phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: Aphorisms from Benjamin Franklin

Posted by ESC on October 14, 2003

In Reply to: Aphorisms from Benjamin Franklin posted by Adrian on October 14, 2003

: Can someone explain to me these aphorisms from Benjamin Franklin please:
: 1- Things which hurt, instruct
: 2- There are no ugly loves nor handsome prisons.
: 3- To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish.
: 4- Well done is better than well said.
: 5- Declaiming against pride is not always a sign of humility.
: 6- Necessity never made a good bargain.
: 7- The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise.
: 8- What you would seem to be, be really.
: 9- What is a butterfly? A caterpillar dressed.

My best guesses:

1- Things which hurt, instruct. It's the same as "no pain, no gain." We can learn from painful, unpleasant things.
2- There are no ugly loves nor handsome prisons. If you love someone, he or she is beautiful. A prison, no matter how luxurious, is still ugly because takes away freedom.
3- To err is human, to repent divine, to persist devilish. It may be good to repent. But don't go overboard because it's annoying. People get tired of hearing about it.
4- Well done is better than well said. Actions speak louder than words. It is better to act than to just talk.
5- Declaiming against pride is not always a sign of humility. To keep talking about how humble one is, is really boastful and proud.
6- Necessity never made a good bargain. It's hard to drive a hard bargain when you're desperate. Beggars can't be choosers.
7- The worst wheel of the cart makes the most noise. The wheel that's about to fall off makes the most noise. The troublemaker in a group is often the loudest.
8- What you would seem to be, be really. If you want to be a good person, don't just act good. Be good.
9- What is a butterfly? A caterpillar dressed. Wings are the only difference between the humble caterpillar and the beautiful butterfly.