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

Hard fare to He has most

Hard fare makes hungry bellies.

Hard with hard never made any good wall. B. OF M. R.
Duro con duro non fa mai buon muro. Ital. Though I have seen, at Ariminum, in Italy, an ancient Roman bridge made of hewn stone, laid together without any mortar or cement.—R. Ray might have seen the same thing in many other places.

Hardwick Hall, / more in window than wall.
Higson’s MSS. Coll., 143. Hardwick Hall, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, was one of the mansions erected by the celebrated “Bess of Hardwick.” See the Builder, Sept. 23, 1865.

Hares may pull dead lions by the beard.
Nash’s Strange Newes, 1592, repr. Collier, 22; The Spanish Tragedy, by T. Kyd, licensed in 1592 (Hawkins, ii. 14); Randolph’s Jealous Lovers, 1632, ed. 1634, sign. H 2.

Harm watch, harm catch.
Taylor’s Wit and Mirth, 1629; Rowlands’ Knave of Spades, &c. [1612], repr. 105. In Cornwall they say, No harm watch, no harm catch.

Harrow hell and scum the devil.

Harry’s children of Leigh, never an one like another.

Harvest comes not every day, though it comes every year.

Harvest ears, thick of hearing. HE.

Haste and wisdom are things far different. HE.

Haste comes not alone. H.

Haste makes waste, and waste makes want, and want makes strife between the goodman and his wife.
The first part is in Heywood’s Works, 1562, chap. ii.; in Gascoigne’s Posies, 1575 (Works, by Hazlitt, i. 70), and in Camden’s Remaines, 1614, p. 306.

Haste trips up its own heels.

Hasty climbers have sudden falls.
Those that rise suddenly from a mean condition to a great estate or dignity, do often fall more suddenly, as I might instance in many court favourites: and there is reason for it, because such a speedy advancement is apt to beget pride, and consequently folly, in them, and envy in others, which must needs precipitate them. Sudden changes to extraordinary good or bad fortune, are apt to turn men’s brains. A cader va chi troppo alto sale. Ital. Nacen le álas a la hormiga, para que se pierda mas ayna. Span.—R.

Hasty gamesters oversee themselves.

Hasty glory goes out in a snuff.

Hasty love is soon hot and soon cold.
Marriage of Wit and Science, circa 1570.

Hasty people will never make good midwives.

Hatred is blind as well as love.

Have a horse of thine own, and thou mayst borrow another’s.

Have a place for everything, and have everything in its place.

Have among you, blind harpers. HE.
Title of a tract by Martin Parker, printed in 1641. It was evidently proverbial in some sense more than a century before. A sort of expression which, I suppose, may have originated in throwing money to be scrambled for among two or more of the blind harpers, who formerly abounded in all parts of the country. Blindness seems to have been almost a professional characteristic. The meaning of the sentence, at a later period, and in those passages of our dramatists and popular writers where it occurs, was apparently, Here’s for you! Look out for yourselves! But the older phrase appears to have been simply, Have with ye = our Get along with ye. See Rowley’s Search for Money, 1609, repr. 1840, p. 6, &c.

Have at the plum-tree!
Apparently an old and obsolete saying in reference to an amour with a woman, plum-tree importing either the womb or the quoniam, as Chaucer calls it.

  • Have at thee, Black Hartforth,
  • but have a care o’ Bonny Gilling.
  • See Halliwell’s Popular Rhymes, 1849, p. 196.

    Have but few friends, though much acquaintance.

    Have not thy cloak to make when it begins to rain.

    He a soldier, and know not onion-seed from gunpowder!

    He answers with monosyllables, as Tarlton did one who out-ate him at an ordinary.
    This jest does not seem to be in Tarlton’s Jests, 1638; it was perhaps derived from some earlier and lost impression, which contained matter not in those now extant, or from oral tradition.

    He bears misery best that hides it most.

    He bears poverty very ill who is ashamed of it.

    He beats about the bush.

    He becomes it as well as a cow doth a cart-saddle. CL.

    He begins to die that quits his desires. H.

    He begs a blessing of a wooden god.

    He begs at them that borrowed at him.

    He bellows like a bull, but is as weak as a bull-rush. CL.

    He bestows his gifts as broom doth honey. CL.
    Broom is so far from sweet, that it is very bitter.—R.

    He bides as fast as a cat bound to a saucer.

    He blushes like a black dog. CL.
    An allusion to this saying appears to be intended in The Three Ladies of London, 1584, Hazlitt’s Dodsley, vi. 293.

    He bought the fox-skin for threepence, and sold the tail for a shilling.

    He brings up a raven.
    Compare He hath brought, &c.

    He builds cages fit for oxen to keep birds in.

    He calls for a shoeing-horn to help on his gloves.

    He came in hosed and shod.
    He was born to a good estate. He came into the world os a bee into the hive; or into a house, or into a trade or employment.—R.

    He came safe from the East Indies and was drowned in the Thames. F.

    He can give little to his servant that licks his [own] knife. H.

    He can hold the cat to the sun.

    He can ill pipe that lacketh his upper lip. HE.
    In forno caldo non può crescer herba. Ital.—R.

    He can never be God’s martyr that is the devil’s servant.

    He can swim without bladders.

    He cannot be good that knows not why he is good.

    He cannot fare well, but he must cry roast meat. WALKER.

    He cannot hear on that ear.

    He cannot hold a horn in his mouth but blow it. WALKER.

    He cannot say B to a battledore.
    That is, I suppose, he cannot go so far as that letter in his hornbook. Humphrey King’s Halfpennyworth of Wit, 1613, dedic.

    He cannot say shoo to a goose. CL.
    Shoo reduplicated is the common expression for driving poultry before one, and the same might be applicable to geese. Skelton uses the phrase, To shoe the goose, in a different way; but possibly he may have had an eye to the other signification. Compare To cry bo, &c.

    He cannot speak well that cannot hold his tongue.

    He cannot tell where to turn his nose.

  • “The prouerbe is true in you, I suppose—
  • He cannot tell where to turne his nose.”—
  • Ballad circa 1570 (Anc. Ballads and Broadsides, 1867, p. 211).
  • He capers like a fly in a tar-box.

    He cares not whose child cry, so his laugh.

    He carries fire in one hand and water in the other.
    Alterâ manu fert aquam, alterâ ignem. [Greek], &c. Plutarch. Il porte le feu et l’eau. Fr. Alterâ manu fert lapidem, alterâ panem ostentat. Plaut.—R.

    He carries too big a gun for me.

    He carries well to whom it weighs not. H.

    He catches the wind with a net.

    He changes a fly into an elephant.

    He chastises the dead.

    He claps the dish at a wrong man’s door.

    He claws it as Clayton clawed the pudding, when he ate bag and all. F.

    He cleaves the clouds.

    He commands enough that obeyeth a wise man.

    He complains wrongfully of the sea, that twice suffers shipwreck. H.

    He could drown you in a spoonful of water. Irish.

    He could eat my heart with garlic.
    That is, he hates me mortally.—R.

    He could e’en eat my heart without salt.

    He could have sung well before he broke his left shoulder with whistling.

    He covers me with his wings and bites me with his bill.

    He cries wine and sells vinegar.

    He cuts beyond the moon, that hath pissed on a nettle. C.

    He danceth well to whom Fortune pipeth. B. OF M. R.

    He dares not for his ears.

    He dares not show his head.

    He demands tribute of the dead.

    He deserves not sweet that will not taste of sour.

    He deserves the whetstone.

    He did me as much good as if he had fouled my pottage.

    He dies like a beast who has done no good while he lived.

    He digs his grave with his teeth.
    i.e., He kills himself with over-eating.

    He digs the well at the river.

    He doats on his midden, and thinks it the moon. Irish.
    The rubbish heap at the door.—HARDMAN.

    He does as the blind man when he casts his staff.

    He does Bounty an injury who shows her so much as to be laughed at.

    He does not know a B from a battledore.
    John Halle, in his Historiall Expostulation against the beastlye Abusers both of Chyrurgerie and Physyke (1565). speaks of one Maister Wynkfeld, who was apprehended at Maidstone. He says, “This beastlye beguyler” had “no learnyng in the world, nor could read Englishe, and as I suppose, knew not a letter, or a b from a bateldore.” It has been suggested to me that this saying may have had its rise in our early illustrated Primers, where B stood for a Battledore, like A for Apple-Pie, &c.; but I think this rather questionable, as no children’s books of early date appear to have been found constructed on this principle.

    He does not know a B from a bull’s foot.

    He does not know A from a gable. E. Anglia.

    He does not know a hawk from a hernshaw. SHAKESPEARE.
    Hamlet, 1604, ii. 2. Hernshaw, corrupted from Heronshaw, which is corrupted from Fr. heronçeau. The forms heron-sew and hern-sew are also met with; but it seems to be merely a question of pronunciation. We evidently get the word ready-compounded from the French.

    He does well, but none knows [it] but himself. CL.

    He doth a good turn that delivers his house from a fool and a drunkard. W.

    He doth much that doth a thing well.

    He doth sail into Cornwall without a bark.
    This is an Italian proverb, where it passes for a description (or derision rather) of such a man as is wronged by his wife’s disloyalty. The wit of consists in the allusion to the word Horn.—R.

    He drank till he gave up his halfpenny.
    i.e., vomited.

    He draws water with a sieve.

    He drives a subtle trade.
    A play on shuttle is probably intended.

    He dwells far from neighbours who is fain to praise himself.
    Or hath ill neighbours. “Proprio laus sordet in ore. Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”—R.

    He eats in plate, but will die in irons.

    He fans with a feather.

    He fasts enough that has a bad meal.

    He fasts enough whose wife scolds all dinner-time.

    He feeds like a boar in a frank.

    He feeds like a freeholder of Macclesfield who hath neither corn nor hay at Michaelmas.
    Maxfield is a market-town and borough of good account in this county [Cheshire], where they drive a great trade of making and selling buttons. When this came to be a proverb, it should seem the inhabitants were poorer, or worse husbandmen, than now they are.—R.

    He fights well that fleeth well, quoth Hendyng.
    P. of H. (Reliq. Antiq., i. 111).

    He findeth that surely bindeth.
    Bale’s Kynge Johan, circa 1540, ed. Collier, p. 74.

    He fisheth something that catcheth one. W.

    He frets like gumm’d taffety.

    He gaineth enough whom fortune loseth. B. OF M. R.

    He gave him a thing of nothing to hang upon his sleeve.

    He gets by that, as Dickons did by his distress. CL.

    He getteth a great deal of credit who payeth but a small debt.

    He gives one knock on the iron and two on the anvil.

    He gives straw to his dog and bones to his ass.

    He giveth twice / that gives in a trice.
    That is, of course, the Latin, Bis dat qui cito dat. The Italians say:

  • Dono molto aspettato,
  • E venduto, non donate—R.
  • He goes a great voyage that goes to the bottom of the sea.

    He goes down the wind.
    Pepys’ Diary, January 25, 1662–3.

    He goes far that never turns.
    Heywood’s Second Part of Q. Elizabeth’s Troubles, 1606, repr. 148. “As Stephen the foole of Huntington was wont to saye, Time teacheth experience, far he goes that never returnes, and very simple is he that dayly swalloweth flies, and will not learn to keep hys lippes together.”—Account of the Quarrel between Arthur Hall and M. Mallerie (1575–6). repr. from ed. 1580, in Misc. Antiq. Anglic., 1816. The more correct form might seem to be, not turns, but returns; for compare the Latin, Longè vadit, qui nunquam redit.

    He goes not out of his way that goes to a good inn. H.

    He goes on his last legs.

    He got a knock in the cradle.

    He got out of the muxy, / and fell into the pucksy.
    i.e., He got out of the dunghill, and fell into the slough.

    He grants enough that says nothing. W.

    He grows like a cow’s tail. WALKER (1672).

    He grows warm in harness. W.
    Said of an angry man (thus in phrase) showing his passion too sudden.—W.

  • He guides the honey ill,
  • that may not lick his fill. W.
  • He had a finger in the pie when he burnt his nail off.

    He had as good eat his nails.

    He had better put his horns in his pocket than blow them.
    Referring to a cuckold.

    He had enough to keep the wolf from the door.

    He had need rise betimes who would please everybody.

    He has a bee in his head.
    Notes and Queries, 1st S., iv. 308. The Scots say, in his bonnet. It is said of one who has a project in his thoughts, or who is fanciful. To be full of bees, is to be drunk, and is also Scotish.
    “Whoso hath such bees as your maister in hys head.”—Ralph Roister Doister. The saying is in Damon and Pithias, 1571, Hazlitt’s Dodsley, iii. ibid. iv.

    He has a brazen face.

    He has a fair forehead to graff on.

    He has a fox in his tail.
    i.e., He is drunk, or foxed, as the common expression was. “They kindly thanked Miles for his song, and so sent him home with a Foxe in his Tayle.”—Famous Historie of Fryer Bacon, 1627.

    He has a good estate, but that the right owner keeps it from him.

    He has a great fancy to marry that goes to the devil for a wife.

    He has a hole under his nose that all his money runs into.

    He has a mouth for every matter.

    He has a saddle for every horse.

    He has a worm in his brain.

    He has an eye behind him. WALKER (1672).
    In occipito quoque oculos habet. Plaut.—W.

    He has an ill look among lambs.

    He has as many tricks as a dancing bear.

    He has as many tricks as a lawyer.

    He has been out a hawking for butterflies.

    He has been seeking the placket.

    He has been sworn at Highgate.

  • It’s a custom at Highgate, that all who go through,
  • Must be sworn on the horns, sir, and so, sir, must you;
  • Bring the horns, shut the door—now, sir, off with your hat;
  • And when you again come, pray don’t forget that.
  • This rhyme refers to the ludicrous ceremony which a traveller describes as still prevalent in 1752. See my edition of A Journey through England in 1752 (1869), p. 81, and Note; and Hone’s Every-Day Book, ii. 73.
    Lysons (Environs of London, 1st edit., iii. 78) observes: “The custom of imposing a burlesque nugatory oath upon all strangers, upon their first visit to Highgate, is well known; how or when it originated, I have not been able to learn. A pair of horns, upon which the oath is administered, is kept in every inn, but is now seldom produced; for the custom, I am informed, has been for some years on the decline [1795].” He adds a note explaining the nature of the oath—“Not to eat brown bread when you can get white, unless you like the other better; not to kiss the maid when you can kiss her mistress, unless you like the other better, &c.”

    He has brought a brush.
    i.e., run away.—N. and Q.

    He has brought his pack to a foot-speed.

    He has but a short Lent that must pay money at Easter.

    He has but sorry food that feeds upon the faults of others.

    He has cried himself diver.

    He has deserved a cushion.
    i.e., he has gotten a boy.—R.

    He has eaten many a Christmas-pie. CL.

    He has eaten sparrow-dumpling. Cornwall.
    Said of one who is peevish and quarrelsome.

    He has eaten up the pot and asks for the pipkin.

    He has feathered his nest: he may flee when he likes.

    He has found a last for his shoe.

    He has given him leg-bail.

    He has given him the bag to hold.
    i.e., decamped.—R.

    He has gone over Assfordy bridge backwards. Leicestershire.
    Spoken of one that is past learning.—R.

    He has gone to Jericho.
    Jericho, near Chelmsford, in Essex, a manor and palace once belonging to Henry VIII., is the locality here intended, according to some; but I confess that I incline rather to the more classic Land of Jericho, a much more distant journey, and involving a more complete answer to any one inquiring after another. A portion of Durham Cathedral is analogously christened Galilee. Jericho was a nickname for Blackmore Priory, a member of the Manor of Fingreth, Mr. Edward Peacock, citing the Athenæum for Nov. 14, 1874, observes:
    “The following early use of the expression ‘Go to Jericho’ has, we believe, never been hitherto noticed:—

  • ‘If the Upper House, and the Lower House
  • Were in a ship together,
  • And all the base Committees, they were in another;
  • And both the ships were botomlesse,
  • And sayling on the Mayne;
  • Let them all goe to Jericho,
  • And n’ere be seen againe.’
  • These verses occur in the Mercurius Aulicus for March 23–30, 1648, the well-known Royalist paper of the time.”

    He has good blood in him, but wants 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.—R. But perhaps there is a double entendre, groats also standing for money.

    He has got a dish.

    He has got a piece of bread and cheese in his head.

    He has got his jag. E. Anglia.
    As much drink as he can carry.—FORBY.

    He has got the fiddle, but not the stick.
    i.e., the books, but not the learning to make use of them, or the like.—R.

    He has gotten the whip-hand o’ wind.

    He has great need of a wife that marries mamma’s darling.

    He has guts in his brains.
    The anfractus of the brain, looked upon when the dura mater is taken off, do much resemble guts.—R. Aver il cervel sopra la beretta. To have his brains on the outside of his cap. Ital.

    He has laid a stone at my door. E. Anglia.
    i.e., he has cut me.

    He has Lathom and Knowsley.
    Notes and Queries, 2nd S., v. 211. Said of a person who has more than enough.

    He has lined his cap well for the rain.
    New Custome, 1573, act iii. sc. 1. He has taken good precautions against any contingencies.

    He has made a hole in his manners.

    He has made a younger brother of him.

    He has made many a white hedge black [with] stolen linen. CL.

    He has more business than English ovens at Christmas. Ital.

    He has more hair than wit.
    See Heywood’s Challenge for Beauty, 1636, Dilke’s O. P., vi. 347.

    He has more items than a dancing bear. S. Devon.
    Items = fancies or crotchets.

    He has more wit in his head than Samson had in both his shoulders.

    He has most share in the wedding that lies with the bride.