S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
I would have inscribed on the curtains of your bed, and the walls of your chamber, If you do not rise early, you can make progress in nothing. If you do not set apart your hours of reading; if you suffer yourself or any one else to break in upon them, your days will slip through your hands unprofitable and frivolous, and unenjoyed by yourself.
Six, or at most seven, hours sleep is, for a constancy, as much as you or anybody can want: more is only laziness and dozing; and is, I am persuaded, both unwholesome and stupefying . I have very often gone to bed at six in the morning, and rose, notwithstanding, at eight; by which means I got many hours in the morning that my companions lost; and the want of sleep obliged me to keep good hours the next, or at least the third night. To this method I owe the greatest part of my reading; for from twenty to forty I should certainly have read very little if I had not been up while my acquaintances were in bed. Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.
Lord Chesterfield: Letters to his Son, Dec. 26, 1749.
The difference between rising at five and seven oclock in the morning, for the space of forty years, supposing a man to go to bed at the same hour at night, is nearly equivalent to the addition of ten years to a mans life.
Whoever has tasted the breath of morning, knows that the most invigorating and most delightful hours of the day are commonly spent in bed; though it is the evident intention of nature that we should enjoy and profit by them. Children awake early, and would be up and stirring long before the arrangements of the family permit them to use their limbs. We are thus broken in from childhood to an injurious habit: that habit might be shaken off with more ease than it was first imposed. We rise with the sun at Christmas; it were continuing so to do till the middle of April, and without any perceptible change we should find ourselves then rising at five oclock, till which hour we might continue till September, and then accommodate ourselves again to the change of season.
When I find myself awakened into being, and perceive my life renewed within me, and at the same time see the whole face of nature recovered out of the dark uncomfortable state in which it lay for several hours, my heart overflows with such secret sentiments of joy and gratitude, as are a kind of implicit praise to the great Author of Nature. The mind, in these early seasons of the day, is so refreshed in all its faculties, and borne up with such new supplies of animal spirits, that she finds herself in a state of youth, especially when she is entertained with the breath of flowers, the melody of birds, the dews that hang upon the plants, and all those other sweets of nature that are peculiar to the morning.
It is impossible for a man to have this relish of being, this exquisite taste of life, who does not come into the world before it is in all its noise and hurry; who loses the rising of the sun, the still hours of the day, and, immediately upon his first getting up, plunges himself into the ordinary cares or follies of the world.
Few ever lived to a great age, and fewer still ever became distinguished, who were not in the habit of early rising. You rise late, and, of course, commence your business at a late hour, and everything goes wrong all day. Franklin says that he who rises late may trot all day, and not have overtaken his business at night. Dean Swift avers that he never knew any man come to greatness and eminence who lay in bed of a morning.