a leopard cannot change its spots
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Ultimately from Jeremiah 13:23.
- One cannot change one's own nature.
- 1595 December 9 (first known performance), William Shakespeare, “The life and death of King Richard the Second”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene i], page 24, column 2:
- King. Lyons make Leopards tame. / Mowbray. Yea, but not change his ſpots:
- 1820, Walter Scott, chapter II, in Ivanhoe; a Romance. [...] In Three Volumes, volume III, Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co. […], OCLC 230694662, page 60:
- End now all unkindness. Let us put the Jew to ransom, since the leopard will not change his spots, and a Jew he will continue to be.
one cannot change one's own nature