Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"The first American mingled with her pride a singular humility. Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching. He never claimed that his power of articulate speech was proof of superiority over “dumb creation”; on the other hand, speech to him is a perilous gift. He believes profoundly in silence - the sign of perfect equilibrium. silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The an who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence - not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree, not a ripple upon the surface of the shining pool - his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life." - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"Half the sorrows of women would be averted if they could repress the speech they know to be useless - nay, the speech they have resolved not to utter." - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"Wisdom is knowing when to speak your mind and when to mind your speech." - Evangel, born Chege Njoroge, aka Alcatraz NULL

"Be charitable in your thoughts, in your speech and in your actions. Be charitable in your judgments, in your attitudes and in your prayers. Think charitably of your friends, your neighbors, your relatives and even your enemies. And if there be those whom you can help in a material way, do so in a quiet, friendly, neighborly way, as if it were the most command and everyday experience for you. Tongues of men and angels, gifts of prophecy and all mysteries and all knowledge are as nothing without charity." - Patrick Joseph Hayes

"The tongue of a man is his weapon, and speech is mightier than fighting." - Khati I NULL

"Be sparing of speech and things will come right of themselves." -

"The silent man was ever to be trusted, while the man ever ready with speech was never taken seriously." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

"I love a serious preacher, who speaks for my sake and not for his own; who seeks my salvation, and not his own vainglory. He best deserves to be heard who uses speech only to clothe his thoughts, and his thoughts only to promote truth and virtue." - Jean Baptiste Massillon

"Without speech no reason, without reason no speech." - Madame de Motteville, Françoise Bertaut de Motteville

"Speech is the mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so he is." - Publius Syrus

"Speech is the index of the mind." -

"Where speech is corrupted, the mind is also." -

"To attain excellence in society, an assemblage of qualification is requisite: disciplined intellect, to think clearly, and to clothe thought with propriety and elegance; knowledge of human nature, to suit subject to character; true politeness, to prevent giving pain; a deep sense of morality, to preserve the dignity of speech; and a spirit of benevolence, to neutralize its asperities, and sanctify its powers." - Lydia Sigourney, fully Lydia Huntley Sigourney, née Lydia Howard Huntley

"Not only is freedom of thought and speech compatible with piety and the peace of the State, but it cannot be withheld without destroying at the same time both the peace of the State and piety itself." -

"Silence is one of the great arts of conversation, as allowed by Cicero himself, who says, "there is not only an art, but an eloquence in it." A well bred woman may easily and effectually promote the most useful and elegant conversation without speaking a word. The modes of speech are scarcely more variable than the modes of silence." -

"Governments which suppress freedom of speech... act like children who shut their eyes in order not to be seen." - Ludwig Börne, fully Karl Ludwig Börne

"Wit must be without effort. Wit is play, not work; a nimbleness of the fancy, not a laborious effort of the will; a license, a holiday, a carnival of thought and feeling, not a trifling with speech, a constraint upon language, a duress upon words." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"There are other similarities between poetry and children's speech. Poets tend to look for significant evocative detail --something straight out of life -- to carry their meaning, and to avoid the vaguely general or abstract terms. With young children it is not a matter of choice. Their ideas must take a concrete form of expression because they have not mastered the art of masking and handling (Sign-mind) abstraction. A five year old boy in an infants' class once said, "Oh, yes, I know Geography. Its polar bears at the top and penguins at the bottom."" -

"The observation is that, generally speaking, poverty of speech is the outward evidence of poverty of mind" - Bruce Burton

"Thought is deeper than all speech; feeling deeper than all thought; soul to souls can never teach what unto themselves was taught." -

"Grand and manifold as were its phases, there is yet no difficulty in understanding the character of Washington. He was no Veiled Prophet. He never acted a part. Simple, natural, and unaffected, his life lies before us - a fair and open manuscript. He disdained the arts which wrap power in mystery in order to magnify it. He practiced the profound diplomacy of truthful speech - the consummate tact of direct attention. Looking ever to the All-Wise Disposer of events, he relied on that Providence which helps men by giving them high hearts and hopes to help themselves with the means which their Creator has put at their service. There was no infirmity in his conduct over which charity must fling its veil; no taint of selfishness from which purity averts her gaze; no dark recess of intrigue that must be lit up with colored panegyric; no subterranean passage to be trod in trembling, lest there be stirred the ghost of a buried crime." - John W. Daniel, fully John Warwick Daniel

"The most important aspect of freedom of speech is freedom to learn. All education is a continuous dialogue - questions and answers that pursue every problem to the horizon. That is the essence of academic freedom." -

"Truth is s thing immortal and perpetual, and it gives to us a beauty that fades not away in time, nor does it take away the freedom of speech which proceeds from justice; but it gives to us the knowledge of what is just and lawful, separating from them the unjust and refuting them." -

"Silence is sometimes better than speech, and speech sometimes than silence." - Euripedes NULL

"Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech; which is the right of every man as far as by it he does not hurt or control the right of another; and this is the only check it ought to suffer and the only bounds it ought to know... Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freedom of speech, a thing terrible to traitors." - Benjamin Franklin

"You cannot extend the mastery of the government over the daily working life of a people without at the same time making it the master of the people’s souls and thoughts. Every expansion of government in business means that government in order to protect itself from the political consequences of its errors and wrongs is driven irresistibly without peace to greater and greater control of the nation’s press and platform. Free speech does not live many hours after free industry and free commerce die." - Herbert Hoover, fully Herbert Clark Hoover

"All the commandments follow three ways: faith, word, and deed. As one is basic in mathematics, so the essence of every commandment, whether it depends on speech or action, is faith of heart. If it has not that , all else is meaningless." - Abraham ben Meir ibn Ezra, also known as Ben Ezra or Abenezra

"People hardly ever make use of the freedom they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as a compensation." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"When a man has gone astray to the point of perdition and is about to sink, his last speech, the sign, is: "And yet something better in me is being lost."" - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"Speech was made to open man to man, and not to hide him; to promote commerce, and not betray it." -

"I love a serious preacher, who speaks for my sake and not for his own; who seeks my salvation, and not his own vainglory. He best deserves to be heard who uses speech only to clothe his thoughts, and his thoughts only to promote truth and virtue. Nothing is more detestable than a professed declaimer, who retails his discourses as a quack does his medicine." - John Baptiste Massillon

"Wretched are you, O man, because of your speech! This fine endowment of your has been your curse. All dogs bark alike... All frogs in the swamp and marshes croak alike. But men are divided in languages according to their nationalities and one does not understand the other, thus destroying their bond of brotherhood, and having them regard one another like strangers." - Mendele Mokher Sforim or Sfarim, pseudonymn of Shalom Jacob Abramowitsch

"The unluckiest insolvent in the world is the man whose expenditure of speech is too great for his income of ideas." - Christopher Morley, fully Christopher Darlington Morley

"Silence is more eloquent than speech." - Beverley Nichols, fully John Beverley Nichols

"The direct speech of feeling is allegorical and cannot be replaced by anything." - Bons (Leonidovich) Pasternak

"The world of silence without speech is the world before creation, the world of unfinished creation. In silenced truth is passive and slumbering, but in language it is wide-awake. Silence is fulfilled only when speech comes forth from silence and gives it meaning and honor." - Max Picard

"Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage... I have often regretted my speech, never my silence." - Publius Syrus

"Silence is the highest wisdom of a fool as speech is the greatest trial of a wise man. If thou wouldst be known as wise, let thy words show thee so; if thou doubt thy words, let thy silence feign thee so. It is not a greater point of wisdom to discover knowledge than to hide ignorance." - Francis Quarles

"Liberty don't work as good in practice as it does in Speech." - Will Rogers, fully William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers

"In the faculty of speech man excels the brute; but if thou utterest what is improper, the brute is thy superior." - Sa'di (or Saadi), pen name of Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, born Muslih-uddin NULL

"Youth, when thought is speech and speech is truth." -

"Wherever the speech is corrupted the mind is also." -

"O guard thy roving thoughts with jealous care, for speech is but the dialplate of thought; and every fool reads plainly in thy words what is the hour of thy thought." - Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, Commonly called Alfred Lord Tennyson

"Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech." -

"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them." -

"The speech of the tongue is best known to men; God best understands the language of the heart." - Arthur Warwick

"There are around half a million words in the English language, but a recent statistical study of telephone speech discovered that 96 percent of all conversation over the wires consists of just 737 words." - Lyall Watson

"Both speech and silence transgress." -

"In the religion which we shall call dynamic, prayer is independent of its verbal expression; it is an elevation of the soul that can dispense with speech." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"Always in everything let there be reverence; with the deportment grave as when one is thinking (deeply), and with speech composed and definite. This will make the people tranquil. Pride should not be allowed to grow; the desires should not be indulged; the will should not be gratified to the full; pleasure should not be carried to excess." - Book of Li, aka Book of Rites or Record of Rites or Classic Rites NULL