The origins of "dolce far niente"

The Italian phrase translates as “sweet doing nothing.” Multiple online dictionaries–including this site–state that it first shows up in 1814. Under the Italian entry for the phrase, Etymonline says “This phrase, frequent enough in English literature, does not seem to occur in any Italian author of note. Howells says that he found it current among Neapolitan lazzaroni, but it is not included in any collection of Italian proverbial sayings. [Walsh]” J.-J. Rousseau uses two-thirds of the phrase in his , written 1776-1778, published 1782. I quote the French: “Le précieux far niente fut la première et la principale de ces jouissances.” The Italian phrase was current in French by 1778. Should the origin date be pushed back?

It needs to appear in an English language text to merit a date citation.

Right, thanks for the tip on the French and when I can I’ll look into that; it’s a phrase I’m fond of. But the date in etymonline is the date of the use of the exact phrase, in a dated English language document.