January 19, 2006

Happy birthday, Ben!

Its some fun to note the three-hundredth birthday of Benjamin Franklin, for 60 years a British subject and the First American, the only one to sign of all the important documents leading to our nation. I have special sympathies for Ben because he is the youngest son (he had 16 siblings!). Franklin was noted for his curiosity, ingenuity and diversity of interests. He invented the Franklin stove, the medical catheter, the lightning rod, swimfins, a glass harmonica, and bifocals. Here are some favorite quotations from his creation, Poor Richard's Almanack:

Let thy discontents be thy secrets; if the world knows them it will despise thee and increase them.
Drive thy Business, or it will drive thee.
He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.
Setting too good an example is a kind of slander seldom forgiven.
Avarice and happiness never saw each other, how then should they become acquainted.
Write with the learned, pronounce with the vulgar.
Let thy Child's first Lesson be Obedience, and the second will be what thou wilt.
Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
If you'd have it done, Go: if not, Send.
Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that's the stuff life is made of.
If your Riches are yours, why don't you take them with you to t'other World?
A good conscience is a continual Christmas.
There is no little enemy.
God heals, and the doctor takes the fee.
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too severe, seldom executed.
If you'd know the value of money, go and borrow some.
When befriended, remember it. When you befriend, forget it.
Up sluggard and waste not life, there is sleeping enough in the grave.


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