From this `particular usage, the phrase had an easy transition among the vulgar to that general application which Bottom makes of it'.(1) Unfortunately, later scholars have not been able to verify Capell's explanation, and there is strong reason to believe that the phrase is not proverbial since, as far as we can now tell, only Shakespeare or sources which derive from him use it in this precise form.(2) John Ray in English Proverbs under the heading `An Alphabet of Joculary
, Nugatory, and Rustick Proverbs' lists `Hold or cut Cod-piece-point' which of course is a joke and may well be a parody of Shakespeare's phrase.(3) In any case, it was first listed by Ray in 1678, more than half a century after Shakespeare's death.