A fly will not go into a mouth that is closed.
Note: The oral tradition of Ireland has always maintained that the Gael came to Ireland from Spain. Perhaps this week’s proverb has the same author as this Spanish proverb, “En boca cerrada no entran moscas.” (The closed mouth swallows no flies.) A similar Spanish proverb may have its origin in the bible, “El pez muere la boca.” (The fish dies because he opens his mouth.)
Ní hé an machnamh is geal leis an amadán,
ach bheith ag tabhairt a thuairime os ard.
Tarraingíonn caint an amadáin aighneas air féin,
agus tugann a bhéal cuireadh chun é a léasadh.
Scriosann béal an amadáin é féin,
agus is gaiste dó a bheola.
Leabhar na Seanfhocal, 18;2,7,8.
The fool takes no delight in understanding,
but rather in displayng what he thinks.
The fool’s lips lead him into strife,
and his mouth provokes a beating.
The fool’s mouth is his ruin;
His lips are a snare to his life.
The Book of Proverbs, 18;2,7,8.
We have seen the idea of a mouth provoking a beating before. Is minic a bhris beál duine a shrón. (It’s often that a person’s mouth broke his nose.) Is minic a ghearr teanga duine a scornach. (It is often that a person’s tongue cut his throat.) George Bernard Shaw adapted this theme to the English mouth. “It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth, without making some other Englishman hate or despise him; English is not accessible, even to Englishmen.” Pygmalion, preface, 1913.