Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

“ Methinks I hear some of you say,

must a man afford himself no leisure ?'--I will tell thee, my friend, what poor Richard says : ' Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure ; and since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour. Leisure is time for doing something useful: this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so that, as poor Richard says, 'A life of leisure and a life of Jaziness are two things.' Do you imagine that sloth will afford you more comfort than labour?, No; for, as poor Richard says, • Troubles spring from idleness, and grievous toils from needless ease : many without labour would live by their own wits only; but they break for want of stock. Whereas industry gives comfort, and plenty, and respect.. 'Fly pleasures, and they'll follow you; the diligent spinner has a large shift ; and, now I have a sheep and a cow, every body bids me good-morrow;' all which is well said by poor Richard.

“ But with our industry, we must likewise be steady, and settled, and careful, and oversee our own affairs with our own eyes, and not trust too much to others; for as poor Richard says,

' I never saw an oft-removed tree,
Nor yet an oft-removed fami.y,

That throve so well as one that settled te.' And, again, •Three removes are as bad as a fire ;' and again, Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee;' and again, if you would have your business done, go ; if not, send. And again,

He that by the plough would thrive,

Himself must either hold or drive.' And again, “The eye of the master will do more work than both his hands ;' and again, 'Want of care does us more damage than want of knowledge ;' and again, ‘Not to oversee workmen is to leave them your purse open. Trusting too much to others care is the ruin of many : for, as the Almanac says, • In the affairs of the world, men are saved not by faith,

but by the want of it ;' but a man's own care is profitable ; for saith poor Dick, Learning is to the studious, and riches to the careful, as well as power to the bold, and heaven to the virtuous. And farther, 'If you would have a faithful servant, and one that you like, serve yourself.' And again, he adviseth to circumspection and care, even in the smallest matters, because sometimes, ' A little neglect may breed great mischief;' adding, “For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost;' being overtaken and slain by the enemy, all for want of care about a horse-shoe nail.

“So much for industry, my friends, and attention to one's own business ; but to these we must add fru. gality, if we would make our industry more certainly successful. A man may, if he knows not how to save as he gets, 'keep his nose all his life to the grind. stone, and die not worth a groat at last.'

"A fat kitchen makes a lean will,' as poor Richard says; and,

• Many estates are spent in the getting ;
Since women for tea forsook spinning and knitting,

And men for punch forsook hewing and splitting.' " . If you would be wealthy, (says he, in another Almanac) think of saving, as well as of getting : the Indians have not made Spain rich, because her outgoes are greater than her incomes.'

“ Away then with your expensive follies, and you will not have much cause to complain of hard times, heavy taxes, and chargeable families; for, as poor

Dick says,

• Women and wine, game and deceit,

Make the wealth small, and the want great.' “ And, farther, “What maintains one vice, would bring up two children.' You may think, perhaps, that a little tea, or a little punch now and then, diei a little more costly, clothes a little finer, and a little entertainment now and then, can be 20 great matter ;

but remember what poor Richard says, “Many a little makes a meikle ;' and farther, ‘Beware of little expenses ; a small leak will sink a great ship;' and again, Who dainties love, shall beggars prove;' and moreover, ‘Fools make feasts, and wise men eat them.'

Here you are all got together at this sale of fineries and nicknacks. You call them goods: but if you do not take care, they will prove evils to some of you. You expect they will be sold cheap, and perhaps they may for less than they cost; but if you have no occasion for them, they must be dear to you. Remember what poor Richard says Buy what thou hast no need of, and ere long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.' And again, “Ai a great pennyworth pause a while.' He means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, or not real; or the bargain, by straitening thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than good. For in another place he says, • Many have been ruined by buying good penny. worths.' Again, as poor Richard says, “It is foolish to lay out money in a purchase of repentance ;' and yet this folly is practised every day at auctions, for want of minding the Almanac.

• Wise men (as poor Dick says) learn by others harms, fools scarcely by their

own; but Felir quem faciunt alieni pericula cautum.' Many a one, for the sake of finery on the back, have gone with a hungry belly, and half-starved their families : 'Silks and satins, scarlet and velvets, (as poor Richard says) put out the kitchen fire.' These are not the necessaries of life; they can scarcely be called the conveniences; and yet only because they look pretty, how many want to have them? The artificial wants of mankind thus become more numerous than the natural; and, as poor Dick says, “For one poor person there are a hundred indigent. By these and other extravagances, the genteel are reduced to poverty, and forced to borrow of those whom they formerly despised, but who,

[ocr errors]

through industry and frugality, have maintained their standing; in which case, it appears plainly, A ploughman on his legs is higher than a gentleman o.. his knees,' as poor Richard says. Perhaps they have had a small estate left them, which they knew not the getting of; they think, 'It is day, and will never be night ;' that a little to be spent out of so much, is not worth minding : 'A child and a fool (as poor Richard says) imagine twenty shillings and twenty years can never be spent; but always be taking out of the meal tub, and never putting in, soon comes to the bottom;' then, as poor Dick says, “When the well is dry they know the worth of water. But this they might have known before, if they had taken his ad. vice : if you would know the value of money, go and try to borrow some ; for he that goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing; and, indeed, so does he that lends to such people, when he goes to get it in again.' Poor Dick farther advises, and says,

• Fond pride of dress is sure a very curse:

ncy you corsult, consult your purse.' And again, ‘Pride is as loud a beggar as Want, and a great deal more saucy.? When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy ten more, pearance may be all of a piece; but poor Dick says,

It is easier to suppress the first desire, than to satisfy all that follow it. And it is as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as the frog to swell, in order to equal the ox.

• Vessels large may venture more,

But little boats should keep near shore.' 'Tis, however, a folly soon punished; for, “Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt,' as poor Richard says. And in another place, “Pride breakfasted with Plenty, dined with Poverty, and supped with Infamy.' And, after all, of what use is this pride of appearance, for which so much is risked, so much is suffered ? It cannot promote health, or ease

Ere

that your ap

poor Richard

pain, it makes no increase of merit in the

person ; it creates envy; it hastens misfortune.

• What is a butterfly? at best
He's but a caterpillar drest;

The gaudy fop's his picture just,' as poor Richard says.

• But what madness must it be to run in debt for these superfluities! We are offered by the terms of this salé six months' credit; and that perhaps has induced some of us to attend it, because we cannot spare the ready money, and hope now to be fine without it. But, ah! think what you do when you run in debt. You give to another power over your liberty. If you cannot pay at the time, you will be ashamed to see your creditor : you will be in fear when you speak to him; you will make poor, pitiful, sneaking excuses, and by degrees come to lose your veracity, and sink into base downright lying; for, as

says,

• The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt.' And again, to the same purpose, ‘Lying rides upon debi's back ;' whereas a free-born Euglishman ought not to be ashamed nor afraid to speak to any man living. But poverty often deprives a man of all spirit and virtue : It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright,' as poor Richard

What would you think of that prince, or that gozernment, who would issue an edict, forbidding you to dress like a gentleman or gentlewoman, on pain of imprisonment or servitude ? Would you not say that you were free, have a right to dress as you please, and that such an edict would be a breach of your privileges, and such a government tyrannical ? And yet you are about to put yourself under that tyranny when you run in debt for such dress! Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, to deprive you of your liberty by confining you in goal for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able to pay him. When you have got your bargain, you may, perhaps, think little of payment; but • Creditors (poor Richard tells us) have better memories than

truly says.

« ZurückWeiter »