Poor Richard 1739
Encouraged by thy former Generosity, I once more present thee with an Almanack, which is the 7th of my Publication. - While thou art putting Pence in my Pocket, and furnishing my Cottage with Necessaries, Poor Dick is not unmindful to do something for thy Benefit. The Stars are watch'd as narrowly as old Bess watch'd her Daughter, that thou mayst be acquainted with their Motions, and told a Tale of their Influences and Effects, which may do thee more good than a Dream of last Year's Snow.
Ignorant Men wonder how we Astrologers foretell the Weather so exactly, unless we deal with the old black Devil. Alas! 'tis as easy as pissing abed. For Instance; The Stargazer peeps at the Heavens thro' a long Glass: He sees perhaps TAURUS, or the great Bull, in a mighty Chase, stamping on the Floor of his House, swinging his Tail about, stretching out his Neck, and opening wide his Mouth. 'Tis natural from these Appearances to judge that this furious Bull is puffing, blowing, and roaring. Distance being consider'd, and Time allow'd for all this to come down, there you have Wind and Thunder. He spies perhaps VIRGO (or the Virgin;) she turns her Head round as it were to see if any body observ'd her; then crouching down gently, with her Hands on her Knees, she looks wistfully for a while right forward. He judges rightly what she's about: And having calculated the Distance and allow'd Time for it's Falling, finds that next Spring we shall have a fine April shower. What can be more natural and easy than this? I might instance the like in many other particulars; but this may be sufficient to prevent our being taken for Conjurers. O the wonderful Knowledge to be found in the Stars! Even the smallest Things are written there, if you had but Skill to read. When my Brother J - m --n erected a Scheme to know which was best for his sick Horse, to sup a new-laid Egg, or a little Broth, he found that the Stars plainly gave their Verdict for Broth, and the Horse having sup'd his Broth; - Now, what do you think became of that Horse? You shall know in my next.
Besides the usual Things expected in an Almanack, I hope the profess'd Teachers of Mankind will excuse my scattering here and there some instructive Hints in Matters of Morality and Religion. And be not thou disturbed, O grave and sober Reader, if among the many serious Sentences in my Book, thou findest me trifling now and then, and talking idly. In all the Dishes I have hitherto cook'd for thee, there is solid Meat enough for thy Money. There are Scraps from the Table of Wisdom, that will if well digested, yield strong Nourishment to thy Mind. But squeamish Stomachs cannot eat without Pickles; which, 'tis true are good for nothing else, but they provoke an Appetite. The Vain Youth that reads my Almanack for the sake of an idle Joke, will perhaps meet with a serious Reflection, that he may ever after be the better for.
Some People observing the great Yearly Demand for my Almanack, imagine I must by this Time have become rich, and consequently ought to call myself Poor Dick no longer. But, the Case is this, When I first begun to publish, the Printer made a fair Agreement with me for my Copies, by Virtue of which he runs away with the greatest Part of the Profit. - However, much good may't do him; I do not grudge it him; he is a Man I have a great Regard for, and I wish his Profit ten times greater than it is. For I am, dear Reader, his, as well as thy Affectionate Friend,
When Death puts out our Flame, the Snuff will tell,
If we were Wax, or Tallow by the Smell.
At a great Pennyworth, pause a while.
As to his Wife, John minds St. Paul, He's one
That hath a Wife, and is as if he'd none.
Kings a be an Honour to them tho' they are dead.
If thou wouldst live long, live well; for Folly and Wickedness shorten Life.
Prythee isn't Miss Cloe's a comical Case?
She lends out her Tail, and she borrows her Face.
Trust thy self, and another shall not betray thee.
He that pays for Work before it's done, has but a pennyworth for twopence.
Historians relate, not so much what is done, as what they would have believed.
O Maltster! break that cheating Peck; 'tis plain,
When e'er you use it, you're a Knave in Grain.
Doll learning propria quae maribus without book,
Like Nomen crescentis genitivo doth look.
Grace thou thy House, and let not that grace thee.
Thou canst not joke an Enemy into a Friend; but thou may'st a Friend into an Enemy.
Eyes & Priests
Bear no Jests.
He that falls in love with himself, will have no Rivals.
Let thy Child's first Lesson be Obedience, and the second may be what thou wilt.
Blessed is he that expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.
Rather go to bed supperless, than run in debt for a Breakfast.
Let thy Discontents be Secrets.
An infallible Remedy for the Tooth-ach, viz Wash the Root of an aching Tooth, in Elder Vinegar, and let it dry half an hour in the Sun; after which it will never ach more; Probatum est.
A Man of Knowledge like a rich Soil, feeds
If not a world of Corn, a world of Weeds.
A modern Wit is one of David's Fools.
No Resolution of Repenting hereafter, can be sincere.
Pollio, who values nothing that's within,
Buys books as men hunt Beavers, - for their Skin.
Honour thy Father and Mother, i.e. Live so as to be an Honour to them tho' they are dead.
If thou injurest Conscience, it will have its Revenge on thee.
Hear no ill of a Friend, nor speak any of an Enemy.
Pay what you owe, and you'll know what's your own.
Be not niggardly of what costs thee nothing, as courtesy, counsel, & countenance.
Thirst after Desert, not Reward.
Beware of him that is slow to anger: He is angry for something, and will not be pleased for nothing.
No longer virtuous no longer free; is a Maxim as true with regard to a private Person as a Common-wealth.
When Man and Woman die, as Poets sung,
His Heart's the last part moves, her last, the tongue.
Proclaim not all thou knowest, all thou owest, all thou hast, nor all thou canst.
Let our Fathers and Grandfathers be valued for their Goodness, ourselves for our own.
Industry need not wish.
Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden but it is forbidden because it's hurtful. Nor is a Duty beneficial because it is commanded, but it is commanded, because it's beneficial.
A ---- , they say, has Wit; for what?
For writing? - No; For writing not.
George came to the Crown without striking a Blow.
Ah! quoth the Pretender, would I could do so.
Love, and be lov'd.
O Lazy-Bones! Dost thou think God would have given thee Arms and Legs, if he had not design'd thou should'st use them.
A Cure for Poetry,
Seven wealthy Towns contend for Homer, dead,
Thro' which the living Homer beg'd his Bread.
Great Beauty, great strength, & great Riches, are really & truly of no great Use; a right Heart exceeds all.