Thomas Tusser

16th century English poet

Thomas Tusser (15241580), born in Rivenhall, Essex, was an English poet and farmer.


  • Yet true it is, as cow chews cud
    And trees at spring do yield forth bud,
    Except wind stands as never it stood,
    It is an ill wind turns none to good.
    • A Description of the Properties of Wind, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • Dry sun, dry wind;
    Safe bind, safe find.
    • Washing, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919). Compare: "Than catch and hold while I may, fast binde, fast finde", John Heywood, Proverbes, Part I, Chapter III; "Fast bind, fast find; A proverb never stale in thrifty mind", William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, act ii. sc. 5.
  • HAST thou a Friend, as heart may wish at will?
    Then use him so, to have his friendship still.
    Would'st have a Friend, would'st know what friend is best?
    Have God thy friend who passeth all the rest.
    • Posies for a Parlour, reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).
  • To death we must stoop, be we high, be we low,
    But how and how suddenly few be that know -,
    What carry we then but a sheet to the grave,
    To cover this carcass, of all that we have?"
    • Tenants of God's Farmstead or A Description of Life and Riches (c. 1557), lines 9-12.

A Hundred Points of Good Husbandry (1557)

  • God sendeth and giveth both mouth and the meat.
    • Compare: "God sends meat, and the Devil sends cooks", John Taylor, Works, vol. ii. p. 85 (1630).
  • At Christmas play and make good cheer,
    For Christmas comes but once a year.
    • "The Farmer's Daily Diet".
  • Such mistress, such Nan,
    Such master, such man.
    • "April's Abstract". Comment: M. Cimber of the Bibliothèque Royale ascribes this proverb to Chevalier Bayard: “Tel maître, tel valet.”
  • Who goeth a borrowing
    Goeth a sorrowing.
    • "June's Abstract".
  • 'T is merry in hall
    Where beards wag all.
    • "August's Abstract". Compare: "Merry swithe it is in halle, When the beards waveth alle", Life of Alexander, 1312; (author unknown, but earlier wrongly attributed to Adam Davie, who had elsewhere written "Swithe mury hit is in halle, When burdes waiven alle").
  • Naught venture naught have.
    • "October's Abstract". Compare: "Naught venture naught have", John Heywood, Proverbes, Part I, Chapter XI.
  • At Christmas be merry and thankful withal,
    And feast thy poor neighbors, the great with the small.
    • "December Husbandry".


  • [He] spread his bread with all sorts of butter, yet none would stick thereon.
    • Thomas Fuller, describing Tusser's failure to profit from numerous ventures.
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