The Proverbs Of John Heywood "Hold Their Noses To The Grindstone"

John Heywood

"Hold Their Noses To The Grindstone"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: A young man is talking with the author about whether he should marry a young lady or an old widow, for love or for money. In an effort to clear the issues in his own mind, he has brought to bear all the old proverbs about marrying for love. Then, at the author's urging, he has begun to advance those proverbs which teach that marrying for money is the better part of wisdom. He says, for example, "better leave than lack," "store is no sore," "Who hath many peas may put the mo in the pot," "Of two ills, choose the least," "He must needs swim, that is hold up by the chin," and "He laugheth that winneth." He then begins to think of other good reasons for wedding wealth:

If riches bring once portly countenance in ure,
Then shalt thou rule the roost all round about;
And better to rule, then be ruled by the rout.
It is said: be it better, be it worse,
Do ye after him that beareth the purse.
Thus be I by this once le senior de graunde,
Many that commanded me I shall command.
And also I shall, to revenge former hurts,
Hold their noses to grindstone, and sit on their skirts
That erst sat on mine.