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As the twig is bent so grows the tree.

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 07, 2009 at 15:04

In Reply to: As the twig bends so bends the tree posted by Victoria S Dennis on July 04, 2009 at 22:59:

: : Does anyone know the derivation of the phrase "as the twig bends so bends the tree"?

: It's just an old proverb.The idea has been expressed in various ways for nearly five hundred years. E.g. in 1530: "A man may bend a wande while it is grene & make it straight though it be ne'er so crooked", and Alexander Pope in 1732: "'Tis Education forms the common mind, Just as the Twig is bent the Tree's inclined". (VSD)

The old proverb quoted by Steven Robles came to my ears in this form: "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree." There's no substantive difference there, and no doubt old proverbs get bent all the time. I doubt if this old proverb began as one of Pope's numerous epigrams, and I doubt if one can rule that one particular form is definitive, barring certain knowledge of the original author. Still, I like this particular wording.