IT is a troublesome and difficult task that philosophy undertakes in going about to cure the disease, or rather itch, of intemperate rating. For that words, which are the sole remedy against it, require attention; but they who are given to prate will hear nobody, as being a sort of people that love to be always talking themselves. So that the principal vice of loquacious persons is this, that their ears are stopped to every thing else but their own impertinencies; which I take to be a wilful deafness in men, controlling and contradicting Nature, that has given us two ears, though but one tongue. Therefore it was that Euripides spoke very right to a certain stupid hearer of his:
Impossible it is to fill that brain,
That in a moment lets out all again;
'Tis but the words of wisdom to unfold
Unto a fool, whose skull will nothing hold.

More justly and truly might I say to an idle prate-too-fast, or rather concerning such a fellow:

In vain I seek to fill thy sieve-like brain,
That in a moment lets out all again;
Infusing wisdom into such a skull
As leaks so fast, it never will be full.

Much more may he be said to spill his instructions over (rather than pour them into) a man, who is always talking to those that do not hear, and never hears when others [p. 221] talk. For so soon as a wise man has uttered any thing, be it never so short, garrulity swallows it forthwith like the sea, and throws it up again threefold, with the violence of a swelling tide. Such was the portico at Olympia, called Heptaphonos, by the reverberation of one single voice causing no less than seven distinct echoes. And in like manner, if the least word light into the ears of an impertinent babbler, presently all the room rings with it, and he makes such a din,

That soon the jangling noise untunes the strings
Of minds sedately fixt on better things.

Insomuch that we may say, that the conduits and conveyances of their hearing reach not to the souls, but only to their tongues. Therefore it is that other people retain what is spoken to them; whereas, whatever is said to talkative people runs through them as through a cullender; and then they run about from place to place, like empty vessels void of sense or wit, but making a hideous noise.

1 Euripides, Frag. 891.

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