‘morning, noon and night’: meaning and early occurrences

The phrase morning, noon and night—also, in early use, morn, noon and night—means all day, incessantly.




Although the difference is not always clear, I have tried to distinguish between:
– the phrase morning, noon and night, which denotes an incessant action,
– the juxtaposition of the nouns morning, noon and night, which refers to an action taking place first in the morning, then at noon, and finally at night.

These are, in chronological order, the earliest occurrences of the nouns morning, noon and night used in juxtaposition that I have found:

1-: From this dialogue between Lady Newcome and Sir Humphrey, her husband, in Modern Fools, published in The Scots Magazine (Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland) of January 1740:

Sir H. I hate noise.
La. Noise! Call musick noise!—But call it what you will, noise is my delight! joy! happiness!—I was born in noise, nursed in noise, and would live and die in noise!—’Tis my element as well as Juno’s; and whenever you thwart me, morning, noon and night shall begin and end with thunder.

2-: From the following book title:

The Devout Soul’s Daily Exercise, in Prayers, Contemplations, and Praises: Containing, Devotions for Morning, Noon, and Night, for every Day in the Week. With Prayers and Thanksgivings for Persons of all Conditions, and upon all Occasions (London: Printed for Edmund Parker, at the Bible and Crown in Lombard-Street, 1740), by R. Parker, D. D.

3-: From On the distemper among the horned cattle, published in The Scots Magazine (Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland) of February 1746:

At their first seizure, take away about a quart of blood, (the loss whereof will not here be prejudicial, the remedy supplying the strength which would be diminished by it); then give a doze of the following powder in a quart of the honey-liquor above described, every morning, noon, and night, viz. Take three ounces of Peruvian bark; an ounce of rattle-snake root, both in powder: mix and divide them into three equal doses.




These are, in chronological order, the earliest occurrences of the phrase morning, noon and night—also morn, noon and night—that I have found:

1-: From The Derby Mercury (Derby, Derbyshire, England) of Thursday 19th March 1741:

The Gentleman’s ANSWER to the young Lady’s RIDDLE, inserted in our last Week’s Paper.
YOUR Riddle’s Meaning, if I guess,
Allow me to describe it, thus:
Our Beaus and Belles with vast Delight
View it all o’er, Morn, Noon and Night:
’Tis that which all your Lovers charms,
Yet, what they wish not in their Arms;
Of any Sex if it can be,
’Tis Female from Inconstancy.

2-: From The Penny London Post; Or, The Morning Advertiser (London, England) of Monday 27th March 1749:

The Conclusion
The dying Beggar’s Advice to his Children continued.

Is the master of a third house sick, way lay his wife from morning to night, if he be good for any thing and tell her you will pray morning, noon and night for his recovery.

3-: From this advertisement, published in The Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) of Tuesday 14th January 1752:

Mr. Dove, English Professor at the Academy, finding his former house too little for the number of his boarders, has taken Rock-hall, which is situated in a wholsome air very near the Academy, and most commodiously adapted for the reception of young gentlemen at board, washing and lodging. The great advantages that children will receive from their living with a master, may easily appear from this consideration; That as they will be always under his inspection, he will have a better opportunity of discovering their different inclinations and humours, of forming their manners, and correcting their language and writing. Besides which, care will be taken, to instruct them morning, noon and night, in several useful books, by way of recreation, which are not taught in the public school.
N. B. Said Dove, if desired, will at leisure hours instruct any of his boarders in the Greek, Latin, or French Grammar, without any additional expence to their parents or friends.

4-: From Transmigration. A fable, by J. Hackett, published in The Scots Magazine (Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland) of August 1757:

When Flavia from the world retir’d;
When Flavia was no more admir’d;
When Flavia’s knocker now lay quiet;
And Flavia liv’d on frugal diet;
In place of chicks, eat beaf and carrot,
And drank small-beer instead of claret;
She bought a monkey; such a one,
So mischievous, so full of fun,
As yet no monkey has outdone.
He’d chatter morning, noon, and night,
Grin, tumble, frisk, and sometimes bite,
Abandon’d Flavia’s sole delight.

5-: The variant morn, or noon, or night occurs in On a YOUNG LADY who died at Edinburgh, Feb. 22. 1761, a poem, “by a Lady of Quality”, on the death of Euanthe, published in The Scots Magazine (Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland) of March 1761:

While we view the sad, the solemn scene,
Which, morn, or noon, or night, o’ertakes us all,
Let us request of Heav’n Euanthe’s fate,
Belov’d while living, and when dead rever’d.

6-: From Jackson’s Oxford Journal (Oxford, Oxfordshire, England) of Saturday 5th March 1763:

Hard is the Lot of that Man who is plagued with a wanton Wife, a jealous Wife, a drunken Wife, or a scolding Wife; but it is better to have a wanton, jealous, drunken or scolding Wife, nay, I may say altogether, than to be yoked to a Loving Wife. The wanton Wife will let the poor Man wear his Horns on his Head with Peace and Quiet, if he will give her no Interruption in planting them there. The jealous Wife will cease upbraiding, while her Deary is fixed to her Apron-string. The drunken Wife is at least sober when she wakes in the Morning; and the scolding Wife we may suppose is silent when she is asleep. But the Loving Wife torments her unfortunate Helpmate Morning, Noon, and Night, nay, and all Night too.

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