W.C. Hazlitt, comp. English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases. 1907.
I may see to If the wise
I may see him need, / but I’ll not see him bleed.
“Parents will usually say this of prodigal or undutiful children; meaning, I will be content to see them suffer a little hardship, but not any great misery or calamity.”—R. I owe to Mr. Raymond Vose the following note:—
“Sir Antho. Cope,—against the point of witnesses. Not to refuse every lewd fellow; for most of them can say more, than any other Man.”
“Sir Geo. Moore,—The Jury most fit to chuse. When any Man may offer himself, most dangerous, a Brother will see his Brother need, but not bleed, therefore Fear of great Partiality.”—Journals of the House of Commons, 5 Jac. i, Lunæ, 29
I must take the ford as I find it.
Gascoigne’s Works, by Hazlitt, i. 4.
I myself had been happy, if I had been unfortunate in time.
I ne’er liked a dry bargain.
I never asked you for wood to heat my own oven with.
I never desired you to stumble at the stone that lieth at my door.
I never fared worse than when I wished for my supper.
I now see which leg you are lame of.
I owe God a death.
I proud, and thou proud, who shall bear the ashes out?
Fuller (Gnomologia, 1732) has it differently: “I stout, and thou stout, who shall carry the dirt out?”
I say little, but I think more.
I scratch, where it itches not.
I sell nothing on trust till to-morrow.
I shall sit on his skirt.
I sucked not this out of my fingers’ ends.
I talk of chalk and you of cheese.
Dyke’s English Proverbs, 1709, p. 54. Io ti domando danari e tu mi rispondi coppe. Ital.—R.
I taught you to swim, and now you’d drown me.
I thank you for nothing.
Randolph’s Hey for Honesty, 1651, p. 7. This saying is well understood, and is still in use.
I think his face is made of a fiddle: every one that looks on him loves him.
I think this is a butcher’s horse, he carries a calf so well.
I thought I had given her rope enough, said Pedley, when he hanged his mare.
This Pedley was a natural fool, of whom go many stories.—R.
I thought I would give him one and lend him another.
i.e., I would be quit with him.—R.
I took her for a rose, but she breedeth a burr.
I took him for a worm, but he proved a serpent.
I trow not, quoth Dinnis.
See Mr. Thoms’ Introd. to Thomas of Reading (Early Prose Romances, 1828). This appears to refer to a case under the Halifax Gibbet Law, when the culprit escaped from the liberty by going a short distance, and when he was met and asked by some one, who did not know him, whether Dinnis was not to be executed that day, replied: “I trow not.”
I was by, quoth Pedley, when my eye was put on.
I was taken by a morsel, says the fish.
I will christen my own child first.
I will come when the cuckoo has pecked up the dirt. E. Anglia.
In the spring.
I will do my good will, as he said, that threshed in his cloak.
This was some Scotchman; for I have been told, that they are wont to do so: myself have seen them hold plough in their cloaks.—R.
I will give you a crown a piece for your lies, if you’ll let me have them all.
I will give you a shirt full of sore bones.
I will keep no more cats than will catch mice. Somerset.
I will lambertize you.
i.e., I will put you on the shelf, as Cromwell did General Lambert, when he removed him from his appointments, and pacified him with a pension of £2,000 a year.
I will make him dance without a pipe.
I’ll do him an injury, and he shall not know how.—R. This may be an allusion to the droll story of the Friar and Boy.
I will never keep a dog to bite me.
I will never stoop low to take up nothing.
I will not change a cottage in possession for a kingdom in reversion.
Some say, A little in one’s own pocket is better than much in another man’s purse.—R.
I will not dance to every fool’s pipe.
I will not keep a dog and bark myself.
I will not make my dishclout my tablecloth.
I will not play my ace of trumps yet.
I will not pull the thorn out of your foot, to put it into my own.
I will not want when I have and when I han’t too. Somerset.
I will pluck the torques with you.
This is its British dress. Pennant (Hist. of Whiteford and Holywell, 1796, p. 93) describes it as a common proverb indicating a hard struggle for victory, from the torque worn by the Welsh.
I will say the crow is white.
I will wash my hands, and wait upon you.
I will watch your water.
I wiped his nose on it.
I wot what I wot.
I would have the fruit, not the basket.
I would not have your cackling for your eggs.
I would not touch him with a pair of tongs.
I would not trust him, no, not with a bag of scorpions.
Idle folks have the least leisure.
Idle men are the devil’s playfellows.
Idle people take the most pains [or have the most labour].
Idleness and lust are sworn friends.
Idleness is the greatest prodigality in the world.
Idleness is the key of beggary.
Idleness turns the edge of wit.
If a cuckold come, he’ll take away the meat, if there be no salt on the table.
If a lie could have choked him, that would have done it.
If a louse miss its footing on his coat, ’twill be sure to break its neck.
If a man beats a bush in Essex, out jumps a calf.
If a man once fall, all will tread on him.
Dejectâ arbore quivis ligna colligit. Vulgus sequitur fortunam et odit damnatos.—Juven. When the tree is fallen, all go with their hatchet.—
If a poor man give thee ought, it is that thou shouldst give him something better.
If a wise man should never miscarry, the fool would burst.
If a word be worth one shekel, silence is worth two.
If all fools had babies, we should want fuel.
Si tous les fols portoient le marrotte, on ne scait de quel bois on s’echaufferoit. Fr.—R.
If all fools wore white caps, we should seem a flock of geese.
If all the world were ugly, deformity would be no monster.
If an ass goes a travelling, he’ll not come home a horse.
Comp. How much the fool, &c.
If any fool finds the cap fit him, let him wear it.
If any one say that one of thine ears is the ear of an ass, regard it not: if he say so of them both, procure thyself a bridle.
According to Mr. Carpenter’s Old Hebrew Proverbs, 1826, No. 3, this saying belongs to that language and literature.
If anything stay, let work stay.
If Belvoir hath a cap, / you churls of the Vale look to that.
That is, when the clouds hang over the towers of Bever Castle, it is a prognostic of much rain and moisture, to the much endamaging that fruitful vale lying in the three counties of Leicester, Lincoln, and Nottingham.—R.
If better were within, better would come out.
If ever I catch his cart overthrowing, I’ll give it one shove.
If every bird take back its own feathers, you’ll be naked.
If every man mend one, all shall be mended.
If folly were grief, every house would weep.
If fools should not fool it, they should lose their season.
If great men would have care of little ones, both would last long.
If he be a coward, he is a murderer.
Polimanteia, by W. Clarke, 1595.
If he were as long as he is lither, he might thatch a house without a ladder. Cheshire.
If his cap be made of wool.
In former times, when this proverb came first in use, men generally wore caps. Hats were a thing hardly known in England, much less hats made of rabbits’ or beavers’ fur. Capping was then a great trade, and several statutes made about it. So that, If his cap were made of wool, was as much as to say most certainly, As sure as the clothes on his back. Dr. Fuller.—R.
If I be hanged I’ll choose my gallows.
If I do, dog worry my uncle!
A phrase, according to Halliwell (Dict. v. Dog), used when any one is asked to do something disagreeable.
If I had given fourpence for that advice, I had bought it a groat too dear.
If I had had no plough, you had had no corn.
If I had not lifted up the stone, you had not found the jewel.
If I were to fall backwards I should break my nose.
If I were to fast for my life, I would eat a good breakfast in the morning.
If in January you sow oats, / it will bring golden groats.
If it serve me to wear, it may gain you to look to.
If it should rain porridge, he would want his dish.
If it were a bear, it would bite you.
If it were not for hope, heart would break.
Spes alunt exules. Spes servat afflictos. [Greek].
If it were not for the belly, the back might wear gold.
If it will not be spun, bring it not to the distaff.
If it won’t pudding, it’ll froize. East Anglia.
“If it won’t do for one thing, it will for another.”—Forby.
If London Bridge had fewer eyes, it would see better.
In allusion to the numerous and narrow openings for vessels.
If madness were pain, you’d hear outcries in every house.
If marriages are made in heaven, you had but few friends there.
If men become sheep the wolf will devour them.
If men had not slept, the tares had not been sown.
If money go before, all ways do lie open. M. W. of Windsor.
If my aunt had been a man, she’d have been my uncle.
Spoken in derision of those who make ridiculous surmises.—R.
If my shirt knew my design, I’d burn it.
If one, two, and three say you are an ass, put on the ears.
If pains be a pleasure to you, profit will follow.
If physic do not work, / prepare for the kirk.
If size-cinque will not, duce-ace cannot, then quatre-trey must.
i.e., The middle sort bear public burdens, taxes, &c., most.
If St. Paul be fair and clear, / then betides a happy year.
Notes and Queries, 3rd S., ix. 118. In Huntingdonshire, it appears to form an article of popular belief that a clear day on St. Paul’s festival betokens a fine spring. Mr. Denham (Prov. and Pop. Sayings, pp. 24, 25) has a more elaborate version.
The French say the same of the days of St. Medard and St. Gervais:
If strokes are good to give, they are good to receive.
If that you will France win, then with Scotland first begin.
In reference to the intimate relations formerly subsisting between Scotland and France, when the former was ruled by its own sovereigns.
If the ball does not stick to the wall, yet ’twill leave some mark.
If the bed could tell all it knows, it would put many to the blush.
If the brain sows not corn, it plants thistles.
If the cap fit, wear it.
If the channel’s too small, the water must break out.
If the counsel be good, no matter who gave it.
If the devil be a vicar, thou wilt be his clerk.
If the devil catch a man idle, he’ll set him at work.
If the dog bark, go in; if the bitch bark, go out.
If the end be well, then is all well.
See Douce’s Illustrations, 1807, i. 311.
If the frog and the mouse quarrel, the kite will see them agreed.
If the hen does not prate, she will not lay. East Anglia.
i.e., says Forby, “Scolding wives make the best housewives.”
If the lion’s skin cannot, the fox’s shall.
Si leonina pellis non satis est, assuenda vulpina. Coudre le peau de regnard à celle du lion. Fr. To attempt to compass that by craft which we cannot obtain or effect by force. Dolus an virtus quis in hoste requirat?—Virg.
If the master say the crow is white, the servant must not say ’tis black.
If the mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must go to the mountain.
If the niggard should once taste the sweetness of giving, he’d give all away.
If the old dog barks he gives counsel.
If the ox fall, whet your knife.
If the pills were pleasant, they would not want gilding.
If the sky fall the pots will be broken.
If the staff be crooked, the shadow cannot be straight.
If the walls were adamant, gold would take the town.
If the whole world does not enter, yet half of it will.
If the wind do blow aloft, / then of wars shall we hear oft.
If the wise erred not it would go hard with fools.