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Tongues

The Italian is pleasant, but without sinews, as still fleeting water.

The French - delicate, but like an overnice woman, scarce daring to open her lips for fear of marriage her countenance.

Spanish - majestical, but fulsome, running too much on the letter o; and terrible, like the devil in a play.

Dutch - manlike, but withal very harsh, as one ready at every word to pick a quarrel.

We (the English), in borrowing from them, give the strength of consonants to the Italian; the full sound of words to the French; the variety of terminations of the Spanish; and the mollifying of more vowels to the Dutch. Thus, like bees, we gather the honey of their good properties and leave the dregs to themselves.

(Camden.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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