Speech is an arrangement of notes that will never be played again.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940) American Novelist
Human speech is like a cracked tin kettle, on which we hammer out tunes to make bears to dance when we long to move the stars.
—Gustave Flaubert (1821–80) French Novelist, Playwright, Short Story Writer
Such as thy words are, such will thine affections be esteemed; and such as thine affections, will be thy deeds; and such as thy deeds will be thy life.
—Socrates (469BCE–399BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher
A constant governance of our speech, according to duty and reason, is a high instance and a special argument of a thoroughly sincere and solid goodness.
It was justly said by Themistocles that speech is like tapestry unfolded, where the imagery appears distinct; but thoughts, like tapestry in the bale, where the figures are rolled up together.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
Speak when you are angry—and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.
—Laurence J. Peter (1919–90) Canadian-born American Educator, Author
We have as many planes of speech as does a painting planes of perspective which create perspective in a phrase. The most important word stands out most vividly defined in the very foreground of the sound plane. Less important words create a series of deeper planes.
—Constantin Stanislavski (1863–1938) Russian Actor, Theater Personality
Speak but little and well if you would be esteemed a man of merit.
—Richard Chenevix Trench (1807–86) Irish Prelate, Philologist, Poet
Nothing is more silly than the pleasure some people take in “speaking their minds.” A man of this make will say a rude thing, for the mere pleasure of saying it, when an opposite behavior, full as innocent, might have preserved his friend, or made his fortune.
—Richard Steele (1672–1729) Irish Writer, Politician
Speech is oft repented, silence never
There are three things that ought to be considered before some things are spoken,—the manner, the place, and the time.
—Robert South (1634–1716) English Theologian, Preacher
Most men make little use of their speech than to give evidence against their own understanding.
—George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax (1633–95) British Statesman, Writer, Politician
Sheridan once said of some speech, in his acute, sarcastic way, that “it contained a great deal both of what was new and what was true; but that what was new was not true, and what was true was not new.”
—William Hazlitt (1778–1830) English Essayist
We seldom repent of speaking little, very often of speaking too much; a vulgar and trite maxim, which all the world knows, but which all the world does not practise.
—Jean de La Bruyere (1645–96) French Satiric Moralist, Author
The common fluency of speech in many men, and most women, is owing to a scarcity of matter and a scarcity of words; for whoever is a master of language and has a mind full of ideas, will be apt in speaking to hesitate upon the choice of both; whereas common speakers have only one set of ideas, and one set of words to clothe them in; and these are always ready at the mouth; so people come faster out of a church when it is almost empty, than when a crowd is at the door.
—Jonathan Swift (1667–1745) Irish Satirist
Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.
—Salman Rushdie (b.1947) Indian-born British Novelist
Silence is also speech.
Only good words should be spoken, never evil ones. Uttering good words is profitable. One who utters evil words will have to regret.
Speech of yourself ought to be seldom and well chosen.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
Better pointed bullets than pointed speeches.
—Otto von Bismarck (1815–98) German Chancellor, Prime Minister
Never rise to speak till you have something to say; and when you have said it, cease.
—John Witherspoon (1723–94) Scottish-American Presbyterian Theologian
There are remarks that sow and remarks that reap.
—Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) Austrian-born British Philosopher
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
—The Holy Bible Scripture in the Christian Faith
Wilson was once asked how long it took him to write a speech. He answered, ‘That depends. If I am to speak 10 minutes, I need a week for preparation. If 15 minutes, 3 days. If half hour, two days. If an hour, I am ready now.’
—Woodrow Wilson (1856–1924) American Head of State
The public improves the speaker’s speech.
A witty saying proves nothing.
—Voltaire (1694–1778) French Philosopher, Author
Listening to someone talk isn’t at all like listening to their words played over on a machine. What you hear when you have a face before you is never what you hear when you have before you a winding tape.
—Oriana Fallaci (1929–2006) Italian Journalist, Historian
Speech is the twin of my vision, it is unequal to measure itself, it provokes me forever, it says sarcastically, Walt you contain enough, why don’t you let it out then?
—Walt Whitman (1819–92) American Poet, Essayist, Journalist, American, Poet, Essayist, Journalist
He ‘collects evil with his own mouth’ when he praises one who should be blamed or blames one who should be praised. Such a person will thereby never find happiness.