Jacula Prudentum "Whose House Is Of Glass Must Not Throw Stones"

George Herbert

"Whose House Is Of Glass Must Not Throw Stones"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: To George Herbert, English divine and poet, and the author of The Temple, is attributed a collection of proverbs first issued in 1640 under the title of Outlandish Proverbs and reissued in enlarged form in 1651 as Jacula Prudentum. The work contains 1184 sayings either wise or witty, or both. A large number of the sayings exist in similar forms, some in books with specific authors but many simply in the traditional speech of the folk. The most commonly heard variant of the proverb about glass houses is "People who live in glass houses should not throw stones." Both this form and Herbert's mean that people who are guilty of faults should not criticize others, lest their own faults be held up to ridicule. The "glass houses" apparently originally meant houses with glass windows instead of oiled cloth, as is seen in John Ray's A Collection of English Proverbs (1670): "Who hath glass windows of his own must take heed how he throw stones at his neighbor's house." A more fanciful variant is contained in Shebeare's Matrimony (1745): "Thou shouldst not throw stones, who have a head of glass thyself." The general idea is well expressed in Herbert:

Whose house is of glass must not throw stones at another.