Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Tune the Old Cow Died of (The).

 Tunding.Tuneful Nine. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Tune the Old Cow Died of (The).
Advice instead of relief; remonstrance instead of help. As St. James says (ii. 15, 16), “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say to them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” Your words are the tune the old cow died of. The reference is to the well-known song—   1
“There was an old man, and he had an old cow,
But he had no fodder to give her,
So he took up his fiddlé and played her the tune—
‘Consider, good cow, consider,
This isn’t the time for the grass to grow.
Consider, good cow, consider.’”

 Tunding.Tuneful Nine. 


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