Posted by ESC on November 14, 1999
In Reply to: Curious posted by Bob on November 14, 1999
: : I'd like to someone to explain in detail the phrase 'still
waters run deep'
: Quoting from Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable:
: Silent and quiet conspirators or traitors are most dangerous; barking dogs never bite; the fox barks not when he would steal the lamb.
: "Smooth runs the water where the brook is deep:
: And in his simple show he harbours treason.
: The fox barks not when he would steal the lamb;
: No, no, my sovereign, Gloucester is a man
: Unsounded yet, and full of deep deceit."
: Shakespeare: 2 Henry VI., III. f.
STILL WATERS RUN DEEP. I have a more romantic view of the phrase.
There are two guys. One is showy (a "blow George") who talks big,
swears undying love, and sends flowers. The second is quiet and
faithful and considerate -- a fellow who's going to really and truly
stay around and love his girlfriend/wife forever. The woman in question
would be well advised to pick the second guy. He may be quiet, but
he has substance. It might be said of him that "still waters run
Here's what Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman says: "Still waters run deep. Don't be fooled by appearances. Quiet people are likely to be passionate or complex, even though they don't show it. The proverb has been traced back to 'Cato's Morals' (about 1400) in 'Cursor Mundi' . In 1721, it was included in James Kelly's collection of proverbs. It was first cited in the United States in the 1768 'Works of William Smith' . 'Smooth waters run deep' is a variant. The proverb has variants in other languages.(Russian) 'Devils breed in still waters." Titelman also includes the Shakespeare quote.