The length and precision of this proverb leave little room for interpretation as to its meaning. Like many improving mottos, for example ' a rolling stone gathers no moss ' and ' a stitch in time saves nine ', it was an encouragement to hard, diligent work.
The earliest record of a proverb that approximates to our current version that I can find in print is in The Book of St. Albansprinted in As the olde englysshe prouerbe sayth in this wyse. Note : the Middle English word zely comes down to us now as 'silly'. This has numerous meanings, commonly 'foolish'. The meaning was 'auspicious; fortunate'.
The description of it as 'old English' in does place this expression Stever - Idiot Savant one of the oldest phrases still in use in everyday English. The earliest version that I know of of the current form of the proverb was printed in John Clarke's Paroemiologia Anglo-Latina in The person most associated with the phrase and who brought it into common usage in the USA was Benjamin Franklin.
Poor Richard's Almanackwhich was an annual journal published by Benjamin Franklin under the pseudonym of Poor Richard between and It included the usual almanac fare of maxims, poetry, weather predictions and astrological ravings. Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise is found in the edition. There's good reason to believe that Franklin endorsed the proverb's uplifting Various - Trancemaster 16 it is certainly in keeping with the numerous proverbs of earnest intent that were published in Poor Richard before they were seen elsewhere.
Given the social conventions of the day, Franklin wasn't especially bothered when women got to work. The typographic conventions of the day also involved the use of the long 's', Early To Bed - Various - Rampage!
10 appears similar to a lowercase 'f'. Present day transcriptions lead us to believe that getting a good night's sleep will make us ' healthy, wealthy and wife '. At least Franklin avoided ' where the bee sucks, there suck Early To Bed - Various - Rampage! 10 '. Later American commentators have had some fun at Franklin's expense. InCarl Sandburg suggested that 'Early to bed and early to rise and you never meet any prominent people'.
See also: the List of Proverbs and ' the early bird catches the worm '. Home Search Phrase Dictionary Early to bed and early to rise makes and man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Early to bed and early to rise makes and man healthy, wealthy and wise Other: Proverbs.
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