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before his time; but he had a poet's soul; he talked limpidly, if he wrote turgidly; he possessed the secret of clothing the strangest ideas in an enchanter's web of apparent truth; he has been, and will no doubt remain, the hierophant of symbolism, as Baudelaire was its precursor. I doubt whether he will be largely represented in the anthologies of the future, but no historian of nineteenthcentury French poetry can refrain from mentioning his name. A certain Maurice Scève, of Lyons, played just such a rôle in the sixteenth century, only to disappear, when he had played it, in the effulgence of the great Ronsard.
There is one more observation that should perhaps be made before terminating this too hurried essay. It is a Ronsard that symbolism has lacked, and still lacks; it is a Ronsard that we have been awaiting for nearly ten years. It would be easy to name a dozen excellent craftsmen in verse, and three or four poets, among the younger men: M. Henri de Régnier, for instance, and M. Albert Samain. But however much talent, natural or acquired, they may have shown, it must be admitted that no work of theirs has aroused the immediate and universal emotion which Lamartine's Méditations and Ronsard's Amours kindled as soon as they appeared. Why is it so? Is it, perhaps, because the time is not favourable to poets, and that our poets lack the encouragement, the complicity of opinion, so to speak, which is more necessary to their development than to the development of any other sort of artists? Surely this is not the case. On the contrary, our poets find to-day a keener audience, not in France only, but abroad, than could have been hoped for ten, or twenty, or thirty years ago. Are fewer poets born, or is it more difficult for them to find the opportunity of appealing to the verdict of the public? is life less kind to them to-day than formerly? One can hardly say so, in view of the number of volumes of verse which appear each year. Is it that they ripen less rapidly, and that the standard they set themselves is higher, more complex, and demands longer effort? Are they awaiting a rounder maturity? As they are all young, let us hope that this is the case; and if the close of the nineteenth century, so abundant in poetic talent, is somewhat barren of poetic product,
we can only wait, in the hope that the expected masterpiece is taking form, somewhere in silent seclusion, and that the sudden radiance of its appearance will greet the beginning of the new century. Sic aliud ex alio nunquam desistit oriri.
POOR RICHARD'S ALMANAC.
BY BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, the celebrated American statesman and philosopher, was born in Boston, Mass., January 17, 1706, the son of a tallow chandler. He learned the printer's trade in the office of his elder brother, and at seventeen ran away to Philadelphia, where he established the Pennsylvania Gazette, and began the publication of Poor Richard's Almanac (1732). Having acquired extraordinary popularity on account of his public spirit and integrity, he was appointed successively clerk of the Assembly, postmaster, and deputy postmaster-general of British North America. He was sent to England as colonial agent in 1757, and during a second visit (1764) was mainly instrumental in securing the repeal of the obnoxious Stamp Act. Despairing of bringing about any reconciliation between the colonies and the mother country, he returned to Philadelphia and became one of a committee of five chosen by Congress to draw up the Declaration of Independence. Ambassador to France (1776-1785), he succeeded in inducing France to form an alliance with the United States (1778); in conjunction with Jay and Adams concluded the treaty of Paris with England (1783); and was president of Pennsylvania (1785-1788). He died April 17th, 1790.]
[The almanac was the only general reading matter of the country folkthat is, nearly the whole community-in Franklin's time; and contained, as now, jokes, stories, and scraps of general literature, filling in the calendar spaces with random sentences, often stupid and meaningless buffoonery. Franklin started one in 1732, ostensibly compiled by one Richard Saunders: replacing the usual subsidiary trash with sound, good literature, much of it original, and notably filling the calendar spaces with pointed epigrams beginning "Poor Richard says; ""chiefly," says Franklin, “such as inculcated industry and frugality as the means of procuring wealth, and thereby securing virtue; it being more difficult for a man in want to act always honestly, as, to use here one of those proverbs, It is hard for an empty sack to stand upright.'. . . These proverbs, which contain the wisdom of many ages and nations, I assembled and formed into a connected discourse, prefixed to the almanac of 1757, as the harangue of a wise old man to the people attending an auction."]
I have heard that nothing gives an author so great pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors.
This pleasure I have seldom enjoyed. For though I have been, if I may say it without vanity, an eminent author of Almanacs annually, now for a full quarter of a century, my brother authors in the same way, for what reason I know not, have ever been very sparing in their applauses; and no other author has taken the least notice of me so that did not my writings produce me some solid pudding, the great deficiency of praise would have quite discouraged me.
I concluded at length, that the people were the best judges of my merits for they buy my works; and besides, in my rambles, where I am not personally known, I have frequently heard one or other of my adages repeated, with as Poor Richard says at the end of it. This gave me some satisfaction, as it showed, not only that my instructions were regarded, but discovered likewise some respect for my authority; and I own, that to encourage the practice of remembering and repeating those sentences, I have sometimes quoted myself with great gravity.
Judge, then, how much I must have been gratified by an incident I am going to relate to you. I stopped my horse lately where a great number of people were collected at a vendue of merchant's goods. The hour of sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean old man with white locks, Pray, Father Abraham, what think you of the times? Won't these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we ever be able to pay them? What would you advise us to?" Father Abraham stood up and replied: "If you would have my advice, I will give it you in short; for A word to the wise is enough, and Many words won't fill a bushel, as Poor Richard says." They all joined, desiring him to speak his mind, and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows:
Friends, says he, and neighbors, the taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might the more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of 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. However, let us hearken to good advice, and something may be done for us; God helps them that help themselves, as Poor Richard says.
It would be thought a hard government that should tax its people one tenth part of their TIME, to be employed in its service, but idleness taxes many of us much more, if we reckon all that is spent in absolute sloth, or doing of nothing; with that which is spent in idle employments or amusements that amount to nothing. Sloth, by bringing on diseases, absolutely shortens life. Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears; while the used key is always bright, as Poor Richard says. But dost thou love life? then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of, as Poor Richard says.
How much more than is necessary do we spend in sleep? forgetting that the sleeping fox catches no poultry, and that there will be sleeping enough in the grave, as Poor Richard says. If time be of all things the most precious, wasting of time must be, as Poor Richard says, the greatest prodigality; since, as he elsewhere tells us, lost time is never found again; and what we call time enough! always proves little enough. Let us then up and be doing, and doing to the purpose; so, by diligence, shall we do more with less perplexity. Sloth makes all things difficult, but industry all things easy, as Poor Richard says; and He that riseth late must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night; while laziness travels so slowly that Poverty soon overtakes him, as we read in Poor Richard; who adds, Drive thy business! let not that drive thee! and
Early to bed and early to rise
Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
So what signifies wishing and hoping for better times? may make these times better, if we bestir ourselves. Industry need not wish, as Poor Richard says, and He that lives on hope will die fasting. There are no gains without pains; then help, hands! for I have no lands; or, if I have, they are smartly taxed. And, as Poor Richard likewise observes, He that hath a trade hath an estate, and he that hath a calling hath an office of profit and honor; but then the trade must be worked at, and the calling well followed, or neither the estate nor the office will enable us to pay our taxes. If we are industrious we shall never starve; for, as Poor Richard says, At the workingman's house hunger looks in, but dares not enter. Nor will the bailiff or the constable enter, for Industry pays debts, while despair increaseth them.
What though you have found no treasure, nor has any rich