“It is just as cowardly to judge an absent person as it is wicked to strike a defenseless one"
I think you need to look at this in reverse. The author is making the analogy of judging/attacking someone who is 'absent' or not around is like attacking a defenseless person ie they can't strike back or defend themselves.
"Only the ignorant and narrow-minded gossip, for they speak of persons instead of things."
I think this is just a continuation of the previous comment. Gossip is a way of attacking someone. So the author is calling the gossiper ignorant and narrow minded - plus its easier to attack a person who is not around than taking about 'thing'.
It's saying it's cowardly to gossip or talk behind someone's back. It's just as bad as hitting someone that can't defend themselves, like a child, because someone who isn't there can't defend themselves form what is being said. The next part is saying that knowledgeable people who have open minds have better things to do than talk about other people. The whole thing says gossipping sucks.
It means that talking about someone behind their back is as bad as punching them in the face if they're on crutches or something - they can't "fight back" either way.
This is a good quote. I never heard of this one. But I love it.
I take it to mean: Don't judge anyone and gossip. Focus on whats important, like people being innocently killed or hated for our differences.
Nice quote, where did you find it.
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