Ben Franklin accomplished a many things over his 84 years on Earth. He was an significant newspaper editor and printer. He was an inventor, known for bifocals, the lightening rod, and also Franklin stove. He was the governor of Pennsylvania for 3 years. He was an American founding father, who had a hand in drafting the explanation of Independence. The biographer Walter Isaacson once called Franklin, “the most accomplished American in his age.” Despite all of this, perhaps the most lasting of every his credits is that of a writer and also humorist, the author (or curator, together we will get into in a moment) of many pithy, funny, and also true sayings, or epigrams, about life. Below are the origins behind number of of them:

Fish and visitors stink in 3 days

As one could imagine, Ben Franklin didn’t conceive every one of these witty epigrams himself. Sometimes he took old people and adapted them to the times and also his voice. “Fish and also visitors stink in three days” actually originally comes from the 16th century writer john Lyly. In his most renowned work, Euphues – the Anatomy the Wit, that writes, “Fish and also guests in three days room stale.” Euphues (from Greek, meaning “graceful and witty”) to be such a success when it was released in 1579, that today’s English word “euphemism” is acquired from the title of the book Two hundred years later, Franklin would take on a version of this saying together his own.

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You paid too lot for the whistle


This underused epigram (at the very least in this author’s opinion) comes from a 1779 letter he sent to mam Brillon (long believed to be one of Franklin’s well known French mistresses). They would correspond twice a week when not in every other’s company, through Franklin typically writing two copies of the exact same letter – one in English because that his safe keeping and one in French for her. This certain letter, published in 1780, ended up being known as “The Whistle” because of a story Franklin recounts indigenous his youth. Once Franklin was seven years old, he checked out the toy shop and used all his hard-earned money come buy a whistle. If he appreciated the whistle an extremely much (though the sound uncomfortable his family), he to be made fun of because that paying “four time as much for it together it was worth.” the cried, realizing that the lot of money he paid for the whistle was far past the satisfied it provided him. Continued Franklin in the letter, “As I prospered up, came into the world, and also observed the actions of men, I assumed I met countless who offered too much for the whistle.”

Eat come live, not live come eat

In 1733, Franklin printed the first Poor Richard’s Almanack. Writing under the pseudonym “Poor Richard Saunders,” Franklin dispensed advice, truthisms, and also words to live by. In this edition is just one of Franklin’s much more ironic epigrams – “Eat come live, no live to eat.” This can be called ironic because Franklin was renowned to overindulge in food, wine, and women. He speak of this in his autobiography, saying: “the hard-to-be-governed passion of my youth had actually hurried me frequently into intrigues with low ladies that dropped in my way.” that fathered a son out of wedlock, flirted and sought firm with women fifty percent his age and in his autobiography he committed some time to mentioning the advantages of sleeping with older women instead. The was also rumored to it is in a member that the Medmenham Monks, a group “devoted to sexual accessibility of every kinds”

As because that food and drink, he combated gout for lot of his elderly life. Once recognized as “the well-off man’s disease,” gout is one arthritic problem that have the right to come from the consumption of too lot alcohol, too many foods wealthy in uric mountain (like red meat, seafood, and organ meat), and also not sufficient exercise.

As because that the expression itself, it originally came from the French comedic playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, an ext known by his phase name Moliere. In his 1668 play, L’Avare, a personality says, “to quote an ancient philosopher, one need to eat to live, no live come eat.”

Beware of the young physician & the old barber

Again indigenous the very an initial Poor Richard’s Almanack in 1733, this speak was most likely meant as an ext of a joke 보다 an yes, really truth. Together one have the right to imagine, this speak doesn’t sit well with physicians nor barbers. In fact, in 1919, new York City coroner (and son of famous physician George F. Shrady Sr.) George Frederick Shrady Jr. Wrote as editor that a medical journal that “this (phrase) to be true as soon as written, however today the human being knows the young doctor is the finest trained and also fears him not. It’s now only true of the barber.” One wonders what the barber would certainly say to that.

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Early to bed, at an early stage to rise, do a man healthy, wealthy, and also wise

This famous proverb appeared in the 1735 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanack, but, when again, Franklin most likely didn’t write it. A kind of this phrase showed up in a Renaissance message from the 15th century and also even then, that was referred to as old. In a piece about fly fishing, it was offered to encourage anglers to walk fly fishing early, for it was in the morning sun that fishing was “most profitable.” claimed the text, “For it will cause him to be well, additionally for the rise of his goods, for it will make that rich. Together the old English proverb says: ‘Whoever will rise early shall it is in holy, healthy, and also happy.”

There are no gains, there is no pains

While this precise phrasing may not be acquainted to most, this proverb was the incentive behind the much more common exercise (and t-shirt) saying, “no pain, no gain.” printed in the 1734 version of Poor Richard’s Almanack, Franklin emphasized the phrase “there space no gains, there is no pains” again in his 1758 self-help book The method to Wealth.

While part sources day this proverb come 1577 (in the form of “They should take the pain that look for gain.”) and also its more modern version to a 1648 Robert Herrick poem, rather say this speak may have originated much earlier. The Pirkei Avot (English translation: Chapters the the Fathers) is a arsenal of rabbinical teachings native the Mishnaic Period, approximately from the very first to the third century. Follow to Chabad.org, in the Pirkei Avot, Ben Hei Hei (a Jewish transform 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 more of a curator the epigrams, proverbs, and sayings rather than the author, in spite of that he tends to be given complete credit today. Then again, together Franklin once 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 the Oxford’s edition of Ben Franklin’s autobiography, thomas Jefferson was chosen over the much more qualified Ben Franklin to write the statements of Independence because Franklin was known to put extremely subtle satire in just about everything he created and, fairly often, it would certainly be so ethereal that no one would an alert for part time. Discovering this document would most likely be examined very closely by particular nations that the world, follow to Seavey, they decided to avoid the problem by having the much much less gifted writer, Jefferson, compose the explanation instead, v Franklin and also three rather helping Jefferson breeze it.Expand because that References