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A sharp tongue is the only edge tool that grows keener with constant use. [Washington Irving, in Rip Van Winkle.]

Say What?

Words can destroy. What we call each other ultimately becomes what we think of each other, and it matters. [Jeane Kirkpatrick]

The stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones. Many have fallen by the edge of the sword: But not so many as have fallen by the tongue. [The Bible, Ecclesiastes 28:17].

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me. [Better known opposite, oft-repeated childhood jingle, origins unknown.]

And Another Set

Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact - it is silence which isolates. [Thomas Mann]

Talking is like playing on the harp; there is as much in laying the hands on the strings to stop the vibrations as in twanging them to bring out their music. [ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.]

Silence is golden. [Anonymous]

And One More

The toes of human voices are mightier than strings or brass to move the soul. [Klopstock]

Be a craftsman in speech than thou mayest be strong, for the strength of one is the tongue and speech is mightier than fighting. [Maxims of Ptahhotep]

The voice is nothing but beaten air. [ Seneca]

Heard 'round the world
Mischief all comes from much opening of the mouth. [Chinese proverb]

Never trust a woman with a man's voice. [ French proverb]

Save your breath to cool your porridge. [ proverb]

One orator in a family, nay, even in a city, is enough. [Cicero]

Twain says...

It usually takes more than 3 weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.

In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.

As Noted by Singers

Early on, I was only worried about singing the notes right...then, I found out few people are as critical about singing as I am. [Mariah Carey]

Opera, Rossini once said, is voice, voice, voice. He was wrong. Opera is music and drama. I'm prepared to sacrifice the beautiful note for the meaningful sound any time. [Beverly Sills]

The singing man keeps his shop in his throat. [Thomas Fuller]

The requisites of a singer - a big chest, a big mouth, ninety percent memory, ten percent intelligence, lots of hard work and something in the heart. [Enrico Caruso]

On Public Speaking

I take the view, and always have done, that if you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it. [ Lord Brabazon of Tara]

An after-dinner speech should be like a lady's dress - long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting. [ R. A. Butler]

Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, abstains from giving us wordy evidence of the fact. [George Eliot]

Why doesn't the fellow who says, "I'm no speechmaker" let it go at that instead of giving a demonstration? [Frank McKinney Hubbard]

Second wind: what a speaker gets when he says, "in conclusion..."[Anonymous]

The human brain is a wonderful thing. It starts working the moment you are born, and never stops until you stand up to speak in public. [Anonymous]

Three things matter in a speech: who says it, how he says it and what he says - and, of the 3, the last matters least. [John Morley]

Lyrically Said

My voice goes after what my eyes cannot reach,
With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds.
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]

Like music on the waters
Is thy sweet voice to me. [ Lord Byron]

I will speak in a monstrous little voice[ William Shakespeare, A Mid-Summer Night's Dream]

Your voice at times a fist
Tight in your throat
Jabs ceaselessly at phantoms
In the room. [Maya Angelou]

They voice-my own affrights me with its echoes [Congreve]

I thank you for your voices: thank you: Your most sweet voices. [ William Shakespeare]

The devil hath not, in all his quiver's choice,
An arrow for the heart like a sweet voice [ Byron]

Mend your speech a little,
Lest it may mar your fortunes. [William Shakespeare, King Lear]

Political Speech

A sophistical rhetorician, inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity. [Benjamin Disraeli]

His voice is his great weapon. It is not an orator's voice. It is husky and sometimes it fades to a whisper. Meanwhile, it is extraordinarily intimate. Mr. Reagan does not speak to audiences, he speaks to individuals. [New York Times, October 9, 1984]

If a man is a fool the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking. [Woodrow Wilson]

You have all the characteristics of a popular politician: a horrible voice, bad breeding, and a vulgar manner. [Aristophanes]

Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. [ Theodore Roosevelt]

Girl Talk

Women cure all their sorrows by talking. [Jean Paul Richter]

The reason there are so few women after-dinner speakers is because few can wait that long. [Anonymous]

A woman, generally speaking, is generally speaking. [Anonymous]

Well Said

Regard your voice as capital in the bank...sing on your interest and your voice will last. [Lauritz Melchior]

The true use of speech is not so much to express our wants as to conceal them. [Oliver Goldsmith]

That fine God-given instrument - the voice - must be capable of responding with the greatest subtlety to every shade of emotion. [ Lotte Lehman]

Let your speech by always with grace seasoned with salt. [ Colossians]

Speech is a mirror of the soul: as man speaks, so he is. [ Publilius Syrius]

Said Well

Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak and to speak well, are two things. [Ben Jonson]

The worst of men is he whose tongue is mightier than his mind. [Moses Ebn Ezra]

All the intelligence and talent in the world can't make a singer. The voice is a wild thing. It can't be bred in captivity. [Willa Cather]

There is no index of character so sure as the voice. [ Benjamin Disraeli]

Spartans, stoics, heroes, saints and gods use a short and positive speech. [ Ralph Waldo Emerson]

Speak little do much. [ Benjamin Franklin]

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