Ben Franklin achieved a lot of things end his 84 year on Earth. He was an prominent newspaper editor and also printer. He was an inventor, well-known for bifocals, the lightening rod, and Franklin stove. He was the branch of Pennsylvania for three years. He to be an American founding father, who had a hand in drafting the statements of Independence. The biographer Walter Isaacson once called Franklin, “the most accomplished American in his age.” Despite every one of this, perhaps the many lasting of every his credits is the of a writer and also humorist, the author (or curator, together we will obtain into in a moment) of countless pithy, funny, and also true sayings, or epigrams, about life. Right here are the origins behind several of them:

Fish and also visitors stink in 3 days

As one might imagine, Ben Franklin didn’t conceive every one of these witty epigrams himself. Sometimes he take it old ones and adjusted them come the times and also his voice. “Fish and also visitors stink in three days” in reality originally originates from the 16th century writer john Lyly. In his most renowned work, Euphues – the Anatomy that Wit, he writes, “Fish and guests in 3 days room stale.” Euphues (from Greek, an interpretation “graceful and witty”) to be such a success when it was released in 1579, the today’s English word “euphemism” is acquired from the location of the book Two hundred years later, Franklin would embrace a variation of this saying as his own.

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You payment too much for the whistle


This underused epigram (at least in this author’s opinion) originates from a 1779 letter he sent out to madame Brillon (long thought to be one of Franklin’s notorious French mistresses). They would certainly correspond twice a week once not in each other’s company, with Franklin commonly writing two duplicates of the exact same letter – one in English for his for sure keeping and one in French because that her. This particular letter, published in 1780, became known as “The Whistle” due to a story Franklin recounts indigenous his youth. As soon as Franklin was seven years old, he saw the toy shop and also used every his hard-earned money to buy a whistle. When he took pleasure in the whistle really much (though the sound annoyed his family), he was made funny of because that paying “four time as much for it together it to be worth.” he cried, realizing the the lot of money that paid for the whistle was far past the satisfied it gave him. Ongoing Franklin in the letter, “As I flourished up, came into the world, and observed the action of men, I thought I met plenty of who provided too lot for the whistle.”

Eat come live, no live to eat

In 1733, Franklin printed the an initial Poor Richard’s Almanack. Composing under the pseudonym “Poor Richard Saunders,” Franklin dispensed advice, truthisms, and also words come live by. In this edition is among Franklin’s much more ironic epigrams – “Eat come live, not live to eat.” This might be dubbed ironic because Franklin was popular to overindulge in food, wine, and women. He talked of this in his autobiography, saying: “the hard-to-be-governed enthusiasm of mine youth had actually hurried me typically into intrigues with low females that fell in my way.” he fathered a boy out of wedlock, flirted and sought company with women fifty percent his age and in his autobiography he committed some time to discussing the advantages of resting with older ladies instead. He was additionally rumored to it is in a member that the Medmenham Monks, a group “devoted come sexual accessibility of all kinds”

As because that food and also drink, he dealt with gout for lot of his elderly life. Once known as “the rich man’s disease,” gout is one arthritic problem that have the right to come native the intake of too lot alcohol, too many foods wealthy in uric acid (like red meat, seafood, and organ meat), and also not enough exercise.

As for the expression itself, it initially came from the French comedic playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, much more known through his stage name Moliere. In his 1668 play, L’Avare, a character says, “to quote an ancient philosopher, one need to eat come live, not live to eat.”

Beware that the young doctor & the old barber

Again indigenous the very first Poor Richard’s Almanack in 1733, this speak was probably meant as an ext of a joke than an really truth. As one deserve to imagine, this speak doesn’t sit fine with physicians nor barbers. In fact, in 1919, brand-new York City coroner (and child of famous physician George F. Shrady Sr.) George Frederick Shrady Jr. Created as editor of a clinical journal that “this (phrase) to be true as soon as written, but today the world knows the young medical professional is the best trained and also fears him not. It’s currently only true the the barber.” One wonders what the barber would certainly say to that.

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Early come bed, beforehand to rise, make a male healthy, wealthy, and also wise

This famous proverb appeared in the 1735 execution of Poor Richard’s Almanack, but, as soon as again, Franklin likely didn’t compose it. A type of this phrase appeared in a Renaissance text from the 15th century and also even then, that was referred to as old. In a piece about fly fishing, that was offered to encourage anglers to walk fly fishing early, because that it remained in the morning sunlight that fishing was “most profitable.” said the text, “For that will cause him to it is in well, likewise for the rise of his goods, because that it will make that rich. As the old English proverb says: ‘Whoever will rise early shall it is in holy, healthy, and happy.”

There are no gains, there is no pains

While this specific phrasing may not be familiar to most, this proverb was the incentive behind the an ext common exercise (and t-shirt) saying, “no pain, no gain.” published in the 1734 version of Poor Richard’s Almanack, Franklin emphasized the expression “there are no gains, without pains” again in his 1758 self-help book The way to Wealth.

While part sources day this proverb come 1577 (in the form of “They must take the pain that look for gain.”) and also its more modern-day version to a 1648 Robert Herrick poem, others say this speak may have actually originated much earlier. The Pirkei Avot (English translation: Chapters of the Fathers) is a collection of rabbinical teachings native the Mishnaic Period, about from the first to the 3rd century. According to Chabad.org, in the Pirkei Avot, Ben Hei Hei (a Jewish convert during this time and, apparently, a wise man), stated, “According come the pain is the gain.”

As one have the right to see, Ben Franklin was an ext of a curator of epigrams, proverbs, and sayings rather than the author, regardless of that he often tends to it is in given complete credit today. Then again, as Franklin as soon as wrote, “any fool have the right to criticize, condemn, and also complain – and also most stupid do.”


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Bonus Fact:

According come Ormand Seavey, editor of Oxford’s edition of Ben Franklin’s autobiography, cutting board Jefferson was chosen over the much an ext qualified Ben Franklin to compose the statements of Independence due to the fact that Franklin was well-known to put very subtle satire in just about everything he wrote and, quite often, it would certainly be so ethereal that no one would notification for some time. Learning this paper would most likely be examined very closely by particular nations that the world, follow to Seavey, they made decision to prevent the concern by having actually the much much less gifted writer, Jefferson, create the explanation instead, through Franklin and three rather helping Jefferson breeze it.Expand for References