Selected Citations from
Poor Richard's Almanack

Ben Franklin

With the old Almanack and the old Year,
Leave thy old Vices, tho' ever so dear.

He that speaks ill of the Mare, will buy her.

Fish and Visitors stink after three days.

How few there are who have courage enough to own their Faults, or resolution enough to mend them!

A country man between two lawyers, is like a fish between two cats.

Who has deceiv'd thee so oft as thy self?

There's many men forget their proper station
And still are meddling with the administration
Of government; that's wrong and this is right,
And such a law is out of reason quite;
Thus, spending too much thoughts on state affairs,
The business is neglected, which is theirs.
So some fond traveller gazing at the stars,
Slips in next ditch, and gets a dirty arse.

Fine linnen, girls and gold so bright,
Chuse not to take by candle light.

There are no ugly loves, nor handsome prisons.

Eat few Suppers, and you'll need few Medicines.

To err is human, to repent divine; to persist devilish.

Speak with contempt of none, from slave to king,
The meanest Bee hath, and will use, a sting.

Well done is better than well said.

Keep Conscience clear, Then never fear.

He that would live in peace and at ease,
must not speak all he knows, nor judge all he sees.

If you would have guests merry with cheer,
be so yourself, or so at least appear.

The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money.

He that goes far to marry, will either deceive or be deceived.

Let all Men know thee, but no man know thee thoroughly:
Men freely ford that see the shallows

If you'd be wealthy, think of saving more than of getting:
The Indies have not made Spain rich, because her Outgoes equal her Incomes.

Experience keeps a dear school, yet Fools will learn in no other.

He that drinks his Cyder alone, let him catch his Horse alone.

Strange! that a Man who has wit enough to write a Satyr,
should have have folly enough to publish it.

Have you somewhat to do to-morrow, do it today.

Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.

In a discreet man's mouth a publick thing is private.

Altho' thy teacher act not as he preaches
Yet ne'ertheless, if good, do what he teaches
Good counsel, failing men may give, for why,
He that's aground where the shoal doth lie.

There are no fools so troublesome as those that have wit.

Late Children, early Orphans.

Quarrels never could last long,
if on one side only lay the wrong.

Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleep enough.

Tart Words make no Friends: a spoonful of honey will catch more flies than a Gallon of Vinegar.

What you would seem to be, be really.

Sloth (like Rust) consumes faster than Labour wears: the used Key is always bright

Light Gains, heavy Purses.

What's proper is becoming: See the Blacksmith with his white Silk Apron!

The most exquisite Folly is made of Wisdom spun too fine.

Who says Jack is not generous?-- he is always fond of giving, and cares not for receiving, - what?- Why advice.

When you speak to a man, look on his eyes;
when he speaks to thee, look on his mouth.

Observe all men; thyself most.

Wish not so much to live long, as live well.

None but the well-bred man knows how to confess a fault, or acknowledge himself in an error.

Search others for their virtues, thyself for they vices.

There is much difference between imitating a good man, and counterfeiting him.

Wink at small faults -- remember thou hast great ones.

Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good throughout.

Little Strokes, Fell great Oaks.

Sound , & sound doctrine, may pass through a Ram's Horn and a Preacher, without straightening the one, or amending the other.

He that spills the Rum loses that only; He that drinks it, often loses both that and himself.

He that has not got a Wife, is not yet a compleat Man.

Dine with little, sup with less: Do better still: sleep supperless.

Who is strong? He that can conquer his bad Habits.

Industry, Perseverance, & Frugality, make Fortune yield.

To-morrow I'll reform, the fool does say;
To-day itself's too late; --the wise did yesterday.

A man of knowledge like a rich soil, feeds
If not a world of corn, a world of weeds.

Marry above thy match, and thou 'lt get a master.

None are deceived, but they that confide.

Promises may get thee friends, but non-performance will turn them into enemies.

No wonder Tom grows fat: th' unwieldly sinner
Makes his whole life but one continual dinner.

Many Foxes grow grey, but few grow good.

Content makes poor men rich;
Discontent makes rich men poor.

Genius without Education is like Silver in the Mine.

You can bear your own Faults, and why not a Fault in your Wife.

Hide not your Talents, they for Use were made:
What's a Sun-Dial in the Shade?

What signifies knowing the Names, if you know not the Natures of Things?

Tim was so learned, that he could name a Horse in nine Languages. So ignorant, that he bought a Cow to ride on.

Learn of the skilful: He that teaches himself, hath a fool for his master.

Death takes no bribes.

E'er you remark another's sin,
bid your own conscience look within.

Well done, is twice done

There are three Things extreamly hard: Steel, a Diamond and to know one's self.

If evils come not, then our fears are vain;
And if they do, fear but augments the pain.

Be not niggardly of what costs thee nothing, as courtesy, counsel, and countenance.

Proclaim not all thou knowest, all thou owest, all thou hast, nor all thou can'st.

He's a Fool that cannot conceal his Wisdom.

The same man cannot be both Friend and Flatter.

Those who are fear'd, are hated.

No gains without pains.

A lie stands on one leg, truth on two.

The Eye of the Master, will do more Work than his Hand.

Beware of little Expenses: a small Leak will sink a great Ship.

Be always ashamed to catch thyself idle.

At 20 years of age the will reigns; at 30 the wit; at 40 the judgment.

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.

An undutiful Daughter, will prove an unmanageable Wife.

Old Boys have their Playthings as well as young Ones; the Difference is only in the Price.

Ne'er take a wife till thou has a house (and a fire) to put her in.

Eat to live; live not to eat.

To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.

He that lieth down with dogs, shall rise up with fleas.

You cannot pluck roses without fear of thorns
Nor enjoy a fair wife without danger of horns.

He's the best physician that knows the worthlessness of the most medicines.

There is no little enemy.

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

What maintains one Vice would bring up two children.

A Slip of the Foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the Tongue you man never get over.

Love your Neighbour; yet don't pull down your Hedge.

When Prosperity was well mounted, she let go the Bridle, and soon came tumbling out of the Saddle.

Would you live with ease, do what you ought, and not what you please.

Better slip with Foot than Tongue.

If you ride a horse, sit close and tight,
if you ride a man, sit easy and light.

Would you persuade, speak of Interest, not of Reason.

A learned Blockhead is a greater Blockhead than an ignorant one.

Marry your son when you will, but your daughter when you can.

A house without woman and firelight is like a body without soul or sprite.

Teach your child to hold his tongue, he'll learn fast enough to speak.

The first Degree of Folly, is to conceit one's self wise; the second to profess it; the third to despise Counsel.

Lost time is never found again.

Don't think to hunt two Hares with one Dog.

All things are easy to Industry, all things difficult to Sloth.

Where there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.

The thrifty maxim of the wary Dutch,
is to save all the money they can touch.

If you would reap Praise you must sow the Seeds,
gentle Words and useful Deeds.

Children and Princes will quarrel for Trifles.

Haste makes Waste.

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

To be humble to superiors is duty, to equals courtesy, to inferiors nobleness.

Here comes the orator, with his flood of words, and his drop of reason.

If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher's stone

Do not do that which you would not have known.

Wish a miser long life, and you wish him no good.

If thou would'st live long, live well; for folly and wickedness shorten life.

He that is of Opinion Money will do every Thing, may well be suspected of doing every Thing for Money.

Trust thyself, and another shall not betray thee.

He that pays for work before it's done, has but a pennyworth for two pence.

He that best understands the World, least likes it.

God, Parents, and Instructors, can never be requited.

The Sting of a Reproach is the Truth of it.

He that resolves to mend hereafter, resolves not to mend now.

Every Man For Himself, etc.

A Town fear'd a Siege, and held Consultation,
What was the best Method of Fortification:
A grave skilful Mason declar'd his Opinion,
That nothing but Stone could secure the Dominion
A Carpenter said, Tho' that was well spoke
Yet he'd rather advise to defend with Oak.
A Tanner much wiser than both these together,
Cry'd, Try what you please, but nothing's like Leather.

A quarrelsome Man has no good Neighbours.

Buy what thou hast no need of, and e'er long thou shalt sell they necessaries.

Nothing brings more pain than too much pleasure; nothing more bondage than too much liberty, (or libertinism).

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.

Don't throw Stones at your Neighbour's, if your own Windows are Glass.

Many a Man thinks he is buying Pleasure, when he is really selling himself a Slave to it.

Glass, China, and Reputations, are easily crack'd, and never well mended.

We must give Advice, but we cannot give Conduct.

Never intreat a Servant to dwell with thee.

He that can have patience can have what he will.

God helps them that help themselves.

Reading makes a full man -- Meditation a profound man -- Discourse a clear man.

'Tis easier to suppress the first Desire, than to satisfy all that follow it.

Don't judge of Men's Wealth or Piety, by their Sunday Appearances.

The Wise and Brave dares own that he was wrong.

For want of a Nail the Shoe is lost; for want of a Shoe the Horse is lost; for want of a Horse the Rider is lost.

The Proud hate Pride -- in others.

To whom thy secret thou doest tell,
to him thy freedom thou dost sell.

He that pursues two hares at once, does not catch one and lets t'other go.

Is there anything men take more pains about than to make themselves unhappy?

Friendship increases by visiting Friends, but by visiting seldom.

I never saw an oft-transplanted tree,
Nor yet an oft-removed family
That throve so well as those that settled be.

The sleeping Fox catches no poultry. Up! Up!

Don't go to the doctor with every distemper,
nor to the lawyer with every quarrel,
nor to the pot for every thirst.

I saw few die of hunger; of eating -- 100,000

Let thy Discontents be Secrets.

Great Estates may venture more;
Little boats must keep near Shore.

the good of ill hap of a good or ill life,
is the good or ill choice of a good or ill wife.

'Tis easier to prevent bad habits than to break them.

Blessed is he that expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

Rather go to bed supperless than run in debt for a breakfast.

When you taste Honey, remember Gall.

God gives all Things to Industry.

Diligence overcomes Difficulties, Sloth makes them.

Neglect mending a small Fault, and 'twill soon be a great One.

A Change of Fortune hurts a wise Man no more than a Change of the Moon.

Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that 's the Stuff Life is made of

Good Sense is a Thing all need, few have, and none think they want.

When there's more Malice shown that Matter:
on the Writer falls the Satyr.

When you're an Anvil, hold you still;
when you're a Hammer, strike your fill.

When Knaves betray each other, one can scarce be blamed or the other pitied.

Fools need Advice most, but only wise Men are the better for it.

Silence is not always a Sign of Wisdom, but Babbling is ever a Folly.

Content is the Philosopher's Stone, that turns all it touches into Gold.

He that would travel much, should eat little.

A long Life may not be good enough, but a good Life is long enough.

For Age and Want save while you may;
No morning Sun lasts a whole Day.

All other Goods by Fortune's Hand are giv'n,
A Wife is the peculiar gift of Heav'n.
Vain Fortune's Favours, never at a Stay,
Like empty Shadows, pass, and glide away;
One solid Comfort, our eternal Wife,
Abundantly supplies us all our Life:
This Blessing lasts (if those that try say true)
As long as Heart can wish -- and longer too.

When the Wine enters, out goes the Truth.

He that doth what he should not,
shall feel what he would not.

Prodigality of Time produces Poverty of Mind as well as Estate.

He that's content hath enough. He that complains hath too much.

A full Belly makes a dull Brain.

The Muses starve in a Cook's Shop.

Epitaph on a Clergyman
Here lies, who need not here be nam'd,
For Theological Knowledge fam'd;
Who all the Bible had by rote,
With all the Comments Calvin wrote;
Parsons and Jesuits could confute,
Talk Infidels and Quakers mute,
To every Heretick a foe;

Was he an honest man? -- So, so

Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure.

He makes a Foe, who makes a Jest.

A good Example is the best Sermon.

If Jack's in love, he's no Judge of Jill's Beauty.

A false Friend and a Shadow attend only while the Sun shines.

Wise Men learn by others' harms; Fools by their own.

Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; Friend to one; Enemy to none.

A wise Man will desire no more that what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute chearfully and leave contentedly.

Pardoning the Bad, is injuring the Good.

To-morrow every Fault is to be amended; but that To-morrow never comes.

Plough deep while Sluggards sleep;
and you shall have Corn to sell and to keep.

Knaves & Nettles are akin; stroak 'em kindly, yet they'll sting.

Life with Fools consists in Drinking;
with wise Man, living's Thinking.

Act uprightly and despise Calumny; Dirt may stick to a Mud Wall, but not to polish'd Marble.

Most fools think they are only ignorant.

Think of three Things -- whence you came, where you are going, and to Whom you must account.

The honest Man takes Pains, and then enjoys Pleasures; the knave takes Pleasures, and then suffers Pains.

He that never eats too much, will never be lazy.

To be proud of Knowledge, is to be blind with Light.

Men take more pains to mask than mend.

'Tis easier to build two Chimneys than maintain one in Fuel.

To be proud of Virtue, is to poison yourself with the Antidote.

If it were not for the Belly, the Back might wear Gold.

One To-day is worth two To-morrows.

Dally not with other Folks' Women or Money.

Having been poor is no shame, but being ashamed of it, is.

A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things.

The Thirteen Virtues:

  1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness. Drink not to elevation.
  2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.
  3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time
  4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.
  5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
  6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.
  7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; if you speak, speak accordingly.
  8. Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
  11. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  12. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health and offspring -- never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Let no pleasure tempt thee, no profit allure thee, no ambition corrupt thee, no example sway thee, no persuasion move thee, to do any thing which thou knowest to be evil; so shalt thou always live jollily; for a good conscience is a continual Christmas. Adieu.