Fugitive Verses
Popular Reprinted Poetry from Nineteenth Century Newspapers

Be Careful What You Say

Source of witness transcribed: The Cambria Freeman (Ebensburg, Pennsylvania)

Date of witness transcribed: 10 October 1873

Notes about this poem: "Be Careful What You Say" was printed in at least 216 newspapers during the nineteenth century. It can be found using ID 1032917 in this table of most widely-reprinted poems.


  • In speaking of a person’s faults
  • Pray don’t forget your own;
  • Remember, those with homes of glass
  • Should seldom throw a stone;
  • If we have nothing else to do
  • But talk of those who sin,
  • ‘Tis better we commence at home,
  • And from that point begin.

  • We have no right to judge a man,
  • Until he’s fairly tried;
  • Should we not like his company,
  • We know the world is wide;
  • Some may have faults—and who have not—
  • The old as well as young;
  • Perhaps we may, for aught we know,
  • Have fifty to their one.

  • I’ll tell you of a better plan,
  • And find it works full well;
  • I try my own defects to cure
  • Before of others tell;
  • And though I sometimes hope to be
  • No worse than some I know,
  • My own shortcomings bid me let
  • The faults of others go.

  • Then let us all, when we commence
  • To slander friend or foe,
  • Think of the harm one word may do
  • To those who little know;
  • Remember, curses, sometimes like
  • Our chickens, “roost at home;”
  • Don’t speak of others’ faults until
  • We have none of our own.