Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Notes and Explanations

Hey, this is Shawn here.  My friend Richard, he's a bit old- fashioned.  Although there's nothing wrong with that, it sometimes makes him a bit difficult to understand.  So, I'll provide the definitions for a few archaic words, or modern words with odd usages.  Also, every once in a while, I'll brush off one of his proverbs and put it into more modern language.  It may not come out as breif or witty, but I think Richard would agree: Better well understood than well said.


No better relation than a prudent and faithful friend.

The use of the word relation varies with the modern usage.  Perhaps a better term would be relationship.
Love your Neighbor; yet don't pull down your Hedge.

Be kind to the people around you; but keep careful watch over your possessions.


Now I've a sheep and a cow, and every body bids me good morrow.

A person with plenty of money always has plenty of friends.
He that would have a short Lent, let him borrow money to be repaid at Easter.

Nothing much to explain here, but I just thought I'd point out the possible pun on the word Lent.


The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money.

This one, at least to me, seems to contradict all of the proverbs about saving money.
If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher's stone.

The philosopher's stone was one of the pursuits of medieval alchemists.  It was a substance which would change baser metals (lead, copper, iron, etc.) into noble ones (gold, silver, etc.)


I have never seen the Philosopher's stone that turns lead into gold, but I have known the pursuit of it turn a man's gold into lead.

For a definition of the Philosopher's stone see the previous note.
I haven't yet seen a get-rich-quick scheme that'll turn a little money into a lot, but I have seen ones that will turn a lot of money into very little.
Sound and sound doctrine may pass through a Ram's Horn and a Preacher without straightening the one or amending the other.

Just like air can pass through a trumpet but leave it curved still, good teaching can come from a preacher without improving his character.


Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.

Although Franklin is now well-known for this little proverb, in his own day, he was also well-known for staying up all night.  Irony?  I think so.
How few are there who have courage enough to own their Faults, or resolution enough to mend them!

The use of the word own here is a little outdated.  This one is easier to understand if you modify that to own up to.


Marry above thy match, and thou'lt get a master.

I'm not certain if the phrase above thy match means a person of greater means financially, morally, or what, but the rest is clear enough.  Marry a person above your status and you'll end up serving them.
You cannot pluck a rose without fear of thorns,
nor enjoy a fair wife without the danger of horns.

The main problem here is the word horns.  In those days, horns (particularly the "horned hand" gesture) were the symbol of a man whose wife had cheated on him.  Therefore, if you marry a beautiful woman, it's very possible she might cheat on you.


Ne'er take a wife till thou hast a house (and a fire) to put her in.

No, I do not know what that phrase, "and a fire" is supposed to mean either.  Maybe he's talking about the ability to keep a fire going, and thus, to maintain normal household duties, I'm not sure.  Other than that though: Don't get married until you can support a family.
Have you some-what to do to-mmorrow; do it today.

Oh, if I'd only learn to take advice like this.  Instead I put everything (including this web-page, which got started as a class project) off until the last minute.  Ummm . . . yeah, the meaning, right.  The word some-what would be easier understood if read something other than that, got it?  Good.


He that wastes idly a groat's worth of time per one day with another, wastes the privilege of using 100 pounds each day.

A groat was an old British coin worth four cents.
The Muses love the Morning.

The muses were nine spirits of the arts in Greek and Roman mythology.  So, Inspiration for art comes in the morning.  (Okay, that one got really mangled, but if you want to understand it, it can't be helped.)


The meanest Bee hath, and will use, a Sting.

The word meanest here means commonest, weakest or smallest.
Back to the Main-page