last update: 2 July 2020

This first set of proverbs are taken from the 21st edition of the "Universal Etymological English Dictionary" of N. Bailey, published in London in 1675. Below that I have started to cull interesting proverbs from the list on Wikipedia.

A burnt Child dreads the Fire - "it is natural for all living Creatures, whether rational or irrational, to consult their own Security and Self-preservation, and whether they act by Instinct or reason, it still tends to some Care of avoiding those Things that have already done them an Injury"

One Bird in the Hand is worth two in the Bush - "Possession is a mighty Matter, and precautions is not to run the Hazard of a certain Loss, for an uncertain Gain, and teaches us, the Futurities are liable to Disappointments, no depending on the shall or will Hereafter, and no commanding Things out of our Hand, five Tenses distant from Fruition"

Curs'd Cows have Short Horns - "apply'd to such Persons, who, though they have Maglignity in their Hearts, have Feebleness in their Hands, disabling them from wreaking their Malice on the Persons they bear Ill-will to"

Cut your Coat according to your Cloth - "good Advice to People of Ranks and Degrees, to balance Accounts betwixt their Expences and their Income, and not to let their Vanity lead them, as say 'to out-run the Constable'"

Much falls between the Cup and the Lip - "applicable to such sanguine Persons, who too confidently depend upon future Expectations, unthoughtful of the preventional Contingencies that may intervene"

What can't be cur'd must be endur'd - "applicable to Persons under Pressure of some inevitable Calamity, and advises to make a Virtue of Necessity"

No longer pipe, no longer dance - "a Reflection upon the mercenary and ungrateful Tempers of too many People, intimating that Misfortune will have few or no Friends, for ungrateful and mercenary People, though they have had twenty good Turns done them formerly, will dance no longer than while the Musick of this Proverb obliges them for their Pains, nor budge no further than they have Money to pay them for their continued Service"

Naught is never in Danger - "little Things are safe under the Contempt of the World, for that their Insignificancy secures them against all Apprehension, Danger, and Violence"

He who has a mind to beat a Dog, will easilly find a Stick - "such Persons, who, out of Prejudice or ill Design, seek Occasion of Blame and Scandal against other Persons, and aggrandise the most pardonable Infirmities into flagrant Crimes"

Proverbs listed on Wikipedia