Who wrote this bon mot about sleep and where?
October 26, 2013 1:47 PM   Subscribe

Someone once wrote (paraphrased), "I have done two things I hated every day of my life: woken up and gone to bed." Who said this, and where can I get the rest of the piece in which it appeared? I seem to recall it was Samuel Johnson, but have had no success tracking this quote down.
posted by rwhe to Society & Culture (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It would certainly fit Johnson's habits and character entirely: there are a many records of his castigating himself for not getting up early enough, and of his distaste for being left alone with his insomnia and depressive thoughts at the end of the evening. If you want to focus your searches, I'd start with grabbing Boswell's unabridged Life and Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides from Project Gutenberg, and running a few searches for likely phrasings of bits of the quotation. I gave it a quick go myself but haven't found anything as yet.
posted by pont at 2:29 PM on October 26, 2013

The famed Johnson quote is, “Whoever thinks of going to bed before twelve o'clock is a scoundrel.” [CDOQ]

He also said that "The happiest part of a man's life is what he passes lying awake in bed in the morning."

Can't find anything -- by anyone -- quite similar to that particular phrasing, though the Irving Berlin song "Oh, I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" comes kinda close (next line "Oh, how I'd love to remain in bed" -- a soldier's lament).
posted by dhartung at 2:30 PM on October 26, 2013

Upon pont's suggestion, here's Boswell in "Meditation on a Pudding": "In a magazine I found a saying of Dr Johnson's, something to this purpose; that the happiest part of a man's life is what he passes lying awake in bed in the morning. I read it to him. He said, 'I may, perhaps, have said this; for nobody, at times, talks more laxly than I do.' I ventured to suggest to him, that this was dangerous from one of his authority."

edit: shoot, I read the thread before searching, and dhartung's comment got stuck in my brain instead of the one you're asking about. More searching now.
posted by estlin at 3:28 PM on October 26, 2013

Ah, here we are, I surmise -- Tallullah Bankhead said,

I have three phobias which, could I mute them, would make my life as slick as a sonnet, but as dull as ditch water - I hate to go to bed, I hate to get up, and I hate to be alone.
posted by dhartung at 1:04 AM on October 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've seen the quote to which you're referring, and I believe it's from Oscar Wilde or S. J. Perelman or someone of that style. I can't find it, either.
posted by blob at 8:05 AM on October 27, 2013

Response by poster: dhartung, thank you. Bankhead's quote isn't the one I was thinking of, but it's in the spirit of it and certainly the closest to the original quote that anyone has found. Perhaps she was paraphrasing S.J. Perelman, Oscar Wilde, or Dr. Johnson.
posted by rwhe at 10:28 AM on October 27, 2013

Best answer: Found it.

“I forget who it was that recommended men for their soul's good to do each day two things they disliked: it was a wise man, and it is a precept that I have followed scrupulously; for every day I have got up and I have gone to bed.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon And Sixpence
posted by blob at 10:10 PM on October 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: blob, you rock! Thank you so much. Thanks to everyone else who worked on this too.
posted by rwhe at 8:07 AM on October 29, 2013

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