PREFACE BY MISTRESS SAUNDERS
My good Man set out last Week for Potowmack, to visit an old Stargazer of his Acquaintance and see about a little Place for US to settle and end our Days on. He left a Copy of his Almanack seal'd up, and bid me send it to the Press. I Suspected something, and therefore, as soon as he was gone, I open'd it, to see if he had not been flinging some of his old Skitts at me. Just as I thought, so it was. And truly (for want of somewhat else to say, I suppose,) he had put into his Preface, that his Wife Bridget --- was this, and that, and t'other. --- What a peasecods! cannot I have a little Fault or two, but all the Country must see it in print! They have already been told, at one time that I am proud, another time that I am loud, and that I have got a new Petticoat, and abundance of that kind of stuff; and now forsooth! all the World must know, that Poor Dick's Wife has lately taken a fancy to drink a little tea now and then. A mighty matter truly, to make a Song of! 'Tis true I had a little tea of a present from the Printer last Year; and what, must a-body throw it away? In short, I thought the Preface was not worth a printing, and so I fairly scratch'd it all out, and I believe you'll like our Almanack never the worse for it.
Upon looking over the months, I see he has put in abundance of foul Weather this Year and therefor I have scattered here and there, where I could find room, Some fair, pleasant, sunshiny &c, for the Good-Women to dry their Clothes in. If it does not come to pass according to my Desire, I have shown my Good-will, however and I hope they'II take it in good part.
I had a Design to make some other Corrections; and particularly to change some of the Verses that I don't very well like; but I have just now unluckily broke my Spectacles; which obliges me to give it you as it is, and conclude.
Your loving friend,
UNDER THE HEAD OF ECLIPSES, APPEARS THE FOLLOWING:
You will excuse me dear readers, that I afford you no eclipses of the moon this year. The truth is, I do not find they do you any good.
When there is one you are apt in observing it to expose yourselves too much and too long to the night air, whereby great numbers of you catch cold. Which was the case last year, to my very great concern. However, if you will promise to take more care of yourselves, you shall have a fine one to stare at the year after next.
XI Mon. January hath xxxi days.
Dick's Wife was sick, and pos'd the Doctor's Skill,
Who differ'd how to cure th' inveterate ill;
Purging the one prescribed. No, quoth another,
That will do neither Good nor Harm my Brother,
Bleeding's the only Way; t'was quick reply'd,
That's certain Death; --- but e'en let Dick decide.
I'se no great skill,N quo' Richard, “by the Rood,
But I think Bleeding's like to do most good”
There are three faithful friends—an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.
Great talkers should be cropt, for they have no need of ears. If you'd have your shoes last, put no nails in 'em. Who has deceiv'd thee so oft as thy self?
XII Mon. February hath xxviii days.
In Christendom we all are Christians now,
And thus I answer, if you ask me how;
Where with Christ's Rule our Lives will not comply,
We bend it like a Rule of Lead, say I;
Making it thus comply with what we be,
And only thus our Lives with th' Rule agree.
But from our Fathers we've the Name (perchance)
So as our King is call'd the King of France.
Is there anything men take more pains about than to make themselves unhappy? Nothing brings more pain than too much pleasure; nothing more bondage than too much liberty, (or libertinism.) Read much, but not too many books.
I Mon. March hath xxxi days.
Jack's Wife was born in Wiltshire, brought up in Cumberland, led much of her Life in Bedfordshire, sent her Husband into Huntingtonshire in order to send him into Buckinghamshire. But he took Courage in Hartfordshire, and carry'd her into Staffordshire, or else he might have liv'd and dy'd in Shrewsbury.
He that would have a short Lent, let him borrow Money to be repaid at Easter
Write with the learned, pronounce with the vulgar.
Fly pleasures, and they'll follow you.
Squirrel like she covers her back with her tail.
II Mon. April hath xxx days.
That all from Adam first begun,
Since none but Whiston doubts,
And that his Son, and his Son's Son
Were Plowmen, Clowns and Louts;
Here lies the only Difference now,
Some shot off late, some so On;
Your Sires i'th' Morning left the Plow,
And ours i'th' Afternoon.
Caesar did not merit the triumphal Car, more than he that conquers himself.
Hast thou virtue?—acquire also the graces and beauties of virtue. Buy what thou hast no need of, and e'er long thou shalt sell thy necessaries.
If thou hast wit and learning, add to it Wisdom and Modesty.
III Mon. May hath xxxi days.
A frugal Thought.
In an Acre of Land are 43,560 square feet
In 100 Acres are 4,356.000 square feet;
Twenty Pounds will buy 100 Acres of the Proprietor.
In £20 are 4,800 pence; by which divide the
Number of feet in 100 Acres; and you will find
That one penny will buy 907 square Feet; or
A Lot of 30 Feet square.—Save your Pence.
You may be more happy than princes, if you will be more virtuous. If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing. Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase Power.
IV Mon. June hath xxx days.
Epitaph on a talkative Old Maid.
Beneath this silent Stone is laid,
A noisy antiquated Maid,
Who, from her Cradle talk'd 'till Death,
And ne'er before was out of Breath.
Whither she's gone we cannot tell;
For if she talks not, she's in Hell!
If she's in Heaven, she's there unblest
Because she hates a Place of rest.
Let thy vices die before thee. Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards. The ancients tell us what is best but we must learn of the moderns what is fittest.