- You might have sat, like Darby and Joan, and flattered each other; and billed and cooed like a pair of old pigeons on a perch.
Late 18th century: from a poem (1735) in the Gentleman's Magazine, which contained the lines ‘Old Darby, with Joan by his side … They're never happy asunder.’.
An anonymous poem of 1735 in The Gentleman's Magazine contained the lines: ‘Old Darby, with Joan by his side, / You've often regarded with wonder: / He's dropsical, she is sore-eyed, / Yet they're never happy asunder.’ People quickly began to use the names, whose exact origin is unknown, for any devoted old married couple.
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