William Camden? Thomas Fuller? Anonymous?
Dear Quote Investigator: People who enjoy waking up early in the morning and going to work cite the following adage:
The early bird gets the worm.
Would you please explore the history of this expression?
Quote Investigator: English historian William Camden published “Remaines Concerning Britaine” in the 17th century, and this adage appeared in the fifth edition in 1636. Here is a contiguous sampling from the list of proverbs. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI: 1
Thoughts be free from toll.
Trust is the Mother of deceit.
The gray Mare is the better horse.
The lame tongue gets nothing.
The early bird catcheth the worme.
Below are additional selected citations in chronological order. Continue reading