The Duke of Norfolk as a Cattle

Another little piece on how language changes through time:

The Duke of Norfolk openly brought his mistress, Mrs Lane to the Assizes festivities at Norwich where he had a palace. He threw a great ball but none attended. The Dean of Norwich claimed the Duke

carrieth himself here as cattle used to, without shame or modesty.

In my research on wife selling, the women put up for sale were often compared to cattle, as they were often sold in pens, almost always with halters. Which suggests links with animals, but the duke is another matter. Here it is his actual behaviour, flaunting his mistress, that draws parallels with beasts. It suggests he has no sense of how to behave, that – like a beast he has no manners, no sense of self restraint or respect for others.

Animals are not just ignorant, they do as they please. They eat while relieving themselves, rather than finding a more suitable place. If a bull has the urge, he mounts a cow. There is no social exchange, no polite chat, no shared cigarette, no satin sheets  or shared bottle of champagne. That is what the duke is being compared to. Which makes me wonder if the same applied to wife sellers. that they were seen as acting on brutish impulse, rather than going through the religious and social rituals of marriage.

BTW the term cattle now tends to refer to cows and bulls, but it actually means beasts of pasture, so includes horses and sheep etc. I’m guessing that’s not goats but probably llamas. And bison. Probably not ducks. Maybe kangaroos?

Noodling through my dictionary I found a pair of interesting words:

Caudal refers to the tail

Caudillo is a Spanish leader or head of state.

A coincidence?

6 thoughts on “The Duke of Norfolk as a Cattle

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