Poor Richard 1747

Ben Franklin 

Courteous Reader,

This is the 15th Time I have entertain'd thee with my annual Productions; I hope to thy Profit as well as mine. For besides the astronomical Calculations, and other Things usually contain'd in Almanacks, which have their daily Use indeed while the Year continues, but then become of no Value, I have constantly interspers'd moral Sentences, prudent Maxims, and wise Sayings, many of them containing much good Sense in very few Words, and therefore apt to leave strong and lasting Impressions on the Memory of young Persons, whereby they may receive Benefit as long as they live, when both Almanack and Almanack-maker have been long thrown by and forgotten. If I now and then insert a Joke or two, that seem to have little in them, my Apology is, that such may have their Use, since perhaps for their Sake light airy Minds peruse the rest, and so are struck by somewhat of more Weight and Moment. The Verses on the Heads of the Months are also generally design'd to have the same Tendency. I need not tell thee that not many of them are of my own Making. If thou hast any Judgment in Poetry, thou wilt easily discern the Workman from the Bungler. I know as well as thee, that I am no Poet born; and it is a Trade I never learnt, nor indeed could learn. If I make Verses, 'tis in Spight - Of Nature and my Stars, I write. Why then should I give my Readers bad Lines of my own, when good Ones of other People's are so plenty? 'Tis methinks a poor Excuse for the bad Entertainment of Guests, that the Food we set before them, tho' coarse and ordinary, is of one's own Raising, off one's own Plantation, &c. when there is Plenty of what is ten times better, to be had in the Market. - On the contrary, I assure ye, my Friends, that I have procur'd the best I could for ye, and much Good may't do ye. 

I cannot omit this Opportunity of making honourable Mention of the late deceased Ornament and Head of our Profession, Mr. JACOB TAYLOR, who for upwards of 40 Years (with some few Intermissions only) supply'd the good People of this and the neighbouring Colonies, with the most compleat Ephemeris and most accurate Calculations that have hitherto appear'd in America. - He was an ingenious Mathematician, as well as an expert and skilful Astronomer; and moreover, no mean Philosopher, but what is more than all, He was a PIOUS and an HONEST Man. Requiescat in pace.

I am thy poor Friend, to serve thee,

R. SAUNDERS.

Strive to be the greatest Man in your Country, and you may be disappointed; Strive to be the best, and you may succeed: He may well win the race that runs by himself. 

Tis a strange Forest that has no rotten Wood in't.
And a strange Kindred that all are good in't. 

None know the unfortunate, and the fortunate do not know themselves. 

There's a time to wink as well as to see. 

Honest Tom! you may trust him with a house-full of untold Milstones. 

There is no Man so bad, but he secretly respects the Good. 

When there's more Malice shown than Matter:
On the Writer falls the satyr. 

Courage would fight, but Discretion won't let him. 

Delicate Dick! whisper'd the Proclamation. 

Cornelius ought to be Tacitus. 

Pride and the Gout,
are seldom cur'd throughout. 

We are not so sensible of the greatest Health as of the least Sickness. 

A good Example is the best sermon. 

A Father's a Treasure; a Brother's a Comfort; a Friend is both. 

Despair ruins some, Presumption many. 

A quiet Conscience sleeps in Thunder,
but Rest and Guilt live far asunder. 

He that won't be counsell'd, can't be help'd. 

Craft must be at charge for clothes, but Truth can go naked. 

Write Injuries in Dust, Benefits in Marble. 

What is Serving God? 'Tis doing Good to Man. 

What maintains one Vice would bring up two Children. 

Many have been ruin'd by buying good pennyworths. 

Better is a little with content than much with contention. 

A Slip of the Foot you may soon recover:

But a Slip of the Tongue you may never get over. 

What signifies your Patience, if you can't find it when you want it. 

d. wise, l. foolish. 

Time enough, always proves little enough. 

It is wise not to seek a Secret, and Honest not to reveal it. 

A Mob's a Monster; Heads enough, but no Brains. 

The Devil sweetens Poison with Honey. 

He that cannot bear with other People's Passions, cannot govern his own. 

He that by the Plow would thrive,
himself must either hold or drive.