Proverb: A Friend to all, is a Friend to none.

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 1 23:42:54 UTC 2013

>From the same primary year (courtesy EEBO):

1658 John Jones, trans. _Ovid's Invective or Curse against Ibis_  (Oxford:
Ric. Davis) 119: He that is a friend to all, is a friend to none; he that
sincerely is a friend to one, is truly a friend to himself: for a friend is
second self. [sic]

In fact, it may even be slightly earlier. Someone has altered with a pen or
pencil the "1658" title-page date to "1657."


On Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 3:31 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at
> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Proverb: A Friend to all, is a Friend to none.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A book editor asked me about the saying "A friend to all is a friend
> to none" which is dubiously attributed to Aristotle by brainyquote,
> thinkexist, goodreads, and other websites packed with imaginative
> data.
> Google Books seems to have cites in 1658 and 1732. Any suggestions for
> discovering more about this saying?
> Year: 1658
> Title: Ta diapheronta, or, Divine characters: in two parts : acutely
> distinguishing the more secret and undiscerned differences between 1.
> the hypocrite in his best dresse of seeming virtues and formal duties,
> and the true Christian in his real graces and sincere obedience ...,
> 2. the blackest weeds of ...
> Authors: C.B. and W.G.
> Printed for Adonir am Byfeild at the three Bibles in Corn-hill, London
> Chapter: XXV
> Page: 343
> [Begin excerpt]
> But he that is a friend to all men, is a friend to no man, and least
> of all to himself. For he must promise so much, that he cannot
> performe withall: and so breaking promise with some, he is trusted at
> length by none.
> [End excerpt]
> Year: 1732   M.DCC.XXXII
> Title: Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs; Wise Sentences and Witty
> Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British
> Colected by Thomas Fuller
> Quote Page 5
> Printed for B. Barker, A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch, London
> [Begin excerpt]
> A Friend to all, is a Friend to none.
> [End excerpt]
> Thanks for your help,
> Garson
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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