Why do we say "He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.

Well-Known Expressions

He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword


Those who view war/violence as a solution to their problems will likely die a violent death


This proverb traces to the play The Death of Robert, Earl of Huntington by English dramatist Anthony Munday (1601).

Robert, Earl of Huntington is one of a number of people who historians think may have been the basis for the legendary character of Robin Hood.  The evidence for the Earl of Huntington being "Robin Hood" traces to references by the likes of Anthony Munday and to Thomas Gale (1697-1702) who left in his papers words that were supposed to have been from the grave of Robin Hood, and recorded his death as being in 1247. 

Hear undernead this (dis) laitl stean/Lais Robert Earl of Huntington (Huntingtun)/Nea arcir ver as hie sae geud/An pipl kauld im Robin Heud/Sick utlaws as hi an is men/vil England nivr si agen.
(Here underneath this little stone/Lies Robert Earl of Huntington/No archer was as he so good/And people called him Robin Hood/Such outlaws as he and his men/Will England never see again). 

A similar epitaph is published at the end of The True Tale of Robin Hood by Martin Parker (1632), which gives the date of death as 1198 (at the end of the reign of King Richard "The Lionheart")

Robert Earle of Huntington/Lies under this little stone./No archer was like him so good;/His wildnesse named him Robbin Hood./Full thirteene yeares, and something more,/These northerne parts he vexed sore./Such out-lawes as he and his men/May England never know agen.

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Women & Power
    Women & Power
    by Mary Beard
    The treatise Women & Power: A Manifesto discusses a scene in Homer's Odyssey in which Odysseus&...
  • Book Jacket: Speak No Evil
    Speak No Evil
    by Uzodinma Iweala
    Young Nigerian American writer Uzodinma Iweala is fast becoming known as a powerful chronicler of ...
  • Book Jacket: Winter
    by Ali Smith
    "God was dead; to begin with." This first sentence of Winter perfectly sets up the dreamy journey ...
  • Book Jacket: A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    A Land of Permanent Goodbyes
    by Atia Abawi

    When you're a refugee, everyone has lost, at least for the time being... And the journey ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Anatomy of a Miracle
    by Jonathan Miles

    A stunning novel that offers an exploration of faith, science and the meaning of life.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Balcony

The Balcony
by Jane Delury

A century-spanning novel-in-stories of a French village brimming with compassion, natural beauty, and unmistakable humanity.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.