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SLANDER
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[ Also see Abuse Accusation Babblers Busybodies Calumny Detraction Falsehood Flattery Gossip Humor Injury Insult Lying Malice Names Praise Reputation Ridicule Rumor Satire Scandal Speech Talk Tattling Tongue Words ]

What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue
  In noise so rude against me?
      - William Shakespeare

No, 'tis slander,
  Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue
    Outvenoms all the worms of Nile, whose breath
      Rides on the posting winds and doth belie
        All corners of the world. Kings, queens. and states,
          Maids, matrons, nay, the secrets of the grave
            This viperous slander enters.
      - William Shakespeare, Cymbeline
         (Pisanio at III, iv)

And truly, I'll devise some honest slanders
  To stain my cousin with. One doth not know
    How much an ill word may empoison liking.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Much Ado About Nothing (Hero at III, i)

God knows I loved my niece,
  And she is dead, slandered to death by villains,
    That dare as well answer a man indeed
      As I dare take a serpent by the tongue.
        Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!
      - William Shakespeare,
        Much Ado About Nothing (Antonio at V, i)

Done to death by slanderous tongues
  Was the Hero that here lies.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Much Ado About Nothing
         (Claudio at V, iii)

I will be hanged if some eternal villain,
  Some busy and insinuating rogue,
    Some cogging, cozening slave, to get some office,
      Have not devised this slander.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Othello the Moor of Venice
         (Emilia at IV, ii)

That thou art blamed shall not be thy defect,
  For slander's mark was ever yet the fair;
    The ornament of beauty is suspect,
      A crow that flies in heaven's sweetest air.
        So thou be good, slander doth but approve
          Thy worth the greater, being wooed of time;
            For canker vice the sweetest buds doth love,
              And thou present'st a pure unstained prime.
      - William Shakespeare, Sonnet LXX

. . . For slander lives upon succession,
  For ever housed where it gets possession.
      - William Shakespeare, The Comedy of Errors
         (Baltzhazar at III, i)

I am disgraced, impeached, and baffled here;
  Pierced to the soul with slander's venomed spear,
    The which no balm can cure but his heart-blood
      Which breathed this poison.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Tragedy of King Richard the Second
         (Mowbray at I, i)

If I can do it
  By aught that I can speak in his dispraise,
    She shall not long continue love to him.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Two Gentlemen of Verona
         (Proteus at III, ii)

A slander is like a hornet; if you cannot kill it dead the first blow, better not strike at it.
      - Henry Wheeler Shaw (used pseudonyms Josh Billings and Uncle Esek)

If Parliament were to consider the sporting with reputation of as much importance as sporting on manors, and pass an act for the preservation of fame as well as game, there are many who would thank them for the bill.
      - Richard Brinsley Sheridan

In all cases of slander currency, whenever the forger of the lie is not to be found, the injured parties should have a right to come on any of the indorsers.
      - Richard Brinsley Sheridan

No sword bites so fiercely as an evil tongue.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney)

Listen not to a tale-bearer or slanderer, for he tells thee nothing out of good-will; but as he discovereth of the secrets of others, so he will of thine in turn.
      - Socrates

Slanderers do not hurt me, because they do not hit me.
      - Socrates

As by flattery a man opens his bosom to his mortal enemy; so by detraction and slander he shuts the same to his best friends.
      - Bishop Robert South

How frequently is the honesty and integrity of a man disposed of by a smile or shrug! How many good and generous actions have been sunk into oblivion by a distrustful look, or stamped With the imputation of proceeding from bad motives, by a mysterious and seasonable whisper!
      - Laurence Sterne

So fruitful is slander in variety of expedients to satiate as well as disguise itself. But if these smoother weapons cut so sore, what shall we say of open and unblushing scandal, subjected to no caution, tied down to no restraints?
      - Laurence Sterne

He who slings mud generally loses ground.
      - Adlai E. Stevenson

Fond of those hives where folly reigns,
  And cards and scandal are the chains,
    Where the pert virgin slights a name,
      And scorns to redden into shame.
      - Jonathan Swift

Nor do they trust their tongues alone,
  But speak a language of their own;
    Can read a nod, a shrug, a look,
      Far better than a printed book;
        Convey a libel in a frown,
          And wink a reputation down;
            Or, by the tossing of the fan,
              describe the lady and the man.
      - Jonathan Swift

The worthiest people are the most injured by slander, as is the best fruit which the birds have been pecking at.
      - Jonathan Swift

Whence proceeds this weight we lay
  On what detracting people say?
    Their utmost malice cannot make
      Your head, or tooth, or finger ache;
        Nor spoil your shapes, distort your face,
          Or put one feature out of place.
      - Jonathan Swift

The whisper'd tale,
  That, like the fabling Nile, no fountain knows;
    Fair-faced Deceit, whose wily conscious eye
      Ne'er looks direct; the tongue that licks the dust,
        But, when it safely dares, as prompt to sting.
      - James Thomson (1)


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