Origins of Sayings - John Heywood Playwright and Cliche Maker
Abuot the playwright John Heywood who is responsible for a number of today's sayings and cliches.
Stories behind Famous Sayings
A Footnote: John Heywood (1497?-1580?), English playwright and epigrammatist, was responsible for many of today's frequently repeated sayings. Most accounts of Heywood's private and public life are sketchy. It is assumed that he was born in London and grew up in Hertfordshire. It is certain, however, that as a young boy Heywood was a chorister at the court of Henry VIII. Later, he married Joan Rastell, the niece of Sir Thomas More, and they had two sons and one daughter. A great favorite of Queen Mary's, Heywood had his plays, more properly called "interludes," performed at court. They were usually lively, realistic, and, as Heywood stated, "new and merry." In addition to writing plays, Heywood compiled the earliest book of proverbs in the English language. All of the following are found in The Proverbs of John Heywood, first printed in 1546:
Haste maketh waste.
When the sun shineth, make hay.
Look ere ye leap.
Two heads are better than one.
Love me, love my dog.
Beggars should be no choosers.
All is well that ends well.
The fat is in the fire.
I know on which side my bread is buttered.
One good turn asketh another.
A penny for your thought.
Rome was not built in one day.
Better late than never.
An ill wind that bloweth no man to good.
The more the merrier.
You cannot see the wood for the trees.
This hitteth the nail on the head.
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