(urth) Auk's dimber tip to all flash coves

Matthew Keeley matthew.keeley.1 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 9 21:23:20 PDT 2009

On Thu, Jul 9, 2009 at 12:58 PM, Gwern Branwen<gwern0 at gmail.com> wrote:
> After racking my brain, I finally remembered where from. Douglas
> Hofstadter's _Le Ton de Beau Marot_ is all about translations, and one
> of the pairs of poem translations is a poem by Francois Villon to his
> fellow ne'er-do-wells - translated once into ordinary English
> vernacular, and again into English using London thieves' argot. For
> your amusement, I present below a copy of the transcription at
> http://www.fromoldbooks.org/Farmer-MusaPedestris/villons-straight-tip-to-all-cross-coves.html
> (Fear not, it is public domain!):
> gwern

That's pretty great. Makes me want to go and dig out the bilingual
Villon I bought for a college French class on medieval violence.

Thieves' cant shows up in quite a few Victorian novels - There's a bit
in Oliver Twist, for example. A quick Google search says that William
Harrison Ainsworth's novel Rookwood is full of it. A slightly longer
Google search turned up this ebook:


It's an 1812 dictionary of thieves' cant by an ostensibly reformed thief. Enjoy!


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