S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.
[King of Leon and Castile, surnamed The Wise; born 1226; succeeded to the throne, 1252; bore a high reputation for learning and eloquence, and was distinguished for his patronage of science and literature; gave Europe the Alphonsine astronomical tables; died 1284.]
Had I been present at the creation, I could have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.
Directed against the conceit of the court astronomers. Without that explanation, the remark has subjected Alfonso to the same charge.
Carlyle refers the saying to the Ptolemaic system, likewise in sarcasm, It was a pity the Creator had not taken advice!Frederick the Great, II. 7. He finds no other utterance of the Castilian on record, but the following has been attributed to him: To make a good marriage, the husband should be deaf, and the wife blind.