Posted by ESC on May 13, 2000

In Reply to: Noel Coward Song posted by Bruce Kahl on May 11, 2000

: : What is the origin of this phrase?

: "...Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.."
: --Noel Coward

: Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun
: The Japanese don't care to, the Chinese wouldn't dare to
: Hindus and Argentines sleep firmly from twelve to one
: But Englishmen
: Detest a
: Siesta.
: Noel Coward, Mad Dogs and Englishmen

While I was looking in A Dictionary of American Proverbs by Wolfgang Mieder & Others (Oxford University Press, New York, 1992) for the phrase about keeping a dog and barking yourself (see elsewhere on the discussion page, I spied this entry:
"Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noontime sun. Rec. dist.(Recorded distribution)Kansas., Mich. 1st cit.: 1933 Snell, 'And Then...One Dark Night; US1819 Brackenridge, Voyage to South America. 20c coll. (20th Century collections): Whiting (MP) 177, Whiting 117."

Questions: When did Mr. Coward write his song? The 40s? And what would the average Kansas or Michigan person know about Englishmen and the midday sun. Is this an old English saying? Or what?

Inquiring minds want to know.