Old-Fashioned Wisdom from John Ploughman
To earn money is easy compared with spending it well; anybody may dig up potatoes, but it is not one woman in ten that can cook them. Men do not become rich by what they get, but by what they save. Many men who have money are short of wit as a hog is of wool; they are under years of discretion, though they have turned forty…. What their fathers got with rakes, they throw away with shovel. After the miser comes the prodigal.
Often men say of the spendthrift, his own father was no man’s friend but his own; and now the son is no man’s enemy but his own; the fact is, the old gentleman went to hell by the lean road, and his son has made up his mind to go there by the fat. As soon as the spendthrift gets his estate, it goes like a lump of butter in a greyhound’s mouth.
All his days are the first of April; he would buy an elephant at a bargain, or [roof] his house with pancakes, nothing is too foolish to tickle his fancy; his money burns holes in his pocket, and he must squander it, always boasting that his motto is, “Spend, and God will send.” … he forestalls his income, and draws upon his capital, and so kills the goose which lays the golden eggs. He never spares at the brim, but he means, he says, to save at the bottom. Times never were good to lazy prodigals; if they were good to them they would be bad for all the world besides.
If a little gambling is thrown in with the fast living, money melts like a snowball in an oven. A young gambler is sure to be an old beggar if he lives long enough.
The devil leads him by the nose,
Who the dice so often throws.
There are more asses than those with four legs. I am sorry to say they are found among working men as well as fine gentlemen. Fellows who have no estate but their labor, and no family ...