Take full advantage of an opportunity before it passes
This expression, which alludes to the drying of grass for animal feed, is first recorded in
English in Alexander Barclay's Ship of Fools.
Ship of Fools, originally written by the distinguished humanist Sebastian Brant in 1494 and published in German as Narrenschiff, satirizes examples of contemporary folly. It was one of the most successful published works of its age and is often cited as one of the first "international bestsellers". Alexander Barclay adapted it into English as The Ship of Folys of the Worlde in 1509. The work's comic woodcuts, commonly attributed to Albrecht Dürer of Nuremberg, are a key part of its popularity. Sample illustrations can be seen at the University of Glasgow's website. The full text and illustrations are available at Project Gutenberg.
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It is a fact of life that any discourse...will always please if it is five minutes shorter than people expect
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