Life in Elizabethan England Next

Proverbs And Wise Sayings

On Husbandry:
A wife, a spaniel, a walnut tree:
The more you beat them, the better they be.
A woman fit to be a man's wife is too good to be his servant.
Women commend a modest man but like him not.
How to tell character by coloring:
Red wise
Brown trusty
Pale envious
Black lusty
On international relations
Germans woo like lions,
Italians like foxes,
Spaniards like friars,
and Frenchmen like stinging bees.
On various topics:
Age and wedlock tames man and beast.
Many kiss the child for its nurse's sake.
As seasonable as snow in Summer.
Three may keep counsel if two be away.
Four pints of ale at a meal is three too many.
The Perfect Servant?
A trusty servant's portrait you would see,
This emblematic figure we'll survey.
The porker's snout — not nice in diet shows;
The padlock's shut — no secret he'll disclose;
Patient the ass — his master's wrath will bear;
Swiftness in errand — the stag's feet will declare;
Alluded his left hand — apt to labour saith;
The vest — his neatness; open hand — his faith;
Girt with his sword, his shield upon his arm,
Himself and master he'll protect from harm.
-- Graffiti on the kitchen wall at Winchester College, dated 1563

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27 March 2008 mps