S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.
[King of England; born at Greenwich, 1491; ascended the throne, 1509; defeated the Scotch at Flodden Field, 1513; contended for supremacy with Charles V. and Francis I.; declared Supreme Head of the Church, 1531; excommunicated, 1538; died 1547; his sixth wife, Catherine Parr, surviving him.]
Get my bill passed by to-morrow, or else to-morrow this head of yours will be off!
To Mr. Edward Montague, a member of the House of Commons, which hesitated to pass a bill dissolving certain monasteries, 1536. The bill passed. On another occasion when the House hesitated in the morning, but proved tractable in the afternoon, he said, It was well you did, or your heads would have been upon Temple Bar.
Giving his decision in favor of Cranmers opinion concerning the best method of procuring the divorce from Catherine of Aragon. When Sir Robert Walpole was asked how he had overcome Sir Spencer Compton, to whom the king was partial, he replied, He got the wrong sow by the ear, and I the right. So vulgar and idiomatic, says Jennings, are the phrases of English monarchs and ministers.Anecdotal History of Parliament. Heywoods Proverbs, published the year before Henry VIII.s death, contains this one; and it is used by Jonson and Colman, and occurs in Hudibras, II. 3, 580.