This article has been transcribed from a copy of the Cardiff Times in the online collection of scanned Welsh newspapers 1804-1919 in the National Library of Wales, with grateful recognition of the free access accorded to all readers. A decorative initial letter has been added.

Explanatory Notes

'silent grief oppressed': Thomas Norris (1741-1790), 'O’er Williams tomb in silent grief oppressed', 'On the Death of the Duke of Cumberland', glee for four voices. A 'glee' is defined by OED as 'a musical composition, of English origin, for three or more voices (one voice to each part), set to words of any character, grave or gay, often consisting of two or more contrasted movements'. This may be the earliest occurrence of the phrase, but better known in Samuel’s day might have been the early nineteenth-century song, 'O’er Nelson’s tomb, with silent grief oppress’d', which circulated as a broadside. See the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library

The caption to the fourth illustration quotes 'Where silence reigns supreme' from John Breakenridge, 'The Lay of the Clock' in his The Crusades and other poems (Kingston [Ont.] 1846), p. 96]. —— David Skilton

Sweet Silence

Decorated initial T

he old proverb that says 'speech is silver, but silence is golden' is perhaps one of the truest in the entire vocabulary of trite sayings. Speech is, of course, one of the greatest blessings of humanity, by means of which men and women are enabled to reach the vast multitudes that inhabit this great world of ours, but with all its advantages there are times in the lives of men and women when speech is of no value at all compared to silence.

The man who knows the right to thing to say and also knows the right time to say it, is a person of inestimable value, and may be relied upon to pull off a coup d[‘é]tat when his opponents are floundering about in the mud[dy] puddle of mist and uncertainty, but the man who has an accurate knowledge of the time when it is both wise and expedient not to speak at all is as certain to achieve greatness as he is certain one day to die and be the victim of the silence of death. There are not many men gifted with the power of silence – for silence is at times a power – and the few that watch with a pitying satisfaction the errors of the men to whom silence is an impossibility and speech are an absolute necessity. [sic]

Seldom Silent

Once a man opens his mouth too wide, he is certain, to use a vulgarism, 'to put his foot in it,' an operation seldom, if ever, performed by the disciple of silence. If men and women could keep a bridle on their tongues much of the misery of this life would be avoided, and the police courts would be denuded of the terrible horrors which week by week and month by month are reported as arising from hasty words, followed, far too often by fatal blows[.]


It is in these moments of haste and irritation that the tongue gets the better of the sense and words bitterly regretted in after days are spoken that lead to broken troths, shattered faiths, and sundered friendships. Silence would prevent all much-to-be regretted results. and it behoves people with hasty tempers and bitter tongues to strive their utmost to put a check upon their words, and speak as little as they can upon occasions where the heat of the moment is apt to lure them to the verge of danger.

'Where silence reigns supreme'

Silence has ere this prevented actions for slander, libel, and the like, and there have been cases in the region of vituperative argument when silent contempt has proved far more effective and chilling than the severest castigation would have been.

To turn to the sentimental and mysterious side of silence, who is there with any knowledge of the ways of maidens who is not familiar with that 'sweet silence' that to lovers is far more eloquent than words?

Last modified 3 May 2022