Wednesday, 12 February 2014

'Where you thinke there is bacon, there is no Chimney.' My Selections from George Herbert's 'Outlandish Proverbs'¹ (1640).

¹⋅ Outlandish here means foreign.

George Herbert (3 April 1593 – 1 March 1633) was a celebrated Public Orator, with the favour of King James I (the Second Solomon), at Cambridge in the 1600s who quit court and public life in order to become a rector in the village of Bemerton. On his deathbed he gave permission for the poetry he had written throughout his life to be published, if it "may turn to the advantage of any dejected poor soul". He has since been recognised as one of the finest poets Britain has ever produced. Alongside the callings of literature and religion, Herbert was also a collector of proverbs and whilst they may not carry the same degree of insight as his poetry I found myself jotting down many of them as I read through his collections, included in Herbert's complete works. I have typed them up here for no good reason...

2. Hee begins to die, that quits his desires.

12. A good bargaine is a pick-purse.

25. Hee puls with a long rope, that waits for anothers death.

27. A Cake and an ill custome must be broken.

33. God sends cold according to Cloathes.

41. All came from, and will goe to others.

45. A crooked log makes a strait fire.

49. Love and a Cough cannot be hid.

50. A Dwarfe on a Gyants shoulder sees further of the two.

62. A cherefull looke makes a dish a feast.

65. Evening words are not like to morning.

69. Were there no hearers, there would be no backbiters.

99. Where you thinke there is bacon, there is no Chimney.

100. Mend your cloathes, and you may hold out this yeare.

103. A faire wife and a frontire Castle breede quarrels.

111. Give a clowne your finger, and he will take your hand.

120. Keepe good men company, and you shall be of the number.

123. To a boyling pot flies come not.

125. A snow yeare, a rich yeare.

128. Who hath no more bread then neede, must not keepe a dog.

137. Happie is hee that chastens himselfe.

140. Welcome evill, if thou commest alone.

141. Love your neighbour, yet pull not downe your hedge.

143. A drunkards purse is a bottle.

147. Every one stretcheth his legges according to his coverlet.

148. Autumnall agues are long, or mortall.

150. Dally not with mony or women.

152. The best remedy against an ill man is much ground betweene both.

159. Without favour none will know you, and with it you will not know your selfe.

161. Cover your selfe with your shield, and care not for cryes.

162. A wicked mans gift hath a touch of his master.

164. From a chollerick man withdraw a little; from him that saies nothing, for ever.

168. Ever since we weare cloathes, we know not one another.

172. After the house is finisht, leave it.

217. Send a wise man on an errand, and say nothing unto him.

218. In life you lov'd me not, in death you bewaile me.

219. Into a mouth shut flies flie not.

225. Working and making a fire doth discretion require.

230. Honour without profit is a ring on the finger.

232. Honour and profit lie not in one sacke.

235. He that riseth betimes hath some thing in his head.

236. Advise none to marry or to goe to warre.

243. Fine dressing is a foule house swept before the doores.

274. A mountaine and a river are good neighbours.

286. Chuse not an house neere an Inne (viz. for noise) or in a corner (for filth).

287. Hee is a foole that thinks not that another thinks.

288. Neither eyes on letters, nor hands in coffers.

290. Goe not for every griefe to the Physitian, nor for every quarrell to the Lawyer, nor for every thirst to the pot.

291. Good service is a great inchantment.

293. It's no sure rule to fish with a cros-bow.

296. The best mirrour is an old friend.

301. Call me not an olive, till thou see me gathered.

303. Hee that burnes his house warmes himselfe for once.

311. Hee wrongs not an old man that steales his supper from him.

312. The tongue talkes at the heads cost.

319. Peace, and Patience, and death with repentance.

322. Aske much to have a little.

327. A little with quiet is the onely dyet.

328. In vaine is the mill-clacke, if the Miller his hearing lack.

331. Stay till the lame messenger come, if you will know the truth of the thing.

333. Though you rise early, yet the day comes at his time, and not till then.

336. Since you know all, and I nothing, tell me what I dreamed last night.

338. When you are an Anvill, hold you still ; when you are a hammer, strike your ill.

339.Poore and liberall, rich and coveteous.

348. Who eates his cock alone must saddle his horse alone.

349. He that is not handsome at 20, nor strong at 30, nor rich at 40, nor wise at 50, will never bee handsome, strong, rich, or wise.

353. He that hath a mouth of his owne, must not say to another; blow.

358. He that hath no ill fortune is troubled with good.

362. He that owes nothing, if he makes not mouthes at us, is courteous.

366. A married man turns his staffe into a stake.

367. If you would know secrets, looke them in griefe or pleasure.

371. Hee that would bee well old, must bee old betimes.

423. He that hath children, all his morsels are not his owne.

431. Never was strumpet faire.

459. Building is a sweet impoverishing.

471. Warre makes theeves, and peace hangs them.

475. Wealth is like rheume, it falles on the weakest parts.

495. The filth under the white snow, the sunne discovers.

501. Little wealth, little care.

522. A faire death honours the whole life.

574. A gift much expected is paid, not given.

580. Good & quickly seldome meete.

588. A flatterers throat is an open Sepulcher.

656. None is offended but by himselfe.

662. A wise man cares not for what he cannot have.

707. He is onely bright that shines by himselfe.

724. Be what thou wouldst seeme to be.

756. Good workemen are seldome rich.

819. Hunger makes dinners, pastime suppers.

840. They talke of Christmas so long, that it comes.

844. Poverty is no sinne.

897. Hee hath no leisure who useth it not.

913. The first blow is as much as two.

914. The life of man is a winter way.

919. The body is more drest then the soule.

951. Lawyers houses are built on the heads of fooles.

973. With customes wee live well, but Lawes undoe us.

1002. He that hath lands hath quarrells.

1006. Hee that lives in hope danceth without musick.

The following are from the extended 'Jacula Prudentum' edition of 1652:

1035. To go upon the Franciscans Hackney (i.e. on foot).

1048. Whatsoever was the father of a disease, an ill dyet was the mother.

1051. The War is not don so long as my Enemy lives.

1054. Danger it selfe the best remedy for danger.

1055. Favour will as surely perish as life.

1061. They favour learning whose actions are worthy of a learned pen.

1063. No naked man is sought after to be rifled.

1097. A City that parlies is half gotten.

1108. Such a Saint, such an offering.

1128. It is very hard to shave an egge.

1146. Wo be to him that reads but one book.

1159. A man is known to be mortal by two things, Sleep and Lust.

1168. The love of money and the love of learning rarely meet.

1183. Your thoughts close, and your countenance loose.

1184. Whatever is made by the hand of man, by the hand of man may be overturned.

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