A Closed Mouth Catches No Flies Essays

Poor Richard's Almanack

by Benjamin Franklin

Poor Richard was Benjamin Franklin's pseudonym he used to publish his popular annual Poor Richard's Almanack was published continuously fo 25 years, from 1732 to 1758. An average of 10,000 pamphlets were printed each year for the colonists' enjoyment, containing practical Yankee witticisms we continue to use to this day. "No gains without pains" and "haste makes waste" are great examples. Young readers will enjoy James Baldwin's chapter book, The Story of Benjamin Franklin.

A sampling of our favorite Franklin quotes, by year of the Almanack in which they were first published:


Eat to live, and not live to eat.
He that lies down with Dogs, shall rise up with fleas.
Light purse, heavy heart.
Distrust and caution are the parents of security.
Fools make feasts and wise men eat ’em.
Never spare the Parson’s wine, nor the Baker’s pudding.


You cannot pluck roses without fear of thorns.
Fools multiply folly.
Better to slip with foot than tongue.
Hope of gain, lessens pain.


Humility makes great men honourable.
Three may keep a Secret, if two of them are dead.
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.


Fish and visitors stink in three days.
God helps them that help themselves.
Don't throw stones at your neighbours, if your own windows are glass.


Well done is better than well said.
A good lawyer is a bad neighbor.


Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase power.
Wish not so much to live long as to live well.
Search others for their virtues, thy self for thy vices.
Wink at small faults; remember thou has great ones.


Trust thy self, and another shall not betray thee.
Industry need not wish.


To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish.
Speak and speed: the close mouth catches no flies.
Have you somewhat to do tomorrow, do it today.


A true friend is the best possession.


No gains without pains.
He's a fool that cannot conceal his wisdom.
Everyone blames his memory; no one blames his judgment.


The wise man draws more advantage from his enemies, than the fool from his friends.
Genius without education is like silver in the mine.


Haste makes waste.
Gifts much expected are paid, not given.


A long life may not be good enough, but a good life is long enough.


Laws too gentle are seldom obeyed; too sever, seldom executed.
Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults.
Love, and be loved.
A wise man will desire no more, than what he may get justly, use soberly, distribute cheerfully, and l leave contentedly.


Many a man's own tongue gives evidence against his understanding.
Act uprightly, and dispise calumny; dirt may stick to a mud wall, but not to a polish'd marble.
Little strokes fell great oaks.
It is hard for an empty bag to stand upright.


They that won't be counselled, can't be helped.
Silence is not always a sign of wisdom, but babbling is ever a mark of folly.
Dost though love life, then do not squander time, for that's the stuff life is made of.

Benjamin Franklin's famous quotations are featured in our collection, American Biographies for Kids. You may also enjoy visiting American History for more authors and their writings which helped shape the country.

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A closed mouth catches no flies.

A closed mouth catches no flies.

A cat has nine lives.

The cat is a domesticated animal and is a very sacred animal in ancient times. The Egyptian civilization considered cat as a holy animal and so it was worshipped. The maxim says that even after going into a very bad situation some people recover without much damage.

The ancient saying comes from the fact that the cat is a very agile animal and can jump from very high places without getting hurt. The cat when it jumps from very high places can adjust the position of its body in such a way that it does not get hurt during its jump. This is a very distinctive feature of the cat and no other domesticated is capable of this. In ancient times people did not know that the cat can adjust its posture and jump safely. So they assumed that the cat has many lives and so when its jumps from a high position it loses one of its lives. This was referred to as a cat having nine lives in ancient times. This saying is generally used to refer to the fact that somebody escapes even after doing something wrong without being caught or punished or somebody goes to a near death situation and then survives without much bodily damage.

A closed mouth catches no flies.

This Italian proverb means that we should all be alert to grab the opportunities in our life. This proverb refers to the obvious nature of the Frog which keeps its mouth and when some insect passes close to its mouth… the frog rolls its tongue and catches the insect. So the frog has to keep its mouth open and sit still to catch its prey. If its mouth is closed it cannot catch any fly.

The real meaning of the proverb is that we should all be like the frog ever alert and ready to catch hold of any opportunity to come up in life. If we are lazy and do not make use of the opportunity to come up in life we will not succeed. It is similar to the frog keeping its mouth closed and dying of hunger.

Nowadays we find most of the young people idle. They just indulge in unwanted activities and in criticizing others rather than involving in sincere and useful endeavor. They lose their valuable opportunities even when they come to him. Such a person experiences more disgust and despair in life. He, who keeps himself active, can make use the opportunity fully and can make his fortune instead of miring his fortune.

A closed mouth catches no flies.


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