There is a good chance it was an English idiom even in Shakespeare's time...
Tut, dun's the mouse, the constable's own word:
If thou art Dun, we'll draw thee from the mire
Of this sir-reverence love, wherein thou stick'st
Up to the ears. Come, we burn daylight
~Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 4
http://www.web-books.com/Classics/Shake ... meo1_6.htm
We burn daylight
: here, read, read; perceive how I might be knighted.
~Shakespeare, Merry Wives of Windsor: Act 2, Scene 1
http://www.web-books.com/Classics/Shake ... ves2_1.htm
is a linguistic phenomenon whereby writers eschew standard patterns of language for new or unusual ones. Deviation can involve diction
, syntax, metrical patterns, sound patterns, and other linguistic structures. When, for example, Shakespeare writes in Romeo and Juliet
"Come, we burn daylight, ho!" he draws attention to the fact that daylight does not "burn" and that, even if it did, human beings could not burn it as we do paper or gasoline. We therefore say that Shakespeare's diction
is deviant here, and that it produces a psychological effect called foregrounding
~ from a "glossary of terms."...revised and expanded version of one that forms part of The Wascana Anthology of Short Fiction
, edited by Ken Mitchell, Thomas Chase, and Michael Trussler (Regina: CPRC, 1999).
http://uregina.ca/chaset/Old%20Course%2 ... ossary.htm
English (American) idiom:
burn daylight (we’re burning daylight)
tiden går (klokken er mange)