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


At every word a reputation dies.


Believe that story false that ought not to be true.


Dead scandals form good subjects for dissection.


A man dishonored is worse than dead.


No scandal about Queen Elizabeth, I hope.


Her tea she sweetens, as she sips, with scandal.


Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea.


Praise undeserved is scandal in disguise.


On eagle’s wings immortal scandals fly, while virtue’s actions are but born and die.

Stephen Harvey.

If hours did not hang heavy, what would become of scandal?


There’s a lust in man, no charm can tame, of loudly publishing our neighbor’s shame.


Flavia, most tender of her own good name, is rather careless of a sister’s fame.


Ye prime adepts in scandal’s school, who rail by precept and detract by rule!


Skilled by a touch to deepen scandal’s tints with all the high mendacity of hints.


No particular scandal one can touch but it confounds the breather.


A cruel story runs on wheels, and every hand oils the wheels as they run.


The scandal of the world is what makes the offence; it is not sinful to sin in silence.


Scandal is the sport of its authors, the dread of fools, and the contempt of the wise.

W. B. Clulow.

Scandal has something so piquant, it is a sort of cayenne to the mind.


Convey a libel in a frown, and wink a reputation down.


  • He rams his quill with scandal and with scoff,
  • But ’tis so very foul, it won’t go off.
  • Young.

    Scandal, like a reptile crawling over a bright grass, leaves a trail and a stain.


    Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.


  • Detraction’s a bold monster and fears not
  • To wound the fame of princes if it find
  • But any blemish in their lives to work on.
  • Massinger.

    A good word is an easy obligation, but not to speak ill requires only our silence, which costs us nothing.


  • You know
  • That I do fawn on men, and hug them hard,
  • And after scandal them.
  • Shakespeare.

    If there is any person to whom you feel dislike, that is the person of whom you ought never to speak.


    A little scandal is an excellent thing; nobody is ever brighter or happier of tongue than when he is making mischief of his neighbors.


    Scandals are like dandelion seeds—they are arrow-headed, and stick where they fall, and bring forth and multiply fourfold.


    Scandal is what one-half the world takes pleasure in inventing, and the other half in believing.


    Many a wretch has rid on a hurdle who has done less mischief than utterers of forged tales, coiners of scandal, and clippers of reputation.


    The tale-bearer and the tale-hearer should be both hanged up, back to back, one by the tongue, the other by the ear.


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


    No one loves to tell of scandal except to him who loves to hear it. Learn, then, to rebuke and check the detracting tongue by showing that you do not listen to it with pleasure.

    St. Jerome.

  • Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
  • Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;
  • Alike reserv’d to blame, or to commend,
  • A tim’rous foe, and a suspicious friend.
  • Pope.

    Scandal breeds hatred; hatred begets division; division makes faction, aid faction brings ruin.


    No might nor greatness in mortality can censure escape; back-wounding calumny the whitest virtue strikes; what king so strong, can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?


  • Assail’d by scandal and the tongue of strife,
  • His only answer was a blameless life;
  • And he that forged, and he that threw the dart,
  • Had each a brother’s interest in his heart.
  • Cowper.

    I find great numbers of moderately good people who think it fine to talk scandal. They regard it as a sort of evidence of their own goodness.

    F. W. Faber.

    Socrates, when informed of some derogating speeches one had used concerning him behind his back, made only this facetious reply, “Let him beat me too when I am absent.”

    La Fontaine.

    It is a certain sign of an ill heart to be inclined to defamation. They who are harmless and innocent can have no gratification that way; but it ever arises from a neglect of what is laudable in a man’s self.


    There are a set of malicious, prating, prudent gossips, both male and female, who murder characters to kill time; and will rob a young fellow of his good name before he has years to know the value of it.


    Queen Mary had a way of interrupting tattle about elopements, duels, and play debts, by asking the tattlers, very quietly yet significantly, whether they had ever read her favorite sermon—Dr. Tillotson on Evil Speaking.


    It is not good to speak evil of all whom we know bad; it is worse to judge evil of any who may prove good. To speak ill upon knowledge shows a want of charity; to speak ill upon suspicion shows a want of honesty.


    Malice may empty her quiver, but cannot wound; the dirt will not stick, the jests will not take. Without the consent of the world, a scandal doth not go deep; it is only a slight stroke upon the injured party, and returneth with the greater force upon those that gave it.


    A tale of scandal is as fatal to the credit of a prudent lady as a fever is generally to those of the strongest constitutions. But there is a sort of puny, sickly reputation, that is always ailing, yet will wither the robuster characters of a hundred prudes.


    The improbability of a malicious story serves but to help forward the currency of it, because it increases the scandal. So that, in such instances, the world is like the pious St. Austin, who said he believed some things because they were absurd and impossible.


    As every one is pleased with imagining that he knows something not yet commonly divulged, secret history easily gains credit; but it is for the most part believed only while it circulates in whispers, and when once it is openly told, is openly refuted.

    Dr. Johnson.

    Tears are copiously showered over frailties the discoverer takes a malicious delight in circulating; and thus, all granite on one side of the heart, and all milk on the other, the unsexed scandal-monger hies from house to house, pouring balm from its weeping eyes on the wounds it inflicts with its stabbing tongue.


  • These are the spiders of society;
  • They weave their petty webs of lies and sneers,
  • And lie themselves in ambush for the spoil,
  • The web seems fair, and glitters in the sun,
  • And the poor victim winds him in the toil
  • Before he dreams of danger or of death.
  • L. E. Landon.

    It generally takes its rise either from an ill-will to mankind, a private inclination to make ourselves esteemed, an ostentation of wit, and vanity of being thought in the secrets of the world; or from a desire of gratifying any of these dispositions of mind in those persons with whom we converse.


  • The circle smil’d, then whisper’d, and then sneer’d;
  • The misses bridled, and the matrons frown’d;
  • Some hoped things might not turn out as they fear’d;
  • Some would not deem such women could be found;
  • Some ne’er believ’d one half of what they heard;
  • Some look’d perplex’d, and others look’d profound;
  • And several pitied, with sincere regret,
  • Poor Lord Augustus Fitz-Plantagenet.
  • Byron.

    Be deaf unto the suggestions of tale-bearers, calumniators, pick-thank or malevolent detractors, who, while quiet men sleep, sowing the tares of discord and division, distract the tranquillity of charity and all friendly society. These are the tongues that set the world on fire—cankerers of reputation, and, like that of Jonah’s gourd, wither a good name in a single night.

    Sir T. Browne.

  • The world with calumny abounds,
  • The whitest virtue slander wounds;
  • There are whose joy is, night and day,
  • To talk a character away:
  • Eager from rout to rout they haste,
  • To blast the generous and the chaste,
  • And hunting reputations down,
  • Proclaim their triumphs through the town
  • What mind’s in such a base employment
  • To feel the slightest self-enjoyment!
  • Pope.