Hoyt & Roberts, comps. Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations. 1922.


What’s one man’s poison, signior,
Is another’s meat or drink.
Beaumont and Fletcher—Love’s Cure. Act III. Sc. 2. Same in Lucretius. IV. 627.

Vipera Cappadocem nocitura mormordit; at illa Gustato peril sanguine Cappadocis.
A deadly echidna once bit a Cappadocian; she herself died, having tasted the Poison-flinging blood.
Demodocus. Trans. of his Greek Epigram.

Un gros serpent mordit Aurèle.
Que croyez-vous qu’il arriva?
Qu’ Aurèle en mourut? Bagatelle!
Ce fut le serpent qui creva.
In a MS. commonplace book, written probably at end of 18th Cen. See Notes and Queries. March 30, 1907. P. 246.

Hier auprès de Charenton
Un serpent morait Jean Fréron,
Que croyez-vous qu’il arriva?
Ce fut le serpent qui creva.
Imitation from the Greek. Found also in Œuvres Complèts de Voltaire. III. P. 1002. (1817). Printed as Voltaire’s; attributed to Piron; claimed for Fréron.

The man recover’d of the bite,
The dog it was that died.
Goldsmith—Elegy on the Death of a Mad Dog. Same idea in Manasses—Fragmenta. Ed. Boissonade. I. 323. (1819).

While Fell was reposing himself in the hay,
A reptile concealed bit his leg as he lay;
But, all venom himself, of the wound he made light,
And got well, while the scorpion died of the bite.
Lessing—Paraphrase of Demodocus.

All men carry about them that which is poyson to serpents: for if it be true that is reported, they will no better abide the touching with man’s spittle than scalding water cast upon them: but if it happen to light within their chawes or mouth, especially if it come from a man that is fasting, it is present death.
Pliny—Natural History. Bk. VII. Ch. II. Holland’s trans.

In gährend Drachengift hast du
Die Milch der frommen Denkart mir verwandelt.
To rankling poison hast thou turned in me the milk of human kindness.
Schiller—Wilhelm Tell. IV. 3. 3.

Venenum in auro bibitur.
Poison is drunk out of gold.
Seneca—Thyestes. Act III. 453.

Let me have
A dram of poison, such soon-speeding gear
As will disperse itself through all the veins
That the life-weary taker may fall dead
And that the trunk may be discharg’d of breath
As violently as hasty powder fir’d
Doth hurry from the fatal cannon’s womb.
Romeo and Juliet. Act V. Sc. 1. L. 59.

Talk no more of the lucky escape of the head
From a flint so unhappily thrown;
I think very different from thousands; indeed
’Twas a lucky escape for the stone.
Wolcot (Peter Pindar). On a Stone thrown at George III.