Today’s proverb is actually fairly recent, as proverbs go, with a straightforward provenance. According to Phrases, it was printed anonymously in a news sheet called the Hampshire Advertiser, in Southampton, England in August, 1857. It appears in the first stanza of a rather bad poem — and a rather long poem. Eleven stanzas of …erm, instruction. I haven’t read it myself, but apparently the ultimate line of every stanza is the same:
Ye votaries of sofas and beds
Ye sloths who exertion detest,
This maxim I wish to drive into your heads
A change is as good as a rest.
Ye children of Fashion and Wealth,
With countless indulgences blest,
Remember that indolence preyeth on health
A change is as good as a rest…
Ah, the Victorian Era, ever ready with the didactic bit of poetry to drive into your heads. Sheesh.
“A change is as good as a rest.” – English proverb
…if you’re counting sheep
as the hours slip by
at least in fresh sheets
you’re sleepless – dignified.
Is a change as good as a rest? Not… really. But, if nothing else, it helps you rest, a little.