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Henry Clay, a U.S. senator and unsuccessful presidential candidate in 1832 and 1844 , was a skilled and inspiring orator.

Unfortunately, this made him less tolerant of less able speakers. During an especially boring speech by a fellow senator Clay could be heard complaining about its content and presentation.

Irritated by such criticism, the man turned to Clay and remarked,

"You, sir, speak for the present generation; but I speak for posterity."

"Yes," returned Clay, "and you seem determined to speak until the arrival of your audience."