Anyone bright enough to know how to think, whose sober mind Lets him live sanely, should constantly temper his tongue: An importunate tongue, glib mouth, and unrestrained lips Scarcely create a man of character. A wordy man is slow to direct his affairs aright; Often he foolishly forestalls his own undertakings; He often harms himself with his tongue, and his slippery tongue Makes him odious to himself and to his companions. For the excessively loquacious, the tongue is often A harmful cause of senseless evil, even death: Zambri learned this, plowing a stupid spouse, And stupidly atoning for his joyful follies in his sport, When upright Phinees, because of his zeal for the law, Followed the fool and killed the wanton goat; By his probity Phinees perpetuated a special name For himself and earned himself unending glory. Together proud Dathan and Abyron sensed the same, When they stupidly desired to burn incense to God. Moses’ sister Miriam sensed the same, impudent in the murmur She started against her brother Moses: Livid leprosy betrayed this disfigured woman, and the pallor Which proved the erring one guilty revealed her sacrilege. Inspired by these examples, a forceful man should struggle hard To banish the vice of garrulity far from him.
[1.] After my fellow’s importunity had incited me to utter such a recklessly diffuse and protracted discourse, he spoke as follows, as if my audacity had caused him to mend his ways and become somewhat more moderate than usual: Undoubtedly, brother, I should, with ears readily attentive in expectant silence, strive to