Benjamin Franklin Representative selections, with introduction, bibliograpy, and notes

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 171

Evening and to be return'd early in the Morning[,] lest it should be
miss'd or wanted. And after some time an ingenious Tradesman Mr. Matthew
Adams who had a pretty Collection of Books, and who frequented our
Printing House, took Notice of me, invited me to his Library, and very
kindly lent me such Books as I chose to read. I now took a Fancy to
Poetry, and made some little Pieces. My Brother, thinking it might turn
to account encourag'd me, and put me on composing two occasional
Ballads. One was called The _Lighthouse Tragedy_, and contained an Acc^t
of the drowning of Capt. Worthilake with his Two Daughters; the other
was a Sailor Song on the Taking of _Teach_ or Blackbeard the Pirate.
They were wretched Stuff, in the Grub-street Ballad Stile, and when they
were printed he sent me about the Town to sell them. The first sold
wonderfully, the Event being recent, having made a great Noise. This
flatter'd my Vanity. But my Father discourag'd me, by ridiculing my
Performances, and telling me Verse-makers were generally Beggars; so I
escap'd being a Poet, most probably a very bad one. But as Prose Writing
has been of great Use to me in the Course of my Life, and was a
principal Means of my Advancement, I shall tell you how in such a
Situation I acquir'd what little Ability I have in that Way.

There was another Bookish Lad in the Town, John Collins by Name, with
whom I was intimately acquainted. We sometimes disputed, and very fond
we were of Argument, and very desirous of confuting one another. Which
disputacious Turn, by the way, is apt to become a very bad Habit, making
People often extreamly disagreeable in Company, by the Contradiction
that is necessary to bring it into Practice, and thence, besides souring
and spoiling the Conversation, is productive of Disgusts and perhaps
Enmities where you may have occasion for Friendship. I had caught it by
reading my Father's Books of Dispute about Religion. Persons of good
Sense, I have since observ'd, seldom fall into it, except Lawyers,
University Men, and Men of all Sorts that have been bred at Edinborough.
A Question was once somehow or other started between Collins and me, of
the Propriety of educating the Female Sex in Learning, and their
Abilities for Study. He was of Opinion that it was improper, and that
they were naturally unequal to it. I took the contrary Side, perhaps a
little for Dispute['s] sake. He was naturally more eloquent, had a
ready Plenty of Words, and sometimes as I

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Way to Wealth; or, "Poor Richard Improved"

Page 0
Darton, Junr.
Page 1
Virtue and Innocence, a Poem 1 0 The Economy of Human Life 1 0 Old Friends in a New Dress, or Selections from Esop's Fables, in Verse, 2 parts, plates 2 0 Little Jack Horner, in Verse, plain 1s.
Page 2
We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us by allowing an abatement.
Page 3
[Illustration: The Sun shone yesterday, and I would not work, to-day it rains and I cannot work.
Page 4
" [Illustration: Published by W.
Page 5
" And farther, "What maintains one vice, would bring up two children.
Page 6
" And again, "At a great pennyworth pause a while:" he means, that perhaps the cheapness is apparent only, and not real; or the bargain, by straitening thee in thy business, may do thee more harm than good.
Page 7
" 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.
Page 8
" 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.
Page 9
Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit will be as great as mine.