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Database: Poor Richard's Almanack - 1737 (Vol.1)

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Courteous and kind Reader,

This is the fifth time I have appeared in publick, chalking out the future year for my honest countrymen and foretelling what shall, and what may, and what may not come to pass; in which I have the pleasure to find that I have given general satisfaction. Indeed, among the multitude of our astrological predictions 'tis no wonder if some few fail; for, without any defect in the art itself, 'tis well known that a small error, a single wrong figure overseen in a calculation, may occasion great mistakes: But, however, we Almanack-makers may miss it in other things, I believe it will generally be allowed that we always hit the day of the month, and that I suppose is esteem'd one of the most useful things in an Almanack.

As to the weather, if I was to fall into the method my brother J--n sometimes uses, and tell you, Snow here, or in New-England, — Rain here, or in South Carolina, — Cold to the northward, — Warm to the southward, and the like, whatever errors I might commit, I should be something more secure of not being detected in them: But I consider it will be of no service to any body to know what weather it is 1000 miles off, and therefore I always set down positively what weather my reader will have, be he where he will at the time. "We modestly desire only the favourable allowance of a day or two before, and a day or two after the precise day against which the weather is set; — and if it does not come to pass accordingly, let the fault be laid upon the printer, who, 'tis very like, may have transposed or misplac'd it, perhaps for the conveniency of putting in his holidays: and since, in spight of all I can say, people will give him great part of the credit of making my Almanacks, 'tis but reasonable he should take some share of the blame.

I must not here omit to thank the publick for the gracious and kind encouragement they have hitherto given me: — But if the generous purchaser of my labours could see how often his Fi'pence helps to fight up the comfortable fire, line the pot, fill the cup and make glad the heart of a poor man, and an honest good old woman, he would not think his money ill laid out, though the Almanack of his friend and servant,

Were one half blank paper.


The Indians long made a secret of the herb they used in curing the bite of that venomous reptile a Rattlesnake; I hope it will be an acceptable service to these parts of the world, if I make it publick by the following description with the figure of a leaf of it.

The top and branches of the plant, are thick set with small yellow flowers in August and September. It is a species of Golden-Rod, known from the other sorts by the smoothness of the leaf, and its pungent taste, and occasioning when chewed and swallow'd, a small stoppage of the breath, and contraction in the throat; and the stalk which is in some places less than a yard in height when at full growth, in others more, is of a dull purple colour, and smooth, and cover'd with a fine blue dust, like that on many of the English plums. It grows in most woodlands, but under the shade of trees is seldom rank or large, or with more than one, two, or three stalks. It is also found on the banks of dry ditches, and sometimes in them and in hedge-rows. But it is most luxuriant near to run-sides, if the soil be rich, and not too moist, nor too much shaded. The root continues over the winter, and if set in a good garden, will send forth (in the 2d or 3d year,) at least 50 stalks.

The Indians use it variously; sometimes they bruise it between stones, and sometimes chew it and spit in the patient's mouth, some lay it to the wound, others about the wound, sometimes they boil it and give the water to drink, washing the wound with it likewise; but always some of it is to be swallowed, either with the spittle or with water.

HINTS for those that would be Rich.

The use of money is all the advantage there is in having money.
For 6£ a year you may have use of 100£, if you are a man of known prudence and honesty.
He that spends a groat a-day idly, spends idly above 6£ a year, which is the price of using 100£.
He that wastes idly a groat's worth of his time per day, one day with another, wastes the privilege of using 100£ each day.
He that idly loses 5s. worth of time, loses 5s., and might as prudently throw 5s. into the river.
He that loses 5s. not only loses that sum, but all the other advantage that might be made by turning it in dealing, which, by the time a young man becomes old, amounts to a comfortable bag of money.

Again, He that sells upon credit, asks a price for what he sells equivalent to the principal and interest of his money for the time he is like to be kept out of it; — therefore, He that buys upon credit pays interest for what he buys, And he that pays ready money, might let that money out to use; so that He that possesses anything he has bought, pays interest for the use of it. Consider then, when you are tempted to buy any unnecessary household stuff, or any superfluous thing, whether you will be willing to pay interest, and interest upon interest for it as long as you live, and more if it grows worse by using. Yet, in buying goods, 'tis best to pay ready money, because, He that sells upon credit, expects to lose 5 per cent, by bad debts; therefore he charges on all he sells upon credit, an advance that shall make up that deficiency. Those who pay for what they buy upon credit, pay their share of this advance. He that pays ready money, escapes, or may escape, that charge. A penny saved is two pence clear. A pin a-day is a groat a-year. Save and have. Every little makes a mickle.

XI Mon. January hath xxxi days.

God offer'd to the Jews Salvation,
And 'twas refus'd by half the Nation:
Thus (tho' 'tis Life's great Preservation,)
Many oppose Inoculation.
We 're told by one of the black Robe,
The devil inoculated Job:
Suppose 'tis true, what he does tell;
Pray, Neighbours Did not Job do well?

The greatest monarch on the proudest throne, is oblig'd to sit upon his own arse. The master-piece of Man, is to live to the purpose. He that steals the old man's supper do's him no wrong.

XII Mon. February hath xxviii days.

The Thracian Iinfant, entering into Life,
Both Parents mourn for, both receive with Grief;
The Thracian Infant snatched by Death away,
Both Parents to the Grave with Joy convey.
This Greece and Rome you with Derision view,
This is meer Thracian Ignorance to you;
But if you weigh the Custom you despise,
This Thracian Ignorance may teach the wise.

A countryman between two lawyers, is like a fish between two cats. He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities. The miser's cheese is wholesomest.

I Mon. March hath xxxi days.

Doris a Widow past her Prime,
Her Spouse long dead, her Wailing doubles;
Her real Griefs increase by Time;
What might abate, improves her Troubles.
Those Pangs her prudent Hopes supprest,
Impatient now she cannot smother,
How should the helpless Woman rest?
One's gone; — nor can she get another.

Love and Lordship hate companions. The nearest way to come at glory, is to do that for conscience which we do for glory. There is much money given to be laught at, though the purchasers don't know it; witness A's fine horse, and B's fine house.

II Mon. April hath xxx days.

A Nymph and a Swain ta Apollo once prayed,
The Swain had been jilted, the Nymph been betray'd;
They came for to try if his oracle knew,
E'er a Nymph that was chast, or a Swain that was true.
Apollo stood mute, and had like t' have been pos'd,
At length he thus sagely the question disclos'd;
He alone may be true in whom none will confide,
And the nymph may be chaste that has never been tryd.

He that can compose himself, is wiser than he that composes books. Poor Dick eats like a well man, and drinks like a sick. After crosses and losses, men grow humbler and wiser. Love, Cough, and a Smoke, can't well be hid.

III Mon. May hath xxxi days.

Rich Gripe does all his Thoughts and Cunning bend
T'encrease that Wealth he wants the Soul spend:
Poor Shifter does his whole Contrivance set,
To spend that Wealth he wants the Sense to get,
How happy would appear ta each his Fate,
Had Gripe his humour, or he Gripe's Estate?
Kind Fate and Fortune, blend 'em if you can,
And of two Wretches make one happy Man.

Well done is better than well said.
Fine linnen, girls and gold so bright,
Chuse not to take by candle light.
He that can travel well afoot, keeps a good horse.
There are no ugly Loves, nor handsome Prisons.
No better relation than a prudent and faithful Friend.

IV Mon. June hath xxx days.

Boy, bring a Bowl of China here,
Fill it with Water cool and clear;
Decanter with Jamaica right,
And Spoon of Silver, clean and bright,
Sugar twice-fin'd in pieces cut,
Knife, Sieve, and Glass in order put,
Bring forth the fragrant Fruit, and then
We'er happy till the Clock strikes Ten.

A traveller should have a hog's nose, deer's legs and an ass's back. At the working man's house hunger looks in, but dares not enter. A good Lawyer, a bad Neighbour.

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