Lazy Lawrence

: Popular Rhymes And Nursery Tales

Lazy Lawrence, let me go,

Don't me hold summer and winter too.

This distich is said by a boy who feels very lazy, yet wishes to exert

himself. Lazy Lawrence is a proverbial expression for an idle person,

and I possess an old chapbook, entitled "the History of Lawrence Lazy,

containing his birth and slothful breeding; how he served the

schoolmaster, his wife, the squire's cook, and the farmer, which,
by the

laws of Lubberland, was accounted high treason." A West country proverb,

relating to a disciple of this hero, runs thus:

Sluggardy guise,

Loth to go to bed,

And loth to rise.

March will search, April will try,

May will tell ye if ye'll live or die.

Sow in the sop,

'Twill be heavy a-top.

That is, land in a soppy or wet state is in a favorable condition for

receiving seed; a statement, however, somewhat questionable.

A cat may look at a king,

And surely I may look at an ugly thing.

Said in derision by one child to another, who complains of being stared


He that hath it and will not keep it,

He that wanteth it and will not seek it;

He that drinketh and is not dry,

Shall want money as well as I.

From Howell's English Proverbs, 1659, p. 21.

Gray's Inn for walks,

Lincoln's Inn for a wall;

The Inner-Temple for a garden,

And the Middle for a hall.

A proverb, no doubt, true in former times, but now only partially


In time of prosperity friends will be plenty,

In time of adversity not one amongst twenty.

From Howell's English Proverbs, p. 20. The expression not one amongst

twenty is a generic one for not one out of a large number. It occurs in

Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, v. 2.

Trim tram,

Like master like man.

From an old manuscript political treatise, dated 1652, entitled a Cat

may look at a King.

Beer a bumble,

'Twill kill you

Afore 'twill make ye tumble.

A proverbial phrase applied to very small beer, implying that no

quantity of it will cause intoxication.

Lancashire law,

No stakes, no draw!

A saying by which a person, who has lost a verbal wager, avoids payment

on the plea of no stakes having been deposited.

As foolish as monkeys till twenty and more,

As bold as a lion till forty-and-four;

As cunning as foxes till three score and ten,

We then become asses, and are no more men.

These proverbial lines were obtained from Lancashire. An early version

occurs in Tusser, p. 199.

They that wash on Monday

Have a whole week to dry;

They that wash on Tuesday

Are not so much agye;

They that wash on Wednesday

May get their clothes clean;

They that wash on Thursday

Are not so much to mean;

They that wash on Friday

Wash for their need;

But they that wash on Saturday

Are clarty-paps indeed!

A North country version of these common proverbial lines, given by Mr.

Denham, p. 16. Clarty-paps are dirty sluts.

The children of Holland

Take pleasure in making

What the children of England

Take pleasure in breaking.

Alluding to toys, a great number of which are imported into this country

from Holland.