If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter

  • Sumo

The above heading is a famous quotation from Blaise Pascal. It is regularly invoked as an appeal to write better, not longer. This well-written page looks at the origin of this quotation, and similar statements over the years.

The attribution to Pascal dates to 1657.

I recently came across a very similar statement by John Donne.

Sir, you are used to my hand and, I think, have leisure to spend some time picking out sense in rags; else I had written less, and in longer time.

This is from a letter to Sir Henry Goodyer, in October 1622. (Source.)

I don’t know how or when this letter became public, so do not claim Donne influenced Pascal. But it’s interesting that Donne was earlier.