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Per ardua ad astra

Posted by Lewis on June 12, 2006

In Reply to: Onward and upward posted by Smokey Stover on June 11, 2006

: : : Does anyone know who coined the phrase "onward and upward" and when it first came in to use?

: : ONWARD AND UPWARD We must continue to advance, to improve. The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985) credits The Present Crisis by James Russell Lowell for this phrase.
: :
: : James Russell Lowell. 1819 C1891
: :
: : 128. The Present Crisis
: :
: : New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;
: : They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of Truth;
: : Lo, before us gleam her camp-fires! we ourselves must Pilgrims be,
: : Launch our Mayflower, and steer boldly through the desperate winter sea,
: : Nor attempt the Future's portal with the Past's blood-rusted key.

: : The whole poem is online at Accessed June 10, 2006.

: As a boy growing up in New York State, I was told that the state motto, Excelsior, meant Onward and upward. It probably only means Upward, but I'm happy to think the other.
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the RAF motto "per ardua ad astra" - "through hard-work to the stars" is a mite more realistic than 'onwards and upwards'. I'm not convinced that "Excelsior" means 'upward' - I think it was just an advert for the Hotel group...