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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 asks us to converse with love and not by fear of being taken in the wrong sense. We can look into our daily routine to understand this concept deeply. For example, we can say that teachers can have a good relationship with their students by just loving them for what they are. The students should not be scared of them, that they might get reprimanded for asking doubts. The relationship would get sour if they use harsh words, and the students might not get benefitted out of the system.

In the second stanza, the poet is asking us to speak in a gentle and kind voice between friends, and not to raise voice to prove that you love each other; He asks us to  tell it slowly. If we reduce the voice, then one can be more expressive and can get connected effortlessly. The friendship will last longer, and the voice will sound affectionate.

In the third stanza, the poet is asking everyone to be kind and talk in a gentle to the little children, because by doing so, the little child will reciprocate all the love. Childhood is a fleeting phase, so when we show them kindness and softness, the child may cherish them for a long time.


The poet wants us to talk to the people who are in their youth with kind words and in a gentle way. Young people already have enough problems in their life as people treat them neither as adults nor as children. They are most often 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.