All that glitters is not gold - correction

Posted by TheFallen on January 04, 2003

In Reply to: All that glitters is not gold posted by ESC on January 04, 2003

: : : Hi,
: : : Can anyone give me the explanation of the following and what it means:
: : : All that glitters is not gold.
: : : Thanks
: : : Best Regards.

: : One of the most frequently misquoted phrases. The original phrase is "All that GLISTERS is not gold" and comes from Shakespeare's Merchant Of Venice. The majority of people now misuse it, replacing the archaic verb glister with the much more understandable glitter, and since the two mean near enough the same thing, one can see why.

: : The phrase simply means that just because something may look valuable, desirable or attractive, it does NOT mean that it definitely will be worth having once you discover its true nature. So basically, don't rely on the superficial.

: ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD - "The appearance of a thing or person can be deceptive. This proverb is similar to the L*tin: Non omne quod nitet aurum est. ('Not all that shines is gold.') The proverb was used by Chaucer (c. 1374-87), by Cervantes in 'Don Quixote' (1605-15), and by Shakespeare in 'The Merchant of Venice' in 1596. First attested in the United States in the 'Winthrop Papers' ." From Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

Agreed that the proverb has been around a long time in various forms, but it was Shakespeare who most famously gave us the generally accepted form. Chaucer's version differed.

It's clear from a little research that Shakespeare used or adapted a long-known proverb of the time. As can be seen below, it had already started to be misquoted less that 100 years later by the late C17th.

Alanus De Insulis (c. 1280) "Non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut aurum." (Do not hold everything as gold which shines like gold)

Freire Cordelier (c. 1300) "Que tout n'est pas or c'on voit luire." (Everything is not gold that one sees shining)

Chaucer (c. 1380) "But all thing which that schyneth as the gold / Ne is no gold, as I have herd it told."

Chaucer again "Hyt is not al golde that glareth."

Lydgate (c. 1430) "All is not golde that outward shewith bright."

Spenser (c. 1580) "Gold all is not that doth golden seem."

Googe , Shakespeare "All that glisters is not gold."

Bacon "All is not gold that glisters."

Cervantes "All is not gold that glistreth."

Middleton (c. 1616) "All is not gold that glisteneth."

Herbert (c. 1630) "All is not gold that glisters."

Dryden "All, as they say, that glitters is not gold."