Friday, October 4, 2013

Honor and the Lie

In the Tattler (June 6, 1709) Richard Steele wrote:
The great violation of the point of honour from man to man, is giving the lie. One may tell another he whores, drinks, blasphemes, and it may pass unresented; but to say he lies, though but in jest, is an affront that nothing but blood can expiate. The reason perhaps may be, because no other vice implies a want of courage so much as the making of a lie; and therefore telling a man he lies, is touching him in the most sensible part of honour, and indirectly calling him a coward. I cannot omit under this head what Herodotus tells us of the ancient Persians, that from age of five years to twenty they instruct their sons only in three things: to manage the horse, to make use of the bow, and to speak truth.”

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