phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Browse phrases beginning with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ Full List

Spare the rod...

Posted by ESC on March 29, 2001

In Reply to: Samuel Butler posted by Bruce Kahl on March 28, 2001

: : : I have read that the first time the exact phrase "spare the rod and spoil the child" was used was in a poem where the lines were:
: : : "Love is a boy, by poets styl'd,
: : : Then spare the rod and spoil the child"
: : : The problem is I can't place the poem either to title or author.

: : Samuel Butler
: : (1612-1680) born on Feb 14 English poet, satirist, painter, philosopher. He was famous for his mock epic "Hudibras," ridiculing the Puritans.

: Your segment can be found in Part 2, Canto One of Hudibras.

SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD -- ".'Piers Plowman' by William Langland warned, 'Who-so spareth the sprynge (switch), spilleth his children.' The exact wording of the modern version was quoted two centuries later in John Clarke's 'Paroemiologia Anglo-Latina' ." From "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).