ill weeds grow apace

ill weeds grow apace
Cf. 14th-cent. Fr. male herbe croist, bad grass thrives.

c 1470 in Anglia (1918) XLII. 200 Wyl[d] weed ys sone y-growe. Creuerat herba satis, que nil habet utilitatis.

1546 J. HEYWOOD Dialogue of Proverbs I. x. C4v Ill weede growth fast Ales [Alice], wherby the corne is lorne [lost].

1578 J. FLORIO First Fruits 31v An yl weede groweth apace.

1594 SHAKESPEARE Richard III II. iv. 13 ‘Ay,’ quoth my uncle Gloucester, ‘Small herbs have grace: great weeds do grow apace.’.. I would not grow so fast, Because sweet flow’rs are slow and weeds make haste.

1738 SWIFT Polite Conversation i. 23 ‘Don’t you think Miss is grown?’.. ‘Ay; ill Weeds grow a-pace.’

1905 A. MACLAREN Gospel according to St. Matthew II. 208 The roots of the old lay hid, and, in due time, showed again above ground. ‘Ill weeds grow apace.’

1986 M. SLUNG More Momilies 67 It’s always the weeds that grow the best.

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