Reference > Quotations > W.C. Hazlitt, comp. > English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases
W.C. Hazlitt, comp.  English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases.  1907.
Drunk as  to  Everything new
Drunk as a mouse.
  Chaucer, Wif of Bathes Prologe. Drunk as an ape, is also found. See Gesta Romanorum, ed. Madden, p. 468–9, and Colyn Blobols Testament, in Hazlitt’s Pop. Poetry, i. 98. Taylor, in his Water-Cormorants Complaint, 1622, has As drunk as a rat.
Drunkards have a fool’s tongue and a knave’s heart.  2603
Drunken folks seldom take harm. CL.
  This is so far from being true, that, on the contrary, of my own observation, I could give divers instances of such as have received very much harm when drunk.—R.
Drunkenness makes some men fools, some beasts, and some devils.  2605
Drunkenness turns a man out of himself, and leaves a beast in his room.  2606
Dry August and warm / doth harvest no harm.  2607
Dry bread at home is better than roast meat abroad.  2608
Dry bread is better with love than a fat capon with fear.  2609
Dry feet, warm head: / bring safe to bed. H.  2610
Dry over head, happy.  2611
Dry your barley band in October,
or you’ll always be sober. D.
Ducks fare well in the Thames.  2613
Duke Humphrey’s pottage.
  Very poor fare. There is a French expression, conveying the exact antithesis: “Potage Duc d’Orléans.”
Duke’s Place is free for all comers and peers.
  Don Quixote, by John Phillips, 1687.
Dulce bellum inexpertis.
  Gascoigne’s Posies, 1575.
Dumb folks get no lands. CL.
        The proverb is, The Doumb man no land getith:
What so nat spekith, and with neede is bete,
And thurgh arghnesse his owne self forgetith,
No wondir thogh an othir him forgete.
La Male Regle de T. Hoccleve, l. 433–6, Poems by T. Hoccleve, ed. Mason, 1796, p. 56.    
Dumbarton youths.
  This is a saying applied in that county to any man lees than seventy years of age. I do not know whether the people there are particularly long-lived and vigorous.
Dun in the mire.
  Excerpta Historica, 279. Chaucer introduces this into his Canterbury Tales, dun meaning donkey, quasi dun-key. See Brewer’s Dict. of Phrase and Fable, v. Donkey. But comp. Hazlitt’s Faiths and Folklore, 1905, in v. The phrase is used figuratively in some curious political verses of a satirical and allegorical cast, relating to events in England in 1449.
        “And all gooth bacward and don is in the myr.”
  In the Schole-house of Women, 1541, it also appears:
        “So ye may haue that ye desire,
Though dun and the pack lye in the mire.”
—Hazlitt’s Popular Poetry, iv. 122. Dun in the Mire is the name of a formerly very popular child’s sport, which may be found explained in Faiths and Folklore.
Dunmow bacon, and Doncaster daggers,
Monmouth caps, and Lemster wool,
Derby ale and London beer. R. (1670).
  Derby ale appears to have been celebrated as early at least as 1692, in which year was published a little tract entitled, A Dialogue between Claret and Darby Ale. The piece is anonymous, but was doubtless written by Richard Ames, author of three or four similar productions.
Dun’s the mouse.
  Romeo and Juliet, 1597; Commodie of Patient Grissil, 1603. The editor of the latter conjectures dumb: we still say, As quiet as a mouse, but dun is an epithet taken simply from the colour. Compare Awe makes Dun draw.
Dying is as natural as living.  2622
Each bird loves to hear himself sing.  2623
Each cross hath its inscription.  2624
Eagles fly alone, but sheep flock together.  2625
Early ripe, early rotten.  2626
Early sharp, that will be thorn.
  Interlude of Nice Wanton, 1560, princip.
Early sow, / early mow. CL.  2628
Early thunder, late hunger. N. and Q.
  Another version is—
        Winter thunder,
Rich man’s food and poor man’s hunger.
  The copy given above is a literal equivalent to the Dutch, Vroege donder, late honger.
Early to bed and early to rise,
makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. CL.
  ——and then it is no maruell though I know him not, for my houre is eight o’clocke, though it is an infallible Rule, Sanat, sanctificat, et ditat, surgere mane.—A Health to the Gentl. Prof. of Servingmen, 1598 repr. Roxb. Lib., p. 121). Mr. Birkbeck Terry in Notes and Queries observes: “Can any of your correspondents tell me whence the Latin hexameter line is taken? I find it occurring in Fitzherbert’s Book of Husbandry, 1534 (p. 101, E.D.S., 1882): “At grammer-scole I lerned a verse, that is this. ‘Sanat, sanctificat, et ditat surgere mane.’ That is to say, Erly rysing maketh a man hole in body, holer in soule, and rycher in goodes.” I have several times seen the proverb set down as “Poor Richard’s.” See Wright’s Domestic Meanness and Sentiments, 1862, p. 155, where two early rhymes are quoted on this subject. The more complete one is:—
        “Lever à cinq, diner à neuf,
Souper à cinq, coucher à neuf,
Fait vivre d’ans nouan et neuf.”
Early up, and never the near [nearer]. HE.
  Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon, by Munday and Chettle, 1601 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, viii. 275); Field’s Amends for Ladies, 1618 (ibid. xi. 146).
Earth is the best shelter.  2632
Easterly winds and rain,
bring cockles here from Spain. D.
East or west, / home is best.  2634
Easy it is to bowl down-hill.  2635
Eat a bit before you drink.  2636
Eat an apple on going to bed,
and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread. Pembrokeshire.
Eat at pleasure, / drink by measure.
  This ia a French proverb. Pain tant qu’il dure, vin à mesure; and they themselves observe it; for no people eat more bread, nor indeed have better to eat; and as for wine, the most of them drink it well diluted, and never to any excess, that I could observe. The Italians have this saying likewise, Pane mentre dura, ma vino à misura.—R.
Eat enough, and it will make you wise.
  This is called “an old proverb” in Lyly’s Midas, printed in 1592, but performed earlier: “Licio.  He hath laid the plot to be prudent; why ’tis pastie crust, ‘Eat enough, and it will make you wise,’ an old proverb.”
Eat leeks in Lide, and ramsins in May,
and all the year after physitians may play.
  Aubrey’s Remains of Gentilism and Judaism. Lide is March from A. S. Ulyd, i.e., loud or blowing. Ramsins were a species of garlic formerly much cultivated in gardens, and used in pharmacy.
Eat peas with the king, and cherries with the beggar.  2641
Eat thy meat, and drink thy drink, and stand thy ground, old Harry.  2642
Eat-well is drink-well’s brother.  2643
Eat your own side, speckle-back! New Forest.
  Said of a greedy person.
Eaten bread is forgotten. CL.  2645
Eating and drinking take away one’s stomach.
  En mangeant l’appetit se perd. To which the French have another seemingly contrary: En mangeant l’appetit vient; parallel to that of ours, One shoulder of mutton drives down another. The Spaniards say, Comer y rascar todo es empezar: To eat and to scratch, a man need but begin.—R.
Ecclesiæ tres sunt quæ servitium male fallunt:
mumblers, skippers, over-leapers, non bene psallunt.
  Reliquiæ Antiquæ, i. 90, from a MS. of the beginning of the 15th cent.
Efe a aeth ya Glough. Cheshire.
  i.e., He is become a Clough, a very rich Cheshire family descended from Sir Richard Clough, a merchant in the time of Queen Elizabeth, and a friend of Sir Thomas Gresham. See Denbigh and its Lordship, by John Williams, 1860, p. 179, and Miss Costello’s Falls, &c., of North Wales, 1845, p. 39.
Eggs of an hour, fish of ten, bread of a day, wine of a year, a woman of fifteen, and a friend of thirty.  2649
Eighty-eight was Kirby fight,
when never a man was slain;
they ate their meat, and drank their drink,
and so came merrily home again.
  This popular rhyme refers to the bloodless march of the Westmoreland men to Kirby Lonsdale, in 1688, on a false report of the threatened descent of a French force on the Yorkshire coast to assist in replacing James II. on the throne. It belongs to the same family as The King of France with twenty thousand men, &c.
Either a man or a mouse.  2651
Either by might or by sleight.  2652
Either make or mar.
  Said to have been a favourite sentence with Thomas Cromwell by Cavendish in his Life of Wolsey.
Either mend or end. CL.  2654
Either win the horse or lose the saddle.
  Aut ter sex ant tres tesseræ. [Greek]. The ancients used to play with three dice, so that thrice six must needs be the best, and three aces the worst chance. They called three aces simply three dice, because they made no more than the number of the dice. The ace side was left empty, without any spot at all, because to count them was no more than to count the dice. Hereupon this chance was called Jactus inanis, the empty chance.—R.
Eldon Hole wants filling. Derbyshire.
  “Spoken of a liar. Elden Hole is a deep pit in the Peak of Derbyshire, near Castleton, fathomless the bottom, as they would persuade us. It is without water; and if you cast a stone into it, you may for a considerable time hear it strike against the sides to and again, as it descends, each stroke giving a great report. Fuller (1662).”—R.
Empty chambers make foolish maids. H.
  Comp. Bare walls, &c.
Empty vessels sound most.
  The Scripture saith, A fool’s voice is known by a multitude of words. None more apt to boast than those who have least real worth; least whereof justly to boast. The deepest streams flow with least noise.
Emulation layeth up a grudge.  2659
England’s the paradise of women.
  And well it may be called so, as might easily be demonstrated in many particulars, were not all the world already therein satisfied. Hence it hath been said, that if a bridge were made over the narrow seas, all the women in Europe would come over hither. Yet it is worth the noting, that though in no country of the world the men are so fond of, so much governed by, so wedded to their wives, yet hath no language so many proverbial invectives against women.—R.
Enough is as good as a feast. HE.
  Gascoigne’s Posies, 1575. Assez y a, si trop n’y a. Fr.—R. This was a saying which had more frequent application, when good living was not so general, and the occasional feast was more apt to tempt to indulgence in excess.
Enquire not what is in another’s pot.  2662
Envious heart itself fretteth.
  How the Goode Wif, &c., in Hazlitt’s Pop. Poetry, i.
Envy shoots at others, and wounds herself.  2664
Ere the cat can lick her ear.
  Wit and Drollery, 1682, p. 40.
Error is always in haste.  2666
Error, though blind herself, sometimes bringeth forth children that can see.  2667
Errors, in the first concoction, are hardly mended in the second.  2668
Essex full of good housewives:
Middlesex full of strives:
Kentshire hot as fire:
Sussex full of dirt and mire.
  Sussex Arch. Coll., i. 104.
Essex lions.
  i.e., calves. “This country produceth calves of the fattest, fairest, and finest flesh in England, and consequently in all Europe. Sure it is, that a Cumberland cow may be bought for the price of an Essex calf at the beginning of the year. Let me add, that it argues the goodness of flesh in this county, and that great gain was got formerly by the sale thereof, because that so many stately monuments were erected therein anciently for butchers, inscribed carnifices in their epitaphs in Cogshall, Chelmsford, and elsewhere, made with marble inlaid with brass, befitting (saith my author) a more eminent man; whereby it appears that those of that trade have in that county been richer (or at least prouder) than in other places.—R., 1670.
Essex stiles, / Kentish miles,
Norfolk wiles, / many a man beguiles. C. AND CL.
  An Essex stile is a ditch; a Kentish mile is, I believe, like the Yorkshire way-bit and the Scotish “mile and a bittock,” a mile and a fraction, the fraction not being very clearly defined. As to Norfolk wiles, I should say that this expression is to be understood satirically, as Norfolk has never been remarkable for the astuteness of its inhabitants, but quite the contrary. See Wright’s Early Mysteries, &c., 1838, Pref. xxiii., and p. 91 et seqq. But, as Mr. Skeat (edit. of Pegge’s Kenticisms, &c.) remarks, Norfolk wiles are cited seriously by Tusser. From a passage in Dekker’s Knights Conjuring, 1607, it would seem that there was some old pleasantry (then still remembered) about the length of the miles between Colchester in Essex and Ipswich in Suffolk, for Dekker says: “The miles [from St. Katherines to Cuckolds Haven] are not halfe so long as those betweene Colchester and Ipswich, in England.”
Este bueth owne brondes, quoth Hendyng.
  P. of H. (Rel. Antiq., i. 111). Pleasant are one’s own brands.—Specimens of Early English, by Morris and Skeat, 1872, Part 2, p. 38.
Eternity has no grey hairs.  2673
Even a child may beat a man that’s bound.  2674
Even a fly hath its spleen.
  Etiam formicis sua bilis inest.
Even a pin is good for something.  2676
Even an ass will not fall twice in the same quicksand.  2677
Even an emmet may seek revenge.  2678
Even fools sometimes speak to the purpose.  2679
Even reckoning maketh long friends. HE.  2680
Even sugar itself may spoil a good dish.  2681
Even too much praise is a burden.  2682
Even venture on, as Johnson did on his wife.  2683
Evening orts are good morning fodder. CL.  2684
Evening red, and morning grey,
are sure signs of a fair day:
evening grey and morning red,
sends the poor shepherd home wet to his bed. East Anglia.
  Forby’s Vocabulary, 1830, p. 416. But the idea is general.
Evening words are not like to morning. H.  2686
Ever drunk, ever dry. C.
  Parthi quo plus bibunt, eo plus sitiunt.—R. Also in Walker (1672).
Ever lack evil name.
  How the Goode Wif, &c., in Hazl. P. P. i.
Ever outcometh evil-spun web, quoth Hendyng.
  Reliquiæ Antiquæ, i. 115. See also Towneley Mysteries, p. 114.
Ever sick of the slothful guise:
loth to bed, and loth to rise. CL.
Ever since we ware clothes, we know not one another. H.  2691
Ever spare, ever bare. HE.  2692
Ever the higher that thou art,
ever the lower be thy heart.
  Reliquiæ Antiquæ, i. 92 (from a MS. 15th cent.)
Evermore light gains make heavy purses.  2694
Every age confutes old errors and begets new.  2695
Every ass loves to hear himself bray.  2696
Every ass thinks himself worthy to stand with the king’s horses. CL.  2697
Every bean hath its black. WALKER (1672).
  “Vitiis nemo sine nascitur.—Horat. [Greek]. Non est alauda sine cristâ. Omni malo punico inest granum putre. Ogni grano ha la sua semola. Every grain hath its bran. Ital.”—R.
Every bee’s honey is sweet. H.  2699
Every bird is known by its feathers.  2700
Every bird likes its own nest.
        A chescun oysel,
Son nye li semble bel. Old Fr.
        A tout oiseau,
Son nid semble beau. Norm.
Every bird must hatch its own eggs.
  Tute hoc intristi: tibi omne est exedendum.—Terent. It should seem this Latin proverb is still in use among the Dutch; for Erasmus saith of it, Quæ quidem sententia vel hodie vulgo nostrati in ore est. Faber compedes quas fecit ipse gestet. Auson.—R.
Every cake hath its make; but a scrape cake hath two.  2703
Every cock is proud on his own dunghill. HE.
  [char.]et coc is kene on his owene mixenne. Ancren Riwle, ed. Morton, p. 141. Every cock is brave, &c. In Cumberland it is said, Every cock is crouse [spirited] on his own midden.—Westmoreland and Cumberland Dial., p. 343. Earle, in his character of “An Vp-Start Countrey Knight” (Microcosmographie, 1628, No. 17), says: “His land is the dunghill, and he the cocke that crowes ouer it.”
Every cook praiseth his own broth.  2705
Every couple is not a pair.  2706
Every day brings a new light.  2707
Every day brings his bread with it. H.  2708
Every day of the week a shower of rain,
and on Sunday twain.
Every day’s no yule: cast the cat a castock. D.
  The stump of a cabbage, and the proverb means much the same thing as Spare no expense, bring another bottle of small beer.—D.
Every dog hath its day.  2711
Every dog is a lion at home.  2712
Every dog is valiant at his own door.  2713
Every English archer beareth under his girdle twenty-four Scots.
  Ascham’s Toxophilus, 1545, edit. Arber, p. 84.
Every extremity is a fault. B. OF M. R.  2715
Every fool can find faults that a great many wise men can’t remedy.  2716
Every fox must pay his own skin to the flayer.
  Tutte le volpi si truovano in pelliceria. Ital. Enfin les renards se trouvent chez le pelletier. Fr. The crafty are at length surprised. Thieves most commonly come to the gallows at last.—R.
Every gap hath its bush.  2718
Every good scholar is not a good schoolmaster.  2719
Every groom is king at home. DS.
  Groom is here used in the obsolete sense of man.
Every heart hath its own ache.  2721
Every herring must hang by its own gill. WALKER.
  Every man must give an account for himself.—R.
Every hog his own apple.  2723
Every horse thinks his own pack heaviest.  2724
Every ill man hath his ill day. H.  2725
Every Jack must have his Jyll.
  i.e., Juliana. So Chaucer in the Wif of Bathes Prologe:
        “Noon so gray a goos goth to the lake,
… wol be withouten make.”
The French say: “Chaque pot a son couvercle.” Lyly (Midas, 1592, apud Works, 1858, ii. 110) puts this a little differently as to words, but the substance is identical:
        “There’s no goose so gray in the lake,
That cannot finde a gander to her make.”
Mr. Fairholt has printed this as prose; of course it was intended to form a couplet. See Hazlitt’s Popular Poetry, iv, 205. “Chacun demande sa sorte.” Cada hum folga com o seu igual. Port.
Every lamb knows its own dam.  2727
Every land has its laugh,
And every corn has its chaff.
Every light has its shadow.  2729
Every light is not the sun.  2730
Every little helps, as the old woman said, when she p— in the sea.  2731
Every maid is undone.  2732
Every man a little beyond himself is a fool.  2733
Every man, as he loveth, quoth the goodman, when he kissed his cow. C.  2734
Every man, as he loveth, quoth the goodman when he kissed his cow. HE.  2735
Every man as his business lies.
  The Italians say. Qui fà le fatti suoi, non s’embratta le mani. He who doth his own business, defileth not his hands.—R.
Every man basteth the fat hog. HE.  2737
Every man can rule a shrew save he that hath her. HE.  2738
Every man cannot be vicar of Bowdon. Cheshire.
  Bowdon [in the vicinity of Manchester], it seems, is one of the greatest livings near Chester; otherwise, doubtless, there are many greater church preferments in Chester.—R. 1670.
Every man cannot hit the nail on the head. C.  2740
Every man cannot speak with the king. CL.  2741
Every man for himself, and God for us all. HE.
  Ogni un per se, e Dio per tutti. Ital. Cada uno en su casa, y Dios en la de todos. Span. Every one in his own house, and God in all of them.—R.
Every man hath a fool in his sleeve. H.  2743
Every man hath his faults.
  Vitiis nemo sine nascitur. Quisque suos patimur manes.—R.
Every man hath his hobbyhorse.  2745
Every man in his way.  2746
Every man is best known to himself.  2747
Every man is either a fool or a physician to himself. CL.  2748
Every man is not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.  2749
Every man is the son of his own works.  2750
Every man knows his own business best.  2751
Every man must eat a peck of ashes before he dies.  2752
Every man should take his own.
  A Midsommer Nights Dreame, 1600.
Every man’s house is his castle.
  See Mr. Pyne’s England and France in the Fifteenth Century, 1870, pp. 201–2, where the Coutumier de-Normandie is cited for a parallel French saying.
Every man’s neighbour is his looking-glass.  2755
Every man’s nose will not make a shoeing-horn. WALKER (1672).  2756
Every man to his trade, quoth the boy to the bishop.  2757
Every man will shoot at the enemy, but few will fetch the shafts.  2758
Every man wishes water to his own mill.
  Améner eau au moulin; or, Tirer eau en son moulin. Fr. Tutti tirano l’acqua al suo molino. Ital.—R. Ciascun tira l’acqua a suo molin.—Cynthio, Della Origine delli vulgari Proverbii, 1527.
Every may-be hath a may-be-not.  2760
Every monkey will have his gambols.  2761
Every monster hath its multitudes.  2762
Every mote doth not blind a man.  2763
Every mother’s child or son of them.
  “—but the Normannes were sclayn every modir sone—.”—A Chronicle of London, 1827, under 23 Edw. I. (1294–6). Udall’s Ralph Roister Doisier (1566), ed. 1847, p. 71. Walker’s Parœm., 1672, p. 1. A minimo ad maximum.—Plaut.
Every one after his fashion. C.  2765
Every one after his own fashion. C.
  This seem a sort of various reading of the French, Chacun à son gout.
Every one can keep house better than her mother till she trieth.  2767
Every one cannot dwell at Rotherhas. Herefordshire.
  A delicate seat of the Bodmans in this county.—R.
Every one fastens where there is gain. H.  2769
Every one hath a penny for the new ale-house. F.  2770
Every one is glad to see a knave caught in his own trap.  2771
Every one is kin to the rich man.
  Ogni uno e pariente del ricco. Ital.—R.
Every one is weary: the poor in seeking, the rich in keeping, the good in learning. H.  2773
Every one is witty for his own purpose. H.  2774
Every one puts his fault on the times. H.  2775
Every one should sweep before his own door.  2776
Every one’s censure is first moulded in his own nature.  2777
Every one’s faults are not written on his forehead.  2778
Every one stretches his legs according to his coverlet. H.  2779
Every one thinks himself able to advise another.  2780
Every one thinks his sack heaviest. H.  2781
Every path hath a puddle. H.  2782
Every pea hath its vease, and a bean fifteen.
  A veaze, in Italian, vescia, is crepitus ventris. So it signifies, pease are flatulent, but beans ten times more.—R.
Every pease must have his case.
  Armin’s Nest of Ninnies, 1608.
Every plummet not for every sound.  2785
Every poor man is counted a fool.  2786
Every potter praises his own pot, and the more if it be broken.  2787
Every question requireth not an answer. B. OF M. R.  2788
Every reed will not make a pipe.  2789
Every scale hath its counterpoise.  2790
Every shoe fits not every foot.
  It is therefore an absurd application. Eundem calceum omni pedi induere. Or, Eodem collyrio omnibus mederi.—R.
Every sow deserves not a sack posset.  2792
Every sow to her own trough.
  Cada carnero de su pie cuelga. Span. Every man should support himself, and not hang upon another.—R.
Every sparrow to its ear of wheat.  2794
Every sprat now-a-days calls itself a herring.  2795
Every tide hath its ebb.  2796
Every time the sheep bleats it loseth a mouthful.  2797
Every tub must stand upon its own bottom.  2798
Every tub smells of the wine it holds.  2799
Every vice fights against nature.  2800
Every why has a wherefore.
  Comedy of Errors, (written about 1590), ii. 2.
Every wind bloweth not down the corn. HE.  2802
Every wind is ill to a broken ship. CL.  2803
Everybody’s business is nobody’s business.
  Title of a piece by Defoe, 1725.
Everybody’s Monday.
  Easter Monday is so called in Wales, and perhaps elsewhere.
Everything hath an ear, and a pitcher has two. CL.  2806
Everything hath an end, and a pudding hath two.
  This saying refers to the poke or bag puddings usual in some parts of the country, like our roly-poly. See Forby’s Vocab., 1830, p. 428.
Everything helps, quoth the wren, when she pissed in the sea. C.  2808
Everything is of use to a housekeeper. H.  2809
Everything is the worse for wearing.  2810
Everything is well done that is well taken.
  Dugard’s Remonstrance to the Merchant Tailors’ Company, 1661, p. 11.
Everything new is fine. H.  2812


Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2015 · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors · World Lit.