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Word for the Wise December 28, 2006 Broadcast Topic: Poor Richard

Back on this date in 1732, readers of the Pennsylvania Gazette might have noticed an advertisement (in fact, the first advertisement) for Poor Richard’s Almanac, then at the start of what would become a quarter century of annual publication. Published by Benjamin Franklin (under the name Richard Saunders, or "Poor Richard"), the Almanac contained information about gardening, the stars, the weather, and, most famously, maxims, aphorisms, and proverbs. (来源:英语学习门户网站EnglishCN.com)

Benjamin Franklin was honest about the fact that he had not originated most of the maxims attributed to him (or to his alter ego, Richard Saunders); he referred to them as the "gleanings" he had made "of the Sense of All Ages and Nations."

So while we honor Ben Franklin today by passing along a few of Poor Richard’s gems, we’ll remind you that Franklin’s genius was in collecting and polishing (that is, editing) them, not solely (nor primarily) in dreaming them up.

Consider the matter-of-fact realities in these two sayings: "He that lives upon hope, dies fasting;" and "Well done is better than well-said.." Then there’s this gentle reminder: "If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles."

And we’ll close with two of our favorite musings: "None but the well-bred man knows how to confess a fault or acknowledge himself in an error;" and this: "After crosses and losses, men grow humbler and wiser."

 
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