Ay, sir, but ‘while the grass grows’ – the proverb is something musty.

I looked up what this proverb is. It is: While the grass grows, the steed starves.
This is explained as if you wait too long, dreams may not be realized. I’m not sure this makes sense to me. It makes sense as it relates to Hamlet, sure –
But on its own. . .
Why is the steed starving? Do steeds not eat grass?
Is it that they eat hay – like, dried grasses?
I don’t know – it just seems like, if the steed is hungry, it’ll just eat whatever it can find, if the grass is to its taste or not. I’d eat grass if I were starving.

But. . .this proverb is VERY musty. It’s very probable that this was a well used proverb at the time – one every one could complete after hearing just the grass growing part. Modern audiences have to make up what the rest of it might be.

I think I imagined it was something like, “While the grass grows, the sun shines everywhere.” I wanted It to say something about glory going on without a person (or the grass. . .) so the actual proverb is a little bit disappointing compared to the one in my imagination.

Something musty indeed. Something musty in 1599, 1601 or so, is EVEN mustier here in 2016.


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