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

The wit of you to They keep

The wit of you, and the wool of a blue dog, will make a good medley.

The wolf and fox are both privateers.

The wolf doth something every week that keeps him from church on Sunday.

The wolf eateth often the sheep that have been sold. CL.

The wolf knows what the ill beast thinks.

The wolf must die in his own skin. H.

  • The women of Wem and a few musketeers
  • beat Lord Capel and all his cavaliers.
  • Higson’s MSS. Coll., No. 124.

    The wooden horse.
    i.e., the gallows. In A Pore Help (circa 1540), in Hazlitt’s Pop. Poetry, iii. 261, the expression is, “the wooden nagge.” The more modern phrase was, the three-legged mare.

    The wooing was a day after the wedding.

    The world is a ladder for some to go up and some down.

    The world is a long journey.

  • “Proverb.The world is a long journey.
  • Cross.Not so; the Sunne goes it every day.”
  • Breton’s Crossing of Proverbs, 1616.
  • The world is but a day’s walk.
    “For the sun goes about it in 24 houres.”—Gainsford’s Rich Cabinet, &c., 1616, fol. 160 verso.

    The world is too narrow for two fools a-quarrelling.

    The world is well amended with him.

    The world runs on wheels. HE.
    Title of a lost comedy by George Chapman, 1599, his receipt of £3 on account of which is (or was very lately) extant, and of a tract by Taylor the Water-poet, 1623.

    The world was never so dull, / as if one won’t, another will.

    The world would perish, were all men learned.

    The world’s busy man is the grand impertinent.

    The worse for the rider, / the better for the bider.

    The worse luck now the better another time.

    The worse the passage, the more welcome the port.

    The worst dog that is waggeth his tail. DS.

    The worst of law is, that one suit breeds twenty.

    The worst pig often gets the best pear.

    The worst proves true.
    See Digby’s Elvira, 1667 (Hazlitt’s Dodsley, xv. 9). Yet the sub-title of the drama is, The worst not always true.

    The worst store is a maid unbestowed.

    The worst wheel of a cart creaks most.

    The worth of a thing is best known by the want of it.
    Bien perdu bien connu; or, Chose perdue est lors connue. Fr.—R.

    The worth of a thing is what it will bring.

    The year doth nothing but open and shut. H.

    The young are not always with their bow bent.

    The young cock croweth as he the old heareth. HE.

    The younger brother hath the more wit.

    The younger brother is the ancienter gentleman.
    “The younger brother the better gentleman.”—Dyke’s English Proverbs, 1709, p. 131. This maxim, or whatever it be, may hold good in Borough-English.

    Then I’ll thatch Groby Pool with pancakes. Leicestershire.
    Said when that which is impossible is promised or undertaken.—R. Compare For his death there is, &c.

    Then the town-bull is a bachelor.

    There are more maids than Malkin. HE., C. and CL.
    i.e., Little Mal or Mary.—R. Heywood refers to it again: “Tushe, there was no mo maydes but malkyn tho.” In some recent collections is the addition: “and men than Michael.”

    There are more mares in the wood than Grisell.

    There are more men threatened than stricken. H.

    There are more places than the parish church. Cornw.

    There are more saints in Cornwall than in heaven.
    “The process of creation is continued even at the present day: I lately in a Cornish paper met with Saint Newlyn.”—Writer in Notes and Queries, 3rd S., v. 275. But Barnsby Rich, in his New Description of Ireland, 1610, ch. 3, says, in reference to the Irish, more especially the Kearne: “then they haue other Vigiles, and such Saint-Eeues, as I neuer heard of but in Ireland, nor I thinke be knowne in any other place—” Elsewhere he remarks:—“And as Ireland is full of strange Miracles, so I thinke there are more Saints known in that Countrey, then ever was heard of in Heauen, or were euer registred in the Popes Golden Legend … and they say there are some few Saintes of a later edition: as Saint Bedloe, Saint Brown, & there is great hope that if Tyrone bee not already in the Popes Kalender that he shall not be long out.”

    There are more ways to kill a dog than hanging.

    There are more ways to the wood than one. HE.
    Lingua, 1607, Hazlitt’s Dodsley, ix. 352.

    There are more whores in Hose than honest women in Long Clawton.

    There are never the fewer maids for her.
    Spoken of a woman that hath maiden children.—R.

    There are three ways: the universities, the sea, the court. H.

    There belongs more than whistling to going to plough.

    There can be no friendship where there is no freedom.

    There can be no play without a fool in it.
    Nevile’s Newes from the New Exchange, 1650, p. 8.

    There can come out of a sack but what is in it. W.

    There could be no great ones, were there no little ones.

    There goes some reason to the roasting of eggs.

    There goes the wedge, where the beetle drives it.

    There I caught a knave in a purse-net.

    There is a deal of difference between Go and Gow. E. Anglia.
    Between ordering a thing to be done, and seeing it done.

    There is a devil in every berry of the grape.

    There is a different fame goes about of every man.

    There is a fault in the house, but would you have it built without any?

    There is a good steward abroad when there is a wind-frost. E. Anglia.
    Your men will work to keep themselves warm.

    There is a great difference atween market-days.

    There is a knack of showing we understand the matter when we hold our peace.

    There is a measure in all things.

    There is a medium betwixt all fool and all philosopher.

    There is a remedy for all dolours but death. B. OF M. R.

    There is a remedy for everything, could we but hit upon it.

    There is a scarcity of friendship, but none of friends.

    There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.

    There is a time to wink, as well as to see.

    There is a witness everywhere.

    There is always a first time.

    There is as much hold of his words as of a wet eel by the tail.

    There is but bad choice where the whole stock is bad.

    There is chance in the cock’s spur.

    There is craft in daubing. C.
    Or, There is more craft in daubing than throwing dirt on the wall. There is a mystery in the meanest trade.—R. The saying is in the interlude of Hickscorner (circa 1520), in Hazlitt’s Dodsley, i. 159, and in Paston Letters under 1454. But a good dauber, according to Forby (Vocab. in voce), was in his time (before 1830) a difficult man to meet with.

    There is difference between living long and suffering long.

    There is difference between staring and stark blind.
    Or mad. This proverb may have a double sense. If you read it stark mad, it signifies that we ought to distinguish, and not presently pronounce him stark mad that stares a little, or him a rank fool who is a little impertinent sometimes, &c. If you read it stark blind, then it hath the same sense with that of Horace,

  • Est inter Tanaim quiddam socerumque Viselli:
  • and is a reprehension to those who put no difference between extremes, as perfect blindness and Lynceus’s sight.—R.

    There is falsehood in friendship. C.
    Falsehood in Friendship is the title of a volume printed in 1605.

    There is God’s poor and the devil’s poor.
    The first from Providence, the other from vice.

    There is good ale / at St. James Chignele.
    Lottery of 1567 (Kempe’s Loseley MSS., 1836).

    There is good land where there is foul way.
    Andrews’ Eighteenth Century, 1856, p. 160.

    There is great force hidden in a sweet command. H.

    There is little for the rake after the besom.

    There is little sap in dry pea-hools.

    There is little to sew / when tailors are true.

    There is luck in leisure.

    There is many a good wife that can’t sing and dance well.

    There is many a slip / ’twixt the cup and the lip.
    See a learned account of the classic antiquity of this saying in Current Notes for June, 1856, p. 53.

  • “As he was lifting up the bowl, to show
  • That twixt the cup and lip much ill may grow.”
  • —Chapman’s Homer’s Odyssey, Book 22, line 13–14.
  • “Though men determine the gods doo dispose, and oft times many things fall out betweene the cup and the lip.”—Greene’s Perimedes, 1588, repr. 61.
    Multa cadunt inter calicem supremaque labra. [Greek]. Citantur ab A. Gellio. De la main à la bouche se perd souvent la soupe. Entre la bouche et la cueillier advient souvent grand destourbier. Cotgr. (1611).—R.

    There is more good victuals in England than in seven other kingdoms. CL.

    There is more money got by ill means than by good acts.

    There is more pleasure in loving than in being beloved.

    There is more talk than trouble. H.

    There is more than one yew-bow in Chester. R.

    There is no art that can make a fool wise.

    There is no bite to the old snake.
    The just censure and reproofe of Martin Junior (1589), by John Penri and Job Throckmorton.

    There is no cake, / but there is the like of the same make.

    There is no companion like the penny.

    There is no deceit in a brimmer.

    There is no difference of bloods in a bason.

    There is no fence against a flail. E. Anglia.
    “You cannot guard against the attacks of a person who utters blunt, unwelcome truths, without any restraint from good manners.”—Forby.

    There is no going to heaven in a sedan.

    There is no good accord / where every man would be a lord. HE.*

    There is no good mother-in-law but she that wears a green gown.
    i.e., Lies in the churchyard. The New Forest folks say, There is but one good mother-in-law, and she is dead.

    There is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.

    There is no hair so small but hath its shadow.

    There is no haste to hang true men.
    Porter’s Two Angrie Women of Abington, 1599, edit. Dyce, p. 41.

    There is no mischief done, / but a woman is one.
    Cherchez la femme. Fr.

    There is no more hold of a new friend than of a new fashion.

    There is no need of a ferret to catch a harlot.

    There is no quenching of fire with tow.

    There is no redemption from Hell.
    There is a place partly under and partly by the Exchequer Chamber, commonly called Hell (I could wish it had another name, seeing it is ill jesting with edged tools), formerly appointed a prison for the King’s debtors, who never were freed thence until they had paid their utmost due.—R. 1670. See Recollections of Sir William Waller, ad finem Poems of Anna Matilda, 1788, 8vo.

    There is no relying on a starry sky.

    There is no royal road to learning.

    There is no service to the king[’s,] nor fishing to the sea.
    Speeches and Honourable Entertainment given to the Queenes Majestie in Progresse at Cowdray in Sussex, 1591. It is here called “an olde saying.” It occurs also in the Lottery of 1601, by Sir J. Davies, printed in the Poetical Rapsodie, 1611. Breton’s Court and Country, 1618 (repr. Roxb. Lib., 190).

    There is no short cut of a way without some ill way.

    There is no such flatterer as a man’s self.

    There is no woe like to want.

    There is no wool so white but a dyer can make it black.

    There is none so simple but can give counsel.

    There is not always good cheer where the chimney smokes.

    There is not so much comfort in having children as there is sorrow in parting with them.

    There is not the thickness of a sixpence between good and evil.

    There is nothing new except what has been forgotten.

    There is nothing so bad in which there is not something of good.

    There is one good wife in the country, and every man thinks he hath wed her. CL.

    There is skill in gruel-making.

    There is small choice in rotten apples.

    There is small difference in being nought and being thought so.

    There is some difference between Peter and Peter.

    There is the door and there is the way. HE.

    There is winter enough for the snipe and woodcock too.

    There may be blue and better blue.

    There may be such things as old fools and young counsellors.

    There needs a long apprenticeship to understand the mystery of the world’s trade.

    There needs a long time to know the world’s pulse.

    There never was a Paston poor, a Heydon a coward, nor a Cornwallis a fool.

    There or thereabouts, as Parson Smith says.
    Proverbial about Dunmow in Essex.—R.

    There spake an angel.
    An intimation of approval of a proposition. Comp. Nares’ Glossary 1859, v. Angel.

    There was a wife that kept her supper for her breakfast, and she was dead before day.

    There was never fair prison, nor love with foul face. DS.

    There went but a pair of shears between them.
    A figure of speech for similarity. See Nares, 787.

    There were no ill language if it were not ill taken. H.

    There will be many a dry cheek after him. Irish.
    Said of an unpopular individual.—Hardman.

    There will be no butter cleave to my head. HE.*

    There will be sleeping enough in the grave.
    Poor Richard Improved, by Benjamin Franklin, 1758, inserted in Arber’s Garner, iv. 1579. This is akin to the remark of the man who was in no hurry to die as he would remain dead so long.

    Thereby hangs a tale. M. W. of Windsor.

    There’s a daily cost, / and all of it lost.

    There’s a hill again a slack all Craven through.
    A slack = hollow or depression. See N. and Q., Jan. 5, 1884.

    There’s a salve for every sore but death.
    Ad ogni cosa è rimedio fuor ch’ alla morte.—Torriano. But as the old leonine verse has it: Contra malum mortis / non est medicamen in hortis.

    There’s a thing in’t, quoth the fellow, when he drank the dish-clout. CL.

    There’s but an hour in the day between a good housewife and a bad.
    With a little more pains, she that slatters might do things neatly.—R.

    There’s great stirring in the North when old wives ride scout.

    There’s lightning lightly before thunder.

    There’s love in a budget.

    There’s more flies caught with honey than alegar. Lanc.
    Alegar is sour ale or beer.

    There’s more old in you than fourpenny.
    Fourpenny ale. Spoken of a person who is supposed to be crafty or keen.

    There’s ne’er a best among them, as the fellow said by the fox cubs.

    There’s never enough where nought leaves.
    This is an Italian proverb: Non vi è à bastanza se niente avvanza.—R.

    There’s no deceit in a bag-pudding.

    There’s no great banquet but some fares ill. H.

    There’s no joy / without alloy.

    There’s no rule without an exception.

    There’s no spick nor crick. South Devon.
    i.e., There is no flaw.

    There’s no summer but it has a winter. D.

    There’s no tree but bears some fruit.

    There’s no virtue that poverty destroyeth not. B. OF M. R.

    There’s no weather ill / when the wind is still. C.

    There’s not so bad a Jill, but there’s as bad a Will.

    There’s struction of honey, quoth Dunkinly, when he lick’d up the dung.

    There’s the rub.
    A phrase borrowed from the game of bowls. See Hazlitt’s Handbook, 1867, v. Freeman and the note. In describing an assault on Rhinberck in 1638–9 the writer observes: Heere only was the rub which stayed the race of their conquest, the draw-bridge was up, and that being wanting stopt them in their full carreer.”—Diatelesma, Part v., 1639, p. 3.

    These Knights will hack. M. W. of Windsor, ii. 1.
    Title of a ballad of later date (James I.) when Knighthood had become more common, and was mainly a question of Court favour or of price.

    They agree like bells; they want nothing but hanging.

    They agree like cats and dogs. W.

    They agree like harp and harrow.

    They agree like London clocks. F.
    I find this among both French and Italian proverbs for an instance of disagreement.—R.

    They agree like pickpockets in a fair.
    Il canchero e d’accordo col morbo. Ital.—R.

    They agree like two cats in a gutter. HE.

    They are at daggers drawing. CL.

    They are clove and orange.

    They are finger and thumb.

    They are hand and glove. F.

    They are like a ha’porth of soap in a wash-tub.

    They are like bells; every one in a several note.

    They are little to be feared whose tongues are their swords.

    They are not all saints that use holy water.

    They are not cater-cousins.

    They are rich who have true friends.

    They are scarce of horseflesh where two ride on a dog.

    They are so like that they are the worse for it.

    They are welcome that bring.

    They are wise in other men’s matters and fools in their own.
    Walker’s Parœm., 1672, p. 31. This is often true of solicitors.

    They both put their hands in one glove.

    They cannot set their horses together.

    They cleave together like burrs. HE.

    They follow each other like ducks in a gutter.

    They had thought to have put others into a sleeve, and they are put in themselves.

    They hardly can run, that cannot go. C.

    They have need of a besom that sweep the house with a turf.

    They have need of a blessing who kneel to a thistle.

    They hold together, as the men of Marsham when they lost their common. Norfolk.
    The copyholders of a manor have been often cajoled by the lord or some other interested party into agreeing to sell their rights of common for some trifling consideration, and it is perhaps to this treacherous sort of harmony or union that the saying refers.

    They keep Christmas all the year. WALKER.