: a joke, a trick, something like that

But I have no idea what 'cock of' means.

So could someone please help me with the meaning of this little quote?

I don't know, but here's a guess: in the sport of curling (curling - Wiktionary) the target can be called "the cock".*

So George Whoever (I've seen that quote attributed to George Eliot too) may have meant "the target/butt of all his jokes". Of course, we don't know who 'the poor man' is, or who 'his' refers to. Is the 'his' reflexive - I mean does it refer to the subject of the sentence or to someone else in the context of the original quote? Does 'the poor man' refer to a particular poor man, or to the generality of poor men? And what sort of 'poor'? More questions than answers, I'm afraid, :-(

(Whichever it is, Graham Greene may not have meant it in the same way that the original writer did.)

b
*
This is news to me"! ;-) In a recent Olympic commentary, I heard the term 'the house'; but some definitions (e.g. cock - Wiktionary ) give 'cock'
 

Anglika

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George Herbert:
A sad wise valour is the brave complexion, That leads the van, and swallows up the cities.
The gigler is a milk-maid, whom infection
Or a fir'd beacon frighteth from his ditties.
Then he's the sport: the mirth then in him rests,
And the sad man is cock of all his jests.
 
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