E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
One beats the bush, but another has the hare, i.e. one does the work, but another reaps the profit. The Latins said, Sic vos non vobis. The allusion is to beating the bush to start game. (See BEATING.)
Good wine needs no bush. A good article will make itself known without being puffed. The booths in fairs used to be dressed with ivy, to indicate that wine was sold there, ivy being sacred to Bacchus. An ivy-bush was once the common sign of taverns, and especially of private houses where beer or wine could be obtained by travellers. In France, a peasant who sells his vineyard has to put a green bush over his door.
The proverb is Latin, and shows that the Romans introduced the custom into Europe. Vino vendibili hedera non opus est (Columella). It was also common to France. Au vin qui se vend bien, il ne faut point de lierre.
If it be true that good wine needs no bush, tis true that a good play needs no prologue.
Shakespeare: As You Like It (Epilogue).
To take to the bush. To become bush-rangers, like runaway convicts who live by plunder. The bush in this case means what the Dutch call bosch, the uncleared land as opposed to towns and clearings.
Everything being much cheaper in Toronto than away in the bush.Geikie: Life in the Woods.