phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: He also serves who stands and waits

Posted by Gary Martin on May 17, 2006

In Reply to: He also serves who stands and waits posted by Peter Chalmers on May 17, 2006

: I wonder if anyone knows the origin and correct version of "He also serves, who stands and cooks". I have been told that it is "He also serves who stands and waits".

: I thought it was an expression from the First World War but I am told it is from the Second World War.

: Does anyone know which is correct and its origin.

"They also serve who only stand and wait", is a line from Milton's Sonnet 26, 1673, and that's the origin.

It was used in both WWI and WWII; referring to the wives/mothers/friends who waited for their loved ones to come home.

The "only stands and cooks" line is a rather feeble pun - deriving from the 'one who serves and waits' being a waiter in a restaurant.