Nonfiction > Harvard Classics > William Penn > Fruits of Solitude
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William Penn. (1644–1718).  Fruits of Solitude.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Part II
 
Of Conduct in Speech
 
 
117. Enquire often, but Judge rarely, and thou wilt not often be mistaken.  1
  118. It is safer to Learn, than teach; and who conceals his Opinion, has nothing to Answer for.  2
  119. Vanity or Resentment often engage us, and ’t is two to one but we come off Losers; for one shews a Want of Judgment and Humility, as the other does of Temper and Discretion.  3
  120. Not that I admire the Reserved; for they are next to Unnatural that are not Communicable. But if Reservedness be at any Time a Virtue, ’t is in Throngs or ill Company.  4
  121. Beware also of Affectation in Speech; it often wrongs Matter, and ever shows a blind Side.  5
  122. Speak properly, and in as few Words as you can, but always plainly; for the End of Speech is not Ostentation, but to be understood.  6
  123. They that affect Words more than Matter, will dry up that little they have.  7
  124. Sense never fails to give them that have it, Words enough to make them understood.  8
  125. But it too often happens in some Conversations, as in Apothecary-Shops, that those Pots that are Empty, or have things of Small Value in them, are as gaudily Dress’d and Flourish’d, as those that are full of precious Drugs.  9
  126. This Laboring of slight Matter with flourish’d Turns of Expression, is fulsome, and worse than the Modern Imitation of Tapestry, and East-India Goods, in Stuffs and Linnens. In short, ’t is but Taudry Talk, and next to very Trash.  10
 

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