wbs - franklin kite 04
photo: “The Philosopher and His Kite”¹

“But I found I wanted a stock of words, or a readiness in recollecting and using them, which I thought I should have acquired before that time if I had gone on making verses; since the continual search for words of the same import, but of different lengths, to suit the measure, or of different sounds for the rhyme, would have laid me under a constant necessity of searching for variety, and also have tended to fix that variety in my mind, and make me master of it.”²
¹ mezzotint print, showing Benjamin Franklin and his son William, by engraver Henry S. Sadd, designed by John Ludlow Morton, for “The Columbian” magazine, c. 1840; the .jpg file available at: https://www.loc.gov/item/2006691772/
² from “Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin, Written By Himself,” Harper & Brothers, New York, 1839, p. 28; written in 1771 to his son William, then Governor of New Jersey, as part of a narrative history of his life, the passage above describing how, as the youngest son of 13 children in Boston, and being indentured at the age of 12 as a printer’s apprentice to his older brother, in his mid-teens he’d discovered the free-association play of sound and sense inside the language, as he strove to be a writer — “of which I was extremely ambitious”; the scanned 11.9MB .pdf file of the book available at: https://archive.org/details/memoirsofbenjami00fran