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

166 John Heywood 1497?-1580? John Bartlett

AUTHOR:John Heywood (1497?–1580?)
QUOTATION:The grey mare is the better horse. 1
ATTRIBUTION:Proverbes. Part ii. Chap. iv.
Note 1.
Pryde and Abuse of Women. 1550. The Marriage of True Wit and Science. Samuel Butler: Hudibras, part ii. canto i. line 698. Henry Fielding: The Grub Street Opera, act ii. sc. 4. Matthew Prior: Epilogue to Lucius.

Lord Macaulay (History of England, vol. i. chap. iii.) thinks that this proverb originated in the preference generally given to the gray mares of Flanders over the finest coach-horses of England. Macaulay, however, is writing of the latter half of the seventeenth century, while the proverb was used a century earlier. [back]