C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


Cutting honest throats by whispers.

Walter Scott.

Something of calumny always sticks.

C. Boileau.

Calumny is only the noise of madmen.


Virtue itself escapes not calumnious strokes.


There are calumnies against which even innocence loses courage.


To persevere in one’s duty and to be silent is the best answer to calumny.


Back-wounding calumny the whitest virtue strikes.


Do you never look at yourself when you abuse another person?


Calumny will sear virtue itself; these shrugs, these hums and ha’s.


Those who ought to be secure from calumny are generally those who avoid it least.


Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny.


One triumphs over calumny only by disdaining it.

Mme. de Maintenon.

There are persons always standing ready to believe a scandal.


Nothing is so swift as calumny; nothing is more easily uttered; nothing more readily received; nothing more widely dispersed.


I never think it necessary to repeat calumnies; they are sparks, which, if you do not blow them, will go out of themselves.


Neglected, calumny soon expires; show that you are hurt, and you give it the appearance of truth.


  • False praise can please, and calumny affright
  • None but the vicious, and the hypocrite.
  • Horace.

    If the calumniator bespatters and belies me, I will endeavor to convince him by my life and manners, but not by being like him.


    Calumny is a vice of curious constitution; trying to kill it keeps it alive; leave it to itself and it will die a natural death.

    Thomas Paine.

    His calumny is not only the greatest benefit a rogue can confer on us, but the only service he will perform for nothing.


    A single seed of fact will produce in a season or two a harvest of calumnies; but sensible men will pay no attention to them.


    The upright, if he suffer calumny to move him, fears the tongue of man more than the eye of God.


    He that lends an easy and credulous ear to calumny is either a man of very ill morals or has no more sense and understanding than a child.


    I am beholden to calumny, that she hath so endeavored and taken pains to belie me. It shall make me set a surer guard on myself, and keep a better watch upon my actions.

    Ben Jonson.

    A nickname a man may chance to wear out; but a system of calumny, pursued by a faction, may descend even to posterity. This principle has taken full effect on this state favorite.

    Isaac Disraeli.

    Calumny is like the wasp which worries you, and which it is not best to try to get rid of unless you are sure of slaying it; for otherwise it returns to the charge more furious than ever.


    The men who convey and those who listen to calumnies should, if I could have my way, all hang, the tale-bearers by their tongues, the listeners by their ears.


    Calumny crosses oceans, scales mountains and traverses deserts, with greater ease than the Scythian Abaris, and like him, rides upon a poisoned arrow.


  • No might nor greatness in mortality
  • Can censure ’scape; back-wounding calumny
  • The whitest virtue strikes: what king so strong
  • Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?
  • Shakespeare.

    The calumniator is like the dragon that pursued a woman, but, not being able to overtake her, opened his mouth and threw a flood after her to drown her.

    Edward Blunt.

    I never listen to calumnies, because if they are untrue I run the risk of being deceived, and if they be true, of hating persons not worth thinking about.


    The pure in heart are slow to credit calumnies, because they hardly comprehend what motives can be inducements to the alleged crimes.

    Jane Porter.

    Close thine ear against him that shall open his mouth secretly against another; if thou receive not his words, they fly back and wound the reporter; if thou receive them, they flee forward and wound the receiver.


    Calumniators are those who have neither good hearts nor good understandings. We ought not to think ill of any one till we have palpable proof; and even then we should not expose them to others.


    Like the tiger, that seldom desists from pursuing man after having once preyed upon human flesh, the reader who has once gratified his appetite with calumny makes ever after the most agreeable feast upon murdered reputations!


    The celebrated Boerhaave, who had many enemies, used to say that he never thought it necessary to repeat their calumnies. “They are sparks,” said he, “which, if you do not blow them, will go out of themselves.”


    It is like the Greek fire used in ancient warfare, which burnt unquenched beneath the water; or like the weeds which, when you have extirpated them in one place, are sprouting forth vigorously in another spot, at the distance of many hundred yards; or, to use the metaphor of St. James, it is like the wheel which catches fire as it goes, and burns with fiercer conflagration as its own speed increases.

    F. W. Robertson.

    Calumny is a monstrous vice: for, where parties indulge in it, there are always two that are actively engaged in doing wrong, and one who is subject to injury. The calumniator inflicts wrong by slandering the absent; he who gives credit to the calumny before he has investigated the truth is equally implicated. The person traduced is doubly injured—first by him who propagates, and secondly by him who credits the calumny.