Reference > Quotations > W.C. Hazlitt, comp. > English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases
W.C. Hazlitt, comp.  English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases.  1907.
Folly and learning  to  Goats
Folly and learning often dwell together.  2988
Folly, as well as wisdom, is justified by its children.  2989
Folly grows without watering. H.
  Gli pazzi crescono senza inaffiarli. Ital.—R.
Folly is a bony dog.  2991
Folly is the product of all countries.  2992
Folly is wise
in her own eyes. B. OF M. R.
Folly it is to spurn against a prick. HE.  2994
Folly tolls the bell, and a number long to hear it rung out.
  See Armin’s Nest of Ninnies, 1608.
Folly without fault
is as a radish without salt.
  See Armin’s Nest of Ninnies, 1608.
Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse;
ere fancy you consult, consult your purse.
Fool, at ’em!
  See Tales and Jests of Mr. Hugh Peters, 1660, sign. A 4. “I remember he [Peters] was once in company with some ladies, and extreme bashful; whereupon a gentleman reproved him in this wise, Fool at’em; and ever since sprung up that proverbial word, Fool, a-tum” (sic).—Epistle Dedicatory.
Foolish fear doubleth danger.  2999
Foolish pity / spoils a city.  3000
Foolish tongues talk by the dozen. H.  3001
Fools are all the world over, as he said that shoo’d the goose.  3002
Fools are pleased with their own blunders.  3003
Fools are wise men in the affairs of women.  3004
Fools build houses, and wise men live in them. BACON.
  Optimum est alienâ frui insaniâ.—Cato.
Fools fat and foul make thick doings for the devil’s diet.
  See Armin’s Nest of Ninnies, 1608.
Fools give, to please all but their own. H.  3007
Fools haste is no speed.  3008
Fools have fortune.
  Googe’s Eglogs, 1563; Witts Recreations, 1640, repr. 155. The Scots say, Fools are aye fortunate.
        “Good morrow, fool, quoth I: no sir, quoth he.
Call me not fool, till heaven hath sent me fortune.”
—Jaques in As You Like it.    
Fools lade out all the water, and wise men take the fish.  3010
Fools laugh at their own sport.  3011
Fools live poor to die rich.  3012
Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.
  Les fols font la fête et les sages le mangent. Fr. The same almost word for word. So in the Spanish, Los locos hazen los banquetes, y los sabios los comen.—R.
Fools no Latin know.  3014
Fools refuse favours.  3015
Fools set far trysts.  3016
Fools set stools for wise men to stumble at.  3017
Fools should not see half-done work.  3018
Fools tie knots, and wise men loose them.  3019
Fools will be meddling.  3020
Fools will not part with their bauble for all Lombard Street. F.  3021
Footman’s inn.
  Apparently old slang for gaol. See The Penniles Parliament of Threadbare Poets, 1608, repr. 1842, p. 48.
Foppish dressing tells the world the outside is the best of the puppet.  3023
For a flying enemy make a silver bridge.  3024
For a good morrow.
  Said of the former propensity of the Welsh to take offence, as they would quarrel if one wished another good morrow. When one marketwoman meets a second, she often seems to shake her fists at her; it is meant for a greeting, but looks like an invitation to fight.
For a little land,
take a fool by the hand. CL.
For age and want save while you may:
no morning sun lasts a whole day.
For all the loves.
  Gammer Gurton’s Needle, 1575 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, iii. 254).
For all the world.
  Still’s Gammer Gurton’s Needle, (1566), iii. 2.
For company, as Kit went to Canterbury.
  Skeat’s ed. of Pegge’s Kenticisms, 86; and see the note.
For every evil under the sun,
there is a remedy, or there is none:
if there be one, try and find it;
if there be none, never mind it.
For fashion’s sake, as dogs go to church.
  But the Highland shepherde take their dogs with them to the kirk, and the animals lie down very quietly till the congregation rises. It has been proved by experience that they judge from that that the business is over. A Romanist is said to have had a dog, who imitated his master by fasting on Fridays.
For his death there is many a wet eye in Groby pool. Leicestershire.
  He is so little respected that no one laments his loss.—R.
For ill do well, / then fear not hell.  3034
For mad words deaf ears.  3035
For my own pleasure, as the man said when he struck his wife.  3036
For my part, burn the kiln boldly. CL.  3037
For my peck of malt set the kiln on fire.
  “This is used in Cheshire and the neighbouring counties. They mean by it, I am little concerned in the thing mentioned: I care not much, come on it what will.”—R. But it occurs in Walker’s Parœm., 1672, p. 14.
For one good turn another doth itch; claw my elbow, &c.  3039
For the least choice the wolf took the sheep. W.  3040
For the long lane or perhaps for Long Lane [Smithfield].
  An expression used of anything borrowed without much intention of repayment or restoration. Long Lane was one of the haunts of the old clothes and other second-hand dealers.
For the rose the thorn is often plucked.
  Per la rosa spesso il spin se coglie. Ital.—R.
For want of a nail the shoe is lost;
for want of a shoe the horse is lost;
for want of a horse the rider is lost. H.
For want of company
welcome trumpery! East Anglia.
For washing his hands,
none sells his lands. H.
For whom does the blind man’s wife paint herself?
  La muger del ciego, para quien se afeyta. Span.
Forbear not sowing because of birds. H.  3047
Forbearance [or sufferance] is no quittance. HE.
  Arden of Faversham, 1592, ed. Bullen, 36; T. Heywood’s Second Part of Q. Elizabeth’s Troubles, 1606, repr. 151; Thoresby’s Correspondence, 1683.
Forbid a fool a thing, and that he’ll do.  3049
Forbidden fruit is sweet.  3050
Force without forecast is of little avail.  3051
Fordwich trout.
  Skeat’s ed. of Pegge’s Kenticisms, 89–90, and see the long and curious note.
Forecast is better than work-hard.  3053
Foremost take up hindmost.
  See John Chamberlain’s Letters, edit. Bruce, p. 21.
Forewarn’d, fore-armed.
  A mere translation of the Latin, Præmonitus, præmunitus. Arden of Faversham, 1592, ed. 1887, p. 25.
Forgive and forget.  3056
Forsake not the market for the toll. C.  3057
Fortune can take from us nothing but what she gave us.  3058
Fortune favours fools.
  Or fools have the best luck. Fortuna favet fatuis. ’Tis but equal, Nature having not, that Fortune should do so.—R. The saving is quoted in the Tales and Jests of Mr. Hugh Peters, 1660, Dedic.
Fortune favours the brave.  3060
Fortune follows every one to his end.
  Langland’s Poem on the Deposition of Richard II. (Camd. Soc., p. 13). The reading in the original is:
        “Fortune ffolwith ech fode till his ende.”
Fortune gives her hand to a bold man.  3062
Fortune helps them that help themselves.  3063
Fortune is like the market, where, if you bide your time, the price will fall.  3064
Fortune is variant, ever turning her wheel;
he is wise that bewares before he harm feel.
  Caxton’s ed. of Lydgate’s Stans Puer ad Mensam, ad finem.
Fortune knocks once at least at every man’s gate.  3066
Fortune wearies with carrying one and the same man always.  3067
Forty, save one, the age of Roden’s colt.  3068
Forward wedlock soon brings a man to his nightcap.
  Taming of a Shrew, 1594.
Foul in the cradle,
proveth fair in the saddle. C.
Foul water as soon as fair will quench hot fire. HE.  3071
Four eyes see more than two.
  MS. Ashmole, 1153.
Four farthings and a thimble
make a tailor’s pocket jingle.
Four rogues and a blackguard.
  The Four Georges and William IV. S. T. Coleridge used to call the last “the Blackguard King.” There is a copy of satirical verses upon the four personages of the former name, and praying that we may be spared from any more. But time has wrought a change.
Foxes dig not their holes.  3075
Foxes prey farthest from their earths.  3076
Foxes, when sleeping, have nothing fall into their mouths. R.
  A regnard endormi rien ne cheut en la guele.—Fr.
Foxes, when they cannot reach the grapes, say they are not ripe.
  “He discommends costly clothes, as the foxe did the grapes.”—The Rich Cabinet, by T. G., 1616, fol. 34 verso.
France is a meadow that cuts thrice a year. H.  3079
Fraud and deceit are always in haste.  3080
Free of her lips, / free of her hips.  3081
French leave.
  i.e., No leave at all.
French of Stratford-at-Bow.
  R. Morris’s ed. of Chaucer, N.D., i. 115, where it seems to be thought that this was a saying in the poet’s time for no French at all, and Ferne’s Blazon of Gentry, 1586, is quoted in support of such a view.
Frenchmen sin in lechery,
and Englishmen in envy.
  Robert of Brunne. “If any one wants to see a justification of the former half of the proverb quoted by Roberd of Brunne,
        Frenche men synne yn lecherye
and Englys men yn enuye,
let him read the astounding revelation made of the state of the early French mind by the tales in the 3rd and 4th vols. of Barbazan’s Fabliaux, ed. 1808.”—Mr. Furnivall’s Notes to Wright’s Chast Wife, 1865.
Fresh fish and new come guests smell in three days. R. (1670).
  Walker’s Parœm., 1672, p. 20. “L’hoste et le poisson passé trois jours puent. Fr. Piscis nequam est nisi recens.—Plaut. Ordinary friends are welcome at first, but we soon grow weary of them.”—R.
Friars observant spare their own and eat other men’s. B. OF M. R.  3086
Friday in the week / is seldom a leek.
  i.e., alike. So Chaucer:
        “Selde is the Friday all the weke y—like.”
Friday night’s dream
  on the Saturday told,
is sure to come true,
  be it never so old.
Friday’s hair and Sunday’s horn,
goes to the D’ule on Monday morn.
Friday’s moon,
come when it will, comes too soon.
Friendless are the dead, quoth Hendyng.
  Rel. Ant., i. 116.
Friends are like fiddlestrings, they must not be screwed too tight.  3092
Friends fail fliers.  3093
Friends may meet,
but mountains never greet.
  Mons cum monte non miscebitur: pares cum paribus. Two haughty persons will seldom agree together. Deux hommes se rencontrent bien, mais jamais deux montagnes. Fr.—R.
Friendship consists not in saying, What’s the best news?  3095
Friendship increases in visiting friends, but more in visiting them seldom.  3096
Friendship is not to be bought at a fair.  3097
Friendship that flames goes out in a flash.  3098
Frindsbury clubs. Kent.
  Skeat’s ed. of Pegge’s Kenticisms, 90–91. See Hazlitt’s Faiths and Folklore, 1905, v. Frindsbury.
From a bad paymaster get what you can.  3100
From a choleric man withdraw a little; from him that says nothing; for ever. H.  3101
From Berwick to Dover
three hundred miles over.
  One can hardly allow Ray’s explanation to stand here, as he says that this is “parallel to the Scriptural expression, From Dan to Beersheba.” Surely not. It is rather so to the other saying: From Cornwall to John o’ Groats.
From Blacon Point to Hilbree,
the squirrel might leap from tree to tree. Cheshire.
  Pennant, speaking of the neighbourhood of Tre-Mostyn, observes, “The sea, or the estuary of the Dee, lies at a small distance to the left, a verdant marsh intervening. The Hundred of Wiral, a portion of Cheshire, is seen on the other side; a hilly tract, woodless and dreary, chequered with corn-lands and black heaths, yet formerly so well cloathed, as to occasion this proverbial distich.” &c.—Pennant’s Tours in Wales, ed. 1810, i. 29. Mr. Higson, in his MSS. Coll. for Droylsden, &c., has a version in which Birchen-Haven is substituted for Blacon-Point.
From fame to infamy is a beaten road.  3104
From hand to mouth.  3105
From hearing comes wisdom; from speaking, repentance.  3106
From Hull, from Halifax, from Hell [Elland:]
from all these three good Lord deliver us.
  Taylor’s Very Merry, Wherry Ferry Voyage, 1623; Endymion, or The Man in the Moon, 8vo, 1653. “The woollen manufacture was erected here (Halifax, Yorkshire), about the year 1480, when King Henry VII. caused an act to pass prohibiting the exportation of unwrought wool, and to encourage foreign manufacturers to settle in England; several of whom coming over, established different manufactures of cloths in different parts of the kingdom: as that of bays at Colchester; says at Sudbury; broad cloth in Wilts, and other counties; and the trade of kerseys and narrow cloth at this place and other adjacent towns: and as at the time when this trade began, nothing was more frequent than for young workmen to leave their cloths out all night upon tenters, which gave an opportunity for the idle fellows to steal them, a severe law was made against stealing cloth, which gave the power of life and death into the hands of the magistrates of Halifax. But this law was extended to no other crime; and the conditions of it, as I have said, intimate as much, for the power was not given to the magistrates to give sentence unless in one of these three plain cases:
  “1. Hand Napping; that is, when the criminal was taken in the very fact.
  “2. Buck Bearing; that is, when the cloth was found upon him.
  “3. Tongue Confessing, which needs no explanation.
  “The fact likewise was to be committed within the liberties or precincts of the forest of Hardwick; and the value of the goods stolen was to be above thirteenpence half-penny.”—Tour in England and Wales, 1742, quoted in Brady’s Varieties of Literature, 1826, p. 4. Elland, the “Hell” of the saying, is within a walk of Halifax, and is another of the places where a gibbet was erected.
From Lincoln Heath God help un! / where should un’?
  This is the same class of saving as Chipperfield, Where d’ye think? and several others scattered through these pages. Lincoln Heath, like Chipperfield, was celebrated for its cherries.
From our ancestors come our names, but from our virtues our honours.  3109
From pillar to post (or post to pillar).
  Vox Populi, Vox Dei (1547), in Hazlitt’s Popular Poetry, ii. 274. Appius and Virginia, 1575, Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xii. 374.
From saving / comes having.  3111
From the crown of the head to the sole of the foot.
  Middleton’s A Mad World my Masters, 1608, edit. 1640, sign. B 2; Walker’s Parœm., 1672.
From th’ eggs to th’ apples. CL.  3113
From the ire of the Drummonds, the pride of the Græmes, the greed of the Campbells, and the wind of the Murrays, Good Lord, deliver us.
  Dean Ramsay’s Reminiscences, 1871, p. 157.
From [whipping] post to pillory. CL.
  Whether the phrase, From pillar to post, is a corruption of this, or an independent saying, it is difficult to say, more especially as From post to pillar is in Heywood, 1562.
From words to deeds is a great space. B. OF M. R.  3116
Frost and fraud both end in foul.
  Camden’s Remaines, 1614. p. 306 (differently). “A saying ordinary in the mouth of Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Chancellor.”—R.
Frosty nights, and hot sunny days,
Set the corn-fields all in a blaze.
  They have a tendency to forward the ripening of the “white crops.”
Frugality is an estate alone.  3119
Fruit ripens not well in the shade.  3120
Full bellies make empty skulls.  3121
Full guts neither run well nor fight well.  3122
Full of courtesy and full of craft.
  “Chi te fa piu carezza che non vuole, o ingannato t’ ha, o inganner te vuole. Ital. He that makes more of you than you desire or expect, either he hath cozened you, or intends to do it.”—R.
Full of fun and fooster, like Mooney’s goose.  3124
Full pigeons find cherries bitter. W.  3125
Furniture and mane make the horse sell.  3126
Further than the wall he cannot go. HE.  3127
Gadding gossips shall dine on the pot-lid.  3128
Game is cheaper in the market than in the fields and woods.
  Does this allude to the cost of preserving game, which makes that shot by private sportsmen so dear?
Gaming, women, and wine,
while they laugh, they make men pine. H.
Garlands are not for every brow.  3131
Gather thistles, / expect prickles.  3132
Gear is easier gain’d than guided.  3133
Geese with geese, and women with women.  3134
Generally we love ourselves more than we hate others.  3135
Gentlemen and rich men are venison in heaven.
  I pray God the olde prouerbe be not found true, that gentlemen and riche men are venison in Heauen (that is) very rare and daintie to haue them come thither.—Northbrooke’s Treatise against Dauncing (1577), ed. 1843, p. 22.
Gentry by blood is bodily gentry.  3137
Gentry sent to market will not buy one bushel of corn.  3138
Gervase the gentle, Stanhope the stout,
Marcham the lion, and Sutton the lout.
  Four Northamptonshire knights. See Mrs. Palliser’s Historie Devices, &c., 1870, p. 337.
Get thy spindle and thy distaff ready, and God will send the flax.  3140
Get what you can, and what you get hold,
’tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold.
Getting out well is a quarter of the journey.  3142
Ghosts never appear on Christmas Eve. D.
  So says Shakespear: and the truth thereof few now-a-days will call in question. Grose observes, too, that those born on Christmas Day cannot see spirits.—D.
Giff Gaff was a good fellow. CL.
  Giff-gaff is one good turn for another.—R.
Gifts make beggars bold.  3145
Gimmingham, Trimmingham, Knapton, and Trunch,
North Repps and South Repps are all of a bunch. Norfolk.
  These are names of parishes lying close together.—R.
Gip! quoth Gilbert to his mare.  3147
Gip with an ill rubbing, quoth Badger, when his mare kicked.
  Gip = Gee-up; Badger = pedlar.
Give a child his will,
and a whelp his fill,
and neither will thrive.
Give a child till he crave,
and a dog till his tail wave,
and you shall have a fair dog and a foul knave.
Give a clown your finger, and he will take your hand. H.  3151
Give a dog an ill name and hang him.
  So in Nobody and Somebody (1606), sign. B 4:—
        “Clowne.  Oh Maister, you are halfe hangd.
Nobod.  Hangd, why man?
Clowne.  Because you haue an ill name.”
  I suppose the story of the Quaker to be founded on this, rather than to be the origin of it. When the animal ran at the Quaker, the latter said, “I will not beat thee, I will give thee an ill name,” and he cried out, mad dog, mad dog! Whereupon they all ran after him and killed him.
Give a dog an ill name, and his work is done.  3153
Give a dog roast, and beat him with the spit. C.  3154
Give a loaf and beg a shive.  3155
Give a man fortune and cast him into the sea.  3156
Give a poor man sixpence, and not a bottle of wine.  3157
Give a thief rope enough, and he’ll hang himself.  3158
Give a thing,
and take a thing,
to wear the devil’s gold ring.
  Cotgrave’s Dict., ed. 1632, art. Retirer: Killigrew’s Parson’s Wedding, 1664 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xiv. 463). See Prior’s Hans Carvel. There are other versions as:
        “Give a thing and take again,
And you shall ride in hell’s wain.”
  See Halliwell’s Pop. Rhymes, &c., 1849. p. 181–2. “Plato mentions this as a child’s proverb in his time: [Greek], which with us also continues a proverb among children to this day.”—R.
Give a woman luck, and cast her into the sea.
  Rowley’s Woman never Vext, 1632 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xii). “Give a man luck and throw him into the sea,” was the title of a drama no longer known (under such a title), licensed to Richard Olive, 23rd July, 1600. See Hazlitt’s Manual of Old Plays, 1892, p. 96.
Give a Yorkshireman a halter, and he’ll find a horse.  3161
Give advice to all, but be security for none.  3162
Give and spend, / and God will send.  3163
Give cob a hat and a pair of shoes, and he’ll last for ever. S. Devon.
  Provide a stone foundation and a slate coping for a cob [mud] wall.—SHELLY.
Give gave is a good fellow. C.
  Comp. Giff Gaff.
Give him an inch, and he’ll take an ell.
  “Give me an inch to-day, I’ll give thee an ell to-morrow, and weele to hell together.” Armin’s Nest of Ninnies, 1608. “Give an inch, and you will take an ell.”—Camden.
Give him his due, though he were the devil. CL.  3167
Give him the other half egg and burst him.  3168
Give losers leave to talk. H.
  Taylor’s Arrant Thiefe, 1622. “I, but I can giue the loser leaue to speake.”—First Part of the Contention between Lancaster and York, 1594. “I will giue loosers leaue to talke.”—Nash’s Pierce Penilesse, 1592.
Give neither counsel nor salt till you are asked for it.  3170
Give not St. Peter so much, to leave St. Paul nothing. H.  3171
Give the devil his due.
  Nash’s Have with you to Saffron Walden, 1596, repr. 1869, p. 37.
Give the piper a penny to play, and twopence to leave off.  3173
Given is dead, and Restored is nought. B. OF M. R.
  “Selde cometh lone lahynde home, quoth Hendyng.” Reliq. Antiq., i. 113.
Giving much to the poor / doth increase a man’s store. H.
  The Scriptural maxim.
Glasses and lasses are brittle ware.  3176
Glowing coals sparkle oft.
  When the mind is heated with any passion, it will often break out in words and expressions. Psalm xxxix. 1.—R.
Gluttony kills more than the sword. H.  3178
Gnaw the bone which is fallen to thy lot.  3179
Go and be hanged! CL.  3180
Go day, come day, God send Sunday.
  Journal of Thomas Isham of Lamport, Northamptonshire, 1671–3, ed. Rye, p. 18. It seems to be significant of a solicitude to get through working days and enjoy that of rest. Comp. Comiday.
Go down the ladder when thou marriest a wife; go up when thou choosest a friend.  3182
Go farther and fare worse.  3183
Go fiddle for shives / among old wives.  3184
Go fiddle-meddle with your old shoes. CL.  3185
Go forward and fall, / go backward and mar all. CL.
  A fronte precipitium, a tergo lupi.—R.
Go here away, go there away, quoth Madge Whitworth when she rode the mare in the tedder.  3187
Go in God’s name! so ride no witches.  3188
Go into the country to hear what news in town.  3189
Go it, cripples; crutches are cheap.  3190
Go pipe at Padley, there’s a peascod feast.
  Some have it, Go pipe at Colston, &c. It is spoken in derision to people that busy themselves about matters of no concernment.—R.
Go steal horse, and you’ll die without being sick.  3192
Go to another door, for this will not be opened.  3193
Go to Battersea to be cut for the simples.
  People not over-burthened with wit are recommended to go to Battersea to be cut for the simples. In former times the London apothecaries used to make a summer excursion to Battersea, to see the medicinal herbs, called simples, cut at the proper season, which the market gardeners in that neighbourhood were distinguished for cultivating.—R.
Go to bed with the lamb, and rise with the lark. CL.  3195
Go to Bungay to get new-bottomed. E. Anglia.
  In allusion to the fortunes acquired there by persons unsuccessful elsewhere. The late Mr. H. Stopes, an East-Anglian, told me that there is another saying: “Go to Bungay on a pig,”—equivalent to a mandate to go to Jericho. Mr. S. supposed this to be the origin of the proverb, “To go to Putney on a pig,” but the two may have been coexistent, or it may have been applied to any place, to which people did not care to go themselves.
Go to the end of the rainbow, and you’ll find a crock of money. Sussex.
  Cooper’s Sussex Vocab., 2nd ed., p. 40. Current, says Mr. Cooper, in Surrey, Kent, and Suffolk, as well as Sussex.
Goats are not sold at every fair.  3198


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