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19th 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.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
-mid 19th

Adversity makes strange bedfellows.
-mid 19th - Shakespeare

Adventures are to the adventurous.
-mid 19th

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
-mid 19th

The apple never falls far from the tree.
-mid 19th

An army marches on it's stomach.
-mid 19th - attributed to Frederick the Great and/or Napoleon

Believe nothing of what you hear, and only half of what you see.
-mid 19th

A bellowing cow soon forgets her calf.
-late 19th

The best things come in small packages.
-late 19th

Better be safe than sorry.
-mid 19th

Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know.
-mid 19th

Beware of an oak, it draws the stroke; avoid an ash, it counts the flash; creep under the thorn, it can save you from harm.
-late 19th

Blood is thicker than water.
-early 19th

Blood will tell.
-mid 19th

Blue are the hills that are far away.
-late 19th

Brave men lived before Agamemnon.
-early 19th

The bread never falls but on its buttered side.
-mid 19th

A bully is always a coward.
-early 19th

The busiest men have the most leisure.
-late 19th

Business before pleasure.
-mid 19th

Ceasar's wife must be above suspicion.
-late 19th

Catching's before hanging.
-early 19th

A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.
-mid 19th

A change is as good as a rest.
-late 19th

Cheats never prosper.
-early 19th

The child is the father of the man.
-early 19th

A civil question deserves a civil answer.
-mid 19th

Clergymen's sons always turn out badly.
-late 19th

Coming events cast their shadow before.
-early 19th

Councils of war never flight.
-mid 19th

The difficult is done at once, the impossible takes a little longer.
-late 19th

Dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.
-late 19th

A dog that will fetch a bone will carry a bone.
-eary 19th

Do not meet troubles half-way.
-late 19th

Don't change horses in mid stream.
-mid 19th; Lincoln

Don't cross the bridge till you come to it.
-mid 19th

Don't go near the water until you learn how to swim.
-mid 19th

Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.
-mid 19th; early 17th century in German

East, west, home's best.
-mid 19th

Easy does it.
-mid 19th

England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity.
-mid 19th

The English are a nation of shipkeepers.
-early 19th; Napoleon

Every cloud has a silver lining.
-mid 19th; Ford

Everybody love a lord.
-late 19th

Fact is stranger than fiction.
-mid 19th

Fair play's a jewel.
-early 19th

Faith will move mountains.
-late 19th; Bible

Fear the Greeks bearing gifts.
-late 19th; Virgil

Feed a cold and starve a fever.
maybe two separate sayings, but sometimes interpreted to mean: if you feed a cold you will probably have to starve a fever later
-mid 19th

Fight fire with fire.
-mid 19th

Finders keepers, losers weepers.
-early 19th

Findings keepings.
-mid 19th

First catch your hare.
-early 19th; early 14th in Latin

The first duty of a soldier is obedience.
-mid 19th

First things first.
-late 19th

Fools for luck.
-mid 19th

From clogs to clogs is only three generations.
-late 19th

From the sublime to the ridiculous is only one step.
-early 19th; Napoleon(?)

Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.
-late 19th

God makes the back to the burden.
-early 19th

Good Americans when they die go to Paris.
-mid 19th

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.
-mid 19th; Wallace

Happy is the country that has no history.
-early 19th

Hard cases make bad law.
-mid 19th

He is a good dog who goes to church.
-early 19th

He that drinks beer, thinks beer.
-early 19th

He that would go to sea for pleasure would go to hell for a pastime.
-late 19th

He travels fastest who travels alone.
-late 19th

He who pays the piper calls the tune.
-late 19th

He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount.
-late 19th

Heaven protects children, sailors, and drunken men.
-mid 19th

History repeats itself.
-mid 19th

Home is home, as the Devil said when he found himself in the Court of Session.
-early 19th

Home is where the heart is.
-late 19th

Horses for courses.
-late 19th

Hurry no man’s cattle.
-early 19th

If at first you don’t succeed, try ,try again.
-mid 19th

If ifs and ands were pots and pans, there’d be no work for tinkers’ hands.
-mid 19th

If you don’t make mistakes you don’t make anything.
-late 19th

If you play with fire you get burnt.
-late 19th

If you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive.
-mid 19th

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
-early 19th

It is a poor heart the never rejoices.
-mid 19th

It is best to be off with the old love before you are on with the new.
-early 19th

It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.
-late 19th

It is not spring until you can plant your foot upon twelve daisies.
-mid 19th

It is not work that kills, but worry.
-late 19th

It is the pace that kills.
-mid 19th

It’s a sin to steal a pin.
-late 19th

It’s dogged as does it.
-mid 19th

It takes three generations to make a gentleman.
-early 19th

Jam tomorrow and jam yesterday, but never jam today.
-late 19th

Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.
-late 19th

Less is more.
-mid 19th, often associated with Mies van der Rohe

Let the dead bury the dead.
-early 19th

Life isn’t all beer and skittles.
-mid 19th

Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
-mid 19th

Little fish are sweet.
-early 19th

Long foretold, long last; short notice, soon past.
-mid 19th

Love laughs at locksmiths.
-early 19th

Love makes the world go round.
-mid 19th, from a traditional French song

Man cannot live by bread alone.
-late 19th

A man is as old as he feels, and a woman as old as she looks.
-late 19th

The man who is born in a stable is not a horse.
-early 19th

A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for his client.
-early 19th

Many are called but few are chosen.
-late 19th

May chickens come cheeping.
-late 19th

Moderation in all things.
-mid 19th

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for its living,
And a child that’s born on the Sabbath day
Is fair and wise and good and gay.
-mid 19th

Never marry for money, but marry where money is.
-late 19th

Never trouble trouble till trouble troubles you.
-late 19th

No cure, no pay.
expression used on Lloyd’s of London’s Standard Form of Salvage Agreement

-late 19th

No moon, no man.
-late 19th

Nothing is certain but the unforeseen.
-late 19th

Nothing so bad but it might have been worse.
-late 19th

Nothing succeeds like success.
-mid 19th

The only good Indian is a dead Indian.
-mid 19th

On the first of March, the crows begin to search.
-mid 19th

Once a priest, always a priest.
-mid 19th

Once bitten, twice shy.
-mid 19th

One does not wash one’s dirty linen in public.
-early 19th

One for sorrow; two for mirth, three for a wedding, four for a birth.
referring to the number of magpies seen

-mid 19th

One for the mouse, one for the crow, one to rot, one to grow.
referring to sowing seed

-mid 19th

One funeral makes many.
-late 19th

One law for the rich and another for the poor.
-early 19th

One step at a time.
-mid 19th

One white foot, buy him; two white feet, try him; three white feet, look well about him; four white feet, go without him.
on horse-dealing

-late 19th

One year’s seeding makes seven years weeding.
-late 19th

Out of the mouths of babes—.
-late 19th

Politics makes strange bedfellows.
-mid 19th

Power corrupts.
-late 19th

Praise the child, and you make love to the mother.
-early 19th

Providence is always on the side of the big battalions.
-early 19th

Punctuality is the politeness of princes.
-mid 19th

Punctuality is the soul of business.
-mid 19th

Put your trust in God, and keep your powder dry.
attributed to Oliver Cromwell

-mid 19th

Rain before seven, fine before eleven.
-mid 19th

Revenge is a dish that can be eaten cold.
-late 19th

Revolutions are not made with rose-water.
-early 19th

Robin Hood could brave all weathers but a thaw wind.
-mid 19th

Scratch a Russian and you find a Tartar.
-early 19th

See a pin and pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck; see a pin and let it lie, bad luck you’ll have all day.
-mid 19th

Self-praise is no recommendation.
-early 19th

The sharper the storm, the sooner it’s over.
-late 19th

Shrouds have no pockets.
-mid 19th

Silence is golden.
-mid 19th

A sow may whistle, though it has an ill mouth for it.
-early 19th

Speech is silver, but silence is golden.
-mid 19th

A stern chase is a long chase.
stern chase = a chase in which the pursuing ship follows directly in the wake of the pursued

-early 19th

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
-late 19th

Talk is cheap.
-mid 19th

Tastes differ.
-early 19th

There are more ways of killing a cat than choking it with butter.
-mid 19th

There are more ways of killing a dog than choking it with butter.
-mid 19th

There are two sides to every question.
-early 19th

There is honour among thieves.
-early 19th

There is no royal road to learning.
-early 19th

There is nothing lost by civility.
-late 19th

There’s many a good cock come out of a tattered bag.
-late 19th

Third time lucky.
-mid 19th

To the pure all things are pure.
-mid 19th

Trade follows the flag.
-late 19th

Truth is stranger than fiction.
-early 19th

The unexpected always happens.
-late 19th

A watched pot never boils.
-mid 19th

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
-early 19th

Whatever man has done, man may do.
-mid 19th

What Manchester says today, the rest of England says tomorrow.
-late 19th

What the soldier said isn’t evidence.
-mid 19th

When in doubt, do nowt.
-late 19th

When the gorse is out of bloom, kissing’s out of fashion.
-mid 19th

When the oak is before the ash, then you will only get a splash; when the ash is before the oak, then you may expect a soak.
-mid 19th

Where MacGregor sits at the head of the table.
-mid 19th

Who says A must say B.
-mid 19th century, usually North American

Why should the devil have all the best tunes?
-mid 19th

A willful man must have his way.
-early 19th

A woman’s place is in the home.
-mid 19th

Yorkshire born and Yorkshire bred, strong in the arm and weak in the head.
the names of other (chiefly northern) English counties and towns are also used instead of Yorkshire

-mid 19th

You cannot get a quart into a pint pot.
-late 19th

You cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs.
-mid 19th

You don’t get something for nothing.
-late 19th

You never know what you can do till you try.
-early 19th

You pays your money and you takes your choice.
-mid 19th

You should know a man seven years before you stir his fire.
-early 19th

Youth must be served.
-early 19th

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



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