In Benjamin Franklin’s words, we hear echoes of the Bible, the ancients, and collections of proverbs readily available in Franklin’s own time. He recreated so many older sayings, but brought with them a new design and rhythm.
Franklin took these truisms and created for himself legacy of intelligence and witty humor that survives even through today.
Franklin once created a list of 13 virtues to live by, including temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity, and humility. In his words, he touches on all of these qualities.
These are not ranked, nor rated. They are just laid bare for you to read and enjoy.
This is the comprehensive collection of Benjamin Franklin Quotes:
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Eat to live, and not live to eat.
After three days men grow weary, of a wench, a guest, and weather rainy.
Necessity never made a good bargain.
Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
Opportunity is the great bawd.
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Tis easy to see, hard to foresee.
He that lieth down with Dogs, shall rise up with Fleas.
God helps them that help themselves.
The worst wheel of a cart makes the most noise.
After crosses and losses, men grow humbler and wiser.
He that speaks ill of the Mare, will buy her.
Some are weatherwise, some are otherwise.
There are three faithful friends — an old wife, an old dog, and ready money.
If you would not be forgotten
As soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worthy reading,
Or do things worth the writing.
Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.
He that riseth late, must trot all day, and shall scarce overtake his business at night.
Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.
When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.
Does thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.
Fell great oaks.
The cat in gloves catches no mice.
Work as if you were to live a hundred years,
Pray as if you were to die tomorrow.
With the old Almanack and the old Year,
Leave thy old Vices, tho ever so dear.
One good Husband is worth two good Wives; for the scarcer things are, the more they’re valued.
Fish and visitors stink after three days.
Who has deceiv’d thee so oft as thy self?
A good lawyer, a bad neighbour.
A country man between two lawyers, is like a fish between two cats.
To err is human, to repent divine; to persist devilish.
Well done is better than well said.
Keep thy shop, and thy shop will keep thee.
The king’s cheese is half wasted in parings;
but no matter, ’tis made of the people’s milk.
Be slow in chusing a friend, slower in changing.
He that drinks his Cyder alone, let him catch his Horse alone.
Who is rich? He that rejoices in his Portion.
Those who in quarrels interpose, must often wipe a bloody nose.
He that hath a Trade, hath an Estate.
What you seem to be, be really.
There are more old drunkards than old doctors.
The Muses love the Morning.
Fear not death; for the sooner we die, the longer shall we be immortal.
Hunger is the best pickle.
Tim was so learned, that he could name a horse in nine Languages.
So ignorant, that he bought a cow to ride on.
When there’s no Law, there’s no Bread.
He that drinks fast, pays slow.
Love your Neighbour; yet don’t pull down your Hedge.
People who are wrapped up in themselves make small packages.
The discontented Man finds no easy Chair.
Read much, but not too many books.
He that speaks much, is much mistaken.
Glass, China, and Reputation, are easily crack’d, and never well mended.
Three good meals a day is bad living.
The sleeping Fox catches no poultry. Up! up!
Silence is not always a Sign of Wisdom, but Babbling is ever a folly.
A good example is the best sermon.
The end of Passion is the beginning of Repentance.
To be proud of virtue, is to poison yourself with the Antidote.
He that would Fish, must venture his bait.
Drink does not drown Care, but waters it, and makes it grow faster.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
He that lives upon hope will die fasting.
A little neglect may breed great mischief…for want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; and for want of a horse the rider was lost.
Courteous Reader, remember that time is money.
We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
There was never a good war or a bad peace.
Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.
Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.
When knaves fall out, honest men get their goods. When Priests dispute, we come at the Truth.
The church, the state, and the poor, are 3 daughters which we should maintain, but not portion off.
Those who are feared are hated.
It’s common for Men to give pretended Reasons instead of one real one.
There are no fools so troublesome as those that have wit.
A mob’s a monster; heads enough but no brains.
Doing an injury puts you below your enemy; revenging one make you but even with him; forgiving it sets you above him.
Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase power.
Old boys have their playthings as well as young ones; the difference is only in the price.
Sudden power is apt to be insolent, sudden liberty saucy; that behaves best which has grown gradually.
The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.
A penny saved is a penny earned.