The Proverbs Of John Heywood "It's An Ill Wind That Blows No Good"

John Heywood

"It's An Ill Wind That Blows No Good"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The author, while quoting every proverb he can think of, is telling a young friend about a man who married an old widow for her money, and thereby fell into difficulties because they shortly began quarreling, and he eventually sought solace away from home. In seeking this comfort he spent her money so freely that within three years he had run through it all. He was forced, therefore, to come home to her and try to effect a reconciliation. The wife, however, reminds him of his former ill treatment of her, and insists that in throwing the money away, he did nobody any good. The proverb was used by Thomas Tusser (1524-1580), A Description of the Properties of Wind, twice by Shakespeare, King Henry VI, Part III (Act II, sc. v. l. 168) and King Henry IV, Part II; (Act V, sc. iii, l. 87), and widely elsewhere. The wife speaks:

Light come, light go! And sure, since we were born,
Ruin of one ravine was there none greater;
For, by your gifts, they be as little the better
As you be much the worse, and I cast away–
An ill wind that bloweth no man to good, men say.
Well, (quoth he), every wind bloweth not down the corn.