“Inebriated with the Exuberance of His Own Verbosity”

Elegant verbal wit is highly entertaining, so long as one is not being skewered by it. I lack the erudition to either affirm or refute the accuracy of Benjamin Disreali’s wonderful description of rival William Gladstone:

A sophistical rhetorician, inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity, and gifted with an egotistical imagination that can at all times command an interminable and inconsistent series of arguments to malign an opponent and to glorify himself.

Source: I first heard part of this description quoted by Patrick Allitt in a lecture on Gladstone and Disreali. I found the quotation, as well as the attribution below, online at:

Attribution: Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), British statesman, author. Speech, July 27, 1878, Knightsbridge, London. Quoted in Times (London, July 29, 1878). Referring to Prime Minister Gladstone. On another occasion, Disraeli said of Gladstone, “He has not a single redeeming defect.”

3 thoughts on ““Inebriated with the Exuberance of His Own Verbosity””

  1. My dad told me about this quote at least 60 years ago. I am happy to see it still has force in this modern age.

  2. Anyone remember “lines” at school in 1950’s/60’s. Are they still given by teachers today?
    One of my teachers had a great “line” given for talking in class; “The exuberance of my verbosity overcame my discretion”.
    He had an even longer one for bad behaviour; “There is nothing more distressing to a well regulated mind, than to see a small person disporting themselves at improper moments”. Write that 50 times and it is committed to memory even 60 down the line. I should know!

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