Page images

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,

Ere fancy you consult, 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, that your appear ance may be all of a-piece; but Poor Dick


" It is 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 for the frog tó swell, in order to equal the ox.

“ Vessels large may venture more,

But little boats should keep near shore." It is, however, a folly soon punished; for, as poor Richard says, “ Pride that dines on vanity, sups on contempt;--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 risqued, so much is suffered ? It cannot promote health, nor ease pain; it makes no increase of merit in the person, it creates envy, it hastens misfortune. . But what madness inust it be to run in debt for these superfluities? We are offered, by the terms of this sale, 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, “ The second vice is lying, the first is running in debt," as Poor Richard says; and again, to the same purpose, - Lying rides upon Debt's back;" whereas, a free-born Englishman ought not to be ashamed nor afraid to see or 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."-What would you think of that prince, or of that government, who should 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 gaol 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, as Poor Richard says, " Creditors have better memories than debtors; creditors are a superstitious sect, great observers of set days and times.” The day comes round before you are aware, and the de. mand is made before you are prepared 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 little extravagance without injury; but

“ For age and want save 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 chimnies, 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,
'T is 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 prudence, though excellent things; for they may be all blasted without the blessing of Heaven; and therefore ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those who at presenť seem to want it, but comfort and help them. Remember, Job suffered, and was afterwards prosperous.

• 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 5. 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 practised 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 Almanacks, and digested all I had dropt on those 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. How-" ever, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and though I had at first determined to buy stuff for 2 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, ever, thine to serve thee. RICHARD SAUNDERS.



man can be happy in idleness: he that should be condemned to lie torpid and motionless, " would fly for recreation (says South) to the mines and galljes;"' and it is well when nature or fortune finds employment for those, who would not have known how to procure it for themselves.

He whose mind is engaged by the acquisition or improvement of a fortune, not only escapes the insipidity of indifference, and the tediousness of inactivity, but gains en joyments wholly unknown to those who live lazily. on the toil of others: for life affords no higher pleas. ure, than that of surmounting difficulties, passing from one step of success to another, forming new wishes, and seeing them gratified. He that labours in any great or laudable undertaking, has his fatigues first supported by hope, and afterwards rewarded by joy; he is always moving towards a certain end, and when he has attained it, an end more distant invites him to a new pursuit; for to strive with difficulties and to conquer them, is the highest human felicity; the next is to strive, and deserve to conquer.



Yet ex

Age, that lessens the enjoyment of life, increases our desire of living. Those dangers which, in the vigour of youth, we had learned to despise, assume new ter.. cors as we grow old. Our caution increasing as our years increase, fear becomes at last the prevailing passion of the mind; and the small remainder of life is taken up in useless efforts to keep off our end, or provide for a continued existence.

Strange contradiction in our nature, and to which even the wise are liable! If I should judge of that part of life which lies before me, by that which I have already seen, the prospect is hideous. Experience tells mé, that my past enjoyments have brought no real felicity; and sensation assures me, that those I have felt, are stronger than those which are yet to come. perience and sensation in vain persuade; hope, more powerful than either, dresses out the distant prospect in fancied beauty; some happiness, in long perspective, still beckons me to pursue; and like a losing gamester, every new disappointment increases my ardour to continue the game.

Whence then is this increased love of Mfe, which grows upon us with our years? whence comes it, that we thus make greater efforts to preserve our existence, at a period when it becomes scarce worth the keeping? Is it that Nature attentive to the preservation of mankind, increases our wishes to live, while she lessens our en. joyments? and, as she robs the senses of every pleasure, equips imagination in the spoils ? Life would be insupportable to an old man, who, loaded with infirmities, feared death no more than when in the vigour of manhood: the numberless calamities of de

« EelmineJätka »