Laughs last - complete phrase

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Laughs last - complete phrase

Post by tafelice » Thu May 03, 2018 9:55 pm

Hi group, just joined.

Some many years ago I read what I thought was the complete quote of the common "he who laughs last laughs best." I forgot it and could never find it again. But I remember it went something like this:

He who laughs first laughs loudest and
he who laughs second laughs longest but
he who laughs last laughs best.

Now I'm not the least bit sure of the first two lines, or even if there are only three lines but I was hoping someone might be able to quote the entirety correctly. And origin or context would be a double plus.


Re: Laughs last - complete phrase

Post by Phil White » Fri May 04, 2018 10:22 pm

I know the phrase as "he who laughs last laughs longest". But the proverb also exists as "he who laughs last laughs best" and "he who laughs last laughs loudest".

Phrase Finder has this to say:
This proverb originated in Tudor England but, for once, wasn't coined by Shakespeare. It is found in print in the play Christmas Prince, which was first performed, at Cambridge, around 1608:

Laugh on laugh on my freind
Hee laugheth best that laugheth to the end ... ngest.html
As far as your version is concerned, I seem to remember hearing something similar long ago, but it was nothing more than an aphorism.

And then, of course, there is the version "he who laughs last didn't get the joke".
Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: Laughs last - complete phrase

Post by tafelice » Sat May 05, 2018 1:27 am

Phil, you might be right, but maybe I was fitting the wisdom to the situation but it seemed to work well (as all your variations do too). I recall there might have even been in there something about "one of the laughing positions laughing wisest" but now I'm just hallucinating. Thanks.

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