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14th Century English Proverbs

Dates given are generally for the first written appearance of the form of the proverb in English; the proverb may have been in spoken use, in England or orther countries, much earlier and in some cases referred to as "an old saying" prior to that time.

After a storm comes a calm.
-late 14th

All roads lead to Rome.
-late 14th, earlier in Latin

All's well that ends well.
-late 14th

Art is long and life is short.
-late 14th - Hippocrates

Ask a silly question and you get a silly answer.
-early 14th

Better late than never.
-early 14th, 1st century BC in Greek

Between two stools one falls to the ground.
-late 14th

Be what you would seem to be.
-late 14th

Charity begins at home.
-late 14th

The cowl does not make the monk.
-late 14th

Curses, like chickens, come home to roost.
-late 14th

The dog returns to it's vomit.
-late 14th

Do not throw pearls to swine.
-mid 14th

East to live, not live to eat.
-late 14th century; Socrates

Enough is as good as a feast.
-late 14th

Every man for himself.
-late 14th

Everyone stretches his legs according to the length of his coverlet.
-early 14th

Everything has an end.
-late 14th

Fair and softly goes far in a day.
-mid 14th

Far-fetched and dear-bought is good for ladies.
-mid 14th

First come first served.
-late 14th; late 13th in French

A fool may give a wise man counsel.
-mid 14th

Fortune favours the brave.
-late 14th; Terence

God never sends mouths but He sends meat.
-late 14th

A good beginning makes a good ending.
-early 14th

Great oaks from little acorns grow.
-late 14th

A guilty conscience needs no accuser.
-late 14th; earlier in latin

Haste makes waste.
-late 14th

He that touches pitch shall be defiled.
-early 14th; Bible

He who sups with the Devil should have a long spoon.
-late 14th

The higher the monkey climbs the more he shows his tail.
-late 14th

Homer sometimes nods.
-late 14th

If there were no receivers, there would be no thieves.
-late 14th

In vain the net is spread in the sight of the bird.
-late 14th

It is better to give than to receive.
-late 14th

It is merry in hall when beards wag all.
-early 14th

It’s too late to shut the stable-door after the horse has bolted.
-mid 14th

Know thyself.
inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi; Plato ascribes the saying to the Seven Wise Men
-late 14th

The labourer is worthy of his hire.
-late 14th

Let sleeping dogs lie.
-late 14th

Light come, light go.
-late 14th

Like father, like son.
-mid 14th

Like mother, like daughter.
-early 14th

A live dog is better than a dead lion.
-late 14th

Look before you leap.
-mid 14th

Love is blind.
-late 14th

Manners maketh man.
-mid 14th; motto of William of Wykeham (1324-1404)

Many a true word is spoken in jest.
-late 14th

Many hands make light work.
-early 14th

Might is right.
-early 14th

Misfortunes never come singly.
-early 14th

More haste, less speed.
-mid 14th

The more the merrier.
-late 14th

The more you get the more you want.
-mid 14th

Much would have more.
-mid 14th

Murder will out.
-early 14th

The nearer the bone, the sweeter the meat.
-late 14th

The nearer the church, the farther from God.
-early 14th

Necessity knows no law.
-late 14th

Never is a long time.
-late 14th

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
-late 14th

No man can serve two masters.
-early 14th

No smoke without fire.
-late 14th

Nothing comes of nothing.
-late 14th

Nothing venture, nothing have.
-late 14th

Of two evils choose the less.
-late 14th

An old poacher makes the best gamekeeper.
-late 14th

Out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.
-late 14th

Patience is a virtue.
-late 14th

The pitcher will go to the well once too often.
-mid 14th

Practise what you preach.
-late 14th

Pride goes before a fall.
-late 14th

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
-early 14th

Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight; red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning.
-late 14th

A reed before the wind lives on, while mighty oaks do fall.
-late 14th

A rolling stone gathers no moss.
-mid 14th

The rotten apple injures its neighbour.
-mid 14th

A short horse is soon curried.
-mid 14th

Silence means consent.
-late 14th

A soft answer turneth away wrath.
-late 14th

So many men, so many opinions.
-late 14th

Soon ripe, soon rotten.
-late 14th

Stolen waters are sweet.
-late 14th

Strike while the iron is hot.
-late 14th

The sun loses nothing by shining into a puddle.
-early 14th century, of Classical origin

There is a time for everything.
-late 14th

There is measure in all things.
-late 14th

Thought is free.
-late 14th

Three things are not to be trusted; a cow’s horn, a dog’s tooth, and a horse’s hoof.
-late 14th

Time and tide wait for no man.
-late 14th

Time flies.
-late 14th

Time is a great healer.
-late 14th

Two heads are better than one.
-late 14th

We must learn to walk before we can run.
-mid 14th

What must be, must be.
-late 14th

What you spend, you have.
-early 14th

When Adam delved and Even span, who was then the gentleman?
Traditionally taken by John Ball as the text of his revolutionary sermon on the outbreak of the Peasants’ Revolt, 1381
-late 14th

When the wine is in, the wit is out.
-late 14th

While the grass grows, the steed starves.
-mid 14th

While two dogs are fighting for a bone, a third runs away with it.
-late 14th

NOTE: Some of this information can be found in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations

 



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