Cum modicum membrum sit lingua, est maximus ignis;
non tot per gladium quot periere per hanc.
praevalet in lingua qui non est fortis in armis;
nullus in hac pugna plus meretrice valet.
ex hoc praecipue distant ignavus et audax,
quod factis iste praevalet, ille minis.
si linguae bellum quam armorum fortius esset,
Thersites Troiae maior Achille foret.
(Peter Abelard, Monita ad Astralabium 237-244)
Although the tongue may be the smallest member, it is the most incendiary,
nor have as many perished by the sword as by this.
He prevails in tongue who is not strong in arms;
no-one prevails more in this type of battle than a prostitute.
By this especially are the coward and the bold man differentiated:
this one is strong in deeds, that one in threats.
If the warfare of words were more effective than the warfare of arms
Thersites would have been greater at Troy than Achilles.
(tr. Juanita Feros Ruys)