the good die young

1697 DEFOE Character of Dr. Annesley 3 The best of Men cannot suspend their Fate; The Good die early, and the Bad die late.

1814 WORDSWORTH Excursion I. 27 The good die first, And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust Burn to the socket.

1852 A. CARY Clovernook 39 Sarah..was dead..aged nineteen years... The old truth was again the often repeated verse which followed, that the good die young.

1987 L. BARNES Trouble of Fools v. ‘Live hard, die young,’ I said... ‘You got it wrong, Carlotta,’ Mooney said. ‘I learned it in school. It’s “Only the good die young.” Before they get a chance to fool around.’

2002 Washington Post 18 Jan. C1 It [Black Hawk Down] teaches stuff they don’t know, only the smallest and most bitter of lessons: that ammunition is more important than water, that cover is more important than concealment, and that the good die young.

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