Miguel de Cervantes? Don Quixote? Sancho Panza? mr Chesterfield? Johann Wolfgang von Goethe? Joseph Hordern? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: If you space attempting to assess the personality of an individual you have the right to do it indirectly by identify his or she friends and assessing their proclivities. Right here are 3 versions that a pertinent saying:

Show me that your girlfriend are, and I’ll call you that you are.Tell me her company, and also I’ll phone call you who you are.By the company you save I have the right to tell what life you lead.

You are watching: Tell me who your friends are and i tell you who you are

Would you please discover the provenance the this family of expressions?

Quote Investigator: The more quickly close enhance known to QI appeared in the significant Spanish novel “Don Quixote” through Miguel de Cervantes which showed up in two components published in 1605 and also 1615. The Spanish title to be “Ingenioso Cavallero Don Qvixote de la Mancha” (“Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote de la Mancha”). The second component in 1615 had the complying with passage using non-standard spelling. The saying was talked by Sancho Panza who was the faithful servant and also squire of the main character Don Quixote. Boldface added to excepts through QI: 1

A qui encaxa bien el refran, dixo Sancho, de dime, con quien andas, dezirte that quien eres . . .

Here is a slightly much longer passage from an English translate into by Charles Jarvis published in 1749. The statement over is consisted of in the calculation below. The expression “your worship” corresponds to Don Quixote in this context: 2

Here, quoth Sancho, the proverb access time right, Tell me your company, and also I will certainly tell you what girlfriend are. If your praise keeps company with those that fast and also watch, what wonder is it that you neither eat no one sleep if you space with them?

Miguel de Cervantes disclaimed credit for the speak by calling it proverbial; thus, that was already circulating in Spanish before 1615.

Here are added selected citations in chronological order.

The reference job-related “English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases: A historic Dictionary” by G. L. Apperson consisted of a citation for a thematically related saying that appeared in 1586: 3

Tell me through whom you goest, and also I’ll call thee what she doest.1586: Pettie, tr. Guazzo’s civil Convers., fo. 22

The first English translate in of “Don Quixote” was performed by cutting board Shelton, and the 2 parts appeared in 1612 and also 1620. The phrasing work by Shelton given below differed a little from the later interpretation by translator Charles Jarvis: 4

That fits the Proverb, quoth Sancho, i m sorry sayes, You shall understand the human being by his company: you have beene among the enchanted, and also those that watch and also fast: no marvell thus though you neyther slept no one eat whilest friend were amongst them . . .

In 1683 the publication “Moral instructions of a father To His son Upon His departure for a lengthy Voyage” had a mindful explanation that the adage: 5

Consult Prudence, and she will certainly teach friend to select your Friends, i m sorry is a thing of the greatest consequence; because we obtain generally the Habits and also Passions of those whom us frequent: This to be so famous to our Fore-fathers, the they did not scruple to happen their judgment upon any type of Man as soon as they were once acquainted with the Temper of his Companions; according to this old speak of theirs, Tell me what agency you keep and also I will certainly tell friend what friend are.

In 1709 a didactic publication titled “The royal French Grammar” contained French and also English instances that the saying: 6

Dis moi qui tu hantes, & je te dirai qui tu és.Tell me her Company, and I shall call you that you are.

In 1726 the referral “A brand-new Dictionary, Spanish and English” included an entry for the proverb and presented instances in both languages: 7

Prov. Díme con quién andas, diréte quién eres: phone call me your agency and I’ll tell you who you are. the is, by the agency you store I deserve to tell what life girlfriend lead, for birds of a feather i cry together.

In 1755 an edition of “Don Quixote” contained the following alternate translation of the saying by T. Smollett: 8

Here then, said the squire, we may conveniently thrust in the proverb, Tell me her company, and also I’ll phone call you her manners.

Lord Chesterfield (Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield) composed a famous collection of letters to his son regarding proper manners and etiquette in the united Kingdom. A 1747 letter included an circumstances of the saying: 9

People will, in a an excellent degree, and not there is no reason, form their opinion of you, upon the which they have actually of her friends; and there is a Spanish proverb, which says an extremely justly, tell me that you live with, and also I will certainly tell you what friend are. One may relatively suppose, that a man, who makes a knave or a fool his friend, has actually something really bad come do, or come conceal.

In 1814 a version using words “associate” appeared in a compilation titled “Proverbs, Chiefly Taken from the Adagia that Erasmus, v Explanations”. Numerous adages were grouped under the Latin title “Corrumpunt Mores bonos Colloquia prava”: 10

“Tell me,” we say, “with who you associate, and I will certainly tell you what friend are.” “Che dorme co cani, si leva col le pulci,” those that sleep v dogs climb up v fleas, and also “La mala compagnia, e quella che mena huomini a la furca,” the is bad agency that brings guys to the gallows.

In 1830 a version using the word “friends” appeared in a repertoire of sermons from Reverend Joseph Hordern: 11

There is one old saying which friend will probably recollect, “tell me that your friend are, and I will certainly tell you what girlfriend are.” Men normally judge of others from the company they save . . .

The significant German literary figure Johann Wolfgang von Goethe passed away in 1832. A collection of his works released shortly afterward contained a volume title “Maximen und Reflexionen” (“Maxims and Reflections”) which consisted of the following passage: 12

Sage mir mit wem du umgehst, so sage ich dir wer du bist; weiß ich womit du dich beschäftigst, so weiß ich to be aus dir werden kann.

The words over have to be rendered into English together follows: 13

Tell me through whom girlfriend associate, and I will tell you that you are. If I know what your company is, I understand what have the right to be made of you.

In conclusion, Miguel de Cervantes consisted of the saying in the second component of his celebrated Spanish opus “Don Quixote” in 1615. The character Sancho Panza ceded the line while indicating that it was a pre-existing proverb. Other prominent figures such together Lord Chesterfield and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe work instances in later years.

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Image Notes: Illustration of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza by Gustave Dore. Image has been cropped and also resized.

(Great thanks to Simon Kasif who inquiry led QI to build this question and perform this exploration.)