Poor Richard Improved 1757
As no temporal Concern is of more Importance to us than Health, and that depends so much on the Air we every Moment breathe, the Choice of a good wholesome Situation to fix a Dwelling in, is a very serious Affair to every Countryman about to begin the World, and well worth his Consideration, especially as not only the Comfort of Living, but even the Necessaries of Life, depend in a great Measure upon it; since a Family frequently sick can rarely if ever thrive. - The following Extracts therefore from a late Medical Writer, Dr. Pringle, on that Subject, will, I hope, be acceptable and useful to some of my Readers.
I hear that some have already, to their great Advantage, put in Practice the Use of Oxen recommended in my last. - 'Tis a Pleasure to me to be any way serviceable in communicating useful Hints to the Publick; and I shall be obliged to others for affording me the Opportunity of enjoying that Pleasure more frequently, by sending me from time to time such of their own Observations, as may be advantageous if published in the Almanack.
I am thy obliged Friend,
How to make a STRIKING SUNDIAL, by which not only a Man's own Family, but all his Neighbours for ten Miles round, may know what o Clock it is, when the Sun shines, without seeing the Dial.
Choose an open Place in your Yard or Garden, on which the Sun may shine all Day without any Impediment from Trees or Buildings. On the Ground mark out your Hour Lines, as for a horizontal Dial, according to Art, taking Room enough for the Guns. On the Line for One o' Clock, place one Gun; on the Two o' Clock Line two Guns, and so of the rest. The Guns must all be charged with Powder, but Ball is unnecessary. Your Gnomon or Style must have twelve burning Glasses annex'd to it, and be so placed as that the Sun shining through the Glasses, one after the other, shall cause the Focus or burning Spot to fall on the Hour Line of One, for Example, at one a Clock, and there kindle a Train of Gunpowder that shall fire one Gun. At Two a Clock, a Focus shall fall on the Hour Line of Two, and kindle another Train that shall discharge two Guns successively; and so of the rest.
Note, There must be 78 Guns in all. Thirty-two Pounders will be best for this Use; but 18 Pounders may do, and will cost less, as well as use less Powder, for nine Pounds of Powder will do for one Charge of each eighteen Pounder, whereas the Thirty-two Pounders would require for each Gun 16 Pounds.
Note also, That the chief Expence will be the Powder, for the Cannon once bought, will, with Care, last 100 Years.
Note moreover, That there will be a great Saving of Powder in cloudy Days.
Kind Reader, Methinks I hear thee say, That it is indeed a good Thing to know how the Time passes, but this Kind of Dial, notwithstanding the mentioned Savings, would be very expensive; and the Cost greater than the Advantage. Thou art wise, my Friend, to be so considerate beforehand; some Fools would not have found out so much, till they had made the Dial and try'd it. - Let all such learn that many a private and many a publick Project, are like this Striking Dial, great Cost for little Profit.
He that would rise at Court, must begin by Creeping.
Many a Man's own Tongue gives Evidence against his Understanding.
Nothing dries sooner than a Tear.
Tis easier to build two Chimneys, than maintain one in Fuel.
Anger warms the Invention, but overheats the Oven.
It is Ill-Manners to silence a Fool, and Cruelty to let him go on.
Scarlet, Silk and Velvet, have put out the Kitchen Fire.
He that would catch Fish, must venture his Bait.
Men take more pains to mask than mend.
One To-day is worth two To-morrows.
Since Man is but of a very limited Power in his own Person, and consequently can effect no great Matter merely by his own personal Strength, but as he acts in Society and Conjunction with others; and since no Man can engage the active Assistance of others, without first engaging their Trust; And moreover, since Men will trust no further than they judge one, for his Sincerity, fit to be trusted; it follows, that a discovered Dissembler can atchieve nothing great or considerable. For not being able to gain Mens Trust, he cannot gain their Concurrence; and so is left alone to act singly and upon his own Bottom; and while that is the Sphere of his Activity, all that he can do must needs be contemptible.
Sincerity has such resistless Charms,
She oft the fiercest of our Foes disarms:
No Art she knows, in native Whiteness dress'd,
Her Thoughts all pure, and therefore all express'd:
She takes from Error its Deformity;
And without her all other Virtues die.
Bright Source of Goodness! to my Aid descend,
Watch o'er my Heart, and all my Words attend.
The way to be safe, is never to be secure.
Dally not with other Folks Women or Money.
Work as if you were to live 100 Years, Pray as if you were to die To-morrow.
It is generally agreed to be Folly, to hazard the Loss of a Friend, rather than lose a Jest. But few consider how easily a Friend may be thus lost. Depending on the known Regard their Friends have for them, Jesters take more Freedom with Friends than they would dare to do with others, little thinking how much deeper we are wounded by an Affront from one we love. But the strictest Intimacy can never warrant Freedoms of this Sort; and it is indeed preposterous to think they should; unless we can suppose Injuries are less Evils when they are done us by Friends, than when they come from other Hands.
Excess of Wit may oftentimes beguile:
Jests are not always pardon'd - by a Smile.
Men may disguise their Malice at the Heart,
And seem at Ease - tho' pain'd with inward Smart.
Mistaken, we - think all such Wounds of course
Reflection cures; - alas! it makes them worse.
Like Scratches they with double Anguish seize,
Rankle in time, and fester by Degrees.
But sarcastical Jests on a Man's Person or his Manners, tho' hard to bear, are perhaps more easily borne than those that touch his Religion. Men are generally warm in what regards their religious Tenets, either from Tenderness of Conscience, or a high Sense of their own Judgments. People of plain Parts and honest Dispositions, look on Salvation as too serious a Thing to be jested with; and Men of speculative Religion, who profess from the Conviction rather of their Heads than Hearts, are not a bit less vehement than the real Devotees. He who says a slight or a severe Thing of their Faith, seems to them to have thereby undervalued their Understandings, and will consequently incur their Aversion, which no Man of common Sense would hazard for a lively Expression; much less a Person of good Breeding, who should make it his chief Aim to be well with all.
Like some grave Matron of a noble Line,
With awful Beauty does Religion shine.
Just Sense should teach us to revere the Dame,
Nor, by imprudent Jests, to spot her Fame.
In common Life you'll own this Reas'ning right,
That none but Fools in gross Abuse delight:
Then use it here - nor think the Caution vain;
To be polite, Men need not be profane.
Pride breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty, supped with Infamy.
Retirement does not always secure Virtue; Lot was upright in the City, wicked in the Mountain.
Idleness is the Dead Sea, that swallows all Virtues: Be active in Business, that Temptation may miss her Aim: The Bird that sits, is easily shot.
Shame and the Dry-belly-ach were Diseases of the last Age; this seems to be cured of them.
In studying Law or Physick, or any other Art or Science, by which you propose to get your Livelihood, though you find it at first hard, difficult and unpleasing, use Diligence, Patience and Perseverance; the Irksomness of your Task will thus diminish daily, and your Labour shall finally be crowned with Success. You shall go beyond all your Competitors who are careless, idle or superficial in their Acquisitions, and be at the Head of your Profession. - Ability will command Business, Business Wealth; and Wealth an easy and honourable Retirement when Age shall require it.
Near to the wide extended Coasts of Spain,
Some Islands triumph o'er the raging Main;
Where dwelt of old, as tuneful Poets say,
Slingers, who bore from all the Prize away.
While Infants yet, their feeble Nerves they try'd;
Nor needful Food, till won by Art, supply'd.
Fix'd was the Mark, the Youngster oft in vain,
Whirl'd the misguided Stone with fruitless Pain:
'Till, by long Practice, to Perfection brought,
With easy Sleight their former Task they wrought.
Swift from their Arm th' unerring Pebble flew,
And high in Air, the flutt'ring Victim slew.
So in each Art Men rise but by Degrees,
And Months of Labour lead to Years of Ease.
Tho' the Mastiff be gentle, yet bite him not by the Lip.
Great-Alms-giving, lessens no Man's Living.
The royal Crown cures not the Head-ach.
Act uprightly, and despise Calumny; Dirt may stick to a Mud Wall, but not to polish'd Marble.
I. The Christians observe the first Day of the Week for their Sunday, the Jews the Seventh for their Sabbath, the Turks the sixth Day of the Week for the Time of their Worship; but there is a particular Place of the Globe, to which if a Christian, Jew, and Turk sail in one and the same Ship, they shall keep the Time for their Worship on different Days, as above, all the Time they are sailing to that particular Place; but when they arrive at that Place, and during the Time they remain at it, they shall all keep their Sabbath on one and the same Day; but when they depart from that Place, they shall all differ as before.
II. There is a certain Port, from which if three Ships depart at one and the same time, and sail on three particular different Courses, till they return to the Port they departed from; and if in one of these Ships be Christians, in the second Jews, and in the third Turks, when they return to the Port they departed from, they shall differ so with respect to real and apparent Time, that they all shall keep their Sabbath on one and the same Day of the Week, and yet each of them separately shall believe that he keeps his Sabbath on the Day of the Week his Religion requires.
The Borrower is a Slave to the Lender; the Security to both.
Singularity in the right, hath ruined many: Happy those who are convinced of the general Opinion.
Proportion your Charity to the Strength of your Estate, or God will proportion your Estate to the Weakness of your Charity.
The Tongue offends, and the Ears get the Cuffing.
Some antient Philosophers have said, that Happiness depends more on the inward Disposition of Mind than on outward Circumstances; and that he who cannot be happy in any State, can be so in no State. To be happy, they tell us we must be content. Right. But they do not teach how we may become content. Poor Richard shall give you a short good Rule for that. To be content, look backward on those who possess less than yourself, not forward on those who possess more. If this does not make you content, you don't deserve to be happy.
Sleep without Supping, and you'll rise without owing for it.
When other Sins grow old by Time,
Then Avarice is in its prime,
Yet feed the Poor at Christmas time.
Learning is a valuable Thing in the Affairs of this Life, but of infinitely more Importance is Godliness, as it tends not only to make us happy here but hereafter. At the Day of Judgment, we shall not be asked, what Proficiency we have made in Languages or Philosophy; but whether we have liv'd virtuously and piously, as Men endued with Reason, guided by the Dictates of Religion. In that Hour it will more avail us, that we have thrown a Handful of Flour or Chaff in Charity to a Nest of contemptible Pismires, than that we could muster all the Hosts of Heaven, and call every Star by its proper Name. For then the Constellations themselves shall disappear, the Sun and Moon shall give no more Light, and all the Frame of Nature shall vanish. But our good or bad Works shall remain for ever, recorded in the Archives of Eternity.
Unmov'd alone the Virtuous now appear,
And in their Looks a calm Assurance wear.
From East, from West, from North and South they come,
To take from the most righteous Judge their Doom;
Who thus, to them, with a serene Regard;
(The Books of Life before him laid,
And all the secret Records wide display'd)
"According to your Works be your Reward:
Possess immortal Kingdoms as your Due,
Prepar'd from an eternal Date for you."