Philobiblon: The danger, or use, of words

Thursday, August 12, 2004

The danger, or use, of words

From Thomas Sprat's History of the Royal Society (1667): Language is a ...

"weapon ... as easily procur'd by bad men as good ...
Eloquence ought to be banish'd out of civil societies
as a thing fatal to Peace and good Manners"
(p.111, St Louis, 1958)

And then for the frivolous bit, going back a couple of centuries, I did the medieval "humour" test online (and suffered only a momentary shiver of temporal dissonance) to find how I might have been classified. The answer was:

You are Phlegmatic. You have a peace-loving
nature, and make a good listener and a faithful
friend. You do have a tendency to be selfish
and stubborn in your worst moments, and your
worrying can lean towards paranoia. Phlegmatics
should consider careers as accountants,
diplomats, engineers, and administrators. You
are a somewhat reluctant leader, but your
practicality and steady nerve under pressure
makes you a natural choice for leadership

Well, not so far off, although I can't see myself as an engineer,
and the one time I got to play diplomat was not a great success.

Which of the Humours are you?
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