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town. This sort of slanderer is of all others the most dangerous, for he works in the dark, ties all he speaks to, not to own him as the author : so that whereas in the more public accusations the party may have some means of clearing himself, and detecting his accuser, here he shall have no possibility of that; the slander, like a secret poison, works incurable effects before ever the man discerns it.
“ THE WHOLE DUTY OF MAN."
This (whispering) is such a guilt that we are to beware of all the degrees of approach to it, of which there are several steps; the first is the giving ear to, and cherishing of, those that come with slanders; for they that entertain and receive them encourage them in the practice; for as our common proverb says, If there were no receivers, there would be no thief; so, if there were none that would give an ear to tales, there would be no tale-bearers. A second step is, the giving too easy credit to them; for this helps them to attain part of their end. A third step is, the reporting to others, what is thus told thee; by which thou makest thyself directly a party in the slander, and after thou hast unjustly withdrawn from thy neighbour thy own good opinion, endeavourest to rob him also of that of others.
-"THE WHOLE DUTY OF MAN."
Slander cannot make the subjects of it either better or worse, it may represent us in a false light, or place a likeness of us in a bad one ; but we are the same : not so the slanderer; for calumny always makes the calumniator worse, but the calumniated-never.
If their faults men but knew
As others they view,
LA CURAL ODE.
None is so easy and persistent, not to speak of mischievous and destructive-as the habit of detraction. It is such a temptation to get into the way of seeing the worst of every one, and turning up the seamy side of everything; and ghoulish as is the satisfaction of fattening one's own lean reputations on the destruction of another's, there is a selfish value in it also, as thereby we show forth ourselves so much the better by the force of contrast. For, all things being relative in this world, and nothing absolute, if we can but paint another's complexion of a full black, our doubtful white seems snow-coloured, and even our dusky grey not so very far removed from white.
Base calumny by working under-ground,
The words of a tale-bearer are as wounds, and they go down into the inner-most parts of the belly.
Three essentials to a false story-teller aro
1. A good memory. 2. A bold face. 3. Fools for an audience.
- WELSH SAYING.
Men will refrain from evil-speaking, when their fellowmen refrain from evil-hearing. †
* From the Folk-songs of Southern Indiz by Gover.
Insinuators of evil are among the vilest of the vile ones of the earth. They do more harm than any number of bold accusers, and are not to be chastised because they cannot be caught.
Were there no hearers, there would be no backbiters.
I remember in my childhood's days I was religious, a keeper of vigils, and eager to exercise myself in acts of devotion and abstinence. One night I sat up with my father, and did not close my eyes the whole night long but held the dearly-prized volume (the Korân) in my lap, whilst a company of people were asleep around me. I said to my father “not one of them lifts up his head to say his prayers ; so sound a sleep has possessed them, that thou wouldst say they were dead.” He replied, “My dear boy! if thou also slept, it would be better than backbiting people."
Renounce slander and envy of others. †
But rumour is a reckless fire,
Which, kindled once, is sure to spread,
-W. E. AYTOUN,
* Translated by Platts.
A man who is ever engaged in speaking ill of others should be avoided like a furious wolf or an infuriate elephant roaring in madness or
a fierce dog. Fie on that sinful wretch who has betaken himself to the path of the foolish who has fallen away from all wholesome restraints and modesty, who is always engaged in doing what is injurious to others, and who is regardless of his own prosperity.
If I am traduced by tongues, which neither know
When men speak ill of you, live so as nobody will believe them.
O sleep, sweet sleep!
Sleep, Silence' child, sweet father of soft rest,
Prince whose approach peace to all mortals brings, Indifferent host to shepherds and to kings, Sole comforter of minds with grief opprest.
Come Sleep, 0 Sleep, the certain knot of peace,
-SIR PAILIP SIDNEY.
Night is the time for rest,
I love the light-yet welcome, Night;
For beneath thy darkling fall,