Proverb occurs twenty-eight times in the Bible (four in Proverbs), in seven with the sense of byword; as in Jeremiah, xxiv. 9: "to be a reproach, a proverb, a taunt, and a curse in all places whither I shall drive them." Proverbs are quoted in 1 Samuel, xxiv. 13: "Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked;" Ezekiel, xviii. 2: "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge; " Luke, iv. 23: "Physician, heal thyself;" and 2 Peter, ii. 22: "The dog is turned to his own vomit, and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire."

"Brevity is the soul of wit," as that garrulous old fool Polonius observes; and, as we have seen, it is the soul of many proverbs, which consist of two, three, or four words, and those

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sometimes monosyllables: "Extremes meet; "Forewarned, forearmed; "ill got, ill spent," and hundreds of others. Trench tells us that the shortest he knows of is "the German Voll, toll,' which sets forth very well the connection between fulness and folly, pride and abundance of bread." Most of these very short proverbs are antitheses, as longer ones also often are.

Rhyme (or rime, as the Century Dictionary more correctly spells it) and alliteration are frequent in proverbs, and often combined; as in "Fast bind, fast find" ("A proverb never stale in thrifty mind," as Shylock reminds us with an added rime); "Birds of a feather flock together," which also illustrates the fact that proverbs are often expressed in a striking metaphor-sometimes the more strik

ing from its homely origin. They may be exquisitely poetical, like the Indian proverb, "The sandal tree perfumes the ахе that fells it." Trench remarks: "There is a French proverb, 'One can go a long way after one is weary;' which presents itself to me as having the poetry of an infinite sadness about it. . . How many are the wayfarers utterly weary of the task and toil of life who are still far off from their journey's end!" It strikes me as a proverb that applies with peculiar pathos to many a woman bending under the burden of daily cares and anxieties long after she feels too weak and weary to bear it.

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As Mrs. Cowden-Clarke notices in her preface, Shakespeare has paraphrased some of our common proverbs in poetic diction; and other poets have


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done the same. Trench remarks that Chaucer thus "works up that rule of natural equity, First come, first served,' in Whoso first cometh to the mill, first grist';" and many less homely examples of the kind might be cited.

The homeliness of many of our fa miliar proverbs has led some fastidious critics to disparage them. Chesterfield said, 66 No man of fashion ever uses a proverb;" and Shakespeare with a happy touch of nature makes the patrician Coriolanus sneer at the plebeians thus:

“Hang ’em!

They said they were an hungry, sigh'd forth proverbs:

That hunger broke stone walls; that dogs must eat;

That meat was made for mouths; that the

gods sent not

Corn for the rich men only! With these shreds

They vented their complainings."

But Jesus often quoted the proverbs current among the people of his time: 66 Physician, heal thyself;" “A prophet is not without honour but in his own country;" "One soweth and another reapeth," etc. Aristotle, who has been said to be the first who did it, made a collection of proverbs, and has been followed by eminent men in many lands ever since. How freely and frequently they have been employed by the best philosophers, poets, orators-literary men of every class, indeed-it would be a waste of time and ink to tell.

Proverbs, however, are often only half-truths, and are liable to be used sophistically. As already stated, they

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