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William Penn. (1644–1718). Fruits of Solitude.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Part II

Of Conduct in Speech

117. Enquire often, but Judge rarely, and thou wilt not often be mistaken.

118. It is safer to Learn, than teach; and who conceals his Opinion, has nothing to Answer for.

119. Vanity or Resentment often engage us, and ’t is two to one but we come off Losers; for one shews a Want of Judgment and Humility, as the other does of Temper and Discretion.

120. Not that I admire the Reserved; for they are next to Unnatural that are not Communicable. But if Reservedness be at any Time a Virtue, ’t is in Throngs or ill Company.

121. Beware also of Affectation in Speech; it often wrongs Matter, and ever shows a blind Side.

122. Speak properly, and in as few Words as you can, but always plainly; for the End of Speech is not Ostentation, but to be understood.

123. They that affect Words more than Matter, will dry up that little they have.

124. Sense never fails to give them that have it, Words enough to make them understood.

125. But it too often happens in some Conversations, as in Apothecary-Shops, that those Pots that are Empty, or have things of Small Value in them, are as gaudily Dress’d and Flourish’d, as those that are full of precious Drugs.

126. This Laboring of slight Matter with flourish’d Turns of Expression, is fulsome, and worse than the Modern Imitation of Tapestry, and East-India Goods, in Stuffs and Linnens. In short, ’t is but Taudry Talk, and next to very Trash.