Page images

God keep mag

De moco reçador, y de viejo ayunador, guarde Dios mi capa.
cloak from a praying young man, and a fasting old one.
A young serving-man, an old beggar.

Chi vive in corte muore à pagliaro.--Ital. A mozedad, ozinsa, vejez trao bajosa.--Span. If youth knew what age would crave, it would both get and


S'il giovane sapesse e s'il vecchio potesse, non v'è cosa che non si facuose,
A growing youth has a wolf in his belly.
i. e. He is a great eater. Moco creciénte, lobo en el vientre. Span.

ZEAL without knowledge is frenzy.
Zoal without knowledge is fire without light.



To bring an abbey to a grange.
To bring a woble to nine-pence. We speak it of an unthrift.

Ha fatto d'una lanza una spina, e d'una calza una borsetta.—Ital. He hath made of a lance a thorn; and of a pair of breeches a purse : parallel to ours, He hath thwitten a mill-post to a pudding-prick. Or, His windmill is dwindled into a nut-cracker. Di badessa tornar conversa. From an abbess to become a lay-sister. He is able to buy an abbey.

A spendthrift.
To commit as many absurdities as a clown in eating of an egg.
Afraid of far enough.

Of that which is never likely to happen.
Afraid of him that died last year. Chesh.

Espantose la muerta de la degollada. Span.
Afraid of the hatchet, lest the helve stick in's a-e. Chesh.
Afraid of his own shadow.
More afraid than hurt.
They agree like cats and dogs.
They agree like harp and harrow.

This hath the same sense with the preceding. Harp and harrow are coupled, chiefly because they begin with the same letter. They agree like pickpockets in a fair.

Il canchero è d'accordo col morbo. Ital.
They agree like bells ; they want nothing but hanging.
He is paced like an alderman.
The case is alter'd, quoth Plowden.

Edmund Plowden was an eminent common lawyer in Queen Elizabeth's time, born at Plowden, in Shropshire, of whom Camden (in his Elizabeth, Ann. 1584) gives this character; Vitæ integritate inter homines suæ professionis nulli secundus. And Sir Edward Cooke calls him the Oracle of the common Law. This proverb is usually applied to such lawyers, or others, as being corrupted with larger fees, shift sides, and pretend the case is altered; such as have bovem in lingua. Some make this the occasion of the proverb : Plowden being asked by a neighbour of his, what remedy there was in law against his neighbour for some hogs that had trespassed his ground, answered, he might have very good remedy; but the other replying, that they were his hogs, Nay then, neighbour, (quoth he,) the case is altered. Oihers, with more probability, make this the original of it. Plowden being a Roman Catholic, some neighbours of his, who bare him no

hind you.

good will, intending to entrap him, and bring him under the lash of the Jaw, had taken care to dress up an altar in a certain place, and provided a layman in a priests habit, who should say mass there at such a time. And withal, notice thereof was given privately to Mr. Plowden, who thereupon went and was present at the mass. For this he was presently accused, and indicted. He at first stands upon his defence, and would not acknowledge the thing Witnesses are produced, and, among the rest, one who deposed, that he himself performed the maes, and saw Mr. Plowden there. Saith Plowden to him, Art thou a priest, then? The fellow replied, No. Why then, gentlemen, (quoth he,) the case is altered ; No priest, no mass ; which came to be a proverb, and continues still in Shropshire, with this addition; The case is altered, (quoth Plowden ;) No priest, no mass. To angle with a silver hook.

Pescar col hamo d'argento. The Italians, by this phrase, mean, to buy fish in the market. It is also a Latin proverb, Aureo hamo piscari. Money is the best bait to take all sorts of persons with If you


angry, you may turn the buckle of your girdle beSe l' à per male, scingasi.-—Ital. The Spaniards say, Si tienes de mi enojo descalçate un çapato, y echalo en remojo. "If you are angry, pull off one of your shoes, and lay it in soak. To cut large shives of another man's loaf. To cut large thongs of another man's leather.

De alieno corio liberalis. Del cuoio d' altri si fanno le corregge large. -Ital. Il coupe large courroye de cuir d'autrui.-Fr. It may pass for a sentence thus, Men cut large shives of others' loaves. This should seem to be also a Dutch proverb: for Erasmus saith, Circumfertur apud nostra. tium vulgus non absimile huio proverbium. Ex alieno tergore lata secari lora. De piel agena larga la coréa.—Span. To hold by the apron-strings.

i. e. In right of his wife.
To answer one in his own language.

Ut salutaris ita resalutaberis.
A bit and a knock, (or bob,] as men feed apes.
Arsy versy.

"Yotepov arpórepov. A pretended spell, written upon the door of a house to keep it from burning. It is a Tuscan word: Quasi arsurum averte. She is one of mine aunts, that made mine uncle go a begging. She is one of my aunts that my uncle never got any good of. A pretty fellow to make an axle-tree for an oven. Chesh,

He knows not a B from a battledoor,

Non sa quante dita ha nelle mani. Ital.
His back is broad enough to bear jeste.


My Lord Baldwin's dead.

It is used when one tells that for news which_every body knows. A Sussex proverb; but who this Lord Baldwin was, I could not learn there. You'll not believe he is bald till you see his brains. Never a barrel better herring.

The Spaniards say, Qual mas qual menos toda la lana cs pelos. Some more, some less, all the wool is hairs. You shall have the basket. Taunton.

Said to the journeyman that is envied for pleasing his master. Bate me an ace, quoth Bolton.

Who this Bolton was I know not, neither is it worth enquiring. One of this name might happen to say, Bate me an ace; and for the coincidence of the first letters of these two words, Bate and Bolton, it grew to be a proverb. We have many of the like original, as v. g. Sup, Simon, &c. Stay, quoth Stringer, &c. There goes a story of Queen Elizabeth, that being presented with a Collection of English Proverbs, and told by the author, that it contained all the English proverbs ; Nay, replied she, Bate me an ace, quoth Bolton : which proverb being instantly looked for, happened to be wanting in his Collection. You dare as well take a bear by the tooth. If it were a bear it would bite you. Are you there with your

bears? To go

like a bear to the stake. He hath as many tricks as a dancing bear. If that the course be fair, again and again, quoth Buliny to

his bear. I bear him on my back.

That is, I remember his injuries done to me with indignation and grief, or a purpose of revenge. He is not fit to carry guts to a bear. To bear


the bell.
You'll scratch a beggar before you die.

That is, you'll be a beggar; you'll scratch yourself.
It would make a beggar beat his bag.
I'll not hang all my bells on one horse.

That is, give all to one son.
Better believe it, than go where it was done to prove it.

Voglio piu tosto crederlo che andar a cercarlo. Ital.
The belly thinks the throat cut.
To have the bent of one's bow.
"Tis best to take half in hand, and the rest by-and-by.

The tradesman that is for ready money.



There's ne'er a best among them, as the fellow said by the fox

You make the better side the worse. Somerset.
Between hawk and buzzard.
To look as big as if he had eaten bull-beef.
He'll have the last word though he talk bilk for it.

Bilk, i. e. nothing. A man is said to be bilked at cribbets when he gets nothing, when he can make never a game. Bill after helve.

Trarre il manico dietro alla zappa.
He'll make nineteen bits of a bilberry.

Spoken of a covetous person.
To bite


the bridle. That is, to fare hardly; to be cut short, or suffer want; for a horse can eat but slowly when the bridle is in his mouth. Or else it may signify to fret, swell and disquiet himself with anger. Fræna mordere, in Latin, hath a different sense; i. e. to resist those who have us in subjection; as an unruly horse gets the bridle between his teeth, and runs away with his rider; or as a dog bites the staff you beat him with. Statius useth it in a contrary sense, viz. to submit to the conqueror, and take patiently the bridle in one's mouth. Subiit leges et fræna momordit. Though I be bitten, I am not all eaten. What a bishop's wife! eat and drink in your gloves ? To wash a blackmoor white.

Æthiopem lavare, or dealbare, ouńkeov seu devkáiveLV. Labour in vain. Parallel whereto are many other Latin proverbs; as Laterem lavare, arenas

Jurado ha el baño de no hazer lo prieto blanco.-Span. You cannot say black is his eye, [or nail.]

That is, you can find no fault in him, charge him with no crime. Blind-man's holiday.

i. e. Twilight, almost quite dark. As the blind man shot the crow. He hath good blood in him, if he had but groats to it.

That is, good parentage, if he had but wealth. Groats are great oatmeal, of which good housewives are wont to make black puddings To come bluely off. He's true blue; he'll never stain.

Coventry had formerly the reputation for dying blues, insomuch that true blue came to be a proverb, to signify one that was always the same, ard like himself. To make a bolt or a shaft of a thing. There's a bone for you to pick.

Egli m' ha dato un osso du rodere Italo


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »