E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Mahomet found in the first heaven a cock of such enormous size that its crest touched the second heaven. The crowing of this celestial bird arouses every living creature from sleep except man. The Moslem doctors say that Allah lends a willing ear to him who reads the Koran, to him who prays for pardon, and to the cock whose chant is divine melody. When this cock ceases to crow, the day of judgment will be at hand.
Cock. Dedicated to Apollo, the sungod, because it gives notice of the rising of the sun. It was dedicated to Mercury, because it summons men to business by its crowing. And to Æsculapius, because early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy.
A cock on church spires is to remind men not to deny their Lord as Peter did, but when the cock crew he went out and wept bitterly. Peter Le Neve affirms that a cock was the warliko ensign of the Goths, and therefore used in Gothic churches for ornament.
Every cock crows on its own dunghill, or Ilka cock crows on his own midden. It is easy to brag of your deeds in your own castle when safe from danger and not likely to be put to the proof.
Latin: Gallus in suo sterquilinio plurimum potest.
French: Chien sur son fumier est hardi.
Spanish: Cada Galla canta en su muladar.
Nourish a cock, but offer it not in sacrifice. This is the eighteenth Symbolic Saying in the Protreptics of Iamblichus. The cock was sacred to Minerva, and also to the Sun and Moon, and it would be impious to offer a sacrilegious offering to the gods. What is already consecrated to God cannot be employed in sacrifice.
That cock wont fight. That dodge wouldnt answer; that tale wont wash. Of course, the allusion is to fighting cocks. A bet is made on a favourite cock, but when pitted he refuses to fight.
To cry cock. To claim the victory; to assert oneself to be the superior. As a cock of the walk is the chief or ruler of the whole walk, so to cry cock is to claim this cockship.