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About this poet

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on January 17, 1706. While he is best known for his scientific and political endeavors, he was also an accomplished writer and poet, beginning with several articles he published in the New England Courant under the pseudonym “Silence Dogood.” He created the Philadelphia Gazette in 1730 as a platform for his writing, and in 1732, he began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanac, an annual pamphlet offering advice, information, and the occasional poem. He went on to write several books and pamphlets, including Experiments and Observations on Electricity (Philadelphia, 1751). He was a pioneering scientist, an accomplished inventor, and a pivotal figure in securing American independence. He died on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia.

The Busy-Man's Picture

BUSINESS, thou Plague and Pleasure of my Life,
Thou charming Mistress, thou vexatious Wife;
Thou Enemy, thou Friend, to Joy, to Grief,
Thou bring'st me all, and bring'st me no Relief,
Thou bitter, sweet, thou pleasing, teazing Thing,
Thou Bee, that with thy Honey wears a Sting;
Some Respite, prithee do, yet do not give,
I cannot with thee, nor without thee live.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin, born in Boston in 1706, was an accomplished writer and poet, beginning with several articles he published in the New England Courant under the pseudonym “Silence Dogood.”

by this poet


In Things of moment, on thy self depend,
Nor trust too far thy Servant or thy Friend:
With private Views, thy Friend may promise fair,
And Servants very seldom prove sincere.


What can be done, with Care perform to Day,


While 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 Mart
Our Works of Wit, and Schemes of Art,
And philosophic Goods, this Way,