Speak gently! – It is better far
     To rule by love, than fear
Speak gently – let not harsh words mar
     The good we might do here!

Speak gently! – Love doth whisper low
     The vows that true hearts bind;
And gently Friendship’s accents flow;
     Affection’s voice is kind.

Speak gently to the little child!
     Its love be sure to gain;
Teach it in accents soft and mild:-
     It may not long remain.

Speak gently to the young, for they
     Will have enough to bear –
Pass through this life as best they may,
     ‘T is full of anxious care!
The speaker is asking everyone to speak softly instead of screaming. He says to talk to everyone with love and not by fear of getting scolded. Like in our daily life example, we can say that the teacher can have a good relationship with his/her students by just loving them for what they are. The students should not be scared of him/her, that he/she might scold her/him. The relationship would get sour if they use harsh words, and the good they are doing of teaching students will not stay in their minds.

In the second stanza, the poet is saying us to speak in a gentle and kind voice between friends, don't raise the voice to prove that you love each other; tell it slowly. If we reduce the voice, then it will come from the heart and can get connected effortlessly. The friendship will last longer, and the voice will sound affectionate.

In the third stanza, the poet is saying to be kind and talk in a gentle way to the little children, because that is the way the small child will love us more. The childhood may not remain for a long time, so when we show them kindness and softness, the child may cherish them for a long time.


Talk to the young who are in their youth with kind words and in a gentle way. Young people will already have enough problems in their life as people would treat them neither as adults nor children. They will be anxious to explore more. So, they will need enough love and care at that stage.
Meaning of difficult words:
Gently Tender manner.
Vows Promise
Accents word in speech by stress or pitch.
Anxious Uneasy.
Bear Hold up.
Affection A gentle feeling of liking.
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2019). Term-1 English Standard-7. Your Space by David Bates (pp. 70-72). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.