John Godfrey Saxe? Frederick Locker-Lampson? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: “The early bird catches the worm” has become an irritating cliché. I love this entertaining comical response:
But the worm was punished for getting up early.
Do you know who crafted this rejoinder?
Quote Investigator: The work “Early Rising” appeared in the 1876 collection “The Poems of John Godfrey Saxe”. The stanza below expressed the unhappiness of the author with leaving his bed early in the morning: 1
Yes — bless the man who first invented sleep
(I really can’t avoid the iteration);
But blast the man, with curses loud and deep,
Whate’er the rascal’s name, or age, or station,
Who first invented, and went round advising,
That artificial cut-off, — Early Rising!
The final stanza of the poem contained the quip. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:
So let us sleep, and give the Maker praise.
I like the lad who, when his father thought
To clip his morning nap by hackneyed phrase
Of vagrant worm by early songster caught,
Cried, “Served him right! — it’s not at all surprising;
The worm was punished, sir, for early rising!”
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order. Continue reading