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Proverbial Expressions from the English Poets,

which are of common origin.

All that glisters is not gold.*

SHAKSPERE. Merchant of Venice. Act ii. Sc. 7.

But all thing, which that shineth as the gold

Ne is no gold, as I have herd it told.

CHAUCER. Yeoman's Tale. Line 16,430.

Yet gold all is not that doth golden seem.

SPENSER. Faëre Queen. Book ii. c. 8. St. 14.

All as they say that glitters is not gold.

DRYDEN. Hind and Panther.

Castles in the air.


Duke Grafton's Answer. -BROOME. Poverty and Poetry.-CHURCHILL. Epistle to R. Lloyd.-SHENSTONE. On Taste. Part ii.-LLOYD. Epistle to Colman.

Devil take the hindmost.

BUTLER. Hudibras. Part i. c. 2. Line 633.-PRIOR. Ode on taking Namur.-POPE. Dunciad. Book ii. Line 60.— BURNS. To a Haggis.

Compare great things with small.


Georgics. Book iv. Line 176.-MILTON. Paradise Lost. Book ii. Line 921.-CoWLEY. The Motto.-TICKELL Poem on Hunting.-POPE. Windsor Forest.

Gray mare will prove the better horse.+

PRIOR. Epilogue to Lucius.

The gray mare will be the better horse.

The Marriage of true Wit and Science. BUTLER. Hudibras.
Part ii. c. 2. Line 698.

Great wits will jump.


Tristram Shandy.

* This expression was a favourite among the old English Poets.

+ Mr. Macaulay thinks that this proverb originated in the preference generally given to the gray mares of Flanders over the finest coachhorses of England. History of England, vol. i. ch. 3.

Good witts will jumpe.

Dr. COUGHAM. Camden Soc. Pub. p. 20.-DUKE OF
BUCKINGHAM. The Chances. Act v. Sc. 1.

Ill wind turns none to good.

TUSSER. Moral Reflections on the Wind

Not the ill wind which blows none to good.

SHAKSPERE. King Henry IV. Part ii. Act v. Sc. 3.

Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.

Ibid. King Henry VI. Part iii. Act ii. Sc. 5.

Look a gift horse in the mouth.

BUTLER. Hudibras. Parti. c. 1. Line 490.-RABELAIS.
Book i. Ch. 2.-Also quoted by ST. JEROME.

Look ere thou leap, see ere thou go.

TUSSER. Five Points of Good Husbandry. Ch. 57.

Look before you ere you leap.

BUTLER. Hudibras. Part ii. c 2. Line 502.

Moon is made of green cheese.

Jack Fugler, p. 46.-BUTLER. Hudibras.
Part ii. c. 3. Line 263.

No love lost between us.

GOLDSMITH. She Stoops to Conquer. Activ. —
GARRICK'S Correspondence. 1759.

Of two evils the less is always to be chosen.

THOMAS A KEMPIS. Imitation of Christ. Book ii. ch. 12.

Of two evils I have chosen the least.

Smell a rat.

PRIOR. Imitation of Horace.

BEN JONSON. Tale of a Tub. Activ. Sc. 3.-BUTLER.
Hudibras. Parti. c. 1. Line 281.

Rhyme nor reason.

SPENSER. On his promised Pension. SHAKSPERE.

As You Like It. Act iii. Sc. 2.

Sir Thomas More advised an author who had sent

him his manuscript to read 'to put it in rhyme.' Which being done, Sir Thomas said, 'Yea marry, now it is somewhat, for now it is rhyme; before it was neither rhyme nor reason.'

Speech is silver, silence is gold.

A Dutch Proverb.

Speech is like cloth of Arras, opened and put abroad, whereby the imagery doth appear in figure; whereas in thoughts they lie but as in packs.

Thick and thin.


Vit. Themist. 28.

SPENSER. Faëre Queen. Book iii. c. i. St. 17.-COWPER. John
Gilpin.-DRYDEN. Absalom and Achitophel. Part ii.

Line 414.

To make a virtue of necessity.

CHAUCER. Squier's Tale.

Part ii. -SHAKSPERE.


Gentlemen of Verona.-RABELAIS. Book i. ch. ii.--DRYDEN.
Palamon and Arcite.

In the additions of Hadrianus Junius to the adages of Erasmus, he remarks (under the head of Necessitatem adere), that a very familiar proverb was current among his countrymen, viz.: Necessitatem in virtutem


Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
The devil always builds a chapel there.

DE FOE. The True-Born Englishman. Parti. Line 1.

God never had a church but there, men say
The devil a chapel hath raised by some wyles.
I doubted of this saw, till on a day

I westward spied great Edinburgh's Saint Gyles.

DRUMMOND. Posthumous Poems.

No sooner is a temple built to God, but the devil

builds a chapel hard by.

GEORGE HERBERT. Jacula Prudentum.

Where God hath a temple the devil will have a Anatomy of Melancholy. Part 3. Sc. iv.



Wrong sow by the ear.

M. 1. Subs. 1.

BEN JONSON. Every Man in his Humour.

Act ii. Sc. I.

BUTLER. Hudibras. Part ii. c iii. Line 580.-COLMAN.
Heir at Law. Acti. Sc. 1.

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