if it were not for hope, the heart would break

a 1250 Ancrene Wisse (1962) 43 Ase me seith, yef hope nere heorte to breke [as one says, if there were not hope, the heart would break].

c 1440 Gesta Romanorum (EETS) 228 Yf hope wer not, hert schulde breke.

1616 J. WITHALS Dict. (rev. ed.) 582 If it were not for hope, the heart would breake.

1748 RICHARDSON Clarissa VI. xxix. No harm in hoping, Jack! My uncle says, Were it not for hope, the heart would break.

1911 J. LUBBOCK Use of Life (rev. ed.) xv. There is an old proverb that if it were not for Hope the heart would break. Everything may be retrieved except despair.


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