Bacchus, well his sheep he knows,

For he marks them on the nose.


Babble will not boil the kettle.

Or as the Persians say, “I hear the sound of the mill-stones, but see no meal.” Mere words do nothing abroad or at home.

“Oh, that the tongue would quiet stay,

And let the hand its power display.”


Bad beef will never make good broth.

Several meanings may be given to this proverb. You cannot get good influences out of bad doctrine. Ill-gotten money brings no blessing in its use. Bad schemes cannot lead to good results.


Bad companions are the devil's decoy ducks.

In the old poem of "The Plain-Dealing Man" (1609), we read--

“In the first place, I'd wish you beware

What company you may come in,

For those that are wicked themselves

Will quickly tempt others to sin.”


Bad company is the devil's net.

Thousands are every year drawn to destruction through association with the vicious. “Evil communications corrupt good manners.” If coals do not burn they blacken: evil company hurts reputation if it does not deprave character, and therefore it ought to be earnestly avoided.

Bad customs are not binding.

In fact, it is our duty to break through them, and set up new and righteous customs. Let us create precedents pure and honest.

Bad lessons are soon learned and long remembered.

Fuller wrote: "Almost twenty years since I heard a profane jest, and still remember it. How many pious passages of far later date have I forgotten! It seems my soul is like a filthy pond, wherein fish die soon, and frogs live long."

Bad wares are never cheap.

Yet they catch a crowd of customers. The reason for this lies in Carlyle's remark, that the United Kingdom contains so many millions of inhabitants, mostly fools.


Bad words better no one.


Bad work is never worth doing.

It will only need undoing, or if it be left as it is, it will be a perpetual abomination. Work thou thy best, or let it rest!


Badly won is soon wasted.

The man is unable to make good use of what he has gained; for he has injured his own mind in the process of getting it, and made himself incapable of making the best of his gains. Moreover, a sort of fatality goes with ill-won wealth, and it soon melts away.


Bairns must creep before they walk.


Bald men have all the less to brush.

Men without property have all the less to take care of.


Bare-footed folk should not tread on thorns.

Those who are peculiarly sensitive in any direction should keep out of the way of the evil they dread.


Bare walls make gadding wives.

When the rooms are unfurnished, and there is really no home, does anybody wonder that the wife goes abroad to spend her weary hours? How much of misery the wives of drinking men have to bear, is known to him who will not let their tears fall to the ground without making enquiry of the wrong-doer.


Bashful dogs get little meat:

Bravely take thy proper seat.

Some spoil their prospects by being too shy. Modesty is beautiful, but one may have so much of it that the beauty is likely to turn to skin and bone. Let the timid reader think of this couplet, and pluck up courage to do what be has a right to do, and to claim his own. We know some who will never suffer from any excess of bashfulness; but we need not introduce them, for they will speak for themselves.


Be a little fish if you have but little water.

Accommodate yourself to your condition.


Be a man, and not a masher.

Don't want to know what this means; the subject is too insignificant.


Be a man, and not a mouse.

Latimer said: "When I live in a settled and steadfast assurance about the state of my soul, methinks I am as bold as a lion. I can laugh at all trouble; no affliction daunts me. But when I am eclipsed in my comforts, I am of so fearful a spirit that I could run into a mouse-hole."


Be a man, and not a clothes-horse.

Be not a mere thing to hang clothes on. Though Teuifelsdröckh asserts that "man's earthly interests are all hooked and buttoned together, and held up by clothes," we like something inside the clothes.

"We little care for coat and vest,

For trousers, hat, and all the rest.

In tailor's dummy we can see

Just such a man as mashers be."


Be a man before your mother.

Some do not seem as if they would be. The mere dandy is like his mother in this only she will never be a man, nor will he.


Be always ahead of your work.

Then you will be comfortable. If you are behind-hand, you will be constantly whipped at the cart's tail of hurry.


Be always as cheerful as ever you can,

For few will delight in a sorrowful man.

Hood, visited by a clergyman whose features, as well as language, were lugubrious, looked up at him compassionately and said, "My dear sir, I'm afraid your religion doesn't agree with you." The same remark might be made to others who seem to have just religion enough to make them miserable. They forget the precept "Rejoice in the Lord."


Be always in time; too late is a crime.

This is putting it rather strong; but I would talk to an unpunctual man like a Dutch uncle, and give him the rough side of my tongue.


Be always valorous, but seldom venturous.

We are to be ready for all that comes, but we are not to seek conflict. Face a lion if you must, but don't go down to the circus and get into a cage with him of your own accord.


Be angry with self and sin, for such anger is no sin.

It is a case of "Be ye angry, and sin not." He who cannot be angry at evil has no love for goodness. He may be truly called, in Dr. Johnson's phrase, "a good hater" who hates only that which is morally hateful.


Be as firm as a rock when tempted to sin,

And as calm as a clock when troubles begin.


Be as loving as a dove, and as cheerful as a cricket.


Be as neat as a pin, and as brisk as a bee.

Appearance and deportment may seem little things, but they greatly affect success in life. Employers like to have about them persons who are neat in attire and quick in their movements. Nobody wants to have a bundle of old rags rolling about his shop.


Be as prompt to pay as to receive payment.


Be bold, but not too bold; strong, but not head-strong.


Be bound for your friend, and your friendship will end.

You will have to pay the amount for which you are surety, and then your friend will keep out of your way, and you will be glad that he should.


Be careful, but not full of care.

It has been well said that our anxiety does not empty to-morrow of its sorrows, but only empties to-day of its strength.


Be careful with asses, and lasses, and glasses.

These are three different but dangerous things. We place them in order, in the positive, comparative, and superlative degree.


Be chaste as a lily.

Never was this exhortation more needed than now, when men are trying to legalize impurity. Young men, shun all unchastity!


Be clean if you can't be clever.

Many fail not from want of genius, but from want of soap and water, clothes -brush and tooth - brush. It is a pity that no one tells them of it.


Be deaf to furious quarrels, and dumb to foolish questions.

The less you have to do with either the one or the other, the better for your peace of mind.


Be deaf with one ear, and blind with one eye.

Some things it is well neither to hear nor see. Discretion will tell us when to be observantly blind, and forgetfully deaf.


Be good, and then do good.

You cannot really do more than you are.


Be good, get good, and do good.

Do a the good you can; to all people you can; in all the ways you can; as often as you can; and as long as you can.


Be good, or it will not be good to be.

Without grace in the heart, it were better for that man that he had never been born. Even for this world he who does no good dies "much unlamented."


Be good within; do good without.

When a candle is alight within a lantern it sheds a light all around: but if the lantern be dark within it is of no use to those outside. It is the same with men. Have light in yourselves.


Be hardy, but not hard.

Endure hardship yourself; but do not become unkind to others because you are strong and can rough it. A hardy man with a tender heart is a beautiful character; but an unfeeling tyrant is a curse to his household.


Be honest, and thus outwit the rogues.

Honesty perplexes the cunning. They think you are practising some deep policy, and they are baffled.


Be hospitable, but take nobody in.

In other words--Receive many, but deceive none.


Be humble, or you'll stumble.

"Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."--Prov. xvi. 18.


Be in good spirits without ardent spirits.


Be in the mill and expect to have flour on your coat.

Your associations in business and friendship will tell upon your reputation and character.


Be in the right way, but be in nobody's way.


Be it weal, or be it woe,

It will not evermore be so.

Our condition will change; and this is a good reason why we should neither presume on the present, nor despair concerning it.

"The world goes up, and the world goes down,

And the sunshine follows the rain;

And yesterday's sneer, and yesterday's frown,

Can never come over again."–C. Kingsley.


Be just to all, but trust not all.

It would be unjust not to trust some: it would be unwise to trust many.


Be kind to mankind.

We are all of a kind, all of kin, or say, all kinned, and therefore we should be kind to each other.


Be kind to your horse, for it cannot complain:

Be tender when using the whip or the rein.

There is a special venom in cruelty to dumb animals. Their silence should be eloquent with every heart.


Be low in humility and high in hope.

He who will not bend his head in humility will run against a beam; he that will not hold up his head in hopefulness will not be cheered by an early sight of the good which is waiting for him.


Be low, or you will be sent below.

Many have had "with shame to take the lowest room," because they would push themselves forward where they had no right to be.

"Who wrongly takes the highest place

Shall be sent down with much disgrace."


Be merrily wise and wisely merry.

It is to be done, though it will need prudence and prayer.


Be neither careworn nor careless.


Be no time-server, and yet serve your times.

As David served his generation by the will of God, so should we; but this is a very different thing from standing cap in hand to curry favour with those who for awhile are in power.


Be not a baker if your brow is butter.

Don't undertake works and offices for which you are peculiarly unfit. If you have a special weakness, do not expose it by attempting to do things which will bring it out. He who has no voice should not be a public speaker: he who cannot make the worse appear the better reason should not be a statesman.


Be not all abroad when you are abroad.

If you are so, you will find many who will prey upon you.


Be not all rake, nor all fork;

Be not all screw, nor all cork.

Neither spend all, nor grasp all; neither draw all out, nor keep all in. Follow wisdom in all her ways.


Be not, and believe not, a tale-bearer.

It is announced that the ladies of a certain place are forming an Anti-speak-evil-of-your-

neighbour Society, and it is generally understood that auxiliaries are needed elsewhere.


Be not eagles abroad and moles at home.

Seein great beauties in foreign scenery, and none in our own fairest of lands, is the folly of shallow minds. The same kind of blindness to things near shows itself in other ways.


Be not ever and over touchy.

Too much sensitiveness will be avoided by a sensible man. Persons who are easily aggrieved will have a sad time of it in this rough-and-tumble world.


Be not everybody's dog that whistles you.

Have a mind of your own, and do not follow first one leader, and then another.


Be not cast down when thou art poor,

But stir thy hand, and work for more.

A wit observes that we ought not to be down when it seems to be all up with us. Remember Robert Bruce's spider, and begin to spin again.


Be not fast to feast, and loth to labour.

A good trencher-man should be good at other tools besides his knife and fork.


Be not first to quarrel, nor last to make it up.

Generally the first to fall out is the last to make peace. We may often know who is in the right by seeing who is most ready to set matters right. A quarrel is always well ended, when truly ended; but it is never well begun, for it should never begin.


Be not honey abroad and wormwood at home.

Do not spend all your good humour on strangers, and then sulk and scold in your own house. Some read it, "Be not an angel abroad and a devil at home." Who but a hypocrite will bring him. self under the censure of this proverb?


Be not little and loud, nor long and lazy.


Be not only good, but good at something.

Have a spécialité, a work at which you are at home. The worst of many is that their goodness is distributed rather than concentrated. They are like a sheet of water, instead of being like a running stream, which can be used to turn a wheel.


Be not proud of race, face, place, or grace.


Be not the first by whom the new is tried,

Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.

Pope has given us this and a vast number of equally wise aphorisms. Here we have a man of Conservative-Radical opinions, and in the long run these are what wise men run to.


Be not YY in your own II.

For if so, you will not be wise in the eyes of anyone else.


Be old when young, that you may be young when old.

Prudence, sobriety, and true godliness are supposed to be appropriate to the aged; but we should possess them in our youth. So may we hope to be preserved in health and vigour when years have multiplied upon us.


Be old young, and old long.

Doubtless prudence in youth, by keeping men back from vice, tends to lengthen their lives.


Be quick to work thy neighbour's weal,

And for his sorrows kindly feel.

"That charity is valueless which, like the blood of St. Januarius liquefies but once a year."


Be quick at work, and slow to talk.

Especially be quick in holy service; but be slow to speak unless you have something worth saying. When folks were quarrelling round the table, the Dutchman said: "I says notings--I eats." So let every man who loves peace keep out of harm's way, and whisper to himself: "I says notings--I works."


Be quiet: walls have ears.

Nobody knows who maybe listening; say nothing which you would not wish put in the daily paper.


Be ready for work and steady at work.

In a laborious husbandman you see,

What all true Christians are, or ought to be.


Be rough and ready rather than fine and faddy.


Be slow enough to be sure.

Don't shut your eyes and go at it like a bull; but see your way, and then make a way.


Be slow in choosing, slower in changing.

Especially with regard to wife or husband. Ovid says:--

"Before your youth with marriage is oppressed,

Make choice of one who suits your humour best ;

Such choicest damsel drops not from the sky,

She must be sought for with a studious eye."


Be solid, not sad; be merry, not mad.

There's a medium in thoughtfulness and gaiety; find it out, and keep to it. The middle way in this matter is the safe way.


Be spare of diet, sparer of words, sparest of time.


Be sure you know your own know.

Don't pretend to knowledge, and then break down under a question or two. Also, be quite sure of what you know, and let nobody beat you from your belief.


Be sure you possess what you profess.

Because so many are mere professors, religion is not in the repute it should be. The profession of riches without their possession leads to the worst form of poverty. None is so wretched as the poor man who maintains the semblance of wealth. It must be hard to pay the Income Tax of "keeping up appearances" when he is well nigh penniless.


Be surety? Of a surety, no!

Yet again and again men are sureties for more than they can spare, and bring misery upon their families. I have known men's wives and children brought to absolute want through the father's "just putting his name to a bill," of which he was solemnly assured that he would never hear again, and just the use of his name would save his friend from going to the dogs! Alas, he did hear of it again, and was compelled to impoverish his wife and children to pay another man's debt!


Be swift to console, and slow to condemn.


Be thou gentle every way,

So thy peace shall with thee stay.

A quiet spirit, which never yields to passion, is one of the happiest possessions outside of heaven. Happy is he who is ever tender in heart, and tone, and spirit! The gentle man is the true gentleman.


Be true as steel, come woe or weal.


Be very slow a pledge to make,

But slower still your word to break.

Dr. Johnson spoke of one who was no genius, but so true to his pledge, that if he promised you an acorn, and none grew in England that year, he would send to Denmark to get one rather than let his promise fail.


Be wary whereso'er thou be,

For from deceit no place is free.


Be willing to want that which God is not willing to give.

"I find the best way to have my own will is to resign myself to thy will, and to say Amen to thy Amen."–T. Brooks.


Be wisely worldly, but not worldly wise.

We must be prudent in our dealings, but not with the wisdom of this world! Bunyan's rhyme is a good one --

"When Christians unto carnal men gave ear,

Out of their way they go and pay for't dear;

For Master Worldly Wiseman can but show

A saint the way to bondage and to woe."


Be with the bad, and bad you will be.

Sleep in the soot, and you will be black.


Be your own most useful friend;

Cease on others to depend.

An ancient philosopher once said, "I am the only one of my friends that I can rely upon." A friend may help you over a stile, but he cannot be expected to carry you on his back.


Bear and forbear, and bear again:

Let four bears with you remain.


Bear the hen's cackle for the sake of the eggs.

Little annoyances must be put up with because of great advantages. The rattle of machinery, and the noise of traffic must be endured for the sake of the business.


Beauty doth bind all but the blind.


Beauty is a fair but fading flower.


Beauty is best when plainly drest.

Hannah More without a jewel shone like a star amid fine ladies.


Beauty is but skin deep.

A lady who had nothing attractive in her appearance was wont to say sharply to a young lady, "Beauty is only skin deep." That lady, who was fair to look upon, replied, "And so is ugliness." All quarrels about looks may well end, for we have something better to care about. Socrates wisely said: "I pray thee, O God, that I maybe beautiful within!"


Beauty turns to ashes at last.

Hence the higher value of beauty of character.

"Beautiful hands are those that do

Work that is earnest, brave and true,

Moment by moment the whole day through."

Such hands will not be lost in the grave, but remembered by what they have done.


Beauty wins, but bounty holds.

The eye is charmed by an elegant appearance, but the actual receipt of kindness is that which retains the heart.


Beauty without grace is a violet without scent.


Beauty with wickedness is Satan's baited hook.


Beer brings many to their bier.

He who made this pun would no doubt pick a pocket of hops rather than drink a drop of the bitter.


Beer is never so flat as those who drink it.


Bees gather sweet honey from bitter herbs.

Gracious men are taught to take pleasure in infirmities and trials; and they also make accidents and calamities occasions for doing good.


Before a fool handles a whip he ought to feel it on his own back.

Not meant to be a cruel observation, but to prevent much of that cruelty which arises from ignorance of the pain which the lash is causing.


Before ill chances men are ever merry,

But heaviness foreruns the good event.

This observation has been made by many; and one of our hymn-writers has embalmed the prognostic in a verse which ends:--

"We should suspect some danger nigh

When we perceive too much delight."


Before you call a man your friend eat a bushel of salt with him.

Know him, and try him. Be not in a hurry to trust one of whom you have no experience. The costermongers say, "Crack and try, before you buy," and that is only about a walnut. Eating with a man is a good test, lodging with him is better, but travelling with him is best of all.


Before you decide

Hear the other side.

This is sensible advice, but many persist in the neglect of it.


Before you doctor others, try your own physic.

Especially if you try to teach the gospel. Never preach beyond your experience.


Before you hang up your hat look at the peg.

See what sort of family you will be connected with by the marriage. Observe well your mother-in-law!


Before you get a bird provide a cage.

Or, in other words,

"Before you marry

Have a house wherein to tarry."

One would think this advice unnecessary, but people are reckless nowadays. We hope our readers will not begin housekeeping with furniture on credit: it is not creditable.


Before you keep your carriage, be sure that you can keep your legs.

Don't rush into a large expenditure before you are certain that you can keep up your ordinary business standing.


Before you mount look to your girth.

Applicable to many mounts beside those upon a horse's back. Many men accept offices which they cannot fulfil, and enter upon positions which they cannot maintain.


Before you put on your new clothes take off the old.

You must repent and leave off old sins before you can hope to exhibit the graces of the Christian life. Put off the old man and put on the new man.--Col. iii. 9, 10.


Before you rectify another, be right yourself.

It is an evil for rebuke and blame,

A vice to reprehend, and do the same.


Before you run in double harness, look well at the other horse.


Before you spend eleven pence, earn a shilling.


Before you trust the cat, put the cream out of reach.

Remove temptation even from those in whom you have confidence. He who bids you pray, "Lead us not into temptation," would not have you lead others into it.


Before your pocket has gone to the socket,

Either new stock it, or totally block it.


Begin as you mean to go on.

Do not yield everything at first. Do not make the new-comer think that there are seven Sundays in the week in your house. Don't spend all in the honeymoon, &c., &c.


Beggars must not be choosers.

Take gratefully what is given thee, O man, for what art thou but a mendicant at the gate of mercy?


Begin on porridge, that you may end with chicken.

This is the Scotch form of very good advice, and it means--Live at first with great frugality, that you may rise in the world, and have easy times later on. It is to be feared that many begin with the chicken, and what they will end with we can easily guess. In England we say, "Eat your brown bread first." While a young man is single let him live hard, that in after years he may not be forced to keep to "bread and pull it" but may have pullet with his bread.


Begin only what you can hope to finish.


Believe not all, doubt not all.

Have a judicious mind towards men, and neither fall into credulity nor suspicion.

"I rather would, because it seemeth just,

Deceived be, than causelessly distrust."


Believe not half you hear, and repeat not half you believe.

My uncle used to say, "When you hear an ill report of any one, halve it, and then quarter it, and then say nothing about the rest."


Believe nothing ill of an old friend.


Bend the boy's neck, or he'll be a stiffnecked man.

Want of training to obedience in youth is the cause of much of the disorder and love of anarchy which we see in certain classes of society. The child is getting to be the father of the man with a vengeance, and the father is coming to be the son's slave.


Bended knees save broken bones.

Yield to God's word and will, and you will escape many a calamity. Prayer will, be your safeguard.


Better a blush on the face than a stain on the heart.


Better a bridle on the tongue than a lash upon the conscience.

If we are not careful what we say, we may have to smart in conscience over evils which we cannot undo, which were wrought by our unbridled tongues.


Better a blind horse than an empty stall.


Better a fortune in a wife than a fortune with a wife.


Better a friendly "No," than a grudging "Yes."


Better a full barrow than an empty waggon.

A little man doing his best is to be preferred to a greater man of whom nothing comes.


Better a good groat than a bad bank-note.

Sincerity makes the least man to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite.


Better a little loss than a long sorrow.


Better a low house than no house.


Better a patch than a hole.


Better a purse empty than full of other men's money.

Gaining riches by chicanery is drawing down a curse upon ourselves. Honourable poverty is infinitely to be preferred to dishonest wealth, or to large indebtedness. In the Telugu we read: "A cupful of rice-water without debt is enough."


Better a salt tongue than an oily one.

Sensible persons prefer a little sharp honesty to glib deceit. We say, "I Speak truth, and shame the devil," but we know some who warp the truth, and please the devil.

I heartily hate

All plausible prate.


Better a small nose than no nose at all.

Thus may those who are ridiculed as to their features readily comfort themselves.


Better a spur in the brain than on the heel.

Activity of mind is the great thing: the mere show of speed is nothing. Or we may understand that a man of sense can make matters go on better by the use of his brain, than by any mere force or cruelty.


Better a tooth out than aching.

Or as some put it, "Better an empty house than a bad tenant."


Better a tough rabbit than a tender cat.

One can be eaten, and the other cannot. So there are characters of whom the best is not so good as the worst of another sort. Yet have we no liking for tough rabbits though we thus speak.


Better a true enemy than a false friend.

We know what to do with an open foe, and are not disappointed in him.


Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit.

Wit is a razor, and if it be in unwise hands it may injure men. It needs great sense to play the fool, and a man who attempts wit should have all his wits about him.


Better absent from a feast than present at a fray.


Better alone than in bad company.


Better an ass that carries you than a horse that throws you.


Better ask the way than go astray.

An Eastern philosopher was asked how he had acquired so much knowledge, and his answer was: "I never was prevented by pride or by shame from asking questions." A coachman completely lost himself in London because he was too conceited to enquire the way, and many will thus miss their way to heaven.


Better ask the way twice than wander once.


Better be a living dog than a dead lion.

This is Solomon's proverb, and it may be applied in many ways. The poorest genuine Christian is to be preferred to the most pretentious hypocrite.


Better be a lean bird in a wood than a fat one in a cage.

The sweets of liberty are worth paying for. The Creoles say that "Fat has no feeling," hence the fat bird does not fret about the cage.


Better be good and have good than hear of good.

The mere report will tantalize; but to have and enjoy is a great privilege. He knew little of sweet who is mentioned in the Singhalese story, but there are many like him: he said that sugar-candy was sweet. When asked if he had tasted it, he answered, "No; my brother told me." Being further questioned, "Has your brother tasted it?" He replied, "No; but a man at Colombo told him so." Personal experience is better far than, hearsay.


Better be half-an-hour too soon than a minute too late.

Then you only lose your own time, but in the other case you are wasting the time of others. If you keep four persons waiting a quarter of an hour, you have stolen an hour of their time.


Better be last among saints than first among sinners.


Better be little in Israel than great in Babylon.


Better be mute than mutter.

Silent patience is better than murmuring against God.


Better be rich in good than rich in goods.


Better be the Lord's dog than the devil's darling.

The most despised and afflicted saint is to be preferred to the most prosperous and honoured of the wicked.--Ps. lxxxiv. 10.


Better be unknown than ill-known.


Better be untaught than ill-taught.

What we learn incorrectly has to be unlearned. He that learned French "after the manner of Stratford-at-Bow" found, when he went to Paris, that the French did not understand their own language; at least, not as he spoke it. In religion, science, and everything else, it is the false which hinders the true knowledge.


Better be well and lean than ill and fat.


Better bend than break: giving way makes way.


Better bend the neck than break the brow.


Better birds' song

Than lordly throng.

The joys of a country life far surpass those of town and court.


Better bread in the lap

Than feather in the cap.

A supply for necessities is better than mere honour or the pretence of it. "Rag and famish" is a poor motto.


Better break your leg than your neck.

Undoubtedly the one is a sad accident, but to lose life itself is worse. In all matters prefer the less evil to the greater, and solace yourself under any ill with the reflection that it might be worse. The wicked old woman when she lost her old man said, "Well, it might have been worse. The cow might have died."


Better buy than borrow: better give than lend.


Better catch small fish than come home with empty dish.


Better come from the barn than from the band-box.

Common-sense working men are worth a dozen dandies. "He looks as if he had just stepped out of a bandbox" is not a compliment to any man.


Better die than lie; better suffer than sin.


Better do than dream;

Better be than seem.


Better do what you like not than what you ought not.


Better dove without serpent than serpent without dove.

Simplicity without prudence is better than subtlety without sincerity. Yet when a fellow will not do right when softly persuaded by your dove, it may be wise to set your serpent at him.


Better eat humble pie than no pie at all.

Some throw themselves out of situation sooner than apologize for a fault or put up with a rebuke. This is extreme folly.


Better enquire and enquire than flounder in the mire.


Better face a danger than be always in fear.


Better fare poorly than feel proudly.


Better fast than be scolded all dinner-time.

Solomon saith: "Better is a dry morsel, and quietness there-with, than an house full of sacrifices with strife."--Prov. xvii. 1.


Better fear God than fear ghosts.

Strange that some who do not yield homage to the true God are yet afraid of the silly inventions of superstition.


Better give a shilling than lend half-a-crown.

You will save eighteen pence by the transaction.


Better go barefoot than wear a pinching shoe.

Thus the bachelor justifies his preference to being without a wife rather than having a bad one.


Better God than gold;

Better give than hold.


Better go round about than fall into the ditch.


Better go round than be drowned.


Better go to heaven in rags than to hell in robes.


Better half a loaf than no bread at all.

If wages be not so high as we could wish, yet if we are out of work for a single week it will take months to recover the loss. Strikes hurt the strikers, even if they win.


Better half an egg than an empty shell.


Better have a slow repast

Than choke yourself by eating fast.

Haste, in other matters beside eating and drinking, is the cause of much evil. "He that hasteth to be rich shall not be innocent."


Better keep peace than make pence.

What are small gains compared with the pearl of peace?


Better keep Satan out than get him out.

Well worth remembering. It is a simpler and easier thing to fasten the doors and keep out thieves, than it is to fight with burglars when they are once indoors. It is easier to prevent. a quarrel than to bring it to a happy end when once begun. It is better not to form any bad habit than to overcome it.


Better hermit's desert cell

Than with brawling wife to dwell.


Better late than never, but better never late.

It is a sad thing when true religion has been left till late in life, but yet a mercy if a man finds it at all. Mr. Bunyan makes Christian sing:--

"‘Tis true, ‘twas long ere I began

To seek to live for ever;

But now I run fast as I can;

‘Tis better late than never."


Better leave undone than have to undo.

When a case is doubtful, it is best to do nothing till you see what to do; for if we do the wrong thing it may make bad worse.


Better limp to heaven than leap to hell.


Better little man for friend than great man for foe.


Better live on a little than outlive a great deal.

Economy must be strictly practised when a business is in peril for the greatest pinching will be better than losing the chance of a livelihood. Cultivate forethought upon a little oatmeal. Do not by extravagance kill the goose which lays the golden eggs.


Better long little than soon nothing.

To remember this will check hasty and excessive expenditure.


Better lose much than lose more.


Better lose the wool than the sheep.

Let go a little to keep the larger part: lose the interest to save the capital. Let the salary go if the church can be kept right. But in this last case some would let the sheep go if the wool would remain for their portion.


Better miss a dinner than make work for a doctor.

Is not a little fasting the best medicine? Are not "little dinners" a great risk to weak stomachs?


Better one's house be too little one day than too big all the year round.

For a house which is too large involves daily trouble and expense, and tends to the impoverishment of the inhabitant.


Better preserved in brine than perished in honey.

To be kept right by trouble is to be desired rather than to be led astray by pleasure.


Better out of fashion than out of credit.

Some spend so much to be fashionable that they get into debt and lose credit with neighbours. "You must be in the fashion" is the utterance of weak-headed mortals.


Better poverty and truth than prosperity with falsehood.

For wealth gained by falsehood yields no rest. It would be wise at once to get out of a false position.

By seeming other than thou art,

Thou dolt perform a foolish part.


Better rub away than rust away.


Better run a mile-than pick a quarrel.


Better serve God in a city than in a cell.

Because there is more opportunity for doing good among the masses. Lonely service may be good for me; but what is to become of perishing millions?


Better serve God in solitude than sin with the multitude.


Better short of pence than short of sense.

A philosopher has said, "A man without money is poor, yet a man with nothing but money is poorer."


Better sit still than rise to fall.

Many were once doing well in business; but they tried to do too much, and did it. "Vaulting ambition doth o'erleap herself." A courtier wrote on a pane of glass,

"Fain would I climb but that I fear to fall."

Queen Elizabeth wisely wrote under it,

"If thy heart fail thee, do not climb at all."


Better sing than sigh; but better sigh than sin.


Better slip with foot than slip with tongue.


Better sober silence than sottish song.


Better slow in the road than quick in by-path meadow.


Better some of a dumpling than none of a pudding.

The Knight, in Don Quixote, wisely said "Since we have a good loaf let us not look for cheese-cakes."


Better stint than run in debt.

Indeed this is a duty. What we cannot pay for we must wait for.


Better suffer a great wrong than do a little one.

The bulk of men would reverse this, and do great wrongs to escape from slight sufferings.


Better suffer without cause than cause suffering.


Better than star on the breast is a conscience at rest.

"Bless my stars and garters!" is a common exclamation but a quiet conscience is blest already.


Better the child cry than the father sigh.

Fuller said: "He that will not use the rod on his child, his child shall shall be used as a rod on him."


Better the error of love than the love of error.

The error of love is sincere, and may lead to fanaticism; but the love of error is of the devil altogether.


Better the ills we know than those we know not.

It is perilous work to change our crosses; for our shoulders are growing accustomed to those we have. Some even bid us be careful in brushing off a mosquito, for that particular tormentor is getting satisfied, and a new-comer will be more hungry, and therefore bite you all the worse. The element of uncertainty should make us slow to change our trials, even if we had the power to do so.


Better to bed without supper than rise in debt.


Better to starve in honesty than to fatten in roguery.


Better trust an unbroken horse than an unbridled tongue.

Both will run away with you; but the tongue will take you into greatest danger.


Better wait than burn your mouth.


Better wear out shoes than sheets.

Industry is much to be preferred to indolent self -indulgence. Better trudge along the road to success than doze one's self into failure.


Better wear on than rust out.

This is an improvement upon the old saying, "Better wear out than rust out." When a man works on fairly, he does not wear out, but the work does him good.


Better wear the blue than bear the blues.

The Blue Ribbon is the ensign of Temperance, but the blues are the melancholy which grows out of excess.


Better wee fire to warm than big fire to burn.


Better work for nothing than become lazy.

It is really so. Gentlemen who have retired from business often take up an unpaid occupation to keep themselves from absolute weariness of life.


Between right and wrong there is no middle path.

Though a great many try to make one, they can never succeed.

There, is a right way and a wrong,

You cannot travel both along.

Choose this or that without delay,

But don't pretend a middle way.


Between said and done a race may be run.

It is greatly desired that they may very nearly keep pace with each other. Said will be a little ahead, but Done should follow at his heel.


Between two fires one finds it too hot.

Two to one is no fun. We may answer one questioner, but two brow-beaters beat us altogether.


Between two liars the truth comes out.


Between two stools we come to the ground.


Beware of a dog that barks little, but makes his teeth meet.


Beware of a man of two faces.


Beware of a man who has quitted his friend,

His friendship with you will soon come to an end.


Beware of a man who has nothing to lose.

He is reckless, and raves like a mad dog.


Beware of a woman who says she "hates gossip."

She is pretty sure to be up to her neck in it.


Beware of bees in your bonnet.

Some call them "hobbies," "maggots," or "fads." See "Beware of crotchets in your crown."


Beware of brawlers and crawlers.

Men who, either by noise or by craft, try to make something for themselves are to be avoided.


Beware of building speculators and buildings' peculators.

We saw a misprint in the newspapers, and copied it into this sentence. It is wonderful how we sometimes stumble on the truth by accident.


Beware of crotchets in your crown.

Persons who have them become a nuisance. One man of my acquaintance never finished a conversation without recommending Morrison's pills, another drags in Anglo-Israelism, and a third is of horses horsey. Nothing in the world is half so important as our friend's one craze:

"As Paganini played one string,

This other ninny harps one thing."


Beware of daggers of gold.

These stab at honesty. Many a character has been slaughtered by bribes. Love of gold may stab our piety.


Beware of error sugared with truth.

Nothing is more likely to impose upon you than false doctrine disguised with a smattering of truth.


Beware of gifts that God never gave.

Touch not things which have been gained by knavery; pretend not to talents which you do not really possess.


Beware of having more notion than motion.

We see everywhere persons who know more than they practise, and have more conceit than industry, more doctrine in the head than holiness in the life. Let such men serve us as beacons.


Beware of having sticky fingers.

In handling public money, some have need to hear this warning. In such matters care must be extreme. Here C sar's wife must not only be innocent, but beyond suspicion.


Beware of "heavy wet"! Carry an umbrella.

Yet the "heavy wet" we mean cannot be kept off by an umbrella, for it falls inside the man. Let him shut his mouth against it.


Beware of idols and idlers.


Beware of men made of molasses.

Persons who are very plausible and excessively polite have generally some design upon you, as also religionists who call you "dear" the first time they see you, and are for ever prating of a loge which lies only on their lips, and, lies even there.


Beware of mettle in a blind horse.

He is apt to dash into danger. He must go, and he does not see where. Many zealots are so ignorant that they come under this proverb: they are dangerous when they are not well guided.


Beware of rolls from the brewer's basket.

Nasty rolls they are which come of swimming heads and staggering legs.


Beware of spooning and mooning.

What's the use of giving such advice? One after another the young people come under these lunar influences, as their parents did before them.


Beware of sun-strokes and beer-strokes.

They are great dangers. When a man is said to have "been in the sun" we know what it means.


Beware of the angler with the golden hook.

Money will bribe the most honest. If they do not look well to their dealings, men will find themselves bought and sold before they are well aware of it. Beware of palm-oil!


Beware of the love which has an eye to the larder.

Suspicion that love is selfish should put an end to the acquaintance. One is reported to have said, "Leave you, dear girl? Never! So long as you have a shilling." Cold mutton has enticed many men into the kitchen who were supposed to come there for a certain lamb.


Beware of the mass. Remember the massacre.

St. Bartholomew should be an eternal warning to weak-kneed Protestants.


"Beware of the paint," whether on walls or on women.

Mrs. Partington was right when she would have nothing to do with Beautifiers of the complexion. "Well," said she, "they may get up ever so many of their rostrums, but, depend upon it, the less people have to do with bottles for it the better. My neighbour, Mrs. Blotch, has been using a bottle a good many years for her complexion, and her nose looks like a ruption of Mount Vociferous, with the burning lather running all over the contagious territory." Beware of such paint, whether it be for external or internal application!


Beware of the pottage which colours the nose.

Keep clear of the pots in which it is brought;

Pewter's a metal of dubious sort.


Beware of the stone thou stumbledst at before.

We shall be doubly guilty if we do not learn to avoid in future that which has already proved an occasion of sin to us.


Beware of the sweet meat which will be followed by sour sauce.

Certain sins are of that sort even in this life.


Beware of those who are good-looking, but not good.


Beware of two black eyes.

Whether in your own head, or in the lovely face of a doubtful woman.


Big mouthfuls are apt to choke.

When men boast, or over-promise themselves, they expose themselves to peril. When men go in for great speculations, or large ambitions, they run heavy risks.


Big words from a weak stomach are poor things.


Bills look best receipted.

The Queen's likeness on a receipt stamp is a cheering work of art when seen at the foot of an account.


Bills of accommodation are ills of abomination.

May our uninitiated readers never know what this means.


Bind fast, and find fast,

Keep ye tryst ever;

Strive weal, and thrive weal,

Falter ye never.


Birds of a feather flock together.

"Being let go, they went to their own company."--Acts iv. 23.


Birds sing on a bare bough:

O believer, canst not thou?


Birds that keep aloft escape the net.

Hearts kept near to God are spared many temptations.


Birds when full fledged must fly away:

Young men should not on parents prey.

The ill effects of young men loafing about in the old home are manifest to all. They grow dissatisfied with what their parents do for them, while their parents feel that they are a burden to them. They are in the worst state of dependence, are unfitted for future life, and take liberties which they will find it hard to give up when they are forced to go elsewhere.


Bitter pills cure bitter ills.


Bitter truth should be sweetly spoken.

We should be anxious to cause no more offence than naturally goes with the truth itself. Coat your pills with sugar.


Biters in their turn are bitten;

So expect, for so it's written.


Black care makes grey hair.

Why do we indulge it when we are bidden to be careful for nothing? Are we so eager to make ourselves old?


Black clouds yield silver showers.

"Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy, and shall break

In blessings on your head."


Black earth yields white bread.


Black soils grow bright flowers.

Adversity produces spiritual prosperity when sanctified by grace.


Black will take no other colour.

Yet the grace of God can remove the blackness of sin, and make us whiter than the snow.


Blend serpent and dove: have both wisdom and love.


Blow the wind never so fast,

It will lower at last.

Hope, therefore, that time will bring calm after tempest, joy after sorrow, rest after trouble.


Blue is blue, but there may be better blue.

True and faithful, good and generous as a man may be, there may be others quite as good, if not better.


Blue ribbon is better than blue ruin.

Recommend Gospel Temperance everywhere, and specially recommend it by your own practice of it.


Boast not of what thou hast: let God be magnified.


Boast not what thou hast not, lest men thy brags deride.


Boast not your wisdom: Satan knows more than you.


Boil stones in butter, and you lose your pains.

They will neither be soft nor palatable. Certain persons seem none the better for all the kindness you can do them.


Borrowed pots are apt to leak.

They are a miserable makeshift and usually go home cracked.


Borrowing may be tried once, but only once.

Sudden need may come to any one, but the habit of running to others should not be formed, much less continued in.


Both folly and wisdom grow with our years.

Too often they seem to grow side by side. Some know better and do worse. Time makes some mellow, and others rotten.


Both God and man hate pride.

Even the man who is proud as Lucifer himself detests pride in others.


Boughs that most with fruit abound,

Bow themselves towards the ground.

Fruitfulness fosters humility.


Bought wit is better than short wit.


Bought wit is not always worth what it costs.

No. You can be so wounded by experience of your own folly that no prudence throughout the future will ever heal it. It is far wiser to learn from the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, than to need the painful teaching of sorrow.


Bought wit lasts longest.

It makes a deep impression on the memory, and usually remains for life. Its serious price helps its preservation.


Bounce is the language of folly.

Loud braying reveals a certain creature by no means famed for wisdom.


Boundless misery is met by boundless mercy.

This is the essence of gospel truth. Let the miserable try it.


Boys will be boys.

Yet it is well for us and for them to remember that "boys will be men"; and that--

The boy who best learns all he can,

Will best succeed when he's a man.


Brag and Bounce don't weigh an ounce.


Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is better.


Bragging sportsmen bag few birds.


Bread baked must be eaten.

Either by ourselves or somebody. Our conduct has results, and very sad ones, too, in some cases.


Break the egg, and no bad bird will come of it.

End the matter while yet the evil is only in thought and plan, lest it become an overt act of wrong.


Break up family jars, and cover old scars.


Brevity is a fine thing in a speech.

Want of study, and want of really knowing what one is driving at, must bear blame of many a long and weary talk. Hence a short speech is usually of better quality than a long one; and if it is not, it is all the better that it is short.


Bribes throw dust into eyes

Of men who else were wise.

This bribing takes a thousand shapes, and operates on men who would scorn the influence if they were aware of its operation.


Brick by brick houses are built.

Steady plodding will accomplish anything.

By many strokes the work is done,

Which cannot be performed at one.


Bridesmaids may soon be made brides.

One wedding usually brings on another, "and so the world wags." Those who play second fiddle well, will one day rise to be principal performers.


Bring up a raven, and it pecks out your eyes.

Alas, that ingratitude should be so common as to have produced and justified this proverb! Ingratitude is ravenous cruelty.


Bring up your boy to nothing, and he'll be a rogue.

He will have nothing to do, and he will do it diligently. Of course he will run into bad company, and wicked men and the devil together will soon make a tool of him.


Broken eggs can never be mended.

So is it with many a broken vow, a plighted troth, a spotless character, a hopeful usefulness.


Broken friendship may be soldered, but it is seldom sound.


Brotherly love is the livery of God's servants.

"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren."–I John iii. 14.


Busy tongues make idle hands.

It's woful to have a house full of cacklers, and never an egg from the whole of them. While they talk about everything, they do nothing.


Buttons all right are husbands' delight.

What vexation may be caused by neglect of such a little thing as a button! Let wives think nothing trivial which tends to peace.


Buy a bit of flannel, never mind ribbons.


Buy at market, but sell at home.

One is not sure of the wisdom of this; but we suppose there is something in it, or it would not be a proverb. Very much must depend upon whether you can find purchasers near home.


Buy not on trust; down with the dust.

A shopkeeper's sign in China bore the inscription "No credit--we have learned wisdom from former customers."


Buy one fine thing, and you must buy ten more.

Thus the piano on the hire system leads to no end of purchases, and the family is impoverished. To make things all of a piece they go to pieces. They have a hole, and so they are bound to have a mouse, and having a mouse they must have a cat: of course, the cat has kittens, &c., &c.


Buy sixpenny-worth of stick-to-it.

Application and perseverance are necessary. Some persons are everything by turns and nothing long, and therefore they never succeed in anything.


Buy the best: things may cost less, and be worthless.

Horrible cheapness is ruining both buyer, seller, and producer. If we get things for less money, there is less material or less work in them, and they are soon worn out.


By digging and digging the truth is discovered.


By doing nothing we do ill.


By drops and wets Jack's money sweats.


By everyone minding his own business work is done.


By frequent trying Troy was won,

All things by trying may be done.


By loaning and squabbling one loseth one's friend,

But squaring and settling keep peace to the end.


By losing present time we lose all time.

Since we have in truth no time but time present.


By our own toothache we learn

To pity others in our turn.

"A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind.


By perseverance the snail reached the ark.

No doubt the snails started early, and by keeping on they entered the ark, and were saved as surely as the greyhounds. Wither says in his couplet:--

"They who but slowly paced are

By plodding on may travel far."


By saying nothing you may pass for wise.

Who is to know to the contrary? "Mother," said the girl, "if I hold my tongue at the party they will think I am a fool." "Never mind, child," said the old lady, "if you are quiet they will only think you a fool; but if you begin talking they will know you are. So hold your tongue."


By staring at the moon men stumble into the ditch.

Great questions and speculations lead men into errors, both doctrinal and practical. It would be better if these persons would have sense enough to mind the more common and the more practical duties. We are afraid that it cannot be said of certain of them--

"He knew what's what, and that's as high

As metaphysic wit can fly."


By the street of By-and-by we come to the house of Never.

Then shun the road, my youthful friends;

Work on yet while you may;

Let not old age o'ertake you as you slothfully delay,

Lest you should gaze around you, and discover with a sigh,

You have reached the house of "Never" by the street of "By-and-by."


By the thread we unwind the skein.

Get the thread of the matter and follow it up, and it will be all straight before you. For instance, know the love of God, and then all that he does will be explainable.


By timely mending save much spending.





Be all for Christ, since he is all for thee.

Welcome, great guest, this house, mine heart,

Shall all be thine;

I will resign

Mine interest in every part.

Only be pleased to use it as thine own

For ever, and inhabit it alone.


Be ballasted with grace, that you be not blown over with temptation.


Be holy in commerce and converse.

Luther says, "Holiness consisteth not in a cowl, nor in a garment of grey. When God purifies the heart by faith, the market is sacred as well as the sanctuary."


Be holy, kind and true always.

If you would live an angel's days.


Be jealous for God ; for he is a jealous God.

"I the Lord thy God am a jealous God."--Ex. xx. 5. "I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts."--1 Kings xix. 14.


Be not hot in prayer and cold in praise.


Be not idle in the means, nor make an idol of the means.

That is to say, neither neglect public worship and Christian ordinances, nor so put your trust in them as to forget that they are nothing without God.


Be sick of self and sick for Christ.

"O happy sickness, where the infirmity is not to death, but to life, that God maybe glorified by it!"--Quarles.


Beauty and bounty unite in Christ Jesus.

Happy combination! All that enraptures, and all that enriches.


Begin praying, continue watching, and you will end with praising.

Take care of prayer, and prayer will take care of everything else.


Begin the web, and God will send you thread.

If it is a holy or charitable work, seek the divine help, and begin at once in confidence that he will supply the need of his own cause.


Begin the year with godly fear.


Behind a frowning providence God hides a smiling face.


Believe God's promise, and he will receive thy prayer.

If we will not give God credit for being true, we cannot expect him to give credit to our prayers for being sincere.


Believe and live.

This is the message of the gospel. It should be a proverb in every land. Cowper has said of it:--

"Oh how unlike the complex works of man,

Heaven's easy, artless, unencumbered plan!

No meretricious graces to beguile,

No clustering ornaments to clog the pile;

From ostentation as from weakness free,

It stands like the cerulean arch we see,

Majestic in its own simplicity.

Inscribed above the portal from afar,

Conspicuous as the brightness of a star,

Legible only by the light they give,

Stand the soul-quickening words--'BELIEVE AND LIVE.'"


Believers are Christ's own, and he is their own.


Believers are not free from sin, that is their burden; but they are not free to sin, that is their blessing.


Believers are worthies of whom the world is not worthy.


Believers in Jesus are receivers from Jesus.

Matthew Henry says:-- This excludes proud boasting, that we have nothing but we have received it; and silences perplexing fears, that we want nothing but we may receive it.


Believers sin less, but they are not sinless.

Yet faith will ultimately kill sin. The evil it has driven out of us should be viewed as a pledge that it will conquer evil altogether.


Believing in Christ should not exclude sorrow for sin, nor sorrow for sin exclude believing in Christ.

Faith and repentance all must find;

But yet we daily see

They differ in their time and kind,

In manner and degree.

But, be our conflicts short or long,

This commonly is true,

That wheresoever faith is strong,

Repentance is so too.--Joseph Hart.


Better be a poor man and a rich Christian than a rich man and a poor Christian.


Better be new-born than high-born.

The regenerate possess a nobler nature than the proudest of earth's nobility if they are not born from above.


Better be than seem.

Yet, Lord, the double grace impart:

Give me the open, upright heart,

Then shall I seem to live to thee,

And be all that I seem to be.


Better be troubled for sin than by sin.

Conscience troubled for sin may lead to repentance and salvation , but the results of sin are terrible.


Better beg one's bread with Lazarus here, than one's water with Dives hereafter.

True, but how terrible to have Lazarus' miseries in this life, and the rich man's woes in the next! Let me not be a poor, bad man!


Better holiness without comfort than comfort without holiness.


Better nail your heart to the cross than your ears to the pulpit.

That is to say, true love to Jesus is better than slavishly following any human preacher, and accepting all that he may say.


Better the least in Christ than the greatest out of him.


Better unborn than unsaved.

"I wish," said Voltaire, "I had never been born."

"O blessed be God," cried Hallyburton, "I that ever I was born."


Better walk by faith than talk of faith.


Better walk with God than talk with kings.


Beware of hidings of heavenly tidings.


Beware of the time when "the door is shut."

Great solemnity should attend the thoughts of that hour: for "when once the Master of the house has risen up, and hath shut to the door;" all knocking will be in vain.


Bless God for your afflictions, and your afflictions will be your greatest blessings.

Amid my list of blessings infinite,

Stands this the foremost, "That my heart has bled."--Young.


Bless God heartily though he afflicts thee heavily.

Very wisely French enquires:

"When thou hast thanked thy God for every blessing sent,

What time will then remain for murmurs or lament?"


Bless the Lord to-day; he blesses you every day.


Broken-hearted penitents and whole-hearted seekers please God well.


Brown bread with the gospel is good fare.

So she thought who had nothing but bread and water, and yet exclaimed, "What! all this and Christ too?"


Build on the rock and fear no shock.

How firmly they stand,

Who, piercing the sand,

Have reached and have built on the durable rock!

The wind and the wave,

However they rave,

Shall assault them in vain with impetuous shock.


By nature we are vessels of wrath and vassals of sin.


By prayer prevail, if strength should fail.