No waiting

Posted by Henry on February 17, 2005

In Reply to: Time and tide waits for no man posted by Paul Hughes on February 17, 2005

: Several messages in 2004 dealt with 'tidings' and the origin of the phrase 'time and tide waits for no man'. The phrase can clearly be traced to the sixteenth century John Skot's Everyman, where Death is speaking about certainty. At least one respondent refers to Chaucer, but the phrase is to be found in neither Troilus and Chrysede nor in the prologue to the Clerk's Tale (Anthony Burgess, The Riverside Chaucer). Can anyone give an earlier citation than Skot?

From the archives; ...its earliest form as 'For wete you well the tyde abydeth no man,' which appeared in Everyman (c. 1500).
It's not certain that tide refers to the level of the sea. Tide is more likely to be a reference to time, as in Christmastide. The alliteration makes it memorable. Is the reference in Everyman related to the sea?