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This Proverb intimates, That it is natural for all living Creatures, whether rational or irrational, to consult their own Security, and Self-Preservation; and whether they act by Instinct or Reason, it still tends to some care of avoiding those things that have already done them an Injury; and there are a great many Old sayings in several Languages according to the Purport of this Proverb: The Hebrews say, [notdone] The Greeks; [notdone] The Latins, Piscator ictus sapit; and the Chien escaude craint l'eau froide.
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This Proverb is applicable to such as act Hand over Head, in Matters of Moment, without the Precation of good Counsel and Advice; and all the Slips, Mismanagements and Afflictions of both Old or Young, through Rashness or Oversight, are expos'd to this bitter Taunt: As they have brew'd e'en so let them bake.
This is an exusatory Proverb for the common Failings of Mankind; and intimates, that thre is no Man perfect in all Points, wise in all Respects, or awake at all Hours; and is a Satyr against against Censoriousness; and accordingly, Vitiis nemo fine nascitur, says Horace; and the Greeks say, [notdone] and the Italians, Ogni grano ha la sua semla.
This Proverb intimates that the Dispensations of Providence are never entirely and universally ill in themselves, tho they may be very afflicting to some particular Persons, for that at the same Time they are to the Advantage of others; as if a Sickness invades a City, it turns to the Profit of Physicians; if a Conflagration lays great part of a City in Ashes, or a Tempest destroys a Navy, it helps Builders to a good Stroke of Work; if a Fleet of Merchants Ships sink in a Storm, or fall into the hands of Pirates, it is to the enriching of such who have Store of such Merchandizes by them: So that Unius dispendium alterius est compendium, as say the Latins; and A quelque chose mal heur est Bonne, the French; [notdone], the Greeks; and [notdone], the Hebrews.
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This Proverb is applied to such as imitate some Vice of their Parents; and intimates, That Persons naturally addicted to any Vice, will scarce ever be reclaimed afterwards by the Art of Rhetorick, or the Power of Persuasion, Authority, or Command: So say the Latims, Lupus pilum mutat, non mentem; the Greeks, [notdone]; the Hebrews, [notdone]
This Proverb intimates, That Possession is a mighty Matter, and precautions us not to run a Hazard of a certain Loss for an uncertain Gain; and teaches us that FUTURITIES are liable to Disappointments; no depending on shall or will HEREAFTER, and no commanding Things out of our Hand five Tenses distant from Fruition. It seems to havebeen borrowed either of the Hebrews, who say, [notdone] or Greeks, who say, [notdone], Hesiod; and the Romans peremptorily say, Spem pretio non emo; and the Mieux vaunt un tenez, que deux cous l'aurez.
This is a saucy Proverb, generally made use of by pragmatical Persons who must needs be censuring their Superiors, and take it by the worst Handle, and carry it beyond its Bounds: For tho'Peasants may look at and honour Great Men, Patriots and Potentates, yet they are not to spit in their faces.
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All the Impertinence in Conversation, Commerce, or Business, is reprehended by this Saying, where the Company do not make a Harmony in their Discourse nor keep to the Point in Question. Version of the Latin, Ego de caseo loquor tu de creta respondes.
This Proverb is an excusatory Reply to importunate Solicitations, for either Alms or Assistance, beyond a prudential Charitableness or Generosity; it intimates, that Self-love is the Measure of our Love to out Neighbour. It is the same in Sence with Terence, Proximus sum egomet mihi, Lat. and the Greek, [notdone].
This Proverb contains good Advice to People of all Ranks and Degrees, to balance Accounts betwixt their Expences and their Incomes, and not to let their Vanity lead them, as we say, To out-run the Constable; and so say the Latins, Sumptus censum ne superet; and the French, Fol estqui plus despend, que sa rente ne vant.
This is a consolatory Proverb, applicable to Persons under the Pressure of some inevitable Calamity; and advises to make a Virtue of Necessity, and not aggravate but alleviate the Burthen by patient bearing, according to the Latin, Levius fit Patentiâ quicquid corrigere nefas.
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This Proverb is sarcastically apply'd to such Persons, who, tho' they have Malignity in their Hearts, have Feebleness in their Hands, disabling them from wreaking their Malice on the Persons they bear Ill-will to. Also, under this ridiculous Emblem of Curs'd Cows, inveterate Enemies are couch'd, whose barbarous Designs are often frustrated by the Intervention of any over-ruling Providence, according to the Latin, Dat Deus immity cornua curta bovi.
This is a cautionary Proverb, applicable to such sanguine Persons, who too confidently depend upon future Expectations, unthoughtful of the preventional Contingencies that may intervene; it is only a Version of the Latin, Multa cadunt inter calicem supremaque labia; as that of the Greek, [notdone]; as also the French, De la Main a la bouche se perd souvent la soupe.
This Proverb is a Reflection upon the mercenary and ungrateful Tempers of too many People; and is also a good Memento of Prudence, intimating that Misfortune will have few or no Friends; for ungrateful and mercenary People, tho' they have had twenty good Turns done them formerly, will dance no longer than while the Musick of this Proverb obliges them for their Pains; nor budge no further than they have Money to pay them for their continued Services: Dum fervert Olla vvit amicitia, say the Latins; and [notdone] say the Hebrews.
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This Proverb intimates, that little Things are safe under the Contempt of the World, for that their Insignificancy secures them against all Apprehension, Danger, and Violence; for whatsoever is despicable, useless, and good for nothing, is safe under the Security of this old Saying, to all Intents and Purposes; for Rete non tenditur milvio, say the Latins. But the Adage is commonly apply'd by the common People upon any Providential Deliverance, making a Banter of God's Mercy, and laughing at their own or others Preservation or Security under the Protection of Heaven, and frequently with this Profane Addition, If hehad been good for any Thing, he had broke his Neck, been drowned, &c., as if Impiety were the only Preservative against Casualties.
This Proverb animates to Constancy and Resolution in any honourable Undertaking, having a more extensive View than the Courting of a Mistress: It intimates the Injuriousness of being low-spirited and despairing, in that a Dejection of Mind will, in all Probability, frustrate the Success; for that Despair is the Parent of Ruin; in that it dispirits a Man, and enfeebles or enervates his whole Force. Le Couard n'aura belle amie, say the French. And indeed a low-spirited Person, who is terrified with Disappointments and Difficulties, is as unfit for Arms as Armours, nay, Civil Affairs too. But Courage, on the other hand, makes Difficulties which to Appearance at first seem unsurmountable, give way; for Audentes fortuna juvat, as say the Romans: whereas [notdone], say the Greeks.
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This Proverb teaches that People being generally loose and perfidious, it is a great Point of Prudence to be upon our Guard against Treachery and Impositions, in all our Dealings and Transactions, either in Buying, Selling, Borrowing, or Lending, in order to preserve a good Understanding and a lasting Friendship among natural Correspondents.
This Proverb does not only intimate the Force of Nature, but also of Example; as much the Strength of Imagination and Practice in the latter, as the violent Bent of Inclination in the former. 'Tis true, that Children, though not always, are generally like the Father or Mother in their Minds, as well as their Bodies; the Faculties of the former commonly run in a Blood; and as for the Features and Complexion of the latter, they often look as if they were cast in the same Mould: But I presume the Point of the Proverb, is chiefly directed at their Examples; and that such as are the Parents, as to Vice or Virtue, such are too commonly the Children; that the ill Examples of a vicious Father almost universally tend to the debauching a Son; when the good Precepts and Examples of a virtuous Father go to a great Way to the forming a virtuous one. Mali corvi, Malum ovum, say the Latins; and,[notdone], say the Greeks.
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The Instruction of this Proverb lies in governing te Tongue with Discretion and Prudence. 'Tis a Lecture of Deliberation, Courtesy and Affability in Company, or Fidelity and Secrecy in Affairs. It is also a Satyr against babbling or blurting out a rash unlucky Word to the Prejudice of a Person; whatever comes uppermost, without any regard to good Manners, or Sobriety. The Proverb seems to be as ancient as Solomon, who said [notdone] And, Quicquid in buccam venerit effutit, say the Latins.
Every Fowler knows the Truth of this Proverb; but it has further Meaning than the Association of irrational Creatures: It intimates that Society is a powerful Attractive, but that Likeness is the Lure that draws People of the same Kidney together, A Covey of Partrdges in the Country is but an Emblem of a Company of Gossips in a Neighbourhood, a Knot of Sharpers at the Gaming-Table, a Pack of Rakes at the Tavern, &c;. That one Fool loves another, one Fop admires another, one Blockhead is pleased at the Assurance, Conceit and Affectation of another; and therefore herd together. Pares cum paribus facillimé congregantur, Latin; [notdone], Greek.
This Proverb is usually applied to Persons, who, impatient under some smaller Inconveniency, and rashly endeavouring to extricate themselves, for want of Prudence and Caution, intangle themselves in Difficulties greater than they were in before; So Saulter de la Poile & se jetter dans les brases, say the French; Incidit in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charibdim, the Latins; and [notdone], the Greeks.
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This Proverb reflects upon the ill Conduct of Men in the Management of their Affairs, by intrusting either Sharpers with their Money, Blabs with their Secrets, or Enemies or Informers with their Lives: For no Obligation can bind against Nature: A Fox will love a Goose still, though his Skin be stript over his Ears for it; and a Common Cheat will always follow his old Trade of tricking his Friend, in spite of all Promises and Principles of Honour, Honesty, and good Faith. Agreeable to the English is the Latin, Ovem Lupo commsisti; and the Greek, [notdone]. [picture]
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This Proverb is said to have its Rise, on Account that there were more rich and mitred Abbies in that, than in any two Shires in England besides; but some from William of Malmsbury refer it to the Fruitfulness of it in Religion, in that it is said to have return'd the Seed of the Gospel with the Increase of an hundred Fold.
This Proverb intimates that an inbred Philauty runs through the whole Race of Flesh and Blood, and that Self-love is the Mother of Vanity, Pride, and Mistake. It turns a Man's Geese into Swans, his Dunghill Poultry into Pheasants, and his Lambs into Venison. It blinds the Understanding, perverts the Judgement, depraves the Reason of the otherwise most modest Distinguishers of Truth and Falsity. It makes a Man so fondly conceted of himself, that he prefers his own Art for its Excellency, his own Skill for its Perfection, his own Compositions for their Wit, and his own Productions for their Beauty. It makes even his Vices seem to him Virtues, and his Deformities Beauties; for so every Crow thinks her own Bird fairest, though never so black and ugly. Suum cuique Pulchrum, say the Latins.
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This Proverb intimates, That Virtue is valuable for it self; and that internal Goodness stands in need of no exernal Flourishes or Ornaments; and so we say, a good Face needs no Band. It seems to be of a Latin Original; as Vino vendibili hederâ suspensâ nihil opus est; and accordingly the French say, A bon vin il ne faut point d'enfeigne.
This Proverb is a reflection upon Partiality, where particular Marks of Kindness and Bounty are bestow'd on Persons who are Favourites, whether they deserve it, or no, when Persons more meritorious are neglected. But thus it will be where Persons are led more by Humour than Judgement; so say the Romans, Trahit sua quemque voluptas, and the Greeks, [notdone].
This Proverb intmates, that Things are not tobe valued bu their Bulk, but according to their intrinsick worth And Value; that a little which is good, is better than a great deal of that which is good for nothing; and so say the Latins, Inest sua gratia parvis, and the Greeks, [notdone].
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This Proverb is applied to those who spend all in Drunkenness and Gluttony, mere Belly-Gods, alluding to the Latin Word Guttur, which signifies the Throat. [picture]
This Proverb passes for the Periphrasis of a Fool, and an hundred Fopperies are feigned and father'd on the Townfolk of Gotham, a Village in Nottinghamshire.
This George of Green was that famous Pindar of Wakefield, who fought with Robin Hood and Little John, and got the better of them as the old Ballad tells us.
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This Proverb is as severe a Lecture against doing an unthankful Person a Kindness, as against saving a Thief from the Gallows, intimating that there is as much Imprudence in the one, as Danger in the other; for nothing can engage an Ingrate against abusing his Benefactor, or a Thief unhang'd against cutting his Friend's Throat. Thus say the Romans, Perit quod facis ingrato; and the French, Otez un vilain du Gebet, il vous y mettra.
This Proverb teaches, that every one will not make a Gentleman, that is vulgarly called so, now-a fays: There is more than the bare Name required, to the making him what he ought to be by Birth, Honour and Merit: For let a Man get never so much Money to but an Estate, he cannot purchase one Grain of GENTILITY with it, but will remain JACK in the Proverb still, without Learning, Virtue, and Wisdom, to enrich the Faculties of the Mind, to inhance the Glory of his Wealth, and to ennoble the Blood; for put him into what Circumstance you please, he will discover himself one Time or other, in Point of Behaviour, to be of a mean Extract, awkward, ungenteel, and ungenerous, a Gentleman at Second-hand only, or a vain-gloious Upstart: For you cannot make a silken Purse of a Sow's Ear; Ex quovis ligno Mercurius non fit, say the Latins.
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This Proverb initmates, that Malice, Spite, and Envy, are generally Self-murderers upon the Upshot; that to intend, study, or contrive any Harm to our Neighbours, is Bird-lime all over, and will catch ourselves at last. This, though Persons are generally apt to orget in the Raging of their Anger, or in Insensibility, is a trite Adage, and accordingly [notdone], say the Hebrews, and Sibi paratmalum, qui alteri parat, say the Latins.
This Proverb intimates to us, that there is no Creature that ever went upon four Legs, but has made some false Step or oher; and that every Mother's Son of us, who goes upon two, hath his Slips and his Imperfections; that there is no Person in the World without his weak Side, and therefore pleads a Pardon for Mistakes, either in Conversation or Action, and puts a Check upon intermerate Mockery, or uncharitable Censure. And so the French say, Il n'y a bon cheval, qui ne bronche; and Quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus, says.
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This Proverb is used by way of Satire against those Persons whose impetuous Lustss make them demean themselves beneath their Quality; for tho' 'tis certain, dirty Water will quench Fire, and a mean Punk satisfy or cool a burning Lust, yet those who use them are either very needy, or not very nice. The Proverb is also taken in another Sense, and is a severe Satire against all our unnecessary Varieties and Delicacies of Food, and dictates the best Way of Living in the World, with an Instruction, or Temperance, Health, and Frugality, only to drink when we are a dry, and to eat when we are hungry, for that there is nothing so wholesome, or so relishing as true Hunger, according to the Proverb, Hunger's the best Sauce. Thus say the Hebrews, [notdone] the Greeks, [notdone], and the Latins, Jejunus rarò Stomachus vulgaria temnit, and Fames est optimum condimentum. The French, A la Faim, il n'y a point de mauvais pain, and the Italians, L'afino chi ha fame mangia d'ogni strame.
This Distich is a Dehortation from Censoriousness and Detraction; it teaches not to expose and heighten, but to cover and extenuate the Imperfections and Failings of others, under the Penalty of procuring our own Disquietude, and risking our Tranquility. Whether it be originally English, French, Italian, or Latin, I shall not determie, but they all have it in a Distich.
Oy voy & te tas, fi tu veux vivre en paix. French.
Odi, vedi, tace, seu voi viver in pace. Italian.
Audi, vide, tace, si tu vis vivere in pace. Latin.
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This Proverb is a witty Lampoon upon all indiscreet and vexatious Lawduits commenced against insolvent People; forwhat can be more ridiculous than to sue a Beggar, when the Action must needs cost more than he is worth? It puts a Man's Prudence quite out of Question, though it puts his Satisfaction of Revenge and Malice quite out of Doubt; for, according to another Proverb, What can we have of a Cat but her Skin; Rete non tenditur accipitri, nec milvio, say the Latins, and [notdone], say the Greeks.
This Proverb is a proper Inducement to animate Persons to undertake any Virtuous Attempt; either for the Relief of the Distressed, the Succour of the Oppressed, or the [picture] Vindication and Deence of Religion and Property, against potent Oppressors or Invaders; for that however difficult and unsurmountable the Attempt may appear to a feeble few, yet an united Force will make it not oly practicable, but easy too, according to the Latins: Multorum manibus grave levatur onus, and the Greeks, [notdone]. Homer.
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The Edge of this Proverb is turned upon Excess in Eating and Drinking, as an Enemy to the Clearness of Understanding, and Vivacity of Wit; it is either transferr'd from, or at least is confirmed by the Latin, Pinguis venter non gignit tenuem sensum, and the Greeks, [notdone].
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This Proverb, in terminus, favours a little too much of Heathenism or Profaneness; but it may very well befit a Christian Mouth, if that which the Vulgar call Luck, and the Learned Fortune, be denominated Providence; for if that be on a Man's Side, you may throw him into the Sea, and not be actually and legally guilty of Murder. This was verified in the Prophet Jonah. Sors Domina Campi, say the Latins; and the Greeks, [notdone].
This Proverb is a good Lesson of Industry in our Calling, and Frugality in our Expences, intimating its Usefulness, in that it clothes the Naked, feeds the Hungry, and buys a Crutch for the Cripple, as Horace says,
Scilicet uxorem cum dote, fidemq; & amicos,
Et genus, & formam, regina pecunia donat.
In a Word, it carries on all the Business upon Earth, and there is nothing to be done without it in any Affair, either of Necessity or Convenience, and by its Assistance we may almost work Miracles, as say the Greeks, [notdone], and rightly since, Pecuniæ obediunt omnia, Latin, which is a trite Adage, and owes its original to Solomon's [notdone] Money answers all Things.
This Proverb is a good Dehortation from too sanguine a Dependance upon future Expectation, tho' very promising; intimating that the most promising Hopes are ofen dash'd in Pieces by the Intervention of some unforeseen and unexpected Accident; so say the Latins, Multa cadunt inter calicem supremaque labra; and the Greeks, [notdone]; and Ben. Syra, [notdone].
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This Proverb is a good Caution to Parents and others, not to use too much Freedom in Discourse before Children: For that their Sense of hearing is not on;y as quick or quicker than older People, but also because they have long Tongues as well as wide Ears, and their Innocence often divulges what their Elders would have kept secret: therefore, Maxima debetur puero reverentia, says Juvenal; and Ce que l'enfant oit au Foyer est bien tost cognen jusque au Monstieur, say the French; and [notdone] say the Hebrews.
This Robin Hood was a famous Robber, and storied to be an expert Archer in the Time of King Richard the First, about the Year 1200; his principal Haunt was about Shirewood Forest in Nottinghamshire. This Proverb is applicable to all ignorant Pretenders and Braggadochio's whatsoever, either in Knowledge or Business. It intimates that bragging and boasting are common Impertinences in Conversation, equally among Travellers and Soldiers, as well as Poets and Painters, who never out-did Nature yet, but only in the Lye. But they who pretend themselves to be what they are not, will always be prating of what they do not know. So Non omnes, qui Citharam tenet, Citheroedi sunt, say the Latins; [notdone], the Greeks; and Molti parla di Orlando, chi non videro mai suo brando, the Italians.
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Whether we borrow'd this Proverb of the French, Besoign fait vieille troiter, or the Italian, Besogno fa trotar la vecchia, I shall not determine, being all three the same verbatim; but it intimates the great Power of Necessity, which does not only make the young and lusty go a trotting to relive their Necessities, but also makes old People, who have one Foot in the Grave, to bestir their Stumps. Necessity makes the Weak strong, the Decrepid active and nimble, the Cripple walk: It gives Vigour and Life to the most languishing and feeble Starveling; makes the Lame find his legs, excites the most Obstinate to lead or drive at the Will and Pleasure of his Master. Duram telum necessitas, say the Latins, and [notdone], the Greeks, though that seems to favour too much of a Stoick Fatality. [picture]
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The meaning of this Proverb is, that Persons should not indolently sit down in Indifference, leave off all Honest Endeavours, and not do any Thing at all, because they can't presently attain to do what they wou'd: Qui non potest quod vult, velle oportet quod potest, say the Latins; and [notdone] say the Hebrews.
This Proverb in terminis is modern and ows its rise to the Cavaliers in the time of the Civil Wars in England, who by way of Rebugff gave the Antimonarchial Party a Gemeral Monk for their Oliver Cromwell; but as to the matter of it, it seems to proceed from the ancient Lex Talionis, or Law of Retribution, an Eye for an Eye, and a Tooth for a Tooth, and Par Pari retuli, say the Latins; and of Homer's [notdone], Gr.many make a Handle to return Railing for Railing; but Christians ought to be of a better Spirit, maugre the private Revenge either of hard Words or rude Actions, as say the Hebrews, [notdone].
Another rendition of this Proverb is this; Rowland, viz. General Monk, or as others explain it King Charles the Second, who some say (tho not very beautiful himself, yet got very fine Children) ludicrously called Rowley, alluding to a Stallion of that Name kept in the Meuse, which tho ill favoured himself, yet got very fine Colts; as it is reported the Lord Rochester told his Majesty, when he ask'd him the Reason of that Nickname.
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This Proverb severely lashes such Persons who are thrifty to an Error in small, but necessary Expences, but profusely extravagant in unnecessary ones; intimating, That the Wisdom of such Parsimony is no less Foolish, than the saving a Cask of Wine at the Tap, while they are turning it out at the Bung-Hole. Ad mensuram aquam bibentes, sine mensura offam comedentes, Latin. [notdone], Gr.
This tho a tippling Proverb, has a farther Meaning than Persons making their own Reckoning at a Tavern or Alehouse, and is usually applied to such Persons, who are apt to be partial in their own Favour, flattering themselves with the Advantages they fansy to be on tjeir side in any Affair, and making no Allowances for the Disadvantages that will or may attend them; so Chi fa conto senza l'Hoste fa conto due volte, say the Italians; and Qui compte sans son hoste il lui convient compter deux foix, the French.
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This Proverb indicates the Perversity of such Persons who contemn all Civilities that are offered to them voluntarily, and set a value upon none but what are obtained with Difficulty: It is also frequently applied in the way of Trade, where Persons commonly suspect some Defect n profer'd Commodities, and value them at but a very low Rate; so so Merx ultronea putet, say the Latins; and Merchandise offerte est a demi vendue. F.
Tho this Maxim seems more censorious than the Law, which inflicts only Transportation on the Receiver, and Death on the Felon; yet it is true in Fact, because such Persons are in their Principles as dishonest, tho they have not Courage to venture their Necks in the Employment; according to the Greek, [notdone].
This Proverb has its rise from the Vanity of Anticipating our Enjoyments efore we come at them; we're always brooding in our Desires and hatching in our Minds what we would have to come to pass, before Things are ripe for it: and this Hastiness oftentimes makes us overshoot our Reason, and forfeit our Prudence, in reckoning that our own, that is not so much as in Being. But this Proverb dehorts us from speaking confidently of our having, or as good as having Things in our Power and Possession, which are far off still, only in Expectancy and depend wholly upon Providence; and not as the Latins say, Ante victoriam canere triumphum. Anf the Greeks, [notdone].
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This old Saw is usually applied to such Persons as are impertinent either in Discourse or Writing, and it is indeed an intolerable Fault to be neither; for tho Rhyme be but a jingle, it affords Delight by the Musicalness of its Cadence, when for want of both Rhyme and Reason it neither delights the Sense nor improves the Intellectuals. 'Tis probable it has its Original from the famous Sit Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England, in the Time of King Henry the VIII. of whom it is storied, that an Author asking Sir Thomas's Judgement of an impertinent Book, he bid him turn it into Verse, which he did, and shew'd it to Sir Thomas, who replied, Why ay, now 'tis something like, now'tis Rhyme, but before 'twas neither Rhyme nor Reason.
This Proverb is used of such covetous Persons, who have, by unjust, fraudulent, and oppressive Methods, amss'd to themselves worldly Riches; it intimates that such ill-gotten Wealth is commonly wasted by a profuse Heir in Riot and Luxury, and seldom descends to the third Generation. Malè parta malè dilabuntur, sa the Latins, and [notdone] the Hebrews.
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A Proverb applied to such Persons as buy a thing unseen.
This Proverb is usually applied to such as having gotten any Thing dishonestly, sell it at a price much below the Value, according to the Proverb, Lightly come, lightly go; and Robin Hood is alluded to because being an expert Archer, and so coming easily by it, he could afford to sell Venison as cheap as Neck-Beef; according to the Latins, Aurea pro æreis, and the Greek [notdone]: but others on the contrary apply it to such as would buy lumping Pennyworths, still alluding to Robin, but upon another Consideration, viz. his being a Robber, who tho, as Camden calls him, Prædonem mitissimum, the most gentle and generous of Thieves, when Cash run low, would have what he wanted at his own Rate, which his Chapmen were forc'd to take, or else he would have it for nothing.
We are beholden to Watermen for this Proverb, who first helped us to the Hint, but yet they are not the Mark it aims at; for while they do so, they are but doing their Duty, and contentedly go backwards themselves, to help their Passengers forward in their Journey: but the Point of it is directed at Sycophants, and hollow-hearted Hypocrites, who while they pretend to be carrying on the Interest of their Friends, mean nothing less, and are at the same time undermining them. Altera manu fert lapidem,panem ostentat altera, says Plautus; [notdone]. Aristo.
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There are a Set of People in the World of so unsettled and restless a Temper, and such Admirers of Novelty, that they can never be long pleased with one way of living, no more than to continue long in one Habitation; but before they are well enter'd upon one Business, dip into another, and before they are well settled in one Habitation, remove to another; so that they are always busily beginning to live, but by reason of Fickleness and Impatience, never arrive at a way of living: such Persons fall under the Doom of this Proverb, which is design'd to fix the Volatility of their Tempers, by laying before them the ill Consequences of such Fickleness and Inconstancy. Saxum volutum non obducitur Musco, say the Latins; [notdone], the Greeks; Pierre qui roule n'amasse point de mousee, the French; and Pietra mossa non fa muschio, the Italians.
Tho' this good honest, Industrious Proverb is made a Stalking-Horse to the grossest Villanies, and wiredrawn to countenance a thousand base Practices, as the temporizing and trimming of Turn-Coats, Cheating, Injustice, Drunkenness, Lasciviousness, and all the Iniquities upon the Face of the Earth, Persons laying hold of Opportunity of Satiating their impious Appetites under the Umbrage of it, yet notwithstanding all the Misapplications the true Meaning of it is highly Moral. It is a great Encouragement to Virtue and Goodness, is teaches us to let no Time (which often seems to be put into our Hands by good Providence) slip thro' our Fingers, of serving God, and doing Good to ourselves or our Neighbours: For that the Sun will not stand still for us as it did for Joshua in Gibeon, nor Slacken its Course, for such flow, negligent, idle, trifling, insignificant Mortals as we are, upon the little Occasions of Ambition, Preferment, Learning or Livlihood; it therefore teaches to be active and vigorous, to take Time by the Fore-lock, which is bald behind, and being past can't be laid hold on; according to the Latin, Fronte capillata est, post est occasio calva; and the Greek, [notdone].
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Some Friends are nearer to a Man than others: Parents and Children than other Relations: Relations than Neighbours, and Neighbours than Strangers; but above all, a Man is nearest to himself. Charity begins at home; but this Charity at home stands in a slippery Place, upon the Brink either of an ungenerous Self-Love, or of a foreign extravagant Affection; and it is very apt to slide into one or other of these disscommendable Extremes. The Adage indeed intimates, That we ought to value our Bodies more than our Goods; to part with our Clothes off our Backs, rather than have our Skins stripp'd over our Ears; that our Charity and Hospitality should commence at our own Houses, for the Entertainment of our Families, Relations, and Friends; yet it does not mean, that it ought always to lie sneaking at home, and never shew itself abroad; it shouldbe as extensive as the Light, and bestow here and there a kind Ray upon Strangers, as well as bosom Friends and Acquaintance, according to our Circumstancs, tho not so as to make a Man a Felo do se by his good Offices to others. Ma chemise m'est plus proche que ma Robe, Fr. Tunica pallio propior, Latin. Plus prés est la Chair que la Chemise, Fr. [notdone], Gr.
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This Proverb does not justfy Stealing at all; it means very honestly and is only a smart Turn upon all partial Proceedings, as well in private Judgements as publick Trials. It intimates that when great Rogues are in Authority, and have the Laws against Oppression and Robbery in their own hands, little Thieves only go to pot for it; and that inferior Pirates are punished with Death at the Gallows, while great Offenders live safe and secure under the Helm of Government. This proverb is for doing all People Justice a like, from the highest to the lowest, and in all Cases whatsoever, either of Desert or Demerit. We live indeed in a thieving, cheating, and plundering Age: Cozening is becoming a topping Trade, only we have got a genteeler way of stealing now, than only to take a man's Horse from under him on the Highway, and a little loose Money out of his [picture] Pocket; our Rapparees are Men of better Breeding and Fashion, and scorn to play at such small Game, they sweep away a noble Estate with one slight Brush, and bid both the Gallows and Horse-Pond defiance; and the Mob is not always just in this Point, for one Pick-Pocket deserves a Horse-Pond as well as another, without any regard to Quality of fine Clothes. But Dat Veniam Corvis, vexat censura Columbas, say the Latins.
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This Proverb is usually applied to such Persons who fo want of Penetration into the Consequences of Things, and of the Qualification of knowing Men, are often prevailed upon by the Artifices of designing Persons to do those things, which will in the Consequence sensibly affect themselves while they design them only for others, deeming themselves secure: As also such revengeful Spirits, who prosecute their private Resentments against others with such an unwary Precipitateness, that the heaviest Part of the Puishment frequently falls to their share. [notdone], say the Greeks, and [notdone]. In tuum ipsius caput Lunam deducis, Latin.
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This Proverb is a good Monition to Calmness and Sedateness in the management of any Business; it is a Reprehension of precipitate and hurrying Tempers, who frequently, by over-eagerness, mar what is under their Hands; it is much the same in sense with our common Proverb, Haste makes Waste, and there are several Proverbs in several Languages to the same Purport: Qui trop se haste en Cheminant, en beau chemin se sourvoye souvent, say the French. Qui nimis propere, nimis prospere; and Nimium properans serius absolvit, the Latins: and it likewise answers to the Festina lenté: and accordingly, Tarry a while, that we may make an end the sooner, was the common saying of Sir Amias Pawlet. [notdone], say the Greeks; which is of much the same Iport, as Canis festinas cæcos parturit catulos, among the Latins.
The Lark is a lofty Bird, and soars perhaps as high as any of the Inhabitants of the airy Regions; and if there be no other way of coming at them, till the Sky falling down on their Heads bears them down into our Hands, we shall be little the better for 'em. This Proverb is usually apply'd to such Persons who buoy themselves up with vain Hopes, but in Embryo, ill conceived, and as likely not to go out half their Time, or not to last till their Accomplishment; as fondly as the Lad who seeing the Lord Mayo in his pompous Procession, said, See what we must all come to! Ad illos redis qui dicunt, Si cælum ruat, Latin. [notdone], Greek.
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Some Persons are so much for Enjoyment in the present Tense, that they cannot think of being thrifty but in futuro, and by that means often from an opulent Fortune, precipitate themselves into a Condition of Indigence. To such Persons this Proverb is a good admonition to Frugality an Providence, and not by Excesses and Luxury, to out-run the Constablek and not to forget Parsimony, while we have soemthing left to spare: It likewie holds good in a Thriftiness of our Time not to be continually procrastinating and putting off necessary Duties, till we have no Time left us to perform them in. Serò in fundo parsimonia, says Seneca. [notdone], says Hesiod.
All the false as well as foolish Conclusions, from a particular to an universal Truth, fall under the Censure of this Proverb. It teaches, that as he that guesses at the Course of the Year by the Flight of one single Bird, is very liable to be mistaken in his Conjecture; so also a Man cannot be denominated Rich from one single Piece of Money in his Pocket, nor accounted universally good from the Practice of one single Virtue, nor temperate because he is stout, nor liberal because he is exactly just: that one Day cannot render a Man completely happy in point of Time, nor one Action consummate his Glory in Point of Valour. In short, the Moral of it is, That the right way of Judging of Things, beyond Imposition and Fallacy, is not from Particulars, but Universals. Una hirundo non facit ver, says Horace. [notdone], Aristot. from whence we borrow it.
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This Proverb is not only levelled at a careless Groom, but has a more extended Aim; it intimates, that 'tis a mighty Imprudence to neglect the weighing of all the Circumstances of an Action, both as to Time and Place, before we venture upon doing what perhaps we may repent of in the Event to our Great Shame or Damage. This is generally the Wisdom of the World, when the Thing is over, we are as wise as Experience can make us. Almost all the Miscarriages of Mankind are for want of Thinking: After-Wit is commonly dear bought, and we pay for it either with Misfortune, Anxiet, or Sorrow; for there is no unthinking a Misfortune, after it has befallen us for want of Precaution and Foresight: an After-thought may inhance out Trouble, but can't relieve our Distress; it may prevent like Inconvenience for the future, but it cannot make any Satisfaction for what is past. Serrar la Stalla quando f'han perduti i buovi, say the Italians. Est temps do fermer l'estable quand les Chevaux en sont allés, the French. Quando-quidem accepto claudenda est janua damno, the Latins. And [notdone], the Greeks.
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This Proverb is an excellent Monition to Temperance and Sobriety, for that whatsoever is excessive and unreasonable, either in our Actions or our Passions and Appetites, in either drinking or eating to Gluttony; either in point of Wit, Mirth, or Wantonness to Intemperence; or Lust, Leachert, or Lewdness to Iniquity, will certainly make the sweetest Meat we can eat rise as sour as a Crab in our Stomachs; for that there is rank Poison in the Tail of all unlawful Pleasres, a bitter Sweet, or a deadly sour Dreg in the bottom of the Vessel, which will be Wormwood and Gall in the Belly. Post gaudia Luctus, say the Latins. [notdone], say the Greeks; and [notdone] the Hebrews. [picture]
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The moral Insrtuction of this Proverb, is, That Persons, though skilful in their own Art, ought not to meddle or make with Things out of their own Sphere, and not presume to correct or amend what they do not understand. The Proverb is only the Latin Ne sutor ultra crepidam, in an English Dress; and first took its Authority from a Story of the celebrated Painter Apelles, who having drawn a famous Piece, and expos'd it to a publick View, a Cobler came by and found Fault with it, because he made too few Latchets to the Goloshoes: Apelles mends it accordingly, and sets it out again, and the next Day the Cobler coming again, finds Fault with the whole Leg; upon which Apelles comes out, saying, Cobler, go Home and keep to your Last. Accordingly say the Greeks, [notdone].
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This old Saw is founded on a fond and
false Tradition, which reporteth, that ever
since Sir William Tracey was most active
among the four Knights who killed
This Proverb is not only levelled at a Cutter to a Shoemaker, who does not contrive and cut out his Master's Leather to the best Advantage; but it aims at all those Persons, who, niggardly to an Excess of their own, would fain gain the Character of Generous or Charitable at other People's Pockets to save their own, either in Donations of Amit or Alms, and do as Erasmus says, Ex alieno tergore lata secare lora, Latin; and French, Il coupe large curroye du cuir d'autruy; and the Greek, [notdone]
This Proverb is an Apophthegm of one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece. Some attribute it to Thales, and some to Solon, [notdone], Gr. It is generally applied by way of Reprehension to such Persons, who, when by some witty Drollery or Banter, they find they have diverted the Company, pleased with the Conceit of their own Wit, they either draw it out to that Length, 'tis so fine that no body can perceive it but themselves; or they carry on the Hest till it grows troublesome and nauseous, forgetting, that tho a little Wit in Company, like Salt at a Table, makes Conversation relishing, yet they must love savoury Bits very well, that can dine out of a Salt-Seller. Est modus in rebus; sunt certi denique fines, Quos ultra citra-que nequit consistere rectum. Hor.
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In this Proverb the Vice of Ingratitude is arraigned; it intimates that mutual Offices of Love, and alternate Helps of Assistances, are the Fruits and Issues of true Friendship, that it is both meet and comely, and just and equitable, to requite Kindnesses, and to make them amends who have deserved well of us: Qui plaisir fait, plaisir requiert, say the French; and Gatia gratiam parit, the Latins; [notdone], the Greeks; and the Hebrews [notdone].
This Proverb points at such Persons, who by Acts of Injustice, Oppression, and Fraud, amass to themselves large Estates, and think to atone for their Rapine by doing some charitable Acts while they are alive, or when they can no longer possess them, by leaving their Lands in Mortmain, to pious and charitable Uses, as building and endowing Hospitals, Alms-Houses, and other Acts of Beneficence (commendable indeed, when done from a truly Christian Charity) but they who think bu thus paying Paul, to atone for their robbing Peter, entertain an Opinion highly disparaging the Justice of the Almighty. Parallel to this is the Hebrew Adage, [notdone].
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This Proverb intimates, that Old Age is indocile and untractable; that if antient Persons have been put into a Wrong Way at first, the Force of a long contracted Habit is so strong, and their Indisposition to learn, and Aversion to be taught, so violent, that there is no Hopes of reducing them to the Right. Senex Psittacus negligit serulam, say the Romans; and [notdone], the Greeks.
Under this Proverbial Distich is couch'd a good Lesson of Caution and Circumspection, not to choose a Friend on a sudden, or make Persons our Intimates, and repose a Confidence in them by entrusting them with our Secrets and private Concerns, before we have experienced their Integrity; it also cautions Persons against too easy a Credulity in buying upon the Credit of Persons unknown, without deliberately weighing in their Minds whether the things are equal in value to the Price of the Purchase. [notdone], Greek; therefore it was an antient Precept, [notdone]; and the Hebrews say, [notdone].
The Notion of Impunity often animates ill-disposed Persons to the Commission of flagant Crimes, which would never have been perpetrated, had the Verity of this Proverb been impressed in the Minds o those Delinquents: for certain it is, however slowly Vengeance may seem to move, it will assuredly overtake the Offender at last; and by how much it is the longer in coming, being once arrived, it will fall on them the heavier, according to that Maxim, Tho Justice has leaden Feet, it has iron Hands; and so, Rarò antecedentum scelestum deseruit pede pœna claudo. Hor.
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This Proverb, tho it does not license an inconsiderate Rashness, in running Hazards, maugre all Probability of Success; yet it is a Spur to Industry and Resolution in any Undertaking; it dehorts from such a Pusillanimity and Cow-heartedness as to be inactive at the Apprehension or Appearance of any Danger or Disappointments that may possibly occur, so as to make a Person renounce the very Hopes of succeeding in a Preferment, Profit, or Accommodations of Life, for want of Courage to ask a Favour, to demand a Right, to defend or fight for a Liberty or Property. Chi non s' adventure, guadagna, say the Italians; Qui ne s' adventure, ne a cheval ny a mule, the French; and, Quid autem tentare nocebit? the Latins.
As in fortified Places besieged by an Enemy, and well provided to hold out, the valiant Soldiers, who are resolutely bent to defend it, scorn to great or capitulate with the Enemy; but receive their dishonourable Offers with Contempt and Disdain: So when Virtue, the Fortress of the Soul (which ought to be defened with the utmost Obstinacy) is attack'd by bold Assailants, they who are resolutely bent to defend it, will hearken to no Terms, but repulse dishonourable Offers with Indignation. And when once a Woman lends a listening Ear to Offers, tho never so high, as to the Surrender of her Chastity, 'tis odds if she do not surrender it upon very low ones in the Upshot. Virtus quœ facilem pravo præbet aurem, non ægreè cedit L.
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All the Actions and Enterprizes of Mankind labour under the Reflection of this quaint moral Sentence, whether they be prudent or imprudent in the Undertaking, and good or bad in the Accomplishment. It intimates that Persons should be very deliberate and advised in the beginning of an Undertaking; for that to begin well is the only way to quicken and dispatch the End, letit be what it will. It intimates that there is a great deal of Difficulty in beginning well, and that a false Step at first Start is hardly to be recovered aferwards: That the work does not cost half so much Trouble as the Design of it that it is an easy Matter to make way when the Ice is broke. It reflects upon false Foundations and foolish Projects. And it holds good from Morality and worldy Affairs to Religion, That a good beginning is a fair Step to a good Ending. Dimidium facti, qui benè cœpit, habet, say the Latins; and [notdone], Arist.
It is a plain matter of fact, that th End crowns all Things, and that every Thing is not to be judg'd amiss that may appear so for the present. A worldly Misfortune, if it quickens our Diligence and Industry; a severe Fit of Sickness, if it promotes our Piety, and makes us amend out Lives, is well, tho for the present no Affliction seems joyous but grievous: For a happy Death is the never-failing Portion of a well-spent Life, which always ends in eternal Bliss and Glory. The best way of judging of Things, beyond Mistake, is by the issue or Event of them. Finis coronat Opus, say the Latins; and [notdone], the Greeks.
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This Proverb is a severe Taunt upon much Talking: Against great Promisers of doing what they never intend to perform; a Reflection upon those Persons, who, so they can but be Misers of their own Pockets and Service, will be down-right Prodigals of fair Words; but they, according to another Proverb, butter no Parsnips; and so, Re opitulandum, non verbis, say the Latins.
Though this Proverb contradicts their Notions who think such Persons only the best Gentlemen who have the largest Estates, and it being the custom of England for the Eldest Son to go away with the whole Patrimony, it may to them seem a Paradox: but as it is grounded on a different Notion, so there have been and are plentiful Instances to confirm the Truth of it; for while the Elder Brother of a House depending on his Estate, is either indulged by Parents, or gives up himself to an indolent Humour, that his Soul in his Body, like a Sword in the Scabbard, rusts for want of life, thinking his Estate sufficient to gentilize him, if he have but only the Accomplishment of a Fox-Hunter, or a Country Justice; the Younger Brother being put to his shifts, having no Inheritance to depend upon, by plying his Studies hard at Home, and accomplishing himself by Travels Abroad, oftentimes, either by Arts or Arms, raises himself to a conspicuous pitch of Honour, and so becomes much the better Gentlemn: For 'tis Manners makes a Man, which was the usual motto William of Wickham, Bishop of Winchester, and founder of the College there, and of New College at Oxford, inscribed on the Places of his Founding.
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This Proverb is apply'd either to such Persons who being vicious themselves, labour to debauch whose with whom they converse; or to such, who not careful enough in preserving their own Virtue, expose themselves to the Contagion of Vice, by associating with those who are vicious; it admonishes of the Danger of such society it being like an Infectious Distemper, and therefore ought to be carefully and industriously avoided. It is a trite Truth, and has the Testimony of several Nations to confirm it. Grex totus in agris unius scabie casit & porrgine Porci, Juvenal. [notdone], Plutarch. Ne faut qu' une brebis rogneuse pour gastier tout le Troupeau, French. Una pecora insetta n'ammorba una setta, Ital. [notdone] the Hebrews.
This Proverb is generally used by Persons who have received gross Insults and Injuries from others (which they have for some time bore with Patience) to excuese their being at last transported to some Warmth of Resentment and Passion: Habet & musca splenem, say the Romans; and, [notdone], the Greeks.
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This Proverb is a Tuant upon Braggasoccio's, who talk big, boast, and rattle: It is also a Memento for such who make plentiful Promises to do well for the future, but are suspected to want Constancy and Resolution to make them good.
This Proverb intimates, that there is no arguing the Matter with Hunger, the Mother of Impatience and Anger. It is a prudent Caution not to contend wth hungry Persons, or contradict their quarrelsome Tempers by ill-tim'd Apologies or Persuasions to Patience. It is a Lecture of Civility and Discretion, not to disturb a Gentleman at his Repast, or trouble him with unseasonable Addresses at Meal-Time. From Venter non habet aures, Latin; the French say Ventre affame n'a point d'Oreilles. [picture]