Fun Trivia
Home: Questions and Answers Forum
Answers to 100,000 Fascinating Questions
Welcome to FunTrivia's Question & Answer forum!

Search All Questions


Please cite any factual claims with citation links or references from authoritative sources. Editors continuously recheck submissions and claims.

Archived Questions

Goto Qn #


Can anyone come up with the origin of the quotation, "Cometh the hour; cometh the man"?

Question #17557. Asked by Megatherium.
Last updated Apr 10 2020.

Jack Flash
Answer has 3 votes
Jack Flash

Answer has 3 votes.
I can't provide the answer to this, but I can tell you that the quotation does not feature in any of the five detailed dictionaries of quotations which I have on my shelves. Nor is it included in the Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs. It may come from the Bible, although I think I would have picked it up if it does. A Concordance (which unfortunately I don't have) would confirm or deny this.

Mar 22 2002, 8:18 AM
Senior Moments
Answer has 10 votes
Currently Best Answer
Senior Moments

Answer has 10 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
'Cometh the hour, cometh the man.' John 4:23 has 'But the hour cometh, and now is' and there is an English proverb 'Opportunity makes the man' (though originally, in the fourteenth century, it was 'makes the thief'), but when did the phrases come together? Harriet Martineau entitled her biography of Toussaint L'Ouverture (1840), The Hour and the Man. An American, William Yancey, said about Jefferson Davis, President-elect of the Confederacy in 1861: 'The man and the hour have met', which says the same thing in a different way. P.G. Wodehouse in Aunts Aren't Gentlemen (1974) has: 'And the hour ... produced the man.' Earlier, at the climax of Sir Walter Scott's novel Guy Mannering, Chap. 54 (1815), Meg Merrilies says, 'Because the Hour's come, and the Man'. In the first edition and in the magnum opus edition that Scott supervised in his last years the phrase is emphasized by putting it in italics.

Then, in 1818, Scott used 'The hour's come, but not (sic) the man' as the fourth chapter heading in The Heart of Midlothian, adding in a footnote: 'There is a tradition, that while a little stream was swollen into a torrent by recent showers, the discontented voice of the Water Spirit was heard to pronounce these words. At the same moment a man, urged on by his fate, or, in Scottish language, fey, arrived at a gallop, and prepared to cross the water. No remonstrance from the bystanders was of power to stop him - he plunged into the stream, and perished.' Both these examples appear to be hinting at some earlier core saying which is still untraced.

On the other hand it appears, from a survey of ten British newspapers in recent years, that the saying is especially a weapon (or cliche) in the sportswriter's armoury. From Today (22 June 1986): 'Beating England may not be winning the World Cup, but, for obvious reasons, it would come a pretty close second back in Buenos Aires. Cometh the hour, cometh the man? Destiny beckons. England beware.' From The Times (13 August 1991): 'Graham Gooch is a very special guy,' Ted Dexter said. 'It has been a case of 'Cometh the hour, cometh the man.' I do not know anyone who would have taken the tough times in Australia harder than he did'.' From The Scotsman (29 February 1992): 'In the maxim of 'Cometh the hour, cometh the man,' both the Scotland (Rugby Union) manager, Duncan Paterson, and forwards coach, Richie Dixon, indicated yesterday the need to look to the future.'
link http://www1c.btwebworld.com/quote-unquote/p0000149.htm

Response last updated by gtho4 on Apr 10 2020.
Mar 22 2002, 8:24 AM
Jeeves
Answer has 3 votes
Jeeves
21 year member
174 replies

Answer has 3 votes.
This phrase seems to have no definite source. The following site gives many early variations on the phrase, but cannot trace the origin of it in its modern form.
link http://www1c.btwebworld.com/quote-unquote/p0000149.htm

Mar 22 2002, 8:24 AM
raggedclown
Answer has 0 votes
raggedclown

Answer has 0 votes.
The phrase is attributed to an England tail-end batsman in the 1948 England vs South Africa test series. In the first test at Kingsmead, Durban, England needed eight runs off the last eight-ball over, with nos.9 and 10 at the crease. In fading light and on a drying wicket that was giving the bowlers every assistance, England got home after a leg-bye was scored off the last ball of the game, when the ball struck the no.10, Cliff Gladwin, on the thigh and a single was scrambled. The Derbyshire bowler is remembered mostly for this batting feat and his immortal words: "Coometh the hour, coometh the man."
In cricket the phrase "Cometh the hour, cometh the man" will always be associated with Cliff Gladwin, a fast bowler from the English county of Derbyshire. He spoke those words in 1948 after deflecting the winning runs in what was then the closest test match of all time, between England and South Africa at Durban.
link https://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/21/sports/cricket-a-yorkshireman-rises-to-the-occasion-against-south-africa.html

Response last updated by gtho4 on Apr 10 2020.
Aug 13 2006, 7:34 AM
free email trivia FREE! Get a new mixed Fun Trivia quiz each day in your email. It's a fun way to start your day!


arrow Your Email Address:

Sign in or Create Free User ID to participate in the discussion

Related FunTrivia Quizzes

play quiz 2.33 "The Sandman Cometh"
(Batman - Season 2)
play quiz "The Axeman Cometh"
(American Horror Story: Coven)
play quiz Axemen Cometh: Hendrix, Clapton, King or Richards
(Name the Artist)

Return to FunTrivia
"Ask FunTrivia" strives to offer the best answers possible to trivia questions. We ask our submitters to thoroughly research questions and provide sources where possible. Feel free to post corrections or additions. This is server B184.