"There is a truth and beauty in rhetoric; but it oftener serves ill turns than good ones.
Elegancy is a good mien and address given to matter, be it by proper or by figurative speech; where the words are apt, and allusions very natural, certainly it has a moving grace; but it is too artificial for simplicity, and oftentimes for truth. The danger is, lest it delude the weak; who, in such cases, may mistake the handmaid for the mistress, if not error for truth.
It is certain, truth is least indebted to it, because she has least need of it, and least uses it.
But it is a reprovable delicacy in them that despise truth in plain clothes.
Such luxuriants have but false appetites; like those gluttons that, by sauce, force them when they have no stomach, and sacrifice to their palate, not their health; which cannot be without great vanity, nor that without some sin." William Penn
Hmmm, this quote offers a relevant insight for me. No question, I love the "moving grace" of an eloquent speaker. I love a wordsmith who can turn a phrase whether poet, author or orator.
Certainly William Penn is eloquent, although he may not consider himself as such. But times have changed and English has degraded. He warns of the danger of mistaking eloquence for truth, and goes on to state; truth is dressed in plain clothes so all may understand. I like that, and I believe Jesus used common language. But though plainly dressed the Bible is full of mystery and riddle, that challenges us to hunt, dig and search.
But for me personally, the caution is a check point; because I love the ornamental, as the picture I chose gives example. I love beauty, strength, texture, imagination, the aged and rustic, detailed craftsmanship, whether they be on the surface or in the soul. But Penn's short essay is a reminder of the beauty of simplicity.
Photo by Marc de Wit