the good die young


Alternative formsEdit


the good die young

  1. Well-regarded people who are morally upright, kind, and beneficent tend to die at a younger age than do most people.
    • 1895, John Kendrick Bangs, chapter 9, in The Idiot:
      "You'll live," put in Mr. Pedagog, with a chuckle. "The good die young."
    • 1906, E. Phillips Oppenheim, The Malefactor, Book 1, ch. 12:
      [I]t is the men and women with vices who have ruled the world. The good die young because there is no useful work for them to do.
    • 1930 April 14, "Weyler Well," Time (retrieved 10 April 2014):
      "The good die young," is a favorite, sardonic saying of General Don Valeriano Weyler y Nicolau, Marquess of Tenerife, Grandee of Spain, long famed among U. S. citizens as "Butcher Weyler" because of his ruthless military governorship of Cuba, prime cause of the Spanish-American war (1896-97).
      In Madrid last week the doughty "Butcher," now aged 91, arose fully convalescent from a sickness during which Death had been expected hourly for weeks. "Pah!" growled he. "My doctors, my family had no cause for alarm. I had only pneumonia!"
    • 2009 March 28, Anahan O'Connor and Colin Moynihan, "Pregnant Woman Killed When Van Jumps Curb," New York Times (retrieved 10 April 2014):
      A 28-year-old pregnant woman was killed and a second woman was seriously injured on Friday afternoon when a driver, apparently intoxicated and following the women as they walked down a Midtown Manhattan street, lost control of a supermarket maintenance van. . . . “It hasn’t really sunk in,” said Ms. Ramos’s sister. . . . “The good die young,” she said.

Usage notesEdit

  • Often used sarcastically or gloomily with the connotation that justice is lacking in the moral order of the world.

See alsoEdit