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John Bartlett (1820–1905). Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. 1919.

103 John Heywood 1497?-1580? John Bartlett

AUTHOR:John Heywood (1497?–1580?)
QUOTATION:No man ought to looke a given horse in the mouth. 1
ATTRIBUTION:Proverbes. Part i. Chap. v.
Note 1.
This proverb occurs in Rabelais, book i. chap. xi.; in Vulgaria Stambrigi, circa 1510; in Butler, part i. canto i. line 490. Archbishop Trench says this proverb is certainly as old as Jerome of the fourth century, who, when some found fault with certain writings of his, replied that they were free-will offerings, and that it did not behove to look a gift horse in the mouth. [back]