Poor Richard 1738
PREFACE by Mistress SAUNDERS
My good Man set out last Week for Potowmack, to visit an old Stargazer of his Acquaintance, and see about a little Place for us to settle and end our Days on. He left the Copy of his Almanack seal'd up, and bid me send it to the Press. I suspected something, and therefore as soon as he was gone, I open'd it, to see if he had not been flinging some of his old Skitts at me. Just as I thought, so it was. And truly, (for want of somewhat else to say, I suppose) he had put into his Preface, that his Wife Bridget - was this, and that, and t'other. - What a peasecods! cannot I have a little Fault or two, but all the Country must see it in print! They have already been told, at one time that I am proud, another time that I am loud, and that I have got a new Petticoat, and abundance of such kind of stuff; and now, forsooth! all the World must know, that Poor Dick's Wife has lately taken a fancy to drink a little Tea now and then. A mighty matter, truly, to make a Song of! 'Tis true; I had a little Tea of a Present from the Printer last Year; and what, must a body throw it away? In short, I thought the Preface was not worth a printing, and so I fairly scratch'd it all out, and I believe you'll like our Almanack never the worse for it.
Upon looking over the Months, I see he has put in abundance of foul Weather this Year; and therefore I have scatter'd here and there, where I could find room, some fair, pleasant, sunshiny, &c. for the Good-Women to dry their Clothes in. If it does not come to pass according to my Desire, I have shown my Good-will, however; and I hope they'll take it in good part.
I had a Design to make some other Corrections; and particularly to change some of the Verses that I don't very well like; but I have just now unluckily broke my Spectacles; which obliges me to give it you as it is, and conclude
Your loving Friend,
There are three faithful friends, an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.
Great talkers should be cropt, for they've no need of ears.
If you'd have your shoes last, put no nails in 'em.
Who has deceiv'd thee so oft as thy self?
Is there any thing Men take more pains about than to render themselves unhappy?
Nothing brings more pain than too much pleasure; nothing more bondage than too much liberty, (or libertinism.)
Read much, but not many Books.
He that would have a short Lent, let him borrow Money to be repaid at Easter.
Write with the learned, pronounce with the vulgar.
Fly Pleasures, and they'll follow you.
Squirrel-like she covers her back with her tail.
Caesar did not merit the triumphal Car, more than he that conquers himself.
Hast thou virtue? acquire also the graces & beauties of virtue.
Buy what thou hast no need of; and e'er long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.
If thou hast wit & learning, add to it Wisdom and Modesty.
You may be more happy than Princes, if you will be more virtuous.
If you wou'd not be forgotten
As soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worth reading,
or do things worth the writing.
Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.
God bless the King, and grant him long to Reign.
Let thy vices die before thee.
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
The ancients tell us what is best; but we must learn of the moderns what is fittest.
Since I cannot govern my own tongue, tho' within my own teeth, how can I hope to govern the tongues of others?
'Tis less discredit to abridge petty charges, than to stoop to petty Gettings.
Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.
If you do what you should not, you must hear what you would not.
Defer not thy well-doing; be not like St. George, who is always a horseback, and never rides on.
Wish not so much to live long as to live well.
As we must account for every idle word, so we must for every idle silence.
I have never seen the Philosopher's Stone that turns lead into Gold, but I have known the pursuit of it turn a Man's Gold into Lead.
Never intreat a servant to dwell with thee.
Time is an herb that cures all Diseases.
Reading makes a full Man, Meditation a profound Man, discourse a clear Man.
If any man flatters me, I'll flatter him again; tho' he were my best Friend.
Wish a miser long life, and you wish him no good.
None but the well-bred man knows how to confess a fault, or acknowledge himself in an error.
Drive thy business; let not that drive thee.
There is much difference between imitating a good man, and counterfeiting him.
Wink at small faults; remember thou hast great ones.
Eat to please thyself, but dress to please others.
Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices.
Never spare the Parson's wine, nor Baker's Pudding.
Each year one vicious habit rooted out,
In time might make the worst Man good throughout.