Page images

to satisfy it; or, if you bear your debt in mind, the term, which at first seemed so long, will, as it lessens, appear extremely short: Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as well as his shoulders. 'Those have a short Lent, who owe money to be paid at Easter.' At present, perhaps, you may think yourselves in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a lit.le extravagance without injury; but

'For age and want eave while you may,

No morning sun lasts a whole day.'

"Gain may be temporary and uncertain; but ever, while you live, expense is constant and certain; and 'It is easier to build two chimneys than to keep one in fuel,' as Poor Richard says: so, Rather go to bed supperless than rise in debt.'

'Get what you can, and what you get hold,

'Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into gold.'

And, when you have got the philosopher's stone, sure you will no longer complain of bad times, or the difficulty of paying taxes.

“IV. This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom; but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry, and frugality, and pru. dence, though excellent things; for they may all be blasted without the blessing of Heaven; and, therefore, ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seem to want it, but comfort and help them. Remember, Job suffered, and was afterwards


[ocr errors]

And now to conclude, 'Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other,' as Poor Richard says, and scarce in that; for it is true, 'We may give advice, but we cannot give conduct.' However, remember this,' They that will not be counselled, cannot be helped;' and farther, that,' If you will not hear reason, she will surely rap your knuckles,' as Poor Richard says."

Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it, and approved the doctrine, and immediately practiced the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon; for the auction opened, and they began to buy extravagantly. I found the good man had thoroughly studied my Almanac, and digested all I had dropped on these topics during the course of twenty-five years. The frequent mention he made of me must have tired any one else; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own which he ascribed to me; but rather the gleanings that I had made of the sense of all ages and nations. However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and, though I had at first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away, resolved to wear my old one a little longer. Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.-I am, as ever, thine to serve thee,


Note. The maxims of Poor Richard above quoted, were first printed in the vacant spaces between the remarkable days in the calendar in Poor Richard's Almanac. from 1782 to 1757. In 1757 they were collected into the above discourse of Father Abraham, and prefixed to the Almanac of that year. The piece was copied in all the new-papers of the American Continent, reprinted in England on a folio heet, to be stuck up in houses, and translated into French, and, quite recently, in modern Greek.


I cannot call riches better than the baggage of virtue; the Roman word is better-impedimenta (hindrances); for as the baggage is to an army, so is riches to virtue,-it cannot be spared nor left behind, but it hindereth the march; yea, and the care of it sometimes loseth or disturbeth the victory. Of great riches there is no great use, except it be in the distribution; the rest is but conceit. So saith Solomon, "Where much is, there are many to consume it; and what hath the owner but the sight of it with his eyes?" The personal fruition in any man cannot reach to feel great riches; there is a custody of them, or a power of dole (distribution), and a donative of them, or a fame of them, but no Boid use to the owner. Do you not see what feigned prices are set upon little stones or rarities, and what works of ostentation are undertaken, because (in order that) there might seem to be some use of great riches? But then, you will say, they may be of use to buy men out of dangers or troubles; as Solomon saith," Riches are a stronghold in the imagina tion of the rich man;" but this is excellently expressed, that it is an im. agination, and not always in fact; for certainly great riches have sold more men than they have bought out. Seek not proud riches, but such as thou mayest get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and leave contentedly; yet have no abstract or friarly contempt of them, but distinguish, as Cicero saith well of Rabirius Posthumus, " In studio rei amplificandae, apparebat, non avaritiae praedam, sed instrumentum bonitati quaeri (In his desire of increasing his riches, he sought not, it is evident, the gratification of avarice, but the means of beneficence). Hearken also to Solomon, and beware of hasty gathering of riches: Qui festinat ad divitias, non erit insons (He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent). The poets feign that when Plutus (which is riches) is sent from Jupiter, he limps, and goes slowly; but when he is sent from Pluto, he runs, and is swift of foot,-meaning that riches, gotten by good means and just labor, pace slowly, but when they come by the death of others (as by the course of inheritance, testaments, and the like), they come tumbling upon a man; but it might be applied likewise to Pluto taking him for the devil; for when riches come from the devil (as by fraud and oppression and unjust means), they come upon speed. The ways to enrich are many, and most of them foul; parsimony is one of the best, and yet is not innocent, for it withholdeth men from works of liberality and charity. The improvement of the ground is the most natural obtaining of riches, for it is our great mother's blessing, the earth; but it is slow. And yet, where men of great wealth do stoop to husbandry, it multiplyeth riches exceedingly. I knew a nobleman of England, that had the greatest audits of any man in my time-a great grazier, a great sheepmaster, a great timber man; a great collier, a great corn-master, a great lead man, and so of iron, and a number of the like points of husbandry; so as the earth seemed a sea to him in respect of the perpetual importa tions. It was truly observed by one," that himself came very hardly to little riches;" for when a man's stock has come to that, that he can expect (wat for) the prime of markets, and overcome (com upon) those

bargains which, for their greatness, are for men's money, and the partner in the industries of younger men, he cannot but increase mainly (greatly). The gains of ordinary trades and vocations are honest, and further by two things, chiefly, by diligence, and by a good name for good and fair dealing; but the gains of bargains are of a more doubtful nature, when men shall wait upon others' necessity; broke by servants, and instruments to draw them on; put off others cunningly, that would be better chapman (purchasers), and the like practices, which are crafty and naughty (bad). As for the chopping of bargains, when a man buys not to hold, but to sell over again, that commonly grindeth double, both upon the seller and upon the buyer. Shavings do greatly enrich, if the hands be well chosen that are trusted. Usury is the certainest means of gain, though one of the worst, as that whereby a man doth eat his bread, "in sudore vultus alieni" (in the sweat of another's brow), and besides, doth plough upon Sundays; but yet, certain though it be, it hath flaws; for that the scriveners and brokers do value (represent as trustworthy) unsound men to serve their own turn. The fortune in being the first in an invention or in a privilege, doth cause sometimes a wonderful overgrowth in riches; so it was with the first sugar man in the Canaries; therefore, if a man can play the true logician, to have as well judgment as invention, he may do great matters, especially if the times be fit. He that resteth upon gains certain, shall hardly grow to great riches; and he that puts all upon adventures, doth oftentimes break and come to poverty; it is good, therefore, to guard adventures with certainties that may uphold losses. Monopolies, and coemption of wares for resale, where they are not restrained, are great means to enrich; especially if the party have intelligence what things are like to come into request, and so store himself beforehand. Riches gotten by service, though it be of the best rise, yet when they are gotten by flattery, feeding humors, and other servile conditions, they may be placed among the worst. As for "fishing for testaments executorships" (as Tacitus saith of Seneca, "Testamenta et orbos tanquam indagine capi”), it is yet worse, by how much men submit themselves to meaner persons than in service.

Believe not much them that seem to despise riches, for they despise them that despair of them; and none worse when they come to them. Be not penny-wise; riches have wings, and sometimes they fly away of themselves; sometimes they must be set flying to bring in more. Men leave their riches either to their kindred or to the public; and moderate portions prosper best in both. A great estate left to an heir, is as a lure to all the birds of prey round about to seize on him, if he be not the better stablished (to establish) in years and judgment. Likewise glorious (splendid) gifts and foundation are like sacrifices without salt, and but the painted sepulchres of alms, which soon will putrefy and corrupt inwardly. Therefore measure not thine advancement (gifts in money or property) by quantity, but frame them by measure, and defer not charities till death; for, certainly, if a man weigh it rightly, he that doth so is rather liberal of another man's than his own.


From Pope's MORAL ESSAYS-Epistle Third,-addressed to Allen, Lord Bathurst, On the Use of Riches.

After discussing in his terse way the point, whether the invention of money had been more beneficial or detrimental to mankind, the Poet draws pictures of various characters, but too well known in his day for their abuse of wealth, and for the shameful end to which they came at last, and then passing a deserved compliment on Lord Bathurst and Lord Oxford, asks:

But all our praises why should lords engross?
Rise, honest Muse! and sing the Man of Ross:
Pleas'd Vaga echoes through her winding bounds,

And rapid severn hoarse applause resounds.

Who hung with woods yon mountain's sultry brow 3
From the dry rock who bade the water flow?

Not to the skies in useless column tost,

Or in proud falls magnificently lost,

But clear and artless, pouring through the plain
Health to the sick and solace to the swain.
Whose causeway parts the vale with shady rows?
Whose seats the weary traveler repose?
Who taught that heaven-directed tower to rise ?
"The Man of Ross," each lisping babe replies.
Behold the market-place with poor o'erspread,
The Man of Ross divides the weekly bread:
He feeds yon almshouse, neat, but void of state,
Where age and want sits smiling at the gate:
Him portion'd maids, apprentic'd orphans blest,
The young who labor the old who rest.
Is any sick? the Man of Ross relieves,
Prescribes, attends, the medicine makes and gives.
Is there a variance? enters but his door,
Balk'd are the courts and contest is no more:
Despairing quacks with curses fled the place,
And vile attorneys, now a useless race.

B. Thrice happy man! enabled to pursue
What all so wish, but want the power to do!
Oh say, what sums that generous hand supply?
What mines to swell that boundless charity ?

P. Of debts and taxes, wife and children clear,
This man possess'd five hundred pounds a year.
Blush, grandeur, blush! proud courts, withdraw your blaze,
Ye little stars! hide your diminished rays.

B. And what? no monument, inscription, stone,
His race, his form, his name almost unknown?

P. Who builds a church to God and not to fame,

Will never mark the marble with his name:
Go, search it there, where to be born and die,

Of rich and poor makes all the history:

Enough that virtue fill'd all the space between,
Prov'd by the ends of being to have been.

THE MAN OF Ross immortalized in the above lines, was John Kyrle-a native of the parish of Dymock, in Gloucestershire and a descendant of John Hampden. He was. born in 1664 and educated at Baliol College, Oxford, and took up his residence soon after in Ross on a small property given him by his father, and which he enlarged by the purchase of an estate on the banks of the Wye-"the Sylvan Wye of Wordsworth" on which Tintern Abbey stands.

The title of "The Man of Ross" was given to him by a country friend, in his life. time; and Mr. Kyrle was highly pleased with the appellation, because it "conveyed a

notion of plain honest dealing and unaffected hospitality." The principal addition to his landed property was an estate, called the Cleve, consisting of fields that extend along the left bank of the river, but raised considerably above its level. Along the skirts of these fields, Mr. Kyrle made a public walk, which still bears his name; he planted it with elms, and continued the plantation down the steep sides of the bank, which overhang the graceful, ever-winding Wye. It is to this plantation that Pope alludes in the lines,

Who hung with woods the mountain's sultry brow?

Mr. Kyrle's income has been pretty accurately stated at £500 a year. His favorite occupations were building and painting, in which his skill and taste were as freely exerted for the benefit of his friends as on his own improvements; he frequently planned and superintended architectural works, for persons who gladly availed themselves of his skill and taste.

While improving his own property, he added to the beauties of his favorite spot, and freely imparted to his townsmen the advantages which he had provided for the enjoy. ment of the lovely scenery around him. The churchyard was planted with elms by Kyrle, and a gate was erected by him leading to a field called "The Prospect," from its commanding a noble view of the rich scenery of the Wye. In times when the art of conveying water by pipes, for the accommodation of all the dwellers in a town, was yet in its infancy, a great benefit was conferred on the inhabitants of Ross, by the skill and enterprise of Mr. Kyrle, who made, in this field, an oval basin of considerable extent, lined it with brick, and paved it with stone, and caused the water from the river to be forced into it by an engine, and conveyed by under-ground pipes to the public cocks in the streets. When a more effectual mode of supply was introduced, the use of the fountain was abandoned, and the basin was filled up. This public work is recorded by the poet, in the lines,—

From the dry rock, who bade the waters flow?

Not to the skies, in useless columns tost,

Or in proud falls magnificently lost:

But clear and artless, pouring through the plain
Health to the sick, and solace to the swain.

The next work noticed by Pope is a causeway, which was constructed through the exertions of Mr. Kyrle, and paid for by a subscription, to which he largely contributed. It crossed the low ground between the town and the bridge, on the high road to Hereford and Monmouth. This causeway has been since extended, and rendered permanent by the Commissioners of Turnpikes, who have converted it into a spacious driving-way, better adapted to the more frequent and rapid journeyings of modern times. The walk in the Cleavefields above alluded to, was not only beautified with elms, his favorite tree, but seats were placed at intervals, where the "weary traveler" might "repose," or the lover of fine scenery contemplate at his ease, the beauties before him. The passage which relates to the church of Ross is calculated to convey an erroneous notion of what was actually done by Mr. Kyrle. The line

Who taught that heaven directed spire to rise?

coupled with another,

Who builds a church to God, and not to fame; has led many to suppose, that the church was built by Kyrle. The facts are these: The elegant spire which ornaments the landscape from whatever point it be viewed, was at one time in a dangerous state, which Mr. Kyrle's knowledge of architecture led him to discover. A parish meeting was convened at his special motion, and about forty-seven feet of the spire taken down and rebuilt, himself daily inspecting the work and contributing, over and above the assessment, towards its speedy conclusion. The great bell was given by Kyrle, who attended when it was cast at Gloucester, and threw into the melting pot his large own silver tankard, having first drunk his favorite toast of "Church and King."

Behold the market-house, with poor o'erspread,

The Man of Ross divides the weekly bread.

« EelmineJätka »