Quotations about:
    rumor


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          Rumor, quicksilver afoot
and swift on the wing, a monster, horrific, huge
and under every feather on her body — what a marvel —
an eye that never sleeps and as many tongues as eyes
and as many raucous mouths and ears pricked up for news.
By night she flies aloft, between the earth and sky,
whirring across the dark, never closing her lids
in soothing sleep. By day she keeps her watch,
crouched on a peaked roof or palace turret,
terrorizing the great cities, clinging as fast
to her twisted lies as she clings to words of truth.

[… [P]edibus celerem et pernicibus alis,
monstrum horrendum, ingens, cui, quot sunt corpore plumae
tot vigiles oculi subter, mirabile dictu,
tot linguae, totidem ora sonant, tot subrigit aures.
Nocte volat caeli medio terraeque per umbram,
stridens, nec dulci declinat lumina somno;
luce sedet custos aut summi culmine tecti,
turribus aut altis, et magnas territat urbes;
tam ficti pravique tenax, quam nuntia veri.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 4, l. 180ff (4.180-188) (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006), l. 226ff]
    (Source)

The personification of "Rumor" (Fame, or Fama). (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Swift is her walk, more swift her winged haste:
A monstrous phantom, horrible and vast.
As many plumes as raise her lofty flight,
So many piercing eyes enlarge her sight;
Millions of opening mouths to Fame belong,
And ev'ry mouth is furnish'd with a tongue,
And round with list'ning ears the flying plague is hung.
She fills the peaceful universe with cries;
No slumbers ever close her wakeful eyes;
By day, from lofty tow'rs her head she shews,
And spreads thro' trembling crowds disastrous news;
With court informers haunts, and royal spies;
Things done relates, not done she feigns, and mingles truth with lies.
Talk is her business, and her chief delight
To tell of prodigies and cause affright.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Swift to move with feet and persevering wings: a monster hideous, immense; who (wondrous to relate!) for as many plumes as are in her body, numbers so many wakeful eyes beneath, so many tongues, so many babblingmouths, pricks up so many listening ears. By night, through the mid regions of the sky, and through the shades of earth, she flies buzzing, nor inclines her eyes to balmy rest. Watchful by day, she perches either on some high house-top, or on lofty turrets, and fills mighty cities with dismay; as obstinately bent on falsehood and iniquity as on reporting truth.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

... With feet and rapid wings for flight.
Huge, terrible, gigantic Fame!
For every plume that clothes her frame
An eye beneath the feather peeps,
A tongue rings loud, an ear upleaps.
Hurtling 'twixt earth and heaven she flies
By night, nor bows to sleep her eyes:
Perched on a roof or tower by day
She fills great cities with dismay;
How oft soe'er the truth she tell,
She loves a falsehood all too well.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

With nimble feet, and swift persistent wings,
A monster huge and terrible is she.
As many feathers as her body bears,
So many watchful eyes beneath them lurk,
So many tongues and mouths, and ears erect.
By night 'twixt heaven and earth she flies, through shades,
With rushing wings, nor shuts her eyes in sleep.
By day she watches from the roofs or towers;
And the great cities fills with haunting fears;
As prone to crime and falsehood as to truth ...
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 236ff]

Fleet-footed and swift of wing, ominous, awful, vast; for every feather on her body is a waking eye beneath, wonderful to tell, and a tongue, and as many loud lips and straining ears. By night she flits between sky and land, shrilling through the dusk, and droops not her lids in sweet slumber; in daylight she sits on guard upon tall towers or the ridge of the house-roof, and makes great cities afraid; obstinate in perverseness and forgery no less than messenger of truth.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Swift are her wings to cleave the air, swift-foot she treads the earth:
A monster dread and huge, on whom so many as there lie
The feathers, under each there lurks, O strange! a watchful eye;
And there wag tongues, and babble mouths, and hearkening ears upstand
As many: all a-dusk by night she flies 'twixt sky and land
Loud clattering, never shutting eye in rest of slumber sweet.
By day she keepeth watch high-set on houses of the street,
Or on the towers aloft she sits for mighty cities' fear!
And lies and ill she loves no less than sooth which she must bear.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Swift-winged, swift-footed, of enormous girth,
Huge, horrible, deformed, a giantess from birth.
As many feathers as her form surround,
Strange sight! peep forth so many watchful eyes,
So many mouths and tattling tongues resound,
So many ears among the plumes uprise.
By night with shrieks 'twixt heaven and earth she flies,
Nor suffers sleep her eyelids to subdue;
By day, the terror of great towns, she spies
From towers and housetops, perched aloft in view,
Fond of the false and foul, yet herald of the true.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 23-24, l. 206ff]

Feet swift to run and pinions like the wind
the dreadful monster wears; her carcase huge
is feathered, and at root of every plume
a peering eye abides; and, strange to tell,
an equal number of vociferous tongues,
foul, whispering lips, and ears, that catch at all.
At night she spreads midway 'twixt earth and heaven
her pinions in the darkness, hissing loud,
nor e'er to happy slumber gives her eyes:
but with the morn she takes her watchful throne
high on the housetops or on lofty towers,
to terrify the nations. She can cling
to vile invention and malignant wrong,
or mingle with her word some tidings true.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Swift of foot and fleet of wing, a monster awful and huge, who for the many feathers in her body has as many watchful eyes below -- wondrous to tell -- as many tongues, as many sounding mouths, as many pricked-up ears. By night, midway between heaven and earth, she flies through the gloom, screeching, nor droops her eyes in sweet sleep; by day she sits on guard on high roof-top or lofty turrets, and affrights great cities, clinging to the false and wrong, yet heralding truth.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Swift of foot,
Deadly of wing, a huge and terrible monster,
With an eye below each feather in her body,
A tongue, a mouth, for every eye, and ears
Double that number; in the night she flies
Above the earth, below the sky, in shadow
Noisy and shrill; her eyes are never closed
In slumber; and by day she perches, watching
From tower or battlement, frightening great cities.
She heralds truth, and clings to lies and falsehood,
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

A swift-footed creature, a winged angel of ruin,
A terrible, grotesque monster, each feather upon whose body --
Incredible though it sounds -- has a sleepless eye beneath it,
And for every eye she has also a tongue, a voice and a pricked ear.
At night she flits midway between earth and sky, through the gloom
Screeching, and never closes her eyelids in sweet slumber:
By day she is perched like a look-out either upon a roof-top
Or some high turret; so she terrorises whole cities,
Loud-speaker of truth, hoarder of mischievous falsehood, equally.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Fast-footed
and lithe of wing, she is a terrifying
enormous monster with as many feathers
as she has sleepless eyes beneath each feather
(amazingly), as many sounding tongues
and mouths, and raises up as many ears.
Between the earth and skies she flies by night,
screeching across the darkness, and she never
closes her eyes in gentle sleep. By day
She sits as sentinel on some steep roof
or on high towers, frightening vast cities;
for she holds fast to falsehood and distortion
as often as to messages of truth.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 237ff]

... [G]iving her speed on foot and on the wing:
Monstrous, deformed, titanic. Pinioned, with
An eye beneath for every body feather,
And, strange to say, as many tongues and buzzing
Mouths as eyes, as many pricked-up ears,
By night she flies between the earth and heaven
Shrieking through darkness, and she never turns
Her eye-lids down to sleep. by day she broods,
On the alert, on rooftops or on towers,
Bringing great cities fear, harping on lies
And slander evenhandedly with truth.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 248ff]

Rumour is quick of foot and swift on the wing, a huge and terrible monster, and under every feather of her body, strange to tell, there lies an eye that never sleeps, a mouth and a tongue that are never silent, and an ear always pricked. by night she flies between earth and sky, squawking through the darkness, and never lowers her eyelids in sweet sleep. By day she keeps watch perched on the tops of gables or on high towers and causes fear in great cities, holding fast to her lies and distortions as often as she tells the truth.
[tr. West (1990)]

Fast on her feet, her beating wings a blur,
She is a dread, looming monster. Under every feather
On her body she has -- strange to say -- a watchful eye,
A tongue, a shouting mouth, and pricked-up ears.
By night she wheels through the dark skies, screeching,
And never closes her shining eyes in sleep.
By day she perches on rooftops or towers,
Watching, and she throws whole cities into panic,
As much a hardened liar as a herald of truth.
[tr. Lombardo (2005), l. 205ff]

Her feet are swift and her wings are hateful,
A dread creation whose huge body bristles with feathers.
And beneath them all are watchful eyes, chilling to describe
And as many tongues within whispering mouths and between attentive ears.
At night she flights mid-sky and over the shadowed earth,
Hissing, refusing to rest her eyes in sweet sleep.
At day she stands guard at the highest roof-peak
Or on looming towers as she brings the cities terror.
She sticks at times to base lies and other times to truth.
[tr. @sentantiq (2015)]

She's fast of foot and fleet of wing, a huge horrific monster. Under all her feathers lurk (amazingly) as many watching eyes and tongues, as many talking mouths and pricked-up ears. She flies by night, between the sky and earth, screeching through the dark. Her eyes don't close in welcome sleep. By day she perches as a lookout on high roofs or towers and alarms great cities. She's as fond of fiction and perversity as truth.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
Added on 29-Jun-22 | Last updated 29-Jun-22
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More quotes by Virgil

Rumor! What evil can surpass her speed?
In movement she grows mighty, and achieves
strength and dominion as she swifter flies.
small first, because afraid, she soon exalts
her stature skyward, stalking through the lands
and mantling in the clouds her baleful brow.

[Fama, malum qua non aliud velocius ullum;
Mobilitate viget, virisque adquirit eundo;
Parva metu primo; mox sese attollit in auras,
Ingrediturque solo, et caput inter nubila condit.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 4, l. 174ff (4.174-177) (29-19 BC) [tr. Williams (1910)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Fame, the great ill, from small beginnings grows:
Swift from the first; and ev'ry moment brings
New vigor to her flights, new pinions to her wings.
Soon grows the pigmy to gigantic size;
Her feet on earth, her forehead in the skies.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Fame, than whom no pest is more swift, by exerting her agility grows more active, and acquires strength on her way : small at first through fear; soon she shoots up into the skies, and stalks along the ground, while she hides her head among the clouds.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Fame than who never plague that runs
     Its way more swiftly wins:
Her very motion lends her power:
She flies and waxes every hour.
At first she shrinks, and cowers for dread:
     Ere long she soars on high:
Upon the ground she plants her tread,
     Her forehead in the sky.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Rumor, than whom no evil is more swift.
She grows by motion, gathers strength by flight.
Small at the first, through fear, soon to the skies
She lifts herself. She walks upon the ground.
And hides her head in clouds.
[tr. Cranch (1872)]

Rumour, than whom none other is more swift to mischief; she thrives on restlessness and gains strength by going: at first small and timorous; soon she lifts herself on high and paces the ground with head hidden among the clouds.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Rumour, of whom nought swifter is of any evil thing:
She gathereth strength by going on, and bloometh shifting oft!
A little thing, afraid at first, she springeth soon aloft;
Her feet are on the worldly soil, her head the clouds o'erlay.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Fame, far the swiftest of all mischiefs bred;
Speed gives her force; she strengthens as she flies.
Small first through fear, she lifts a loftier head,
Her forehead in the clouds, on earth her tread.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 23, ll. 200-204]

Rumour of all evils the most swift. Speed lends her strength, and she wins vigour as she goes; small at first through fear, soon she mounts up to heaven, and walks the ground with head hidden in the clouds.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Rumor
Than whom no other evil was ever swifter.
She thrives on motion and her own momentum;
Tiny at first in fear, she swells, colossal
In no time, walks on earth, but her head is hidden
Among the clouds.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Rumour, the swiftest traveller of all the ills on earth,
Thriving on movement, gathering strength as it goes; at the start
A small and cowardly thing, it soon puffs itself up,
And walking upon the ground, buries its head in the cloud-base.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Rumor,
whose life is speed, whose going gives her force.
Timid and small at first, she soon lifts up
her body in the air. She stalks the ground;
her head is hidden in the clouds.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 230ff]

Rumor
Thrives on motion, stronger for the running,
Lowly at first through fear, then rearing high,
She treads the land and hides her head in cloud.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 241ff]

Of all the ills there are, Rumour is the swiftest. She thrives on movement and gathers strength as she goes. From small and timorous beginnings she soon lifts herself up into the air, her feet still on the ground and her head hidden in the clouds.
[tr. West (1990)]

Rumor, the swiftest of evils. She thrives on speed
And gains power as she goes. Small and timid at first,
She grows quickly, and though her feet touch the ground
Her head is hidden in the clouds.
[tr. Lombardo (2005), l. 199ff]

Rumor, swiftest of all the evils in the world.
She thrives on speed, stronger for every stride,
slight with fear at first, soon soaring into the air
she treads the ground and hides her head in the clouds.
[tr. Fagles (2006), l. 220ff]

Rumor, no other evil can move more quickly:
She grows with speed and acquires strength in motion,
At first, she is small from fear, but soon she raises herself to the sky
and walks onto the land hiding her head among the clouds.
[tr. @sentantiq (2015)]

Rumor, swiftest of all evil; she thrives on speed and gains strength as she goes. At first she's small and scared, but soon she rears to the skies, her feet still on the ground, her head hidden in the clouds.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
Added on 22-Jun-22 | Last updated 22-Jun-22
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The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Paraphrase)
    (Source)

This was based on a statement Mark Twain made to a British correspondent of the New York Journal (in some incorrect versions the New York Evening Sun) who tracked him down in London upon reports in America that Twain was dying there. Twain wrote out a note saying, "James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine, was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London but is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness; the report of my death was an exaggeration." This response was published 2 June 1897, and the longhand note is still preserved.

In 1906, Twain recalled the incident for his memoir that he told the reporter, "Say the report is exaggerated." On retyping the manuscript some months later, he scribbled the word "greatly" in front of "exaggerated," and it was published that way in The North American Review.

In Albert B. Paine's Mark Twain, a Biography, Vol. 2, ch. 197 (1912), the story is that Twain told the correspondent, "Just say the report of my death has been grossly exaggerated."

Further discussion:
 
Added on 2-Feb-22 | Last updated 2-Feb-22
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Besides, there are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever, and one of them is that he has taken to drink.

Booth Tarkington (1869-1946) American novelist and dramatist
Penrod, ch. 10 (1914)
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Added on 25-Jan-16 | Last updated 25-Jan-16
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The guilty think all talk is of themselves.

Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343-1400) English poet, philosopher, astronomer, diplomat
The Canterbury Tales, “The Canon’s Yeoman’s Prologue” (1390?) [tr. Coghill (1951)]
 
Added on 9-Nov-15 | Last updated 9-Nov-15
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Believe nothing against another but upon good Authority: Nor report what may hurt another, unless it be a greater hurt to others to conceal it.

Penn - rumors - wist_info

William Penn (1644-1718) English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, statesman
Some Fruits of Solitude, #145 (1693)
 
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Let us believe neither half of the good people tell us of ourselves, nor half the evil they say of others.

Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn (1792-1870) French-Swiss poet
(Attributed)
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MAL: I would appreciate it if one person on this boat would not assume I’m an evil, lecherous hump.

ZOE: No one’s saying that, sir.

WASH: Yeah, we’re pretty much just giving each other significant glances and laughing incessantly.

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Firefly, 1×06 “Our Mrs. Reynolds” (2 Oct 2002)
 
Added on 26-Mar-15 | Last updated 26-Mar-15
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Any man who attains a high place among you, from the President downwards, may date his downfall from that moment; for any printed lie that any notorious villain pens, although it militate directly against the character and conduct of a life, appeals at once to your distrust, and is believed. You will strain at a gnat in the way of trustfulness and confidence, however fairly won and well deserved; but you will swallow a whole caravan of camels, if they be laden with unworthy doubts and mean suspicions. Is this well, think you, or likely to elevate the character of the governors or the governed among you?

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) English writer and social critic
American Notes, ch. 18 (1842)
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Every whisper of infamy is industriously circulated, every hint of suspicion eagerly improved, and every failure of conduct joyfully published by those whose interest it is that the eye and voice of the public should be employed on any rather than themselves.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, #76 (8 Dec 1750)
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Added on 12-Jul-13 | Last updated 26-Jun-22
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Hey, if you can’t trust an unsigned and untraceable bit of netlore, what can you place your faith in?

Barbara Mikkelson (b. 1959) American urban folklorist
“Can Altoids mints enhance your sexual experience?” Snopes.com (1997)
    (Source)

While the article is currently bylined top and bottom by David Mikkelson, it is internally bylined by Barbara. The two divorced in 2014.
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Nov-21
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Either a good or a bad reputation outruns and gets before people wherever they go.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to Solomon Dayrolles (23 Dec 1848)
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THE DOCTOR: Would you like a jelly baby?
LEELA: It’s true then! They say the Evil One eats babies.
THE DOCTOR: You mustn’t believe all they say.

Chris Boucher (b. 1943) British TV screenwriter, script editor
Doctor Who, “The Face of Evil,” Part 1 (1 Jan 1977)
 
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The widespread interest in gossip is inspired, not by a love of knowledge, but by malice: no one gossips about other people’s secret virtues, but only about their secret vices. Accordingly most gossip is untrue, but care is taken not to verify it. Our neighbour’s sins, like the consolations of religion, are so agreeable that we do not stop to scrutinize the evidence closely.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Aims of Education” (1929)
    (Source)

Usually shortened to "No one gossips about other people's secret virtues."
 
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