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Oratorical Insults

Sir Winston Churchill was asked by a fellow M.P. for his opinion on a recent speech delivered in the House in a debate on the League of Nations.

'It must have been good,' he said, 'for, as far as I know, it contained every platitude known to the human race, with the possible exception of "Prepare to meet thy God" and "Please adjust your dress before leaving".'

I find that the fault with many speakers is that you can't hear what they're saying. The trouble with you is that you can.

During one of his many famous speeches in the House Sheridan became aware of one M.P. who insisted on muttering his agreement whenever Sheridan paused. After a while this interruption became so distracting that he departed from his text to silence the fool.

'Where, oh where, shall we find a more foolish knave or a more knavish fool than this?' he asked the packed house.

'Hear, hear!' said the lone voice for the last time.

He always gives in length what he lacks in depth.

Referring to the outcome of an event, the consequences of which he had accurately predicted, the Bishop of London said that he had been proved 'a true prophet'. One of'his fellow Lords disagreed with him though, and said that he did not know which prophet it was, 'unless it was the prophet Balaam who was reproved by his own ass!'

'Since the noble Lord has discovered in our manners such a similitude,' replied the bishop, 'I am well content to be compared to the prophet Balaam; but, my Lords, I am at a loss to make out the other part of the parallel. I am sure that I have been reproved by nobody but his lordship.'

He doesn't need an introduction. What he wants is a conclusion.

President Harding made the grave mistake of employing a speech-writer to put together his address after a newsmen's dinner in New York. Many in the audience saw through the text, and reading between the lines were bored stiff. When Harding finished there was a token of polite applause, followed by an embarrassed silence which was finally broken by Heywood Broun, who rose to his feet and shouted:

'Author! Author!'

Every speech he makes is like a wheel the longer the spoke the greater the tire.

On Lord Palmerston:

'You owe the Whigs great gratitude, my Lord, and therefore, I think you will betray them.'

'Your Lordship is like a favourite footman on easy terms with his mistress. Your dexterity seems a happy compound of the smartness of an attorney's clerk and the intrigue of a Greek of the lower empire.' Benjamin Disraeli

During an interminable speech delivered in the Commons in Sheridan's time, the speaker finally paused for a drink of water, allowing the playwright to leap to his feet to raise a point of order. When asked what it was, he explained:

'I think it is out of order for a windmill to go by water.'


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