a guilty conscience needs no accuser

Cf. Disticha Catonis I. xvii. conscius ipse sibi de se putat omnia dici, the man with something on his conscience thinks he is always the subject of talk.

c 1390 CHAUCER Canon’s Yeoman’s Prologue 1. 688 For Catoun [Dionysius Cato] seith that he that gilty is Demeth alle thyng be spoke of him.

1597 Politeu-phuia 10v A Guilty conscience is a worme that bites and neuer ceaseth... A guiltie conscience is neuer without feare.

1721 J. KELLY Scottish Proverbs 9 A guilty Conscience self accuses. A Man that has done ill..shews his Guilt.

1744 Life & Adventures Matthew Bishop viii. It is an old saying, a guilty conscience needs no accuser.

1881 D. C. MURRAY Joseph’s Coat I. viii. ‘Where are you off to?’ asked George with a great effort... A guilty conscience needs no accuser.

1952 Ellery Queen’s Mystery Mag. Apr. 25 ‘Why should I think that?’ I said, groping for his identity. ‘Because you were thinking about me.’ Then I knew he was speaking of Hinck-man’s murder and must be the murderer—‘a guilty conscience needs no accuser.’


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