Reference > Quotations > W.C. Hazlitt, comp. > English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases
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W.C. Hazlitt, comp.  English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases.  1907.
 
Hard fare  to  He has most
 
Hard fare makes hungry bellies.  3411
Hard with hard never made any good wall. B. OF M. R.
  Duro con duro non fa mai buon muro. Ital. Though I have seen, at Ariminum, in Italy, an ancient Roman bridge made of hewn stone, laid together without any mortar or cement.—R. Ray might have seen the same thing in many other places.
  3412
Hardwick Hall, / more in window than wall.
  Higson’s MSS. Coll., 143. Hardwick Hall, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire, was one of the mansions erected by the celebrated “Bess of Hardwick.” See the Builder, Sept. 23, 1865.
  3413
Hares may pull dead lions by the beard.
  Nash’s Strange Newes, 1592, repr. Collier, 22; The Spanish Tragedy, by T. Kyd, licensed in 1592 (Hawkins, ii. 14); Randolph’s Jealous Lovers, 1632, ed. 1634, sign. H 2.
  3414
Harm watch, harm catch.
  Taylor’s Wit and Mirth, 1629; Rowlands’ Knave of Spades, &c. [1612], repr. 105. In Cornwall they say, No harm watch, no harm catch.
  3415
Harrow hell and scum the devil.  3416
Harry’s children of Leigh, never an one like another.  3417
Harvest comes not every day, though it comes every year.  3418
Harvest ears, thick of hearing. HE.  3419
Haste and wisdom are things far different. HE.  3420
Haste comes not alone. H.  3421
Haste makes waste, and waste makes want, and want makes strife between the goodman and his wife.
  The first part is in Heywood’s Works, 1562, chap. ii.; in Gascoigne’s Posies, 1575 (Works, by Hazlitt, i. 70), and in Camden’s Remaines, 1614, p. 306.
  3422
Haste trips up its own heels.  3423
Hasty climbers have sudden falls.
  Those that rise suddenly from a mean condition to a great estate or dignity, do often fall more suddenly, as I might instance in many court favourites: and there is reason for it, because such a speedy advancement is apt to beget pride, and consequently folly, in them, and envy in others, which must needs precipitate them. Sudden changes to extraordinary good or bad fortune, are apt to turn men’s brains. A cader va chi troppo alto sale. Ital. Nacen le álas a la hormiga, para que se pierda mas ayna. Span.—R.
  3424
Hasty gamesters oversee themselves.  3425
Hasty glory goes out in a snuff.  3426
Hasty love is soon hot and soon cold.
  Marriage of Wit and Science, circa 1570.
  3427
Hasty people will never make good midwives.  3428
Hatred is blind as well as love.  3429
Have a horse of thine own, and thou mayst borrow another’s.  3430
Have a place for everything, and have everything in its place.  3431
Have among you, blind harpers. HE.
  Title of a tract by Martin Parker, printed in 1641. It was evidently proverbial in some sense more than a century before. A sort of expression which, I suppose, may have originated in throwing money to be scrambled for among two or more of the blind harpers, who formerly abounded in all parts of the country. Blindness seems to have been almost a professional characteristic. The meaning of the sentence, at a later period, and in those passages of our dramatists and popular writers where it occurs, was apparently, Here’s for you! Look out for yourselves! But the older phrase appears to have been simply, Have with ye = our Get along with ye. See Rowley’s Search for Money, 1609, repr. 1840, p. 6, &c.
  3432
Have at the plum-tree!
  Apparently an old and obsolete saying in reference to an amour with a woman, plum-tree importing either the womb or the quoniam, as Chaucer calls it.
  3433
Have at thee, Black Hartforth,
but have a care o’ Bonny Gilling.
  See Halliwell’s Popular Rhymes, 1849, p. 196.
  3434
Have but few friends, though much acquaintance.  3435
Have not thy cloak to make when it begins to rain.  3436
He a soldier, and know not onion-seed from gunpowder!  3437
He answers with monosyllables, as Tarlton did one who out-ate him at an ordinary.
  This jest does not seem to be in Tarlton’s Jests, 1638; it was perhaps derived from some earlier and lost impression, which contained matter not in those now extant, or from oral tradition.
  3438
He bears misery best that hides it most.  3439
He bears poverty very ill who is ashamed of it.  3440
He beats about the bush.  3441
He becomes it as well as a cow doth a cart-saddle. CL.  3442
He begins to die that quits his desires. H.  3443
He begs a blessing of a wooden god.  3444
He begs at them that borrowed at him.  3445
He bellows like a bull, but is as weak as a bull-rush. CL.  3446
He bestows his gifts as broom doth honey. CL.
  Broom is so far from sweet, that it is very bitter.—R.
  3447
He bides as fast as a cat bound to a saucer.  3448
He blushes like a black dog. CL.
  An allusion to this saying appears to be intended in The Three Ladies of London, 1584, Hazlitt’s Dodsley, vi. 293.
  3449
He bought the fox-skin for threepence, and sold the tail for a shilling.  3450
He brings up a raven.
  Compare He hath brought, &c.
  3451
He builds cages fit for oxen to keep birds in.
  Disproportionable.—R.
  3452
He calls for a shoeing-horn to help on his gloves.  3453
He came in hosed and shod.
  He was born to a good estate. He came into the world os a bee into the hive; or into a house, or into a trade or employment.—R.
  3454
He came safe from the East Indies and was drowned in the Thames. F.  3455
He can give little to his servant that licks his [own] knife. H.  3456
He can hold the cat to the sun.  3457
He can ill pipe that lacketh his upper lip. HE.
  In forno caldo non può crescer herba. Ital.—R.
  3458
He can never be God’s martyr that is the devil’s servant.  3459
He can swim without bladders.  3460
He cannot be good that knows not why he is good.  3461
He cannot fare well, but he must cry roast meat. WALKER.  3462
He cannot hear on that ear.  3463
He cannot hold a horn in his mouth but blow it. WALKER.  3464
He cannot say B to a battledore.
  That is, I suppose, he cannot go so far as that letter in his hornbook. Humphrey King’s Halfpennyworth of Wit, 1613, dedic.
  3465
He cannot say shoo to a goose. CL.
  Shoo reduplicated is the common expression for driving poultry before one, and the same might be applicable to geese. Skelton uses the phrase, To shoe the goose, in a different way; but possibly he may have had an eye to the other signification. Compare To cry bo, &c.
  3466
He cannot speak well that cannot hold his tongue.  3467
He cannot tell where to turn his nose.
        “The prouerbe is true in you, I suppose—
He cannot tell where to turne his nose.”—
Ballad circa 1570 (Anc. Ballads and Broadsides, 1867, p. 211).    
  3468
He capers like a fly in a tar-box.  3469
He cares not whose child cry, so his laugh.  3470
He carries fire in one hand and water in the other.
  Alterâ manu fert aquam, alterâ ignem. [Greek], &c. Plutarch. Il porte le feu et l’eau. Fr. Alterâ manu fert lapidem, alterâ panem ostentat. Plaut.—R.
  3471
He carries too big a gun for me.  3472
He carries well to whom it weighs not. H.  3473
He catches the wind with a net.  3474
He changes a fly into an elephant.  3475
He chastises the dead.  3476
He claps the dish at a wrong man’s door.  3477
He claws it as Clayton clawed the pudding, when he ate bag and all. F.  3478
He cleaves the clouds.  3479
He commands enough that obeyeth a wise man.  3480
He complains wrongfully of the sea, that twice suffers shipwreck. H.  3481
He could drown you in a spoonful of water. Irish.  3482
He could eat my heart with garlic.
  That is, he hates me mortally.—R.
  3483
He could e’en eat my heart without salt.  3484
He could have sung well before he broke his left shoulder with whistling.  3485
He covers me with his wings and bites me with his bill.  3486
He cries wine and sells vinegar.  3487
He cuts beyond the moon, that hath pissed on a nettle. C.  3488
He danceth well to whom Fortune pipeth. B. OF M. R.  3489
He dares not for his ears.  3490
He dares not show his head.  3491
He demands tribute of the dead.  3492
He deserves not sweet that will not taste of sour.  3493
He deserves the whetstone.  3494
He did me as much good as if he had fouled my pottage.  3495
He dies like a beast who has done no good while he lived.  3496
He digs his grave with his teeth.
  i.e., He kills himself with over-eating.
  3497
He digs the well at the river.  3498
He doats on his midden, and thinks it the moon. Irish.
  The rubbish heap at the door.—HARDMAN.
  3499
He does as the blind man when he casts his staff.  3500
He does Bounty an injury who shows her so much as to be laughed at.  3501
He does not know a B from a battledore.
  John Halle, in his Historiall Expostulation against the beastlye Abusers both of Chyrurgerie and Physyke (1565). speaks of one Maister Wynkfeld, who was apprehended at Maidstone. He says, “This beastlye beguyler” had “no learnyng in the world, nor could read Englishe, and as I suppose, knew not a letter, or a b from a bateldore.” It has been suggested to me that this saying may have had its rise in our early illustrated Primers, where B stood for a Battledore, like A for Apple-Pie, &c.; but I think this rather questionable, as no children’s books of early date appear to have been found constructed on this principle.
  3502
He does not know a B from a bull’s foot.  3503
He does not know A from a gable. E. Anglia.  3504
He does not know a hawk from a hernshaw. SHAKESPEARE.
  Hamlet, 1604, ii. 2. Hernshaw, corrupted from Heronshaw, which is corrupted from Fr. heronçeau. The forms heron-sew and hern-sew are also met with; but it seems to be merely a question of pronunciation. We evidently get the word ready-compounded from the French.
  3505
He does well, but none knows [it] but himself. CL.  3506
He doth a good turn that delivers his house from a fool and a drunkard. W.  3507
He doth much that doth a thing well.  3508
He doth sail into Cornwall without a bark.
  This is an Italian proverb, where it passes for a description (or derision rather) of such a man as is wronged by his wife’s disloyalty. The wit of consists in the allusion to the word Horn.—R.
  3509
He drank till he gave up his halfpenny.
  i.e., vomited.
  3510
He draws water with a sieve.  3511
He drives a subtle trade.
  A play on shuttle is probably intended.
  3512
He dwells far from neighbours who is fain to praise himself.
  Or hath ill neighbours. “Proprio laus sordet in ore. Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.”—R.
  3513
He eats in plate, but will die in irons.  3514
He fans with a feather.  3515
He fasts enough that has a bad meal.  3516
He fasts enough whose wife scolds all dinner-time.  3517
He feeds like a boar in a frank.  3518
He feeds like a freeholder of Macclesfield who hath neither corn nor hay at Michaelmas.
  Maxfield is a market-town and borough of good account in this county [Cheshire], where they drive a great trade of making and selling buttons. When this came to be a proverb, it should seem the inhabitants were poorer, or worse husbandmen, than now they are.—R.
  3519
He fights well that fleeth well, quoth Hendyng.
  P. of H. (Reliq. Antiq., i. 111).
  3520
He findeth that surely bindeth.
  Bale’s Kynge Johan, circa 1540, ed. Collier, p. 74.
  3521
He fisheth something that catcheth one. W.  3522
He frets like gumm’d taffety.  3523
He gaineth enough whom fortune loseth. B. OF M. R.  3524
He gave him a thing of nothing to hang upon his sleeve.  3525
He gets by that, as Dickons did by his distress. CL.  3526
He getteth a great deal of credit who payeth but a small debt.  3527
He gives one knock on the iron and two on the anvil.  3528
He gives straw to his dog and bones to his ass.  3529
He giveth twice / that gives in a trice.
  That is, of course, the Latin, Bis dat qui cito dat. The Italians say:
        Dono molto aspettato,
E venduto, non donate—R.
  3530
He goes a great voyage that goes to the bottom of the sea.  3531
He goes down the wind.
  Pepys’ Diary, January 25, 1662–3.
  3532
He goes far that never turns.
  Heywood’s Second Part of Q. Elizabeth’s Troubles, 1606, repr. 148. “As Stephen the foole of Huntington was wont to saye, Time teacheth experience, far he goes that never returnes, and very simple is he that dayly swalloweth flies, and will not learn to keep hys lippes together.”—Account of the Quarrel between Arthur Hall and M. Mallerie (1575–6). repr. from ed. 1580, in Misc. Antiq. Anglic., 1816. The more correct form might seem to be, not turns, but returns; for compare the Latin, Longè vadit, qui nunquam redit.
  3533
He goes not out of his way that goes to a good inn. H.  3534
He goes on his last legs.  3535
He got a knock in the cradle.  3536
He got out of the muxy, / and fell into the pucksy.
  i.e., He got out of the dunghill, and fell into the slough.
  3537
He grants enough that says nothing. W.  3538
He grows like a cow’s tail. WALKER (1672).  3539
He grows warm in harness. W.
  Said of an angry man (thus in phrase) showing his passion too sudden.—W.
  3540
He guides the honey ill,
that may not lick his fill. W.
  3541
He had a finger in the pie when he burnt his nail off.  3542
He had as good eat his nails.  3543
He had better put his horns in his pocket than blow them.
  Referring to a cuckold.
  3544
He had enough to keep the wolf from the door.  3545
He had need rise betimes who would please everybody.  3546
He has a bee in his head.
  Notes and Queries, 1st S., iv. 308. The Scots say, in his bonnet. It is said of one who has a project in his thoughts, or who is fanciful. To be full of bees, is to be drunk, and is also Scotish.
  “Whoso hath such bees as your maister in hys head.”—Ralph Roister Doister. The saying is in Damon and Pithias, 1571, Hazlitt’s Dodsley, iii. ibid. iv.
  3547
He has a brazen face.  3548
He has a fair forehead to graff on.  3549
He has a fox in his tail.
  i.e., He is drunk, or foxed, as the common expression was. “They kindly thanked Miles for his song, and so sent him home with a Foxe in his Tayle.”—Famous Historie of Fryer Bacon, 1627.
  3550
He has a good estate, but that the right owner keeps it from him.  3551
He has a great fancy to marry that goes to the devil for a wife.  3552
He has a hole under his nose that all his money runs into.  3553
He has a mouth for every matter.  3554
He has a saddle for every horse.  3555
He has a worm in his brain.  3556
He has an eye behind him. WALKER (1672).
  In occipito quoque oculos habet. Plaut.—W.
  3557
He has an ill look among lambs.  3558
He has as many tricks as a dancing bear.  3559
He has as many tricks as a lawyer.  3560
He has been out a hawking for butterflies.  3561
He has been seeking the placket.  3562
He has been sworn at Highgate.
        It’s a custom at Highgate, that all who go through,
Must be sworn on the horns, sir, and so, sir, must you;
Bring the horns, shut the door—now, sir, off with your hat;
And when you again come, pray don’t forget that.
  This rhyme refers to the ludicrous ceremony which a traveller describes as still prevalent in 1752. See my edition of A Journey through England in 1752 (1869), p. 81, and Note; and Hone’s Every-Day Book, ii. 73.
  Lysons (Environs of London, 1st edit., iii. 78) observes: “The custom of imposing a burlesque nugatory oath upon all strangers, upon their first visit to Highgate, is well known; how or when it originated, I have not been able to learn. A pair of horns, upon which the oath is administered, is kept in every inn, but is now seldom produced; for the custom, I am informed, has been for some years on the decline [1795].” He adds a note explaining the nature of the oath—“Not to eat brown bread when you can get white, unless you like the other better; not to kiss the maid when you can kiss her mistress, unless you like the other better, &c.”
  3563
He has brought a brush.
  i.e., run away.—N. and Q.
  3564
He has brought his pack to a foot-speed.  3565
He has but a short Lent that must pay money at Easter.  3566
He has but sorry food that feeds upon the faults of others.  3567
He has cried himself diver.  3568
He has deserved a cushion.
  i.e., he has gotten a boy.—R.
  3569
He has eaten many a Christmas-pie. CL.  3570
He has eaten sparrow-dumpling. Cornwall.
  Said of one who is peevish and quarrelsome.
  3571
He has eaten up the pot and asks for the pipkin.  3572
He has feathered his nest: he may flee when he likes.  3573
He has found a last for his shoe.  3574
He has given him leg-bail.  3575
He has given him the bag to hold.
  i.e., decamped.—R.
  3576
He has gone over Assfordy bridge backwards. Leicestershire.
  Spoken of one that is past learning.—R.
  3577
He has gone to Jericho.
  Jericho, near Chelmsford, in Essex, a manor and palace once belonging to Henry VIII., is the locality here intended, according to some; but I confess that I incline rather to the more classic Land of Jericho, a much more distant journey, and involving a more complete answer to any one inquiring after another. A portion of Durham Cathedral is analogously christened Galilee. Jericho was a nickname for Blackmore Priory, a member of the Manor of Fingreth, Mr. Edward Peacock, citing the Athenæum for Nov. 14, 1874, observes:
  “The following early use of the expression ‘Go to Jericho’ has, we believe, never been hitherto noticed:—
        ‘If the Upper House, and the Lower House
Were in a ship together,
And all the base Committees, they were in another;
And both the ships were botomlesse,
And sayling on the Mayne;
Let them all goe to Jericho,
And n’ere be seen againe.’
These verses occur in the Mercurius Aulicus for March 23–30, 1648, the well-known Royalist paper of the time.”
  3578
He has good blood in him, but wants groats to it.
  That is, good parentage, if he had but wealth. Groats are great oatmeal, of which good housewives are wont to make black puddings.—R. But perhaps there is a double entendre, groats also standing for money.
  3579
He has got a dish.  3580
He has got a piece of bread and cheese in his head.  3581
He has got his jag. E. Anglia.
  As much drink as he can carry.—FORBY.
  3582
He has got the fiddle, but not the stick.
  i.e., the books, but not the learning to make use of them, or the like.—R.
  3583
He has gotten the whip-hand o’ wind.  3584
He has great need of a wife that marries mamma’s darling.  3585
He has guts in his brains.
  The anfractus of the brain, looked upon when the dura mater is taken off, do much resemble guts.—R. Aver il cervel sopra la beretta. To have his brains on the outside of his cap. Ital.
  3586
He has laid a stone at my door. E. Anglia.
  i.e., he has cut me.
  3587
He has Lathom and Knowsley.
  Notes and Queries, 2nd S., v. 211. Said of a person who has more than enough.
  3588
He has lined his cap well for the rain.
  New Custome, 1573, act iii. sc. 1. He has taken good precautions against any contingencies.
  3589
He has made a hole in his manners.  3590
He has made a younger brother of him.  3591
He has made many a white hedge black [with] stolen linen. CL.  3592
He has more business than English ovens at Christmas. Ital.  3593
He has more hair than wit.
  See Heywood’s Challenge for Beauty, 1636, Dilke’s O. P., vi. 347.
  3594
He has more items than a dancing bear. S. Devon.
  Items = fancies or crotchets.
  3595
He has more wit in his head than Samson had in both his shoulders.  3596
He has most share in the wedding that lies with the bride.  3597
 

 
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