Sunday, February 24, 2013


Words Are the Cement of Society

Owen Felltham (1602?–1668), Resolves: Divine, Moral, Political, 8th ed. (London: Printed for Peter Dring, 1661), p. 183 (II.IV: Of Truth and Lying):
There is a generation of men, whose unweighed custome makes them clack out any thing their heedlesse fancy springes; That are so habited in falshood that they can out-lye an Almanack, or, which is more, a Chancery Bill; and though they ought to have good memories, yet they lye so often, that they do at last, not remember that they lye at all. That besides creating whole scenes of their own, they cannot relate any thing cleer, and candidly: but eyther they must augment, or diminish.
Id., p. 184:
I could sooner pardon some Crimes that are capitall, then this Wild-fire in the tongue; that whipp's, and scorches wheresoever it lights. It shows so much Sulphur in the mind of the Relator, that you will easily conclude, It is the breath of Hell....Speech is the Commerce of the World, and Words are the Cement of Society. What have we to rest upon in this world, but the professions and Declarations that men seriously and solemnly offer? When any of these fail, a Ligament of the World is broke: and whatever this upheld as a foundation, falls....But for him whose weaknesse hath abandon'd him into a Lyar; I look upon him as the dreggs of mankind. A Proteus in conversation, vizarded and in disguise: As a thing that hath bankrupted himself in Humanity, that is to be contemned, and as a counterfeit to be nayl'd upon a post that he may deceive no more.

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