(g hard). (See Gander , Goose.)
Geese save the capitol.
The tradition is that when the Gauls invaded Rome a detachment in
single file clambered up the hill of the capitol so silently that the
foremost man reached the top without being challenged; but while he was
striding over the rampart, some sacred geese, disturbed by the noise,
began to cackle, and awoke the garrison. Marcus Manlius rushed to the
wall and hurled the fellow over the precipice. To commemorate this
event, the Romans carried a golden goose in procession to the capitol
every year (B.C. 390).
Those consecrated geese in orders,
That to the capitol were warders,
And being then upon patrol,
With noise alone beat off the Gaul.
Butler: Hudibras, ii. 3.
All his swans are geese,
or All his swans are turned to geese. All his expectations
end in nothing; all his boasting ends in smoke. Like a person who
fancies he sees a swan on a river, but finds it to be only a goose. The
phrase is sometimes reversed thus, “All his geese are swans.” Commonly
applied to people who think too much of the beauty and talent of their
Every man thinks his own geese swans.
Everyone is prejudiced by self-love. Every crow thinks its own
nestling the fairest. Every child is beautiful in its mother's eyes. (See Æsop's fable, The Eagle and the Owl.
Suum cuique pulchrum. Sua cuique sponsa, mihi meas. Sua cuique res
est carissima. Asinus asino, sus suo pulcher.
Eine güte mutter halt ihre kinder vor die schönsten. French:
A chaque oiseau son nid paraît beau.
A ogni grolla paion' belli i suoi grollatini. Ad ogni uccello, suo
nido è bello.
The more geese the more lovers.
The French newspaper called L'Europe, December, 1865, repeats this proverb, and says:—“It is
customary in England for every gentleman admitted into society to send
a fat goose at Christmas to the lady of the house he is in the habit of
visiting. Beautiful women receive a whole magazine
... and are thus enabled to tell the number of their lovers by the
number of fat geese sent to them.” (The Times, December 27th,
1865.) Truly the Frenchman knows much more about us than we ever
“dreamt of in our philosophy.”
(See Goose, Cag Mag.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894