Ben & Verse
(Is Ben Franklin Cursed? His Prose Has Been Versed)
by
John D. McCall

These are Franklin's sayings in prose from "Poor Richard's Almanac." I have rhymed them for children (who often like and sometimes remember jingles) and for anybody who thinks comparing proverbs is fun. And I’m still adding jingles to my website at www.benandverse.com.

JUST A SAMPLE OF BEN AND VERSE
Always an up-to-date mentor, Franklin’s insights fit right into the rhyming sound bites below. Here’s a sample from the first issue of “Ben & Verse”, beginning, alphabetically enough, with “Advice.” 

What's Ben

What's Verse

ADVICE

He that won’t be councell’d, can’t be help’d. [1747]

Fools need Advice most, but wise Men only are the better for it. [1758]

Your head’s not sized
To be advised.

After the huddle,
Still in a muddle?


This e-book covers all 38 issues of the monthly www.benandverse.com series. To see them, arranged under subjects, click “4. Ben and Verse” (below). There are even indexes, if anybody actually wants to get grim about these jingles.




Contents


1. Introduction to Ben and Verse

2. About Ben Franklin

3. Section Index

4. Ben and Verse

5. Ben's 13 Virtues

6. Alphabetical Topic Index
 
7. Ben Franklin's views on civilised ways

8. Links To Other Websites




Introduction to Ben and Verse

What a world this would be if we could listen to Ben!

And, clearly, Franklin’s own inimitable words are the ideal source. His wisdom and wit selected or fashioned and transmitted enduring sayings.  So why this eBook? To serve Franklin up in a new way to people who would not otherwise get acquainted with him.

Some visitors might not be content with reading Franklin. Grade school class members already have been “translating” Ben – with delightful results, typically in lively prose.

I have referred visitors to “Poor Richard” via search engine instead of instead of noting prominently a specific website. I did that since any website might some day disappear while this eBook was chugging away on automatic pilot. Even so, a page of "Links" is included, along with a method of keeping up with the new websites as they come up over the years.

If you'd like to contact me in connection with this project, you can email me via my website contact form.


CREDITS
I have had a great deal of help getting to this eBook. I would like to thank at least some who have helped me, in addition to my wife
Marjorie, who has stood by me through countless versions of the text, with insight and discernment.  


Friends

I would like to thank all the friends who have helped me during the many revisions of my work. I do know who has helped me most: Professor Morton Y. Jacobs. He has gone through those versions with me. And kept making them better. Polly Gordon shared her admirable strategic gifts on this project as she has on so many others. I also want to credit the expertise and encouragement of Dorothy Poehlman, now deceased, and Neil Tillman. Another friend – and good writer – Carol Manka helped me with a closely related project.

Artists
I thank the artist Rayner Burrows for creating the graphics. His wife Helaine also made helpful suggestions.

Scholars
Leading Franklin scholars were kind enough to help the project. Leo Lemay rescued it from copyright entanglements.
Paul Zall shared his experience. Jim Giblin encouraged the project.  So did Ned Sherrin, the British humorist. Without my poetry professor, Shirley Cochrane, there might not have been a project. Without the others, it might not have got this far.

Web Designer
I want to thank Paul Stephens for designing the site. This involved INFINITE patience with my low-tech mind.
 


John McCall
2007




About Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, and much more besides. A writer, publisher, scientist, politician, philosopher, diplomat and educationalist, he was a true Renaissance Man, in an era when such a wide range of talents and interests could all be put to practical use.

Ben was born in Boston, but made his home in Philadelphia, as well as spending periods in London and Paris.  In his long career he ran a printing works and newspaper, founded what later became the University of Pennsylvania, reformed the colonial postal service and opened America's first public library.

He conducted extensive research into electricity, including the famous 1752 experiment in which he attached a metal key to a child's kite, then flew it into a thunderstorm to prove that lightning was an electrical discharge. He invented the lightning rod, as well as, among other things, the bifocal spectacle lens and the high-efficiency Franklin stove.

As a politician and diplomat Ben represented the American colonies in France and Britain, negotiating treaties of alliance with the former, and peace with the latter. At home, he helped to draft the Declaration of Independence (which he signed) and was later involved in the drafting of the American Constitution. His last public office, at the age of 81, was that of President of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery.

Throughout his life, Ben Franklin remained a prolific moral philosopher, and today is still often referred to as our "wisest American". Between 1732 and 1758 he published Poor Richard: An Almanac, an annual collection of wit, wisdom and information from which many of the quotations in this eBook are taken. 

Paul Stephens






Section Index
The section names shown here reflect the individual pages of Ben and Verse's original web version at www.benandverse.com. The groupings are fairly arbitrary, but you may find them a useful way of finding areas of interest.

For a detailed, topic-by-topic index, see the Alphabetical Topic Index.
Advice - Ancestry Anger - Anti-Social Bad Habits Bragging & Discretion
Budgeting - Civility Conscience - Death Debt - Diet Dirt - Doctors
Education - Faith Faith Faking & Sincerity Flattery - Gabbing
Giving - Gratitude Greed - Griping Health - History Judgement - Lawyers
Laziness - Leadership Learning - Love's Cures Luck - Luck & Sweat Marriage
Maturing - Memory Moderation - Nonsense Nostalgia - Passion Patience - Planning
Pleasures - Pride Privacy - Procrastination Promises - Revenge Satire - Self-Deception
Self-Destruction Self-Interest Serenity & Discontent Sleep
Stinginess - Success Temperance - Time Underrating - Vice Virtue & Corruption
Visiting - Warning Signs Wise Guys - Wishes





Ben and Verse
Always an up-to-date mentor, Franklin’s insights fit right into the sound bites you see here. But why stop here? For a Niagara of wit and understanding in the wonderful words from Ben's own works, get to a search engine and try: Franklin + “Poor Richard.” You might add “1758” -- or just click here. The 1758 preface features some favorite sayings. ( Oh, parents, those "Poor Richard's" websites can get raucous.)
What's Ben What's Verse
Advice - Ancestry
Advice
see also BEN'S 13 VIRTUES, PLANNING & DECIDING and WISE GUYS.
He that won’t be councell’d, can’t be help’d. [1747]Your head’s not sized
To be advised.
Fools need Advice most, but wise Men only are the better for it. [1758]After the huddle,
Still in a muddle?
Alcohol
see also TEMPERANCE & INDULGENCE.
He that drinks fast, pays
slow. [1733]
Biggest thirst
Won't treat first.
Alibis
It's common for Men to give 6 pretended Reasons instead of one real one. [1745]Ever ask, "Why?"
It's alibi.
Ancestry
The Family of Fools
is Ancient. [1735]
Adam seeds!
Wisdom breeds?
All blood is alike
ancient. [1745]
Blood's "blue"?
None's new.
Anger - Anti-Social
Anger & Hate
see also FAITH WHEN CHALLENGED.
Anger and Folly walk cheek-by-jole; Repentance treads on both their Heels. [1741]Paired by Cupid,
Hate kissed Stupid.
Those who are fear'd, are
hated. [1744]
Hate snares
What scares.
Anger is never without a
Reason, but seldom with a
good One. [1753]
Reason for rage?
Stuff it with sage.
Anti-Social Types
see also CIVILITY.
Half-Hospitality opens his
Doors and shuts up his
Countenance. [1746]
Snob's warm invitation --
To refrigeration.
He is not well bred, that
cannot bear Ill-Breeding
in others. [1748]
Crude Dude
Snubs Rude.
Bad Habits
Bad Habits & Reform (1)
see also PROCRASTINATION, VICE and WARNING SIGNS.
The Wise and Brave dares own that he was wrong. [1751]Brave Tarzan’s confessing
(To ape-like regressing).
The Wolf sheds his Coat once a Year, his Disposition never. [1755]Each temperament:
Clay - in cement.
In a corrupt Age, the putting the World in order would breed Confusion, then e'en mind your own Business. [1758]China's thin,
Don't butt in.
Bad Habits & Reform (2)
see also PROCRASTINATION, VICE and WARNING SIGNS.
To err is human, to repent
divine, to persist devilish. [1742]
Adam resists?
Snake finds new twists.
How few there are who have
courage enough to own their
Faults, or resolution enough
to mend them! [1743]
Fault -- to own,
Then disown.
Bad Habits & Reform (3)
see also PROCRASTINATION, VICE and WARNING SIGNS.
Who is strong? He that can
conquer his bad Habits. [1744]
Strength -- it undergoes
Habit's undertows.
'Tis easier to prevent bad
habits than to break them. [1745]
You would seed
Habit's weed?
Be at War with your Vices,
at Peace with your
Neighbours, and let every
New-Year find you a better
Man. [1755]
Year's ending --
You mending?
Bragging & Discretion
Bragging & Discretion
see also GABBING & SILENCE and PRIVACY.
In a discreet man's mouth, a publick thing is private. [1736]Closed tureens
Spill no beans.
Here comes Courage! that seiz'd the lion absent, and run away from the present mouse. [1736]Brave outstares
Absent bears.
Write with the learned, pronounce with the vulgar. [1738]Write formally,
Talk normal – see?
Proclaim not all thou
knowest, all thou owest,
all thou hast, nor all thou
can'st. [1739]
Bird brains crow
All they know.
He's a Fool that cannot conceal his own Wisdom. [1745]Twit shows
Twit knows.
The Tongue offends, and the
Ears get the Cuffing. [1757]
Mouth brays,
Ass pays.
Budgeting - Civility
Budgeting
see also DEBT & CREDIT.
The King's cheese is half wasted in parings: But no matter, 'tis made of the peoples milk. [1735]Tax wracks
Greenbacks.
If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the Philosopher’s-Stone. [1736]A financial Plato
Should accumulate dough.
There is much money given to be laught at, though the purchasers don’t know it; witness A’s fine horse, & B’s fine house. [1737]“Big sticker”
Earns snicker.
Buy what thou has no need of; and e'er long thou shalt sell thy
necessaries. [1738]
Bought spread,
Begs bread.
At a great Pennyworth, pause a while. [1739]Steep price?
Brake … twice!
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. [1743]Income rains?
Thirsty drains.
Beware of little Expenses: a
small Leak will sink a great
Ship. [1745]
Don't waste nickels,
Life's blood trickles.
Patience in Market, is worth Pounds in a Year. [1753]Hot sale fool!
Shop when cool.
‘Tis easier to build two Chimneys, than maintain one in Fuel. [1757]Gizmo’s free,
But battery …
Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself, i.e., waste nothing. [Virtue 5]Feed life's need,
Not waste's greed.
Civility
see also ANTI-SOCIAL TYPES, FRIEND & ENEMIES, STYLE and VISITING.
To be humble to Superiors is Duty, to Equals Courtesy, to Inferiors Nobleness. [1735]In each case use
Your P's and Q's?"
Joke went out, and brought home his fellow, and they two began a quarrel. [1741]Fun joked?
Fun poked.
If you'd be loved, make yourself amiable. [1744]To be liked,
Go unspiked.
Tart Words make no Friends:
a spoonful of honey will
catch more flies than a
Gallon of Vinegar. [1744]
Sweet and warm
Brings a swarm.
If you have no Honey in your Pot, have some in your Mouth. [1753]With shoulder chip,
You’re scanning … zip.
Conscience - Death
Conscience & Fun
Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure. [1740]Grind … all done;
Perked up fun.
Let no Pleasure tempt thee,
no Profit allure thee, no
Ambition corrupt thee, no
Example sway thee, no
Persuasion move thee, to do
anything which thou knowest
to be Evil; So shalt thou
always live jollily; for a
good Conscience is a
continual Christmas. [1741]
When e-mail shows scruples,
Attachment quadruples.
Contractors
He that pays for Work
before it's done, has but
a pennyworth for twopence. [1739]
Work - but no money - due?
Jerk, your contract's on you.
Death & Immortality
see also FAITH & POSSESSIONS.
Fear not Death; for the
sooner we die, the longer
shall we be immortal. [1740]
The sooner we're under,
The sooner the Wonder.
Debt - Diet
Debt & Credit
see also CONTRACTORS and MEMORY.
He’s gone, and forgot nothing but to say “Farewell” to his creditors. [1733]Lend to Lout?
Cash -- runs out.
He that sells upon trust, loses many friends, and always wants money. [1736]I lend to friends,
Their interest ends.
Creditors have better
memories than debtors. [1736]
One's debts in cash?
Memory crash.
Rather go to bed supperless,
than run in debt for a
Breakfast. [1739]
You're lobster-fed -
And in the red.
Lend Money to an Enemy,
and thou'lt gain him; to
a Friend, and thou'lt lose
him. [1740]
Swap friend for foe,
Lend either dough.
Lying rides upon Debt's back. [1741]Overdraft
Enlists craft.
Industry pays Debts,
Despair encreases them. [1742]
Does cold sweat
Pay your debt?
The second Vice is Lying; the first is Running in Debt. [1748]Subjectively edit
Accusative credit?
Diet
see also TEMPERANCE & INDULGENCE.
I saw few die of Hunger;
of Eating -- 100,000. [1736]
More Yanks die of carving
And stuffing than starving.
Youth, Age, and Sick require a different Quantity [of Eat and Drink]. [1742]Grizzled hair?
Eats like bear.
Grizzly snare.
Eat few Suppers, and you'll need few Medicines. [1742]Gut fills?
Need pills.
He that never eats too much will never be lazy. [1756]Overeat? Sticks to seat.
Dirt - Doctors
Dirt
Cleanliness: Tolerate no
uncleanness in body, clothes, or habitation. [Virtue 10]
Clean toe to shirt --
Treat dirt like dirt.
Doctors
He's a Fool that makes his
Doctor his Heir. [1733]
Doc's your heir?...
You still there?
God heals, and the doctor
takes the Fees. [1736]
God corrects,
Doc collects.
Education - Faith
Education
see also HISTORY, LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE and NONSENSE.
Of learned Fools I have seen ten times ten, Of unlearned wise men I have seen a hundred. [1735]Not all PHD's
Learn life's ABC's.
Reading makes a full Man, Meditation a profound Man, discourse a clear Man. [1738]Reading is feeding,
Thinking is
… linking.
Read much, but not many Books. [1738]Re-reads insights
(Clicks on new lights).
The ancients tell us what is best; but we must learn of the moderns what is fittest. [1738]From ancients, the Rays,
From moderns, the ways.
Genius without Education is
like Silver in the Mine. [1750]
Mind untaught?
Unmined thought.
Proud Modern Learning despises the antient: School-men are now laughed at by School-boys. [1758]New revision-ism:
Collision - then schism.
Faith & Possessions
How many observe Christ’s Birth-day! How few, his Precepts! O! ‘tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments. [1743]Set up evergreen joys
Above breakable toys.
If your Riches are yours,
why don't you take them
with you to t'other World? [1751]
All's mine in perpetuity
(Morgue, forward my annuity).
If worldly Goods cannot save me from Death, they ought not to hinder me of eternal life. [1751]Wired home’s modernity Secures eternity?
Faith
Faith & Skepticism
see also WISE GUYS.
Admiration is the Daughter of Ignorance. [1736]"Awesome!" comes out
Gullible's spout.
In the Affairs of this World Men are saved, not by Faith, but by the Want of it. [1754]Heaven takes lambs,
So do most scams.
The Way to see by Faith is
to shut the Eye of Reason:
The Morning Daylight appears
plainer when you put out your
Candle. [1758]
Is skepticism
Your only prism?
Faith & Work
Work as if you were to live
100 Years, Pray as if you
were to die To-morrow. [1757]
Work like you'll need to forever,
Pray like tomorrow is never.
Faith When Challenged
Talking against Religion is
unchaining a Tyger; The
Beast let loose may worry
his Deliverer. [1751]
Insult a creed --
invite a beast,
Forget the grace --
guess who's the feast?
Faking & Sincerity
Faking & Sincerity
see also ALIBIS, BRAGGING & DISCRETION, FAITH & SKEPTICISM, PRIDE & HUMILITY and SELF-DECEPTION.
A man is never so ridiculous by those Qualities that are his own than those he affects to have. [1735]“Put on” frilly?
Turn off, silly.
Squirrel-like she covers her back with her tail. [1738]Kingpins?
Tailspins?
Spin wins.
What you would seem to be, be really. [1744]Better be,
What eyes see.
Craft must be at charge for
clothes -- but Truth can go
naked. [1747]
Truth sleeps nude,
Fake's a prude.
Don't judge of Men's Wealth,
or Piety, by their Sunday
Appearances. [1751]
Never measure pious views
With a census of the pews.
Mankind are very odd
Creatures:
One Half censure what they
practise, the other half
practise what they censure;
the rest always say and do
as they ought. [1752]
Who would do
What they boo?
No, not you.
Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly;
and, if you speak, speak
accordingly. [Virtue 7]
Delete mean lies:
From thoughts, words, sighs.
Flattery - Gabbing
Flattery
Approve not of him who commends all you say. [1735]Yes manned?
Mess planned.
A Plowman on his Legs is higher than a Gentleman on his Knees. [1746]Executive stars
Once … lit … chiefs’ cigars.
Friend & Enemies
see also CIVILITY, DEBT & CREDIT, GOSSIP & REPUTATION and VISITING.
The wise Man draws more Advantage from his Enemies, than the Fool from his Friends. [1749]Get beat at chess?
Learn … foe’s finesse.
Wouldst thou confound thine Enemy, be good thyself. [1750]Need crafty snare?
… Try playing fair.
A Brother may not be a
Friend, but a Friend will
always be a Brother. [1752]
Your sibling's your friend?
The gene's dividend!
Friendship cannot live with Ceremony, nor without Civility. [1754]Much scratch or polish
Friendships demolish.
A false Friend and a Shadow, attend only while the Sun shines. [1756]A weatherwise friend
Will stick -- to the wind.
When Knaves betray each other, one can scarce be blamed, or the other pitied. [1758]Both snitch -
Can't bitch.
Gabbing & Silence
see also GOSSIP & REPUTATION.
Silence is not always a
Sign of Wisdom, but
Babbling is ever Mark of a
Folly. [1758]
Keep dumb -- ride it out...
Babble on - leave no doubt.
Silence: Speak not but what
may benefit others or
your self. Avoid trifling
conversation. [Virtue 2]
No use heard?
Mute that word!
Giving - Gratitude
Giving
see also GRATITUDE and STINGINESS & SHARING.
The old Man has given all to his Son: Oh fool! To undress thy self before going to bed. [1733]Give like Lear?
Crowned with sneer.
Liberality is not giving much but giving wisely. [1748]You donate?
Watch which plate.
Gifts much expected are paid, not given. [1753]Giftlist obeyed?
Given - or paid?
Gossip & Reputation
see also BRAGGING & DISCRETION and SATIRE.
There have been as great Souls unknown to fame as any of the most famous. [1734]Spotless lives!
(Blank archives.)
The absent are never without fault, nor the present without excuse. [1736]Absent accused,
Present excused.
Do not do that which you
would not have known. [1736]
Before getting sordid,
Pretend it's recorded.
Since I cannot govern my own teeth, how can I hope to govern the tongues of others? [1738]“Don’t you let slide
What I can’t hide.”
Hear no ill of a Friend,
nor speak any of an Enemy. [1739]
Don't smear
My ear.
It is wise not to seek a Secret, and Honest not to reveal it. [1747]Secrets you’ve spied …
File “Classified”!
Glass, China, and Reputa-
tion, are easily crack'd,
and never well mended. [1750]
Gossip's nasty crack --
Who can glue it back?
An ill Wound, but not an ill Name, may be healed. [1753]Your name skewered?
Can't be cured.
Gratitude
see also GIVING, SERENITY & DISCONTENT and UNDERRATING & OVERRATING.
What's given shines, What's receiv'd is rusty. [1735]Santa's fir tree?
Just needles me.
Most People return small
Favours, acknowledge
middling ones, and repay
great ones with Ingratitude. [1751]
Give with great latitude?
Freeze from ingratitude.
Greed - Griping
Greed & Poverty
see also BUDGETING, SUCCESS & RUIN and TEMPERANCE & INDULGENCE.
Avarice and Happiness never saw each other, how then shou’d they become acquainted. [1734]Joy sniffs greed?
Won’t crossbreed.
Poverty wants some things,
Luxury many things, Avarice
all things. [1735]
Want's wants are small,
Hog wants it all.
Grievances
The Sting of a Reproach --
is the Truth of it. [1746]
Red face
(Closed case).
Griping
The worst wheel of the
cart makes the most noise. [1737]
Twisted wheel
Burns to squeal.
Let thy discontents be thy
Secrets;
-- if the world knows them
'twill despise thee and
increase them. [1741]
Phone, moan...
Dial tone.
To serve the Publick faithfully, and at the same time please it entirely, is impracticable. [1758]Socrates
Didn’t please.
Health - History
Health
see also DIET, DOCTORS, HERBS and TEMPERANCE & INDULGENCE.
If thou wouldst live long, live well; for Folly and Wickness shorten Life. [1739]Moral ambiguity
Shortens the annuity.
We are not so sensible of the greatest Health as of the least Sickness. [1747]Rosy health
Blooms in stealth.
Herbs
Much Virtue in Herbs, little in Men. [1755]Trust herbs,
Not blurbs.
History
Historians relate, not so much what is done, as what they would have believed. [1739]Historians sway
The battles their way.
Neither praise nor dispraise, till seven Christmasses be over. [1740]Grade op-ed page
That’s … grade-school age.
Happy that nation, fortunate that age, when history is not diverting. [1740]"Interesting times"
Tick off the enzymes.
Judgement - Lawyers
Judgement
see also LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE, PLANNING & DECIDING and SELF-DECEPTION.
Many complain of their
Memory, few of their
Judgment. [1745]
Most blame their recall;
Their sense? Not at all.
Great Good-nature, without Prudence, is a great Misfortune. [1749]Heart without head?
Tire without tread.
Justice & Comeuppance
see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1).
Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed. [1756]Law’s seesaw
Flaws its … awe.
He that sows Thorns, should never go barefoot. [1756]Boomerang?
Can defang.
Rob not God, nor the Poor, lest thou ruin thyself; the Eagle snatcht a Coal from the Altar, but it fired her Nest. [1758]Workers in rattraps?
Fat cats have mishaps.
Justice: Wrong none by
doing injuries or omitting
the benefits that are your
duty. [Virtue 8]
"Mustn't" and "must"
Please keep me just.
Lawyers
A country man between two Lawyers, is like a fish
between two Cats. [1737]
Between two lawyers?
The blades of sawyers.
Laziness - Leadership
Laziness & Labor
see also CONSCIENCE & FUN, FAITH & WORK, PROCRASTINATION and SLEEP.
The poor man must walk to get meat for his stomach, rich man to get a stomach to his meat. [1735]Labor’s grim?
Who needs gym?
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. (repeat?) [1739]Use legs
Like pegs?
Sloth (like Rust) consumes
faster than Labour wears:
the used Key is always
bright. [1744]
Used key:
Rust free.
Idleness is the greatest Prodigality. [1745]Watched … clock
In … hock.
There are lazy Minds as well as lazy Bodies. [1751]Mental P.T.
Cures atrophy.
Diligence overcomes Difficulties, Sloth makes them. [1755]Drones?
Moans.
Industry: Lose no time. --
Be always employed in
something useful. -- Cut off
all unnecessary actions. [Virtue 6]]
Time's for use,
Work's its sluice.
Leadership
see also PROMISES & PERFORMANCE.
He that cannot obey, cannot
command. [1734]
Won't heed?
Can't lead.
Learning - Love's Cures
Learning From Experience
see also ADVICE, EDUCATION, FRIEND & ENEMIES, MEMORY, UNDERRATING & OVERRATING and WARNING SIGNS.
He that lives well, is learned enough. [1736]The best degree?
Life's Chemistry.
Observe all men, thy self most. [1740]Find clue
To … you.
The Things which hurt,
instruct. [1744]
Thumb burned,
Hand learned.
Wise Men learn by others'
harms, Fools by their own. [1749]
Another's nicked?
From that predict.
He that best understands the World, least likes it. [1753]Sage’s light
Presumes … night.
Love's Cures
Love and Tooth-ache have
many Cures, but none
infallible -- except
Possession and Dispossession. [1751]
Cure love or tooth-ache:
Just keep or forsake.
Luck - Luck & Sweat
Luck
see also PRIDE & HUMILITY and SERENITY & DISCONTENT.
None know the unfortunate, and the fortunate do not know themselves. [1747]Good fortune's wheel
Makes no loud squeal.
Luck & Sweat
see also LAZINESS & LABOR.
He that waits upon Fortune,
is never sure of a Dinner. [1734]
Hang on luck?
Hanged when stuck.
Diligence is the Mother of
Good-Luck. [1736]
"Why 'luck'? Explain."
"Through labor's pain."
Industry, Perseverance, &
Frugality, make Fortune
yield. [1744]
For luck's fizz,
Stick to biz.
Marriage
Marriage
see also PATIENCE and PROMISES & PERFORMANCE.
Where there's Marriage without Love, there will be Love without Marriage. [1734]Coolly wed,
Finds new bed.
Keep your eyes wide open
before marriage,
half shut afterwards. [1738]
Eyes open? Propose,
Now married? Half close.
Marry above thy match, and
thou'lt get a Master. [1740]
Marry money?
Boss named "Honey."
A Man without a Wife, is but half a Man. [1755]No wife?
Half life.
Maturing - Memory
Maturing
An old young man, will be a young old man. [1735]Young grapes confined,
When old, are wined.
At 20 years of age the Will reigns; at 30 the Wit; at 40
the Judgment. [1741]
Youth's grit
Gets wit,
With age
Grows sage.
Memory
see also DEBT & CREDIT and NOSTALGIA.
Ill Customs & bad Advice
are seldom forgotten. [1742]
Memory hugs
Data with bugs.
Moderation - Nonsense
Moderation & Excess
see also UPSTARTS.
Nothing brings more pain
than too much pleasure;
nothing more bondage than
too much liberty, (or
libertinism). [1738]
Ringing too free
Cracks liberty.
Moderation: Avoid extremes.
Forbear resenting injuries so
much as you think they deserve. [Virtue 9]
Gauged extreme?
Lower steam.
Nonsense
Great wits jump (says the Poet) and hit his Head against the post. [1735]Conclusions leap?
Contusions heap.
Clearly spoken, Mr. Fog! You explain English by Greek. [1741]Dr. Smog’s “explanation”
(In polluted translation).
The learned Fool writes his
Nonsense in better Language
than the unlearned; but
still 'tis Nonsense. [1754]
Such eloquence!
(Should it make sense?)
Nostalgia - Passion
Nostalgia
The Golden Age never was
the present Age. [1750]
The Age of Gold?
Always of old.
Order
see also PREPARATION.
Order: Let all your things
have their places. Let each
part of your business have its
time. [Virtue 3]
Keep, as prison warder,
Time and place in order.
Passion & Reason
see also SELF-COMMAND.
Nick’s passions grow fat and hearty; his Understanding looks consumptive! [1741]Urges flush
Judgment’s blush.
Hear Reason -- or she'll make
you feel her. [1744]
Sense ignored?
Senses gored.
If Passion drives,
let Reason hold the Reins. [1749]
You're fueled by zeal?
Sense, mind the wheel!
He is a Governor that governs his Passions, and he a Servant that serves them. [1750]Quizlings to craves -
Rulers or slaves?
Patience - Planning
Patience
see also BUDGETING, MARRIAGE, PREPARATION, SELF-COMMAND and TIME.
By diligence and patience, the mouse bit in two the cable. [1735]Drip … drip… drip:
Mountains split.
He that can have Patience,
can have what he will. [1736]
Hook...a bright...fate:
Bait…and then … wait.
What signifies your Patience, if you can’t find it when you want it? [1747]Patience’ rays are steady
But not … ever-ready.
You can bear your own
Faults, and why not a Fault
in your Wife? [1750]
Bear your own burrs?
Bear his or hers.
Planning & Deciding
Take counsel in wine, but
resolve afterwards in water. [1733]
Plan when high,
Sign when dry.
When ‘tis fair be sure take your Great coat with you. [1734]Don’t plan to cavort
On a weather report.
Pleasures - Pride
Pleasures
Fly Pleasures, and they'll
follow you. [1738]
Run from fun,
Be outrun.
Many a Man thinks he is
buying Pleasure, when he is really selling himself a
Slave to it. [1750]
When pleasure has a price,
Then you're the merchandise.
Preparation
The Eye of the Master, will do more Work than his Hand. [1744]Artists’ fame lingers
(All in their fingers?)
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. [1752]One loose socket
Downs the rocket.
Pride & Humility
see also FLATTERY.
If Pride leads the Van, Beggary brings up the Rear. [1735]Nose high,
Feet fly.
If thou hast wit & learning, add to it Wisdom and Modesty [1738]Endowed
Branch bowed.
As Pride increases,
Fortune declines. [1744]
Ego feeds
On luck's seeds.
Declaiming against Pride
is not always a Sign of
Humility. [1749]
"Down with elites!
(Quick, grab their seats.)"
A Cypher and Humility make the other Figures & Virtues of ten-fold Value. [1750]Add modesty or zero?
Ten times the sum or hero.
Great merit is coy, as well as great Pride. [1752]Big heads bowed -
For the crowd.
Humility: Imitate Jesus
and Socrates. [Virtue 13]
When all our peacock
glories please us,
Let's preen at Socrates and Jesus.
Privacy - Procrastination
Privacy
Nor Eye in a letter, nor Hand in a purse, nor Ear in the secret of another. [1736]Hi-tech … clicking hackers --
Just mousy safecrackers.
Let all Men know thee, but no man know thee thoroughly: Men freely ford that see the shallows. [1743]You’re “open wide”?
Your secrets … pried.
Love your Neighbour; yet
don't pull down your Hedge. [1754]
Care for all -
And your wall.
Procrastination
see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1).
Defer not thy well-doing; be not like St. George, who is always a horseback, and never rides on. [1738]Charity's plate
Won't soon lose "Wait."
Have you somewhat to do
to-morrow, do it to-day. [1742]
Do tomorrow's chore
Today or before.
He that resolves to mend
hereafter, resolves not
to mend now. [1745]
"Soon, I will,"
Means "not until."
You may delay -- but Time
will not. [1758]
"Snail, slow
Time's flow!"
Promises - Revenge
Promises & Performance
see also BRAGGING & DISCRETION, FAKING & SINCERITY and TIME WASTING.
The proof of gold is fire, the proof of woman, gold; the proof of man, woman. [1733]Testing (by marriage)
Your … undercarriage?
The noblest question in the world is What Good may I do? [1737]Don't "should,"
Do good.
Promises may get thee
Friends, but Non-
performance will turn them
into Enemies. [1740]
Swear to and don't do?
Ex-friends swear at you.
Mad Kings and mad Bulls, are not be held by treaties & packthread. [1746]Treaty whitlers -
Little Hitlers.
Saying and Doing, have quarrel'd and parted. [1756]Tongue fixes,
Fist nixes.
Resolution: Resolve to
perform what you ought.
Perform without fail what
you resolve. [Virtue 4]
Duty's resolve
Must not disolve.
Resolution
see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1), PLANNING & DECIDING, PROMISES & PERFORMANCE and SELF-COMMAND.
The nearest way to come at glory, is to do that for conscience which we do for glory. [1737]Valley Forge story:
Not just for glory.
'Tis more noble to forgive,
and more manly to despise,
than to revenge an Injury. [1752]
The silly brat
Yells, "Tit for tat!"
Satire - Self-Deception
Satire
see also UNDERRATING & OVERRATING.
Strange! that a Man who has
wit enough to write a Satyr --
should have folly enough to
publish it. [1742]
Satire's cute
In libel suit.
Self-Command
see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1), MODERATION & EXCESS, PASSION & REASON, PATIENCE and PLEASURES.
Deny Self for Self's sake. [1735]Ever "More!"
Never soar.
Caesar did not merit the
triumphal Car more than he
that conquers himself. [1738]
Won Psyche's war?
Here's Caesar's car.
Self-Deception
see also UNDERRATING & OVERRATING and WISHES.
Who has deceiv'd thee so
oft as thy self? [1738]
Bait and snap,
I'm my trap.
It's the easiest Thing in the World for a Man to deceive himself. [1746]Fool's Paradise?
No entrance price.
Most Fools think they are only ignorant. [1748]“If I’d known…”
(Sad … Clown’s … groan.)
Happy Tom Crump, ne’er see his own Hump. [1758]Want perfection?
Smash reflection.
Self-Destruction
Self-Destruction
see also SERENITY & DISCONTENT and TIME WASTING.
Is there anything Men take
more pains about than to
render themselves unhappy? [1738]
Girls and boys
Un-wing their joys.
They who have nothing to
be troubled at, will be
troubled at nothing. [1741]
Why father
Your bother?
Nine men in ten are
suicides. [1749]
Most knife
Their life.
Self-Interest
Self-Interest & Viewpoint
see also HISTORY.
Would you persuade, speak
of Interest, not of Reason. [1734]
Reason? Who cares?
Show 'em their shares!
Bargaining has neither friends nor relations. [1736]Family feeling …
Orphaned when dealing
To bear other Peoples Afflictions, every one has Courage enough, and to spare. [1740]“Shared your ache --
Pass more cake.”
Pray don't burn my House to roast your Eggs. [1751]Peter is roast -
So Paul eats toast.
The Horse thinks one thing,
and he that saddles him
another. [1754]
Jockey and steed --
Always agreed?
Serenity & Discontent
Serenity & Discontent
see also CONSCIENCE & FUN and VIRTUE & CORRUPTION.
He that can compose himself is wiser than he that composes books. [1737]Tiger, turn green:
Kitty's serene.
Who is rich? He that
rejoices in his Portion. [1744]
Grateful?
Plateful.
Content makes poor men rich; Discontent makes rich men poor. [1749]Dour?
Poor.
Sorrow is good for nothing but sin. [1750]Vice domineers -
Its henchmen, your tears.
The discontented Man finds
no easy Chair. [1753]
Inner storm?
No nest's warm.
A Change of Fortune hurts
a wise Man no more than a
Change of the Moon. [1756]
Picture all you fear and hope
As a toy kaleidoscope
Nothing dries sooner than a Tear. [1757]Lips frown -
Then clown.
Content is the Philosopher's Stone, that turns all it touches into Gold. [1758]Prone to purr?
Fears no cur.
Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents
common or unavoidable. [Virtue 11]
What? To rifles
Over trifles?
Sleep
Sleep
see also LAZINESS & LABOR.
Up, Sluggard, and waste not
life; in the grave will be
sleeping enough. [1741]
Don't oversleep
Till six feet deep.
He that riseth late, must
trot all day, and shall
scarce overtake his business at night. [1742]
Wake up late?
Weighty freight.
The sleeping Fox catches no
poultry. Up! Up! [1743]
The chicken's pox?
Not snoozing Fox.
Stinginess - Success
Stinginess & Sharing
see also GIVING, GRATITUDE and GREED & POVERTY.
Wish a miser long life,
and you wish him no good. [1738]
"Long life to the miser!"
"Some favor," says Wiser.
Meanness is the Parent of Insolence. [1752]Scrooge’s tip?
Twist-ed lip.
Mine is better than Ours. [1756]Mine? Fine.
Ours? Sours.
Stubbornness
see also ADVICE.
You may sometimes be much in the wrong, in owning
your being in the right. [1754]
Right to fight
For "I'm right"?
Style
A Man without ceremony has need of great merit in its place. [1745](With no court robe)
Judged well … the globe.
How many mortifications must he suffer, that cannot bear any thing but beauty, order, elegance & perfection! Your man of taste, is nothing but a man of distaste. [1748]Life’s horse-laughed, … debased
(Through thoroughbred “taste”).
Nice Eaters seldom meet with a good Dinner. [1751]Finicky’s spouse
-- A lifelong grouse!
Success & Ruin
see also SELF-DESTRUCTION.
Now I've a sheep and a cow, every body bids me good morrow. [1736]Remote with me?
With my TV?
Success has ruin'd many a
Man. [1752]
Midas chokes
On gold jokes.
Setting too good an Example is a Kind of Slander seldom forgiven. [1753]Example
Can trample.
Temperance - Time
Temperance & Indulgence
see also ALCOHOL, DIET, GREED & POVERTY, MODERATION & EXCESS and PLEASURES.
Temperance: Eat not to dullness. Drink not to elevation. [Virtue 1]Don't let liquor and suppers
Be your downers and uppers.
Time
see also HISTORY and NOSTALGIA.
Time is an herb that cures
all Diseases. [1738]
Time's pills
Cure ills.
Time Wasting
see also LAZINESS & LABOR, PROCRASTINATION and SLEEP.
Ah simple Man! When a boy two precious jewels were given thee, Time, and good Advice; one thou has lost, and the other thrown away. [1743]Time runs on jewels
With no renewals.
Dost thou love Life? Then
do not squander Time; for
that's the Stuff Life is
made of. [1746]
Killing time?
Deadly crime:
Time's your "I'm."
Prodigality of Time produces Poverty of Mind, as well as of Estate. [1758]Time down the drain
Drags cash and brain.
Underrating - Vice
Underrating & Overrating
He is no clown that drives the plow, but he that doth clownish things. [1736]Is each worker
Just a jerk, sir?
When the Well's dry, we
know the Worth of Water. [1746]
No worth
Till dearth.
Children and Princes will quarrel for Trifles. [1752]Nations, girls, and boys
Struggle over toys.
Praise to the undeserving, is severe Satyr. [1752]Medals not due?
Heavy on you.
An honest Man will receive neither Money nor Praise that is not his Due. [1756]Take shady laurels?
Against my morals.
Upstarts
Sudden Pow'r is apt to be
insolent, Sudden Liberty
saucy; that behaves best
which has grown gradually. [1753]
Sudden gains?
Growing pains.
Vice
see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1) and VIRTUE & CORRUPTION.
What maintains one Vice
would bring up two Children. [1747]
The price of one vice,
Could raise a child - twice.
Virtue may not always make
a Face handsome, but Vice
will certainly make it ugly. [1758]
When Life's debased,
Face gets defaced.
Virtue & Corruption
Virtue & Corruption
see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1), BEN'S 13 VIRTUES, CONSCIENCE & FUN, GOSSIP & REPUTATION, HEALTH, JUSTICE & COMEUPPANCE, MEMORY and VICE.
The Sun never repents of the good he does, nor does he ever demand a recompence. [1735]Congress feted?
Bill belated.
Hast thou virtue? Acquire also the graces & beauties of virtue. [1738]Ethics should shimmer,
Not boil or simmer.
Sell not virtue to purchase
wealth, nor Liberty to
purchase power. [1738]
Soul's invoice:
Had your choice.
You may be more happy than Princes, if you will be more virtuous. [1738]Happier if blameless,
Than barons when shameless.
Keep thou from Opportunity, and God will keep thee from Sin [1744]Keep serpent next door?
(Says, “Eden’s a bore.”)
There is no Man so bad, but he secretly respects the Good. [1747]Gargoyle admires
Heavenly spires.
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. [1747]
Leave callused behind
In race to be kind.
What more valuable than
Gold? Diamonds. Than
Diamonds? Virtue. [1751]
What out-golds gold?
A soul unsold.
Visiting - Warning Signs
Visiting
Visit your Aunt, but not
every Day; and call at
your Brother's, but not
every night. [1742]
Come to stay -
Every day?
Ill Company is like a dog who dirts those most, that he loves most. [1743]Featherhead guest
(Nicely) fouls nest.
If you'd lose a troublesome Visitor, lend him Money. [1744]"Loan is it?
Here tis it."
Short visit.
Friendship increases by
visiting Friends, but by
visiting seldom. [1751]
Visits rare?
Welcome there.
Warning Signs
Little Rogues easily become
great Ones. [1754]
Mean little Pig
Pigs out...gets big.
He that carries a small Crime easily, will carry it on when it comes to be an Ox. [1758]Little illicit habits
Thrive like complicit rabbits.
Wise Guys - Wishes
Wise Guys
There's many witty men
whose brains can't fill
their bellies. [1735]
Bubble - not much trusted,
Brilliant - is now busted.
The cunning man steals a horse, the wise man leaves him alone. [1735]Judged crafty?
… Jail’s drafty.
Many would live by their
Wits, but break for want
of Stock. [1750]
Lived by wit -
Out of it?
Wouldst though confound thine Enemy, be good thyself. [1750]For crafty snare
… Play your game fair.
Cunning proceeds from
Want of Capacity. [1751]
Those unable
Tilt the table.
Wishes
Hope and a Red-Rag, are Baits for Men and Mackrel. [1742]Hyped-up hope:
Legal dope.
If Man could have Half his
Wishes, he would double his
Troubles. [1752]
Gasping fish
Caught last wish.
Cut the Wings of your Hens and Hopes, lest they lead you a weary Dance after them. [1754]Rosy glasses
Crack in crashes.
Wise Guys - Wishes
Wise Guys
There's many witty men
whose brains can't fill
their bellies. [1735]
Bubble - not much trusted,
Brilliant - is now busted.
The cunning man steals a horse, the wise man leaves him alone. [1735]Judged crafty?
… Jail’s drafty.
Many would live by their
Wits, but break for want
of Stock. [1750]
Lived by wit -
Out of it?
Wouldst though confound thine Enemy, be good thyself. [1750]For crafty snare
… Play your game fair.
Cunning proceeds from
Want of Capacity. [1751]
Those unable
Tilt the table.
Wishes
Hope and a Red-Rag, are Baits for Men and Mackrel. [1742]Hyped-up hope:
Legal dope.
If Man could have Half his
Wishes, he would double his
Troubles. [1752]
Gasping fish
Caught last wish.
Cut the Wings of your Hens and Hopes, lest they lead you a weary Dance after them. [1754]Rosy glasses
Crack in crashes.



Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

1. TEMPERANCE:
Eat not to dullness.
Drink not to elevation.
8. JUSTICE:
Wrong none by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
2. SILENCE:
Speak not but what may benefit others or your self. Avoid trifling conversation.
9. MODERATION:
Avoid extremes. Forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
3. ORDER:
Let all your things have their places.
Let each part of your business have its time.
10. CLEANLINESS:
Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes, or habitation.
4. RESOLUTION:
Resolve to perform what you ought.
Perform without fail what you resolve.
11. TRANQUILITY:
Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
5. FRUGALITY:
Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself, i.e., waste nothing.
12. CHASTITY
6. INDUSTRY:
Lose no time. -- Be always employed in something useful. -- Cut off all unnecessary actions.
13. HUMILITY:
Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
7. SINCERITY:
Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.



Alphabetical Topic Index

A B C D E F G H I J K L M
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A
ADVICE see also BEN'S 13 VIRTUES, PLANNING & DECIDING and WISE GUYS.
ALCOHOL see also TEMPERANCE & INDULGENCE.
ALIBIS
ANCESTRY
ANGER & HATE see also FAITH WHEN CHALLENGED.
ANTI-SOCIAL TYPES see also CIVILITY.

B
BACKFIRE see JUSTICE & COMEUPPANCE.
BAD HABITS & REFORM (1) see also PROCRASTINATION, VICE and WARNING SIGNS.
BAD HABITS & REFORM (2) see also PROCRASTINATION, VICE and WARNING SIGNS.
BAD HABITS & REFORM (3) see also PROCRASTINATION, VICE and WARNING SIGNS.
BEN'S 13 VIRTUES
BRAGGING & DISCRETION see also GABBING & SILENCE and PRIVACY.
BUDGETING see also DEBT & CREDIT.

C
CHASTITY see BEN'S 13 VIRTUES.
CIVILITY see also ANTI-SOCIAL TYPES, FRIEND & ENEMIES, STYLE and VISITING.
CLEANLINESS see DIRT.
COMEUPPANCE see JUSTICE & COMEUPPANCE.
CONSCIENCE & FUN
CONTRACTORS
CORRUPTION see VIRTUE & CORRUPTION.
CREDIT see DEBT & CREDIT.

D
DEATH & IMMORTALITY see also FAITH & POSSESSIONS.
DEBT & CREDIT see also CONTRACTORS and MEMORY.
DECIDING see PLANNING & DECIDING.
DIET see also TEMPERANCE & INDULGENCE.
DIRT
DISCONTENT see SERENITY & DISCONTENT.
DISCRETION see BRAGGING & DISCRETION.
DOCTORS

E
EDUCATION see also HISTORY, LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE and NONSENSE.
ENEMIES see FRIEND & ENEMIES.
EXCESS see MODERATION & EXCESS.
EXPERIENCE see LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE.

F
FAITH & POSSESSIONS
FAITH & SKEPTICISM see also WISE GUYS.
FAITH & WORK
FAITH WHEN CHALLENGED
FAKING & SINCERITY see also ALIBIS, BRAGGING & DISCRETION, FAITH & SKEPTICISM, PRIDE & HUMILITY and SELF-DECEPTION.
FAMILIES see ANCESTRY and MARRIAGE.
FASHION see STYLE.
FLATTERY
FOOLS
FRIEND & ENEMIES see also CIVILITY, DEBT & CREDIT, GOSSIP & REPUTATION and VISITING.
FRUGALITY see BUDGETING.

G
GABBING & SILENCE see also GOSSIP & REPUTATION.
GIVING see also GRATITUDE and STINGINESS & SHARING.
GOSSIP & REPUTATION see also BRAGGING & DISCRETION and SATIRE.
GRATITUDE see also GIVING, SERENITY & DISCONTENT and UNDERRATING & OVERRATING.
GREED & POVERTY see also BUDGETING, SUCCESS & RUIN and TEMPERANCE & INDULGENCE.
GRIEVANCES
GRIPING

H
HATE see ANGER & HATE.
HEALTH see also DIET, DOCTORS, HERBS and TEMPERANCE & INDULGENCE.
HERBS
HISTORY
HUMILITY see PRIDE & HUMILITY.
HYPOCRISY see FAKING & SINCERITY and PRIDE & HUMILITY.

I
IMMORTALITY see DEATH & IMMORTALITY.
INDULGENCE see TEMPERANCE & INDULGENCE.
INDUSTRY see LAZINESS & LABOR.
INNOCENTS see LAWYERS.

J
JUDGEMENT see also LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE, PLANNING & DECIDING and SELF-DECEPTION.
JUSTICE & COMEUPPANCE see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1).

KL
LABOR see LAZINESS & LABOR.
LAWYERS
LAZINESS & LABOR see also CONSCIENCE & FUN, FAITH & WORK, PROCRASTINATION and SLEEP.
LEADERSHIP see also PROMISES & PERFORMANCE.
LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE see also ADVICE, EDUCATION, FRIEND & ENEMIES, MEMORY, UNDERRATING & OVERRATING and WARNING SIGNS.
LENDING see DEBT & CREDIT.
LIBERTY & LICENCE see MODERATION & EXCESS and VIRTUE & CORRUPTION.
LOVE'S CURES
LUCK see also PRIDE & HUMILITY and SERENITY & DISCONTENT.
LUCK & SWEAT see also LAZINESS & LABOR.

M
MANNERS see CIVILITY.
MARRIAGE see also PATIENCE and PROMISES & PERFORMANCE.
MATURING
MEMORY see also DEBT & CREDIT and NOSTALGIA.
MODERATION & EXCESS see also UPSTARTS.
MODESTY see PRIDE & HUMILITY.
MONEY & VALUES see BUDGETING, FAITH & POSSESSIONS, FAKING & SINCERITY and VIRTUE & CORRUPTION.

N
NONSENSE
NOSTALGIA

O
OBSTINACY see BAD HABITS & REFORM (1) and STUBBORNNESS.
ORDER see also PREPARATION.
OVERRATING see UNDERRATING & OVERRATING.

P
PASSION & REASON see also SELF-COMMAND.
PATIENCE see also BUDGETING, MARRIAGE, PREPARATION, SELF-COMMAND and TIME.
PERFORMANCE see PROMISES & PERFORMANCE.
PERSUASION see SELF-INTEREST & VIEWPOINT.
PHONIES see FAKING & SINCERITY.
PLANNING & DECIDING
PLEASURES
POSSESSIONS see FAITH & POSSESSIONS.
POVERTY see GREED & POVERTY.
PREJUDICE see SELF-INTEREST & VIEWPOINT.
PREPARATION
PRIDE & HUMILITY see also FLATTERY.
PRIVACY
PROCRASTINATION see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1).
PROMISES & PERFORMANCE see also BRAGGING & DISCRETION, FAKING & SINCERITY and TIME WASTING.

QR
REASON see PASSION & REASON.
REFORM see BAD HABITS & REFORM (1).
RELIGION see FAITH & POSSESSIONS, FAITH & SKEPTICISM, FAITH & WORK and FAITH WHEN CHALLENGED.
REPUTATION see GOSSIP & REPUTATION.
RESOLUTION see BAD HABITS & REFORM (1), PLANNING & DECIDING, PROMISES & PERFORMANCE and SELF-COMMAND.
RESOLUTION see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1), PLANNING & DECIDING, PROMISES & PERFORMANCE and SELF-COMMAND.
REVENGE & FORGIVENESS see also MODERATION & EXCESS.
RUIN see SUCCESS & RUIN.

S
SATIRE see also UNDERRATING & OVERRATING.
SAVING see BUDGETING.
SCAMS see FAITH & SKEPTICISM.
SELF-COMMAND see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1), MODERATION & EXCESS, PASSION & REASON, PATIENCE and PLEASURES.
SELF-DECEPTION see also UNDERRATING & OVERRATING and WISHES.
SELF-DESTRUCTION see also SERENITY & DISCONTENT and TIME WASTING.
SELF-INDULGENCE see TEMPERANCE & INDULGENCE.
SELF-INTEREST & VIEWPOINT see also HISTORY.
SELF-RESTRAINT see SELF-COMMAND.
SERENITY & DISCONTENT see also CONSCIENCE & FUN and VIRTUE & CORRUPTION.
SHARING see STINGINESS & SHARING.
SILENCE see GABBING & SILENCE.
SINCERITY see FAKING & SINCERITY.
SLEEP see also LAZINESS & LABOR.
STINGINESS & SHARING see also GIVING, GRATITUDE and GREED & POVERTY.
STRENGTH see BAD HABITS & REFORM (1).
STUBBORNNESS see also ADVICE.
STYLE
SUCCESS & RUIN see also SELF-DESTRUCTION.
SWEAT see LUCK & SWEAT.

T
TALK see GABBING & SILENCE.
TASTE see STYLE.
TEMPERANCE & INDULGENCE see also ALCOHOL, DIET, GREED & POVERTY, MODERATION & EXCESS and PLEASURES.
THRIFT see BUDGETING.
TIME see also HISTORY and NOSTALGIA.
TIME WASTING see also LAZINESS & LABOR, PROCRASTINATION and SLEEP.
TRANQUILITY see SERENITY & DISCONTENT.

U
UNDERRATING & OVERRATING
UPSTARTS

V
VICE see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1) and VIRTUE & CORRUPTION.
VIEWPOINT see SELF-INTEREST & VIEWPOINT.
VIRTUE & CORRUPTION see also BAD HABITS & REFORM (1), BEN'S 13 VIRTUES, CONSCIENCE & FUN, GOSSIP & REPUTATION, HEALTH, JUSTICE & COMEUPPANCE, MEMORY and VICE.
VISITING

W
WARNING SIGNS
WISE GUYS
WISHES
WORK see CONTRACTORS, DEBT & CREDIT and LAZINESS & LABOR.

XYZ
ZEST see CONSCIENCE & FUN and VIRTUE & CORRUPTION.
 
BORING DETAILS about searching the index above:
For an advanced search - here's an example.  Say, I want a quotation - or insights - on finance or budgets. After trying "Finance" with no luck, I press "B" in the alphabetical table and find "Budgeting see also Debt & Credit" in red letters.  All red-letter words lead to quotes and verses, so I click "Budgeting" - and maybe "Debt & Credit."  That's all it takes. (Or if I'm not satisfied, I might scroll leisurely down the list for ideas.  The subject index includes "Money & Values," for instance.)

But I'm finicky. So I sometimes click on "see also's." And I click "D" on the alphabetical table. There I find at "Debt & Credit", "see also Contractors and Memory."  I have no interest in either; yet, out of curiosity, I click "Memory." Veterans of Ben & Verse may, in the past, have experienced the frustration of finding that the episode referenced has not yet been published. No more - all of Ben & Verse is now permanently available.

One odd thing -- I never see the word "budgeting" in a quotation, although you will find it in this index.  Franklin used words like "frugality", uncommon today. And this is an index to subjects,  not words. Also, please remember, some websites have the whole Almanac, and a computer can search them by word, if only perhaps one year at a time. (What do other authors think about many of the subjects indexed? At the "Links" page, see "Quotations.") 
 

BEN FRANKLIN'S VIEWS ON CIVILIZED WAYS

By

John D. McCall

Is there any thing in his civilization that Ben Franklin didn't comment on? He expressed views on everything from air pollution to fruits containing Vitamin C. Even so, for this great diplomat, discretion was the overriding rule. Remember he signed some early work "Silence" - "Silence Dogood," and his autobiography was famously silent on many events.

So the mind of Benjamin Franklin remains his secret. Still, through his actions and writings, we can make defensible guesses. In that way we can say that, through his bifocals, Ben Franklin was farsighted -- a genuine, if inconsistent, pioneer on the issues of race, gender, and the environment * now in the headlines, but ...

What Can Ben Say to Civilization Today?

In Poor Richard's Almanac, Franklin revised "old sayings" that perhaps contained wisdom deeper and more ancient than civilization itself - that set evergreen joys over breakable toys. Though Ben can't help with software, he says much about living. From modern thinkers, we can learn handy ways - from the ancients, wisdom's rays. Franklin expressed these sayings (and those he created while immersed in that lore) in a style with the spontaneity of lightning. (In an effort to introduce new readers to the Almanac, I have tried to convert Franklin's brilliant sayings into colloquial rhyme. **) So blame me for the rhymes and credit Franklin with the shrewd judgments. They can clearly apply to today's awareness of the irrational, undermining forces within: "Bate and snap: I'm my trap."

Judgments without Judgment

How did Franklin come by his critical judgments?

We all know that the revolutionary Franklin was a critic - as we all are today. In the past, any questioning was automatically questioned. (Socrates didn't please). Now questioning is expected from almost every blog site and editorial.

Yet, unlike those sources of inspiration, Franklin tried to be slow to judge - very. He derided speedy judgments without judgment. Whenever practical, he delayed judging for years since even historians sway the battles their way. And, anyway, Ben didn't expect every wrong to be righted since each temperament is "clay … in cement." And some heads aren't the right size to be advised. So after each huddle, they're still in a muddle.

And suppose the advice is understood and accepted - and a law is passed against something found wrong. What might happen to that prohibition? When Adam resists, the snake finds new twists.

Even so, neither Ben's skepticism over the revision of human nature, nor his scientific inclination to await the evidence, paralyzed him. And, as a scientist, this "tamer of lightning" loved to try out fresh solutions. He kept hopping into civic affairs quicker and more often than any of our other Founders. He addressed wrongs, not just with barbs, but also through example. And Ben, who would have been fascinated and impressed by today's achievements, balanced his social criticism of wrongs with realistic expectations. He also endorsed the habit of an almost scientific examination of ones own stupidities and wrongs, comparing them with his well-known list of ethical values he called the "Thirteen Virtues." ** These aspects of his views sometimes get neglected in the discussion of a smattering of social wrongs discussed below.

Perhaps, in our diverse culture, the word "wrongs" deserves quotation marks, at least before the "wrongs" are defined.

What are "Wrongs"?

It's easier to commit a wrong than define one. Ben spent more time in worthwhile work and pleasure than in analyzing the concept of evil. And this essay is confined to the wrongs of civilization, excluding savagery, programmed and calculated or not. The practical Franklin might agree that a "wrong" is something civilization disapproves of (at least, in theory) - or ought to.

If so, what qualifies as a "wrong"? Consider gossip's nasty crack. Who can glue a reputation back? But is a failing that is so common a serious wrong? Well, a lot depends on your viewpoint. Are jockey and steed always agreed? And what about prospective wrongs, when little illicit habits thrive like complicit rabbits?

But Franklin focused on "wrongs" full grown and obvious -- like greed.

"Wrongs" through Self-Defeating Greed

Was Franklin, at heart, a fervent fan of greed? Well, no, but remember he wrote "The Way to Wealth," urging his readers to get rich and showing them how, based on years of advice in his Almanac. (By consolidating his sayings, Ben inspired this essay which puts together many of the rhymes I had issued before only separately.) But Ben preached and practiced "doing well by doing good," for instance, for a share of the profits, he set up his apprentices in their own printing shops. During Ben's lifetime, once rich (and even before), he served his city, State, and country.

Greed, by contrast, has (at best) little interest in its impact on others; and almost every civilization seems to have suffered from such callousness. One person is publicly ridiculed when another is celebrated. (Peter is "roasted" because Paul is toasted.) And even family feelings can be orphaned in business dealings. And, one situation (in some degree) exists in almost every country:

Workers in rattraps?
Fat cats have mishaps.

So, of course, shortsighted mistreatment and intimidation can backfire from their victims. (Hate snares what scares.) And backfires unforeseen can seem ridiculous. But greed's result is more often in its own misery. Joy sniffs Greed and won't crossbreed, while Midas chokes on gold jokes. And here, perhaps, is the root of greed's basic irrationality:

"All's mine in perpetuity.
(Morgue, forward my annuity.)"

Greed pretends that possessions can yield a final answer, but pretenses come in many forms.

Wrong and Silly: Pretensions

Did Franklin indulge in pretenses? He did. And not only with the famous coonskin cap, which he affected in order to woo the French to the American side in our Revolution. Even as a young man, he focused on his image. He was not only "early to rise," he made sure the world knew he was - by clattering down the street (near dawn) with his cart. But he used affectation as a patriot. He not only clattered, he worked. In short, he employed imagery.

Pretensions, on the other hand, don't always serve a constructive purpose.

Civilization doesn't just suffer from greed; some impulses are even sillier. These come from a swollen ego - and its counterpart in the world, social pretensions. They can still be mischievous, and occasionally insidious when it comes to moral hypocrisy ("shared your ache, pass more cake").

And some pretensions can reflect terrible crimes, especially, through ugly distinctions based on birth. Yet very slowly, at the sacrifice of many, over generations, the grave wrong of bias (in many of its forms) thankfully, seems to be fading,

But, of course, now riches have largely replaced the status of birth, not always smoothly. (Sudden gains? Growing pains.) So nowadays talent is rewarded more directly, for instance, in technology. But a pride in technological skills has brought with it many forms of inglorious piracy. (Hi-tech … clicking hackers are just mousy safecrackers.) And you may still get a snob's invitation - to refrigeration.

Yet the critics of success aren't always admirable. Sometimes, the motive is perverted malice: the twisted wheel burns to squeal. And, occasionally, idealism is a cosmetic for ambition for power, which in some respects is a kind of greed as well as pretension:

"Down with elites!"
(Quick, grab their seats.)

At other times, the response to pretensions, especially through fancy goods, is right on when the "big stickers" earn snickers. And skepticism is sometimes applied to well-paid professions like the law. And, from unfairness in the courts, springs a sad conclusion: the law's seesaw does flaw its awe.

Now pretensions in society are as old as civilization, but another stupidity seems, while not unique to our era, more pronounced - a type of "hope" that is the enemy of hope.

Deflating Stupidity: Counterfeit Hope

In America, for example, as many have noted, the pursuit of happiness is sometimes mistaken for the right to its attainment. But when this expectation is not delivered, and the pretense is discovered, hope can turn inside out. And politicians of all kinds can play to false hopes in the performance of government - if only it's expanded or cut back. But not all political appeals are false; as Franklin said (this time in his own words), "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." Naturally, this warning implied Franklin's ardent hopes for our Revolution.

Did Franklin easily give up - when say, he got a king to join a revolution? Even so, he didn't fall for arrogant overconfidence. For one thing, it can rob life of the joy of appreciation by presuming that luck is automatic - until the shock of reversals. (No worth ‘til dearth.) Or "hope" may simply take wishes for horses: Hyped up hope may be legal dope. So rosy glasses crack in crashes.

Yet confidence and hope are such good friends to civilization, even when irrational, that Monopoly money can, for quite a long while, make us truly rich. And think of the widely shared but unproven assumption of eventual recovery that helped us through our Depression. (Of course, a lunatic optimism, along with greed, brought on the Crash.)

But what of today's consumerism (itself just a symptom) that depends on ever recurrent hope as well as pretension and greed? Well, consumerism is an ancient, if potentially discredited, creed. Franklin found its victims lobster fed, but in the red.

Yet Ben might find consumerism even more conspicuous these days. Would he detect a fair segment of the economy perched on nothing broader than the narrow edge of a credit card, with its obliging usury? Now that is confidence.

And where would "confidence men" be without confidence? Generally, "those unable tilt the table" - so we seem to get pleasure (not quite moral itself) when clever types outsmart themselves:

"Judged crafty?
… Jail's drafty."

But can the "crimes" of civilization, legal or otherwise, be reformed?

Can We Civilize Civilization?

Aren't we often too hard on civilization, especially with our pet peeves? Franklin thought we could be too picky. (Finicky's spouse is a life-long grouse.) Certainly, civilization is more than a list of our ills, whatever our view of the world after seventeen minutes of "call waiting." Civilization very often displays generosity and common sense, but can we deal with its greed, pretension, and desire masquerading as "hope"?

Ben isn't short of advice - volumes of it - enough to crush the shrewdest mind, the most fervent spirit. However, many have tried to live up to that famous summary of practical morality, the "Thirteen Virtues"? But even Franklin, despite trying, couldn't master these hard rules. However, considering his many successes against odds, he might have a key to our ills.

If so, what was the clue to his victories? Just discipline? Brilliance? Or was it also an attitude of understanding and half-hidden compassion? Though a master at protesting wrongs, the ironic Franklin knew that he shared them, so they amused as well as appalled him. Was this irony a key to his balance and an energy used (with a smile) for our welfare?

He created our first political cartoon, urging practical unity. Would he perhaps extend this idea in our era so that more of us pursue his example? An era addressed to channeling some of our distorted ambition into truly workable, and mainly mutual, social objectives should be civilizing (providing the process does not become grimly conformist).

Surely even more civilizing is the twinkle of freedom from Ben. From that, expect perspective from his spectacles. Expect lightness from his lightning.

His Almanac is for all time.

John McCall
2009

***


* "The Wit and Wisdom of Benjamin Franklin" by James C. Humes succinctly explains how.

** The verses can be readily compared with the original prose sayings on the website http://www.benandverse.com, available through Creative Commons, without copyright restrictions if the author's name is cited and, if practical, also the website. (That website is also one of many sources for Franklin's "Thirteen Virtues.")


 

 



Ben & Verse Links

HOW NEVER TO HATE THIS PAGE (too much)
Ben&Verse may blithely travel on  automatic pilot for years -- as the lovely links it lists sever and the websites die.  So what do you do?  You go to your old, old friend the Britannica (www.britannica.com). Enter a subject into its search box, choose the "Websites" results category - and  wah-lah!  Those sites on "Benjamin Franklin", "American Revolution"  or whatever, come out ranked by quality. Now, you may need to compensate a bit for their juvenile bias, but that's a small price.
(NOTE - You'll need to be connected to the Internet to view the websites listed in this section.)
 

FRANKLIN HIMSELF

THE ELECTRIC FRANKLIN: BEN'S BEST LINK PAGE EVER
www.ushistory.org/franklin/info/links.htm
PULEEZ GO THERE FIRST.  Diverse, authoritative, and fun, it includes BEN'S BEST WEBSITE, it's by  LEO LEMAY (there you can read Franklin's works and a knock-out comment).   There's also the companion to the PBS extravaganza on Ben - plus many oddball  surprises.  YOU MAY NEVER NEED TO COME BACK HERE (but please do anyway!).

FRANKLIN AT YALE. 
www.yale.edu/franklinpapers

Check the "online catalogue" for summaries of the  on-going series of more than three-dozen volumes, providing an excellent  biographical resume.  
 

FRANKLIN'S BEST FRIENDS

FRIENDS OF FRANKLIN
www.friendsoffranklin.org
Franklin fans from all over the earth!  Gang up to celebrate Ben's spirit and learning with tours, events, and on-line news.


THE HISTORY BEN HELPED SHAPE

INDEPENDENCE DAY! 
www.interesting.com/links/FourthofJuly/

Celebrate with flags, T-shirts, and, yep, flag-T-shirts;  patriotic posters and pins; catalogs and coins; and revolutionary exhibits on  line.  It also includes music, a movie, and even biography.  This website's  called "interesting."  They got that right.

LOCAL COLOR OF WARFARE
www.ushistory.org/links/history_revolutionary.htm

A varied page, full of interest for those not  so interested in history - including forts, and frigates, and fascinating locales.

POWER HOUSE OF THE PAST
http://revolution.h-net.msu.edu/links

An awe-inspiring assemblage of  documents, maps, images, course outlines, and educational sites. 

HISTORY IN YOUR POCKET
www.constitution.org/cs_found.htm

The papers of the Founding Father's in pocket book form.  Also, find out what inspired them and what they have inspired.   See the Athenian constitution and the Franklin Institute's archives on Ben. 

DOCUMENT HEAVEN
www.archives.gov

The National Archives is the basic national repository  of documents, providing a biography of America.  One fun example: search  "Treaty of Paris" to see B. Franklin's signature. 


THE FUTURE THAT BEN'S SPIRIT IS SHAPING

THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE ONLINE
www.fi.edu

Here those with truly youthful (that is, experimental) approaches can visit and explore.


WORDS, WORDS, WORDS

LITERARY LINGO! 
http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/lit_terms/

An alphabetical list of literary terms (from allegory and aphorism to verisimilitude and verse) defined and explained, with examples -- and very often -- links, as well.

APHORISMS GALORE! 
www.ag.wastholm.net

A rich, very well chosen collection, easily searched by author and broad subject. 

YE OLDE ENGLISH SAYINGS
www.rootsweb.com/~genepool/sayings.htm

It shows the odd origins of a number of familiar expressions.  It's interactive, with an excellent list of links.

WORDS FROM AMATEURS AND PROS
www.winamop.com

Words (and images) that aim to satisfy literary, musical, and artistic enthusiasms. 


EDUCATORS AND STUDENTS

NOT JUST FOR ENGLISH TEACHERS
www. webenglishteacher.com

A delight for lovers of English, with resources for many other subjects, and
fun with puzzles, lessons (K-12), and jokes. A winner of many awards.

NOT "SECONDARY" AT ALL
www.secondaryenglish.com

For language arts teachers in secondary schools. Includes young adult novel reviews, articles, and opportunities for publication.

MENTORING ON THE INTERNET
www.tnellen.comcyberenglog.html
See the latest advances in "CyberEnglish." That's a mentoring method that helps make a potential writer an effective publisher on the Internet. Watch for humor: a syllabus on the web gets called a "syllaweb."

FREE RESOURCES FOR LEARNING ENGLISH ONLINE
www.english-daily.com

Free exercises, idioms, common abbreviations, slang, proverbs and more.

TIME TO TELL 'EM OFF
www.deannamiller.com

A liberating experience for students facing bullies - and also life's larger questions, by the author of the award-winning fantasy, Skybounce.


ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL)

ESL...PLUS
www.usingenglish.com
Lots of ESL resources for teachers and learners -- including educational pictures. Other features include a grammar glossary for any English teacher.

FUN AND WORK WITH ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE (ESL)
www.tesol.net

Teachers and students learn here to find penpals, teaching materials, activities, and jobs.

ESL MONTHLY FOR TEACHERS
http://iteslj.org

Journal with lesson plans, handouts, research, and ideas.
 

QUOTATIONS
(these sites have biographies & bibliographies, as well)

HANDY ...
www.giga-usa.com/gigaweb1/quotes2/quautfranklinbenjaminx001.htm
I asked for Ben and got somewhere around 50 quotations (one quite  lengthy) all in one list, easily printed out.  This site, based on 45,000  quotations, has outstanding links, including numerous Federal gold mines.

EXTENSIVE...
www.bartleby.com

I asked for Ben and got 80 quotations for a delightful read.   However, each quotation required a separate printing.  This "Great Books" site  draws on three sources, including "Bartlett's" for 86,000 quotations.  Click  Reference, then Quotations.


A BUFFET

FOR MORE OR LESS EVERYTHING 
www.wikipedia.com
The free encyclopedia with articles, written (and ruthlessly edited) by volunteers. 

GOT A QUESTION?
www.answers.com
Get the answer based on scores of encyclopedias and dictionaries.  

A LITERATE BLOGGER
www.nofear.org
"The fact is reality has nothing to do with the truth," say our ironist, a blogger-in-chief of many elegant resources. (And see the clerihews.)

SPOOKY?
www.sacklunch.net
Covers (among many other topics - and from a wholly different perspective) the SAME subjects you'll see on both sides of "Ben and Verse."


John McCall
2007



Some Rights Reserved

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.
(In other words, please feel free to quote any part of this eBook at any length,
attributing the quote to John D. McCall, preferably with a reference to the eBook)

(Version 2.0 August 2010)