give a thing, and take a thing, to wear the devil’s gold ring
- A rhyme used by schoolchildren when someone gives something and then asks for it back. The principle is a very old one; cf. PLATO Philebus 19 E καθάπερ οἱ παῖδες, ὅτι τῶν ὀρθῶς δοθέντων ἀφαίρεσις οὐκ ἔστι, as with children, there is no taking away of what has been rightly given.
1571 J. BRIDGES Sermon at Paul’s Cross 29 Shal we make God to say the worde, and eate his worde? to giue a thing, and take a thing, little children say, This is the diuels goldring, not Gods gift.
1611 R. COTGRAVE Dict. French & English s.v. Retirer, To giue a thing and take a thing; to weare the diuells gold-ring.
1721 J. KELLY Scottish Proverbs 120 Give a Thing, and take a Thing, Is the ill Man’s Goud Ring. A Cant among Children, when they demand a Thing again, which they had bestowed.
1894 Notes & Queries 8th ser. VI. 155 Another saying among boys is—Give a thing and take a thing, To wear the devil’s gold ring.
1959 I. & P. OPIE Lore & Language of Schoolchildren viii. It is a cardinal rule amongst the young that a thing which has been given must not be asked for again... [Somerset] Give a thing, take a thing, Dirty man’s plaything... [Cheshire] Give a thing, take a thing, Never go to God again.
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give — see give and take is fair play give a thing, and take a thing, to wear the devil’s gold ring give the devil his due it is better to give than to receive give credit where credit is due give a dog a bad name and hang him … Proverbs new dictionary
take — see take the goods the gods provide it takes all sorts to make a world you can take the boy out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the boy give a thing, and take a thing, to wear the devil’s gold ring give and take is fair play … Proverbs new dictionary
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wear — see better to wear out than to rust out if the cap fits, wear it constant dropping wears away a stone give a thing, and take a thing, to wear the devil’s gold ring if the shoe fits, wear it … Proverbs new dictionary
gold — see gold may be bought too dear it is good to make a bridge of gold to a flying enemy give a thing, and take a thing, to wear the devil’s gold ring all that glitters is not gold … Proverbs new dictionary
ring — see give a thing, and take a thing, to wear the devil’s gold ring … Proverbs new dictionary
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