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Neat but not gaudy

Posted by John on March 01, 2011 at 21:40

In Reply to: Neat but not gaudy posted by Victoria S Dennis on February 18, 2011 at 19:21:

: : Neat but not gaudy. One source I found said it was an aphorism by organist Samuel Wesley, another said it had been in use since the 1600s. Anyone know who first coined the phrase?

: Shakespeare, in Hamlet.
: Polonius gives his son Laertes, who's going back to college, a whole load of advice including this: "Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, / But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy; / For the apparel oft proclaims the man" (In modern terms: if you want people to respect you, buy good-quality but not flashy or over-trendy clothes.)(VSD)

...I don't think it was Samuel Wesley the organist. Samuel Wesley was a poet (and clergyman) about 100 years his senior who wrote:
"Style is the dress of thought; a modest dress,
Neat, but not gaudy, will true critics please."