nothing comes of nothing

nothing comes of nothing
Cf. ALCAEUS Fragment cccxx. (Lobel-Page) οὐδὲν ἐκ δενὸς γένοιτο, nothing comes of nothing; L. ex nihilo nihil fit.

c 1380 CHAUCER Boethius v. pr. i. For this sentence is verray and soth, that ‘no thing hath his beynge of naught’.

1551 CRANMER Answer to Gardiner 369 Sicut ex nihilo nihil fit, Ita nihil in nihilum redigitur, As nothyng can be made of nought, so nothynge can be tourned into nought.

1605–6 SHAKESPEARE King Lear I. i. 89 Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again.

1818 SCOTT Heart of Midlothian I. i. You are to give me all your business... If you have none, the learned gentleman here knows nothing can come of nothing.

1946 E. R. CURTIS Lady Sarah Lennox iv. ‘What did you think of it?’ ‘Nothing, Sir.’ ‘Nothing comes of nothing!’ the King exclaimed impatiently.

1998 T. DALRYMPLE Life at Bottom (2001) 233 Well, as King Lear said, nothing comes of nothing: and the journalist’s hatred of the police was unlikely to have sprung completely at random and fully informed from his consciousness.

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