The supposed inscription at the entrance to Hell. From Dante's Divine Comedy. The translation into English by H.F.Cary is the origin for this English phrase, although he gave it as the less commonly used 'All hope abandon ye who enter here'.
Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric mov'd:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here.
Such characters in colour dim I mark'd
Over a portal's lofty arch inscrib'd:
Whereat I thus: Master, these words import
Hard meaning. ...
From the French 'en gogues' = 'in mirth'.
From Shakespeare's Cymbeline.
What shall I need to draw my sword? the paper
Hath cut her throat already. No, 'tis slander,
Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue
Outvenoms all the worms of Nile, whose breath
Rides on the posting winds and doth belie
All corners of the world: kings, queens and states,
Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the grave
This viperous slander enters. What cheer, madam?
Shakespeare also used the phrase 'the four corners of the earth' in The Merchant of Venice and, somewhat confusing, in King John, 'the three corners of the world'.
O, let us pay the time but needful woe,
Since it hath been beforehand with our griefs.
This England never did, nor never shall,
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,
But when it first did help to wound itself.
Now these her princes are come home again,
Come the three corners of the world in arms,
And we shall shock them. Nought shall make us rue,
If England to itself do rest but true.
Used, but probably not originated by, Violet Fane (1843-1905) in her poem - Tout vient ß qui sait attendre. 'Ah, 'all things come to those who wait,' (I say these words to make me glad), But something answers soft and sad, 'They come, but often come too late.'
From Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida.
PANDARUS: Because she's kin to me, therefore she's not so fair
as Helen: an she were not kin to me, she would be as
fair on Friday as Helen is on Sunday. But what care
I? I care not an she were a black-a-moor; 'tis all one to me.
Everything is as it should be.
Traditionally the phrase used by sergeants when reporting to an officer that the rollcall was successfully completed. One of the numerous, and in this case probably spurious, candidates for the explanation of the word 'okay'. OK = Orl Korrect.
Full-featured, with many attributes.
From the advertising posters used to promote the 1929 film Broadway Melody, which proclaimed the film to be 'All talking All singing All dancing'.
A showy article may not necessarily be valuable.
The 12th century French thelogian Alain de Lille wrote 'Do not hold everything gold that shines like gold'.
Shakespeare and others have expressed the same notion. Shakespeare version is sometimes transcribed as 'all the glisters is not gold'.
From Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.
O hell! what have we here?
A carrion Death, within whose empty eye
There is a written scroll! I'll read the writing.
All that glitters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgment old,
Your answer had not been inscroll'd:
Fare you well; your suit is cold.
Cold, indeed; and labour lost:
Then, farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!
Portia, adieu. I have too grieved a heart
To take a tedious leave: thus losers part.
ref:Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, 1997 edition, Facts on File Inc.
From Shakespeare's As You Like It.
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
From the Bible. Matthew 24:6-8:
And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
All these are the beginning of sorrows.
From the Bible - Corinthians 9:22.'To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made All things to all men, that I might by all means save some.'
From The Bealtes' eponymous song.
From Shakespeare's play All's Well That Ends Well. Used not only as the title of the play, the line appears in the text too.
Yet, I pray you:
But with the word the time will bring on summer,
When briers shall have leaves as well as thorns,
And be as sweet as sharp. We must away;
Our wagon is prepared, and time revives us:
All's well that ends well; still the fine's the crown;
Whate'er the course, the end is the renown.
From Alfred Tennyson's poem 'In Memoriam:21', 1850.
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
From Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.
Every little helps to move toward a conclusion.
Grist was the abrasive grit which was added to wheat when it was ground between grinding stones to help the flour grind more quickly.
'Beer and skittles' is shorthand for a life of indulgence spent in the pub.
Skittles, aka ninepins, has been a popular English pub game since the 17th century. The pins are set up in a square pattern and players attempt to knock them down with a ball. Still played but not so much as before.
Try your very best.
Pipe organs have stops which control the air flow - pulling them out increases the volume.
Verse from a nursery rhyme.
From the playground rhyme. Often reported as referring to the Black Death (the bubonic plague in mediaeval Europe). The plausible-sounding theory has it that the 'ring' is the ring or sores around the mouth of plague victims, who subsequently sneeze and fall down dead. In fact the rhyme doesn't appear in print until 1881, six centuries too late. It is stretching credibility to think that it lasted for that length of time in common playground use but was never recorded.
More likely to have originated during the 19th century ban on dancing in the UK and USA, and that the words are mostly playful nonesense.
Banner shown at the end of Bugs Bunny cartoons.
From the Bible. Often misquoted as 'money is the root of all evil'. Timothy 6:10. 'For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.'
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