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John Bartlett (1820–1905).  Familiar Quotations, 10th ed.  1919.
 
Page 4
 
 
Geoffrey Chaucer. (c. 1340–1400) (continued)
 
30
    I hold a mouses wit not worth a leke,
That hath but on hole for to sterten to. 1
          Canterbury Tales. The Wif of Bathes Prologue. Line 6154.
31
    Loke who that is most vertuous alway,
Prive and apert, and most entendeth ay
To do the gentil dedes that he can,
And take him for the gretest gentilman.
          Canterbury Tales. The Wif of Bathes Tale. Line 6695.
32
    That he is gentil that doth gentil dedis. 2
          Line 6752.
33
    This flour of wifly patience.
          Canterbury Tales. The Clerkes Tale. Part v. Line 8797.
34
    They demen gladly to the badder end.
          Canterbury Tales. The Squieres Tale. Line 10538.
35
    Therefore behoveth him a ful long spone,
That shall eat with a fend. 3
          Line 10916.
36
    Fie on possession,
But if a man be vertuous withal.
          Canterbury Tales. The Frankeleines Prologue. Line 10998.
37
    Truth is the highest thing that man may keep.
          Canterbury Tales. The Frankeleines Tale. Line 11789.
38
    Full wise is he that can himselven knowe. 4
          Canterbury Tales. The Monkes Tale. Line 1449.
 
Note 1.
Consider the little mouse, how sagacious an animal it is which never entrusts his life to one hole only.—Plautus: Truculentus, act iv. sc. 4.

The mouse that always trusts to one poor hole
Can never be a mouse of any soul.
Alexander Pope: Paraphrase of the Prologue, line 298. [back]
Note 2.
Handsome is that handsome does.—Oliver Goldsmith: Vicar of Wakefield, chap. i. [back]
Note 3.
Hee must have a long spoon, shall eat with the devill.—John Heywood: Proverbes, part ii. chap v.

He must have a long spoon that must eat with the devil.—William Shakespeare: Comedy of Errors, act iv. sc. 3. [back]
Note 4.
Thales was asked what was very difficult; he said, “To know one’s self.”—Diogenes Laertius: Thales, ix.

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is man.
Alexander Pope: Epistle ii. line 1. [back]
 

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