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Tuesday 17 October 2023

Be Careful Who You Argue With Publicly


Here is an old tale from an old book giving a good solid warning about why you should be careful with who you argue with in public,  


Of how perilous a thing it is to meddle with men of the world; and of the lady who undertook to cross-question the Marshal de Clemont

Fair daughters, I will give you an instance of how dangerous a thing it is to meddle with men of the world, and such as are never at a loss for reply. For, assuredly, to play practical jokes with them is losing game. There was once a famous feast, where were many great lords and ladies, and, among others, the Marshal de Clermont; than whom no man was deeper verged in the ways of the world ; a weightier or a readier speaker, or could show himself to more advantage in the presence of lords and ladies. And there was also there a certain great lady, who said to him before them all, “Clermont, to give you my mind, you have much to thank God for ; you are, beyond a doubt, a gallant Knight, and good looking to boot; and of parts, to admiration: and so, you would be all but perfection, were it not for that cantankerous and ill-natured tongue of yours, which never will be quiet." And, “Madame, may I ask," said he, “if this is the worst you have to tell of me ?” “I will allow it is," said she. "Now," said he, “just let us look quietly at this matter. Madame, it would appear to me, that is, if rightly considered, that I have not so malicious a tongue as yourself; and I will tell you why. You have spoken of me, and reproached me with the worst that you know of me; whilst I, the worst that I know of you, I have kept to myself. So, Madame, what injury have I done you? I am not, you see, so ready with my tongue as you are." And, when the lady heard this, she wished that she had held her peace, nor striven with such man ; and this, for reasons which I need not mention, but which were enough commented on. And it is an old saying, that, as too much impetuosity knows no discretion, so it is advisable to hold one's tongue in time. And this is an excellent example. For it is better, for the most part, to keep still, and to carry one's self forbearingly, than to be too ready to pick quarrel with those who have their answer on their tongue's tip, and will not stick to allow more to be gathered, they care to express. And, from all this, look well who it is you are to speak to, and in no way incense them; for the strife of such is wondrous perilous.”[1]

This is an incredible response. To use someone’s own words to rebuke them so skilfully without having to result to any form of insult or jeer. Be careful in how you judge people, be careful of how you speak about people in front of others, and be especially careful about picking an argument in public, it might not go your way.

List of references

[1] Knight of the Tower Landry, pp42-43.

1 comment:

  1. Gulp! God has been warning me about this. Thank you for the confirmation Rev. Matt. An Australian colloquialism is "People that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."