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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A Fool And His Money Are Soon Parted

"A Fool and his Money are soon Parted" -- Thus goes a common saying. Who said it first? The answer is Thomas Tusser.


I got interested Thomas after reading his name in the image above (which I discovered through Google Images). With some luck, Google led me to the Poetry Foundation, which had some information about Thomas (or, if you prefer, Mr. Tusser).

Thomas was born in 1524. At the age of 30 he got married and began to live as a farmer. His life was marked with debt and instability. Still, he managed to write his poem known as "A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry" (1557), which evolved, over the years, to "Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry to as Many of Good Housewifery" (1573). The Five Hundred Points were popular during his lifetime and were reprinted until the 19th century. (Source)

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature has more information about Thomas here.

I managed to find the digitized version of the Five Hundred Points at Archive.org.

Here are some pithy verses for our remembrance:

Verse 9. 
Good husbands that love good houses to keep
Are oftentimes careful when other do sleep:
To spend as they may, or to stop at the first,
for running in danger, or fear of the worst.

Verse 10.
Go count with thy coffers when harvest is in,
which way of thy profit, to save or to win;
Of tone of them both, if a saver we smell,
housekeeping is godly wherever we dwell.

Verse 11.
Son, think not of thy money purse bottom to burn,
but keep it for profit, to serve thine own turn;
A fool and his money be soon at debate
Which after with sorrow repents him too late.


The explanatory notes for verses 10 and 11 say, "A fool and his money are soon parted." I guess that is where the modern saying comes from...

Here, I leave you with another saying of another bygone famous man, for your contemplation.


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