Pearls of wisdom and a poke in the eye with a sharp stick

Posted by Adrian Reuben on September 08, 2003

1. Anyone know the origin of the expression "pearls of wisdom"?

2. About 20 years ago, I heard a book reviewed (but cannot recall the name or the author) that not only gave phrase origins but also comparable phrases from another age. The example given was the phrase
"it's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick" that in Victorian times was predated by "it's better than sleeping witn a dead policeman". Does
anyone know the book?
Adrian Reuben