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


But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul; freeze thy young blood;
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres;
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.
Shakespeare.—Hamlet, Act I. Scene 5. (The Ghost to Hamlet.)

I will a round unvarnish’d tale deliver
Of my whole course of love.
Shakespeare.—Othello, Act I. Scene 3. (The Moor to the Senate.)

This act is an ancient tale new told;
And, in the last repeating, troublesome,
Being urged at a time unreasonable.
Shakespeare.—King John, Act IV. Scene 2. (Pembroke to the King, on his being crowned a second time.)

And what so tedious as a twice-told tale?
Pope.—The Odyssey, Book XII. last Line. Akenside.—Pleasures of Imagination, Book I. Line 220. Lloyd.—New River Head.

Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale,
Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man.
Shakespeare.—King John, Act III. Scene 4. (Lewis, on seeing the grief of Arthur’s Mother at his death.)

Hear, till unheard, the same old slabber’d tale.
Dr. Young.—Night III. Line 337.

And every shepherd tells his tale,
Under the hawthorn in the dale.
Milton.—L’Allegro, Line 67.

’Tis an old tale, and often told.
Walter Scott.—Marmion, Canto II. Stanza 27.

I cannot tell how the truth may be;
I say the tale as ’twas said to me.
Walter Scott.—Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto II. Stanza 22, last Line.

Thereby hangs a tale.
Shakespeare.—Othello, Act III. Scene 1. (Clown); Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I. Scene 4; Taming of the Shrew, Act IV. Scene 1; As You Like It, Act II. Scene 7.

Mark, now, how plain a tale shall put you down.
Shakespeare.—King Henry IV., Part I. Act II. Scene 4. (Hal to Falstaff.)

An honest tale speeds best, being plainly told.
Shakespeare.—King Richard III., Act IV. Scene 4. (Queen Elizabeth to Richard.)