"Love thy neighbor” is in the Bible (Leviticus 19:18). “Good fences make good neighbors” is an old proverb popularized by Robert Frost (1974-1963).
The proverb “Love your neighbour yet pull not down your hedge” has been cited in print since at least 1640 and was included by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) in a volume of his Poor Richard’s Almanack (April 1754). “Love your neighbor, but don’t tear down your fence” is another version of the proverb. The proverb has been often used in politics (especially foreign affairs).
The Works of Arthur Murphy, Esq.
By Arthur Murphy (1727-1805)
London: T. Cadell
Thanks to your example, you have taught me to be cautious in this wide world. Love your neighbor, but don’t pull down your hedge.
11 March 1797, Herald of the United States (RI), “The Proverbalist,” pg. 1026:
Lay no temptations before your neighbor, for temptations make rogues. “The hole in the wall invites the thief.”—You must love your neighbor, yet “Pull not down your hedge,” for, “He who trusts nobody is not deceived.”
1823, The New Monthly Magazine, pg. 321:
“Love your neighbour, but don’t pull down your own hedge.” PROVERBS.
Google News Archive
13 August 1933, Miami (FL) Daily News, pg. 4, col. 1:
Benjamin Franklin said: “Love your neighbor, but don’t tear down your hedge.”
Folklore (August 2003)
“Good fences make good neighbours”: history and significance of an ambiguous proverb - The Twenty-First Katharine Briggs Memorial Lecture, November 2002
Two English Antecedents to the Proverb
There are two English proverbs that express the principle idea of “Good fences make good neighbours,” albeit in different images and structures. George Herbert printed in Outlandish Proverbs (1640) the text: “Love your neighbour, yet pull not downe your hedge” (Mennes 1847, 2:488). In April 1754, Benjamin Franklin included this proverb in the wording of “Love thy Neighbour; yet don’t pull down your Hedge” in his Poor Richard’s Almanack (Brooks 1979, 228; see also Barbour 1974, 146). This shows that it had made the jump to North America. An almanac of the year 1811 repeated the proverb with a clear explanation: “Love thy neighbor; yet pull not down thy hedge. That is to say, be courteous, friendly, and neighborly, but never lay yourself open to exposure to anyone” (Sagendorph 1957, 51). Some fifty years earlier, the British playwright Arthur Murphy had warned in his play The Citizen: “You have taught me to be cautious in this wide world--Love your neighbour, but don’t pull down your hedge” (Murphy 1763, 15).
By Wolfgang Mieder
Westport, CT: Greenwood Press
There are also two English proverbs that express the principal idea of “Good fences make good neighbors,” albeit in different images and structures, namely “Love your neighbor, but don’t pull down your hedge” (1640) and “A hedge between keeps friendship green” (1707).
The Wordsworth Dictionary of Proverbs
By George Latimer Apperson
Ware, Herts: Wordsworth Reference
Love your neighbour yet pull not down your hedge.
1640: Herbert, Jac. Prudentum.
1763: Murphy, Citizen, I ii.
1875: A. B. Cheales, Proverb. Folk-Lore, 93.
Friday, October 08, 2010 12:53:37 PM
“Love your neighbor--but don’t pull down your hedge.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
Detroit (MI) Free Press
Susan Tompor: Dow 13,000, time for celebration or caution?
6:17 PM, February 28, 2012
White said he’s concerned about a major market downturn—say a Dow 7,000—further down the road. His worries: Inflation, the European debt crisis, a spike in oil prices.
He said it’s much like the old saying “Love your neighbors but don’t tear down your fences.”
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Tuesday, February 28, 2012 • Permalink