I will be silent and barren of discourse when I chance to hear a tale, rather than go with child therewith, till anothers ears be my midwife, to deliver me of such a deformed monster. I may hear a tale of delight, and perhaps smile at an innocent jest. I will not jest nor joy at a tale disgracing an innocent person.
Be careful that you believe not hastily strange news and strange stories; and be much more careful that you do not report them, though at the second hand; for if it prove an untruth (as commonly strange stories prove so), it brings an imputation of levity upon him that reports it, and possibly some disadvantage to others.
Merrily and wittily said Platitus, who was one of the merry wits of his time, I would, said he, by my will have tale-bearers and tale-hearers punishedthe one hanging by the tongue, the other by the ears. Were his will a law in force with us, many a tattling gossip would have her vowels turned to mutes, and be justly tongue-tied, that desires to be tied by the teeth at your table.