Grocott & Ward, comps. Grocott’s Familiar Quotations, 6th ed. 189-?.


Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.
St. Peter, 1st Epi. Chap. v. Ver. 8.

It is by the Vicar’s skirts that the Devil climbs into the belfry.
Longfellow.—The Spanish Student, Act I. Scene 2.

[This is a Spanish proverb, and charges the clergy with being the authors of the chiefest spiritual mischiefs which have risen up in the Church. (Dean Trench, now Archbishop of Dublin. Proverbs and their lessons, Lecture 4.) And into God’s church lewd hirelings climb. Milton, Par. Lost, Book iv.]

No such thing as being borne to eminence by laying hold of another’s skirt.
Landell’s.—Lecture at Exeter Hall. 21st Nov. 1854.

He that entereth not by the door into the sheep-fold but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
St. John, Chap. x. Ver. 1.

The devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape.
Shakespeare.—Hamlet, Act II. Scene 2, near the end.

What, can the devil speak true?
Shakespeare.—Macbeth, Act I. Scene 3. (Banquo.)

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
Shakespeare.—Merchant of Venice, Act I. Scene 3. (Antonio to Bassanio.)

And thus I clothe my naked villany
With odd old ends, stolen forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint when most I play the devil.
Shakespeare.—King Richard III., Act I. Scene 3. (Solus.)

Sometimes the devil doth preach.
Webster.—The Duchess of Malfi, Act I. Scene 1. (Ferdinand to Bosola.)

Qui non dat quod habet, Dæmon infra ridet.

The devil below laughs at him who will not give of that which he has.

[The Latin is from an inscription over a well at Wavertree, and bears date A.D. 1414, or in the 2nd year of the reign of King Henry V.—Each letter is a capital, and between each capital is a period, so that the reader is for some time puzzled to make it out.]

The devil was sick, the devil a monk would be;
The devil was well, the devil a monk was he.
Rabelais.—Vol. II. Book IV. Chap. XXIV.