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A man of words and not of deeds

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Notes by Muhammad Azam

Published in: Education
  • Good explanation. Can you relate the words 'weeds,snow,bird,eagle,sky, roar e.t.c. separately. I cannot understand what does sky begins to roar has to do with talkative person/me.
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A man of words and not of deeds

  1. 1. A MAN OF WORDS AND NOT OF DEEDSA man of words and not of deeds might have originated in the works of the Elizabethanauthor John Fletcher 1579-1625 - John Fletcher was born Rye, Sussex, and buried in St.Saviours, Southwark. He was a contemporary of William Shakespeare. The quotation "Deeds,not words" can be found in the Lover’s Progress (act III, sc. 6) by the Elizabethan playwright,John Fletcher. Stanza1. A man of words and not of deeds Is like a garden full of weeds And when the weeds begin to grow Its like a garden full of snowReference: These verses have been taken from the poem “A Man of Words and Not of Deeds”,which is written by Charles Perrault (translated by Robert Samber).Context: In this short and thought provoking poem, the poet Charles Perrault states that a man,who avoids practical and physical work and blows his own horn/trumpet is as useless as wildplant that grows in a garden instead of flower. Such plant is not only unfruitful but also irritating.When it grows up, it further spoils the situation like snow in winter. Life passes through differentphases and ultimately comes to an end with the death of a person. It is, therefore, necessary that aman must always engage himself in some creative and fruitful activity to make the life pleasantand useful for humanity. By using similes and analogies the poet has reflected the faults andfutility of a talkative person.Explanation: In these verses, the poet through apt comparison has mirrored the futility of agarrulous (chatty) person. He remarks that an idle person, who amuses the people throughflattery and hollow promises, is as useless as a garden, which appears to be very fascinatingoutwardly, but from inside it is replete(full) with weeds. Such garden is not only unfruitful butalso irritating and unattractive. The situation is further spoiled, when these weeds growirregularly and rapidly, which are also difficult to root out easily. Similarly, a flatterer or agarrulous person, who builds castles in air and becomes a rolling stone, which gathers no moss.A talkative person hinders the progress just like heavy snow, which blocks the passage andprogress on the road. A talkative person is just like house of cards and spiritually hollow. Henever bothers about time and the time is like the waves that make towards the pebbled shore, sodo our minutes hasten to their end. Deciding today is less risky than waiting till all the risksare removed.For success in life our ambition should be made of sterner stuff. Our bodies are gardens, towhich our wills are gardeners. It is the will that trims the plant of life and nourishes it to aninflexible mature tree of determination and a tree is known by its fruit-not by its roots. If thesoil of the garden is saline, it brings forth thorny bushes. Such a situation is wisely demonstratedbuy Sheikh Saadi, when he remarked:- “Saline earth will not produce hyacinths Throw not away thy seeds or work thereon”i.e. bad soil always brings forth weeds and thorny bushes not the roses. Here in this stanza, thepoet, by using the imagery or simile of garden and snow has demonstrated his view pointregarding the inactive and talkative people. We must values time and opportunity to fulfill ourresponsibilities; and only those people are successful, who give practical shape to their thoughtsand ambitions. About life, actions and opportunities Aristotle has beautifully stated in thefollowing words:- “We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He
  2. 2. most lives, who thinks most, feels the noblest and acts the best” Stanza2. And when the snow begins to fall Its like a bird upon the wall And when the bird away does fly Its like an eagle in the sky.Explanation: In these verses, the poet further demonstrates the situation and says when snowfalls, it makes the life of birds miserable as they cannot fly actively. They shiver with cold and siton a wall passively. Similarly, a person who is the man of words makes the life of other peopledisgusting and uncomfortable. Just like the eagle, which flies to warm its body and to search forsomething fruitful, the practical and ambitious people try to escape away from the company oftalkative person. Time is also like an eagle, which is difficult to catch after it flies away. Atalkative person is always degraded in the society and he never gets self-respect. Stanza3. And when the sky begins to roar Its like a lion at the door And when the door begins to crack Its like a stick across your backExplanation: In these verses, the poet converses about the traits of a talkative person, who singshis own praises as if he were a lion. But ironically, he is coward and when his cowardice isrevealed, he loses courage to face the people in the society. Through his flattery, he stabs thepeople in the back. He is more fascinated by boasting and baseless gossip rather than advice.Such a person doesn’t posses courage to face any situation as Socrates says:- “Some have courage in pleasures, and some in pains; some in desires, and some in fears, and some are cowards under the same situation.”Man must make full use of opportunities, when he is young and has the courage to accomplishthem because in old age he not only loses hopes but also vigour to act. Stanza4. And when your back begins to smart Its like a penknife in your heart And when your heart begins to bleed Youre dead, and dead, and dead indeedExplanation: In this stanza, the poet says that a talkative person is the most unreliable andhidden danger in the society. He brings discomfort and discontentment in the life of sensitiveinnocent people. He stabs them in the back with his oily tongue, which is as sharp as a pen knife,as it is well said that the injury/harm caused by tongue is deeper than that of sword. In otherwords, he uses backbiting and baseless talk as a weapon to capture people just like a spider,which weaves web artistically to capture its prey. People, who are amused by his flowery andoily gossip, fall an easy prey to such pseudo praise. The words of a talkative person are just likesweet poison, which make in-roads into the hearts of the affected people and it injures the heartso critically that it cannot be healed. This hidden injury is only revealed, when this sweet poisonof flattery and boasting has done much harm. After this stage, a man becomes spiritually,intellectually, morally and socially dead and destroyed.MuhaMMad azaM, Shaheen acadeMy, G-6/1-3, ISlaMabad –cell-03335418018

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