Well, it happened again! Thank you!

It was great to see that in addition to 5 other copies of my popular book, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions which sold yesterday on Amazon, one individual ordered 17 copies! That happened about a year or so ago when someone ordered 19 copies at the same time. It may be the same person…but I would expect it is a teacher, professor or school ordering them for a class, since I know it has been used as a text book to help teach English as a second language.  I am very grateful for this, and feel honored! But only one copy of the second volume sold yesterday. Of course all purchases are appreciated, but I can’t help but think about all those people who have, and use, my original volume who are missing out on the 1000 + additional entries in the second one which were researched just as meticulously as the others and would improve their library of phrase origins and meanings!

So… If you have the first one, whether you bought it yourself, or received it as a gift, I know you would love Volume II! get your copy today on Amazon or the St. Clair Publications website!

If at first you don’t succeed…

I dare say that everyone reading this post can finish this proverb. I heard it from my mother, she heard it from hers, and it goes back for generations. And it is really great advice. If we give up to easily we will miss the sweet smell of success. My latest tome, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions tells where this old axiom came from. It’s found at the bottom of page 264 (of 730 pages):

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

This proverb first appeared in Teacher’s Manual in 1840 by American educator Thomas H. Palmer who wrote:

“‘Tis a lesson you should heed, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Some sources believe that the phrase dates to well before this, to the time of Robert I of Scotland, best known as Robert the Bruce, the fourteenth-century king popularized in the movie Brave Heart, who suffered a major defeat at the hands of the English. Legend says that he then hid in a cave near Gretna, close to the border of Scotland and England. While there, according to legend, he watched a spider attempting to spin a web. Each time the spider failed, it simply began again. So inspired was the Bruce by the little arachnid that he left the cave and returned to lead his troops in a series of victories against the English. Whether Bruce actually used the phrase is questionable, but the tale may have inspired Palmer.

The saying was brought into popular culture by British hymnist, educational writer and Westminster Review editor, William ‘Edward’ Hickson in 1857 when the entire quote from Palmer was used in his Moral Song. It is now applicable to much more than lessons in school.


This book is being sought after and purchased online around the world every day. If you don’t have a copy yet, you can get either a paperback or a Kindle e book on Amazon.com, or you can get a copy direct from stclairpublications.com. You can even ask your favorite bookstore to get one from you. Why it’s right on their computer to order!