Institutes of Oratory
EDUCATION OF AN ORATOR.
1. Having acquired, as is stated in the preceding book, the ability of writing and thinking, as well as of speaking extempore when necessity requires, our next study must be to speak with aptitude, an excellence which Cicero shows to be the fourth [De Orat. iii. 10] in elocution, and which is indeed, in my opinion, the most important of all. 2. For as the dress of oratory is various and manifold, and different forms of it are suited to different subjects, it will, unless it be thoroughly adapted to things and persons, not only not add lustre to our eloquence, but will even destroy the force of it, and give to our efforts an effect contrary to that which we intended. Of what avail will it be that our language is pure Latin, that it is expressive, elegant, adorned with figures, and harmoniously arranged, unless it be also adapted to establish the conclusions to which we wish the judge to be led, and to confirm him in them?
3. Of what service will our eloquence be, if we adopt a grand style in trivial causes, a poor and constrained style in such as are of high moment, a florid style on grave subjects, a calm style when forcible argument is necessary, a menacing style in deprecation, a submissive style in spirited discussions, a fierce and violent mode of speaking on topics intended to please? The same kind of result would be produced as when men are disfigured with necklaces, pearls, and long robes, which are the ornaments of women, while a triumphal habit, than which nothing can be imagined to add greater majesty to men, is to women, but an unbecoming encumbrance.
4. On this subject Cicero briefly touches in his third book de Oratore [C. 55]; and yet he may be thought not to have omitted anything, when he says that one kind of style cannot suit every cause, or every auditor, or every character, or every occasion. In his Orator [C. 21] he expresses the same remark in a not much greater number of words. But in the de Oratore, Lucius Crassus, as he is addressing himself to eminent orators, and men of great learning, thinks it sufficient to intimate his opinion to those who acknowledged the justice of it. 5. In the Orator, too, Cicero himself, addressing Brutus, remarks that what he says is well known to him, and that consequently the subject is noticed by him but cursorily, though it is one of great amplitude, and has been treated at great length by the philosophers. I, however, undertaking to form an orator, communicate these precepts not only to those who know, but to those who are learning, and therefore indulgence must be allowed me if I enter into the subject more fully.
6. It must be understood, then, above all things, what kinds of style are proper for conciliating, instructing, and exciting the judge; and what objects we contemplate in the several parts of our speech. We shall then neither use obsolete, nor metaphorical, nor newly-coined words, in our exordium, statement of facts, or series of arguments; nor shall we indulge in flowing periods of studied elegance when our cause is to be divided, and distinguished into parts; nor shall we choose a low and ordinary sort of style, and of a loose texture, for our peroration; nor, when we ought to excite pity, shall we dry up the tears of our audience with jests; for the effect of all ornament depends not so much on its own nature as on that of the object to which it is applied; nor is it of more importance what you say than where you say it.
7. But the whole art of speaking with propriety depends not merely on our choice of language, but has much also in common with invention of matter; for if mere words have so much power, how much greater power must thoughts have? What was necessary to be remarked, however, with regard to thoughts, I have noticed, from time to time, in the proper places.
8. It cannot be too earnestly inculcated, that he only will speak with aptitude and propriety, who considers, not only what is to the purpose, but what is becoming. Nor am I ignorant that these two qualities of speaking are mostly united; for what is becoming, is generally to the purpose; nor are the minds of judges conciliated by anything more than by the observance of decorum, or alienated by anything more than by violations of it. 9. The two, however, are sometimes at variance; and, when they are so, that which is becoming will be allowed the preference over that which is merely serviceable; for who does not know that nothing would have been of greater service in procuring an acquittal for Socrates, than the adoption of the ordinary mode of defense on trials, the conciliation of the favor of the judges by a submissive address to them, and the careful refutation of the charges brought against him?
10. But such a course would have been unbecoming to Socrates; and he therefore pleaded like a man who thought himself deserving, not of punishment, but of the highest honors; for, wisest of men as he was, he preferred that what remained of his life should be lost rather than that portion of it which was past; and since he was not sufficiently understood by the men of his day, he committed himself to the judgment of posterity, and purchased, by the sacrifice of a short portion of extreme old age, a life that will last for ever. 11. Though Lysias [see the beginning of Xenophon's Apology of Socrates; see also Diogenes Laertius, ii. 40, and his commentators], therefore, who was esteemed the most accomplished orator of the time, offered him a defense ready written, he declined making use of it, saying, that though he thought it good, he did not consider that it would become him. From this example, without having recourse to any other, it is evident that the end to be kept in view by the orator is not persuasion, but speaking well, since to persuade would sometimes be dishonorable; the conduct of Socrates was not conducive to his acquittal, but, what was of greater importance, was honorable to his character as a man.
12. I myself, in making this distinction, and separating utility from decorum, speak rather in conformity with the common way of speaking, than according to the strictness of truth; unless, indeed, the first Scipio Africanus [when he was accused by Naevius, a tribune of the people, of having received a bribe from King Antiochus to grant him favorable conditions of peace, the only reply that he vouchsafed to the charge was, "This is the anniversary of the day on which I defeated Hannibal at Zama, and it is right that all good citizens should go with me to give thanks to the gods for the support with which they then favored us." See Livy, xxxviii. 51, 56; Aul. Gell. iv. 18], who chose rather to banish himself from his country than to maintain his integrity against the charges of a mean tribune of the people, can be supposed to have acted disadvantageously for his honor; or unless Publius Rutilius, either when he adopted his almost Socratic kind of defense, or when he preferred to remain in exile at the time that Publius Sylla recalled him, can be imagined to have been ignorant what was most proper for him. ["Being a man, as you know, of exemplary integrity, a man to whom no person in the city was superior in honesty and sincerity, he not only refused to supplicate his judges, but would not allow his cause to be pleaded with more ornament or freedom of language than the simple plainness of truth carried with it." Cicero de Orat. i. 53.]
13. These great men thought that the trivial considerations, which abject minds regard as of so much importance, are to be despised in comparison with true honor, and are, in consequence, distinguished by the perpetual admiration of all ages. Nor let us indulge in so abject a way of thinking as to consider, that what we allow to be honorable may be unprofitable. 14. But any occasion for this distinction, such as it is, very seldom occurs, since, in every kind of cause, as I observed, whatever is advantageous will generally be becoming.
There are some things of such a nature that they become all persons at all times, and in all places, as to act and speak honorably; and there are others, on the contrary, which become no person at any time or in any place, as to act and speak dishonorably. But things of less importance, and such as hold a middle place between the two, are generally of such a kind, that they are lightly regarded by some and more seriously by others, and must appear either more or less excusable, or more or less reprehensible, according as we look to characters, times, places, or motives. 15. And as, in pleading, we speak either of what concerns others or what concerns ourselves, we must make a just distinction between the two, provided we bear in mind that there are many things improper to be brought forward in either case.
Above all things, every kind of self-laudation is unbecoming, and especially praise of his own eloquence from an orator ["Though arrogance of every kind is odious, yet for a speaker to boast of his own ability and eloquence is by far the most offensive of all kinds." Cicero Div. in Caecil. c. 11]; as it not only gives offence to his audience, but generally creates in them even a dislike towards him. 16. Our mind has in it something naturally sublime and haughty, and is impatient of a superior; and hence we willingly raise the humble, or those who submit to us, because, when we do so, we appear to ourselves greater than they; and when rivalry is absent, benevolence finds a place in us; but he who unreasonably exalts himself seems to depress and despise us, yet not to make himself greater so much as to try to make others less. 17. Hence his inferiors envy him, (for envy is the vice of those who are unwilling to yield though unable to oppose,) his superiors deride, and the judicious censure him. In general, too, we find, that the opinion of the arrogant concerning themselves is unfounded; while, to persons of real merit, the consciousness of merit is sufficient.
Cicero, in this respect, has been censured in no small degree; although, in his speeches, he was much more of a boaster of what he had done than of his abilities in speaking. 18. Indeed, he uttered such boasts, for the most part, not without much appearance of reason, for he had either to defend those whose aid he had received in suppressing the conspiracy of Catiline, or he had to justify himself against popular odium, which he was so far from being able to withstand, that he had to go into exile, as a punishment for having saved his country; so that his frequent allusions to what he had achieved in his consulship, may be thought to have been made, not more from vanity than for self-defense.
19. As to eloquence, at the same time that he allowed a full measure of it to the pleaders on the opposite side, he never claimed in his speeches any immoderate share of it to himself; he says, If there he any ability in me, judges, and I am sensible how little there is, &c.; and, The more I feel my inability, the more diligently have I endeavored to make amends for it by application, &c. [These are the commencements of the orations for Quintius and for Archias, but varying a little from what we now read in our editions.] 20, Even in contending against Quintus Caecilius, about the appointment of an accuser of Verres, though it was of great importance which of the two should appear the better qualified for pleading, yet he rather detracted from Caecilius's talent in speaking than assumed any superiority in it to himself, and said that he had not attained eloquence, but had done everything in his power that he might attain it. 21. It is only at times in his letters, when he is writing familiarly to his friends, and occasionally in his Dialogues, under another person's character, that he does justice to his own eloquence.
Yet I know not whether open self-applause is not more tolerable, even from the very undisguisedness of the offence, than the hypocritical boastfulness of those who speak of themselves as poor when they abound with wealth, as obscure when they are of high rank, as weak when they have great influence, as ignorant and incapable of speaking when they are possessed of great eloquence. 22. It is an ostentatious kind of vanity to speak thus ironically of ourselves. Let us be content, therefore, to be praised by others, For it becomes us, as Demosthenes says, to blush even when we hear other men's commendations of ourselves. [Pro Coron. p. 270, ed. Reisk.] I do not say that an orator may not sometimes speak of what he has done, as Demosthenes himself did in his defense of Ctesiphon [lb. p. 226, 227]; but he so qualified what he said, as to show that he was under the necessity of saying it, and to throw the odium of it on him who forced him to say it.
23. So Cicero, though he often speaks of the suppression of Catiline's conspiracy, attributes it sometimes to the meritorious efforts of the senate, sometimes to the providence of the immortal gods. In speaking against his enemies and calumniators, indeed, he generally vindicates his claim to greater merit; for, when charges were brought against his conduct, it was for him to justify it. 24. In his verses, I wish he had been more modest, since the malicious have never ceased to remark upon his
Cedant arma togae, concedat laurea linguae,
O forlunatam natam me consule Romam,
and his Jupiter, by whom he is called to the assembly of the gods; and his Minerva, who taught him her arts; extravagances in which, after the example of some of the Greeks, he allowed himself to indulge.
25. But though to boast of eloquence is unbecoming in an orator, yet to express confidence in himself is sometimes allowable; for who would blame such remarks as these [Cic. Philipp. ii. 1]: What am I to think? That I am despised? But I do not see what there is, either in my life, or in the favor which I experience, or in what I have done, or in my moderate share of ability, for Antony to despise. 26. Or as he expresses himself, a little afterwards, with somewhat more boldness: Would he wish to engage with me in a contest of eloquence? He would then confer an obligation, on me; for what ampler field, what more copious subject could I desire, than the opportunity of speaking on behalf of myself and against Antony?
27. Those speakers who are arrogant, who assert that they have convinced themselves of the goodness of their cause, or otherwise they would not have undertaken it; for judges listen with unwillingness to a pleader who anticipates their decision; and that which was granted to Pythagoras by his disciples, that his Ipse dixit should settle a question, is not likely to be allowed to an advocate by his opponents. 28. But confidence in speakers will be more or less blamable according to their characters; for it is sometimes justified by their age, dignity, or authority; and yet these will hardly be so great in any orator as not to require that his dependence on them should be tempered with some degree of modesty, as must be the case in all particulars in which a pleader draws arguments from his own person.
It would have been somewhat too arrogant, perhaps, if Cicero had denied, when he was defending himself, that to be the son of a Roman knight ought to be made a ground of accusation against him; but he turned the charge even in his favor, by identifying his own dignity with that of his judges, and saying, But that I am the son of a Roman knight should assuredly never have been alleged as a reproach against me by the accusers in any cause, while you are trying it and while I am defending it before you. [Cic. pro Cael. c. 2.]
29. An impudent, noisy, and angry tone, is unbecoming in all speakers; but the more remarkable a speaker is for age, or dignity, or experience, the more blamable he is if he adopts it. Yet we see some wranglers held under no restraint, either by respect for the judges, or by regard to the forms and practices of pleading; and from this very character of their mind, it is evident that they have no consideration for their honor either in undertaking causes or in pleading them.
30. For men's speech is generally an indication of their disposition, and lays open the secrets of their minds; and it is not without reason that the Greeks have made it a proverb that As a man lives, so also he speaks. [A saying attributed to Solon. See Erasm. Adag. i. 6, 50. Menag. ad Laert. i. .58; Davis ad Cic. Tusc. Q. v. 16.] There are faults also of a still meaner nature; grovelling adulation, studied buffoonery, disregard of modesty in respect to things or words of an offensive or indecent kind, and violations of dignity on all occasions; faults which are oftenest seen in those who are too anxious either to please or to amuse.
31. All kinds of oratory, too, are not alike suitable to all speakers.
Thus a copious, lofty, bold, and florid style would not be so becoming to old men as one that is close, mild, and precise; such a one as Cicero [Brut. c. 2] wished us to understand when he said that his style was growing grey; just as that age, also, is not adapted for wearing garments gleaming with purple and scarlet. 32. In young men, on the other hand, an exuberant and somewhat daring style is well received; while a dry, circumspect, and concise manner of speaking is offensive in them from its very affectation of gravity; as in regard to manners, the austerity of old men is considered as quite premature in the young.
33. A plain style suits military men. To those who make an ostentatious profession of philosophy, as some do, most of the embellishments of speech are by no means becoming, and especially those which have reference to the passions, which they regard as vices. Extraordinary elegance of diction, too, and studied harmony of periods, are altogether foreign to their pursuits. 34. Not only florid expressions, such as these of Cicero, Rocks and deserts respond to the voice of the poet [Cic. pro Arch. c. 8], but even those of a more vigorous and forcible character, as, I now implore and attest you, you, I say, Alban hills and groves, and you, O dismantled altars of the Albans, united and coeval with the religion of the people of Rome [Pro Mil. c. 31], are utterly unsuited to the beard and solemnity of the philosopher.
35. But the man who is desirous of civil distinction, the man of sound sense, who devotes himself, not to idle disputations, but to the management of public affairs, from which those who call themselves philosophers have as far as possible withdrawn themselves, will freely use whatever ornaments of style may tend to effect the object which he has in view when he speaks, having previously resolved in his mind not to recommend anything but what is honorable.
36. There is a style of oratory that becomes princes, which others would hardly be allowed to assume. The mode of speaking suited to military commanders, also, and eminent conquerors, is in a great degree distinct from that of other men. In this kind of style Pompey was an extremely eloquent narrator of his exploits; and Cato, who killed himself in the civil war, was an able speaker in the senate. 37. The same language will often be characterized as freedom in one person, folly in another, and pride in a third. The reproaches addressed by Thersites to Agamemnon [Il. ii. 225, seqq.] are regarded with derision; put them into the mouth of Diomede, or any one of his equals, they will exhibit only greatness of spirit.
Should I regard you as a consul, said Lucius Crassus to Philippus [Cic. de Orat. iii. 1], when you do not regard me as a senator? This is the language of a noble magnanimity, yet we should not think it proper for every one to utter it. 38. Some one of the poets [Catullus, Carm. 92] says that he does not care much whether Caesar were a black man or a white; this is folly; but if Caesar had used the same expression with regard to the poet, it would have been pride.
There is great regard paid to character among the tragic and comic poets; for they introduce a variety of persons accurately distinguished. Similar discrimination used to be observed by those who wrote speeches for others; and it is observed by declaimers, for we do not always declaim as pleaders of a cause, but very frequently as parties concerned in it.
39. But even in the causes in which we plead as advocates, the same difference should be carefully observed; for we often take upon ourselves the character of others, and speak, as it were, with other persons' mouths; and we must exhibit in those to whom we adapt our voice, their exact peculiarities of manner. Publius Clodius is represented as speaking in one way, Appius Caecus in another; the father, in the comedy of Caecilius, is made to express himself in one style, the father, in the comedy of Terence, in another. [See Cic. pro Cael. c. 16.] 40. What could be more brutal than the words of the lictor of Verres, To see him, you must pay so much? What could be more magnanimous than the behavior of the Roman, from whom the only exclamation heard, amidst all the tortures of scourging, was, I am a Roman citizen?
How suitable is the language used in the peroration of the speech for Milo, to a man who, in defense of the commonwealth, had so often curbed a seditious citizen, and who had, at last, triumphed over his plots by valor? 41. Not only, indeed, are there as many various points to be observed in prosopopeiae as in the cause itself, but even more, as in them we assume the characters of children, women, nations, and even of voiceless objects; and in regard to all of them, propriety must be observed. 42. The same care is to be taken with respect to those for whom we plead; for, in speaking for different characters we must often adopt different styles, according as our client is of high or low station, popular or unpopular; noting, at the same time, the difference in their principles of action and in their past lives.
As to the orator himself, the qualities that will recommend him most are courtesy, mildness, good temper, and benevolence. But qualities of an opposite kind will, sometimes, be very becoming in a speaker of high moral character, as he may testify hatred of the wicked, concern on behalf of the public, and zeal for the punishment of offences and crimes; and, indeed, as I said at first, every kind of honorable sentiment will become him.
43. Nor is it of importance only what our own character is, and for whom we plead, but to whom we address ourselves; for rank and power make a great difference; and the same manner of speaking is not equally proper before a prince, a magistrate, a senator, and a private person, or a mere free citizen; nor are public trials, and discussions on private affairs before arbiters, conducted in the same tone. 44. For in proportion as anxiety and care, and every engine set to work, as it were, for strengthening argument, is becoming in the orator who pleads in a capital cause; so, in cases and trials of smaller moment, such solicitude would be but foolish, and he who, sitting [some advocates pleaded sitting before the judges; see Plin. Ep ii. 19, 3] to speak before an umpire on some unimportant question, should make a declaration like that of Cicero [Div. in Caecil. c. 13], that he was not only disturbed in mind, but that he felt a trembling through his whole frame, would be justly ridiculed.
45. Who, indeed, does not know, that the gravity of the senate demands one sort of eloquence, and the levity of a popular assembly another, when, even before single judges, the same mode of address that suits serious characters, is not adapted to those of a lighter cast; the same manner that is proper in speaking to a man of learning, is improper in speaking to a military or uneducated man; and our language must sometimes be lowered and qualified, lest the judge should be unable to comprehend or see the tenor of it?
46. Time and place, also, require a due degree of observation; the occasion on which an orator speaks may be one of seriousness, or one of rejoicing; the time allowed him may be unlimited or limited; and to all such circumstances his speech must be adapted. 47. It makes a great difference, too, whether we speak in a public or private place, in one that is populous or unfrequented, in a foreign city or in our own, in a camp or in the forum; each of these places requires its own peculiar form and style of eloquence; as, even in other affairs of life, the same mode of proceeding is not equally suitable in the forum, the senate, the Campus Martius, the theatre, and in our own houses; and many things, which are not reprehensible in their own nature, and are sometimes absolutely necessary, are counted unseemly if done in any other place than where custom authorizes.
48. How much more elegance and refinement demonstrative topics, as being intended to give pleasure to an audience, admit, than those of a deliberative and judicial character, which are conducted in a tone of business and argument, I have already observed.
To this it is also to be added, that many eminent excellences of oratory are rendered unsuitable to certain causes by the nature of them. 49. Would any one endure to hear an accused person, in danger of losing his life, especially if pleading for himself before his conqueror or his sovereign, indulge in frequent metaphors, in words either of his own coining or studiously fetched from remote antiquity, in a style as far removed as possible from common usage, in flowing periods and florid common places, and fine thoughts? Would not all such elegances destroy that appearance of solicitude natural to a man in peril, and deprive him of the aid of pity, which is necessary to be sought, even by the innocent? 50. Would any one be moved at the fate of him, whom, in so perilous a situation, he should see swelling with vanity and self-conceit, and making an ambitious display of oratory? Would he not rather feel alienated from a man, who, under an accusation, should hunt for words, feel anxiety about his reputation for talent, and consider himself at leisure to be eloquent?
51. This Marcus Caelius seems to me to have admirably shown, when he defended himself on his trial for an assault, saying, Lest to any one of you, judges, or to any of all those here to plead against me, any look of mine should seem offensive, or any expression too presumptuous, or, what is the least however of the three, any gesture at all arrogant, &c. 52. Some pleadings consist wholly in pacifying [satisfactione], deprecating [deprecatione], and making confession, and ought we to weep in fine thoughts? Will epiphonemata, or enthymemes, prevail upon judges? Will not whatever is superadded to genuine feeling, diminish its whole force, and dispel compassion by an appearance of unconcern?
53. If a father has to demand justice for the death of his son, or for some wrong done to him worse than death, will he, instead of being content with giving a brief and direct statement of the matter, study that grace of delivery in his narrative, which depends on the use of pure and perspicuous language? Will he count his arguments upon his fingers, aim at exact nicety in his propositions and divisions, and deliver himself, as is commonly the case in those parts of speeches, without the least manifestation of feeling? 54. Whither, in the meantime, will his grief have fled? How have his tears been dried? Whence has so calm a regard to the precepts of art proceeded? Will not his speech be rather a prolonged groan, from the exordium to the last word, and will not the same look of sadness be invariably maintained by him, if he wishes to transfuse a portion of his own sorrowful feeling into the breasts of his audience, a feeling, which, if he once abates it, he will never revive in them?
55. By those learning to declaim, (for I feel no reluctance to look back to what was formerly my own employment, and to think of the benefit of the youth once under my care,) these proprieties ought to be observed with the utmost strictness, inasmuch as there are exhibited, in the schools, the feelings of a great variety of characters, which we take upon ourselves, not as pleaders for others, but as if we had actually experienced what we say; 60. for example, cases of the following kind are frequently supposed, in which persons request of the senate leave to put themselves to death, either on account of some great misfortune, or from remorse for some crime; and in such cases it is not only unbecoming to adopt a chanting tone [see Cicero Orat. c. 18; Plin. Ep. ii. 14, 13], a fault which has become universal, or to indulge in fine language, but it is improper even to pursue a train of argument, unless feeling, indeed, be mixed with it, and mixed to such a degree, that it may predominate over proof; for he who in pleading can intermit his grief, may be thought capable of laying it aside altogether.
57. I know not, however, whether the observance of the decorum of which we are speaking, should not be maintained with even more scrupulosity towards those against whom we plead than towards others; for we should undoubtedly make it our care, in every case of accusation, to appear to have engaged in it with reluctance. Hence I am extremely offended with the remark of Cassius Severus, Good gods, I am alive, and I see, what may well give me pleasure to be alive, Asprenas in the condition of a criminal; Severus may be thought to have accused him, not from any just or necessary cause, but for the pleasure of being his accuser.
58. In addition to this observance of what is becoming, too, which is common to all cases, certain subjects require a peculiar tenderness of management. Thus the son, who shall apply for the appointment of a guardian over his father's property, ought to testify concern at his father's unsoundness of mind; and a father who brings charges, however grievous, against his son, ought to show that the necessity of doing so is the greatest affliction to him; and this feeling he should exhibit, not in a few words only, but through the whole texture of his speech, so that he may appear to speak, not only with his lips, but from the bottom of his heart. 59. A guardian, also, if his ward make allegations against him, should never manifest towards him resentment of such a nature that traces of affection and sacred regard for the memory of his father may not be apparent through it. How a cause ought to be pleaded by a son against a father who renounces him, and by a husband against a wife who accuses him of ill-treating her, I have remarked, I believe, in the seventh book; when we may properly plead our own cause, and when we should employ the services of an advocate, the fourth book, in which directions are given respecting the exordium, shows.
60. That there may be something becoming, or something offensive, in mere words, no one can doubt. A remark, therefore, seems necessary to be added with reference to a point certainly of extreme difficulty; the consideration, namely, how those things which are by no means inviting in their nature, and of which, if choice were allowed us, we had rather not speak, may nevertheless be expressed by us without indecorum. 61. What can wear a more disagreeable aspect, or what are the ears of men more unwilling to hear, than a case in which a son, or the advocates of a son, have to plead against a mother? Yet such pleading is sometimes necessary, as in the cause of Cluentius Habitus; though it need not always be conducted in the same way as Cicero has chosen in speaking against Sassia; not that he did not proceed with the greatest judgment, but because it is of importance to consider, in reference to the particular case, in what respect, and by what means, the mother has sought to commit injury.
62. Sassia, as she had attempted the life of her son openly, deserved to be assailed with great severity. Yet two points, which required particular attention, Cicero has managed admirably; the first, not to forget the reverence due to parents; the second, to demonstrate most carefully, by going far back into causes, that what he was to say against the mother was not only proper to be said, but absolutely necessary. 63. To show the propriety of his mode of proceeding was accordingly his first object, though it had no immediate bearing on the question in hand; so much was he convinced that, in so delicate and difficult a cause, the first consideration should be what was due to decorum. Thus he made the name of parent cast odium, not upon the son, but upon her against whom he spoke.
64. A mother may, however, be sometimes opposed to her son in a case of less seriousness or bitterness; and a more gentle and submissive tone of pleading, on behalf of the son, will then be proper; for, by showing a readiness to make all due satisfaction, we shall lessen any ill feeling that may arise against ourselves, and may even divert it to the opposite party; and if it be manifest that the son is deeply concerned at being obliged to appear against his mother, it will be believed that the fault is not on his side, and he will at once become an object of compassion. 65. It will be well, too, to throw the blame of the proceeding on other parties, that it may be thought to have had its origin in their malice, and to protest that we will endure to the utmost and make no harsh reply; so that if we have, in fact, no opportunity of showing bitterness, we may appear to have intentionally abstained from it. If any point, again, has to be urged against the mother, it is the duty of the son's advocate to make it appear that he urges it, not with his client's consent, but because the interest of his cause compels him. Thus both the son and his advocate may gain praise.
What I have said with respect to a mother, may be regarded as equally applicable to either parent; for I am aware that between fathers and sons, after emancipation [emancipatio was an imaginary sale, by which a son was set free from the power and jurisdiction of his father; for as long as a son was under his father's control, he could not, according to the jurisconsults, go to law with him] has taken place, lawsuits sometimes occur. 66. In opposing other relatives, also, we must make it our care that we may be thought to have spoken against them unwillingly, from necessity, and with forbearance; and this solicitude should be greater or less according to the respect due to each particular person. The same moderation should be observed in speaking for freed-men against their patrons; and, to say much in a few words, it will never be seemly to plead against such persons in a style which we should be extremely displeased to find men of that condition adopt against ourselves.
67. The same consideration must at times be shown in opposing personages of great dignity; and some justification must be offered for the liberty which we assume, lest any one should think that we indulge a wanton inclination, or gratify our vanity, in wounding them. Thus Cicero, though he had to speak with the utmost severity against Cotta, since the case of Publius Oppius could not otherwise have been pleaded, yet apologized for the necessity of doing his duty in a long preface. 68. Sometimes, too, it may be proper to spare or deal gently with persons of an inferior condition, especially if they are young. Such moderation Cicero observes in speaking for Caelius against Atratinus [in several passages of the exordium of the speech for Caelius], appearing, not to attack him like an adversary, but almost to admonish him like a father; for he was both of noble birth and a youth, and had come forward to accuse Caelius not without just ground for complaint.
But in moderating our conduct towards those, in regard to whom proofs of our forbearance are to be made apparent to the judge or the rest of the audience, there may be comparatively little difficulty; in cases where we fear to offend those in opposition to whom we plead, we may feel greater embarrassment. 69. Two antagonists of that kind were opposed to Cicero, when he was pleading for Muraena, in the persons of Marcus Cato and Servius Sulpicius. Yet how delicately does he deny Sulpicius, after allowing him all other merits, the art of successfully standing for the consulship! What else was there, indeed, in which a man of noble birth, and of high reputation for legal knowledge, would with less regret acknowledge himself defeated? How ably has he stated his reasons for undertaking the defense of Muraena, when he says that he supported the claims of Sulpicius against the election of Muraena to office, but that he should not have thought himself justified in not defending Muraena against a capital accusation!
70. With how gentle a touch, too, has he handled Cato! After testifying the highest admiration for his character, he proceeds to represent it as having become hardened in some points, not through his own fault, but through that of the sect of the Stoics; so that we might suppose that there had occurred between them, not a judicial contest, but a philosophical discussion. 71. It is certainly, then, the best of rules, and the surest of all precepts, to follow the example of the illustrious orator, and, when you wish to deny a person any particular excellence without offending him, to grant him every other good quality, observing that in this respect alone is he less judicious than in others, adding, if possible, the reason why such is the case, as, that he has been a little too obstinate, or credulous, or angry, or that he is incited by other persons. 72. This may serve for a common mode of qualifying our language in all such cases, if there appear, through the whole course of our argument a regard not only to what is honorable, but to what is kind. There should also seem to be the best of reasons for what we say; and we should express ourselves, not only with moderation, but as if under the compulsion of necessity.
73. It is a different case from this, but not so difficult, when we are obliged to commend certain acts of persons otherwise of ill repute, or objects of dislike to us; for we must praise that which deserves praise, in whatever character it be found. Cicero pleaded for Gabinius and Publius Vatinius [concerning Gablnius see Cic. pro Rabir. Post. c. 8; Val. Max. iv. 2; Dio. Cass. lib. xxxix. Concerning Vatinius see Cicero's speech for him, and Ernesti Clav. Cic.], men who had previously been his greatest enemies, and against whom he had even written orations; but the course which he adopted is justified by his declaration that he was anxious, not about his reputation for ability, but about his honor.
74. His proceeding on the trial of Cluentius [Pro Cluent. c. 17] was attended with greater difficulty, as he was obliged to assert Scamander to be guilty, whose cause he had before pleaded. But he extricates himself from his embarrassment most gracefully, alleging in his defense the importunity of those by whom Scamander had been introduced to him, and his own extreme youth; whereas he would have greatly injured his reputation, if he had made himself appear to be one who would rashly undertake the defense of the guilty, especially in so suspicious a cause.
75. In speaking before a judge who is adverse to the cause which we have undertaken, either from regard to another person's interest or his own, though to convince him may be very difficult, yet the proper mode of addressing him is very clear; for we must represent that through confidence in his justice we have no fear for our cause. We must also stimulate him to respect his honor, observing that his integrity and conscientiousness will be the more celebrated, the less he consults his resentment or private interest in forming his decision. 76. We may proceed in the same manner, also, before judges from whom we have appealed, if we should be sent back to them again; alleging some plea of necessity, if it be consistent with our cause, or of error, or suspicion. [In reference to the appeal formerly made, and for which an apology is now offered.] The safest mode, however, is to express repentance, and to offer atonement for our fault; and we must render the judge, by every artifice in our power, afraid of incurring disgrace by sacrificing our cause to his resentment.
77. The cause upon which a judge has already given a decision, may sometimes happen, from particular circumstances, to come before him again, and he may have to try it a second time. In such a case it is common to observe that we should not have entered on a discussion of his sentence before any other judge, as it ought to be reversed only by himself, but that certain particulars in the affair were unknown to us, (if the nature of the cause allows us to say so,) or that witnesses were wanting, or (what must be advanced with great caution, and only if nothing else can be urged) that the pleaders did not fully discharge their duty. 78. Even if we have to plead a cause a second time, too, before other judges, as in a second suit for the liberty of an individual [assertio secunda is a second trial de liberali causu, i.e. concerning the liberty of some person], or of cases that come before a second section of the centumviri [the centumvirl were divided into two (or more) hostae or tribunals, and there might be appeal from one to the other], after our side has been defeated, it will be most proper, whenever it is practicable, to express respect for the opinion of the former judges; a point on which I have spoken more fully in the part where I have treated of proofs.
79. It may happen, also, that we may have to censure in others what we have done ourselves; thus Tubero makes it a charge against Ligarius that he was in Africa; thus some who have been found guilty of bribery, have brought others to trial for the same crime, for the sake of recovering their position as citizens ["Whoever was condemned by this law (the Julian law regarding bribery) might, if he procured the conviction of another person under it, be restored to his former rank." Digest, xiv. 14, 1, 2. See Cicero pro Cluent. c. 36, with the note of Manutius]; and thus, in the declamations of the schools, a young man who is himself extravagant accuses his father of extravagance. How such proceedings can be plausibly conducted, I, for my own part, do not see, unless there be discovered something that makes a difference in the two cases, as character, age, circumstances, motives, place, or intention.
80. Tubero pleads that he accompanied his father into Africa when young, who was sent thither by the senate, not to take part in the war, but to buy corn, and withdrew from his party as soon as he found opportunity; but that Ligarius, on the contrary, persevered in his course, and kept on the side, not of Pompey, between whom and Caesar there was a contest for the chief power, though both of them wished well to their country, but of Juba and the Africans, who were the greatest enemies to the Roman people. 81. It is indeed very easy to impute guilt to others, when we own ourselves guilty; but this is the part of an informer, not of a pleader [he that accuses others of crimes of which he himself is guilty, lays aside the dignity of the orator, and reduces himself to the level of those who live by being informers]; and if no ground of excuse is available, contrition is the only thing that can recommend us to favor; for he may be thought to have sufficiently corrected himself who has been led into detestation of the errors which he has committed.
Some characters, however, may offer such censure not inexcusably, from the very nature of the matter to which it refers; as when a father disinherits a son, the offspring of a harlot, because he has married a harlot. 82. This is a suppositious case in the schools, but it is a case that may really happen; and the father may offer many arguments not unbecomingly in justification of his conduct; as, that it is the wish of all parents to have children of higher character than themselves, (since, if he had a daughter instead of a son, her mother, though a harlot, would have desired her to be chastely brought up,) or that he himself was of a humbler condition, (supposing that he can fairly say this,) or that he had no father to admonish him; 83. and that his son should have been the less willing to form such a union, that he might not revive the disgrace of his family, and reproach his father with his marriage, and his mother with the distresses of the early part of her life, and that he might not give a precedent of such a marriage for his own children to follow. Some glaring turpitude, also, may be supposed in the character of the son's mistress, on which his father cannot now [since he has risen to a higher station in life] look with indulgence.
Other arguments I omit; for I am not now composing a declamation, only showing that a pleader may sometimes make an advantageous use even of circumstances that appear to be strongly against him. 84. It is a case of greater embarrassment to an advocate, when he has to complain of things that he is ashamed to mention, as corporeal dishonor, especially in reference to males, or other outrages. I say nothing of the possibility of the sufferer speaking for himself, for what else would become him but to groan and weep, and express detestation of life, leaving the judge rather to divine his grief than to hear it stated? But the advocate will also have to exhibit similar feelings [the advocate must show as much concern on such an occasion as his client would be supposed to feel]; since this kind of injury causes more shame to those who endure it than to those who inflict it.
85. Asperity of language, when a speaker feels inclined to indulge in it, must, in most cases, be tempered with a mixture of another tone, such as Cicero adopted in pleading for the children of the proscribed. [The oration is lost. Suppl. Liv. x. 45. See Plin. H. N. vii. 31.] What, indeed, could be more cruel, than that men descended from honorable fathers and forefathers should be excluded from places of honor in the state? Accordingly that great master of the art of swaying the minds of mankind is obliged to assert that it is a very severe law; but he remarks, at the same time, that the constitution of the state was so essentially upheld by the laws of Sylla, that if they were repealed it could no longer stand; and thus he succeeded in saying something in apology for those against whom he had to plead.
86. In speaking on the subject of raillery [see also Cic. Orat. c. 26], I observed how unseemly it is to reproach a person with his condition of life, and that we should not make wanton attacks upon whole classes of men, or entire nations or people. But sometimes the duty of our advocate absolutely obliges him to make some remarks on the general character of some particular description of people, as that of freedmen, soldiers, tax-gatherers, and the like. 87. In all such cases, it is a common way of qualifying our observations, to represent that we advert with reluctance to points that must give pain; and we must not assail all points in their character indiscriminately, but that only which it is our business to attack, and while we censure that particular, we must make some compensation by encomiums on others.
88. Thus we may say that soldiers are certainly rapacious; but we may add that such a quality in their character is by no means wonderful, as they think that greater rewards are due to them than to other men, for the dangers to which they expose themselves and the blood which they lose in defense of their country. We may acknowledge, also, that they are inclined to quarrelling; but may say that this is a natural consequence of their greater familiarity with war than with peace.
We may have to detract from the credit of freed-men; but we may at the same time bear testimony to their industry, by which they have released themselves from servitude. 89. As to foreign nations, Cicero affords us various examples of the modes in which we may deal with them. When he has to invalidate the veracity of some Greek witnesses, he allows the Greeks eminence in knowledge and learning, and professes himself a great admirer of that nation. [Pro Flacc. c. 26, seq.] He affects contempt for the Sardinians [fragment of his oration for Scaurus], he inveighs against the Allobroges as enemies [Pro Fonteio, c. 8, seq.], but none of his remarks, when they were made, appeared at all impertinent, or at variance with decorum.
90. If there be anything offensive in a matter of which we have to speak, it may be softened by moderation in the terms which we apply to it. Cruelly in a man's character we may call too great severity; of a person that has acted unjustly we may say that he has been misled by the persuasion of others; and of an obstinate man that he is somewhat tenacious of his opinion. In many cases we may endeavor to overcome our adversaries by reasoning, which is the most gentle of all modes of contention.
91. To these observations I may add, that whatever is in excess is indecorous; and hence even that which in itself is well adapted to our purpose, loses all its grace if it be not under the control of moderation. An estimation of what is right on this point is rather to be formed by the exercise of our own judgment, than to be communicated by precepts. We must endeavor to conceive how much may be sufficient, and to how much our audience are likely to listen with gratification; for such particulars do not admit of weight and measure, because, as is the case with different kinds of food, some satiate more than others.
92. I think it proper to add, briefly, that very different excellences in speaking have not only their admirers, but are often extolled by the same person. Cicero, in one passage of his writings [something similar is found in Orat. c. 23 and 28; Brut. c. 93], says that that is the best style, which the hearer thinks himself able easily to equal by imitation, but finds himself unable; and in another place, that he did not make it his object to speak so as every one, but so as no one, would feel confident of being able to speak. 93. One of these positions may appear to contradict the other, but both are praised, and with good reason, for differences in style arise from difference in the nature of subjects; since simplicity, and the negligence, as it were, of an unaffected manner, are extremely suitable to inferior causes, while a grander species of oratory is better adapted to those of more importance. Cicero excels in both. The inexperienced may think that they can easily acquire one of them; the experienced will despair of acquiring either.
1. Some have thought memory to be a mere gift of nature; and to nature, doubtless, it is chiefly owing; but it is strengthened, like all our other faculties, by exercise; and all the study of the orator, of which we have hitherto been speaking, is ineffectual, unless the other departments of it be held together by memory as by an animating principle. All knowledge depends on memory; and we shall be taught to no purpose if whatever we hear escapes from us. It is the power of memory that brings before us those multitudes of precedents, laws, judgments, sayings, and facts, of which an orator should always have an abundance, and which he should always be ready to produce. The memory is accordingly not without reason called the treasury of eloquence.
2. But it is necessary for those who are to plead, not only to retain multitudes of particulars firmly in the memory, but also to have a quick conception of them; not only to remember what they have written after repeated perusals, but to observe the order of thoughts and words even in what they have merely meditated; and to recollect the statements of the adverse party, not necessarily with a view to refute them in the order in which they have been advanced, but to notice each of them in the most suitable place. 3. The ability of speaking extempore seems to me to depend on no other faculty of the mind than this; for, while we are uttering one thought, we have to consider what we are to say next; and thus, while the mind is constantly looking forward beyond its immediate object, whatever it finds in the meantime it deposits in the keeping as it were of the memory, which, receiving it from the conception, transmits it, as an instrument of intercommunication, to the delivery.
4. I do not think that I need dwell on the consideration what it is that constitutes memory. Most, however, are of opinion that certain impressions are stamped on the mind, as the signets of rings are marked on wax. [See Plato Theaet. p. 191, Steph. In the Philebus he compares the memory to a book. Aristotle, de Mem. et Reminis. c. 1, compares impressions on the memory to those on wax.] But I shall not be so credulous as to believe that the memory may be rendered duller or more retentive by the condition of the body. [This is said in opposition to the opinion of those who thought that the memory might be strengthened and improved by drugs.]
5. I would rather content myself with expressing my admiration of its powers, as they affect the mind; so that, by its influence, old ideas, revived after a long interval of forgetfulness, suddenly start up and present themselves to us, not only when we endeavor to recall them, but even of their own accord, not only when we are awake, but even when we are sunk in sleep; 6. a peculiarity the more wonderful, as even the inferior animals, which are thought to want understanding, remember and recognize things, and, however far they may be taken from their usual abodes, still return to them again. Is it not a surprising inconsistency that what is recent should escape the memory, and what is old should retain its place in it? That we should forget what happened yesterday, and yet remember the acts of our childhood?
7. That things when sought ["Some things which I cannot fully grasp in my memory, even when they partially occur and present themselves to it, will suddenly arise in my mind when it is making no effort to recall them, but is quite at rest." Seneca, Controv. lib. 1, praef.], should conceal themselves, and occur to us unexpectedly? That memory should not always remain with us, but sometimes return after having been lost? Yet its full power, its entire divine efficacy, would never have been known, had it not exalted eloquence to its present lustre. 8. For it supplies the orator with the order, not only of things, but of words, not connecting together a few only, but extending a series almost to infinity, so that, in very long pleadings, the patience of the hearer fails sooner than the memory of the speaker.
9. This may be an argument that art has some influence on memory, and that nature is aided by method, since persons, when instructed, can do that which, when without instruction or practice, they could not do; though I find it said indeed by Plato [Phaedr. p. Steph. 274, 275; there was a similar opinion among the Druids, according to Caesar, B. G. vi. 14], that the use of letters is a detriment to memory, because, as he intimates, what we have committed to writing we cease, in some degree, to guard, and lose it through mere neglect. 10. Doubtless, attention of the mind is of great influence in this respect, like that of the sight of the eye with regard to objects, when not diverted from anything on which it has been fixed. Hence it happens, that of what we have been writing for several days, with a view to learning it by heart, the memory firmly embraces the whole.
11. An Art of Memory Simonides is said to have been the first to teach; concerning whom a well known story is related [see Cic. de Orat. ii 86; Phaed. iv. 24]: That when, for a stipulated sum, he had written in honor of a pugilist, who had won the crown, an ode of the kind usually composed for conquerors in the games, half of the money was refused him, because, according to a practice very common with poets, he had made a digression in praise of Castor and Pollux, for which reason he was told to apply for the other half to the deities whose praises he had chosen to celebrate. 12. The deities, according to the story, paid it; for, as a splendid entertainment was made in honor of that victory, Simonides, being invited to the banquet, was called away from it by a message that two young men, mounted on horses, earnestly requested to see him.
13. When he went out he found nobody; but he discovered, from what followed, that the deities were not ungrateful to him, for he had scarcely passed the threshold, when the banqueting-room fell down upon the guests, and crushed them so horribly, that those who went to look for the bodies of the dead, in order to bury them, were unable to recognize, by any mark, not only their faces, but even their limbs; when Simonides, by the aid of his memory, is said to have pointed out the bodies to their friends in the exact order in which they had sat. 14. But it is by no means agreed among authors, whether this ode was written for Glaucus of Carystus, or Leocrates, or Agatharcus, or Scopas; and whether the house was at Pharsalus, as Simonides himself seems somewhere to intimate, and as Apollodorus, Eratosthenes, Euphorion, and Eurypylus of Larissa, have stated, or at Cranon, as Apollas Callimachus asserts, whom Cicero has followed, giving a wide circulation to his account of the story.
15. That Scopas, a Thessalian nobleman, was killed at that banquet, is generally believed; his sister's son is said to have perished with him; and some think that most of the family of another and older Scopas was killed at the same time. 16. However, that part of the story relating to Castor and Pollux appears to me to be utterly fabulous, as the poet himself has nowhere alluded to the occurrence, and he assuredly would not have been silent about an incident so much to his honor.
17. From what Simonides did on that occasion, it appears to have been remarked, that the memory is assisted by localities impressed on the mind; and every one seems able to attest the truth of the observation from his own experience; for when we return to places, after an absence of some time, we not only recognize them, but recollect also what we did in them; persons whom we saw there, and sometimes even thoughts that passed within our minds, recur to our memory. Hence in this case, as in many others, art has had its origin in experiment. 18. People fix in their minds places of the greatest possible extent, diversified by considerable variety, such as a large house, for example, divided into many apartments. Whatever is remarkable in it is carefully impressed on the mind, so that the thought may run over every part of it without hesitation or delay; and it is indeed of the first importance, to be at no loss in recurring to any part, for ideas which are meant to excite other ideas, ought to be in the highest degree certain.
19. They then distinguish what they have written, or treasured in their mind, by some symbol by which they may be reminded of it; a symbol which may either have reference to the subject in general, as navigation or warfare, or to some particular word [thus, if a period begins with the word solet, sol may be the symbol for recollecting it]; for if they forget, they may, by a hint from a single word, find their recollection revived. It may be a symbol, however, of navigation, as an anchor; or of war, as some particular weapon. 20. These symbols they then dispose in the following manner: they place, as it were, their first thought under its symbol, in the vestibule, and the second in the hall, and then proceed round the courts, locating thoughts in due order, not only in chambers and porticoes, but on statues and other like objects.
This being done, when the memory is to be tried, they begin to pass in review all these places from the commencement, demanding from each what they have confided to it, according as they are reminded by the symbol; and thus, however numerous be the particulars which they have to remember, they can, as they are connected each to each like a company of dancers hand to hand, make no mistake in joining the following to the preceding, if they only take due trouble to fix the whole in their minds. 21. What I have specified as being done with regard to a dwelling house, may be done also with regard to public buildings, or a long road, or the walls of a city, or pictures, or we may even conceive imaginary places for ourselves.
Places, however, we must have, either fancied or selected, and images or symbols which we may invent at pleasure. These symbols are marks by which we distinguish the particulars which we have to get by heart, so that, as Cicero says [De Orat. ii. 86], we use places as waxen tablets, and symbols as letters. 22. But it will be best to cite what he adds, in his exact words: We must fancy many plain and distinct places, at moderate distances; and such symbols as are expressive, striking, and well-marked, which may present themselves to the mind and act upon it at once. I am therefore the more surprised that Metrodorus should have made three hundred and sixty places in the twelve signs through which the sun passes. [He used the twelve signs of the Zodiac as aids for his memory, dividing each into thirty compartments; but he made an injudicious choice, because these compartments in the signs of the Zodiac were not sensible and distinct objects, on which the mind could readily fix.] This was doubtless vanity and boastfulness in a man priding himself on his memory rather as the result of art than as the gift of nature.
23. For myself, I do not deny that this method may be of use in some cases; for instance, if the names of several things, after being heard in a certain order are to be repeated without deviation from it; for those who would do so, locate the things in the places which they have previously conceived, the table, for example, in the vestibule, the couch in the hall, and other things in the same way; and then, going over the places again, they find the things where they deposited them. 24. Perhaps those were assisted by this method, who, at the close of an auction, could specify what had been sold to each buyer, in conformity with the books of the money-takers. Such a proof of memory they say that Hortensius often gave [Seneca, Controv. praef.].
But this mode will be of much less efficacy for learning by heart the parts that constitute a continuous speech; for thoughts have not their peculiar images like things, the image, in this case, being a mere fiction of the imagination; though indeed the place will suggest to us either a fictitious or a real image; but how will the connection of the words of a speech be retained in mind by the aid of such a method? 25. I do not dwell on the circumstance that some things cannot be signified by any images, as for example, conjunctions.
We may have, it is true, like short-hand writers, certain marks for every word, and an infinite number of places, as it were, in which all the words contained in the five books of the second pleading against Verres may be arranged, so that we may remember all just as we have supposed them to be deposited, but must not the course of the orator's speech, as he pronounces the words, be impeded by the double effort necessary to the memory? [That of remembering and connecting.] 26. How can his words flow on in a continuous current, if he has to refer for every word to its particular image? Let Charmadas [Charmadas, Metrodorus, and Hortensius are mentioned by Cicero, Tusc. Quaest. i. 24, as persons of extraordinary power of memory], therefore, and Metrodorus of Scepsis, whom I mentioned a little above, both of whom Cicero asserts to have used this method, keep their art to themselves; and let me propose one of a simpler nature.
27. If a long speech is to be retained in the memory, it will be of advantage to learn it in parts; for the memory sinks under a vast burden laid on it at once. Al the same time, the portions should not be extremely short; for they will then distract and harass the memory. I cannot however prescribe any certain length, since this must be suited, as much as possible, to the different divisions of the subject, unless a division, perchance, be of such magnitude that it requires to be subdivided. 28. But certain limits must assuredly be fixed, that frequent meditation may connect the series of words in each, which is attended with great difficulty, and that a repetition of the parts in their order may unite them into a whole.
As to those which are least easily remembered, it will be of advantage to associate with them certain marks, the recollection of which may refresh and excite the memory. 29. Scarcely any man has so unhappy a memory as not to remember what symbol he designed for any particular part; but, if he be so unfortunately dull, it will be a reason for him to adopt the remedy of marks, that they may stimulate him. For it is of no small service in this method, to affix signs to those thoughts which are likely, we think, to escape us; an anchor, as I remarked above, if we have to speak of a ship; a spear, if we have to think of a battle; since signs are of great efficacy; and one idea arises from another; as when a ring shifted from one finger to another, or tied with a thread, reminds us why we shifted or tied it.
30. Those contrivances have the greatest effect in fixing things in the memory, which lead it from some similar object to that which we have to remember; as, in regard to names, if Fabius, for instance, is to be kept in our memory, we may think of the famous Cunctator, who will surely not escape us, or of some one of our friends, who is named Fabius. 31. This is still more easy in respect to such names as Aper, Ursus, Naso, or Crispus, since we can fix in our minds the things to which they allude. A reference to the origin of derivative names is sometimes even a still better means of remembering them, as in those of Cicero, Verrius, Aurelius.
32. What will be of service, however, to every one, is to learn by heart from the same tablets on which he has written; for he will pursue the remembrance of what he has composed by certain traces, and will look, as it were, with the eye of his mind, not only on the pages, but on almost every individual line, resembling, while he speaks, a person reading, If, moreover, any erasure, or addition, or alteration, has been made, they will be as so many marks, and while we attend to them, we shall not go astray. 33. This method, though not wholly unlike the system of which I spoke at first, is yet, if experience has taught me anything, more expeditious and efficacious.
To learn by heart in silence, (for it is a question whether we should do so or not,) would be best, if other thoughts did not intrude on the mind at a time when it is, so to speak, at rest, for which reason it requires to be stimulated by the voice, that the memory may be excited by the double duty of speaking and hearing. But the tone of voice ought to be low, and rather a kind of murmur.
34. As to him that learns from another person who reads to him, he is in some degree retarded, as the sense of seeing is quicker than that of hearing, but he may, on the other hand, be in some degree benefited, as, after he has heard a passage once or twice, he may immediately begin to try his memory, and attempt to rival the reader; indeed, for other reasons, we should make it our great care to test the memory from time to time, since continuous reading passes with equal celerity over that which takes less and that which takes more hold of the mind; while, in making trial whether we retain what we have heard, not only a greater degree of attention is applied, but no time is unoccupied, or lost in repeating that which we already know, as, in this way, only the parts that have escaped us are gone over again, that they may be fixed in the memory by frequent repetition, though generally, indeed, these very parts are more securely stored in the memory than others, for the very reason that they escaped it at first.
35. It is common alike to learning by heart and to composition, that good health, excellent digestion, and a mind free from other subjects of care, contribute greatly to success in them.
36. But for fixing in the memory what we have written, and for retaining in it what we meditate, the most efficacious, and almost the only, means, (except exercise, which is the most powerful of all,) are division and arrangement. He who makes a judicious division of his subject, will never err in the order of particulars; 37. for, if we but speak as we ought [if we do not indulge in such ambitious and ostentatious ornament as to obscure, by its excessive splendor, the connection and divisions of our matter], there will be certain points, as well in the treatment as in the distribution of the different questions in our speech, that will naturally be first, second, and so on; and the whole concatenation of the parts will be so manifestly coherent, that nothing can be omitted or inserted in it without being at once perceived.
38. Did Scaevola, after playing at the game of the twelve lines [this was a game played with counters on a board, moved according to throws of the dice; It was called duodecim scripta from twelve lines that were drawn on the board. See Cicero de Orat. i. 50, and Ernest. Clav.; Adam's Rom. Ant. p. 453], in which he had been the first to move, and had been beaten, and going over the whole process of the game in his mind as he was travelling into the country, recollect at what move he had made a mistake, and return to tell the person with whom he had been playing, who acknowledged that it was as he said; and shall order have less effect in a speech, where it is settled wholly at our own pleasure, than it has in a game, where it depends partly on the will of another?
39. All parts that have been well put together, too, will guide the memory by their sequence; for as we learn by heart verse more easily than prose, so we learn compact prose better than such as is ill-connected. Thus it happens that passages in a speech, which seemed to have been poured forth extempore, are heard repeated word for word; and such repetition was possible even to the moderate power of my own memory, whenever, as I was declaiming, the entrance of any persons, who merited such attention, induced me to repeat a portion of my declamation. I have no opportunity of saying what is untrue, as there are people living that were present when I did so.
40. If any one ask me, however, what is the only and great art of memory, I shall say that it is exercise and labor. To learn much by heart, to meditate much, and, if possible, daily, are the most efficacious of all methods. Nothing is so much strengthened by practice, or weakened by neglect, as memory. 41 . Let children, therefore, as I directed, learn as much as possible by heart at the earliest possible age; and let every one, at whatever age, that applies himself to strengthen his memory by cultivation, get resolutely over the tedium of going through what has often been written and read, and of masticating repeatedly, as it were, the same food; a labor which may be rendered easier, if we begin with learning a few things first, and such as do not create disgust in us; and we may then add to our task a verse or two every day, the addition of which will cause no sensible increase to our labor, but will lead, at length, to almost inconceivable results.
We may first learn pieces of poetry, then passages from orators, and at last composition of a less studied kind, and more remote from the style of oratory, as that of writers on law. 42. For what is intended as an exercise ought to be of a rather difficult nature, in order that that for which it is intended as an exercise may be easier; just as athletes accustom their hands to leaden weights, though they must use them empty and unarmed in actual combats.
I must not omit to mention, what is found to he true by daily experience, that in minds of a somewhat slow nature, the impression of what is recent on the memory is by no means exact. 43. It is astonishing how much strength the interval of a night gives it; and a reason for the fact cannot be easily discovered; whether it be from the effort, the fatigue of which was a hindrance to itself, being suspended during the time; or whether it be that reminiscence, which is the most efficient quality of the memory, is cherished or matured; certain it is, that what could not be repeated at first, is readily put together on the following day; and the very time which is generally thought to cause forgetfulness is found to strengthen the memory. 44. On the other hand, the extraordinarily quick memory soon allows what it has grasped to escape it; and as if, after discharging a present duty, it owed nothing further, it resigns its charge like a dismissed steward. Nor is it indeed surprising that what has been longest impressed upon the mind should adhere to it with the greatest tenacity.
From this difference in minds a question has arisen, whether those who are going to deliver a speech should learn it by heart word for word, or whether it be sufficient to master merely the substance and order of particulars. 45. This is a point on which certainly no general decision can be given; for, for my own part, if my memory be sufficiently strong, and time be not wanting, I should wish not a single syllable to escape me; else it would be to no purpose to write. Such exactness we should acquire in childhood; and the memory should be brought to such a condition by exercise, that we may never learn to excuse its failures. To be prompted, therefore, and to refer to one's writing, is pernicious, as it grants indulgence to carelessness; nor will a speaker feel that he retains with sufficient security that which he is in no fear of losing.
46. Hence, too, proceed interruptions in the course of our speech, and a mode of delivery halting and irregular, while the speaker, appearing like one who has learned a lesson, destroys the whole grace of what he had written with grace, by making it evident that he did write it. 47. But a good memory gains us credit even for readiness of wit, as we appear, not to have brought what we utter from home, but to have conceived it on the instant; an opinion which is of great service both to the speaker and to his cause; for a judge admires more, and distrusts less, that which he regards as not having been pre-concerted to mislead him. We should therefore consider it as one of the most excellent artifices in pleading to deliver some parts of our speech, which we have extremely well connected, as if they had not been connected at all, and to appear, at times, like persons thinking and doubting, seeking what we have in reality brought with us. 48. What it is best for a speaker to do, then, in regard to memory, cannot escape the apprehension of any one.
But even if a person's memory be naturally dull, or if time be but short, it will be useless for him to tie himself down to a series of words, when to forget any one of them may occasion either disagreeable hesitation, or total silence; and it will be far safer for him, after treasuring up his matter in his mind, to leave himself at liberty to deliver it as he pleases; for a speaker never loses a single word that he has chosen, without regret, and cannot easily put another in its place while he is trying to recollect the very one that he had written. 49. But not even such power of substitution is any remedy for a weak memory, unless in those who have acquired some ability in speaking extempore; and if both resources be wanting to a speaker, I would advise him to renounce entirely all attempts at pleading, and to apply himself, if he has any talent for composition, to writing. But such unfortunate weakness of memory is very rarely seen.
50. What strength the memory may attain when assisted by nature and art, Themistocles may be named as an instance, who, as is generally believed, learned to speak the Persian language accurately in less than a year [Thucyd. i. 137; Corn. Nep. ii. 10, 1. Plutarch, Themist. p. 229, Steph.]; or Mithridates, to whom it is said that two and twenty languages, the number of the nations over whom he ruled, were known [Plin. H. N. vii. 24, xxv. 2; Aul. Gell. xvii. 17]; or Crassus [Val. Max. viii. 7, 6] the rich, who, when he was praetor of Asia, was so well acquainted with the five dialects [Attic, Ionic, Doric, Aeolic, and Macedonian] of the Greek tongue, that in whichsoever of them a complainant sought justice from him, he pronounced in that very dialect a decision on his case; or Cyrus, who is supposed to have known the names of every one of his soldiers. 51. Theodectes, also, is said to have been able to repeat instantly any number of verses after having once heard them. There were said to be persons, in my time, who could do so, but I never had the fortune to witness such a performance. The belief in its possibility may well, however, be cherished, if for no other reason than that he who thinks it practicable may hope to effect it.
1. Delivery is by most writers called action; but it appears to derive the one name from the voice, and the other from the gesture; for Cicero calls action sometimes the language, as it were [Cic. de Orat. iii. 59], and sometimes the eloquence of the body [Cic. Orat. c. 17]. Yet he makes two constituent parts of action, which are the same as those of delivery, voice and motion. We, therefore, make use off either term indiscriminately.
2. As for the thing itself, it has a wonderful power and efficacy in oratory; for it is not of so much importance what sort of thoughts we conceive within ourselves, as it is in what manner we express them; since those whom we address are moved only as they hear. Accordingly there is no proof, that proceeds in any way from a pleader [that is, which is not altogether of an inartificial kind], of such strength that it may not lose its effect, unless it be supported by a tone of affirmation in the speaker. All attempts at exciting the feelings must prove ineffectual, unless they be enlivened by the voice of the speaker, by his look, and by the action of almost his whole body. 3. For when we have displayed energy in all these respects, we may think ourselves happy, if the judge catches a single spark of our fire; and we surely cannot hope to move him if we are languid and supine, or expect that he will not slumber if we yawn. 4. Even actors on the stage give proof of the power of delivery, since they add so much grace even to the best of our poets, that the same passages delight us infinitely more when they are heard than when they are read; and they gain a favorable hearing for the most contemptible performances, insomuch that pieces which have no place in our libraries are welcomed time after time at the theatre.
5. If, then, in matters which we know to be fictitious and unreal, delivery is of such effect as to excite in us anger, tears, and concern, how much additional weight must it have when we also believe the subjects on which it is bestowed? For my own part, I should be inclined to say that language of but moderate merit, recommended by a forcible delivery, will make more impression than the very best, if it be unattended with that advantage. 6. Accordingly Demosthenes, when he was asked what was the chief excellence in the whole art of oratory, gave the palm to delivery, and assigned to it also the second and third place, until he ceased to be questioned; so that he may be thought to have esteemed it not merely the principal, but the only excellence.
7. It was for this reason that he himself studied it under Andronicus [Satyrus is the name generally given to the instructor of Demosthenes; as in Plutarch] the actor, and with such success that Aeschines, when the Rhodians expressed admiration of his speech, appears to have exclaimed with great justice, What if you had heard him himself deliver it? 8. Cicero [Orat. c. 56. Concerning Lentulus, Gracchus, Antonius, Crassus, Hortensius, see Brut. c. 66, 89, 38, 43, 88; de Orat. iii. 56] also thinks that delivery has supreme power in oratory. He says that Cneius Lentulus obtained more reputation by his delivery than by any real power of eloquence; that it was by delivery that Caius Gracchus, in deploring his brother's death, excited the tears of the whole Roman people; and that Antonius and Crassus produced great impression by it, but Hortensius more than either of them.
A proof of this remark regarding Hortensius, is, that his writings are so much below that character for which he was long accounted the chief of our orators, then the rival of Cicero, and at last, as long as he lived, second to him; whence it appears that there was some charm in his delivery which we do not find in reading him. 9. Indeed, as words have much power of themselves, as the voice adds a particular force to thought, and as gesture and motion are not without meaning, some great excellence must necessarily be the result when all these sources of power are combined.
10. Yet there are some who think that an unstudied mode of delivery, such as the impulse of the individual speaker's mind produces, is more forcible, and indeed the only mode of delivery worthy of men. But those who hold this opinion are mostly such as make it their practice to decry all care, and art, and polish in speaking in general, and to condemn whatever is acquired by study as affected and unnatural; or such as pretend to imitate antiquity by an assumed rudeness of style and pronunciation, as Cicero [De Orat. iii. 11, 12; Brut. 74] says that Lucius Cotta used to do. 11. Let those, however, who think it enough for men to be born to become orators, enjoy their own opinion, but let them be indulgent, at the same time, to the trouble which I take, who believe that there can be no consummate excellence except when nature is assisted by art.
12. But I allow, without the least reluctance, that the chief power rests with nature; for he, assuredly, will be unable to deliver himself properly, to whom either memory is wanting for retaining what he has written, or ready facility in uttering what he has to speak extempore; or if any incurable defects of utterance disable him. There may even be such extraordinary deformity of body in a person that it cannot be remedied by any effort of art. 13. Nor can a weak voice attain any degree of excellence in delivery; for we may manage a sound and strong voice as we please, but a bad or weak voice prevents us from doing many things that are necessary, as giving emphasis and elevation of tone, and forces us to do many other things that we ought to avoid, as breaking our sentences, adopting an unnatural pitch, and recruiting a hoarse throat and exhausted lungs with an offensive resemblance to singing. But let me now speak of him who is so qualified by nature that rules will not fail to be of use to him.
14. Since delivery in general, as I said, depends upon two things, voice and gesture, of which the one affects the eyes and the other the ears, the two senses through which all impressions find their way into the mind, it is natural to speak first of the voice, to which, also, the gesture is to be adapted.
In regard to it, then, the first thing to be considered is what sort of voice we have, and the next, how we use it. The natural power of the voice is estimated by its quantity and its quality. 15. Of these, the quantity is the more simple consideration, for it may be said in general that it is either much or little; but between the extremes of these quantities there are many diversities, and many gradations from the lowest tone to the highest, and from the highest to the lowest. Quality is more varied; for the voice is either clear or husky, full or weak, smooth or rough, of smaller or larger compass, hard or flexible, sharp or flat. 16. The breath may also be longer or shorter.
As to the causes whence each of these peculiarities arises, it is not necessary to the design of my work to consider whether the difference lies in those parts of the body in which the breath is generated, or in those through which, as through tubes, it passes; whether it results from the nature of the voice itself, or from the impulse which it receives; or whether strength of lungs, or of the chest, or even of the head, affords it most assistance; for there is need of concurrent aid from all these parts, as well as of a clear formation, not only of the mouth, but also of the nostrils, through which the remainder of the breath is expelled. The general tone of the voice, however, ought to be sweet, not grating.
17. In the management of the voice there are many particulars to be observed; for besides the three main distinctions of acute, grave, and intermediate, there is need of many other kinds of intonation, as the forcible and the gentle, the higher and the lower; and of slower or quicker time [said with reference to long and short syllables, of which feet and numbers consist]. 18. But between these varieties there are other intermediate varieties; and as the face, though it consists of very few features, is infinitely diversified, so the voice, though it has very few variations that can be named, has yet a peculiar tone in each individual; and the voice of a person is as easily distinguished by the ear, as the face by the eye.
19. But the good qualities of the voice, like those of all our other faculties, are improved by attention and deteriorated by neglect. The attention to be paid to the voice by orators, however, is not the same as that which is required from singing-masters [a phonascus was a person who taught the management of the voice in general, either in shiging or speaking]; though there are many things equally necessary to both; as strength of body, for instance, that the voice may not dwindle down to the weak tone of eunuchs, women, and sick persons; strength which walking, anointing with oil, continence, and easy digestion of food, which is the result of moderation in eating, contribute to maintain.
20. It is necessary, also, that the throat be in good condition, that is, soft and flexible, for by any defect in it the voice may be rendered broken, husky, rough, or squeaking [split, as it were, into several tones, instead of having one full tone]; for as flutes, receiving the same breath, give one sound when the holes are stopped, another when they are open, another when the instruments are not thoroughly clean, and another when they are cracked; so the throat, when swollen, strangles the voice, when not clear, stifles it, when dry, roughens it, and when affected with spasms, gives forth a sound like that of broken pipes.
21. The breath, too, is sometimes broken by some obstruction, as a small stream of water by a pebble, the current of which, though it unites soon after the obstruction, yet leaves something of a void behind it. Too much moisture also impedes the voice, and too little weakens it. As to fatigue, it affects the voice as it affects the whole body, not for the present merely, but for some time afterwards.
22. But though exercise is necessary alike for singing-masters and orators, in order that all their faculties may be in full vigor, yet the same kind of attention to the body is not to be expected from both; for certain times for walking cannot be fixed for himself by a man who is occupied in so many duties of civil life, nor can he tune his voice at leisure from the lowest to the highest notes; or give it rest when he pleases from the labors of the forum, since he has often to speak on many trials in succession. 23. Nor need he observe the same care in regard to diet; for he has occasion, not so much for a soft and sweet voice, as for one that is strong and durable, and though singers may soften all sounds, even the highest, by a certain modulation of the voice, we, on the contrary, must often speak with roughness and vehemence.
We must frequently, also, watch whole nights, we must imbibe the smoke of the lamp by which we study, and remain long, during the day-time, in garments moistened with perspiration. [A practice which the phonasci say should be avoided, and make it a rule that after great perspiration the orator should anoint himself with oil; but speakers cannot adhere strictly to the precepts of the phonasci.] 24. Let us not, therefore, weaken our voice by delicate treatment of ourselves, or bring it to a condition which will not be enduring; but let the exercise which we give it be similar to the exertion for which it is destined; let it not be relaxed by want of use, but strengthened by practice, by which all difficulties are smoothed.
25. To learn passages of authors by heart, in order to exercise the voice, will be an excellent method; for as to those who speak extempore, the feeling which is excited by their matter prevents them from giving due attention to the voice; and it will be well to learn passages of as much variety of subject as possible, such as may exercise us in exclamation, in discussion, in the familiar style, and in the softer kind of eloquence [that is, passages which require to be spoken in a tone adapted for exciting pity, a tone which approaches to singing], that we may be prepared for every mode of speaking. 26. This will be sufficient exercise; but the delicate voice, which is too much nursed, will be unequal to any extraordinary exertion; just as athletes accustomed to the oil and the gymnasium, though they may appear, in their own games, handsome and strong, yet, if we were to order them on a military expedition, and require them to carry burdens and pass whole nights on guard, would soon faint with fatigue, and long to be anointed and to perspire at freedom in an undress.
27. Who, indeed, in a work like this, would endure to find it directed that sunshine and wind, cloudy and very dry days, should be objects of dislike to an orator? If, then, we be called upon to speak in the sun, or on a windy, moist, or hot day, shall we desert our clients? As to the admonitions that some give, that an orator should not speak when he is suffering from indigestion, or heavy after a full meal, or intoxicated, or after having just vomited, I suppose that no man, who retains possession of his senses, would be guilty of such folly.
28. It is not without reason, however, directed by all writers, that we should be moderate in the exercise of the voice at the period of transition from boyhood to manhood, because it is then naturally obstructed, not, as I think, from heat, as some have imagined, (for there is more heat in the body at other periods of life,) but rather from excess of moisture, with which that age abounds. 29. Hence the nostrils, too, and the breast, dilate at that time, and the body germinates, as it were, all over, and consequently every part is tender and liable to injury.
But, that I may return to my subject, I consider the best kind of exercise for the voice, when it is well strengthened and developed, to be that which has most resemblance to the orator's business, namely, to speak every day just as we plead in the forum; for, by this means, not only the voice and lungs will be strengthened, but a graceful carriage of the body, suited to our style of speaking, will be acquired.
30. As to rules for delivery, they are precisely the same as those for language.
For as language ought to be correct, clear, elegant, and to the purpose, so delivery will be correct, that is, free from fault, if our pronunciation be easy, clear, agreeable, and polished, that is, of such a kind that nothing of the rustic or the foreign [see the anecdote of Theophrastus, viii. 1, 2] be heard in it; for the saying Barbarum Graecumve, that a man is "Barbarian or Greek," is not without good foundation, since we .judge of men by their tones as of money by its clink. 31. Hence will arise the excellence which Ennius admired, when he said that Cethegus was a man of sweetly speaking voice, a quality very different from that which Cicero censures in those who, as he said, barked rather than pleaded [Cicero Brut. c. 15; Orat. iii. 34.].
There are, indeed, many faults in pronunciation, of which I spoke in a part of my first book, when I was giving directions for forming the speech of children, judging it most to the purpose to mention them under that age at which they may be corrected. 32. If the voice, too, be naturally, so to speak, sound, it will have none of those defects to which I just now alluded; and it will, moreover, not be dull sounding, gross, bawling, hard, stiff, inefficient, thick, or, on the contrary, thin, weak, squeaking, small, soft, effeminate; while the breathing, at the same time, should be neither short, nor unsustained, nor difficult to recover.
33. Our pronunciation will be clear, if, in the first place, our words are uttered entire; for, by many, part of them is often swallowed, and part never formed, as they fail to pronounce the last syllables of words while they dwell on the sound of the first. 34. But though the full articulation of words is absolutely necessary, yet to count and number, as it were, every letter, is disagreeable and offensive; for vowels very frequently coalesce, and some consonants are elided when a vowel follows. I have already given an example of both, in
Multum ille et terris.
35. The concurrence of consonants that would produce a harsh sound is also avoided, whence we have pellexit, collegit [for perlexit, conlegit], and other forms which we have noticed elsewhere. Thus the delicate utterance of his letters was a subject of praise in Catulus [Cicero Brut. c. 74].
The second requisite to clearness of pronunciation is, that the phrases be distinct, that is, that the speaker begin and stop where he ought. He must observe where his words are to be reined in, as it were, and suspended, (what the Greeks call υποδιαστολη, or υποστιγμη,) and where they are to be altogether brought to a stand. 36. After pronouncing the words Arma virumque cano [Arms and the man I sing], there is a suspension only, because they are connected with what follows, virum Trojae qui primus ab oris, after which there is another suspension; for though there is a difference between whence he came and whither he came, yet we must not make a full stop, as both are signified by the same word venit. 37. After Italiam we make a third suspension, because the words fato profugus are thrown in, and break the connection which exists between Italiam and Lavinaque.
For the same reason, there is a fourth suspension after profugus, when there follows Lavinaque litora, after which there will be a full stop, because there another sentence commences. In the more considerable distinctions, however, we must allow sometimes a longer interval of time, and sometimes a shorter, for it makes a difference whether they are at the end of a period or only at that of a phrase. 38. I shall, accordingly, after pausing at Litora, allow myself just to take breath; but, when I come to the words atque altae maenia Romae, I shall break off, make a full stop, and proceed, as it were, to a new commencement.
39. Pauses are also made sometimes in periods without any respiration; as in the passage, In caetu vero populi Romani, negotium publicum gerens, magister equitum, &c. "But in an assembly of the Roman people, holding a public office, being master of the horse," &c. This sentence has many members, for there are several distinct thoughts; but as one period comprehends them all, we must make but short pauses to mark the intervals between them, and not interrupt the continuation of the sense. But, on the other hand, we must sometimes take breath without any perceptible pause, in passages where we must steal a respiration, as it were; else, if a respiration be made injudiciously, it may cause as much obscurity in the sense as a wrong distinction. The merit of making proper distinctions may perhaps be little; but without it all other merit in speaking would be vain.
40. That delivery is elegant, which is supported by a voice that is easy, powerful, fine, flexible, firm, sweet, well-sustained, clear, pure, that cuts the air and penetrates the ear; for there is a kind of voice naturally qualified to make itself heard, not by its strength, but by a peculiar excellence of tone; a voice which is obedient to the will of the speaker, susceptible of every variety of sound and inflexion that can be required, and possessed, as they say, of all the notes of a musical instrument; and to maintain it there should be strength of lungs, and breath that can be steadily prolonged, and is not likely to sink under labor.
41. Neither the lowest musical tone, nor the highest, is proper for oratory; for the lowest, which is far from being clear, and is too full, can make no impression on the minds of an audience; and the highest, which is very sharp, and of excessive shrillness, rising above the natural pitch of the voice, is neither susceptible of inflexion from pronunciation, nor can endure to be kept long on the stretch. 42. For the voice is like the strings of an instrument; the more relaxed it is, the graver and fuller is its tone; the more it is stretched, the more thin and sharp becomes the sound of it. Thus a voice in the lowest key wants force; in the highest, is in danger of being cracked. We must, therefore, cultivate the middle tones, which may be raised when we speak with vehemence, and lowered when we deliver ourselves with gentleness.
43. The first requisite to be noticed for pronouncing well, is, that an equality of tone must be maintained; so that our speech may not proceed by starts, with irregular intervals and tones, confounding long syllables with short, grave sounds with acute, high with low, and halting from disorder in all these particulars, as a person halts in walking from having legs of unequal length. The next requisite is variety of tone, in which alone pronunciation consists. 44. Nor let any one suppose that equality and variety are incompatible; for the fault opposed to equality is inequality, while that which is opposed to variety is what the Greeks call μονοειδες, as presenting always one and the same aspect. The art of giving variety to pronunciation, however, not only adds grace to it, and pleases the ear, but relieves the hearer by the change that pervades his labor, as alterations in position, standing, walking, sitting, lying, relieve the body; for in no one of those attitudes can we endure to continue long.
45. But what is of the highest importance, (and I shall treat of it very soon,) is, that the tone of our voice must be kept conformable to the nature of the subjects on which we speak, and the feelings of our minds, that the sound may not disagree with the sense. Let us avoid, therefore, that which is in Greek termed monotony, a uniform exertion of the breath and voice; and let us not only beware of uttering anything in a bawling tone, which is madness, or in the tone of conversation, which wants animation, or in a low murmuring tone, by which all effort is deadened; 46. but let us study that in delivering the same parts of speeches, and in expressing the same feelings, there may yet be some distinctions, however moderate, in our tone, such as the dignity of our language, the nature of our thoughts, the conclusions or commencements of our periods, or our transitions, may require; just as painters who use but one color, nevertheless make some parts of their pictures appear more prominent, and others more retiring, without which difference they could not even have given due forms to the limbs of their figures.
47. Let us contemplate the commencement of the noble oration of Cicero on behalf of Milo. Do we not see, that at almost every division of the phrases, the tone of the speaker must be in some degree varied, though the same kind of tone is still preserved? ["Though the face be the same, the look must be varied."] Etsi vereor, judices, ne turpe sit, pro fortissimo viro dicere incipientem timere, "Though I am apprehensive that it may be dishonorable in me, judges, in beginning to speak on behalf of the bravest of men, to manifest fear." 48. Notwithstanding this exordium is, in its whole character, constrained and submissive, not only as being an exordium, but as being that of a person deeply concerned, yet the tone of the orator must have been fuller and more elevated when he pronounced the words pro fortissimo viro, "on behalf of the bravest of men," than when he said Etsi vereor, "Though I fear," and ne turpe sit, "lest it be dishonorable," and timere, "to manifest fear."
49. The next member, after the speaker has taken breath, must be still more elevated in tone, rising by a natural effort, because we utter what follows with less timidity, and because the magnanimity of Milo is then shown: Minimeque deceat, quum T. Annius ipse magis reipublicae de salute, quam de sua perturbetur, "And lest it should be far from becoming, when Milo himself is more anxious for the safety of the state than for his own," after which there follows a species of self-reproach, me ad ejus causam parem animi magnitudinem afferre non posse, "for me to be unable to bring equal firmness of mind to his defense."
50. He then casts a reflection on the unusual nature of the proceedings: Tamen haec novi judicii nova forma terret oculos, "Yet this new form of proceedings, attendant on a new mode of trial, fills my eyes with dismay." What follows he delivers, as they say, with the full sound of the flute, Qui, quocunque inciderunt, consuetudinem fori, et pristinum morem judiciorum reqiurunt, "since, wherever they direct themselves, they seek in vain for the ordinary usages of the forum, and the ancient mode of legal transactions." The next phrase is to be given in a free and unrestrained manner: Non enim corona consessus vester cinctus est, ut solebat, &c. "For your assembly is not encircled with such attendants as it used to be," &c. 51. These remarks I have made to show, that not only in the larger divisions of a cause, but even in the phrases of every period, some variety of pronunciation may be adopted, without which, indeed, nothing can be made to appear as either more or less important.
But the voice must not be strained beyond its natural power, for, by that means, it is often choked, and becomes less clear the greater the effort that is used; and sometimes, if urged too far, it breaks out into the sound to which the Greeks have given a name from the crowing of young cocks. 52. Nor is what we say to be expressed confusedly through too great rapidity of utterance, by which all distinction of phrases is lost, and all power of touching the feelings; and by which words are even sometimes curtailed of their syllables. The fault contrary to this is that of excessive slowness, and it is a great fault, for it argues a difficulty of finding something to say, it renders the hearer drowsy from affording no excitement to his attention, and, what may be of some importance, it wastes the time allowed by the hour-glass. Our pronunciation must be fluent, not precipitate, well regulated, but not slow.
53. The breath, also, must not be drawn too frequently, so as to break our sentences to pieces, nor must it be prolonged until it is spent, for the sound of the voice, when the breath is just lost, is disagreeable; the breathing of the speaker is like that of a man held long under water, and the recovery of the breath is long and unseasonable, as being made, not when we please, but when it is compulsory. When we are about to pronounce a long period, therefore, we must collect our breath, but in such a way as not to take much time about it, or to do it with a noise, or to render it at all observable; in other parts the breath may be freely drawn between the divisions of the matter. 54. But we ought to exercise it, that it may hold out as long as possible.
Demosthenes, in order to strengthen his, used to repeat as many verses as he could in succession, climbing up a hill [Plutarch, Vit. Demosth. c. 7]; and he was accustomed, while he spoke at home, to roll pebbles under his tongue, that he might pronounce his words more freely when his mouth was unencumbered. 55. Sometimes the breath can hold out long, and is sufficiently full and clear, but is yet incapable of being firmly sustained, and is consequently tremulous, resembling some bodies, which, though strong in appearance, are nevertheless weak in the nerves. This imperfection in the breath the Greeks call βραγχος [sore throat or hoarseness].
There are some speakers who do not draw their breath in the ordinary way, but suck it in with a hissing through the interstices of their teeth. Others there are, who, by incessant panting, which can be plainly heard within their mouth, resemble beasts laboring under burdens or in the yoke. 56. Some even affect this manner, as if they were oppressed with the redundancy of matter in their minds, and as if a greater force of eloquence were rising within them than could well find a passage through their throats. Others, again, have a tightness of the mouth, and seem to struggle with their words to force them out. To cough, to make frequent expectorations, to hoist up phlegm from the bottom of the chest as it were with a windlass, to sprinkle the by-standers with the moisture from the mouth, and to emit, in speaking, the greater part of the breath through the nostrils, may, though they are not properly faults of the voice, be nevertheless reasonably noticed here, as it is in the use of the voice that they display themselves.
57. But I would endure any one of these faults sooner than one with which we are annoyed in all pleadings and in every school; I mean that of speaking in a singing tone; and I know not whether it is more to be condemned for its absurdity or for its offensiveness; for what is less becoming to an orator than such theatrical modulation, which at times, indeed, resembles the loose singing of persons intoxicated, or engaged in a revel? 58. What can be more adverse to moving the feelings, than, when we should express grief, or anger, or indignation, or pity, not only to hold back from those affections, to which the judge ought to be led, but to violate the sanctity of the forum with the license of games at dice? for Cicero said that the orators from Lycia and Caria almost sang in their perorations. As for us, we have even somewhat exceeded the more severe modes of singing.
59. Does any one, let me ask, sing in defending himself, I do not say on a charge of murder, or sacrilege, pr parricide, but even in disputes about money transactions or the settlement of accounts, or, in a word, in any kind of lawsuit? [If not, his advocate should equally forbear from singing.] If singing is at all to be admitted, there is no reason why we should not assist the modulation of the voice with the lyre or the flute, or even, please heaven, with cymbals, instruments which would be more in conformity with such an offensive practice. [Cymbals being used in the rites of the Galli.]
60. Yet we fall into the absurdity with willingness, for every one is charmed with what he himself sings, and there is less labor in chanting than in pronouncing with propriety. There are some auditors, too, who, in accordance with their other depraved indulgences, are attracted on all occasions by the expectation of pleasure in listening to something that may soothe their ears. What, then, it may be objected, does not Cicero say [Orat. c. 18. "There is also in speaking a sort of concealed singing, not like the peroration of rhetoricians from Phrygia or Caria, which is nearly a chant, but that sort which Demosthenes and Aeschines mean when the one reproaches the other with the affected modulation of his voice."] that there is a sort of scarcely perceptible chanting in oratorical language? And does not this proceed from an impulse of nature? In answer to this objection, I shall show, a little further on, when and how far this inflexion of the voice, or even chanting, (but chanting scarcely perceptible, a term which most of our speakers do not choose to understand,) is admissible.
61. It is now, indeed, time for me to say what delivery to the purpose is; and it is certainly such as is adapted to the subjects on which we speak. To produce this quality the thoughts and feelings contribute most; and the voice sounds as it is struck; but as feelings are in some cases sincere, and in others assumed and fictitious, those which are sincere burst forth naturally, as those of persons in grief, in anger, in indignation; yet their expression is void of art, and consequently requires to be formed by precept and method. 62. Feelings, on the contrary, which are assumed by imitation, depend wholly on art, and do not proceed from nature; and, therefore, in representing such feelings, the first requisite is to impress ourselves as much as possible, to conceive lively ideas of things, and to allow ourselves to be moved by them as if they were real; and then the voice, as an intermediate organ, will convey to the minds of the judges that impression which it receives from our own; for the voice is the index of the mind, and has as many variations as the mind itself.
63. Hence, in speaking on cheerful subjects, it flows in a full and clear tone, and is itself, as it were, cheerful; in argument, it rouses itself with its whole force, and strains, so to speak, every nerve; in anger, it is fierce, rough, thick, and interrupted with frequent respirations, for the breath cannot hold long when it is expelled in extraordinary quantities; in throwing odium on persons or things it is slower, because it is in general only those on the weaker side that have recourse to such attempts; but in flattering, confessing, apologizing, supplicating, it is gentle and submissive.
64. The tone of those who persuade, advise, promise, or console, is grave. In expressing fear and shame, the tone is staid; in exhortation it is strong; in dispute, voluble; in expressing pity, tender and mournful, and purposely somewhat weakened. In oratorical digressions the voice is flowing, and of a tranquil clearness; in statements of facts, as well as in familiar conversation, it is of an even tone, intermediate between the acute and the grave. 65. In expressing the more vehement feelings it rises; in uttering those of a calmer nature, it falls, and pitches itself, in either case, higher or lower according to the degree of intensity.
But what tones of voice the several parts of speech require, I shall omit to consider at present, that I may first make some remarks on gesture, which must be in concert with the voice, and must, as well as the voice, obey the mind.
How much power gesture has in a speaker, is sufficiently evident from the consideration that it can signify most things even without the aid of words. 66. Not only a movement of the hand, but even a nod, may express our meaning; and such gestures are to the dumb instead of speech. Dancing, too, unaccompanied by the voice, often conveys a meaning, and touches the feelings; the state of a person's mind is seen in his looks and walk; and in the inferior animals, which are destitute of speech, anger, joy, fondness, are discoverable from the glances of their eyes, and other indications from the movements of the body.
67. Nor is it surprising that such signs, which must at any rate depend on motion, make such impression on the mind, when even painting, a voiceless production, and always keeping the same form, penetrates into our inner-most feelings, and with such force that it seems at times to surpass the power of words. On the contrary, if our gesture and looks are at variance with our speech; if we utter anything mournful with an air of cheerfulness, or assert anything with an air of denial, not only impressiveness is wanting to our words, but even credibility.
68. Gracefulness also lies in gesture and motion; and hence Demosthenes used to study action while looking into a large mirror [Plut. Vit. Dem. c. 7; Apuleius, Apol. p. 87, ed. Gentil.]; and though the polished surface made the right side of the body appear the left, he could notwithstanding trust his eyes for the effect which he would be enabled to produce.
In action, as in the whole body, the head holds the chief place, as contributing to produce both the gracefulness which I have just mentioned, and expressiveness. 69. What contributes to gracefulness, is, first of all, that the head be held in a proper and natural position; for, by casting down the head, humility is signified; by throwing it back, haughtiness; by leaning it on one side, languor; by keeping it rigid and unmoved, a certain degree of rudeness. 70. It must receive, in the next place, appropriate motions from the nature of the subject on which we speak, that it may agree with the gesture, and act in conformity with the hands and oscillations of the body; for the face must always be turned in the same direction as the gesture, except in speaking of things which we disapprove, or are unwilling to allow, or regard with aversion; so that we may appear at the same time to express dislike of an object with the look, and to repel it with the hand; as in pronouncing such words as these:
Di, talem avertite pestem! [Aen. iii. 620.]
71. But the head expresses meaning in various ways; for besides its motions of assenting, refusing, and affirming, it has those of bashfulness, hesitation, admiration, indignation, which are alike known and common to all persons. Yet to gesticulate with the head alone the masters of theatrical attitude regard as a fault. Even frequent nodding with it is thought ungraceful; and to toss it to and fro, and shake and whirl about the hair, are the gestures of frenzied inspiration.
72. But the chief part of the head is the face. With the face we show ourselves suppliant, menacing, soothing, sad, cheerful, proud, humble; on the face men hang as it were, and fix their gaze and entire attention on it, even before we begin to speak, by the face we express love and hate; from the face we understand numbers of things, and its expression is often equivalent to all the words that we could use.
73. Accordingly in the pieces composed for the stage, the masters in the art of delivery borrow aid for exciting the feelings even from their masks; so that, in tragedy, the mask for the character of Aerope [The daughter of Crateus of Crete, who was violated by her own father, and given to Nauplius to be drowned; but he delivered her to Atreus, by whom she became the mother of Agamemnon and Menelaus] looks mournful; that for Medea, fierce; that for Ajax, indicates disorder of mind; that for Hercules, boldness; 74. while in comedy, besides other designations by which slaves, procurers, parasites, countrymen, soldiers, courtezans, maid-servants, morose or good-natured old men, careful or extravagant youths, are distinguished one from another, the father, who plays the principal part, has, because he is sometimes in a passion and sometimes calm, a mask with one of the eye-brows raised, and the other lowered, and it is the practice of the actors to turn that side more frequently to the audience which is more in accordance with the part of the character which they are playing.
75. But what is most expressive in the face is the eye, through which the mind chiefly manifests itself; insomuch that the eyes, even while they remain motionless, can sparkle with joy, or contract a gloomy look under sadness. To the eyes, also, nature has given tears, which are the interpreters of our feelings, and which burst forth in grief, or trickle gently down in joy. But when the eyes are in motion, they assume an appearance of eagerness, or disregard, or pride, or sternness, or mildness, or threatening; all which feelings will be manifested in the eyes of an orator, according as his subject shall require. 76. But rigid and distended, languid or torpid, wanton or rolling, they ought never to be; nor should they ever seem to swim or look watery with pleasure, or glance sideways, or appear as it were amorous, or as if they were asking or promising something. As to keeping them shut or compressed in speaking, who would do so but a person utterly ignorant or silly?
77. To aid in producing all these expressions, there is a kind of ministering power situate in the upper and lower eye-lids. 78. Much effect is also produced by the eye-brows; for they in some degree form the look of the eyes, and exercise a command over the forehead, which, by their influence, is contracted, raised, or lowered; so that the only thing which has more power over it is the blood, which is moved according to the state of the mind, and, when it acts under a skin easily affected by shame, mantles into a blush, when it shrinks back through fear, wholly disappears, and leaves the skin cold and pale, but when it is in a calm condition, it spreads over the face that serene hue which holds a middle place between blushing and paleness. 79. It is a fault in the eyebrows, when they are either motionless, or too full of motion, or when they rise and fall unequally, as I observed just now with respect to those of the comic mask, or when their configuration is at variance with what we are saying; for anger is indicated by the contraction, sadness by the lowering, and cheerfulness by the expansion of them.
80. With the nose and the lips we can scarcely signify anything becomingly; (though derision, contempt, and disdain are often expressed by them;) for to wrinkle the nose, as Horace [Ep. i. 5, 23] says, to distend it, to move it about, to rub it incessantly with the finger, to expel the air with a sudden snort, to stretch open the nostrils frequently, or to push them up with the palm of the hand, is extremely offensive; and even to blow or wipe the nose very often is not unjustly blamed. 81. As to the lips, there is something unbecoming when they are thrust out, or held in, or strongly pressed together, or widely parted, so as to expose the teeth, or drawn back towards each side, perhaps almost to each ear, or screwed up with an air of disdain, or made to hang down, or emit the voice only on one side. To lick and bite them is also unbecoming; and the movement of them even in the formation of our words should be but moderate; for words ought to be formed rather in the mouth than with the lips.
82. The neck ought to be straight, not stiff or thrown back. The throat cannot be drawn down or stretched up without equal ungracefulness, though of different kinds; but uneasiness is attendant on the tension of it, and the voice is weakened and exhausted by it. To sink the chin on the breast renders the voice less distinct, and, as it were, grosser, from the throat being compressed.
83. To shrug or contract the shoulders is very seldom becoming; for the neck is shortened by it; and it begets a mean, servile, and knavish sort of gesture; particularly when men put themselves into postures of adulation, admiration, or fear.
84. A moderate extension of the arm, with the shoulders thrown back, and the fingers opening as the hand advances, is a kind of gesture excellently adapted to continuous and smoothly-flowing passages. But when anything finer or fuller than ordinary is to be expressed, as, Rocks and deserts respond to the voice of the poet [Cicero pro Arch. c. 8], it moves towards the side, and the words and the gesture, if I may so express myself, expand themselves together.
85. As to the hands, without the aid of which all delivery would be deficient and weak, it can scarcely be told of what a variety of motions they are susceptible, since they almost equal in expression the powers of language itself; for other parts of the body assist the speaker, but these, I may almost say, speak themselves. 86. With our hands we ask, promise, call persons to us and send them away, threaten, supplicate, intimate dislike or fear; with our hands we signify joy, grief, doubt, acknowledgment, penitence, and indicate measure, quantity, number, and time. 87. Have not our hands the power of inciting, of restraining, of beseeching, of testifying approbation, admiration, and shame? Do they not, in pointing out places and persons, discharge the duty of adverbs and pronouns? So that amidst the great diversity of tongues pervading all nations and people, the language of the hands appears to be a language common to all men.
88. The gestures of which I have hitherto spoken naturally proceed from us with our words; but there are others that signify things by imitation; as when, for example, we intimate that a person is sick, by imitating the action of a physician feeling the pulse, or that a person is a musician, by putting our hands into the position of those of one playing the lyre; a species of imitation which ought to be carefully avoided in oratory; 89. for an orator ought to be a very different character from an actor in pantomime, as his gesture should be suited rather to his sense than to his words [he should not attempt to exemplify particular words, but should adapt his gestures to the general sense of what he is saying]; a principle which was observed even by the more respectable class of actors.
Though I would allow a speaker, therefore, to direct his hand towards his body when he is speaking of himself, or to stretch it towards a person to point him out, and to use some other gestures of this sort, yet I would not permit him to represent attitudes, and to exemplify whatever he says by action. 90. Nor is this to be observed in reference to the hands alone, but to every kind of gesture, and even to the tone of the voice; for neither in pronouncing the period Stetit soleatus praetor populi Romani [Cic. in Verr. v. 33], "The praetor of the Roman people, with sandals, stood," &c, must the stooping of Verres, as he leaned on the woman, be imitated, nor, in delivering the words Caedebatur in medio foro Messanae [Cic. in Verr. v. 62], "He was scourged in the middle of the market-place of Messana," is a tortuous motion of the body, like that of a man under the lash, to be assumed, or the voice to be forced out like that of a man compelled to cry with pain.
91. Even players seem to me to act very injudiciously, who, though representing the part of a young man, yet when, in a narrative, either the speech of an old man, as in the prologue to the Hydria, or that of a woman, as in the Georgus [the "Water-pitcher" and the "Husbandman," names of two comedies of Menander, which might perhaps have been translated into Latin], has to be repeated, pronounce it with a tremulous or effeminate tone of voice. Thus there may even be objectionable imitation in those whose whole art consists in imitation.
92. But, with regard to the hand, that gesture is most common, in which the middle finger is drawn in towards the thumb, the other three fingers being open; it is suitable for exordia, moderately exerted, and with a gentle movement of the hand in either direction, while the head and shoulders bend almost imperceptibly towards that quarter to which the hand is stretched. In statements of facts it adds confirmation [a gesture that seems to say that the speaker has no doubt of the truth of what he is saying], but must then be somewhat more decided; in invective and refutation it must be spirited and impressive, for it may be exerted in such parts with more freedom and boldness. 93. But the middle finger is very often improperly directed towards the side, as if aiming at the left shoulder; and some speakers, with even still worse effect, extend the arm across their chest, and speak over their elbow.
The two middle fingers are also sometimes brought under the thumb, and this gesture is still more earnest than the former, and is accordingly unsuitable for exordium or narrative. 94. But when three fingers are compressed under the thumb, the finger which Cicero says that Crassus used with such excellent effect [De Orat. ii. 45. "Such power of mind, such impetuosity, such passion, is expressed in your eyes, your countenance, your gesture, and even in your very finger."], is then fully extended. This finger has great effect in invective and demonstration, whence it has its name [it was called by the Romans the index digitus], and being a little brought down, after the hand has been raised towards the shoulder, it affirms; directed towards the ground, and lowered at the point, it insists; sometimes it indicates number.
95. The same finger, when its lowest joint is lightly pressed on each side [by the thumb and middle finger of the same hand], with the two next fingers moderately bent, and the little one the less bent of the two, forms a gesture adapted for discussion. Yet those appear to argue more spiritedly, who hold rather the middle joint [pressing the thumb strongly on the middle joint of the forefinger], the two outside fingers being contracted in proportion as the others fall lower. 96. It is a gesture also very suitable for modest language, when the hand, its first four fingers being slightly curved at the extremity, is drawn in towards the body, not far from the chin or the breast, and then descending, and gradually moved back from the body, is spread open.
97. With this gesture I conceive that Demosthenes commenced his modest and submissive exordium in the speech for Ctesiphon; and I imagine that Cicero's hand was in this attitude when he uttered the words, If there be any ability in me, judges, and I am sensible how little there is [Cic. pro Arch. c. 1], &c. The hand is also sometimes drawn back towards us somewhat more quickly, with the fingers inclining downwards, and is expanded more freely as it is moved in the opposite direction, so that it seems itself, in a manner, to utter words. [As it is opened and expanded towards the audience, the words seem to proceed from it.] 98. Sometimes we hold the two first fingers apart, without, however, inserting the thumb between them, but with the two lower fingers slightly curved inwards, and the two upper ones not quite straightened.
99. Sometimes the two outside fingers press the palm of the hand near the root of the thumb, which it unites with the two first fingers at the middle joint; sometimes the little finger is suffered to bend down obliquely; sometimes, by relaxing rather than stretching the other four, and inclining the thumb inwards, we put the hand into a form suited for waving expressively from side to side, or marking distinctly what we say, it being moved upwards toward the left side and downwards toward the right. 100. There are also gestures of the hand taking less compass, as when, being gently curved, like that of persons protesting, it is moved backwards and forwards at short intervals, the shoulders moving slightly in concert with it; a gesture admirably adapted to those who speak with reserve and timidity.
A gesture suited to express admiration, is that in which the hand, moderately raised, and with each of the fingers curved, is opened and slightly shut alternately. 101. In asking questions we use gestures of more kinds than one; generally, however, turning the hand towards the person addressed, whatever be the form into which it is put. When the finger next to the thumb touches with its own tip the middle of the thumb nail, a part where they readily meet, the other fingers being at the same time unbent, it is a gesture becoming to speakers alike when expressing approbation, or narrating, or making distinctions. 102. Not unlike this is the gesture which the Greeks frequently use, even with both hands, but with the three outside fingers compressed, whenever they round, as it were, their enthymemes with action. [In the enthymeme there is a conclusion, or connection of the end with the beginning, which the Greeks signified by a circle formed by the union of the tip of the thumb with the tip of the forefinger. Aristoph. Acharn. 686; Juv. vi. 449.] The hand thrown out gently promises and declares assent; moved more quickly, it is a gesture of exhortation, or sometimes of praise.
There is also the gesture, rather natural than artificial, used by a person enforcing his words, when he shuts and opens his hand alternately and rapidly. 103. There is the gesture, too, of exhortation, as it were, when the hand is presented in a hollow form, with the fingers apart, and raised, with some spirit, above the top of the shoulder. But the tremulous movement of the hand in this position, which has been almost generally adopted in foreign schools, is too theatrical.
Why some should be displeased with the turning of the fingers, with the tips of them close together, towards our body, I do not know; for it is a gesture which we use when we manifest a slight degree of wonder, or sometimes in sudden indignation, when we express fear or deprecation. 104. We also, in repentance or anger, press the hand tightly on the breast, when a few words expressed between the teeth are not unbecoming, as what shall I now do? What would you do? To point to a person with the thumb turned back I regard as a gesture more common than becoming in speakers.
105. But .as all motion is considered to be of six kinds [forwards and backwards, upwards and downwards, to the right hand and to the left], and the circular motion, which returns on itself, may be regarded as a seventh, the last alone, in respect to gesture, is objectionable; five of the others are very fitly used in pointing out what is before us, on the right or left hand, or above or below; to what is behind us, indeed, our gesture is never properly directed, though it sometimes has, as it were, a backward movement.
106. As to the motion of the hand, it commences, with very good effect, on the left, and stops on the right; but the hand ought to stop so that it may appear to be laid down, not to strike against anything; though, at the end of a phrase, the hand may sometimes sink, but so as soon to raise itself again; and it sometimes even rebounds, as it were, when we enforce a denial or express wonder. In regard to this point the old masters of delivery have very properly added a direction that the movement of the hand should begin and end with the sense; otherwise the gesture will either precede the sense, or will fall behind it; and propriety is violated in either case.
107. But they fell into too much nicety when they made it a rule that there should be an interval of three words between each movement of the hand; a rule which is neither observed nor can be observed; but they meant, it appears, that there ought to be some sort of standard for slowness or quickness, justly desiring that the hand should neither be too long inactive, nor disturb the speech (as is the practice of many orators) by perpetual motion. 108. There is, however, another fault, which is committed more frequently, and is more likely to become imperceptibly habitual. There are certain slight percussions in our language, certain feet, I might almost say, in conformity with which the gesture of very many of our speakers is regulated.
Thus, in the following period, Novum crimen, C. Caesar, et ante hanc diem non auditum, propinquus meus ad te Quintus Tubero detulit [Cic. pro Ligar. init.], they make one gesture at novum crimen, a second at C. Caesar, a third at ante hanc diem, a fourth at non auditum, a fifth at propinquus meus, another at ad te, another at Q. Tubero, and another at detulit. 109. From this practice originates a bad habit among young men, that, when they write, they meditate all their gestures before-hand, and settle in their minds how their hand shall wave when they speak. Hence arises, too, another inconvenience, that the movement of the hand, which ought to terminate on the right, will often come to a stop on the left.
110. It is therefore a better method, as there are in every period short phrases, at the close of each of which we may, if we please, take breath, to regulate our gesture in conformity with them; for example, the words Novum crimen, C. Caesar, have a kind of complete sense in themselves, as a conjunction follows; and the succeeding phrase, et ante hanc diem non auditum, is sufficiently complete; and to these phrases the movement of the hand should conform, especially at the commencement, when the manner is calm. 111. But when increasing warmth has given it animation, the gesture will become more spirited in proportion to the ardor of the language. But though in some passages a rapid pronunciation will be proper, in others a staid manner will be preferable.
On some parts we touch but slightly, throw together our remarks upon them, and hasten forward; in others we insist, inculcate, impress. But slowness in delivery is better suited to the pathetic; and hence it was that Roscius was inclined to quickness of manner, Aesopus to gravity, the one acting in comedy and the other in tragedy. 112. The same observation is to be made with regard to the motion of the body; and accordingly, on the stage, the walk of men in the prime of life, of old men, of military characters, and of matrons, is slow; while male or female slaves, parasites, and fishermen, move with greater agility.
But the masters of the art of gesture will not allow the hand to be raised above the eyes, or to fall lower than the breast; and consequently it must be thought in the highest degree objectionable to lift it to the crown of the head, or to bring it down to the bottom of the belly. 113. It may be advanced as far as the left shoulder, but should never go beyond it. But when, in expressing aversion, we drive as it were our hand to the left, the left shoulder should, at the same time, be advanced, that it may move in concert with the head as it inclines to the right.
114. The left hand never properly performs a gesture alone; but it frequently acts in agreement with the right, either when we enumerate our arguments on our fingers, or when we express detestation by turning our palms towards the left, or presenting them straight before us, or spread them out on either side. 115. But such gestures are all of different import; as, in an attitude of apology or supplication, we lower the hands; in adoration we raise them; and, in any apostrophe or invocation, we stretch them out; a gesture which we should adopt in pronouncing Ye Alban hills and groves, &c. [Cic. pro Mil. c. 31], or the exclamation of Gracchus, Whither, wretched that I am, shall I flee? To the Capitol, to see my brother's blood? Or to my home, &c. [Cited by Cicero de Orat. iii. 56.] 116. In such cases the hands acting in concert [the two hands should correspond in gesture] express most feeling; stretched out but a short distance when we speak on inconsiderable, grave, or tranquil subjects, but extended to a greater distance when we treat of such as are important, exhilarating, or awful.
117. Some remarks or faults in the management of the hands must be added; at least on such faults as are incident to experienced speakers; for as to the gestures of asking for a cup, or threatening to use a scourge, or forming the number five hundred by bending the thumb [the mode of forming this number is thus described by the Venerable Bede: "When you express fifty, you will turn your thumb, bent at the lower joint, so as to resemble the Greek Γ, towards the palm of your hand; and by doing this with the right hand you will represent five hundred, and by doing it with the left you represent fifty."], I, though they are noticed by some writers, have never seen them even in uneducated speakers. 118. But the exposure of the side by the extension of the arm, the practice that one speaker has of forbearing to move his arm from his bosom, that which another has of stretching it out to its utmost length, or of raising it to the roof, or of continuing the movement of it beyond his left shoulder, and striking out towards his back in such a way that it is dangerous to stand behind him, or of making a large sweep with the left hand, or of throwing the hands about at random so as to strike the persons nearest, or of thumping the elbows against the sides, are things, I know, of frequent occurrence.
119. The hand of some speakers is indolent, or moves with tremor, or appears to be sawing the air, or is pressed on the head with the fingers bent, or turned up and tossed on high. That gesture is also affected by some, in which the Pacificator is represented by statuaries, who, with his head inclined over his right shoulder, and his arm stretched out on a level with his ear, spreads forth his hand with the thumb bent down; a gesture which is in great favor with those who boast that they speak sublata manu, "with uplifted hand."
120. We may notice also those who dart forth smart thoughts with a wave of their fingers, or make denunciations with the hand raised; or who, whenever they are pleased with what they say, elevate themselves on tip-toe; a gesture which is sometimes allowable, but they make it reprehensible by pointing their finger, or two fingers, as high as they can into the air, or putting both their hands into the position of those of a person carrying a weight on his head.
121. To these faults may be added such as arise, not from nature, but from trepidation of mind; for instance, to feel discontented with ourselves at a difficulty in pronunciation; to make a sound, if our memory fails, or if thought refuses to assist us, as if something were sticking in the throat; to rub the point of the nose; to walk about before bringing a passage to a conclusion; to make a sudden stop, and to court applause by silence; but to specify all such faults would be an infinite task; for every speaker has his own.
122. We must take care, especially, that the breast and stomach be not too much protruded; for such an attitude bends the back inwards; and, besides, all bending backwards is offensive. The sides must conform to the gesture of the rest of the body; for the movements of the whole body are of great importance; insomuch that Cicero thinks that more effect is produced by them than even by the motion of the hands; for he says in his Orator [C. 18], There will be, in a consummate speaker, no affected motions of the fingers, no fall of the fingers to suit the cadences of the language, but he will rather produce gestures by the movements of his whole body, and a manly inclination of his side.
123. To strike the thigh, a gesture which Cleon is supposed to have first practiced at Athens, is not only common, but suits the expression of indignant feeling, and excites the attention of the audience. Cicero complained of the absence of it in Calidius; there was no striking of his forehead, he says, nor his thigh [Brut. c. 80.]. With regard to the forehead, however, I would, if it be allowable, dissent from Cicero; since to strike even the hands together [which is a much leas vehement gesture than to strike the forehead], or to beat the breast, is suitable only to the stage.
124. To touch the breast with the tips of the fingers bent inwards is a gesture that becomes us but seldom, as when we express ourselves in a tone of exhortation, or reproach, or commiseration; and whenever we adopt such a gesture, it will not be improper to draw back the toga from the breast.
In regard to the feet, we must observe how we place and how we move them. To stand with the right foot advanced, and to advance at the same time the hand and foot on the same side, is ungraceful. 125. It is sometimes allowable to rest on the right foot, but this must be done without any inclination of the rest of the body; and the attitude is rather that of an actor, than of an orator. When speakers stand on the left foot, the right can neither be becomingly lifted up, nor rested on tip-toe. To stretch the legs very widely apart, is unbecoming even if we but stand in that position, and to walk in it is highly indecent.
126. To step forwards is not improper, if the movement be brief, moderate in quickness, and not too frequent. To walk a few steps will not be unsuitable at times, on account of the extraordinary time occupied in applauding; but Cicero approves only of such walking as is very rare and very short [Orat. c. 18]. But to run hither and thither, and, as Domitius Afer said of Mallius Sura, to over-do our business, is most absurd; and Flavius Virginius wittily asked a rival professor, who had this habit, how many miles he had declaimed.
127. It is also a general rule, I know, that we should not, as we walk, turn our backs on the judges, but that the inside part of our foot should be constantly presented to the tribunal as we look towards it. This rule cannot always be observed on private trials; but there the space is more confined, and we cannot turn our backs on the judges long. We may at times, however, draw back by degrees. Some speakers even leap back, an act in the highest degree ridiculous.
128. To stamp with the foot, though not improper occasionally, and especially, as Cicero says [De Orat. iii. 49], at the beginning or end of a spirited argument, yet, if practiced too often, is a proof of silliness in the speaker, and ceases to attract the judge's attention. Swaying from right to left, too, in speakers who balance themselves alternately on either foot, is unbecoming. But what is most of all to be avoided is an effeminate kind of gesture, such as Cicero [Brut. c. 62] says was used by Titius, from whom also a kind of dance was called Titius. 129. Frequent and rapid oscillation, also, from one side to the other, is objectionable; a habit at which Julius laughed in Curio the father, by asking who it was that was speaking in the boat [Cicero Brut. c. 60]; and Sicinius made a similar jest upon him; for when Curio had been violently tossing himself about, according to his custom, while Octavius, who was his colleague in the consulship, was sitting by, and who from ill health, was bandaged and covered with a vast quantity of medicated plasters, Sicinius said, You can never, Octavius, feel sufficiently grateful to your colleague, for, if he had not been near you, the flies would have devoured you to-day where you sat.
130. The shoulders are sometimes disagreeably shrugged up; a fault which Demosthenes [related by Libanius in his Life of Demosthenes] is said to have corrected in himself by standing, while he spoke, in a narrow kind of pulpit, with a spear hanging down over his shoulder, so that if, in the warmth of speaking, that gesture escaped him, he might be reminded of it by a puncture from the weapon.
It is allowable to walk about while speaking, only when, in public causes, where there are several judges, we wish to impress what we say on each individually. 131. But there is an intolerable practice in which some speakers indulge, who, having thrown back their gown over the shoulder, and drawn up the lower part of it in a fold to their loins with their right hand, walk about and harangue while gesticulating with the left hand; when even to draw the gown up on the left side, and stretch out the right hand far, is offensive. Hence I am reminded not to omit remarking that it is a very foolish practice when speakers, during the time occupied by applauses, whisper in a neighbor's ear, or jest with their associates, or sometimes look back to their clerks, as if telling them to note down some gratuity for those who were loudest in their approbation.
132. To incline a little towards the judge when you are stating a case to him, if the matter on which you are speaking be somewhat obscure, is permissible. But to bend far forward towards the advocate on the opposite benches, is ill-mannered; and for a speaker to fall back among his friends, and to be supported in their arms, unless from real and evident fatigue, is foppish; as it is also to be prompted, or to read, as if he were forgetful; for, by all such practices, the force of eloquence is relaxed, and the ardor cooled, while the judge will think that too little respect is paid him.
133. To cross over to the opposite seats, is by no means becoming; and Cassius Severus facetiously proposed that barriers [such lineae as were in the amphitheatres, made of iron, to separate the rows of seats] should be erected to restrain a speaker who was guilty of this habit. If, indeed, an orator sometimes starts forward with a spirited effort, he is always sure to return with very poor effect.
134. But many of the directions which I am giving must be modified by those who plead before tribunals [Ascon. Ped. in Cic. Div. in Verr. p. 34]; for there the countenance must be more elevated, that it may be fixed on him who is addressed; the gesture, which is directed towards him, must also be more erect; and there are other particulars to be observed, which will occur to all without any mention of them on my part. Modifications must also be made by those who plead sitting, as is generally the case in unimportant causes, when there cannot be the same energy of manner. 135. Some offences against gracefulness must also be committed through necessity; for, as the speaker sits on the left hand of the judge, he will be obliged to advance his right foot; and much of his action must be transferred, as it were, from the right side to the left, that it may be directed towards the judge.
Some sitters, however, I see start up at the conclusion of every period or division of their speech, and some occasionally take even a little walk. Whether such practices are becoming, they may consider; but when they indulge in them, they do not plead sitting. 136. To eat or drink, as was formerly the custom with many, and is now with some, must be abjured by the orator whom I am desirous to form; for if a speaker cannot support the fatigue of pleading without having recourse to such aid, it will be no great loss if he does not plead at all, and it will be much better for him than to show such contempt for his profession and his audience.
137. As to dress, the orator has no peculiar habit, but what he wears is more observed than that of other men; and it should therefore be, like that of all other persons of note, elegant and manly; for the fashion of the gown, and the shoes, and the hair, is as reprehensible for too much care as for too great negligence. Some importance, indeed, is attached to dress; and it undergoes considerable changes under the influence of time; for the ancients had no folds [the word sinus seems to have signified originally a fold over the bosom, but was afterwards used in a more extended sense. In the later times of the toga, the folds were very numerous and complicated] to the toga, and for some time after they were introduced they were but very small. 138. Accordingly they must have used, at the commencement of their speeches, a kind of gesture different from ours, as their arm [Cicero, in his speech for Caelius, c. 5, observes that young speakers were expected to confine the arm within the toga for a year; and Seneca, Controv. v. 6, makes a similar remark], like that of the Greeks [Aeschines in Timarch. p. 174, B., says that the old Greek orators, as Pericles, Themistocles, and Aristides, would have thought it presumptuous and audacious to stretch out the arm in the manner of the modern speakers], was confined within the garment. But I am speaking of the present mode.
A speaker who has not the right of wearing the latus clavus [the latus clavus was a broad strip of purple hanging down from the neck over the breast of the tunic, and worn exclusively by those of senatorial rank. Hor. Sat. i. 6, 28], should be apparelled in such a way that his tunic may fall, with its front skirts, a little below the knee, and, with those behind, to the middle of the thigh; for to drop them lower belongs to women, and to draw them up higher to soldiers. 139. To see that the purple [the clavus] falls properly, is but a minor object of care, but negligence in that respect is sometimes censured. Of those who wear the latus clavus, the fashion is to let it descend a little lower than those which are girt. [The augustus clavus appears to have been confined by the girdle; the latus clavus to have hung loose.] The gown itself I should wish to be round, and cut so as to fit well; for, if not, it will be out of shape in various ways. The forepart of it falls only, in the best fashion, to the middle of the leg; the hinder part should be as much above the hem of the tunic as the front falls below it.
140. The fold is most graceful when it falls somewhat above the bottom of the toga; certainly it should never fall below it. That fold which is passed under the right shoulder across to the left, like a belt, should neither be tight round the body nor hang very loose; and that part of the toga which is put on last should fall something lower, for thus it will sit better and be kept in its place. Some portion of the tunic should also be drawn up, that it may not fall on the arm of the orator while he is speaking; and a fold should be thrown over the shoulder, the outer edge of which it will not be unbecoming to throw back. 141. But the shoulder and the whole of the throat ought not to be covered, else the dress will become too narrow, and lose the dignity which consists in width of chest.
The left arm should be only so far raised as to form a right angle [so that the lacertus and the fore arm may form a right angle], over which the edge of the toga should fall equally low on each side. 142. The hand is not to be loaded with rings, especially such as do not pass the middle joint; and the best attitude for the hand will be when the thumb is raised and the fingers slightly bent, unless it hold a memorandum book, a practice which should not be much affected, for it seems to imply a distrust of the memory, and is an impediment to much of the gesture.
143. Our forefathers allowed the toga to fall, as the Greeks allow their pallium, down to the feet; and Plotius and Nigidius, who wrote of gesture in those days, recommended that fashion of wearing it. I am, therefore, the more surprised at the opinion of so learned a man as Plinius Secundus, who, even in a book in which he has been almost too scrupulous [Quintilian doubtless means the book which was entitled Studiosus. See Plin. Ep. v. 5; Aul.Gell. ix. 16] in his researches, states that Cicero used to let his toga fall so low in order to conceal the varicose veins in his legs [Dion Cassius has put this charge into the mouth of his Fusius Calenus, b. xlvi. p. 461 ed. Reim.], notwithstanding this fashion of wearing the toga is seen in the statues of persons who lived after Cicero's time. 144. The use of the short cloak [used for covering the heads of those who were ill. Ovid. A. Am. i. 733; Sen. Quaest. Nat. iv. extr.], of bandages in which the legs are wrapped, of mufflers for the throat, and of coverings for the ears, nothing but ill health can excuse.
But this strict regard to dress can be paid only at the beginning of a speech, for, as we proceed, and almost at the very commencement of the statement of the case, the fold of the robe very properly falls, as of itself, from the shoulder; and when we come to argument and moral considerations, it will not be amiss to throw back the toga from the left shoulder, and to pull down the fold if it happens to hang. 145. The left side we may also draw down from the throat and the upper part of the breast, for we are then all ardor; and as the voice grows more energetic and varied in tone, the dress may also assume an air of combativeness. 146. Though, therefore, to wrap the toga round the left hand, or to make a girdle of it, makes an orator look like a madman; and though to throw back the fold of the robe from the bottom over the right shoulder, indicates effeminacy and delicacy, (and even grosser faults than these are committed,) yet why may we not draw up the looser part of the dress under the left arm, for it is an altitude that has something of spirit and vivacity not unsuited to warm and animated pleading?
147. But when the greater part of our speech has been delivered, and success seems to attend us, scarcely any sort of gesture is unbecoming; perspiration and weariness, and disorder of dress, with the toga loose and falling off as it were on every side, are regarded without censure. 148. I cannot but wonder the more, therefore, that it should have entered the mind of Pliny to direct, that the forehead should be wiped with the handkerchief in such a manner that the hair should not be discomposed, when, a little afterwards, he forbids earnestly and severely, as became him, that any pains should be taken in arranging the hair. To me disordered hair seems to indicate strong feeling, and the appearance of the speaker seems to be set off by his very inattention to the condition of it. 149. But if the toga falls from a speaker when he is only beginning, or has made but little progress in his oration, neglect to readjust it would be a proof either of extreme carelessness, or of laziness, or of ignorance how an orator ought to be dressed.
Such are the excellences, and such the faults, that may be shown in delivery; and the orator, after these have been set before him, has many other things to consider.
150. In the first place, he has to reflect in what character he himself appears, and to whom, and in whose presence, he is going to speak; for it is more allowable to say or do some things than others in addressing certain persons, or before certain audiences; and the same peculiarities in tone, gesture, and walk, are not equally becoming before a sovereign, before the senate, before the people, and before magistrates, or on a private as on a public trial, in a simple representation as in a formal pleading. Such distinctions, every one who directs his attention to the subject, can conceive for himself.
151. He has then to consider on what subject he is to speak, and what object he desires to effect. As to the subject, four points are to be regarded; one, with reference to the whole cause, for causes may be either of a mournful or an amusing nature, dangerous or safe, important or inconsiderable; so that we should never be so occupied with particular portions of a cause as to forget the general character of it. 152. The second, with respect to the different divisions of a cause, as the exordium, the statement of facts, the arguments, and the peroration. The third, with regard to the thoughts, where everything is varied in conformity with the matter and the addresses to the feelings. The fourth, with reference to the words, in which, though imitation, if we try to make the sound everywhere correspond to the sense, is reprehensible, yet, unless the proper force be given to some words, the sense of the whole would be destroyed.
153. In panegyrics, then, unless they be funeral orations, in giving thanks, in exhortations, and in subjects of a similar nature, our action should be animated, or grand, or sublime. In funeral orations, speeches of consolation, and the greater part of criminal causes, the gesture should be grave and staid. In addressing the senate gravity should be observed; in speaking to the people, dignity; and in pleading private causes, moderation. Of the several divisions of a cause, and of the thoughts and language, which are of varied character, I must speak at greater length.
154. Delivery ought to exhibit three qualities; it should conciliate, persuade, and move; and to please will be a quality that naturally combines itself with these. Conciliation is produced either by fairness of moral character, which manifests itself, I know not how, even in the tone and in the gesture, or by agreeableness of language. Persuasion depends greatly on assertion, which sometimes has more effect than even proof itself. 155. Would those statements, says Cicero [Brut. c. 80] to Calidius, have been delivered by you in such a way, if they had been true? and, So far were you from inflaming our passions, that we could scarcely abstain from sleep in that passage. Let confidence, therefore, and firmness, be apparent in an orator's manner, at least if he has authority to support it. 156. The art of moving lies either in the manifestation of our own feelings, or imitation of those others.
When the judge, therefore, in a private cause, or the herald in a public one, calls upon us to speak, we must rise with calmness; and we may then delay a little to settle our toga, or, if necessary, to throw it on afresh, in order that our dress may be more becoming, and that we may have some moments for reflection; though this can be done only on ordinary trials, for before the emperor [when the orator stands awaiting his nod, in order to begin at once], the magistrates, or the supreme tribunals, it will not be possible. 157. Even when we have turned towards the judge, and the praetor, being consulted, has granted us leave to speak, we must not burst forth suddenly, but allow a short space for recollection; for preparation on the part of him who is going to speak is extremely pleasing to him who is going to hear; and the judge naturally composes himself for attention.
158. This instruction Homer [Il. iii. 217] gives us in the example of Ulysses, whom he represents as standing with his eyes fixed on the ground, and his sceptre unmoved, before he poured forth that storm of eloquence. In such a pause, there may be, as the players observe, certain not unbecoming pretexts for delay, such as to stroke the head, to look down at the hand, to crack the joints of the fingers [Petron. Arb. c. 17, and c. 23], to pretend to make an effort, to betray anxiety by a sigh, or whatever other gesture may suit the speaker; and we may continue such actions, if the judge be still unprepared to give us his attention. 159. As to the attitude, it should be erect, the feet a little apart, in similar positions, or the left a slight degree in advance; the knees straight, but not so as to seem stiff; the shoulders kept down; the countenance grave, not anxious, or stolid, or languid; the arms at a moderate distance from the side; the left hand in the position which I have before prescribed; and the right, when we are going to commence, a little extended beyond the bosom of the toga, with the most modest possible gesture, as if waiting for the moment to begin.
160. For there are many offensive gestures practiced, such as looking up at the ceiling; rubbing the face, and making it bold as it were; stretching forward the face with a confident kind of air, or knitting the brows to make it appear more stern; brushing the hair unnaturally back from the forehead, that its roughness may look terrible; pretending, by a constant motion of the lips and fingers, as is a frequent practice with the Greeks, to be studying what we are going to say; hawking with a great noise; extending one foot far before the other; holding up a part of the toga with the left hand; standing with the legs wide apart, or with the body stiff, or thrown back, or bent forwards, or with the shoulders drawn up, like those of men about to wrestle, to the hinder part of the head.
161. For the exordium a calm delivery is generally suitable; for nothing is more attractive than modesty to gain us a favorable hearing. Yet this is not always to be the case; for exordia, as I have shown, are not all to be pronounced in the same manner. In general, however, the tone at the commencement should be calm, the gesture modest, the toga well settled on the shoulder, the motion of the body to either side gentle, and the eyes looking in the same direction as the body.
162. The statement of the case will commonly require the hand to be more extended, the toga thrown back, and the gesture more decided, with a tone of voice similar to that of ordinary conversation, only more spirited, yet of uniform sound; at least in such passages as these, For Quintus Ligarius, when there was no suspicion of war in Africa, [Pro Lig. c. 1] &c., and Aulus Cluentius Habitus, the father of him who is before you [Pro Cluent. c. 5], &c.; but other passages in a statement may call for a different tone, as, The mother-in-law is married to her son-in-law [Pro Cluent. c. 5], &c., and, A spectacle grievous and afflicting to the whole province of Asia is exhibited in the market-place of Laodicea [In Verr. i. 30], &c.
163. In advancing proofs the action may be various and diversified; for although to state, to distinguish particulars, to ask questions, and to anticipate objections, (and this is another kind of statement), may be confined to a tone bordering on the conversational, yet we may sometimes offer our demonstrations in a strain of raillery or mimicry.
164. Argumentation, being generally more spirited, lively, and energetic, requires gesture suited to the subject, that is, impressive and animated. We must insist strongly in certain passages, and our words must appear as it were in close array.
Digressions should mostly be delivered in a gentle, agreeable, and calm tone; as those of the rape of Proserpine, the description of Sicily, and the eulogy of Pompey [Pro Balb. c. 4]; for it is natural that what is unconnected with the main question should require less urgency of manner.
165. A representation of the manners of the opposite party, accompanied with censure, may sometimes be given in a gentle tone, as, I seemed to myself to see some entering, others going out, some tottering from the effects of wine, some yawning from yesterday's carousal, when gesture, such as is not unsuitable to the tone, is admissible; for example, a gentle movement to either side, but a movement confined to the hand, without any change in the position of the body.
166. For exciting the judge, many varieties of tone may be adopted. The highest and loudest tone that a speaker can possibly adopt is proper for uttering the following words, When the war was begun, Caesar, and, even in a great degree advanced, [Cic. pro Lig. c. 3] &c., for he had previously said, I will exert my voice as loudly as possible, that the people of Rome may hear, &c. A tone somewhat lower, and having something pleasing in it, is suitable for the question, What was that sword of yours doing, Tubero, in the field of Pharsalia? A tone still fuller and slower, and consequently more agreeable, will suit the words, But in an assembly of the people of Rome, and when holding a public office, [Cic. Philjpp. ii. 25] &c. 167. Here every sound should be prolonged; the vowels should be extended, and the mouth well opened.
Yet the words, Ye Alban hills and groves, [Pro Mil. c. 31] &c., should flow in a still stronger stream; and, Rocks and deserts respond to the voice of the poet, [Pro Arch. c. 8] &c., should be pronounced in a sort of chanting tone, and fall gradually in a musical cadence. 168. It was with such variations of tone that Demosthenes and Aeschines upbraided each other [Demosth. pro Cor. c. 90. Aesch. cont. Ctes. c. 72]; but they are not on that account to be condemned, for, as each reproached the other with them, it is evident that both used them; since it was not, assuredly, in an ordinary tone of voice that Demosthenes [Pro Coron. c. 60] swore by the defenders of Marathon and Plataea and Salamis, nor was it in the tone of daily conversation that Aeschines bewailed the fate of Thebes. [Aesch. cont. Ctes. c. 49.]
169. There is also a tone different from all those that have been mentioned, raised almost above any key in which we speak, a tone on which the Greeks have bestowed the term bitter, and which is shrill beyond measure, and almost beyond the natural power of the human voice. Thus are uttered the words, Quin compescitis vocem istam, indicem stultitiae, testem paucitatis [Cic. pro Rabir. perd. c. 6], "Will you not restrain those cries, the indications of your folly, the proofs of your fewness?" But the extravagant tone of which I spoke is required only at the commencement, Quin compescitis.
170. As to the peroration, if it consists of a recapitulation of the case, it requires a continuous enumeration of particulars in a uniform tone; if it is intended to excite the judges, it must be delivered in one of the tones which I have mentioned above; if it is designed to soothe them, it calls for smoothness and gentleness; if to move them to pity, a kind of musical cadence, and plaintive sweetness of the voice, by which the mind is strongly affected, and which is extremely natural; for at a funeral we may hear widows and orphans lamenting in a mournful kind of melody. 171. In such a case that muffled sort of voice which Cicero says that Antonius had [Cic. Brut. c. 38], will be of great effect, for it has from nature the tone which we would wish to assume.
There are, however, two species of pity; one mixed with indignation, such as was mentioned above in reference to the condemnation of Philodamus; the other in a lower tone, and accompanied with deprecation. 172. Since, though there may be something of scarcely perceptible music in the delivery of the words, But in the assembly of the people of Rome, &c., for Cicero did not utter them in a tone of invective, and in that of the exclamation, Ye Alban hills, &c., for he did not speak as if he were invoking or calling them to witness, yet the following passages must have been spoken in a manner infinitely more modulated and harmonious, Miserable, unhappy man that I am [Pro Mil. c. 37], &c., and, What answer shall I give to my children? &c., and, Could you, Milo, by the means of these judges, recall me to my country, and shall I be unable, by means of the same judges, to retain you in yours? [lb. c. 38] and he must have adopted a similar tone when he values the property of Caius Rabirius at one sesterce [Pro Rabir. c. 17. Such was the poverty to which he was reduced], and exclaimed, O miserable and afflicting duty of my voice!
173. A profession, too, on the part of the orator, that he is sinking from distress and fatigue, has an extraordinary effect in a peroration; as in the same speech for Milo, But there must be an end; for I am no longer able to speak for tears, &c.; and such passages must have the delivery conformable to the language. 174. Other particulars may seem to require notice as belonging to this portion and department of a speech, as to produce accused persons, to take up children in the arms, to bring forward relatives, and to rend garments, but they have been mentioned in the proper place.
Since, then, there is such variety in the different parts of a cause, it is sufficiently apparent that the delivery, as I have endeavored to show, must correspond to the matter. But the pronunciation must also be adapted to the words, as I observed a little above, not indeed always, but at times. 175. For example, must not the words unhappy man, poor creature, be uttered in a low and subdued tone, and must not courageous, vehement, robber, be spoken in a more elevated and energetic tone? By such conformity a force and propriety of meaning is given to our thoughts, and without it the tone would indicate one thing and the thought another. 176. Do not, indeed, the same words, by a change in the mode of pronouncing them, express demonstration, assertion, reproach, denial, admiration, indignation, interrogation, derision, contempt? The syllable tu is uttered in a very different tone in each of the following passages of Virgil:
Tu mihi quodcunque hoc regni. [Aen. i. 78]
Cantando tu illum? [Ecl. iii. 25.]
Tunc ille Aeneas? [Aen. i. 617.]
Not to dwell too long on this head, let me observe only that if the reader will conceive in his own mind this, or any other word that he pleases, pronounced in conformity with every variation of feeling, he will then be assured that what I say is true.
177. One remark must, however, be added, namely, that, as the great object to be regarded in speaking is decorum, different manners often become different speakers; and for such variety there is a secret and inexplicable cause; and though it is truly said that our great triumph is, that what we do should be becoming, [see Cic. de Orat. i. 29] yet this, as it cannot be accomplished without art, can still not be wholly communicated by art. 178. In some, excellences have no charm; in others, even faults are pleasing.
We have seen the most eminent actors in comedy, Demetrius and Stratocles, delight their audiences by qualities of a very different nature. It is not, however, surprising that the one acted gods, young men, good fathers, domestics, matrons, and staid old women, with happy effect, or that the other was more successful in representing passionate old men, cunning slaves, parasites, procurers, and other bustling characters; for their natural endowments were very different, as even the voice of Demetrius was more pleasing, and that of Stratocles more powerful.
179. But what was more observable was their peculiarity of action, which could not have been transferred from one to the other; as to wave the hand in a particular way, to prolong exclamations in an agreeable tone to please the audience, to puff out the robe with the air on entering the stage, and sometimes to gesticulate with the right side, could have been becoming in no actor but Demetrius; for in all these respects he was aided by a good stature and comely person.
180. On the contrary, hurry, and perpetual motion, and a laugh not altogether in unison with his mask, (a laugh which he uttered to please the people, and with perfect consciousness of what he was doing,) and a depression of the head between the shoulders, were extremely agreeable in Stratocles. But whatever excellence in either had been attempted by the other, the attempt would have proved an offensive failure. Let every speaker, therefore, know himself, and, in order to form his delivery, consult, not only the ordinary rules of art, but his own abilities. 181. Yet it is not absolutely impossible that all styles, or at least a great number, may suit the same person.
The conclusion to this head must be similar to that which I have made to others, an admonition that moderation must have the utmost influence in regard to it; for I do not wish any pupil of mine to be an actor, but an orator. We need not, therefore, study all the niceties of gesture, nor observe, in speaking, all the troublesome varieties of stops, intervals, and inflexions of tone for moving the feelings. 182. Thus, if an actor on the stage had to pronounce the following verses,
Quid igitur faciam? non eam, ne nunc quidem,
he would display all the pauses of doubt, and adopt various inflexions of the voice and gestures of the hand; but oratory is of another nature, and will not allow itself to be too much seasoned, for it consists in serious pleading, not in mimicry. 183. Delivery, accordingly, that is accompanied with perpetual movement of the features, that fatigues the audience with gesticulation, and that fluctuates with constant changes of tone, is deservedly condemned. Our old rhetoricians, therefore, wisely adopted a saying from the Greeks, which Popilius Laenas inserted in his writings as borrowed from our orators, that this is restless pleading.
184. Cicero, in consequence, who has given excellent precepts
with regard to other matters, affords us similar directions with
respect to this; directions which I have already quoted from
his Orator; and he makes observations of a like nature, in reference to
Antonius, in his Brutus. [C. 38. "His gesture was
such as to correspond to his thoughts,
without beating time to his words. His hands, his shoulders, the
1. I have now arrived at by far the most important part of the work which I had contemplated. Had I imagined, when I first conceived the idea of it, that its weight would have been so great as that with which I now feel myself pressed, I should have earlier considered whether my strength would be able to bear it. But, at the commencement, the thought of the disgrace that I should incur if I did not perform what I had promised, kept me to my undertaking; and afterwards, though the labor increased at almost every stage, yet I resolved to support myself under all difficulties, that I might not render useless what had been already finished. 2. For the same reason at present, also, though the task grows more burdensome than ever, yet, as I look towards the end, I am determined rather to faint than to despair.
What deceived me, was, that I began with small matters; and though I was subsequently carried onwards, like a mariner by inviting gales, yet, as long as I treated only of what was generally known, and had been the subject of consideration to most writers on rhetoric, I seemed to be still at no great distance from the shore, and had many companions who had ventured to trust themselves to the same breezes. 3. But when I entered upon regions of eloquence but recently discovered, and attempted only by very few, scarcely a navigator was to be seen that had gone so far from the harbor as myself; and now, when the orator whom I have been forming, being released from the teachers of rhetoric, is either carried forward by his own efforts, or desires greater aid from the inmost recesses of philosophy, I begin to feel into how vast an ocean I have sailed, and see that there is
—Caelum undique et undique pontus, [Aen. v. 9]
I seem to behold, in the vast immensity, only one adventurer besides myself, namely Cicero; and even he himself, though he entered on the deep with so great and so well equipped a vessel, contracts his sails, and lays aside his oars, and contents himself with showing merely what sort of eloquence a consummate orator ought to employ. But my temerity will attempt to define even the orator's moral character, and to prescribe his duties. Thus, though I cannot overtake the great man that is before me, I must, nevertheless, go farther than he, as my subject shall lead me. However, the desire of what is honorable is always praiseworthy, and it belongs to what we may call cautious daring, to try that for failure in which pardon will readily be granted.
1. Let the orator, then, whom I propose to form, be such a one as is characterized by the definition of Marcus Cato, a good man skilled in speaking.
But the requisite which Cato has placed first in this definition, that an orator should be a good man, is naturally of more estimation and importance than the other. It is of importance that an orator should be good, because, should the power of speaking be a support to evil, nothing would be more pernicious than eloquence alike to public concerns and private, and I myself, who, as far as is in my power, strive to contribute something to the faculty of the orator, should deserve very ill of the world, since I should furnish arms, not for soldiers, but for robbers.
2. May I not draw an argument from the condition of mankind? Nature herself, in bestowing on man that which she seems to have granted him pre-eminently, and by which she appears to have distinguished us from all other animals, would have acted, not as a parent, but as a step-mother, if she had designed the faculty of speech to be the promoter of crime, the oppressor of innocence, and the enemy of truth; for it would have been better for us to have been born dumb, and to have been left destitute of reasoning powers, than to have received endowments from providence only to turn them to the destruction of one another.
3. My judgment carries me still further; for I not only say that he who would answer my idea of an orator, must be a good man, but that no man, unless he be good, can ever be an orator. To an orator discernment and prudence are necessary; but we can certainly not allow discernment to those, who, when the ways of virtue and vice are set before them, prefer to follow that of vice; nor can we allow them prudence, since they subject themselves, by the unforeseen consequences of their actions, often to the heaviest penalty of the law, and always to that of an evil conscience. 4. But if it be not only truly said by the wise, but always justly believed by the vulgar, that no man is vicious who is not also foolish, a fool, assuredly, will never become an orator.
It is to be further considered that the mind cannot be in a condition for pursuing the most noble of studies, unless it be entirely free from vice; not only because there can be no communion of good and evil in the same breast, and to meditate at once on the best things and the worst is no more in the power of the same mind than it is possible for the same man to be at once virtuous and vicious; 5. but also, because a mind intent on so arduous a study should be exempt from all other cares, even such as are unconnected with vice: for then, and then only, when it is free and master of itself, and when no other object harasses and distracts its attention, will it be able to keep in view the end to which it is devoted.
6. But if an inordinate attention to an estate, a too anxious pursuit of wealth, indulgence in the pleasures of the chase, and the devotion of our days to public spectacles, rob our studies of much of our time, (for whatever time is given to one thing is lost to another,) what effect must we suppose that ambition, avarice, and envy will produce, whose excitements are so violent as even to disturb our sleep and our dreams? 7. Nothing indeed is so pre-occupied, so unsettled, so torn and lacerated with such numerous and various passions, as a bad mind; for when it intends evil, it is agitated with hope, care, and anxiety, and when it has attained the object of its wickedness, it is tormented with uneasiness, repentance, and the dread of every kind of punishment. Among such disquietudes, what place is there for study, or any rational pursuit? No more certainly than there is for corn in a field overrun with thorns and brambles.
8. To enable us to sustain the toil of study, is not temperance necessary? What expectations are to be formed, then, from him who is abandoned to licentiousness and luxury? Is not the love of praise one of the greatest incitements to the pursuit of literature? But can we suppose that the love of praise is an object of regard with the unprincipled? Who does not know that a principal part of oratory consists in discoursing on justice and virtue? But will the unjust man and the vicious treat of such subjects with the respect that is due to them?
9. But though we should even concede a great part of the question, and grant, what can by no means be the case, that there is the same portion of ability, diligence, and attainments, in the worst man as in the best, which of the two, even under that supposition, will prove the better orator? He, doubtless, who is the better man. The same person, therefore, can never be a bad man and a perfect orator, for that cannot be perfect to which something else is superior.
10. That I may not seem, however, like the writers of Socratic dialogues, to frame answers to suit my own purpose, let us admit that there exists a person so unmoved by the force of truth, as boldly to maintain that a bad man, possessed of the same portion of ability, application, and learning, as a good man, will be an equally good orator, and let us convince even such a person of his folly.
11. No man, certainly, will doubt, that it is the object of all oratory, that what is stated to the judge may appear to him to be true and just; and which of the two, let me ask, will produce such a conviction with the greater ease, the good man or the bad? 12. A good man, doubtless, will speak of what is true and honest with greater frequency; but even if, from being influenced by some call of duty, he endeavors to support what is fallacious, (a case which, as I shall show, may sometimes occur,) he must still be heard with greater credit than a bad man. 13. But with bad men, on the other hand, dissimulation sometimes fails, as well through their contempt for the opinion of mankind, as through their ignorance of what is right; hence they assert without modesty, and maintain their assertions without shame; and, in attempting what evidently cannot be accomplished, there appears in them a repulsive obstinacy and useless perseverance; for bad men, as well in their pleadings as in their lives, entertain dishonest expectations; and it often happens, that even when they speak the truth, belief is not accorded them, and the employment of advocates of such a character is regarded as a proof of the badness of a cause.
14. I must, however, notice those objections to my opinion, which appear to be clamored forth, as it were, by the general consent of the multitude. Was not then Demosthenes, they ask, a great orator? yet we have heard that he was not a good man. Was not Cicero a great orator? yet many have thrown censure upon his character. To such questions how shall I answer? Great displeasure is likely to be shown at any reply whatever; and the ears of my audience require first to be propitiated. 15. The character of Demosthenes, let me say, does not appear to me deserving of such severe reprehension, that I should believe all the calumnies that are heaped upon him by his enemies, especially when I read his excellent plans for the benefit of his country and the honorable termination of his life.
16. Nor do I see that the feeling of an upright citizen was, in any respect, wanting to Cicero. As proofs of his integrity, may be mentioned his consulship, in which he conducted himself with so much honor, his honorable administration of his province; his refusal to be one of the twenty commissioners [for dividing the lands of Campania. See Vell. Pat. ii. 45; Dion Cass. xxxviii. 1; Cicero ad Att. ix. 2]; and, during the civil wars, which fell with great severity on his limes, his uprightness of mind, which was never swayed, either by hope or by fear, from adhering to the better party, or the supporters of the commonwealth.
17. He is thought by some to have been deficient in courage, but he has given an excellent reply to this charge, when he says, that he was timid, not in encountering dangers, but in taking precautions against them [the sentiment, if not the words, Cicero often expresses; when, for example, he complains of the rashness of the party of Pompey; as in Ad Fam. vi. 21]; an assertion of which he proved the truth at his death, to which he submitted with the noblest fortitude: 18. But even should the height of virtue have been wanting to these eminent men, I shall reply to those who ask me whether they were orators, as the Stoics reply when they are asked whether Zeno, Cleanthes, and Chrysippus, were wise men; they say that they were great and deserving of veneration, but that they did not attain the highest excellence of which human nature is susceptible.
19. Pythagoras desired to be called, not wise, like those who preceded him, but a lover of wisdom. I, however, in speaking of Cicero, have often said, according to the common mode of speech, and shall continue to say, that he was a perfect orator, as we term our friends, in ordinary discourse, good and prudent men, though such epithets can be justly given only to one perfectly wise.
20. But when I have to speak precisely, and in conformity with the exactness of truth, I shall express myself as longing to see such an orator as he himself also longed to see [Orat. c. 2; De Orat. iii. 22]; for though I acknowledge that Cicero stood at the head of eloquence, and that I can scarcely find a passage in his speeches to which anything can be added, however many I might find which I may imagine that he would have pruned, (for the learned have in general been of opinion that he had numerous excellences and some faults, and he himself says that he had cut off most of his juvenile exuberance, [Cic. Brut. c. 91]) yet, since he did not claim to himself, though he had no mean opinion of his merits, the praise of perfection, and since he might certainly have spoken better if a longer life had been granted him, and a more tranquil season for composition, I may not unreasonably believe that the summit of excellence was not attained by him, to which, notwithstanding, no man made nearer approaches.
21. If I had thought otherwise, I might have maintained my opinion with still greater determination and freedom. Did Marcus Antonius declare that he had seen no man truly eloquent [Cic. Orat. c. 5; De Orat. iii. 22], though to be eloquent is much less than to be a perfect orator; does Cicero himself say that he is still seeking for an orator, and merely conceives and imagines one; and shall I fear to say that in that portion of eternity which is yet to come something may arise still more excellent than what has yet been seen? 22. I take no advantage of the opinion of those who refuse to allow great merit to Cicero and Demosthenes even in eloquence; though Demosthenes, indeed, does not appear sufficiently near perfection even to Cicero himself, who says that he sometimes nods; nor does Cicero appear so to Brutus and Calvus, [Dial, de Orat. c. 18, where Calvus is said to have called Cicero solutus and enervis; Brutus, fractus and elumbis] who certainly find fault with his language even in addressing himself, or to either of the Asinii [father and son. The son wrote a book in which he compared his father with Cicero; Pliny, Ep. vii. 4, 4, says that he had read it. It was answered by the Emperor Claudius according to Sueton. c. 41 and Aul. Gell. xvii. 1. That Asinius Pollio criticized Cicero with great illiberality appears from Senec. Suasor.], who attack the blemishes in his style with virulence in various places.
23. Let us grant, however, what nature herself by no means brings to pass, that a bad man has been found endowed with consummate eloquence, I should nevertheless refuse to concede to him the name of orator, as I should not allow the merit of fortitude to all who have been active in the field, because fortitude cannot be conceived as unaccompanied with virtue. 24. Has not he who is employed to defend causes need of integrity which covetousness cannot pervert, or partiality corrupt, or terror abash, and shall we honor the traitor, the renegade, the prevaricator, with the sacred name of orator? And if that quality, which is commonly called goodness, is found even in moderate pleaders, why should not that great orator, who has not yet appeared, but who may hereafter appear, be as consummate in goodness as in eloquence?
25. It is not a plodder in the forum, or a mercenary pleader, or, to use no stronger term [he forbears from using the word rabula], a not unprofitable advocate, (such as he whom they generally term a causidicus,) that I desire to form, but a man who, being possessed of the highest natural genius, stores his mind thoroughly with the most valuable kinds of knowledge; a man sent by the gods to do honor to the world, and such as no preceding age has known; a man in every way eminent and excellent, a thinker of the best thoughts and a speaker of the best language.
26. For such a man's ability how small a scope will there be in the defense of innocence or the repression of guilt in the forum, or in supporting truth against falsehood in litigations about money? He will appear great, indeed, even in such inferior employments, but his powers will shine with the highest lustre on greater occasions, when the counsels of the senate are to be directed, and the people to be guided from error into rectitude. 27. Is it not such an orator that Virgil appears to have imagined, representing him as a calmer of the populace in a sedition, when they were hurling firebrands and stones?
Tum pietate gravem et meritis si forte virum quem
We see that he first makes him a good man, and then adds that he is skilled in speaking:
Ille regit dictis animos, et pectora mulcet,
28. Would not the orator whom I am trying to form, too, if he were in the field of battle, and his soldiers required to be encouraged to engage, draw the materials for an exhortation from the most profound precepts of philosophy? for how could all the terrors of toil, pain, and even death, be banished from their breasts, unless vivid feelings of piety, fortitude, and honor, be substituted in their place?
29. He, doubtless, will best implant such feelings in the breasts of others who has first implanted them in his own; for simulation, however guarded it be, always betrays itself, nor was there ever such power of eloquence in any man that he would not falter and hesitate whenever his words were at variance with his thoughts. 30. But a bad man must of necessity utter words at variance with his thoughts; while to good men, on the contrary, a virtuous sincerity of language will never be wanting, nor (for good men will also be wise) a power of producing the most excellent thoughts, which, though they may be destitute of showy charms, will be sufficiently adorned by their own natural qualities, since whatever is said with honest feeling will also be said with eloquence.
31. Let youth, therefore, or rather let all of us, of every age, (for no time is too late for resolving on what is right,) direct our whole faculties, and our whole exertions, to this object [the attainment of virtue und eloquence]; and perhaps to some it may be granted to attain it; for if nature does not interdict a man from being good, or from being eloquent, why should not some one among mankind be able to attain eminence in both goodness and eloquence? And why should not each hope that he himself may be the fortunate aspirant? 32. If our powers of mind are insufficient to reach the summit, yet in proportion to the advances that we make towards it will be our improvement in both eloquence and virtue.
At least, let the notion be wholly banished from our thoughts, that perfect eloquence, the noblest of human attainments, can be united with a vicious character of mind. Talent in speaking, if it falls to the lot of the vicious, must be regarded as being itself a vice, since it makes those more mischievous with whom it allies itself.
33. But I fancy that I hear some (for there will never be wanting men who would rather be eloquent than good) saying "Why then is there so much art devoted to eloquence? Why have you given precepts on rhetorical coloring, and the defense of difficult causes, and some even on the acknowledgment of guilt, unless, at times, the force and ingenuity of eloquence overpowers even truth itself? for a good man advocates only good causes, and truth itself supports them sufficiently without the aid of learning." 34. These objectors I shall endeavor to satisfy, by answering them, first, concerning my own work, and, secondly, concerning the duty of a good man, if occasion ever calls him to the defense of the guilty.
To consider how we may speak in defense of what is false, or even what is unjust, is not without its use, if for no other reason than that we may expose and refute fallacious arguments with the greater ease; as that physician will apply remedies with the greater effect to whom that which is hurtful is known. 35. The Academicians, when they have disputed on both sides of a point of morality, will not live according to either side at hazard; nor was the well known Carneades [this is related more at length by Lactantius, Div. Inst. v. 13, 16], who is said to have argued at Rome, in the hearing of Cato the Censor, with no less force against the observance of justice than he had argued the day before in favor of it, an unjust man. But vice, which is opposed to virtue, shows more clearly what virtue is; justice becomes more manifest from the contemplation of injustice; and many things are proved by their contraries. The devices of his adversaries, accordingly, should be as well known to the orator, as the stratagems of an enemy in the field to a commander.
36. Even that which appears, when it is first stated, of so objectionable a character, that a good man, in defending a cause, may sometimes incline to withhold the truth from the judge, reason may find cause to justify. If any one feels surprised that I advance this opinion, (though this is not mine in particular, but that of those whom antiquity acknowledged as the greatest masters of wisdom [among these we must number Panaetius, as appears from Cicero Off. ii. 14], let him consider that there are many things which are rendered honorable or dishonorable, not by their own nature, but by the causes which give rise to them. 37. For if to kill a man is often an act of virtue, and to put to death one's children is sometimes a noble sacrifice [the examples of Ahala, Scipio Nasica, Brutus, and Manlius, will at once occur to the reader]; and if it is allowable to do things of a still more repulsive nature when the good of our country demands them, we must not consider merely what cause a good man defends, but from what motive, and with what object he defends it.
38. In the first place, every one must grant me,
what the most rigid of the Stoics do not deny, that a good
man may sometimes think proper to tell a lie
[examples of well-intended concealment of truth
40. Nor do I say this only with reference to a father, a brother, or a friend, who may be in danger, (because even in such a case I would allow only what is strictly lawful), though there is then sufficient ground for hesitation, when the image of justice presents itself on one side, and that of natural affection on the other; but let us set the point beyond all doubt. Let us suppose that a man has attempted the life of a tyrant, and is brought to trial for the deed; will such an orator as is described by us, be unwilling that his life should be saved? and, if he undertake to defend him, will he not support his cause before the judge by the same kind of misrepresentation as he who advocates a bad cause?
41. Or what if a judge would condemn a man for something that was done with justice, unless we convince him that it was not done; would not an orator, by producing such conviction, save the life of a fellow-citizen, when he is not only innocent but deserving of praise? Or what if we know that certain political measures are in contemplation, which, though just in themselves, are rendered detrimental to the commonwealth by the state of the times, shall we not adopt artifices of eloquence to set them aside, artifices which, though well-intended, are nevertheless similar to those of an immoral character?
42. No man, again, will doubt, that if guilty persons can by any means be turned to a right course of life, and it is allowed that they sometimes may, it will be more for the advantage of the state that their lives should be spared than that they should be put to death. If, then, it appear certain to an orator, that a person against whom true accusations are brought, will, if acquitted, become a good member of society, will he not exert himself that he may be acquitted?
43. Suppose, again, that a man who is an excellent general, and without whose aid his country would be unable to overcome her enemies, is accused of a crime of which he is evidently guilty, will not the public good call upon an orator to plead his cause? It is certain that Fabricius made Cornelius Rufinus [Cicero de Orat, ii. 66; Aul. Gell iv. 8], who was in other respects a bad citizen, and his personal enemy, consul, by voting for him when a war threatened the state, because he knew him to be a good general; and when some expressed their surprise at what he had done, he replied, that he had rather he robbed by a citizen than sold for a slave by the enemy. Had Fabricius, therefore, been an orator, would he not have pleaded for Rufinus even though he had been manifestly guilty of robbing his country?
44. Many similar cases might be supposed, but even any one of them is sufficient; for I do not insinuate that the orator whom I would form should often undertake such causes; I only wish to show that if such a motive as I have mentioned should induce him to do so, the definition of an orator, that he is a good man skilled in speaking, would still he true.
45. It is necessary, too, for the master to teach, and for the pupil to learn, how difficult cases are to be treated in attempting to establish them; for very often even the best causes resemble bad ones, and an innocent person under accusation may be urged by many probabilities against him; and he must then be defended by the same process of pleading as if he were guilty. There are also innumerable particulars common alike to good and bad causes; as oral and written evidence, and suspicions and prejudices to be overcome. But what is probable is established or refuted by the same methods as what is true. The speech of the orator, therefore, will be modelled as circumstances shall require, uprightness of intention being always maintained.
1. Since an orator, then, is a good man, and a good man cannot be conceived to exist without virtuous inclinations, and virtue, though it receives certain impulses from nature, requires notwithstanding to be brought to maturity by instruction, the orator must above all things study morality, and must obtain a thorough knowledge of all that is just and honorable, without which no one can either be a good man or an able speaker. 2. Unless, indeed, we feel inclined to adopt the opinion of those who think that the moral character is formed by nature, and is not at all influenced by discipline; and who, forsooth, acknowledge that manual operations, and even the meanest of them, cannot be acquired without the aid of teachers, but say that we possess virtue, (than which nothing has been given to man that raises him nearer to the immortal gods,) unsought and without labor, simply because we are born what we are.
3. But will that man be temperate, who does not know even what temperance is? Or will that man be possessed of fortitude, who has used no means to free his mind from the terrors of pain, death, and superstition? Or will that man be just, who has entered into no examination of what is equitable and good, and who has never ascertained from any dissertation of the least learning, the principles either of the laws which are by nature prescribed to all men, or of those which are instituted among particular people and nations? Of how little consequence do they think all this, to whom it appears so easy! 4. But I shall say no more on this point, on which I think that no man, who has tasted of learning, as they say, with but the slightest touch of his lips, will entertain the least doubt.
I pass on to my second proposition, that no man will ever be thoroughly accomplished in eloquence, who has not gained a deep insight into the impulses of human nature, and formed his moral character on the precepts of others and on his own reflection. 5. It is not without reason that Lucius Crassus, in the third book De Oratore [C. 19, 27, 31], asserts that everything that can come under discussion respecting equity, justice, truth, goodness, and whatever is of an opposite nature, are the proper concerns of the orator; and that the philosophers, when they inculcate those virtues with the force of eloquence, use the arms of the orator and not their own.
Yet he admits that the knowledge of these subjects must now be sought from philosophy, because philosophy, apparently, seems to him to be more fully in possession of them. 6. Hence also it is that Cicero remarks, in many passages both of his books and of his letters [see the epistle to Cato (Ad. Fam. xiv. 4) , where he says that philosophy was introduced both by Cato and himself to the forum. See de Orat. iii. 15; Tuscul. i. 3; Orat. c. 21], that the power of eloquence is to be derived from the deepest sources of wisdom, and that accordingly the same persons were for a considerable time the teachers at once of eloquence and of morality.
This exhortation of mine, however, is not designed to intimate that I should wish the orator to be a philosopher, since no other mode of life has withdrawn itself further from the duties of civil society, and all that concerns the orator. 7. Which of the philosophers, indeed, ever frequented courts of justice, or distinguished himself in public assemblies? Which of them ever engaged even in the management of political affairs, on which most of them have given such earnest precepts? But I should desire the orator, whom I am trying to form, to be a kind of Roman wise man, who may prove himself a true statesman, not by discussions in retirement, but by personal experience and exertions in public life.
8. But because the pursuits of philosophy have been deserted by those who have devoted their minds to eloquence, and because they no longer display themselves in their proper field of action, and in the open light of the forum, but have retreated, at first into the porticoes and gymnasia, and since into the assemblies of the schools, the orator must seek that which is necessary for him, and which is not taught by the masters of eloquence, among those with whom it has remained, by perusing with the most diligent application the authors that give instruction in virtue, that his life may be in conformity with a thorough knowledge of divine and human things; and how much more important and noble would these things appear, if those were to teach them who could discourse on them with the highest eloquence?
9. Would that there may some day come a time, when some orator, perfect as we wish him to be, may vindicate to himself the study of philosophy, (which has been rendered odious as well by the arrogant assumptions, as by the vices, of those who have disgraced its excellent nature,) and, by a reconquest as it were, annex it again to the domain of eloquence!
10. As philosophy is divided into three parts, physics, ethics, and dialectics [see Sidon. Apollin. carm. xv. Cicero Acad. Quaest. i. 5. The same division of philosophy is given by Macrobius, Somn. Scip. sub fin., and by Seneca, Epist. Ixxxix], by which of the three is it not allied with the business of the orator?
To consider them in the order contrary to that in which I have named them, no man can surely doubt whether the last, which is wholly employed about words, concerns the orator, if it be his business to know the exact significations of terms, to clear ambiguities, to disentangle perplexities, to distinguish falsehood from truth, and to establish or refute what he may desire; 11. though, indeed, we shall not have to use these arts with such exactness and preciseness in pleadings in the forum, as is observed in the disputations of the schools; because the orator must not only instruct his audience, but must move and delight them, and to effect that object there is need of energy, animation, and grace; the difference between the orator and the dialectician being as great as that in the courses of rivers of an opposite character; for the force of streams that flow between high banks, and with a full flood, is far greater than that of shallow brooks, with water struggling against the obstructions of pebbles.
12. And as the teachers of wrestling do not instruct their pupils in all the attitudes, as they call them, that they may use all that they have learned in an actual struggle with an adversary, (for more may be effected by weight, and firmness, and ardor,) but that they may have a large number of artifices, of which they may adopt one or other as occasion may require; 13. so the art of logic, or of disputation, if we had rather give it that name, though it is often of the greatest use in definitions and deductions, in marking differences and in explaining ambiguities, in distinguishing and dividing, in perplexing and entangling, yet, if it assumes to itself the whole conduct of a cause in the forum, will prove but a hindrance to what is better than itself, and will waste, by its very subtilty, the strength that is divided to suit its niceties. 14. We may accordingly see that some people, extremely acute in disputations, are, when they are drawn beyond the sphere of cavilling, no more able to support any important exertion of eloquence, than certain little animals, which are active enough to escape being caught in a small space, can prevent themselves from being seized in an open field.
15. As to that part of philosophy which is called moral, the study of it is certainly wholly suited to the orator; for in such a variety of causes, (as I have remarked in the preceding books,) in which some points are ascertained by conjecture [status conjecturalis], others are settled by definition [status definitiivus], others are set aside by the law [status legalis], others fall under the state of exception, § others are determined by syllogism [status translativus, or "state of exception"], others depend on a comparison of different laws, others on explanations of ambiguous terms, scarcely a single cause can occur in some part of which considerations of equity and morality are not concerned. Who does not know, also, that there are numbers of cases which depend entirely on the estimation of the quality of an act, a question purely moral?
16. In deliberative oratory, also, what means would there be of exhortation unconnected with questions of honesty? As to the third kind of oratory, too, which consists in the duties of praising and censuring, what shall be said of it? It is assuredly engaged about considerations of right and wrong. 17. Will not an orator have to speak much of justice, fortitude, abstinence, temperance, piety? Yet the good man, who has a knowledge of these virtues, not by sound and name only, not as heard merely by the ear to be repeated by the tongue, but who has embraced them in his heart, and thinks in conformity with them, will have no difficulty in conceiving proper notions about them, and will express sincerely what he thinks.
18. Again, as every general question is more comprehensive than a particular one, as a part is contained in the whole while the whole is not included in a part, no one will doubt that general questions are intimately connected with that kind of studies of which we are speaking. 19. As there are many points also which require to be settled by appropriate and brief definitions, whence one state of causes is called the definitive, ought not the orator to be prepared for giving such definitions by those who have given most attention to that department of study?
Does not every question of equity depend either on an exact determination of the sense of words, or on the consideration of what is right, or on conjecture respecting the intention of the author of something written? and of all such questions part will rest on logical and part on ethical science. 20. All oratory, therefore, naturally partakes of these two departments of philosophy; I mean all oratory that truly deserves the name; for mere loquacity, which is ignorant of all such learning, must necessarily go astray, as having either no guides, or guides that are deceitful.
But the department of natural philosophy, besides that it affords so much wider a field for exercise in speaking than other subjects, inasmuch as we must treat of divine in a more elevated style than of human things, embraces also the whole of moral science, without which, as I have just shown, there can be no real oratory. 21. For if the world is governed by a providence, the state ought surely to be ruled by the superintendence of good men. If our souls are of divine origin, we ought to devote ourselves to virtue, and not to be slaves to a body of terrestrial nature. Will not the orator frequently have to treat of such subjects as these? Will he not have to speak of auguries, oracles, and of everything pertaining to religion, on which the most important deliberations in the senate often depend, at least if he is to be, as I think that he ought to be, a well qualified statesman? What sort of eloquence can be imagined, indeed, to proceed from a man who is ignorant of the noblest subjects of human contemplation?
22. If what I say were not evidently supported by reason, we might nevertheless believe it on the authority of examples; for it is well known that Pericles, of whose eloquence, though no visible proofs of it have come down to us, not only historians, but the old comic writers, a class of men not at all inclined to flattery, say that the power was scarcely credible, was a hearer of Anaxagoras, the great natural philosopher; and that Demosthenes, the prince of all the orators of Greece, attended the lectures of Plato. 23. As to Cicero, he frequently declares [the Orator, c. 3] that he owed less to the schools of the rhetoricians than to the gardens of the Academy. Nor indeed would so wonderful a fertility of mind have displayed itself in him, if he had circumscribed his genius by the limits of the forum, and not allowed it to range through all the domains of nature.
But from these reflections arises another question, what sort of philosophers will contribute most to the improvement of eloquence; though it is a question which will concern but a small number of sects. 24. Epicurus, in the first place, excludes us from all communication with him, as he directs his disciples to flee from all learning with the utmost speed at which they can sail. Nor does Aristippus, who makes the chief happiness to consist in the pleasures of the body, encourage us to support the fatigues of study. As to Pyrrho, what concern can he have with our labor, he who is not certain whether there are judges to whom he speaks, or a defendant for whom he pleads, or a senate in which his opinion is to be given?
25. Some think the Academy most serviceable to eloquence, as its practice of disputing on both sides of a question is closely allied to the exercises preparatory to pleading in the forum; and they add as a proof of their opinion that that sect has produced men extremely eminent in eloquence. [As Plato, whom Demosthenes is said to have been old enough just to hear, Carneades, and Cicero himself.] The Peripatetics also boast that they have a strong bearing upon oratory [for who has written better on the art of oratory than Aristotle, or who can be thought to have written more elegantly than Theophrastus?]; as the practice of speaking on general questions for the sake of exercise had its origin chiefly among them. The Stoics, though they must allow that copiousness and splendor of eloquence have been wanting in most of their eminent men, yet assert that no philosophers can either support proofs with greater force, or draw conclusions with greater subtility. 26. But this is a notion among themselves, who, as if bound by an oath, or influenced by some superstitious obligation, think it criminal to depart from a persuasion which they have once embraced.
27. But an orator has no need to bind himself to the laws of any particular sect; for the office to which he devotes himself, and for which he is as it were a candidate, is of a loftier and better nature, since he is to be distinguished as well by excellence of moral conduct as by merit in eloquence. He will accordingly select the most eloquent orators for imitation in oratory, and for forming his moral character will fix upon the most honorable precepts and the most direct road to virtue. 28. He will indeed exercise himself on all subjects, but he will attach himself most to those of the highest and noblest nature; for what more fertile subjects can be found, indeed, for grave and copious eloquence, than dissertations on virtue, on government, on providence, on the origin of the human mind, and on friendship? These are the topics by which the mind and the language are alike elevated; what is really good; what allays fear, restrains cupidity, frees us from the prejudices of the vulgar, and raises the mind towards the heaven from which it sprung.
29. Nor will it be proper to understand those matters only which are comprehended in the sciences of which I have been speaking, but still more to know, and to bear continually in mind, the noble deeds and sayings which are recorded of the great men of antiquity, and which certainly are nowhere found in greater number or excellence than in the annals of our own commonwealth. 30. Will men of any other nation give better lessons of fortitude, justice, honor, temperance, frugality, contempt of pain and death, than a Fabricius, a Curius, a Regulus, a Decius, a Mucius, and others without number? for highly as the Greeks abound in precepts, the Romans, what is of far more importance, abound quite as much as in examples; 31. and that man will feel himself in a manner impelled by the biography of his country to a similar course of conduct, who does not think it sufficient to regard merely the present age, and the passing day, but considers that any honorable remembrance among posterity is but the just sequel to a life of virtue, and the completion of a career of merit. From this source let the orator whom I would form derive strong encouragements to the observance of justice, and let him show a sense of liberty drawn from hence in his pleadings in the forum and in his addresses to the senate. Nor will he indeed ever be a consummate orator who has not both knowledge and boldness to speak with sincerity.
1. For such an orator, too, a knowledge of the civil law will be necessary, and of the manners and religion of that state, whatever it be, over which he shall endeavor to exert any influence; for what sort of an adviser will he be, whether in public or in private deliberations, who shall be ignorant of things by which a state is principally held together? or how will he not falsely call himself a defender of causes, who has to seek from another that which is of most importance to the pleading of his causes, almost like those who recite the writings of poets? 2. He will resemble in a manner a person carrying messages; what he desires the judge to believe, he will have to advance on the faith of another; and while he professes to aid parties going to law will stand in need of aid himself.
Though this may indeed sometimes be done with but little inconvenience, when he shall bring before the judge what he has taught himself and arranged at home, and which he has learned by heart like other component parts of the cause, how will he fare with regard to those questions which often arise suddenly in the middle of a case? 3. Will he not look about him covered with shame, and ask questions of the inferior advocates [Quintilian here uses advocatus for him qui jus suggerit, the attorney who suggested or explained points of law] on the benches? and even if he receives an answer, will he be able fully to comprehend what he hears, when he has to deliver it on the instant? Or will he be able to assert anything with confidence, or to speak with any appearance of sincerity for his clients? Perhaps he may in a set speech; but what will he do in altercations, where he must reply to the opposite party at once, and no time will be allowed him for gaining information? Or what if perchance a person skilled in the law be not at hand to prompt him? What if a person but imperfectly acquainted with the subject suggests to him something incorrect? For it is one of the greatest misfortunes of ignorance to fancy that whoever offers instruction is a man of knowledge.
4. I am not indeed forgetful of our practice, or unmindful of those who sit as it were by the store-chests to furnish weapons for forensic combatants; nor am I unaware that the Greeks also had the same custom, from whom the name of pragmatici, bestowed upon these gentlemen, was derived. But I am speaking of a genuine orator who is to bring to the support of his cause not only his voice, but everything that can possibly be of service to it. 5. I would not think him therefore useless, if he stand perchance for his hour, or unskillful in establishing evidence. For who will prepare better than himself that which he shall wish to appear in the cause when he shall plead it? Unless, indeed, we consider that an able general is one who is active and brave in the field, and skilled in everything which an engagement requires, but who knows neither how to levy troops, nor to muster or equip forces, nor to secure provisions, nor to select a position for a camp; though it is surely of more importance to make preparations for success in a fight, than to have the command in it.
6. But an orator would very greatly resemble such a general, if he should leave much that would promote his success to the management of others, especially as this knowledge of the civil law, which is of the utmost importance to him, is not so difficult to be acquired as it may perhaps appear to those who contemplate it from a distance. For every point of law, which is certain, rests upon something written, or upon custom; whatever is doubtful must be decided on grounds of equity. 7. What is written, or dependent on the custom of a country, is attended with no difficulty; for it is a matter of knowledge, not of invention, and points which are explained by the comments of lawyers, lie either in interpretations of words, or in distinctions between right and wrong.
To understand the sense of every word in a law, is either common to all men of education, or peculiar to the orator; equity is understood by every honest man. 8. We, moreover, are supposing our orator to be a man eminently good and sensible; a man who, when he has devoted himself to the study of what is excellent in its nature, will not be greatly troubled if a lawyer differ from him in opinion, since lawyers themselves are allowed to hold various opinions on the same points.
9. But if he shall desire to know what lawyers in general have thought of any matter, he has only to apply himself to reading, than which nothing in his course of study is less laborious; and if many, from despair of acquiring the necessary qualifications for speaking in public, have betaken themselves in consequence to the study of law; how easy is it for the orator to attain that which those acquire, who, according to their own confession, cannot become orators! But Marcus Cato was both highly distinguished for eloquence, and eminent for his knowledge of law; and the merit of eloquence was also allowed to Scaevola and Servius Sulpicius. 10. Cicero, too, was not only never at a loss, in pleading, for a knowledge of law, but had even begun to write on it [it appears from Aulus Gellius, i. 22, that Cicero wrote one book which was entitled De jure civili in artem redigendo], whence it appears that an orator may not only have time for learning law, but also for teaching it.
11. But let no man suppose that the precepts which I have offered respecting the necessity of attention to the moral character, and to the study of law, need not be regarded, because we have known many who, from dislike of the labor which they must undergo who aspire to eloquence, have resigned themselves to employments better suited to their indolence. Some of these have given themselves up to the white and red [by the white is meant the jus praetorium, or praetors' edicts, which were set forth in albo, "on white." By the red is signified the civil law, the titles and heads of which were written in red: Juv. Sat xiv. 193]; or have preferred to become formularii, or, as Cicero terms them, leguleii [Cicero de Orat. i. 55. "Thus the lawyer (jurisconsultus) is, of himself, nothing with you but a sort of wary and acute legalist (leguleius), an instructor in actions, a repeater of forms (cantor formularum, equivalent to formularius), a catcher at syllables."], on pretence of choosing what was more useful, when they in reality sought only what was easier. 12. Others there have been, of equal indolence but greater arrogance, who, having suddenly settled their countenance with affected gravity, and let their beards grow, have sat for a time, as if they looked with contempt on the study of oratory, in the schools of the philosophers, in order that, by assumed solemnity in public, while they are abandoned to licentiousness at home, they may assume authority to themselves by setting others at nought.
1. But an orator ought to be furnished, above all things, with an ample store of examples, as well ancient as modern; since he should not only be acquainted with matters which are recorded in history, or transmitted from hand to hand as it were by tradition, or are of daily occurrence, but should not even be neglectful of the fictions of the more eminent poets; for those of the former kind have the authority of testimonies, or even of precedents; and the latter sort are either supported by the sanction of antiquity, or are supposed to have been invented by great men to serve as precepts. 2. Let the orator, therefore, know as many as possible of every kind; for hence it is that greater authority is attributed to old men, as they are thought to have known and seen more than others; a fact which Homer frequently attests. But we must not wait till the last stage of life to acquire authority; for study affords us such advantage, that, as far as knowledge of events is concerned, we seem even to have lived in past ages.
1. Such are the acquirements of which I had promised to give an account. They are instruments, not of the art, as some have thought, but of the orator; they are the arms which he ought to have at hand, and with a knowledge of which he ought to be thoroughly prepared, united with a ready store of words and figurative language, as well as with power of imagination, skill in the disposition of materials, strength of memory, and grace of delivery.
2. But the most important of all qualities is steady presence of mind, which fear cannot shake or clamor intimidate, nor the authority of an audience restrain beyond the just portion of respect that is due to them; for though faults of an opposite nature, those of presumption, temerity, audacity, and arrogance, are in the highest degree offensive, yet without proper firmness, confidence, and courage, neither art, nor study, nor knowledge would be of the least avail, any more than weapons put into the hands of weakness and timidity. It is not without unwillingness, indeed, that I observe (for what I say may be misunderstood) that modesty itself, which, though a fault, is an amiable one, and frequently the parent of virtues, is to be numbered among qualities detrimental to the orator, and has had such an effect on many, that the merits of their genius and learning have never been brought into light, but have wasted away under the rust contracted in obscurity.
3. Should any young student, however, not yet sufficiently experienced in distinguishing the meaning of words, read this remark, let him understand that it is not a reasonable degree of diffidence which I blame, but an excess of modesty, which is a species of fear that draws off the thoughts from what we ought to do, whence proceeds confusion, repentance that we ever began, and sudden silence; and who can hesitate to number among faults an affection by the influence of which we become ashamed to do what is right? 4. Nor, on the other hand, should I be unwilling that he who is going to speak should rise with some concern, change color, and show a sense of the hazard which he is encountering; feelings which, if they do not arise within us, should be assumed. But this should be the effect of consciousness of the weight of our task, not of fear; and though we should be moved, we should not sink down in helplessness. The great remedy for bashfulness, however, is confidence in our cause; and any countenance, however likely to be daunted, will be kept steady by a consciousness of being in the right.
5. But there are, as I observed before, advantages from nature, which may doubtless be improved by art; such as good organs of speech and tone of voice, strength of body, and grace of motion; advantages which are often of such effect that they gain the possessor of them reputation even for genius. Our age has seen more fertile orators than Trachalus; but, when he spoke, he seemed to be far above all his contemporaries; such was the loftiness of his stature, the fire of his eyes, the authority of his look, and the grace of his action; while his voice was, not indeed, as Cicero [De Orat. i. 28] desires, similar to that of actors in tragedy, but superior to that of any tragic actor that I ever heard.
6. I well remember that on one occasion, when he was speaking in the Basilica Julia [a large court or hall erected by Julius Caesar in the forum] before the first tribunal, and the four companies of judges, as is usual, were assembled [the centumviri litibus judicandis were anciently divided into two hastae, or companies, but subsequently into four tribunals. These four, on the occasion to which Quintilian alludes, were assembled in one hall. Trachalus was speaking at the one called the first, but his voice was so full and sonorous that he caught the attention of the people at the other three, who neglected their own business to applaud him], while the whole place resounded with noise, he was not only heard and understood, but was applauded from all the four tribunals, to the great prejudice of those who were speaking at the same time. But the possession of such a voice is the very height of an orator's wishes, and a rare happiness; and whoever is without it, let it suffice for him to be heard by those to whom he immediately addresses himself. Such ought an orator to be; and such are the qualifications which he ought to attain.
1. As to the age for beginning to plead in public, it must doubtless be fixed according to the student's capacity. I should name no particular year; for it is well known that Demosthenes pleaded his cause against his guardians when he was quite a boy [see Adv. Mid. c. 23. He was then eighteen years of age]; Calvus, Caesar, and Pollio [in the nineteenth year of his age Lucius Crassus pleaded against Caius Carbo, in his one and twentieth Caesar against Dolabella, in his twenty-second Asinius Pollio against Caius Cato, and Calvus was not much older when he attacked Vatinius. Dialog, de Oratorib. c. 34] undertook causes of the highest importance long before they were of age for the quaestorship [which could not be held before the age of twenty-five, or, as some say, twenty-seven. See Adam's Rom. Antiq. p. 4. Lips. Exc. ad Tacit. Ann. iii. 29; Ernest. ad Suet. Calig. c. 1]; it is said that some have pleaded in the toga praetexta; and Caesar Augustus pronounced a funeral eulogium on his grandmother at the age of twelve. [See Sueton. Octav. c. 8. Her name was Julia.]
2. But it seems to me that a medium should be observed, so that a countenance too young for the public eye may not be made prematurely bold, and that whatever is still crude in a young man may not suffer by exposure; for hence arises disdain of study; the foundations of effrontery are laid; and, what is in all cases most pernicious, presumption goes before ability. 3. Yet apprenticeship, on the other hand, should not be put off till an advanced age; for fear then grows upon us from day to day; what we have still to attempt appears continually more alarming; and while we are deliberating when we shall begin, we find that the time for beginning is past.
The fruit of study ought accordingly to be produced in its greenness and first sweets, while there is hope of indulgence, while favor is ready to be shown, and while it is not unbecoming to make a first trial; whatever is deficient in the attempts of youth, age will supply; and whatever is expressed in too turgescent a style, will be received as evidence of a vigorous genius; such is all that passage of Cicero in his speech for Sextus Roscius [C. 26], Quid enim tam commune, quam spiritus vivis, terra mortuis, mare fluctuantibus, litus ejectis, "For what is more common than the air to the living, the earth to the dead, the sea to navigators, the shore to those cast up out of the deep," &c.; a passage in reference to which, after he had delivered it at six-and-twenty, with the greatest applause from his audience, he observed, at a more advanced period of life, that his style had fermented in the course of time, and grown clear with age. [Orat. c. 30.]
4. To say the truth, whatever improvement private study may produce, there is still a peculiar advantage attendant on our appearance in the forum, where the light is different, and where there is appearance of real responsibility quite different from the fictitious cases of the schools; and practice without learning, if we estimate the two separately, will be of more avail than learning without practice. 5. Hence some who have grown old in the schools, are astonished at the novelty of things when they come before the tribunals, and look in vain for something similar to their scholastic exercises. But in the forum the judge is silent; the adversary noisy; nothing uttered rashly is unnoticed; whatever we assert, we must prove; time will perhaps be wanting for delivering a speech which has been prepared and composed with the labor of whole days and nights; and in some cases, laying aside the ostentation of trumpeting forth fine words, we must speak in the tone of conversation, to which our eloquent declaimers are utter strangers; and we may accordingly find some of them who are in their own opinion too eloquent for pleading causes.
6. But I should wish my young student, whom I have brought into the forum dependent on strength still immature, to commence with as easy and favorable a cause as possible, as the young of wild animals are fed with the most delicate food that they can catch; but I would not have him continue to plead causes uninterruptedly after his commencement, and render his genius, which still requires nourishment, hard and insensible; but I should like him, when he knows what a real combat is, and for what he has to prepare himself, to recruit and renew his strength [by returning, at intervals, to his private studies]. 7. Thus he will have got over the fear of a first attempt, while it is easier for him to make it; and yet he will not make the facility which he experiences in his first essays a reason for despising labor.
It was this plan that Cicero adopted [see Brut. c. 91, where Cicero gives a full account of his proceedings in this respect]; and when he had already gained an honorable name among the pleaders of his day, he made a voyage into Asia, and attended doubtless on other masters of eloquence and wisdom, but committed himself especially to Apollonius Molo at Rhodes, of whom he had been an auditor at Rome, to be fashioned and cast, as it were, anew. It is then, indeed, that labor properly becomes valuable, when theory and experience are duly united.
1. After the young orator has gained sufficient strength for any kind of contest, his first care must be employed about the choice of the causes that he is to undertake. In making such a choice, a good man will certainly prefer defending accused persons rather than prosecuting them; yet he will not have such a horror of the name of accuser, as to be incapable of being moved by any consideration, public or private, to call any man to account for his life and conduct; for even the laws themselves would be of no force if they were not supported by the judicious voice of the orator; and if it were not allowable to exact punishment for crimes, crimes themselves would be almost permitted; and that license should be granted to the bad is decidedly contrary to the interest of the good.
2. The orator, therefore, will not allow the just complaints of allies, or the murder of a friend or relative, or conspiracies intended to burst forth in the overthrow of the government, to pass unpunished; not because he is eager for vengeance on the guilty, but because he is desirous of reforming the vicious and of correcting public morals; since those who cannot be brought to a better way of life by reason, can be kept in order only by terror. 3. Though to live the life of an accuser, therefore, and to be led to bring the guilty to judgment by hope of reward, is similar to subsisting by robbery, yet to expel intestine corruption, is conduct resembling that of the noblest defenders of their country.
Accordingly the most eminent men in our republic have not shrunk from this part of an orator's duty; and young men of the highest rank have been regarded as making the accusation of bad citizens a proof of their attachment to their country, because it was thought that they would have not expressed hatred of the wicked, or have incurred the enmity of others, but from confidence in their own integrity of mind. 4. This was the conduct, in consequence, adopted by Hortensius, the Luculli [Lucius Luculluas and Marcus his brother (or cousin, see Verheyk id Eutrop. vi. 7), who are elsewhere mentioned in conjunction, as in reference to their magnificent aedileship, Cic. de Off. ii. 16. They acted in union in early life in many proceedings, among which was the accusation of Publius Servilius the augur, who had been the accuser of the father of one or both of them; see Cicero, Acad. Quaest. iv. init., Plutarch in Lucull. init.], Sulpicius, Cicero, Caesar, and many others, as well as by the elder and younger Cato, one of whom has been called the Wise, and unless the other be thought wise, I do not know to whom he has left the right of taking the name. Yet an orator will not defend all persons indiscriminately, or open the salutary haven of his eloquence to pirates; and he will be influenced to advocate any cause chiefly by the good opinion which he forms of the nature of it.
.5. But as one man cannot undertake the defense of all those who go to law with some appearance of justice, the number of whom is certainly considerable, he will pay some attention to the characters of those who recommend clients to his care, as well as to that of those who are desirous to engage in suits, that he may be led by a feeling for the most upright, whom a good man will always regard as his best friends. 6. But he must keep himself free from two sorts of vain ostentation; the one, that of obtruding his services on the powerful against the humble; the other, which is even more boastful, that of supporting the humble against persons of dignity; for it is not rank that makes causes just or unjust. Nor, in regard to any cause which he has undertaken on the supposition that it was good, but of which, in the course of discussion, he has discovered the iniquitousness, will he let any feeling of shame prevent him from declining it, after telling his client his real opinion of it.
7. It is indeed a great service to a client, if I am a fair judge, not to beguile him with vain hopes. Nor, on the other hand, is a client deserving of the assistance of an advocate, if he does not listen to his advice. Assuredly it does not become him, whom I would have to approve himself a true orator, knowingly to defend injustice. If he support what is not true in such cases as I have mentioned above, what he does will still be justifiable.
8. Whether an orator ought always to plead gratuitously, is a question which admits of discussion, and which it would be mere inconsiderateness to decide at once, and without reflection; for who is ignorant that it is by far the more honorable, and more worthy of the liberal arts and of the feelings which we expect to find in an orator, not to set a price on his efforts, and thus lower the estimation of so great a blessing as eloquence, as many things seem worthless in the eyes of the world for no other reason than that they may be purchased? 9. This, as the saying is, is clear enough even to the blind; nor will any pleader who has but a competency for himself, (and a little will suffice for a competency,) make a gain of his art without incurring the charge of meanness. But if his circumstances demand something more for his necessary requirements than he actually possesses, he may, according to the opinions of all wise men, allow a recompence to be made him; since contributions were raised for the support even of Socrates [see the first book of Xenophon's Memorabilia of Socrates; and the very obscure words of Aristoxenus given in Diogenes Laertius, ii. 20]; and Zeno, Cleanthes, and Chrysippus took fees from their scholars.
10. Nor do I see any more honorable way of gaining support than by the practice of a noble profession, and by receiving remuneration from those whom we have served, and who, if they made no return, would be unworthy of defense. Such a return, indeed, is not only just, but necessary, as the very labor and time devoted to other people's business precludes all possibility of making profit by any other means. 11. But in this respect also moderation is to be observed; and it makes a great difference from whom an orator receives fees, and how many, and for how long a time. The rapacious practice of making bargains, and the detestable traffic of those who ask a price proportioned to the risk of their clients, will never be adopted even by such as are but moderately dishonest, especially when he who defends good men and good causes has no reason to fear that any one whom he defends will be ungrateful; or, if such should be the case, I had rather that the client should be in fault than the pleader.
12. The orator, therefore, will entertain no desire of gaining more than shall be just sufficient, and, even if he be poor, will not receive anything as pay, but will consider it merely as a friendly acknowledgment of service, being conscious that he has conferred much more than he receives. Benefits of such a nature, because they are not to be sold, are not therefore to be thrown away; and it belongs to the obliged party to show gratitude.
1. The next thing to be considered is the mode of studying a cause, which constitutes the foundation of pleading; for no speaker can be imagined of such extremely slender powers, as, when he has carefully ascertained every particular in a cause, to be unable to state it at least to the judge. 2. But very few orators take sufficient trouble in this respect; for, to say nothing of those who are utterly careless, and who give themselves no concern on what the success of a cause depends, if there be but points which, though wholly unconnected with the case, but relating to characters involved in it, and leading to the usual flourishes on common-place topics, may afford them an opportunity for noisy declamation, there are some also whom vanity perverts, and who, (partly pretending that they are constantly occupied, and have always something which they must first dispatch, tell their client to come to them the day, or the very morning, before the trial, and sometimes even boast that they received their instructions while the court was sitting; 3. or, partly assuming a show of extraordinary ability, that they may be thought to understand things in a moment, making believe that they conceive and comprehend almost before they hear,) after they have chanted forth, with wonderful eloquence, and the loudest clamors of applause from their partisans, much that has no reference either to the judge or to their client, are conducted back, in a thorough perspiration, and with a long train of attendants, through the forum.
4. Nor can I tolerate the foppishness of those who desire that their friends should be instructed in the causes which they have to plead; though, indeed there may be less harm done in this case, if the friends learn accurately and repeat accurately. But who will learn a cause with the same care as the pleader himself? How can the depositary, the mere instrument of communication in cases, bestow his attention contentedly on other men's causes, when, even to those who are going to plead, their own causes are of so little moment?
5. But the most pernicious practice of all is, for an orator to be content with written memorials, which either the party who has recourse to an advocate, because he is unable to conduct his own cause, has drawn up, or which some one of that class of advocates has composed, who confess that they are incapable of pleading, and yet undertake that which is the most difficult part of a pleader's business. For why should not he, who can judge what ought to be said, what ought to be suppressed, or altered, or imagined, stand forth as an orator himself, when, what is far more difficult, he makes an orator?
6. Such composers of memorials, however, would be less mischievous, if they wrote down everything merely as it occurred; but they add motives and coloring, and inventions that do more harm than the plain truth; and most of our orators, when they receive these farragos, think it wrong to make any change in them, but adhere to them as strictly as to cases proposed in the schools. The consequence is, that they find themselves deceived, and learn the cause, which they would not learn from their own client, from the advocates of the opposite party.
7. Let us allow plenty of time, then, and a place of interview free from interruption, to those who shall have occasion to consult us, and let us earnestly exhort them to state every particular off hand, however verbosely, or however far they may wish to go back; for it is a less inconvenience to listen to what is superfluous than to be left ignorant of what is essential. 8. Frequently, too, the orator will find both the evil and the remedy in particulars which to the client appeared to have no weight on either side of the question. Nor should a pleader have so much confidence in his memory as to think it too great trouble to write down what he hears.
Nor should he be content with hearing only once; the client should be required to repeat the same things again and again; not only because some things might have escaped his memory at the first recital, especially if he be, as is often the case, an illiterate person; but also that we may see whether he tells exactly the same story; for many state what is false, and, as if they were not stating their case but pleading it, address themselves, not as to an advocate, but as to a judge. 9. We must never therefore place too much reliance on a client; but he must be sifted, and cross-examined, and obliged to tell the truth; for as, by physicians, not only apparent ailments are to be cured, but even such as are latent are to be discovered, even though the persons who require to be healed conceal them, so an advocate must look for more than is laid before him.
10. When he has exercised sufficient patience in listening, he must assume another character, and act the part of the adversary; he must state whatever can possibly be imagined on the other side, and whatever the nature of the case will allow in such a discussion of it. The client must be questioned sharply, and pressed hard; for, by searching into every particular, we sometimes discover truth where we least expected to find it.
11. In a word, the best advocate for learning the merits of a cause is he that is least credulous; for a client is often ready to promise everything; offering a cloud of witnesses, and sealed documents quite ready [these consignationes are sealed documents given in evidence, of which Quintilian speaks in b. v. c. 7; comp. Cicero pro Quint. F. c. 6], and averring that the adversary himself will not even offer opposition on certain points. 12. It is therefore necessary to examine all the writings relating to a case; it is not sufficient to inspect them; they must be read through; for very frequently they are either not at all such as they were asserted to be, or they contain less than was stated, or they are mixed with matters that may injure the client's cause, or they say too much, and lose all credit from appearing to be exaggerated. 13. We may often, too, find a thread broken [the thread which was passed three times round the document, and affixed to it with a seal. Paullus, Sent. v. 25, 25; Sueton. Ner. c. 17], or wax disturbed, or signatures without attestation; all which points, unless we settle them at home, will embarrass us unexpectedly in the forum; and evidence which we are obliged to give up will damage a cause more than it would have suffered from none having been offered.
14. An advocate will also bring out many points which his client regarded as having no bearing on the case, if he but go over all the grounds which I have previously specified for arguments; and as it will be by no means convenient to review all these, and try them one by one, while we are pleading, for the reasons which I have given [comp. Cic. de Orat. ii. 34], so, in studying a cause, it will be necessary to examine minutely what sort of characters are concerned in it, what times, or places, or practices [instituta. This word must be understood as referring to customs, habits, and modes of pleading among the people where the cause is tried], or documents, have any reference to it, and all other particulars, from which not only artificial proofs may be drawn, but it may be ascertained what witnesses are to be feared, and how they are to be refuted; for it makes a great difference whether an accused person suffers under envy, or dislike, or contempt, of which the first is generally directed against superiors, the second against equals, and the third upon inferiors.
15. After having thus thoroughly examined a cause, and brought before his eyes everything that may promote or hinder its success, let him, in the third place, put himself in the place of the judge, and imagine the cause to be pleaded before him; and whatever arguments would move him most if he had really to pass sentence on the matter, let him suppose that those arguments will have most effect upon any judge before whom it may be brought. Thus the result will seldom deceive him; or, if it does, it will be the fault of the judge.
1. What is to be observed in pleading a cause, I have been employed in showing through almost the whole of the work; yet I shall here notice a few things which properly fall under this head, and which relate not so much to the art of oratory in general, as to the duties of the orator personally. 2. Above all things, let not the desire of temporary praise draw off his attention, as is the case with many, from the interest of the cause which he has undertaken; for as the troops of generals conducting a war are not always to be led through level and pleasant plains, but rugged hills are often to be ascended, and towns, situate on rocks of the greatest possible steepness, and scarcely accessible through the strength of their fortifications, require to be stormed; so eloquence will delight in an opportunity of flowing in a more free course than ordinary, and, engaging on fair ground, will display all its powers to gain public praise; 3. but if it shall be called to trace the intricacies of law, or to penetrate into hiding-places for the sake of discovering truth, it will not then make showy manoeuvres, or use brilliant and pointed thoughts as missile weapons, but it will carry on its operations by mines, and ambuscades, and every kind of secret artifice. 4. These stratagems, however, are commended, not so much while they are being practiced, as after they have been practiced; and hence also greater profit falls to those who are less eager for applause; for when the absurd parade of eloquence has brought its thunders among its partisans to a close, the credit of genuine merit appears with greater effect; the judges will not fail to show by which speaker they have been most impressed; respect will be paid to the truly learned; and the real merit of a speech will be sure to be acknowledged when it is ended.
5. Among the ancients, indeed, it was a practice to dissemble the force of their eloquence; a practice which Marcus Antonius recommends [Cicero de Orat. ii. 1. "Antonius thought that his oratory would be better received by the people of Rome if he were believed to have hhad no learning at all."], in order that more credit may be given to speakers, and that the artifices of advocates on behalf of their clients may be less suspected. But such eloquence as then existed might well be concealed; for such splendor of oratory had not then risen as to break through every intervening obstacle. However, art and design, and whatever loses its value when detected, should certainly be masked. So far, eloquence has its secrecy.
6. As to choice of words, force of thoughts, and elegance of figures, they are either not in a speech, or they must appear in it; but they are not, because they must appear, to be displayed ostentatiously; and, if one of the two is to be preferred, let the cause be praised rather than the pleader. Still the true orator will make it his object that he may be thought to have pleaded an excellent cause in an excellent way. Certain it is, that no man pleads worse than he who pleases while his cause displeases; for that which pleases in his speech must necessarily be foreign to the cause.
7. Nor will an honorable orator be infected by the fastidious disdain of pleading inferior causes, as if they were beneath him, or as if a subject of little dignity would detract from his reputation; for regard to duty will amply justify him for undertaking such causes. He ought also to desire that his friends may have as few lawsuits as possible; and whoever has defended a cause successfully, of whatever nature it be, has proved himself sufficiently eloquent.
8. But some pleaders, if they happen to undertake such causes as require, in reality, but moderate powers of eloquence, envelope them in a variety of extrinsic matter, and, if other resources fail, fill up the vacancies in their subject with invectives; urging just ones perhaps, if they occur, if not, such as they can imagine; caring little, indeed, provided that there be exercise for their wit, and that they gain applause while they continue speaking. 9. But this is a practice which I consider so utterly at variance with the character of a perfect orator, that I think he would not even utter just invectives, unless his cause absolutely require him to do so; for it is mere canine eloquence, as Appius says, that subjects itself to the charge of being slanderous; and they who practice it ought previously to have acquired the power of enduring slander; since retaliation is often inflicted on those who have pleaded in such a style; or the client at least suffers for the virulence of his advocate.
But what appears outwardly, is small in comparison with the malice of the mind within; for an evil speaker differs from an evil-doer only in opportunity. 10. A base and inhuman gratification, acceptable to no good man among the audience, is often required by clients, who think more of revenge than of the defense of their cause. But this, as well as many other things, is not to be done according to their pleasure; for what man indeed, possessed of the least portion of liberal spirit, could endure to utter abuse at the pleasure of another?
11. Yet some take pleasure in inveighing against the advocates of the opposite party; but this, unless they happen to have deserved reproof, is an ungenerous violation of the common duties of the profession; it is a practice useless, too, to those who adopt it, (for similar liberty of attack is allowed to the respondents,) and it is detrimental to their cause, for their adversaries are thus rendered real enemies, and whatever power they have is provoked to double efforts by insult. 12. But what is worst of all, that modesty, which gains the eloquence of an orator so much authority and credit, is altogether lost if he degrade himself from a man of high feeling into a brawler and barker [Cicero Brut. c. 15], adapting his language, not to the feelings of the judge, but to the resentment of his client.
13. Frequently, too, the seductions of such liberty lead to rashness, dangerous not only to the cause, but to the speaker; nor was it without reason that Pericles [Plutarch, Vit. Pericl.] wished no word might ever enter into his mind at which the people could be offended. But the regard which he paid to the people, I think that the orator ought to pay to every audience before whom he appears, as they can do him quite as much harm as the people could do Pericles; and what appears spirited when it is uttered, is called foolish when it has given offence.
14. As orators, for the most part, study each a particular manner, and as the cautiousness of one is imputed to dullness, while the readiness of another is ascribed to presumption, it appears by no means improper to state what sort of middle course I think that an orator may observe between the two. 15. He will, in the first place, always give to the cause which he has to plead as much preparation as he can; for it is characteristic indeed, not only of a negligent, but of an unprincipled advocate, treacherous and faithless to the matter which he undertakes, not to plead as well as he can. For this reason he must not take upon himself more causes than he is certain that he can fairly support.
16. He will utter, as far as his subject will allow, nothing but what he has written, or, as Demosthenes says [Plutarch, in his Life of Demosthenes, states much that shows how unwilling he was to speak extempore], hewn into shape. But this only the first hearing of a cause, or such as are granted on public trials [on private trials, or trials regarding inferior matters, there was but one regular pleading, the prima actio, in which the cause was stated to the judges; all else was done by altercation. On public trials there was greater solemnity and ceremony; and if, in the prima actio, many particulars were advanced by one party that required a studied refutation, a second actio was allowed after an interval of some days, when both parties might argue the case in speeches which they had premeditated] after an interval of certain days, will allow; when a speaker has to reply at once to objections suddenly started, full preparation cannot be made; so that it is even injurious to those who are rather slow to have written their matter, if something arises from the opposite party different from what they had expected. 17. For they cannot readily depart from what they had premeditated, and look back through all their composition, trying to ascertain if any part can be snatched from it, and united with what they are going to say extempore; but, even if this be practicable, there will be no proper coherence, and the patching will be visible, not only from the opening of the seams, as in a piece of work ill-joined, but from the difference of complexion in the style.
18. Thus there will be neither fluency, nor elegant compactness, in what they say; and the different parts will but hamper one another; for what was written will still fetter the mind, instead of yielding itself to the mind's influence. 19. In such pleadings therefore, we must stand as the husbandmen say, on all our feet [omni pede standum est. A Greek proverb, 'ολω ποδι, said by Suidas to mean 'ολη δυναμει, with a person's whole strength]; for as every case consists of a statement and a refutation, what belongs clearly to our own part may be written; and of what it is certain that the adversary will reply (for it is sometimes certain) a refutation may be prepared with equal solicitude. But as to all other points, there is but one kind of preparation that we can make, namely, to gain a thorough knowledge of the cause; something farther indeed we may gain at the time of the trial, by listening attentively to the advocate of the opposite party. 20. We may, however, anticipate much that may occur, and prepare ourselves for emergencies; and this is indeed a safer method than writing, as first thoughts may thus more easily be abandoned, and the attention directed to something else.
21. But whether an orator has to speak extemporaneously in reply, or whether any other cause obliges him to do so, he will never find himself at a loss or disconcerted, if discipline and study and exercise have given him the accomplishment of facility; and, as he is always armed, and standing prepared as it were for battle, the language of oratory will no more fail him in supporting a cause than the language of ordinary conversation on daily and domestic subjects; nor will he ever shrink from his task under such an apprehension, provided that he has time for studying the cause; for everything else he will easily command.
1. It remains for me to speak of the style of oratory. This, in the first division of my work, was proposed as the third part of it; for I undertook to treat of the art, the artificer, and the work. But as oratory is the work of the art of rhetoric and of the orator, and there are, as I shall show, many forms of it, the influence of the art and the artificer is apparent in all those forms; yet they differ very much one from another, not only in species, as one statue differs from another, one picture from another, and one speech from another, but in genus, as Tuscan statues from Grecian, and Asiatic eloquence from Attic. 2. Yet these several kinds of work, of which I am speaking, have not only their artificers, but also their admirers, and it is for this reason, possibly, that there has not yet appeared a perfect orator, and that perhaps no art has reached its full perfection, not only because certain qualities are more prominent in some individuals than in others, but because the same form is not to all equally attractive, partly from the influence of circumstances and countries, and partly from varieties in the judgment and objects of each particular person.
3. The first painters of eminence, whose works deserve to be regarded for any other quality than their antiquity, were Polygnotus and Aglaophon [Aglaophon was a native of the island of Thasos, and is said by Suidas to have been the father of Polygnotus, who, according to Pliny, H. N. xxxv. 9, flourished before the nineteenth Olympiad, or B.C. 412], whose simple coloring even now finds such ardent admirers, that they prefer these imperfect rudiments of an art that was still, as we may say, to be, to the performances of the greatest masters that arose after them; but this preference, as it appears to me, is given only from an affectation of superior intelligence. 4. Subsequently Zeuxis and Parrhasius, who were very nearly contemporaries, as they both flourished about the time of the Peloponnesian war, (for a dialogue of Socrates with Parrhasius is to be found in Xenophon, [Mem. Soc. iii. 10]) contributed much to the improvement of the art. Zeuxis is said to have found out the management of light and shade; Parrhasius to have studied outline with great accuracy.
5. Zeuxis gave the human body more than its natural fullness, thinking that he thus added to its nobleness and dignity, and, as it is supposed, adopting that idea from Homer, whose imagination delighted in the amplest figures, even in women. Parrhasius was so exact in all his figures, that they call him the legislator of painting, since other painters follow, as a matter of obligation, the representations of gods and heroes just as they were given by him. 6. Painting flourished most, however, about the reign of Philip, and under the successors of Alexander; but with different species of excellence; for Protogenes was distinguished for accuracy, Pamphilus and Melanthius for judgment, Antiphilus for ease, Theon of Samos for producing imaginary scenes, which the Greeks call φαντασιαι, and Apelles for genius and grace, on which he greatly prided himself. What made Euphranor remarkable, was, that while he was among the most eminent in other excellent attainments, he was also a great master both of painting and statuary.
7. There was similar variety in regard to sculpture; Callon [a native of the island of Aegina, who flourished about B.C. 516. See Pausan. ii. 32; vii. 18] and Hegesias [a contemporary of Callon] made rude statues, like the Tuscan; Calamis produced some that were less inelegant; and Myron such as were of a softer character than those of any of his predecessors. Accuracy and grace were highly conspicuous in Polycletus, to whom pre-eminence in the art is allowed by most critics; yet, that they may not grant him every excellence, they intimate that his figures were deficient in dignity; for though he gave supernatural grace to the human form, he is said not to have adequately expressed the majesty of the gods. 8. The representation of old age, too, he is said to have declined, and to have attempted nothing beyond a smooth cheek.
But what was wanting in Polycletus, is said to have been fully exhibited in Phidias and Alcamenes. [An Athenian who flourished about B.C. 420; he was a pupil of Phidias. Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 6; Pausan i. 20; v. 10.] 9. Phidias, however, is thought to have been a better sculptor of gods than of men; certainly in ivory he was far beyond any rival, even if he had produced nothing more than his Minerva at Athens, and his Olympian Jupiter at Elis, the majesty of which is thought to have added something to the impressiveness of the received religion; so exactly did the nobleness of that work represent the god. In adhering to nature Lysippus and Praxiteles are said to have been most successful; as for Demetrius [he probablv lived about the time of Pericles, or soon after], he is censured for too much exactness in that respect, having been fonder of accurate likeness than of beauty.
10. So it is with oratory. If we contemplate the varieties of it, we find almost as much diversity in the minds as in the bodies of orators. There were some forms of eloquence of a rude nature, in agreement with the times in which they appeared, but indicating mental power in the speakers; among whom we may number the Laelii, Africani, Catos, and Gracchi; and these we may call the Polygnoti and Callones of oratory. Of the middle kind Lucius Crassus and Quintus Hortensius may be thought the chief representatives. 11. There may be contemplated a vast multitude of orators, all flourishing about the same time. Among them we find the energy of Caesar, the natural talent of Caelius, the subtilty of Calidius, the accuracy of Pollio, the dignity of Messala, the austerity of Calvus, the gravity of Brutus, the acuteness of Sulpicius, and the severity of Cassius. Among those, also, whom we have ourselves seen, we recollect the copiousness of Seneca, the force of Julius Africanus, the mature judgment of Domitius Afer, the agreeableness of Crispus, the sonorous pronunciation of Trachalus, and the elegance of Secundus.
12. But in Cicero we have not merely a Euphranor, distinguished by excellence in several particular departments of art, but eminent in every quality that is commended in any orator whatever. Yet the men of his own time presumed to censure him as timid, Asiatic, redundant, too fond of repetition, indulging in tasteless jests, loose in the structure of his sentences, tripping [exultantem] in his manner, and (what is surely very far from truth) almost too effeminate in his general style for a man. 13. And after that he was cut off by the proscription of the triumvirs, those who had hated, envied, and rivalled him, and who were anxious to pay their court to the rulers of the day, attacked him from all quarters, when he was no longer able to reply to them. But the very man who is now regarded by some as meagre and dry, appeared to his personal enemies, his contemporaries, censurable only for too flowery a style and too much exuberance of matter. Both charges are false, but for the latter there is the fairer ground.
14. But his severest critics were those who desired to be thought imitators of the Attic orators. This band of calumniators, as if they had leagued themselves in a solemn confederacy, attacked Cicero as though he had been quite of another country, neither caring for their customs nor bound by their laws; of which school are our present dry, sapless, and frigid orators. 15. These are the men who give their meagreness the name of health, which is the very opposite to it; and who, because they cannot endure the brighter lustre of Cicero's eloquence, any more than they can look at the sun, shelter themselves under the shade of the great name of Attic oratory. But as Cicero himself has fully answered such critics, in many parts of his works, brevity in touching on this point will be the rather excusable in me.
16. The distinction between Attic and Asiatic orators is indeed of great antiquity; the Attics being regarded as compressed and energetic in their style, the Asiatics as inflated and deficient in force; in the Attics it was thought that nothing was redundant, in the Asiatics that judgment and restraint were in a great measure wanting. This difference some, among whom is Santra [a grammarian, cited by Festus and Paulus], suppose to have arisen from the circumstance that, when the Greek tongue spread itself among the people of Asia nearest to Greece, certain persons, who had not yet acquired a thorough mastery over the language, desired to attain eloquence, and began to express some things, which might have been expressed closely [that is, if the Asiatics had had a greater knowledge of the Greek language. What, in their ignorance, they could not express exactly, they gave in a circumlocution], in a periphrastic style, and afterwards continued to do so.
17. To me, however, the difference in the character of the speakers and their audiences, seems to have caused the difference in their styles of oratory; for the people of Attica, being polished and of refined taste, could endure nothing useless or redundant; which the Asiatics, a people in other respects vain and ostentatious, were puffed up with fondness for a showy kind of eloquence. 18. Those who made distinctions in these matters soon after added a third kind of eloquence, the Rhodian, which they define to be of a middle character between the other two, and partaking of each; for the orators of this school are not concise like the Attics, nor exuberant like the Asiatics, but appear to derive their styles partly from the country, and partly from their founder; 19. for Aeschines, who fixed on Rhodes for his place of exile [that Aeschines opened a school of rhetoric at Rhodes, is related by very good authors, as Plutarch in his Life of Demosthenes, and Philostratus, Vit. Sophist, i. 18, 2; and see Phot. Cod. 61 and 264], carried thither the accomplishments then studied at Athens, which, like certain plants that degenerate when they are removed to a foreign climate and soil, formed a union of the Attic flavor with that of the country to which they were transplanted. The orators of the Rhodian school are accordingly accounted somewhat deficient in vigor and spirit, though nevertheless not without force, resembling, not pure springs, nor turbid torrents, but calm floods.
20. Let no one doubt, then, that of the three styles, that of the Attics is by far the best. But though there is something common to all that have written in this style, namely, a keen and exact judgment, yet there are great varieties in the character's of their genius. 21. Those, therefore, appear to me to be very much mistaken, who think that the only Attic orators are such as are simple, clear, expressive, restricting themselves, as it were, to a certain frugality in the use of their eloquence, and always keeping their hand within their cloak. For who shall be named as such an Attic orator? Suppose it be Lysias; for the admirers of that style recognize him as a model of it. But may we not as well, then, be sent to Coccus and Andocides? [Andocides is well known as one of the ten Attic orators mentioned by Plutarch and others. He was contemporary with Alcibiades, who mutilated the statue of Hermes at his gate. The name of Coccus is more obscure. He is said by Suidas to have been a scholar of Isocrates.]
22. Yet I should like to ask whether Isocrates spoke after the Attic manner; for no one can be more unlike Lysias. They will say that he did not; yet his school sent forth the most eminent of the Greek orators. Let us look, then, for some one more like Lysias. Was Hyperides Attic? Doubtless. Yet he studied agreeableness of style more than Lysias. I say nothing of many others; as Lycurgus [a scholar of Isocrates], Aristogeiton [an adversary of Demosthenes, surnamed "the dog," from the coarse character of his eloquence], and their predecessors, Issaeus and Antiphon [of whom Thucydides was a pupil. Fifteen of his orations are extant], whom, though resembling each other in kind, we should call different in species.
23. What was Aeschines, whom I just now mentioned? Was he not broader, and bolder, and loftier in style than they? What, to come to a conclusion, was Demosthenes? Did he not surpass all those dry and cautious speakers in force, sublimity, animation, polish, and structure of periods? Does he not elevate his style by moral observations? Does he not delight in figures? Does he not give splendor to his language by metaphors? Does he not attribute, by figurative representations, speech to inanimate objects? 24. Does not his oath by the defenders of his country, slain at Marathon and Salamis, plainly show that Plato was his master? and shall we call Plato an Asiatic, a man comparable in so many respects to the bards of old, fired with divine inspiration? What shall we say of Pericles? Shall we pronounce him similar to the unadorned Lysias, him whose energy the comic writers, even while they ridicule him, compare to thunder and lightning from heaven?
25. What is the reason, then, that they imagine the Attic taste to be apparent in those only who flow, as it were, like a slender stream of water making its way through pebbles? What is the reason that they say the odor of thyme arises only from among them? [In allusion to the abundance of thyme on Mount Hymettus.] I suppose that if they find in the neighborhood of those orators any piece of ground more fertile, or any crop more luxuriant than ordinary, they will deny that the soil is Attic, because it reproduced more than it has received, when Menander jestingly says that exact fidelity is the characteristic of Attic ground. [Menander seems to have jested on the fidelity or honesty of the Attic soil, which returned what was deposited in it cum fide, not cum foenore. The passage of Menander to which the text appears to allude, is preserved by Stobaeus, Serm. 55.]
26. So, if any one shall add to the excellences which that great orator Demosthenes had, those which appear, either naturally or by the law of his country [as, by the law of Athens, orators were prohibited from exciting the feelings of the judges], to have been wanting to him, and shall display in himself the power of strongly exciting the feelings, shall I hear some critic say, Demosthenes never did so? Or if any periods shall be produced more harmonious than his, perhaps none can be, but still if any should, will it be said that they are not Attic? Let these censors judge more favorably of this distinction, and be convinced that to speak in the Attic style is to speak in the best style. [The judgment of Cicero on the Attics was somewhat different; see Brut. c. 84, where it is said that "not all who speak in the Attic style speak well, though all who speak well have something of the Attic style." See also De Opt. Gen. Orat. c. 4.] 27. And yet I would sooner bear with Greeks than Latins persisting in this opinion.
The Latin eloquence, though it appears to me on a level with the Greek in invention, arrangement, judgment, and other qualities of that kind, and seems to be, indeed, in all respects its pupil, yet in regard to elocution, it scarcely has the power even of imitation; for, first of all, it has more of harshness in the sound of its words; as we are quite destitute of two of the most euphonious letters of the Greeks, one a vowel, the other a consonant [Υ and Φ, as appears from Ephyri and Zephyri below], than which indeed none even of theirs sound more sweetly, and which we are in the habit of borrowing whenever we adopt any of their words.
28. When this is the case, our language, I know not how, immediately assumes a more pleasing tone, as, for example, in
using the words Ephyri and Zephyri; for if these words are
written in our characters [F and V] they will give something of a dull
and barbarous sound, as there will be substituted, in the place
of agreeable letters, those harsh repulsive letters with which
Greece is utterly unacquainted. 29. For that which is the
sixth of our letters [F] requires to be uttered with a voice
scarcely human, or rather not with a voice at all, between
the lower teeth and the upper lips [literally
"between the openings or
Of the Aeolic letter [the digamma], also, which we use in saying servus and cervus, though we reject the shape, yet the sound adheres to us. 30. That letter [Q], too, which is of use only for joining vowels that follow it, being otherwise quite superfluous, forms harsh syllables, as when we write equos and equum, especially as the two vowels give such a sound as is quite unknown to the Greeks, and accordingly cannot be expressed in Greek letters. 31. Besides we close many of our words with the letter m, which has a sound something the the lowing of an ox, and in which no Greek word terminates; since they put in place of it the ν, which has an agreeable, and, especially at the end of a word, a kind of ringing sound; a letter which is rarely put at the close of a word with us. 39. Moreover we have syllables ending in b and d, so disagreeable, that most even of our old writers (not indeed our oldest, but still writers of antiquity,) attempted to soften them, not only by saying aversus for abversus, but by adding to the b in the preposition an s, which is itself an unpleasantly sounding letter.
33. But we find our accents also less agreeable than those of the Greeks, as well from a certain rigidity in our pronunciation, as from want of variety; for with us the last syllable of a word is never raised with an acute accent, or flattened with a circumflex, but a word always ends with one or two grave accents. So much more pleasing, in consequence, is the Greek tongue than the Latin, that our poets, whenever they wish their verse to be particularly melodious, grace it with a number of Greek words. 34. But what is a still stronger proof of the inferiority of our tongue is, that many things are without proper terms, so that we are obliged to express them by metaphor or circumlocution; and even in regard to those which have names, the great poverty of our language very often forces us upon repetitions, while the Greeks have not only abundance of words, but even of dialects varying one from another.
35. He, therefore, that shall require from the Latin the graces of the Attic tongue, must give it a similar sweetness of tone, and a similar abundance of words. If this be impossible, we must adapt our thoughts to the words which we have, and not clothe extremely delicate matter in phraseology which is too strong, not to say too gross, for it, lest the excellences of both [both delicacy of thought and propriety of language] be diminished by the union. 30. The less able our language is to assist us, the more efforts we must make in the production of thought.
Sublime and varied conceptions must be brought forth. Every feeling must be excited, and our speech illumined by the splendor of metaphor. We cannot be so plain as the Greeks [from the very copiousness of their language, the Greeks do not indulge in metaphors]; let us be more forcible. We are excelled by them in refinement; let us surpass them in weight. Exactness of expression is more surely attained by them; let us go beyond them in fullness. 37. The Greek geniuses, even those of inferior degree, have their proper sea-ports; let us be impelled, in general, with larger sails, and let stronger breezes swell our canvas; but not so that we may always steer out to the deep sea, for we must sometimes coast along the land. The Greeks can easily pass through any shallows; I shall find a part somewhat, though not much deeper, in which my boat may be in no danger of sinking.
38. For if the Greeks succeed better than we in plainer and simpler subjects, so that we are beaten on such ground, and accordingly in comedy do not even venture to compete with them, we must not altogether abandon this department of literature, but must cultivate it as far as we can, and we can, at least, rival the Greeks in the temper and judgment with which we treat our subjects; while grace of style, which we have not among us by nature, must be sought from a foreign source. 39. Is not Cicero, in causes of an inferior character, acute and not inelegant, clear and not unduly elevated? Is not similar merit remarkable in Marcus Calidius? Were not Scipio, Laelius, and Cato, the Attics of the Romans, as it were, in eloquence? Surely those, then, must satisfy us in that sort of style, than whom none can be imagined more excellent in it.
40. I must observe further, that some think there is no natural eloquence but such as is of a character with the language of ordinary conversation, the language in which we address our friends, wives, children, and servants, and which is intended only to express our thoughts, and requires no foreign or elaborate ornament; they say that all that is super-added to such language is mere affectation, and vain ostentation of style, at variance with truth, and invented only with a view to a display of words, to which, they assert, the only office attributed by nature is to be instrumental in expressing our thoughts; comparing an eloquent and brilliant style to the bodies of athletes, which, though they are rendered stouter by exercise, and by regularity of diet, are yet not in a natural condition, or in conformity with that appearance which has been assigned to man. 41. Of what profit is it, they ask, to clothe our thoughts in circumlocution and metaphor, that is, in words unnecessarily numerous, and in unnatural words, when everything has its peculiar term appropriated to it?
42. They contend that the most ancient speakers were most in conformity with nature; and that there subsequently arose others, with a greater resemblance to the poets, who showed (less openly, indeed, than the poets, but after the same fashion,) that they regarded departures from truth and nature as merits. In this argument there is certainly some foundation of truth, and accordingly we ought not to depart so far as some speakers do from exact and ordinary language. Yet if any orator, as I have said in the part in which I spoke of composition, should add something ornamental to that which is merely necessary, and than which less cannot be given, he will not be deserving of censure from those who hold this opinion.
43. To me, indeed, ordinary discourse, and the language of a truly eloquent man, appear to be of a different nature; for if it were sufficient for an orator to express his thoughts plainly, he would have nothing to study beyond mere suitableness of words; but since he has to please, to move, and to rouse the minds of his audience to various states of feeling, he must have recourse, for those purposes, to the means which are afforded us by the same nature that supplies us with ordinary speech; just as we are led by nature to invigorate our muscles with exercise, to increase our general strength, and to acquire a healthy complexion. 44. It is from this cause that in all nations one man is esteemed more eloquent, and more agreeable in his mode of expression, than another; for if such were not the case, all would be on an equality in this respect, and the same way of speaking would become every man alike; but, as it is, men speak in different methods, and preserve a distinction of character.
Thus I conceive that the greater impression a man produces by his words, the more he speaks in conformity with the natural intention of eloquence. [By those who are always talking of nature it ought to be observed that those only act naturally in regard to any thing, who act according to the nature of that thing.] I, therefore, have not much to say against those who think that we must accommodate ourselves in some degree to circumstances, and to the ears of audiences that require something more refined and studied than ordinary language. 45. I am so far from thinking, therefore, that an orator should be restricted to the style of those who preceded Cato and the Gracchi, that I do not consider he should be restricted to the style even of these. I see that it was the practice of Cicero, though he did nothing but with a view to the interest of his cause, to study in some measure the gratification of his audience, saying that he thus promoted his object, and contributed in the best possible way to the success of his client. He in fact profited in proportion as he pleased.
46. To the attractions of his style I do not know, for my own part, what can be added, unless indeed we introduce, to suit modern taste, a few more brilliant thoughts; for this may certainly be done without damage to a cause, and without diminution to the impressiveness of a pleader, provided that the embellishments be not too numerous and close together, so as to destroy the effects of each other. 47. But though I am thus far complaisant, let no man press for any further concession; I allow, in accordance with the fashion of the day, that the toga should not be of rough wool, but not that it should be of silk; that the hair should not be uncut, but not that it should be dressed in stories and ringlets; it being also considered that what is most becoming is also most elegant, provided that elegance be not carried to the extent of ostentation and extravagance.
48. But as to what we call brilliant thoughts, which were not cultivated by the ancients, and not, above all, by the Greeks, (I find some in Cicero,) who can deny that they may be of service, provided that they bear upon the cause, are not redundant in number, and tend to secure success? They strike the mind of the hearer, they frequently produce a great effect by one impulse: they impress themselves, from being short, more effectually on the memory; and they persuade while they please.
49. But there are some, who, though they will allow an orator to utter such dazzling thoughts, consider that they are wholly to be excluded from speeches that are written. This is an opinion, accordingly, which I must not pass unnoticed; as indeed many men of great learning have thought that the modes of speaking and writing are essentially different; and that it is from this cause that some who were highly distinguished for speaking have left nothing to posterity, nothing in writing that would be at all lasting, as Pericles and Demades; and that others again, who were excellent in writing, have been unfitted for speaking, as Isocrates. 50. Besides, they say that impetuosity, and thoughts merely intended to please, and perhaps somewhat too boldly hazarded, have often the very greatest effect in speaking, as the minds of the ignorant part of an audience must frequently be excited and swayed; but that what is committed to writing, and published as something good, ought to be terse and polished, and in conformity with every law and rule of composition, because it is to come into the hands of the learned, and to have artists as judges of the art with which it is executed.
51. These acute teachers (as they have persuaded themselves, and many others, that they are,) tell us that παραδειγμα, or "rhetorical induction," is better adapted for speaking, and the ενθυμημα, or "rhetorical syllogism," for writing. To me it appears that to speak well and to write well are but the same thing; and that a written oration is nothing else but a record of an oration delivered. Written oratory must accordingly, I think, be susceptible of every species of excellence; I say every species of excellence, not every species of fault, for I know that what is faulty sometimes pleases the ignorant.
52. How, then, will what is written and what is spoken differ? I reply that if I were to address myself to a tribunal composed only of wise men, I would cut off much from the speeches, not only of Cicero, but even of Demosthenes, who is much less verbose; for, in speaking to such an audience, there will be no necessity for exciting the feelings, or for soothing the ear with delight; since Aristotle thinks that in such a case even exordia are superfluous, as wise men will not be moved by them; and to state the subject in proper and significant words, and establish proofs, will be sufficient.
53. But when the people, or some of the people, are before us as judges, and when illiterate persons, and even plowmen, are to pass sentence, every art which we think likely to conduce to the attainment of the object which we have in view, must be employed; and such arts are to be displayed not only when we speak, but when we write, that we may show how the speech should be spoken. 54. Would Demosthenes have spoken badly in speaking exactly as he wrote, or would Cicero? Or do we know them to have been excellent orators from any other source than from their writings? Did they speak, we may ask, better than they wrote, or worse? if worse, they ought to have spoken as they wrote; if better, they ought to have written as they spoke.
55. What, then, it may be said, shall an orator always speak just as he will write? If possible, I answer, always. But if the time allowed by the judge prevents him from doing so by its shortness, much that might have been said will be withheld; but the speech, if published, will contain the whole. But what may have been introduced to suit the capacity of the judges, will not be transmitted unaltered to posterity, lest it be thought to be the offspring of his judgment, and not a concession to circumstances. 56. For it is of the greatest importance to a pleader to know to what the judge may be disposed to listen; and the judge's look, as Cicero directs, must often be the orator's guide.
We must consequently dwell upon those points which we observe to give him satisfaction, and touch but lightly on those to which he seems averse. The very style that is most desirable is such as will render us most easily intelligible to the judge. Nor is this at all surprising, when many things are altered in our language merely to suit the characters of witnesses. 57. Thus the orator who had asked an illiterate witness, whether he knew Amphion, and he had answered that he did not, acted wisely in taking away the aspiration, and shortening the second syllable of the name, when the witness replied that he knew him very well. Occurrences such as these often make us speak otherwise than we write, it being impossible to speak exactly as we write.
58. There is another mode of characterizing style, which also resolves itself into three divisions, and by which the different forms of eloquence seem to be very well distinguished one from another. One style, according to this method, the Greeks call ισχνον, or plain; another they term αδρον, or grand and energetic; and a third which they have added, some call a mean between these two, others the ανθηρον, or florid style. 59. Of these the nature is such that the first seems adapted to the duty of stating facts, the second to that of moving the feelings, and the third, by whichsoever name it be designated, to that of pleasing, or conciliating; as perspicuity seems necessary for instructing, gentleness of manner for conciliating, and energy for exciting the hearer.
It is accordingly in the plain sort of style that narrative and proofs will be stated; a style which, requiring no assistance from other qualities of diction, is complete in its own kind. 60. The middle sort will abound more with metaphors, and be rendered more attractive by figures of speech; it will seek to please by digressions; it will be elegant in phraseology, with perfectly natural thoughts, but flowing gently, like a clear stream overshadowed on either side by banks of green wood. 61. But the energetic style will resemble an impetuous torrent, which carries away rocks, disdains a bridge [Virg. Aen. viii. 628], and makes banks for itself; it will impel the judge, even though he strive against it, whithersoever it pleases, and oblige him to take the course into which it hurries him.
An orator who employs this style will evoke the dead, as Appius Caecus; in the speeches of such an orator his country will lament, and sometimes call upon him as she calls upon Cicero in his speech against Catiline in the senate. [See Cic. in Catil. i. 7.] 62. Such an orator will elevate his oratory with amplification, and rise into hyperbole: What Charybdis was ever so insatiable? and, The Ocean itself, assuredly, [Cic. Philipp. ii. 27] &c.; for these striking passages are well known to the studious. Such an orator will bring down the gods themselves to form portion of his audience, and almost to take part in what he says: For you, Alban hills and groves, you, O ruined altars of the Albans, united and coeval with the sacred rites of the Roman people, [Cic. pro Mil. c. 31] &c. Such an orator will inspire his hearers with rage or pity; he will say, He saw you, called upon you, and wept; and the judge, excited with every variety of emotion, will follow the speaker hither and thither, without requiring any proof of what is stated.
63. If, then, it were necessary to choose one of these three kinds, who would hesitate to prefer to the others that which, besides being in other respects the most effective, is also best suited to the most important causes? 64. Homer [Il. iii. 213] has attributed to Menelaus a style of eloquence agreeably concise, appropriate, (for such is the quality meant by not mistaking in words, [ουδ αφαμαρτοεπης]) and free from superfluity; and these are the merits of our first species of eloquence; from the mouth of Nestor he says [Il. i. 249] that language sweeter than honey flowed, than which no greater sweetness can certainly be imagined;
[The passage relating to Menelaus and Ulysses is thus translated by
but desiring to give a notion of the highest power of eloquence in Ulysses, he has given him grandeur, and ascribed to him language equal in copiousness and continuity of flow to showers of snow in winter. 65. With him, therefore, as he adds, no mortal will contend; such an orator men will venerate as a god. Such is the force and impetuosity which Eupolis admires in Pericles, and which Aristophanes compares to thunder and lightning. Such is the power of true eloquence.
66. But neither is eloquence confined to these three kinds of style; for as a third kind has its place between the simple and the energetic, so there are degrees in each of those kinds, and between any two of those degrees there is something intermediate partaking of the nature of each. 67. There is something fuller, and something more simple, than the simple kind; there is something more gentle, and more energetic, than the energetic kind; and the middle kind both rises to what is stronger, and stoops to what is weaker.
Thus almost innumerable species are found, which are distinguished from each other at least by some shade of difference; as we are told, generally, that the four winds blow from the four cardinal points of the heaven, though there are often observed many winds between those points, and many peculiar to certain countries and even to certain rivers. 68. The case, too, is similar with regard to the practice of musicians, who, after making five principal notes on the lyre, fill up the intervals between them with a great variety of other notes, and then, again, insert others between those which they have previously inserted; so that those main divisions admit many intermediate degrees of sound.
69. There are, therefore, many species of eloquence, but it would be extremely foolish to inquire which of them an orator should follow, since every species, if it be but of a genuine character, has its use, and all that people commonly call ways of speaking falls under the management of the orator; for he will employ every variety of speech so as to suit, not merely any particular cause, but particular parts of any cause. 70. Thus he will not speak in the same strain in defense of a man who is accused of a capital crime, in a suit respecting an inheritance, and in cases of interdicts, sponsions, and loans; he will observe distinctions between the delivery of opinions in the senate, in the assembly of the people, and in private deliberations; he will vary his style greatly in conformity with the difference of persons, occasions, and places; he will adopt different arts for conciliating, even in the same speech; he will not try to excite anger and pity by dwelling on similar topics; he will employ one style to state his case to the judge, and another to move the judge's feelings.
71. The same color of diction will not be observable in his exordium, his statement of facts, his arguments, his digressions, and his peroration. He will be able to speak gravely, austerely, sharply, strongly, spiritedly, copiously, bitterly, affably, gently, artfully, soothingly, mildly, agreeably, succinctly, politely; he will not be always alike, yet always consistent with himself. 72. Thus he will not only attain that object for which the use of speech was chiefly intended; I mean, that of speaking to the purpose, and with ability sufficient to establish that which he has in view; but he will also obtain applause, not merely from the learned, but even from the common people.
73. They indeed are greatly deceived, who imagine that a vicious and corrupt style of eloquence, which exults in a licentious kind of diction, wantons in puerile fancies, swells with inordinary tumor, expatiates on empty common-places, decks itself with flowers that will fall if they are in the slightest degree shaken, prefers extravagance to sublimity, or raves madly under the pretext of freedom, will be the most gratifying to the people, and most likely to gain applause. 74. That such a style does however please many, I do not deny, nor do I wonder; for eloquence of any kind whatsoever is pleasing to the ear, and likely to be favorably heard; all exertion of the human voice naturally draws the mind with a pleasing kind of attraction; it is from no other cause that there are such groups of listeners in market-places and cause-ways [see Juvenal vi. 588]; and it is therefore the less surprising that for every pleader a ring of the rabble is ready.
75. But when anything more happily expressed than ordinary falls upon the ears of the illiterate, of whatever kind it be, provided that they themselves cannot hope to speak equally well, it gains their admiration; and not without reason; for even to speak just beyond the capacity of the uneducated is not easy. Such moderate excellence, however, fades and dies away when it is compared with anything better; as wool dyed red pleases, says Ovid, in the absence of purple, but if it be contrasted even with the purple of a common riding-cloak, it will be thrown into the shade by the presence of something brighter than itself.
76. If, again, we apply the light of a keen judgment to such tasteless eloquence, as that of sulfur to inferior dye, it will immediately lose the false lustre, with which it had deceived the eye, and grow pale with an indescribable deformity. Such eloquence will accordingly shine only in the absence of the sun, as certain small animals appear to be little fires in the darkness. In short, many admire what is bad, but none condemn what is good.
77. But the orator must do all that I have mentioned not only in the best manner, but also with the greatest ease; for the utmost power of eloquence will deserve no admiration if unhappy anxiety perpetually attends it, and harasses and wears out the orator, while he is laboriously altering his words, and wasting his life in weighing and putting them together. 78. The true orator, elegant, sublime, and rich, commands copious materials of eloquence pouring in upon him from all sides. He that has reached the summit, ceases to struggle up the steep. 79. Difficulty is for him who is making his way and is not far from the bottom; but the more he advances, the easier will be the ascent, and the more verdant the soil; and if, with persevering efforts, he pass also these gentler slopes, fruits will spontaneously present themselves, and all kinds of flowers will spring up before him, which however, unless they are daily plucked, will be sure to wither.
Yet even copiousness should be under the control of judgment, without which nothing will be either praiseworthy or beneficial; elegance should have a certain manly air, and good taste should attend on invention. 80. Thus what the orator produces will be great, without extravagance; sublime, without audacity; energetic, without rashness, severe, without repulsiveness; grave, without dullness; plenteous, without exuberance; pleasing, without meretriciousness; grand, without tumidity. Such judgment will be shown with regard to other qualities; and the path in the middle is generally the safest, because error lies on either side.
1. The orator, after displaying these excellences of eloquence on trials, in councils, at the assemblies of the people, in the senate, and in every province of a good citizen, will think of bringing his labors to an end worthy of an honorable man and a noble employment, not because it is ever time to leave off doing good, or because it is not proper for one endowed with such understanding and talents to spend the longest possible time in so dignified an occupation, but because it becomes him to take care that he may not speak worse than he has been in the habit of speaking. 2. The orator does not depend merely on knowledge, which increases with years, but on strength of voice, lungs, and constitution, and if these are weakened or impaired by age or ill-health, he must beware lest something of his usual excellence be missed, lest he should be obliged to stop from fatigue, lest he should perceive that what he says is imperfectly heard, and lest he should not recognize his former in his present self.
3. I myself saw Domitius Afer, by far the most eminent orator of all whom it has been my fortune to know, losing daily, at an advanced period of life, something of the authority which he had so justly acquired; since when he, who had doubtless once been the prince of the forum, was speaking, some (what may well be thought disgraceful) laughed, while others blushed for him; and his inefficiency gave occasion to the remark, that he had rather faint than leave off. [Seneca, Controv. i. 8.] Yet his pleading, such as it was, was not bad, but inferior in energy to what it had been. 4. The orator, therefore, before he falls into the grasp of old age, will do well to sound a retreat, and gain the harbor while his vessel is still undamaged.
Nor, when he has done so, will less honorable advantages from his acquirements attend on him. He will transmit the history of his own times to posterity, or, as Lucius Crassus, in the books of Cicero [De Orat. i. 42], expresses his intention to do, will explain points of law to those who consult him, or will compose a treatise on eloquence, or will set forth the finest precepts of morality in a style worthy of the subject. 5. In the meantime well-disposed youth, as was customary with the ancients, will frequent his house, and will consult him, as an oracle, on the best mode of attaining eloquence; and he, as a father in the art, will form them, and, as an old pilot on the ocean of oratory, will give them instruction respecting coasts and harbors, and show them what are the signs of tempests, and what management a ship may require under favorable or adverse winds; being induced to do so, not only by the common obligations of humanity, but by his love for his profession; for no man would like that art, in which he himself has been great, to fall into decay.
6. What, indeed, can be
more honorable to a man, than to teach that of which he
himself has a thorough knowledge? It was thus that Cicero
[Orat. pro Caelio, c. 4]
says Caelius was brought to him by his father; and it was
thus that, like a master, he exercised Pansa, Hirtius, and
Dolabella [Cic. ad Div. ix. 16; see
8. For my own part, I know that, as far as I could, with my moderate ability, I have imparted, candidly and ingenuously, whatever I previously knew, and whatever I could discover in furtherance of my present work, for the improvement of such as might wish to learn; and it is enough for an honorable man to have taught what he knows. 9. Yet I fear lest I may be thought, not only to require too much in expecting a man to be at once good and eloquent, but also to specify too many qualifications, by giving, in addition to so many accomplishments necessary to be gained in youth, precepts on morals, and enjoining a knowledge of civil law, not to mention the rules which I have laid down concerning eloquence; and I am apprehensive lest even those who allow that all these requirements were necessary to my design, should nevertheless dread them as too oppressive, and despair of fulfilling them before they proceed to a trial.
10. But let those who think thus, reflect, in the first place, how great the power of the human mind is, and how capable of accomplishing whatever it makes its object; since even arts of less importance than oratory, though more difficult of attainment, have been able to effect voyages over the ocean, to discover the courses and number of the stars, and to measure almost the whole universe. Next let them consider how honorable is the end which they desire to attain, and that no labor should be spared when such a reward is in view. 11. If they allow such conceptions to have due weight with them, they will the more easily be induced to believe that the way to eloquence is not impracticable, or indeed extremely difficult; for that which is the first and more important point, that an orator should be a good man, depends chiefly on the will; and he who shall sincerely cherish a resolution to be good, will easily attain those qualifications that support virtue.
12. The duties incumbent upon us are not so complex or so numerous, that they may not be learned by the application of a very few years. What makes it so long a labor, is our own reluctance; the ordering of an upright and happy life is but a short task, if we but give our inclination to it. Nature formed us for attaining the highest degree of virtue; and so easy is it, for those who are well disposed, to learn what is good, that to him who looks fairly on the world, it is rather surprising that there should be so many bad men. 13. As water, indeed, is suitable to fishes, as the dry land to terrestrial animals, and the air that surrounds us to birds, so it ought to be more agreeable to us to live conformably to nature than at variance with her.
As to other qualifications, although we should include in our estimate of life, not the years of old age, but merely those of youth and manhood, it is apparent that there is time enough for acquiring them; for order, and method, and judgment, will shorten all labor. 14. But the fault lies, first, with teachers, who love to retain under them those whom they have taken in hand, partly from covetousness, in order to be longer in receipt of fees, partly from vanity, to make it appear that what they profess is very difficult, and partly perhaps from ignorance or neglect of the proper mode of teaching; and, secondly, in ourselves, who are fonder of dwelling on what we have learned than of learning what we do not yet know. 15. For, to confine myself chiefly to oratorical studies, of what advantage is it to declaim so many years in the schools as is customary with many, (to say nothing of those by whom a great portion of life is wasted in that exercise,) and to bestow so much labor on imaginary subjects, when it is possible to gain, in but a short time, a sufficient notion of real pleading, and of the rules of oratory?
16. In making this remark, I do not intimate that exercise in speaking should ever be discontinued, but only signify that we should not grow old in one species of exercise. We may be gaining general knowledge, learning the duties of ordinary life, and trying our strength in the forum, while we are still scholars. The course of study is such, that it does not require many years; for any of those sciences, to which I have just alluded, may be comprised in a few treatises, so far are they from requiring infinite time and application. All else depends on practice, which will soon increase our ability. 17. Our knowledge of things in general will daily increase; though it must be admitted that the perusal of many books, by means of which examples of things may be gained from historians, and of eloquence from orators, is necessary for great advancement in it. It is requisite also that we should read, as well as some other things, the opinions of philosophers and eminent lawyers.
All this knowledge we may acquire; but it is we ourselves that make time short. 18. For how much time do we seriously devote to study? The empty ceremony of paying visits [salutandi. Visits of ceremony, to pay respect to great men, which were made in the morning. See Virg. Georg. ii. 461] steals some of our hours, leisure wasted in idle conversation others, public spectacles and entertainments others. Take into consideration also our great variety of private amusements, and the extravagant care which we bestow on our persons; let travelling, excursions into the country, anxious meditations on our losses and gains [calculations about income, interest of money, &c.], a thousand incentives to the gratification of the passions, wine, and the corruption of the mind with every species of pleasure, claim their several portions of our time; and not even that which remains will find us in a proper condition for study. 19. But if all these hours were allotted to study, our life would seem long enough, and our time amply sufficient, for learning, even if we take into account only our days; while our nights, of which a great part is more than enough for all necessary sleep, would add to our improvement.
We now compute, not how many years we have studied, but how many we have lived. 20. Nor, if geometricians and grammarians, and professors of other sciences, have spent all their lives, however long they were, in their respective pursuits, does it follow that we should require several lives to learn several sciences; for they did not continue adding to their knowledge in these sciences to the time of old age, but were content with having merely learned them, and spent that great number of years rather in practicing than in acquiring.
21. To say nothing of Homer, in whom either instruction, or at least indisputable indications of knowledge in every kind of art are to be found; to make no mention of Hippias of Elis, who not only professed a knowledge of every liberal science, but used to have his dress, and ring, and shoes, all made with his own hand, and had so qualified himself as to require no one's assistance in anything [Cic. de Orat. iii. 32]; Gorgias, even in extreme old age, was accustomed to ask his auditors in his lecture-room to name the subject on which they wished him to speak.
22. What knowledge, of any value for literature, was wanting in Plato? How many lives did Aristotle spend in learning, so as not only to embrace within his knowledge all that relates to philosophers and orators, but to make researches into the nature of all animals and plants? Those great men had to discover branches of knowledge which we have only to learn. Antiquity has provided us with so many teachers, and so many models, that no age can be imagined more eligible for us, in regard to being born in it, than our own, for the instruction of which preceding ages have toiled.
23. If we look to our own countrymen, we see that Marcus Cato the Censor, an orator, a writer of history, eminently skilled alike in law and agriculture, amidst so many occupations in war, and so many contentions at home, and in an unpolished age, learned the Greek language in the very decline of life, as if to give an example to mankind that even old men may acquire what they desire to learn. 24. How much has Varro told us, or, let us rather say, has he not told us almost everything? What qualification for speaking was deficient in Cicero? But why should I multiply examples, when even Cornelius Celsus, a man of but moderate ability, has not only written on all literary studies, but has besides left treatises on the military art, on husbandry, and on medicine? Well worthy was he, if only for the extent of his design, to enjoy the credit of having known everything on which he wrote.
25. But, it may be said, to accomplish such a task is difficult, and no one has accomplished it. I answer, that in the first place, it is sufficient for encouragement in study, to know that it is not a law of nature that what has not been done cannot be done; and, in the second, that everything great and admirable had some peculiar time at which it was brought to its highest excellence. 26. Whatever lustre poetry received from Homer and Virgil, eloquence received equal lustre froth Demosthenes and Cicero. Whatever is best, had at one time no existence.
But though a man despair of reaching the highest excellence, (and yet why should he despair who has genius, health, aptitude, and teachers?) yet it is honorable, as Cicero says [Orat. c. 1], to gain a place in the second or third rank. 27. If a man cannot attain the glory of Achilles in war, he is not, therefore, to despise the merit of Ajax or Diomede; if he cannot rival the fame of Homer, he is not to contemn that of Tyrtaeus. If men, indeed, had been inclined to think that no one would be better than he who was best at any given time, those who are now accounted best would never have distinguished themselves; Virgil would not have written after Lucretius and Macer; Cicero would not have pleaded after Crassus and Hortensius; nor would others, in other pursuits, have excelled their predecessors.
28. Even though there be no hope of excelling the greatest masters of eloquence, it is yet a great honor to follow closely behind them. Did Pollio and Messala, who began to plead when Cicero held the highest place in eloquence, attain but little estimation during their lives, or transmit but little reputation to posterity? The advancement of the arts to the highest possible excellence would be but an unhappy service to mankind, if what was best at any particular moment was to be the last.
29. It may be added, that moderate attainments in eloquence are productive of great profit; and, if an orator estimates his studies merely by the advantage to be derived from them, the gain from inferior oratory is almost equal to that from the best. It would be no difficult matter to show, as well from ancient as from modern instances, that from no other pursuit has greater wealth, honor, and friendship, greater present and future fame, resulted to those engaged in it, than from that of the orator, were it not dishonorable to learning to look for such inferior recompence from one of the noblest of studies, of which the mere pursuit and acquirement confer on us an ample reward for our labor; for to be thus mercenary would be to resemble those philosophers [as the followers of Aristippus and Epicuris; Cicero de Off. iii. 33] who say that virtue is not the object of their pursuit, but the pleasure that arises from virtue.
30. Let us then pursue, with our whole powers, the true dignity of eloquence, than which the immortal gods have given nothing better to mankind, and without which all nature would be mute, and all our acts would be deprived alike of present honor and of commemoration among posterity; and let us aspire to the highest excellence, for, by this means, we shall either attain the summit, or at least see many below us.
31. Such were the observations, Marcellus Victor, from which thought that the art of oratory might, as far as was in my power, derive some assistance from me; and attention to what I have said, if it does not bring great advantage to studious youth, will at least excite in them, what I desire even more, a love for doing well.