Sunday, April 04, 2010

Spilt wine is worse than water

Spilt wine is worse than water

Spill some water on your clothes and it will soon dry with no harm done. Wine will most probably leave an unpleasant mark and a smell. You might also say that the wine cost money and the water was free.

The originators of proverbs and sayings worth remembering rarely content themselves with the obvious and this example requires further study.

Shakespeare has a line "Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds" taken to mean that the wrong acts of notable people are far worse than those of the ordinary classes. So here we are probably being told that persons of quality "the wine" when misbehaving cause more offense than the misdeeds of the ordinary person "the water". A specific example of this might be that if a lady of refinement and quality becomes dissolute it is more shocking than if a simple, uneducated girl does exactly the same thing.

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