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Literature and Ideas

rumor

n.

The Devil's Dictionary

Ambrose Bierce

A favorite weapon of the assassins of character.

Sharp, irresistible by mail or shield, By guard unparried as by flight unstayed, O serviceable Rumor, let me wield Against my enemy no other blade. His be the terror of a foe unseen, His the inutile hand upon the hilt, And mine the deadly tongue, long, slender, keen, Hinting a rumor of some ancient guilt. So shall I slay the wretch without a blow, Spare me to celebrate his overthrow, And nurse my valor for another foe.