Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Collector of Quotes #2

My Mom and Dad always remind me to not "burn the candle at both ends" just about every other night on the phone. The phrase "burning a candle at both ends" had existed long before Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) wrote the poem below in 1922; the phrase was only translated into English from the French by Randle Cotgrave, an English lexicographer, in 1611. (The original 17th-century French the expression was "brusler la chandelle par lex deux bouts") So I wonder if it was translated into English in 1611 how long did it exist before then? How long has man been burning the candle at both ends?

The phrase has two connotations nowadays (1) you're working too hard and sleeping too little and (2) you're leading a hectic social life--and maybe trying to work as well--and sleeping too little. Millay's poem is in reference to the second. They say that American's Live to Work and that European's Work to Live. I hope to take on a bit more European styling, even if I do have to singe the hind end of my candle. I'll sleep when I'm dead.


My candle bums at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!

-Edna St. Vincent Millay



At 8:40 AM, Blogger Jen Redstreake said...

Well, I have been burning the candle at both ends since I had TWINS! Might end when they are 18, maybe ;-) I LOVE your blogs, really interesting!! You should write a book, Sabrina, you are a very good at putting down your thoughts!

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Brina Bat said...

Gosh Thanks Jen! Its fun to hear that. I wonder though, what on earth would it be about? I have too many thoughts that are all over the place to settle onto a single topic. But it would be cool!!


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