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Augustine Birrell

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Words are women, deeds are men.
--
"In the Name of the Bodleian"

 
Augustine Birrell

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Words are not deeds. In published poems — we think first of Eliot's "Jew", words edge closer to deeds. In Céline's anti-Semitic textbooks, words get as close to deeds as words can well get. Blood libels scrawled on front doors are deed.
In a correspondence, words are hardly even words. They are soundless cries and whispers, "gouts of bile," as Larkin characterized his political opinions, ways of saying, "Gloomy old sod, aren't I?" Or more simply, "Grrr."
Correspondences are self-dramatizations. Above all, a word in a letter is never your last word on any subject. There was no public side to Larkin's prejudices, and nothing that could be construed as a racist — the word suggest a system of thought, rather than an absence of thought, which would be closer to the reality, closer to the jolts and twitches of self response.

 
Martin Amis
 

Not a day passes over the earth, but men and women of no note do great deeds, speak great words, and suffer noble sorrows.

 
Charles Reade
 

Moreover, and above all, let us remember that words count only when they give expression to deeds, or are to be translated into them. The leaders of the Red Terror prattled of peace while they steeped their hands in the blood of the innocent; and many a tyrant has called it peace when he has scourged honest protest into silence. Our words must be judged by our deeds; and in striving for a lofty ideal we must use practical methods; and if we cannot attain all at one leap, we must advance towards it step by step, reasonably content so long as we do actually make some progress in the right direction.

 
Theodore Roosevelt
 

The sages and heroes of history are receding from us, and history contracts the record of their deeds into a narrow and narrower page. But time has no power over the name and deeds and words of Jesus Christ.

 
William Ellery (preacher) Channing
 

Big words do not smite like war-clubs,
Boastful breath is not a bow-string,
Taunts are not so sharp as arrows,
Deeds are better things than words are,
Actions mightier than boastings.

 
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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