Reference > Quotations > W.C. Hazlitt, comp. > English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases
W.C. Hazlitt, comp.  English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases.  1907.
Against God’s wrath  to  An atheist
Against God’s wrath no castle is thunder-proof.  1014
Against the hair.
  Walker, 1672. Ray takes this literally of the hair of the head, or of the fur of animals, in which I think that he errs.
Age and wedlock bring a man to his nightcap.  1016
Age and wedlock tame man and beast. C.  1017
Age and wedlock we all desire and repent of.  1018
Agree, for the law is costly. C. AND CL.
  This is good counsel backed with a good reason, the charges of a suit many times exceeding the value of the thing contended for. The Italians say, Meglio è magro accordo che grassa sentenza. A lean agreement is better than a fat sentence.—R.
Agues come on horseback, but go away on foot.  1020
Air coming in at a window is as bad as a crossbow-shot.  1021
Akin to Sutton windmill: I can grind which way soe’er the wind blows.
  Heywood’s Edward IV., 1600. This individual was somewhat similar to the Vicar of Bray.
Album unguentum.
  A bribe. See Notes and Queries, Feb. 28, 1874.
Ale that would make a cat to speak.  1024
Alehouse Latin.
  The Countryman’s Conductor, by J. White, 1701, Preface.
Alexander himself was once a crying babe.  1026
Alexander was below a man when he affected to be a god.  1027
Alike every day makes a clout on Sunday.  1028
All are desirous to win the prize.  1029
All are good maids, but whence come the bad wives?  1030
All are not abed that have ill rest. HE.  1031
All are not friends that speak one fair.  1032
All are not hanged that are condemned.  1033
All are not hunters that blow the horn.  1034
All are not merry that dance lightly. H.  1035
All are not thieves that dogs bark at. CL.  1036
All are not turners that are dish-throwers.  1037
All asiding as hogs fighting.  1038
All at cinque and Sice.
  Davis, Suppl. Glossary, 1881, p. 123. The same as At sixes and sevens.
All be not true that speak fair.
  How the Goode Wif, &c., in Hazlitt’s Pop. Poetry, i.
All between the cradle and the coffin is uncertain.  1041
All blood is alike ancient.  1042
All came from and will go to others. H.  1043
All cats are alike grey in the night.  1044
All commend patience, but none can endure to suffer.  1045
All complain. H.  1046
All complain of want of memory, but none of want of judgment.  1047
All covet, all lose. C.  1048
All cry, Fie on the fool.  1049
All death is sudden to the unprepared.  1050
All doors open to courtesy.  1051
All draw water to their own mill. B. OF M. R.  1052
All fame is dangerous: good bringeth envy: bad, shame.  1053
All fear is bondage. B. OF M. R.  1054
All feet tread not in one shoe. H.  1055
All fellows at football.
  “We are hale fellows well met, not only at Football, but at everything else.”—Ludus Ludi Literarius, 1672, p. 73.
All fire and tow.  1057
All fish are not caught with flies.  1058
All flowers are not in one garland.  1059
All fool or all philosopher.  1060
All friends round the Wrekin, not forgetting the trunkmaker and his son Tom. Essex.  1061
All goeth down Gutter Lane.
  Gutter-lane (the right spelling whereof is Guthurn-lane, from him the once owner thereof) is a small lane (inhabited anciently by gold-beaters) leading out of Cheapside, east of Foster-lane. STOW. The proverb is applied to those who spend all in drunkenness and gluttony, mere belly gods, Guttur being Latin for the throat.—R.
All griefs with bread are less. H.  1063
All happiness is in the mind.  1064
All her dishes are chafing dishes.  1065
All his ease he may not have that shall thrive.
  How the Goode Wif, &c., ut supra.
All his fingers are thumbs.
  Said of a clumsy person, or, as we say, a butter-fingers.
All holidays at Peckham.  1068
All human power is but comparative.  1069
All Ilchester is gaol.
  The people hard hearted.—R.
All in a corpse. New Forest.
  i.e., indistinct.
All is but lip-wisdom that wanteth experience.  1072
All is fair at Horn Fair.
  See Hazlitt’s Faiths and Folklore, 1905, p. 326, and Handbook of Early Engl. Lit., 1867, v. Cuckold.
  “Legal measures are being taken to extinguish the fairs held at Charlton-next-Woolwich and on Blackheath. Charlton Fair, or “Horn Fair,” as it is called, has been held for centuries past on the 18th of October and two following days, under the authority of a charter said to have been granted by King John. It was formerly opened with great ceremony, including the blowing of horns, and hence, probably, its name. For many years past the character of the gathering has greatly degenerated, and it is the last pleasure fair left existing in the metropolitan district. The bulk of the inhabitants have long urged its extinction, and since the passing of the Fair Act, 1871, have memorialised the lord of the manor, Sir John Maryon Wilson, to that end. Sir John has now given his consent to the abolition of the fair, and on Saturday last the justices of the Blackheath division, sitting in petty sessions, resolved that the fair was a nuisance which ought to be abolished, and directed that the Secretary of State should be requested to take the necessary steps for that purpose. At the same time a representation was made with respect to Blackheath Fair, a sort of market held twice a year for the sale of horses, and pigs, and the consent of the “owner,” who is [Lord Darnley,] lord of the manor, having been given, a similar resolution was unanimously passed. It may be taken for granted that the fairs of Charlton and Blackheath have been held for the last time.”—Daily News, Jan. 15, 1872. They have since (March, 1872) been officially abolished.
All is fair in love and war.  1074
All is fine that is fit.  1075
All is fish that cometh to net. HE.
  Schole-house of Women, 1541 (Hazlitt’s Pop. Poetry, iv., 108). Gascoigne’s Steele Glas, 1576, repr. Arber, p. 57. Taylor’s Bawd, 1630.
All is gay that is green. HE.  1077
All is good in a famine.  1078
All is lost: both labour and cost. CL.  1079
All is lost that is poured into a riven dish.
  All is lost that is bestowed upon an ungrateful person; he remembers no courtesies. Perit quod facis ingrato.—Seneca.—R.
All is not at hand that helps.  1081
All is not butter that comes from the cow.  1082
All is not gold that glisters. HE.
  Chaucer, Chanoun Yeomans Prol.; Roxburghe Ballads, ed. Collier, p. 102. The French say, Tout ce qui luict n’est pas or. One of the earliest allusions to the English phrase is in Udall’s Ralph Royster Doyster, 1566, where we read: All things that shineth is not by and by pure gold. See also the Triall of Treasure, 1567, repr. 1849, p. 6: It is not golde alwayes that doth shine. “Fronti nulla fides.—Juven. Non é oro tutto quel che luce. Ital. No es todo oro lo que reluce. Span.”—R. Comp. ’Tis not all gold, etc.
All is not gospel that comes out of his mouth.  1084
All is not lost that is in peril.  1085
All is not won that is put in the purse.
  Walker’s Parœm. 1672, 32.
All is well, and the man has his mare again.  1087
All is well with him who is beloved of his neighbours. H.  1088
All lay the load on the willing horse.
  On touche toujours sur le cheval qui tire. Fr. The horse that draws is most whipped.—RAY.
All liquors are not for every one’s liking.  1090
All Lombard Street to a china orange.
  Said of anything incomparably preferable. In Arthur Murphy’s farce of the Citizen, Act ii, sc. 1, Young Philpot is made to give a different version: “All Lombard Street to an eggshell.”
All matters are not in my lord judge’s hand.  1092
All meat is not the same in every man’s mouth.  1093
All meats to be eaten, and all maids to be wed. HE.  1094
All men can’t be first.  1095
All men can’t be masters.  1096
All men think their enemies ill men.  1097
All men row galley-way.
  i.e., Every one draweth towards himself.
All men’s friend, no man’s friend. W.
  Or, who hath many friends hath none at all. “Some tymes, most true, because Friends are so euill (now a Dayes), that a Thousand can scarce affoord one good.”—Wodroephe, 1623.
All my cake is dough.
  Pepys, 27 April, 1665.
All my eye and Betty Martin.  1101
All my eye and my elbow.  1102
All of a kidney.
  Congenial spirits, chips of the same block.
All of a motion, like a Mulfra toad on a hoat showl. Cornw.
  Notes and Queries, 3rd S., v. 275. Hoat showl = hot shovel. They also say: Blown about like a Mulfra toad in a gale of wind.
All of an hammock. Northamptonshire.
  All of a heap. Miss Baker says, that it is applied to a woman who has badly made clothes (North. Gl., art. Hommock.)
All of heaven and hell is not known till hereafter.  1106
All on one side, like Smoothy’s wedding. Cornw.
  Another version is: All of one side, like Bridgnorth election.
All one, but their meat must go two ways.  1108
All our pomp the earth covers. H.  1109
All promises are either broken or kept.
  This is a flam or droll, used by them that break their word.—R.
All rivers do what they can for the sea.  1111
All round St. Paul’s, not forgetting the trunkmaker’s daughter.
  I may here relate a circumstance associated with No. 74 St. Paul’s Churchyard. The “Trunkmaker” was a phrase common in the last and present century, as the bourne to which unsaleable books were commonly consigned as waste paper by their unfortunate publishers. Lord Byron, in his “Ravenna Journal,” notes, with caustic humour: “After all,” it is but passing from one counter to another, from the bookseller’s to the other tradesman’s—grocer or pastrycook. For my part, I have met with most poetry upon trunks; so that I am apt to consider the trunkmaker as the sexton of authorship.” Now, No. 74 St. Paul’s Churchyard was the house of business of one of this fraternity, whose pretty daughter was long commemorated in the toast, “All round St. Paul’s, not forgetting the Trunkmaker’s daughter at the corner.” His death was recorded, under the date of the 18th November 1750, as Mr. Henry Nickless, “master of the famous Trunkmaker’s shop at the corner of St. Paul’s Churchyard, worth twenty thousand pounds.” The Trunkmaker also figured in Hogarth’s print of “Beer.” The first door of No. 74 St. Paul’s Churchyard was, in 1828, the date of the letter above referred to, the office of the well-known publisher Sir Richard Phillips. The shop continued to be a trunkmaker’s until a recent date.—Leisure Hour.
All saint without, all devil within.  1113
All shall be well, and Jack shall have Jill. C.  1114
All shall be well:
Jack shall have Jill. HE.
All strive to give to the rich man.
  A saying founded, perhaps, on the Scriptural passage, “Unto him that hath shall be given, &c.
All that are black dig not for coals.  1117
All that breed in the mud are not eels.  1118
All that is said in the parlour should not be heard in the hall.  1119
All that you get you may put in your eye, and see never the worse.  1120
All the carts that come to Crowland are shod with silver.
  Crowland is situated in such moorish, rotten ground in the Fens, that scarce a horse, much less a cart, can come to it. Since the draining, in summer time, carts may go hither.—R. “The soil is much improved of late by drains and sluices, and most of the ponds are now turned into corn-fields.”—England’s Gazetteer, 1751.
All the colours of the rainbow.
  M. W. of Windsor, iv, 5.
All the craft is in the catching.  1123
All the dogs follow the salt bitch.
  We are reminded of the not very savoury story of the poor lady in Rabelais.
All the fat is in the fire.  1125
All the honesty is in the parting.  1126
All the joys in the world cannot take one grey hair out of our heads.  1127
All the keys hang not at one man’s girdle. R. 1670.  1128
All the levers you can bring will not heave it up. Somerset.  1129
All the maids of Camberwell
may dance in an egg-shell:
for there are no maids in that well.
  See N. and Q., 2nd S., xi. 449, and xii. 17. The first portion, but not the libellous one, is found in Abraham Fraunce’s Lawiers Logick, 1588, where, however, we detect an innuendo.
All the months in the year
curse a fair Februeer.
All the speed is in the spurs.  1132
All the tears that St. Swithin can cry,
St. Bartholomew’s dusty mantle wipes dry.
All the water in the sea cannot wash out this stain.  1134
All the world and Bingham.
  N. and Q., 3rd S., ii. 233.
All the world and his wife.  1136
All the world and Little Billing. Northamptonshire.
  Baker’s North Gl., art. LITTLE BILLING. Equivalent to our All the world and his wife; but the precise origin seems to be uncertain.
All the world is not wise conduct and stratagem.  1138
All the world will beat the man whom fortune buffets.  1139
All things are difficult before they are easy.  1140
All things are easy that are done willingly.  1141
All things are not to be granted at all times.  1142
All things are soon prepared in a well-ordered house.  1143
All things require skill but an appetite. H.  1144
All things that great men do are well done.  1145
All things thrive with him; he eats silk and voids velvet.  1146
All this wind shakes no corn.
  Taylor’s Wit and Mirth, 1629.
All tongues are not made of the same flesh.  1148
All truths are not to be told. H.
  Chi per tutto vuol dire la verità, non trova ni albergo ni cà. Ital. Tout vrai n’est pas bon à dire. Fr.—R.
All unwarrantable delights have an ill farewell.  1150
All was fair at the ball of Scone.
  At the game of football played there. See Hazlitt’s Faiths and Folklore, 1905, p. 244.
All weapons of war cannot arm fear.
  Booke of Meery Riddles, 1629, No. 15. Herbert, in his Outlandish Proverbs, 1640, has it: “All the armes of England will not arme feare.”
All wickedness doth begin to amend, like sour ale in summer.
  In 1569, a balled with this title was licensed to Alexander Lacy. It is, I believe, unrecovered.
All women are good: good for something, or good for nothing.  1154
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  1155
All your eggs have two yolks apiece, I warrant you.  1156
All your geese are swans.
  Suum cuique pulchrum. Il suo soldo val tredeci danari. Ital. His shilling’s worth thirteen pence.—R.
        “——— the bird that seemes a Swanne by night
Will proue a wild-goose set against the light.”
Tyros Roring Megge, 1598, sign. A 2.    
All’s alike at the latter day:
a bag of gold and wisp of hay. CL.
All’s out is good for prisoners, but naught for the eyes.
  ’Tis good for prisoners to be out, but bad for the eyes to be out. This is a droll used by good fellows when one tells them all the drink is out.—R.
All’s well that ends well. HE.
  One of the posies in the Lottery of 1567, and, of course, the title of one of Shakespeare’s dramas. Kempe’s Loseley MSS., 212. “Exitus acta probat.”—R.
Almost and hard by saves many a lie.
  The signification of this word almost having some latitude, men are apt to stretch it to cover untruths.—R.
Almost was never hanged. CL.  1162
Almsgiving never made any man poor, nor robbery rich, nor prosperity wise.  1163
Although it rain, throw not away thy watering-pot. H.  1164
Although the sun shine, leave not thy cloak at home. H.  1165
Although you see a churchman ill,
yet continue in the church still. H.
Alum si sit stalum non est malum,
beerum si sit cleerum est syncerum.
Always a feast or fast in Scilly.
  Notes and Queries, 3rd S., v. 275.
Always put the saddle on the right horse.  1169
Always somewhat is better than nothing. HE.  1170
Always taking out of the meal tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom.  1171
Always you are to be rich next year.  1172
Amberley, where would you live?
Where do you belong? Amberley, God help us!
  See Lower’s Comp. Hist. of Sussex, 1862, p. 8.
Amendment is repentance.  1174
Among the common people, Scoggin is a doctor. CL.
  See Scogins Jests, repr. of ed. 1626, p. 84, “How Scogin sold Powder to kill Fleas,” and my note.
  [Greek]. Est autemcorydus vilissimum aviculæ genus minimèque canorum.”—R.
An abbey lubber.
  See Thornbury’s Tour Round England, ii. 157.
An Admirable Crichton.
  An expression derived from the traditional repute for scholarly and other eminence of James Crichton, of Clunie, of whom I give a few particulars in my Venetian Republic, 1900, and of whose writings some account may be found in my Collections. They are dated between 1580 and 1585, and were printed abroad.
An ague in the spring / is physic for a king.
  That is, if it comes off well: for an ague is nothing but a strong fermentation of the blood. Now, as in the fermentation of other liquors, there is, for the most part, a separation made of that which is heterogeneous and unsociable, whereby the liquor becomes more pure and defecate, so is it also with the blood, which, by fermentation (easily excited at this time by the return of the sun), doth purge itself, and cast off those impure heterogeneous particles which it had contracted in the winter time: and that these may be carried away after every particular fermentation or paroxysm, and not again taken up by the blood, it is necessary, or at least very useful, to sweat in bed after every fit; and an ague fit is not thought to go off kindly unless it ends in a sweat. Moreover, at the end of the disease, it is convenient to purge the body, to carry away those more gross and feculent parts which have been separated by the several fermentations, and could not so easily be voided by sweat, or that still remain in the blood, though not sufficient to cause a paroxysm. And that all persons, especially those of years, may be lessened that they neglect not to purge their bodies after the ague, I shall add a very material and useful observation of Doctor Sydenham’s: “Sublato morbo” (saith he, speaking of autumnal Fevers) “æger sedulo purgandus est; incredibile enim dictu quanta morborum vis ex purgationis defectu post febres Autumnales subnascatur. Miror autem hoc a medicis minùs caveri minùs etiam admoneri. Quandocunque enim morborum alterutrum (Febrem tertianam aut quartanam)—paulò provectioris ætatis hominibus accidisse vidi, atque purgationem etiam omissam; certo prædicere potui periculosum aliquem morbum eosdem postea adoriturum, de quo tamen illi nondum somniaverant, quasi perfectè jam sanati.”—R.
An alderman in chains.
  A roast turkey within a chain of sausages. City of London.
An almond for a parrot.
  Any trifle to amuse a simple person. The title of one of Nash’s tracts. But it is employed by Skelton.
An angler eats more than he gets.  1181
An answer is a word.  1182
An ape’s an ape, a varlet’s a varlet,
though they be clad in silk or scarlet.
An ape is ne’er so like an ape
as when he wears a doctor’s cap.
An ape is never merry when his clog is at his heels. CL.  1185
An ape may chance to sit amongst the doctors.  1186
An apple, an egg, and a nut,
you may eat after a slut.
        Poma, ova atque nuces,
Si det tibi sordida, gustes.—R.
An apple may happen to be better given than eaten.  1188
An April flood,
carries away the frog and her brood. CL.
An April fool.
  This is too familiar a phrase to require any explanation. It may be observed, however, that in the West and South of England, they used formerly, and may continue, to recognise a May fool (or Gosling), in the same manner and sense.—See Jennings’ Observations, 1825, xvii.
An artful fellow is a devil in a doublet.  1191
An artist lives everywhere.  1192
An ass in a bandbox.
  A phrase applied to anything improbable or extravagant. Lamb, in a note to Moxon, of August, 1833, gives a less delicate, but an erroneous form.
An ass is but an ass, though laden with gold.  1194
An ass is cold even in the summer solstice.  1195
An ass is the gravest beast, an owl the gravest bird.  1196
An ass laden with gold overtakes everything. F.  1197
An ass loaded with gold climbs to the top of a castle.  1198
An ass must be tied where the master will have him.  1199
An ass pricked must needs trot. B. OF M. R.  1200
An ass that carries a load is better than a lion that devours men.  1201
An ass that kicketh against the wall receives the blow himself.  1202
An ass was never cut out for a lapdog.  1203
An atheist is one point beyond the devil.  1204


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