Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

est human intellect, and so making their elevating influence a part of everyday life.

Among these Proverbs will be found some of the axioms of Shakespeare which have actually become proverbial; and this may account for some sentences appearing here, which, strictly speaking, come rather under the latter than the former denomination.

It is curious to notice how Shakespeare has paraphrased some of our commonest proverbs in his own choice and elegant diction. Thus: "Make hay while the sun shines" becomes

“The sun shines hot; and if we use delay, Cold biting winter mars our hop'd-for hay;"

and in "Lightly come, lightly go" we have

"Too light winning

Makes the prize light."

Again, "Let bygones be bygones"

grows into

"Let us not burden our remembrances With a heaviness that's gone; 99

whilst "There's many a true word spoken in jest" reappears in—

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

and some old proverbs he has even given verbatim; as "The weakest goes to the wall," and "They laugh that win."

So congenial to the mind of Shakespeare was the proverbial form, with its mixture of ideality and matter-offact worldly wisdom, that he has frequently repeated the same maxims, couched in varied terms.

Such quintessentialised drops of wisdom are surely not ill stored up to support and strengthen us along "the steep and thorny way" that lies before us; and the poor, who need these consolatory aids even more than the rich, will find the price of this small volume to be such as will enable them also to make it their pocketcompanion.

In venturing to put an explanatory note here and there, the object in view was, of course, the convenience of the younger portion only of the public, to whom the peculiarly condensed use which Shakespeare has made of certain words may not be familiar.

Craven Hill Cottage, 1847.

SHAKESPEARE PROVERBS

A man is never undone till he be hanged.

T. G. of Ver. ii. 5.

An old cloak makes a new jerkin.

Merry Wives, i. 3.

A woman sometimes scorns what best

contents her.

T. G. of Ver. iii. 1.

A true-devoted pilgrim is not weary To measure kingdoms with his feeble

steps.

T. G. of Ver. ii. 7.

A man is never welcome to a place till some certain shot be paid, and the "Welcome."

hostess say,

T. G. of Ver. ii. 5.

A justice of peace sometimes may be beholding to his friend for a man. Merry Wives, i. 1.

A withered serving-man makes a

fresh tapster.

Merry Wives, i. 3.

A sentence is but a cheveril glove to

a good wit.

T. Night, iii. 1.

A drunken man's like a drowned man, a fool, and a madman: one draught above heat makes him a fool; the second mads him; and a third drowns him.

T. Night, i. 5.

« ForrigeFortsett »