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


Slander is the solace of malignity.


On Rumor’s tongue continual slanders ride.


Speak not evil one of another, brethren.


Slander is the balm of malignity.


There is no protection against slander.


Cut men’s throats with whisperings.

Ben Jonson.

Done to death by slanderous tongues.


No sword bites so fiercely as an evil tongue.

Sir P. Sidney.

  • I hate the man who builds his name
  • On ruins of another’s fame.
  • Gay.

    Read not my blemishes in the world’s report.


    A generous heart repairs a slanderous tongue.


    Slander is a complication, a comprisal and sum of all wickedness.


    Never throw mud. You may miss your mark, but you must have dirty hands.

    Joseph Parker.

  • Soft-buzzing Slander; silly moths that eat
  • An honest name.
  • Thomson.

    The tongue of slander is too prompt with wanton malice to wound the stranger.


    They talk as they are wont, not as I merit; traduce by custom, as most dogs do bark.

    Ben Jonson.

    Thou wrong’st a gentleman who is as far from thy report as thou from honor.


    Quick-circulating slanders mirth afford; and reputation bleeds in every word.


    Slander lives upon succession, forever housed where it gets possession.


    Calumny would soon starve and die of itself if nobody took it in and gave it lodging.


    Slander is the revenge of a coward, and dissimulation his defence.


    There would not be so many open mouths if there were not so many open ears.

    Bishop Hall.

    Slander meets no regard from noble minds; only the base believe what the base only utter.


    If slander be a snake, it is a winged one. It flies as well as creeps.

    Douglas Jerrold.

    The slander of some people is as great a recommendation as the praise of others.


    Slanderers do not hurt me, because they do not hit me.


    Where it concerns himself, who is angry at a slander makes it true.

    Ben Jonson.

    There is no slander in an allowed fool, though he do nothing but rail.


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

  • What have I done, that thou dar’st wag thy tongue
  • In noise so rude against me?
  • Shakespeare.

    Slander is a most serious evil; it implies two who do wrong, and one who is doubly wronged.


  • Does not the law of Heaven say blood for blood?
  • And he who taints kills more than he who sheds it.
  • Byron.

  • I am disgrac’d, impeach’d, and baffled here;
  • Pierc’d to the soul with slander’s venom’d spear.
  • Shakespeare.

  • One doth not know
  • How much an ill word may empoison liking.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Those who murder fame
  • Kill more than life destroyers.
  • Savage.

  • ’Twas slander filled her mouth with lying words;
  • Slander, the foulest whelp of Sin.
  • Pollok.

    A slander is like a hornet; if you cannot kill it dead the first blow, better not strike at it.

    H. W. Shaw.

    All slander must still be strangled in its birth, or time will soon conspire to make it strong enough to overcome the truth.

    Sir W. Davenant.

    When will talkers refrain from evil-speaking? When listeners refrain from evil-hearing.


    Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of Time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.


    Slander, whose whisper over the world’s diameter, as level as the cannon to its blank, transports his poisoned shot.


    The proper way to check slander is to despise it; attempt to overtake and refute it, and it will outrun you.

    Alex. Dumas.

    The best way is to slander Valentine with falsehood, cowardice, and poor descent,—three things that women highly hold in hate.


    There is nobody so weak of invention that cannot make some little stories to villify his enemy.


    As by flattery a man opens his bosom to his mortal enemy; so by detraction and slander he shuts the same to his best friends.


    Slander is a vice that strikes a double blow, wounding both him that commits and him against whom it is committed.


    When the tongue of slander stings thee, let this be thy comfort,—they are not the worst fruits on which the wasps alight.


    Remember, when incited to slander, that it is only he among you who is without sin that may cast the first stone.

    Hosea Ballou.

    The worthiest people are the most injured by slander, as we usually find that to be the best fruit which the birds have been pecking at.


    Set a watch over thy mouth, and keep the door of thy lips, for a tale-bearer is worse than a thief.


    Slander soaks into the mind as water into low and marshy places, where it becomes stagnant and offensive.


    It is always to be understood, that a lady takes all you detract from the rest of her sex to be a gift to her.


    Enemies carry about slander, not in the form in which it took its rise.***The scandal of men is everlasting; even then does it survive when you would suppose it to be dead.


    Curse the tongue whence slanderous rumor, like the adder’s drop, distils her venom, withering friendship’s faith, turning love’s favor.

    James A. Hillhouse.

    There are***robberies that leave man or woman forever beggared of peace and joy, yet kept secret by the sufferer.

    George Eliot.

  • If I can do it
  • By aught that I can speak in his dispraise,
  • She shall not long continue love to him.
  • Shakespeare.

  • It is a busy talking world,
  • That with licentious breath blows like the wind
  • As freely on the palace, as the cottage.
  • Rowe.

    Slander, in the strict meaning of the term, comes under the head of lying; but it is a kind of lying which, like its antithesis flattery, ought to be set apart for special censure.

    Washington Gladden.

    What is slander? A verdict of “guilty” pronounced in the absence of the accused, with closed doors, without defense or appeal, by an interested and prejudiced judge.

    Joseph Roux.

    Slugs crawl and crawl over our cabbages, like the world’s slander over a good name. You may kill them, it is true: but there is the slime.

    Douglas Jerrold.

  • Oh! many a shaft, at random sent,
  • Finds mark the archer little meant;
  • And many a word, at random spoken,
  • May soothe or wound a heart that’s broken.
  • Walter Scott.

    In all cases of slander, currency, whenever the forger of the lie is not to be found, the injured parties should have a right to come on any of the indorsers.


    Those men who carry about and who listen to accusations should all be hanged, if so it could be at my decision—the carriers by their tongues, the listeners by their ears.


    The surest method against scandal is to live it down by perseverance in well-doing, and by prayer to God that He would cure the distempered mind of those who traduce and injure us.


    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?


  • Fond of those hives where folly reigns,
  • And cards and scandal are the chains,
  • Where the pert virgin slights a name,
  • And scorns to redden into shame.
  • Swift.

    Slander is perhaps the only vice which no circumstance can palliate, as well as being one which we are most ingenious in concealing from ourselves.


    Believe nothing against another, but on good authority; nor report what may hurt another, unless it be a greater hurt to another to conceal it.

    William Penn.

    Slanderers are at all events economical for they make a little scandal go a great way, and rarely open their mouths except at the expense of other people.


  • There is a lust in man no charm can tame,
  • Of loudly publishing his neighbour’s shame;
  • On eagle’s wings immortal scandals fly;
  • While virtuous actions are but born and die.
  • Harvey.

  • The feeblest vermin can destroy,
  • As sure as stoutest beasts of prey;
  • And only with their eyes and breath
  • Infect, and poison men to death.
  • Butler.

  • Malicious slander never would have leisure
  • To search, with prying eyes, for faults abroad,
  • If all, like me, consider’d their own hearts,
  • And wept the sorrows which they found at home.
  • Rowe.

    It is a pretty general rule that the médisante is a termagant in her household; and as for our own sex, in nine cases out of ten, the evil tongue belongs to a disappointed man.


    What indulgence does the world extend to those evil-speakers who, under the mask of friendship, stab indiscriminately with the keen, though rusty blade of slander!

    Mme. Roland.

    Those who, without knowing us, think or speak evil of us, do no harm; it is not us they attack, but the phantom of their own imagination.

    La Bruyère.

    Life would be a perpetual flea-hunt if a man were obliged to run down all the innuendoes, inveracities, insinuations and suspicions which are uttered against him.


    Listen not to a tale-bearer or slanderer, for he tells thee nothing out of good-will; but as he discovereth of the secrets of others, so he will of thine in turn.


    There is nothing which wings its flight so swiftly as calumny, nothing which is uttered with more ease; nothing is listened to with more readiness, nothing dispersed more widely.


  • I will be hang’d, if some eternal villain,
  • Some busy and insinuating rogue,
  • Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office,
  • Have not devis’d this slander.
  • Shakespeare.

    If Parliament were to consider the sporting with reputation of as much importance as sporting on manors, and pass an act for the preservation of fame as well as game, there are many who would thank them for the bill.


    So fruitful is slander in variety of expedients to satiate as well as disguise itself. But if these smoother weapons cut so sore, what shall we say of open and unblushing scandal, subjected to no caution, tied down to no restraints?


    There is evil enough in man, God knows; but it is not the mission of every young man and woman to detail and report it all. Keep the atmosphere as pure as possible, and fragrant with gentleness and charity.

    John Hall.

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


  • Slander’d to death by villains,
  • That dare as well answer a man indeed
  • As I dare take a serpent by the tongue:
  • Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!
  • Shakespeare.

    If any one tells you that such a person speaks ill of you, do not make excuse about what is said of you, but answer: “He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone.”


  • The whisper’d tale,
  • That, like the fabling Nile, no fountain knows;
  • Fair-faced Deceit, whose wily conscious eye
  • Ne’er looks direct; the tongue that licks the dust,
  • But, when it safely dares, as prompt to sting.
  • Thomson.

    When a mean wretch cannot vie with another in virtue, out of his wickedness he begins to slander. The abject envious wretch will slander the virtuous man when absent, but when brought face to face his loquacious tongue becomes dumb.


  • Slander’s mark was ever yet the fair;
  • The ornament of beauty is suspect,
  • A crow that flies in heaven’s sweetest air,
  • So thou be good, slander doth but approve
  • Thy worth the greater.
  • Shakespeare.

  • We must not stint
  • Our necessary actions, in the fear
  • To cope malicious censurers; which ever,
  • As ravenous fishes, do a vessel follow
  • That is new trimm’d.
  • Shakespeare.

    If any speak ill of thee, flee home to thy own conscience, and examine thy heart: if thou be guilty, it is a just correction; if not guilty, it is a fair instruction: make use of both; so shalt thou distil honey out of gall, and out of an open enemy create a secret friend.


    Any one who is much talked of must be much maligned. This seems to be a harsh conclusion; but when you consider how much more given men are to depreciate than to appreciate, you will acknowledge that there is some truth in the saying.


    Slander is a poison which extinguishes charity, both in the slanderer and in the person who listens to it; so that a single calumny may prove fatal to an infinite number of souls; since it kills not only those who circulate it, but also all those who do not reject it.

    St. Bernard.

  • Whence proceeds this weight we lay
  • On what detracting people say?
  • Their utmost malice cannot make
  • Your head, or tooth, or finger ache;
  • Nor spoil your shapes, distort your face,
  • Or put one feature out of place.
  • Swift.

  • Slander,
  • Whose edge is sharper than the sword; whose tongue
  • Out-venoms all the worms of Nile; whose breath
  • Rides on the posting winds, and doth belie
  • All corners of the world: kings, queens, and states,
  • Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the grave
  • This viperous slander enters.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Skilled by a touch to deepen scandal’s tints,
  • With all the kind mendacity of hints,
  • While mingling truth with falsehood, sneers with smiles,
  • A thread of candor with a web of wiles;
  • A plain blunt show of briefly-spoken seeming,
  • To hide her bloodless heart’s soul-harden’d scheming;
  • A lap of lies, a face formed to conceal;
  • And, without feeling, mock at all who feel:
  • With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown,
  • A cheek of parchment, and an eye of stone.
  • Byron.

  • Nor do they trust their tongues alone,
  • But speak a language of their own;
  • Can read a nod, a shrug, a look,
  • Far better than a printed book;
  • Convey a libel in a frown,
  • And wink a reputation down;
  • Or, by the tossing of a fan,
  • Describe the lady and the man.
  • Swift.

    How frequently is the honesty and integrity of a man disposed of by a smile or shrug! How many good and generous actions have been sunk into oblivion by a distrustful look, or stamped with the imputation of proceeding from bad motives, by a mysterious and seasonable whisper!


    To be continually subject to the breath of slander will tarnish the purest virtue, as a constant exposure to the atmosphere will obscure the brightness of the finest gold; but in either case the real value of both continues the same, although the currency may be somewhat impeded.