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

Thomas Middleton 1580-1627 John Bartlett

    As the case stands. 1
          The Old Law. Act ii. Sc. 1.
    On his last legs.
          The Old Law. Act v. Sc. 1.
    Hold their noses to the grindstone. 2
          Blurt, Master-Constable. Act iii. Sc. 3.
    I smell a rat. 3
          Blurt, Master-Constable. Act iii. Sc. 3.
    A little too wise, they say, do ne’er live long. 4
          The Phœnix. Act i. Sc. 1.
    The better day, the better deed. 5
          The Phœnix. Act iii. Sc. 1.
    The worst comes to the worst. 6
          The Phœnix. Act iii. Sc. 1.
    ’T is slight, not strength, that gives the greatest lift. 7
          Michaelmas Term. Act iv. Sc. 1.
    From thousands of our undone widows
One may derive some wit. 8
          A Trick to catch the Old One. Act i. Sc. 2.
    Ground not upon dreams; you know they are ever contrary. 9
          The Family of Love. Act iv. Sc. 3.
    Spick and span new. 10
          The Family of Love. Act iv. Sc. 3.
    A flat case as plain as a pack-staff. 11
          The Family of Love. Act v. Sc. 3.
    Have you summoned your wits from wool-gathering?
          The Family of Love. Act v. Sc. 3.
    As true as I live.
          The Family of Love. Act v. Sc. 3.
    From the crown of our head to the sole of our foot. 12
          A Mad World, my Masters. Act i. Sc. 3.
    That disease
Of which all old men sicken,—avarice. 13
          The Roaring Girl. Act i. Sc. 1.
    Beat all your feathers as flat down as pancakes.
          The Roaring Girl. Act i. Sc. 1.
    There is no hate lost between us. 14
          The Witch. Act iv. Sc. 3.
    Let the air strike our tune,
Whilst we show reverence to yond peeping moon. 15
          The Witch. Act v. Sc. 2.
    Black spirits and white, red spirits and gray,
Mingle, mingle, mingle, you that mingle may. 16
          The Witch. Act v. Sc. 2.
    All is not gold that glisteneth. 17
          A Fair Quarrel. Act v. Sc. 1.
    As old Chaucer was wont to say, that broad famous English poet.
          More Dissemblers besides Women. Act i. Sc. 4.
    ’T is a stinger. 18
          More Dissemblers besides Women. Act iii. Sc. 2.
    The world ’s a stage on which all parts are played. 19
          A Game of Chess. Act v. Sc. 1.
    Turn over a new leaf. 20
          Anything for a Quiet Life. Act iii. Sc. 3.
    My nearest
And dearest enemy. 21
          Anything for a Quiet Life. Act v. Sc. 1.
    This was a good week’s labour.
          Anything for a Quiet Life. Act v. Sc. 3.
    How many honest words have suffered corruption since Chaucer’s days!
          No Wit, no Help, like a Woman’s. Act ii. Sc. 1.
    By many a happy accident. 22
          No Wit, no Help, like a Woman’s. Act ii. Sc. 2.
Note 1.
As the case stands.—Mathew Henry: Commentaries, Psalm cxix. [back]
Note 2.
See Heywood, Quotation 30. [back]
Note 3.
I smell a rat.—Ben Jonson: Tale of a Tub, act iv. Sc. 3. Samuel Butler: Hudibras, part i. canto i. line 281.

I begin to smell a rat.—Cervantes: Don Quixote, book iv. chap. x. [back]
Note 4.
See Shakespeare, King Richard III, Quotation 10. [back]
Note 5.
The better day, the worse deed.—Mathew Henry: Commentaries, Genesis iii. [back]
Note 6.
Worst comes to the worst.—Cervantes: Don Quixote, part i. book iii. chap. v. Marston: The Dutch Courtezan, act iii. sc. 1. [back]
Note 7.
It is not strength, but art, obtains the prize.—Alexander Pope: The Iliad, book xxiii. line 383. [back]
Note 8.
Some undone widow sits upon mine arm.—Philip Massinger: A New Way to pay Old Debts, act v. sc. 1. [back]
Note 9.
For drames always go by contraries.—Samuel Lover: The Angel’s Whisper. [back]
Note 10.
Spick and span new.—FORD: The Lover’s Melancholy, act i. sc. 1. George Farquhar: Preface to his Works. [back]
Note 11.
Plain as a pike-staff.—Terence in English (1641). Buckingham: Speech in the House of Lords, 1675. Gil Blas (Smollett’s translation), book xii. chap. viii. John Byrom: Epistle to a Friend. [back]
Note 12.
See Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing, Quotation 21. [back]
Note 13.
So for a good old gentlemanly vice,
I think I must take up with avarice.
Lord Byron: Don Juan, canto i. stanza 216. [back]
Note 14.
There is no love lost between us.—Cervantes: Don Quixote, book iv. chap. xxiii. Oliver Goldsmith: She Stoops to Conquer, act iv. David Garrick: Correspondence, 1759. Henry Fielding: The Grub Street Opera, act i. sc. 4. [back]
Note 15.
See Shakespeare, Macbeth, Quotation 96. [back]
Note 16.
These lines are introduced into Macbeth, act iv. sc. 1. According to Steevens, “the song was, in all probability, a traditional one.” Collier says, “Doubtless it does not belong to Middleton more than to Shakespeare.” Dyce says, “There seems to be little doubt that ‘Macbeth’ is of an earlier date than ‘The Witch.’” [back]
Note 17.
See Chaucer, Quotation 40. [back]
Note 18.
He ’as had a stinger.—Beaumont and Fletcher: Wit without Money, act iv. sc. 1. [back]
Note 19.
See Shakespeare, As You Like It, Quotation 36. [back]
Note 20.
A Health to the Gentlemanly Profession of Servingmen (1598). Turn over a new leaf.—Thomas Dekker: The Honest Whore, part ii. act i. sc. 2. Edmund Burke: Letter to Mrs. Haviland. [back]
Note 21.
See Shakespeare, Hamlet, Quotation 28. [back]
Note 22.
A happy accident.—Madame de Staël: L’Allemagne, chap. xvi. Cervantes: Don Quixote, book iv. part ii. chap. lvii. [back]