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The Garrulous

Picture of the Garrulous from Theophrastus' CharactersGarrulity is an effusion of prolix and unpremeditated discourse.

The garrulous man happening to sit beside one with whom he has no acquaintance, begins by recounting the various excellences of his wife: then he says that last night he dreamed a dream, which he narrates at length; this leads him to mention, one by one, the dishes that were placed within his reach at supper. By this time his tongue has gained velocity in going; and he proceeds in a loftier strai: Alas! saith he, how much more depraved are the men of our times than were their ancestors, and what a price has corn fallen to now in the markets and how the city swarms with strangers! By the time the Bacchanalia are well over the sea will be covered again with ships: should it please Heaven, just now, to send rain, it would be a vast benefit to the wheat. Anon, he announces his determination to farm his own land the ensuing year. But how hard is it, ‘says he, in these times to get a living! I must tell you, being, as I perceive, a stranger, that it was Damippus who displayed the largest torch in the late festival. By the bye, can you tell me, now, how many pillars there are in the Odeum? Yesterday I was sick: hem! What day of the month is this? If you will bear with a fellow of this sort he will never let you go: for rather than that talk should fail, he will inform you of all the festivals that happen throughout the year, gravely telling you that in September is celebrated the feast in honor of Ceres; in October, the Apaturia: the rural Bacchanalia in December; and so forth. But if you would not be worried into a fever, you must shake him off, and make your escape as fast as possible. In truth, it is hard to consort with those who have no perception of what is proper either to moments of relaxation, or to hours of business.