To His Son Benedict from the Tower of London
by John Hoskyns
Sweet Benedict, whilst thou art young,
And know’st not yet the use of tongue,
Keep it in thrall whilst thou art free:
Imprison it or it will thee.
“Imprisoning” the tongue makes me think of one of my favorite Proverbs: He who hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city without walls and broken down.
We must acquire the faculty of judgment so that we use our words wisely and judiciously. Words can create and words can destroy. And this is not only in reference to the words we speak to others but to the words that we speak to ourselves, that internal “self talk” that we all have, that “chattering” of what the Buddhists call the monkey mind. Due to the circumstances of life, we often acquire a lot of negative self talk and when we do this it is difficult to every let it go; and until we let it go, we are thereby imprisoned. This makes me think of something that Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you cani’t, either way you are right.” For example, if you are a young man and meet a fetching young lass and think you can catch her eye, there is a good chance you can. If you think you can’t, you probably won’t.