Why do we say "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Well-Known Expressions

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again

Meaning:

Keep trying, and you will succeed

Background:

This first written record of this proverb can be found in American educator Thomas H Palmer's Teacher's Manual (1840).

"Tis a lesson you should heed, try, try again.

It was popularized in 1857 by Edward Hickson's Moral Song.

Some sources believe that the expression dates back well before this to the time of Robert 1 of Scotland (Robert the Bruce), a 14th century king who, the legend says, suffered a major defeat at the hands of the English and went and hid in a cave near Gretna (close to the border of Scotland and England). While there he watched a spider trying to spin a web. Each time the spider failed, it simply started again. So inspired was Robert by the little arachnid that he left the cave and returned to lead his troops in a series of victories against the English.

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