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W.C. Hazlitt, comp. English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases. 1907.

God bless to Happy men

God bless the Duke of Argyll!
Said of the Duke, who set up posts for his cattle to rub themselves against, but which were also found useful by the Highlanders afflicted with the itch.

God comes to see without a bell. HE.

God cometh with leaden feet, but striketh with iron hands.

God defend me from the still water, and I’ll keep myself from the rough.

God deliver me from a man of one book.

God deprives him of bread who likes not his drink.

God hath done his part.
Harman’s Caveat for Comen Cursetors, 1567.

God hath often a great share in a little house.

God heals, and the physician hath the thanks. H.

God help the fool, quoth Pedley.
This Pedley was a natural fool himself, and yet had usually this expression in his mouth. Indeed, none are more ready to pity the folly of others, than those who have but a small measure of wit themselves.—R.

God help the rich: the poor can beg.

God helps them that help themselves.
Poor Richard for 1733, quoted in Arber’s Garner, vi. 579.

God is a good man.
Quoted, apparently as a proverbial saying, in Wever’s Lusty Juventus, (circa 1550), Hazlitt’s Dodsley, ii. 73, and by Shakespeare in Much Ado about Nothing, 1600, where the expression is put into the mouth of Dogberry. The passage in Lusty Juventus runs:—

  • “Hypocrisy.Tush, what he will say, I know right well,
  • He will say that God is a good man.
  • He can make him no better, and say the best he can.”
  • There is a proverb in German in the same terms, which is understood to convey that God does not concern himself with what goes on, but lets matters take their course; and perhaps our saying may bear a similar interpretation. Comp. the Editor’s volume: “Man considered in Relation to God and a Church,” 1905.

    God is always at leisure to do good to those that ask it.

    God is at the end when we think he’s furthest off it. H.

    God is in the ambry [aumery]. HE.

    God is where he was. HE.
    Spoken to encourage people in distress.—R.

    God keep me from the man that hath but one thing to mind.

    God knows well which are the best pilgrims.
    A quien Dios quiére, bien la casa la sabe. Span.—R.

    God made you an honester man than your father.

    God makes, and apparel shapes; but money makes the man.
    Pecunia vir. [Greek]. Tanti quantum habeas fis.—Horat. The Spaniards say, El dinero hace al hombre entero.—R.

    God never sendeth mouth but he sendeth meat. HE.
    This proverb is much in the mouth of poor people, who get children, but take no care to maintain them.—R. Some one suggested, that God unfortunately sent the children in one direction and the meat in another.

    God reaches us good things by our own hands.

    God send us of our own, when rich men go to dinner. CL.

    God send you joy, for sorrow will come fast enough. CL.

    God send you more wit, and me more money.

    God sendeth cold after clothes. HE.
    After clothes, i.e., according to the people’s clothes. Dieu donne le froid selon le drap. Fr.—R.

    God sendeth fortune to fools. HE.
    The Tragedie of Solyman and Perseda, 1599, ap. Hawkins, ii. 236.

    God sends corn, and the devil mars the sack.

    God sends good luck, and God sends bad. CL.

    God sends meat, and the Devil sends cooks.
    B. Rich’s New Description of Ireland, 1610, cl. 7.

    God sends the shrewd cow short horns. H.
    Much Ado about Nothing, 1600 (differently).

    God sent meat and the devil sent cooks.
    Lingua, 1607, v. 7; Taylor’s Works, 1630, ii. 85.

    God stays long, but strikes at last.

    God strikes not with both hands, for to the sea he made havens, and to rivers fords. H.

    Godalming rabbits.
    The deception practised by a Mrs. Tofts, who pretended to be delivered of rabbits, rendered the inhabitants subject to this term of reproach. There is another appellation equally obnoxious to the townspeople, viz., Godalmin cats.—R.

    Godamercy horse! HE.
    According to the compiler of Tarlton’s Jests, first published probably soon after that celebrated comedian’s death in the autumn of 1588, this saying arose from an adventure between Tarlton and Banks, the proprietor of the celebrated performing horse Marocco. See Old English Jest Books, ii. 217., and Heywood’s Royal King and Loyal Subject, 1637, repr. 60. The expression, Godamercy, seems to have become so common, as to be a byeword. See Ellis’s Orig. Letters, 1st S., iii. 230. In Roxburghe Ballads, ed. Collier, p. 29, we have Gramercy horse! which appears to be of equivalent import. The following quotation seems to shew that the phrase was employed at the time as a mere exclamation without any special meaning:

  • “Well, I will trie a friend (said he): it was his chest he ment.
  • So fetch’d the money presently: tother sees angels shine;
  • Now Godamercy horse! quoth he: thy credit’s more than mine.”
  • Hvmors Looking Glasse, by S. Rowlands, 1608, repr. 1869, p. 8.
  • The looseness of sense with which this phrase was used is farther illustrated by a passage in Bastard’s Chrestoleros, 1598, p. 44.
  • “But our Elisa liues, and keepes her crowne,
  • Godamercy Pope, for he would pull her downe.”
  • Godfathers oft give their blessing in a clout. DS.
    See Faiths and Folklore, 1905, 114, 278.

    God’s grace and Pilling Moss are boundless. Lanc.
    Comp. Once a wood, etc., infra.

    God’s help is nearer than the fair even.

    God’s lambs will play. E. Anglia.
    Forty’s Vocab., 1830, p. 432.

    God’s mill grinds slow, but sure. H.
    In Notes and Queries, there was a correspondence relative to this saying, illustrating its antiquity and wide diffusion. See the No. for April 27, 1872.

    Goes much water by the mill the miller knows not. C.

    Gold goes in at any gate except heaven’s.
    Philip, Alexander’s father, was reported to say, that he did not doubt to take any castle or citadel, let the ascent be never so steep and difficult, if he could but drive up an ass laden with gold to the gate. Monnoye fait tout. Fr.—R.

    Golden dreams make men wake hungry.

    Gone is the goose that the great egg did lay.

    Good ale is meat, and drink, and cloth.
    Walker’s Parœm., 1672, p. 25.

    Good and quickly seldom meet. H.

    Good at a distance is better than evil at hand.

    Good bargains are pickpockets.

    Good beginning maketh good ending, quoth Hendyng.
    Reliq. Antiq., i. 109. See Handb. of E. E. Lit., art. Solomon.

    Good blood makes poor pudding without groats or suet.
    [Greek]. Nobility is nothing but ancient riches: and money is the idol the world adores.—R.

    Good cheap yields ill, quoth Hendyng.

    Good clothes open all doors.

    Good cob, a good hat, and shoes, and heart, last for ever. Devonshire.
    Cob is the concrete of sand and pebbles, of which the Devonshire cottages are built.

    Good counsel never comes too late.
    For, if good, it must suit the time when it is given.—R.

    Good enough is never ought.

    Good even, good Robin Hood.
    Skelton’s Why come ye not to Court (circa 1520). Works by Dyce, ii. 32. Used of one who pays an involuntary civility.

    Good finds good. H.

    Good following the way where the old fox goes. CL.

    Good for the liver may be bad for the spleen.

    Good goose, don’t bite.

    Good health / is above wealth.

    Good horses can’t be of a bad colour.

    Good husbandry is good divinity.

    Good is good, but better carrieth it. H.

    Good is the mora (delay) that makes all sure [-a.] H.

    Good is to be sought out, and evil attended. H.

    Good jests bite like lambs, not like dogs.

    Good kail is half a meal.

    Good land: evil way. H.

    Good language cures great sores.

    Good laws are the Philosopher’s stone. Draxe.

    Good laws proceed from bad manners.

    Good looks are good cheap. CL.

    Good luck comes by cuffing.
    A punadas entran las buenas hadas. i.e., A man must exert himself, and take pains to succeed.—R.

    Good luck for a grey horse. Leeds.
    See Dial. of Leeds, 1862, p. 316.

    Good luck lies in odd numbers.
    Merry Wives of Windsor, 1602.

    Good luck reaches farther than long arms.

    Good manners to except my Lord Mayor of London.
    This is a corrective of such whose expressions are of the largest size, and too general in their extent.—R.

    Good meat men may pick from a goose’s eye.
    Taylor’s Goose, 1621.

    Good men are a public good.

    Good mother, child good.
    Ratis Raving, Book iii. line 253.

    Good name is gold-worth.
    How the Goode Wif, &c., in Hazlitt’s Pop. Poetry, i.

    Good neighbours and true friends are two things.

    Good news may be told at any time, but ill in the morning. H.

    Good night, Nicholas!
    See Ellis’s Orig. Letters, 2nd S.. iv. 121. A later version is: “Good night, Nicholas; the moon’s in bed.” The saying may have some connection with children going to bed: St. Nicholas was the children’s patron saint.

    Good night, Tom-a-lin!
    “But if the kyng once frowne on him, then good night, Tomaline.” This is introduced into Damon and Pithias, 1571, Hazlitt’s Dodsley, iv, in the sense of “it’s all over with you then.”

    Good October, a strong blast, / to blow hog acorn and mast.
    Acorn and mast or akermast time is from September to November, during which the country people have free pannage for their hogs in many places.

  • Good reasons said, and evil understood,
  • are roses thrown to hogs, and not so good. W.
  • Good riding at two anchors, men have told,
  • for if one fail, the other may hold. HE.
  • Duabus anchoris fultus. [Greek].—Aristid. [Greek].—Pindar. ’Tis good in a stormy or winter night to have two anchors to cast out of a ship.—R.

    Good service is a great enchantment. H.

    Good swimmers at length are drowned. H.

    Good take heed / doth surely speed.

    Good that comes too late is good as nothing.

    Good, though long stayed for, is good.

    Good to begin well, better to end well.

    Good to fetch a sick man sorrow and a dead man woe. Cheshire.

    Good to send on a dead body’s errand.
    Tu saresti ben da maudar per la morte. Ital.—R.

    Good ware makes quick markets.

    Good ware need seek no chapman.

    Good ware will off.
    Walker’s Parœm., 1672, p. 16. Compare Pleasing ware. &c. “Mercantia ohe piace è mezza venduta. Ital. Proba merx facilè emptorem reperit. Plaut. Pæn.”—R.

    Good ware will sell itself.

    Good weight and measure / is heaven’s treasure.

    Good wine needs no bush.
    A bon vin il ne faut pas d’enseigne.—Cotgrave, 1611. A bon bere il ne faut pas de bouchon. Fr. “Al buon vino non bisogna frasca. Ital. Vino vendibili hederâ suspensâ nihil est opus. El vino bueno no ha menester pregonero. Span.—R. As you like it, Epilogue. Said to be a saying in use among the ancients. See Michel and Fournier, Les Hotelleries, 1859. “The good wyne needeth none Iuye garland.”—Gascoigne’s Glasse of Governement, 1575 (Poems, by Hazlitt, ii. 9). Braithwaite refers to this:

  • “Good wine no Bush it needs, as I suppose,
  • Let Bacchus Bush bee Barnabees rich Nose.
  • No Bush, no Garland needs of Cypresse greene,
  • Barnabees Nose may for a Bush be seene!”
  • Barnabæ Itinerarium, 1638, sign. F 3.
  • The association of the bush with wine is seen in the bush house. A bush is hung out at the top of mines as an indication that they are at work. In the City Press for January, 1889, appeared the following, which must be taken for what it is worth: “A new explanation of the proverb ‘Good wine needs no bush’ is proposed by Mr. R. R. Sharpe, D.C.L., record clerk in the Town Clerk’s office, London. Bush appears to have been a term for a spray of rosemary or other herb which was laid in the bottom of a drinking cup by publicans, ‘either to give a particular flavour to the beverage, or, as was probably more often the case, in order to disguise the inferior quality of the wine.’ He cites a confession by Alice de Caustone to Mayor Adam de Bury, in the reign of Edward III., in which she acknowledges that she was in the habit of filling the bottom of her quart measure with one and a half inches of picche and laying thereon rosemary in similitudinem arboris, ‘so as to look like a bush in the sight of the common people.’”

    Good wits jump.

    Good words and ill deeds deceive wise and fools. DS.

    Good words and no deeds / are rushes and reeds.

    Good words cost no more than bad.

    Good words cost nought. C.
    Palavras na custad dinheiro. Port.—R.

    Good words fill not a sack.
    The Italians say, Belle parole non pascon i gatti.—R.

    Good words quench more than a bucket of water. H.

    Good works will never save you, but you cannot be saved without them.

    Goods are theirs that enjoy them. H.

  • Gooid brade, botter and sheese,
  • is gooid Halifax, and gooid Frieze.
  • Mr. Higson’s MSS. Coll. for Droylsden, &c.

    Goose and gander and gosling are three sounds, but one thing.

    Goslings lead the geese to water.

    Gossiping and lying go together.

    Gossips are frogs: they drink and talk. H.
    Another version is: Gossips and frogs drink and talk.

    Grace will last, / favour will blast.

    Grain by grain the hen fills her belly.

    Grained like a Wellcombe woman.
    Wellcombe is about three miles from Morwenstow, in Cornwall. The women there are remarkably dark. See Gould’s Life of Hawker, p. 140.

    Gramercy, Monsieur le Harrault.
    This seems to have been current in England in the time of Queen Elizabeth in a proverbial sense. I find it in the English Courtier and the Countrey Gentleman, 1586, sign. G:—“The same guise their good wiues vse in the Countrey: for a ritch Lawyers wife, or the wife of a lustye younge Francklin, that is lately become a Gentlewoman, (Gramercé, Monser le Harrault) will make no ceremony I warrant you to sit downe and take place before any poore Gentlewoman.” The meaning evidently is, that the lady in either case had become so without any application to Heralds’ College. There is, I think, no reference to this saying in the second and enlarged edition of Livre des Proverbes Français, par M. Le Roux de Lincy, 1859.

    Grandfather’s servants are never good.

    Grantham gruel, nine grits and a gallon of water.
    See N. and Q., 3rd S., ii. 233.

    Grass grows not upon the highway.

    Grass never grows / when the wind blows. D.

  • Gray’s Inn for walks, Lincoln’s Inn for a wall,
  • the Inner Temple for a garden, and the Middle for a hall.
  • Grease a fat sow on the tail.

    Great A and a bull’s foot.
    See Lower’s Curiosities of Heraldry, 1845, p. 98. Apparently allusive to dissimilar things compared.

    Great almsgiving / lessens no man’s living. H.

    Great and good are seldom the same.

    Great barkers are no biters. C.
    This is applicable to those who, in their speeches or actions, multiply what is superfluous, or at best less necessary, either wholly omitting or less regarding, the essentials thereof.—R.

    Great birth is a very poor dish at table.

    Great boast / and small roast. HE.
    “Grands vanteurs petits faiseurs. Fr. [Greek]. Briareus esse apparet cùm sit lepus. And [Greek]. Grandes atoardas, tudo nada. Port.”—R.

    Great bodies move slowly.

    Great braggers little doers.
    Walker’s Parœm., 1672, p. 35. “Del dicho al hecho hay gran trecho. Span.”—R.

    Great businesses turn on a little pin. H.

    Great cry and little wool, as the fellow said when he shore his hogs. WALKER (1672).
    The first part is in Butler’s Hudibras, 1663. Another version is: Great cry and little wool, quoth the devil when he sheared his hogs. “We have here a new play of humors in very great request, and I was drawn alonge to it by the common applause, but my opinion of it is (as the fellow saide of the shearing of the hogges) that there was a great crie for so litle wolle.”—John Chamberlain to Dudley Carleton, June 12, 1597 (J. C.’s Letters, Camd. Soc., p. 4). St. Andrew is the patron saint of the pig, and one of the London parishes is St. Andrew Shear-Hog. But in some places Hog stands for a sheep of a certain age. “Assai romor è poco lana. Ital. Asinum tondes. Parturiunt montes, &c. Chico baque, y gran caida. Span.”—R.

    Great doings at Gregory’s; heat the oven twice for a custard. F.

    Great engines turn on small pivots.

    Great gain makes work easy.

    Great gifts are for great men.

    Great head and small neck / is the beginning of a geck. W.

    Great hopes make great men.

    Great marks are soonest hit.

    Great men’s faults are never small. CL.

    Great pain and little gain will make a man soon weary. CL.

    Great ships require deep waters.

    Great spenders / are bad lenders.

    Great strokes make not sweet music. H.

    Great talkers are like leaky pitchers, everything runs out of them.

    Great trees keep down the little ones.

    Great vices, as well as great virtues, make men famous.

    Great weights may hang on small wires.
    Tutte le grande facende si fanno di poco cosa. Ital.—R.

    Greedy are the godless, quoth Hendyng.
    P. of H. (Reliq. Antiq., i. 111).

    Green-goose fair.
    In Wily Beguiled, 1606, “to go to Greengoose fair” seems to be used as a phrase in the sense of a man leaving his wife in search of another and younger mistress. There is a small tract called “The Three Merry Wives of Green-goose Fair,” 1694.

    Green wood makes a hot fire.

    Greenwich geese.
    i.e., Greenwich pensioners. See Brady’s Varieties of Literature, p. 53.

    Gregory’s plum-tree.
    i.e., the gallows. “I make no question,” says Corporal Dammee, “but if thou hadst thy desert, thou hadst been nooz’d many yeares agoe at Gregories Plumtree.”—The Brothers of the Blade, 1641, p. 2.

    Grey and green make the worse medley.
    Turpe senex miles, turpe senilis amor. Ovid. An old letcher is compared to an onion or leek, which hath a white head but a green tail.—R.

    Grey hairs are death’s blossoms.

    Grief pent up will burst the heart.

    Grind with every wind.

    Guess twice and guess worse.
    Gascoigne’s Works, by Hazlitt, ii. 42.

    Guests that come by daylight are best received.
    Huésped con sol ha honor. Span.—R.

    Guilt is always jealous.

    Gup, quean, gup!
    Gestys of the Widow Edyth, 1525 (Old Engl. Jest-Books, iii. 36). It appears to be employed proverbially. Gup = Go up; as Cup = Come up.

    Hab or nab [or hob nob]. HE.

    Hackney mistress, hackney maid. WALKER.
    [Greek]. Cic. Epist. Att. 5. Qualis hera tales pedissequæ. [Greek]. Catulæ dominam imitantur. Videas autem (inquit Erasmus) et Melitæas, opulentarum mulierum delicias, fastum, lasciviam totamque ferè morum imnginem reddere. Qual es la cabra, tal es la hija que la mama. Span. De mauvais œuf.—R.

    Had I fish, is good without mustard. CL.

  • Had I revenged every wrong,
  • I had not worn my skirts so long.
  • Had I wist was a fool. CL.
    Breton’s Crossing of Proverbs, 1616.

    Had you the world on your chessboard, you could not fit all to your mind. H.

    Haggard hawks mislike an empty hand.
    Gascoigne’s Posies, 1575.

    Hail / brings frost in the tail.

    Hail, fellow, well-met!
    Rowlands’ Knave of Harts, 1612. “Where diddest thou learne that being forbidden to be bold, thou shouldest growe impudent? or being suffered to be familiar thou shouldest waxe haile fellowe?”—Lyly’s Euph. and his Engl., 1580, repr. 1868, p. 371. It is also cited in Nash’s Address before Greene’s Menaphon, 1589, et alibi.

    Half a loaf is better than no bread. HE.
    Appius and Virginia, 1575, Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xii. 375.

    Half an acre is good land.
    A half-acre seems to have been formerly understood in the sense of the average man’s accommodation for a cow, attached to his cottage. See Gammer Gurton’s Needle, 1575, i. 2. It was the prototype of our Three acres and a cow.

    Half an hour’s hanging hinders five miles’ riding.

    Half the world knows not how the other half lies. H.

    Half-warned, half-armed. HE.

    Half-witted folks speak much and say little.

    Hampshire hog [i.e., man].
    See the story in “Jests, New and Old.”

  • “Now to the sign of Fish let’s jog,
  • There to find out a Hampshire Hog,
  • A Man whom none can lay a fault on,
  • The pink of courtesie at Alton.”
  • Vade Mecum for Malt-worms (1720), part i. p. 50. The Fish here alluded to was a tavern or beer-shop with that sign in Strand Lane. The Hampshire Hog is still known as a tavern sign. There is a house of that name at Hammersmith.

  • Hampshire hog: / Berkshire dog:
  • Yorkshire bite: / London white.
  • Higson’s MSS. Coll., No. 123.

  • Hampshire ground requires every day in the week a shower of rain,
  • and on Sunday twain.
  • Hand and glove.
    In a metrical epistle to his correspondent Dibdin, July 14, 1826, C. Lamb says:

  • “Pray seek ’em out and give my love to ’em,
  • You’ll find you’ll soon be hand and glove to ’em.”
  • Hand over head, as men took the covenant.

    Handle nothing by candlelight, for by a candle a goat is like a gentlewoman. W.

    Handsome is that handsome does.

  • “Loke who that is most vertuous alway,
  • Privé and pert, and most eutendeth ay
  • To do the gentil deeds that he can,
  • Take him for the grettest gentil man.”—
  • Chaucer, Wife of Bath’s Tale, 257–60.
  • Hang a dog on a crab tree, and he will never love verjuice.
    This is a ludicrous and nugatory saying; for a dog once hanged is past loving or hating. But generally men and beasts shun those things by or for which they have smarted. [Greek]. Amphis in Ampelurgo spud Stobæum.

  • Et mea cymba semel vastâ percussa procellâ
  • Illum quo læsa est, horret adire locum. Ovid.—R.
  • Hang him that hath no shifts. CL.

    Hang him that hath no shift, and him that hath one too many.

    Hang not all your bells upon one horse.

    Hang yourself for a pastime.

    Hanged hay never des [fattens] cattle. Cheshire.

    Hanging and wiving go by destiny.

  • “Truely some men there be,
  • That liue alway in great honour,
  • And say: it gooeth by destenye
  • To hang or wed: bothe haue but one houre.”
  • Schole-house of Women, 1541 (Hazlitt’s Pop. Poetry, iv. 116). T. Heywood, in his If You Know Not Me, &c., 1605, says: “Every one to his fortune, as men go to hanging.” It is the same as the Scotish adage, “Hanging gangs by hap;” but that polite nation has agreed to omit the other portion perhaps, as implying an incivility to the fair sex. The saying is found in Tom Tyler and his Wife, 1661, and elsewhere.

    Hangman’s wages,
    Thirteenpence halfpenny. Has this any connection with the minimum amount for which a man could be hanged by Halifax law? Comp. a paper in Pegg’s Curialia, 1818, p. 331, and see Hazlitt’s Faiths and Folklore, 1905, in v.

    Hap and halfpenny goods enough. CL.
    Ventura te dé Dios hijo, que saber poco te basta. Span. i.e., Good luck is enough, though a man hath not a penny left him. Fortune often raises a man more than merit.—R.

    Hap good, hap ill.
    Drayton’s Muses Elizium, 1630, p. 24. i.e., whatever betides, under any circumstances.

    Happy as a king.
    History of Guy Earl of Warwick, 1661.

    Miss Baker (Northampt. Gloss., 1854, p. 308) gives “Happy-by-lucky” as another form of this expression. It seems, in either shape, to be a somewhat loose and ill-conceived phrase for at a venture or at all hazards, as Jamieson has it.
    “The Red coats cried, ‘Shall we fall on in order, or happy-go-lucky?’”—Relation of Sir T. Morgan’s Progress in France and Flanders, &c. (1658), 1699, apud Arber’s English Garner, iv. 641.

    Happy is he that is happy in his children.

    Happy is he that serveth the happy.

    Happy is he who hath sown his wild oats betimes.

    Happy is he whose friends were born before him.
    Who hath Rem non labore parandam sed relictam.—R.

    Happy is that wooing / that is not long a-doing.

    Happy is the bride the sun shines on, and the corpse the rain rains on.
    If it should happen to rain while the corpse is carried to church, it is reckoned to bode well to the deceased, whose bier is wet with the dew of heaven.—Pennant’s MSS.

  • While that others do divine,
  • Blest is the bride on whom the sun doth shine.
  • Herrick’s Hesp., p. 152. D.
  • Happy is the child whose father goeth to the devil.
    Latimer’s Third Sermon before Edward VI., 1549, repr. Arber, 97. Allusively to the accumulation of a fortune by some unscrupulous means.

    Happy man, happy cavel.

    Happy man, happy dole. HE.
    Hazlitt’s Dodsley, iv. 21. In Grim the Collier of Croydon, 1662, but written before 1600, the phrase is Happy man be his dole, and the same form occurs in Shakespeare’s Henry IV., Part 1, ii. 3. Comp. Davis, Suppl. Gloss., 1881, p. 272, and Blessed is he, &c. supra.

    Happy men shall have many friends.