Jupiter had a potion of fraud and hypocrisy made but too much was made and the unused part went to tailors. There’s knavery in all trades; most in tailors.
It is natural to be a knave; men must rise above.
Mercury was given the task of dividing lies among various tradesmen. Tailors (or horse traders in some versions) were last and got a larger dose which is why they are found to lie more than most.
Jupiter appointed Mercury to make him a composition of fraud and hypocrisie, and to give every artifices his dose on’t. The medicine was prepar’d according to the bill, and the proportions duly observ’d, and divided: only there was a great deal too much of it made, and the overplus remain’d still in the morter. Upon examining the whole account, there was a mistake it seems, in the reck’ning; for the taylors were forgott’n in the catalogue: so that Mercury, for brevity sake, gave the taylors the whole quantity that was left; and from hence comes the old saying: There’s knavery in all trades, but most in taylors.
It is in some sort natural to be a knave. We were made so, in the very composition of our flesh and blood; only fraud is call’d wit in one case, good husbandry in another, &c., while ’tis the whole bus’ness of the world for one man to couzen another.
Gherardo Image from 1480
Sutores et Mercurius
Iuppiter Mercurio imperavit ut artificibus omnibus mendacii potionem conficeret. Ipse, singulis quae ad id opus erant pistillo contusis atque mensura pro ratione miscendi confecta, universis aequalem potum praebuit. Cum vero, sutore solo relicto, multum adhuc ex potione superesset, Mercurius, mortario arrepto, totum illi bibendum dedit. Atque contigit inde ut artifices omnes mendaces sint, maxime vero omnium sutores.