One beats the bush, but another has the hare, i.e. one does the
work, but another reaps the profit. The Latins said, Sic vos non
vobis. The allusion is to beating the bush to start game. (See Beating.)
Good wine needs no bush.
A good article will make itself known without being puffed. The
booths in fairs used to be dressed with ivy, to indicate that wine was
sold there, ivy being sacred to Bacchus. An ivy-bush was once the
common sign of taverns, and especially of private houses where beer or
wine could be obtained by travellers. In France, a peasant who sells
his vineyard has to put a green bush over his door.
The proverb is Latin, and shows that the Romans introduced the
custom into Europe. “Vino vendibili hedera non opus est”
(Columella). It was also common to France. “Au vin qui se vend bien, il ne faut point de lierre.”
“If it be true that good wine needs no bush, `tis true that a good
play needs no prologue.”Shakespeare: As You Like It (Epilogue).
To take to the bush.
To become bushrangers, like runaway convicts who live by plunder.
The bush in this case means what the Dutch call bosch, the
uncleared land as opposed to towns and clearings.
“Everything being much cheaper in Toronto than away in the bush.” —Geikie: Life in the Woods.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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