"Don’t talk about rope in a hanged man’s house” (that is, don’t bring up a sore point) is an old Spanish proverb. “Where have you found that ‘tis good naming the halter in the hanged man’s house?” was printed in the 17th century translation of the Spanish novel Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.
The proverb entered American politics on October 15, 1948, when U.S. President Harry Truman spoke at Indianapolis. Truman said that he doesn’t talk about depression with Republicans, adding:
“You remember the old saying. ‘Don’t talk about rope in the house of somebody who has been hanged.’”
Wikiquote: Talk:Spanish proverbs
No hables de la soga en casa del ahorcado. Translation: Don’t speak of the noose in the hanged man’s house.
. Interpretations: Don’t talk about others problems in their own home.
. Beware the beam in your own eye; take care of your own back yard.
. Beware of speaking about touchy subjects at inappropriate times/in inappropriate places.
A Practical Method for Learning Spanish
By Alejandro Ybarra
New York, NY: Ginn & Company
Never speak of hemp in a hanged man’s house.
The History of the Valorous and Witty Knight-Errant Don Quixote of The Mancha
By Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Translated by Thomas Shelton
Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott Co.
Don Quixote alighted to search his wounds; but, finding him whole from top to toe, very angrily he said, “You must bray, with a plague to you! and where have you found that ‘tis good naming the halter in the hanged man’s house?”
Ring Around a Murder
By George Bagby
New York, NY: Covici, Friede
“That’s another old Russian proverb.”
“Don’t speak of the grave,” Thorpe shuddered.
“You’re right, Thorpe,” Ebenezer agreed. “In the house of the condemned, don’t talk about rope. That, Inspector, is an old Dutch one.”
7 November 1941, Princeton Alumni Weekly, “On Campus,” pg. 6, col. 1:
As one professor succinctly put it: you don’t talk about rope in the house of a man who has been hanged.
Google News Archive
16 October 1948, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), pg. 1, col. 2:
TRUMAN TAGS GOP
Charges Rivals With
Failing to Quench
By Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS, October 15.
Recalls Old Saw
That the people can expect a Republican President and congress to take them “headlong back down the road that led to the great depression.”
Evidently, he said, he has offended “the Republican gentleman who wants to be President” by talking about depressions.
“You remember the old saying,” he added. “Don’t talk about rope in the house of somebody who has been hanged.”
Great Political Wit:
Laughing (Almost) All the Way to the White House
By Robert Dole
New York, NY: Broadway Books
Truman remarked, “Republicans don’t like people to talk about depressions. You remember the old saying, ‘Don’t talk about rope in the house of somebody who has to be hanged.’”
The Routledge Book of World Proverbs
By Jon R. Stone
New York, NY: Routledge
Don’t talk about rope in a hanged man’s home. (Spanish)
Truman’s Whistle-Stop Campaign
By Steven R. Goldzwig
College Station, TX: Texas A & M University Press
Another aphorism was employed to rally listeners in Indianapolis on October 15: “Republicans don’t like people to talk about depressions. . . .You remember the old saying: Don’t talk about rope in the house of somebody who has been hanged.”
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
No hables de la soga en casa del ahorcado.
Don’t speak of the noose in the hanged man’s house.
This proverb advises us not to talk about people’s problems in their own home. More generally, it suggests that we beware of speaking about touchy subjects at inappropriate times or in inappropriate places.
Posted by Robert Bovington at 6:43 PM
“You don’t talk about rope in the house of the hanged” ~ man of la mancha
10:59 AM - 1 Dec 12
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • Saturday, June 22, 2013 • Permalink