Gilles Corrozet

Translated from the French by Catherine Rockwood


Gilles Corrozet: Hecatomgraphie 3, “Insuffisance”. 1540


Myself poor dog of what I am
So hastily I bolt and feed
That in attending to my need
I dare not taste a single crumb.


The treat I throw to this big mastiff here
he gobbles up, scarfing without delight.
His jaw’s always agape, ready for plunder:
its only goal to get more and grip tight.
Neither meat nor bread produce enjoyment,
everything’s just choked down – all unchewed.
His next bite is his spirit’s sole employment.

And much like him the greedy and fame-crazed
among us seize their gains, absent of joy.
Look how that one flails around to hasten
the rate at which he’ll grab another toy!
Never can such hunger be contented.
All that man is is emptiness, augmented.


Hecatomgraphie 3, “Insuffisance”


Moy pauvre chien de ma nature,
Si hastif suys à devorer,
Qu’en recepuant ma nourriture,
Ie ne l’ose pas savourer.


Le pain qu’on iecte à un grand chien mastin,
Il le devore, et mange sans saveur:
La guelle bée il accourt au butin,
Pour de morceaulx estre prompt recepueur.
Il ne prend goust ny à pain ny à chair:
Tous ses morceaulx avalle sans mascher,
Pour retourner aux aultres plus soubdain.
Tout ainsi faict l’homme avare, et mondain,
Qui prend des biens sans gouster et taster:
Il serre tout pour plustot se haster,
De retourner gaigner des aultres biens:
Iamais ne peult son vouloir contenter,
Tout ce qu’il a ne luy suffit en riens.


Gilles Corrozet, Parisian bookseller and author, lived from 1510 to 1568. He published his Hecatomgraphie, or “Hundred Designs,” in 1540. It was one of the first widely-available emblem books in Middle French.




Catherine Rockwood is a poet and independent scholar based in Massachusetts. Her chapbook, Endeavors To Obtain Perpetual Motion, is available from the Ethel Zine Press. A mini-chapbook, And We Are Far from Shore: Poems for Our Flag Means Death, is forthcoming from Ethel in 2023.




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