"A New Broom Sweeps Clean"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The author is advising a young man about whether he should marry a young maid for love or an old widow for money. In advising, he is including all the old proverbs he can think of. He has finished a story about a young couple who married for love and foundered on the rocks of poverty. Now he has turned to the story of a young man who married for money. This rich old widow, whose "age and appetite fell at a strong strife," was "made like a beer port, or a barrel," and was "as coy as a croker's mare." In talking about her, her neighbors finally decided she would do for the young fool, for "every man as he loveth/ Quoth the good man when that he kissed his cow." The author further tells his story:

It would have made a horse break his halter sure
All the first fortnight their ticking might have taught
Any young couple their love ticks to have wrought.
Some laughed, and said: all thing is gay that is green.
Some thereto said: the green new broom sweepeth clean.
But since all thing is the worse for the wearing,
Decay of clean sweeping folk had in fearing.