Shakespeare on Gossip, Rumor and Slander

Upon my tongue continuous slanders rise, the which in every language I pronounceUpon my tongue continual slanders ride,
The which in every language I pronounce,
Stuffing the ears of man with false reports.”
(KHIV.p2.introduction)

Comments. A good retort to any sentence of the type ‘I have heard that you…. etc.” and you wish to deny whatever the rumor (or the statement) about you may be. Without prejudice, it is a fact that ladies have a greater inclination for rumor and gossip than members of the less gentle sex. An observation that caused a man to say about a gossip-monger lady, “She has a good sense of rumor.” Observations about others are notoriously more freely delivered when the subject others are not present. A fact that led a friend of Oscar Wilde to advise, “Don’t talk about yourself; it will be done when you leave.” On the other hand, what cannot be avoided must be eschewed. After all, as Oscar Wilde himself said, “It does not matter what people say about you, as long as you are talked about.”
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In the Play.  Rumor introduces himself. The false rumor referred to is that Hotspur is alive and that the battle of Shrewsbury has been won by the rebels. Instead, Hotspur has been killed by the Prince of Wales and the king’s forces are in pursuit of the rebels.

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