Ben Franklin Selected Poems

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    10-Apr-2018

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  • 8/8/2019 Ben Franklin Selected Poems

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    DEATH IS A FISHERMAN

    by: Benjamin Franklin

    EATH is a fisherman, the world we seeHis fish-pond is, and we the fishes be;His net some general sickness; howe'er heIs not so kind as other fishers be;For if they take one of the smaller fry,They throw him in again, he shall not die:But death is sure to kill all he can get,And all is fish with him that comes to net.

    HE WHO 'D PLEASE ALL

    by: Benjamin Franklin

    NCE on a Time it by Chance came to pass,That a Man and his Son were leading an Ass.Cries a Passenger, Neighbor, you're shrewdly put to 't,To lead an Ass empty, and trudge it on foot.Nay, quoth the old Fellow, if Folk do so mind usI'll e'en climb the Ass, and Boy mount behind us:But as they jogg'd on they were laugh't and hisse'd,What, two booby Lubbers on one sorry Beast!This is such a Figure as never was known;'T is a sign that the Ass is none of your own.Then down gets the Boy, and walks by the Side,Till another cries, What, you old Fool must you ride?When you see the poor Child that 's weakly and youngForc'd thro' thick and thin to trudge it along,Then down gets the Father, and up gets the Son;If this cannot please them we ne'er shall have done.They had not gone far, but a Woman cries out,O you young graceless Imp, you'll be hang'd, no doubt!Must you ride an Ass, and your Father that's greyE'en foot it, and pick out the best of his Way?So now to please all they but one Trick lack,And that was to carry the Ass a pick pack:But when that was try'd, it appear'd such a Jest,It occasioned more Laughter by half than the rest.

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    Thus he who 'd please all, and their Good liking gain,Shows a deal Good Nature, but labours in vain.

    ON THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

    by: Benjamin Franklin

    HILE free from Force the Press remains,Virtue and Freedom chear our Plains,And Learning Largesses bestows,And keeps unlicens'd open House.We to the Nation's publick MartOur Works of Wit, and Schemes of Art,And philosophic Goods, this Way,Like Water carriage, cheap convey.This Tree which Knowledge so affords,Inquisitors with flaming swordsFrom Lay-Approach with Zeal defend,Lest their own Paradise should end.

    The Press from her fecundous WombBrought forth the Arts of Greece and Rome;Her offspring, skill'd in Logic War,Truth's Banner wav'd in open Air;The Monster Superstition fled,And hid in Shades in Gorgon Head;And awless Pow'r, the long kept Field,By Reason quell'd, was forc'd to yield.

    This Nurse of Arts, and Freedom's Fence,To chain, is Treason against Sense:And Liberty, thy thousand TonguesNone silence who design no Wrongs;

    For those who use the Gag's Restraint,First Rob, before they stop Complaint.