dogs bark, but the caravan goes on

Quot. 1956 is a humorous inversion of the proverb. In most instances of this proverb, caravan is in its original sense of ‘a company of people travelling together in the desert’, but quot. 1956 uses the ‘mobile home’ sense.

1891 J. L. KIPLING Beast & Man in India ix. 252 ‘The dog barks but the elephant moves on’ is sometimes said to indicate the superiority of the great to popular clamour, but the best form of the phrase is, ‘Though the dog may bark the caravan (kafila) moves on.’

1924 C. K. SCOTT MONCRIEFF tr. Proust’s Within Budding Grove I. 45 In the words of a fine Arab proverb, ‘The dogs may bark; the caravan goes on!’.. Its effect was great, the proverb being familiar to us already. It had taken the place, that year, among people who ‘really counted’, of ‘He who sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind.’

1930 Time 4 July 17 I was struggling to explain the situation to an old Moor... After thinking it over he murmured: ‘Dogs bark but the caravan goes on.’

1956 D. SMITH Hundred & One Dalmatians xiv. The shut-in Romany dogs heard them [the Dalmatians] and shook the caravans in their efforts to get out... ‘The caravans bark but the dogs move on,’ remarked Pongo, when he felt they were out of danger.

2002 Spectator 6 July 28 The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on. ICC, Kyoto, Arafat, Iraq..early chapters in a long story. If you want to be part of it, join America. If you want to impede it, join a terrorist group.


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