Home  »  Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men  »  Henry VIII.

S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Henry VIII.

  • [King of England; born at Greenwich, 1491; ascended the throne, 1509; defeated the Scotch at Flodden Field, 1513; contended for supremacy with Charles V. and Francis I.; declared Supreme Head of the Church, 1531; excommunicated, 1538; died 1547; his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, surviving him.]
  • He whom I favor wins (Cui adhæreo præest).

  • The motto on his tent in the Field of the Cloth of Gold, a plain near Calais, France, on which Henry met Francis I., and held for nearly three weeks a series of magnificent entertainments, June, 1520.
  • Get my bill passed by to-morrow, or else to-morrow this head of yours will be off!

  • To Mr. Edward Montague, a member of the House of Commons, which hesitated to pass a bill dissolving certain monasteries, 1536. The bill passed. On another occasion when the House hesitated in the morning, but proved tractable in the afternoon, he said, “It was well you did, or your heads would have been upon Temple Bar.”
  • Cranmer has got the right sow by the ear.

  • Giving his decision in favor of Cranmer’s opinion concerning the best method of procuring the divorce from Catherine of Aragon. When Sir Robert Walpole was asked how he had overcome Sir Spencer Compton, to whom the king was partial, he replied, “He got the wrong sow by the ear, and I the right.” “So vulgar and idiomatic,” says Jennings, “are the phrases of English monarchs and ministers.”—Anecdotal History of Parliament. Heywood’s “Proverbs,” published the year before Henry VIII.’s death, contains this one; and it is used by Jonson and Colman, and occurs in “Hudibras,” II. 3, 580.