Why do we say "Hope for the best and prepare (or plan) for the worst"?

Well-Known Expressions

Hope for the best and prepare (or plan) for the worst

Meaning:

Be optimistic but also be prepared for all possibilities.

Background:

Around 46 BC, Cicero wrote to a friend saying, "you must hope for the best"; but the first known use of the full expression is in The Tragedie of Gorbuduc by Thomas Norton and Thomas Sackville (1561) which was performed by the Gentlemen of the Inner Temple before Queen Elizabeth I in 1562.

It is believed that Norton wrote the first three acts and Sackville the last two. It the earliest known tragedy written in English and the first full length play composed in blank verse. Not considered a work of great literary merit, the play's subject matter is an ancient British monarch who quarrels with his two sons. It warns the young Queen of the dangers of misgovernment and depicts a family and a country torn apart by civil war.

A bit over forty years later, Shakespeare wrote King Lear (first produced in 1605). At first glance it might seem that he took the idea of a king quarreling with his children from The Tragedie of Gorbuduc and upped the ante from two sons to three daughters. But actually, his tragedy is based on the story of Leir, a legendary king of the Britons who makes his first appearance in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae written in the 12th century. According to Geoffrey, Leir and his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, were descendants of Brutus of Troy (the legendary founder of Britain), who in turn was a descendant of the Trojan hero Aeneas.

Alphabetical list of expressions

Challenge yourself with BookBrowse Wordplays

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Blue Sky Kingdom
    Blue Sky Kingdom
    by Bruce Kirkby
    Who hasn't dreamed of escaping all of the trappings of today's modern life and finding a secluded, ...
  • Book Jacket: My Heart Underwater
    My Heart Underwater
    by Laurel Fantauzzo
    Corazon — Cory — Tagubio is a Filipina-American teenager living with her family in ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Sun
    Black Sun
    by Rebecca Roanhorse
    Reading the first book in a series is always difficult because readers know that, by definition, it ...
  • Book Jacket: Somewhere in the Unknown World
    Somewhere in the Unknown World
    by Kao Kalia Yang
    Resettled refugees are mostly invisible. Their needs are rarely publicized and their struggles are ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Patron Saint of Pregnant Girls
    by Ursula Hegi

    Set on a German island in 1878, perfect for fans of Water for Elephants.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline

The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win This Book!
Win Jack

Return to Gilead with Jack, the instant New York Times bestseller

Enter to win Marilynne Robinson's latest novel in her classic series.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I G I O Ear A O T O

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.