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Circa 1460–1529.


There is nothynge that more dyspleaseth God,
Than from theyr children to spare the rod."

Magnyfycence. Line 1954. He ruleth all the roste.

Why Come ye not to Courte. Line 198. In the spight of his teeth.3

Colyn Cloute. Line 939. He knew what is what.4

Line 1106. By hoke ne by croke.5

Line 1240. The wolfe from the dore.

Line 1531. Old proverbe says, That byrd ys not honest That fyleth hys owne nest.

Poems against Garnesche.


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The loss of wealth is loss of dirt,

in all times assert;
The happy man's without a shirt.

Be Merry Friends. 1 He that spareth the rod bateth his son. – Proverbs xiii. 24.

They spare the rod and spoyl the child. — RALPH VENNING: Mysteries and Revelations (second ed.), p. 5. 1649.

Spare the rod and spoil the child. — Butler: Hudibras, pt. ii.c. i. l. 843. 2 Rule the rost. - HEYWOOD: Proverbes, part i. chap. v.

Her that ruled the rost. - Thomas HEYWOOD: History of Women.

Rules the roast. – Joxson, CHAPMAN, MARSTON : Eastward Ho, act ii. sc. 1. SHAKESPEARE: 2 Henry VI, act i. sc. 1.

8 In spite of my teeth. - MIDDLETOX: A Trick to catch the Old One, act i. sc. 2. FIELDING : Eurydlice Hissed.

4 He knew what's what. — BUTLER: Hudibras, part i. canto i. line 149.

5 In hope her to attain by hook or crook. -SPENSER : Faerie Queene, book iii. canto i. st. 17.

6 It is a foule byrd that fyleth his owne nest. - Heywood: Proverbes, part ii. chap. v.

7 The Proverbes of John Heywood is the earliest collection of English colloquial sayings. It was first printed in 1546. The title of the edition of 1562 is, John Heywoodes Woorkes. A Dialogue conteyning the number of the effectuoll proverbes in the English tounge, compact in a matter concernynge two maner of Maryages, etc. The selection here given is from the edition of 1874 (a reprint of 1598), edited by Julian Sharman.

Let the world slide, let the world go;
A fig for care, and a fig for woe!
If I can't pay, why I can owe,
And death makes equal the high and low.

Be Merry Friends.
All a green willow, willow,
All a green willow is my garland.

The Green Willow. Haste maketh waste.

Proverbes. Part i. Chap. ii. Beware of, Had I wist.?

Ibid. Good to be merie and wise.:

Ibid. Beaten with his owne rod."

Ibid. Look ere ye leape.

Ibid. He that will not when he may, When he would he shall have nay.

Chap. iii. The fat is in the fire.?


1 Let the world slide. -Towneley Mysteries, p. 101 (1420). SHAKESPEARE: Taming of the Shrew, induc. 1. BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER: Wit without Money, act r. sc. 2.

? A common exclamation of regret occurring in Spenser, Harrington, and the older writers. An earlier instance of the phrase occurs in the Towneley Mysteries.

8 'Tis good to be merry and wise. – Jonson, CHAPMAN, Marstox: Eastward Ho, act i. sc. 1. Burss: Here's a health to them that's awa'.

4 don fust
C'on kint souvent est-on batu.
(By his own stick the prudent one is often beaten.)

Roman du Renart, circa 1300. 5 Look ere thou leap. – In Tottel's Miscellany, 1557 ; and in Tusser's Fire Hundred Points of Good Husbandry. Of Wiring anl Thriving. 1573.

Thou shouldst have looked before thou badst leapt. — Joxson, CHIAP-
MAN, MARSTON: Eastward Ho, act v. sc. 1.
Look before you ere you leap. - BUTLER : Hudibras, pt. ii.c.ii. 1.502.

6 He that will not when he may,
When he will he shall have nay.
Burton: Anatomy of Melancholy, pt. iii.

sec. 2, mem. 5, subs. 5.
He that wold not when he might,
He shall not when he wolda.

The Baffled Knight. PERCY: Reliques. 7 All the fatt's in the fire. — Marston: What You Will. 1607.

When the sunne shineth, make hay.

Proverbes. Part i. Chop. iii. When the iron is hot, strike.?

Ibid. The tide tarrieth no man.”

Ibid. Than catch and hold while I may, fast binde, fast finde.3

Ibid. And while I at length debate and beate the bush, There shall steppe in other men and catch the burdes. 4

Ibid. While betweene two stooles my taile goe to the ground.5

Ibid. So many heads so many wits.

Ibid. Wedding is destiny, And hanging likewise.?


1 You should hammer your iron when it is glowing hot. - PUBLIUS SYRUS: Maxim 262.

Strike wbilst the iron is hot. - RABELAIS : book ii. chap. xxxi. WEBSTER: Westward Hoe. Tom A’Lincolne. FARQUHAR: The Beaux' Strat

agem, ir. 1.

2 Hoist up saile while gale doth last,
Tide and wind stay no man's pleasure.

Robert SOUTHWELL : St. Peter's Complaint. 1595. Nae man can tether time or tide. Burxs: Tam O'Shanter.

8 Fast bind, fast find ;
A proverb never stale in thrifty mind.

SHAKESPEARE : Merchant of Venice, act ii. sc. 5. Also in Jests of Scogin. 1565. 4 It is this proverb which Henry V. is reported to have uttered at the siege of Orleans. “Shall I beat the bush and another take the bird ?" said King Henry.

5 Entre deux arcouns chet cul à terre (Between two stools one sits on the ground). Les Proverbes del Vilain, Ms. Bodleian. Circa 1303.

S'asseoir entre deux selles le cul à terre (One falls to the ground in trying to sit on two stools). - RABELAIS : book i. chap. ii. 6 As many men, so many minds. — TERENCE : Phormio, ii. 3.

As the saying is, So many heades, so many wittes. - QUEEN ELIZABETH: Godly Meditacyon of the Christian Soule. 1548.

So many men so many mindes. — GASCOGNE: Glass of Gorernment. 7 Hanging and wiving go by destiny. The Schole-hous for Women. 1541. SHAKESPEARE : Merchant of Venice, act 2. &c. 9.

Marriage and hanging go by destiny ; matches are not made in heaven. – BURTON : Anatomy of Melancholy, part . sec. 2, mem. 5, subs. 5.

Happy man, happy dole.1

Proverbes. Part i. Chap. iii. God never sends th' mouth but he sendeth meat.

Chap. iv. Like will to like.

Ibid. A hard beginning maketh a good ending.

Ibid. When the skie falth we shall have Larkes. 2

Ibid. More frayd then hurt.

Ibid. Feare

may force a man to cast beyond the moone.: Ibid. Nothing is impossible to a willing hart.

Ibid. The wise man sayth, store is no sore.

Chap. v. Let the world wagge,* and take mine ease in myne Inne.5

Ibid. Rule the rost.6

Ibid. Hold their noses to grinstone."

Ibid. Better to give then to take.

Ibid. When all candles bee out, all cats be gray.

Ibid. No man ought to looke a given horse in the mouth.' Ibid.

1 Happy man be his dole - SHAKESPEARE: Merry Wives, act ii. sc. 4; Winter's Tale, act i. sc. 2. BUTLER : Hudibras, part i. canto iii. line 168.

2 Si les nues tomboyent esperoyt prendre les alouettes (If the skies fall, one may hope to catch larks). — RABELAIS : book i. chap. xi.

3 To cast beyond the moon, is a phrase in frequent use by the old writers. LYLY: Euphues, p. 78. Thomas Heywood: A Woman Killed with Kindne88.

4 Let the world slide. SHAKESPEARE : Taming of the Shrer, ind. 1; and, Let the world slip, ind. 2.

6 Shall I not take mine ease in mine inn ? -- SHAKESPEARE: 1 Henry IV. act iii. sc. 2.

6 See Skelton, page 8. SHAKESPEARE: 2 Henry VI. act i. sc. 1. Thomas Heywood: History of Women.

7 Hold their noses to the grindstone. MIDDLETON : Blurt, MasterConstable, act iii. sc. 3.

8 It is more blessed to give than to receive. John zx. 35.

9 This proverb occurs in Rabelais, book i. chap. xi.; in Vulgaria Stambrigi, circa 1510; in Butler, part i. canto i. line 490. Archbishop Trench says this proverb is certainly as old as Jerome of the fourth century, who, when some found fault with certain writings of his, replied that they were free-will offerings, and that it did not behove to look a gift horse in the mouth.

I perfectly feele even at my fingers end.

Proverbes. Part i. Chap. vi. A sleveless errand.?

Chap. vii. We both be at our wittes end.3

Chap. riii. Reckeners without their host must recken twice. Ibid. A day after the faire. 4

Ibid. Cut my cote after my cloth.5

Ibid. The neer to the church, the further from God. Chap. ix. Now for good lucke, cast an old shooe after me. Ibid. Better is to bow then breake.?

Ibid. It hurteth not the toung to give faire words. 8 Ibid. Two heads are better then one.

Ibid. A short horse is soone currid.'

Chap. x. To tell tales out of schoole.

Ibid. To hold with the hare and run with the hound. 10 Ibid.

1 RABELAIS: book iv. chup. lir. At iny fingers' ends. - SHAKESPEARE : Twelfth Night, act i. sc. 3.

2 The origin of the word “sleveless," in the sense of unprofitable, has defied the most careful research. It is frequently found allied to other substantives. Bishop Hall speaks of the “sleveless tale of transubstantiation,” and Milton writes of a "sleveless reason.' Chaucer uses it in the Testament of Love. — SHARMAN.

8 At their wit's end. -- Psalm crii. 27.

4 Thomas HEYWOOD : If you know notme, etc., 1605. TARLTON: Jests, 1611.

5 A relic of the Sumptuary Laws. One of the earliest instances occurs, 1530, in the interlude of Godly Queene Hester.

6 Qui est près de l'église est souvent loin de Dieu (He who is near the Church is often far from God). Les Proverbes Communs. Circa 1500.

7 Rather to bowe than breke is profitable;
Humylite is a thing commendable.
The Morale Proverbs of Cristyne; translated from

the French (1390) by Earl Rivers, and printed

by Caxton in 1478. 6 Fair words never hurt the tongue. — Joxson, CHAPMAN, MARSTON : Eastward Ho, act iv. sc 1.

9 FLETCHER : Valentinian, act ii. sc. 1.
10 HUMPHREY Robert: Complaint for Reformation, 1572.

LYLY: Euphues, 1579 (Arber's reprint), p. 107.

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