Quotations about   eloquence

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Now and in the time to be, I think it will pay for you to zero in on being precise with your language. Try to build and treat your vocabulary the way you are to treat your checking account. Pay every attention to it and try to increase your earnings. The purpose here is not to boost your bedroom eloquence or your professional success — although those, too, can be consequences — nor is it to turn you into parlor sophisticates. The purpose is to enable you to articulate yourselves as fully and precisely as possible; in a word, the purpose is your balance.

Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) Russian-American poet, essayist, Nobel laureate, US Poet Laureate [Iosif Aleksandrovič Brodskij]
“Speech at the Stadium,” Commencement Address, University of Michigan (18 Dec 1988)
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Added on 1-Jun-21 | Last updated 1-Jun-21
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Many perform the foulest deeds and rehearse the fairest words.

[Πολλοὶ δρῶντες τὰ αἴσχιστα λόγους ἀρίστους ἀσκέουσιν.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 53a (Diels) [tr. Barnes (1987)]
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Diels citation "53a. (122 b N.) DEMOKRATES. 19.2. (Stob. II, 15, 33)" Bakewell lists this under "The Golden Sayings of Democritus." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter.

Alternate translations:

  • "Many who do the basest deeds can make most learned speeches." [tr. Bakewell (1907)]
  • "Many whose actions are most disgraceful practise the best utterances." [tr. Freeman (1948)].
  • "Many who do the worst things prepare the best speeches." [@sentantiq (2020), fr. 54]
Added on 9-Mar-21 | Last updated 9-Mar-21
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Many who have not learned wisdom live wisely.

[Πολλοὶ λόγον μὴ μαθόντες ζῶσι κατὰ λόγον. ]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 53 (Diels) [tr. Bakewell, 1907)]
    (Source)

Diels citation "53. (122a N.) DEMOKRATES. 19.1."; collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium II, 15, 33. Often combined with fragment 53a. Bakewell lists this under "The Golden Sayings of Democritus." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter.

Alternate translations:

  • "Many who have not learnt Reason, nevertheless live according to reason." [tr. Freeman (1948)].
  • "Many live according to reason even if they have not learned it." [tr. @sentantiq (2020)]
  • "Many do not learn reason but live in accordance with reason." [tr. Barnes (1987)]
Added on 29-Dec-20 | Last updated 23-Feb-21
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As the stamp of great minds is to suggest much in a few words, so, contrariwise, little minds have the gift of talking a great deal and saying nothing.

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims], #142 (1665) [tr. Tancock (1959)]
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Added on 15-Mar-17 | Last updated 15-Mar-17
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He cannot speak well, that cannot hold his Tongue.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #1820 (1732)
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Added on 25-Sep-14 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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You are eloquent enough if truth speaks through you.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 861 [tr. Lyman (1862)]
Added on 19-Nov-09 | Last updated 20-Feb-17
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We must not conclude merely upon a man’s haranguing upon liberty, and using the charming sound, that he is fit to be trusted with the liberties of his country. It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty, — to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves.

Samuel Adams (1722-1803) American revolutionary, statesman
Essay, The Advertiser (1748)
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Added on 16-Jul-08 | Last updated 29-Sep-16
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Action is eloquence.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Coriolanus, Act 3, sc. 2, l. 76 (1609)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 24-May-16
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