Institutes of Oratory
1. As I have treated, in the preceding book, concerning tropes, there now follows that part of my work which relates to figures, (they are in Greek called σχηματα,) and which is by the nature of the subject connected with what goes before; for many have considered that figures are tropes: because, whether tropes take their name from being formed in a particular way, or from making changes in language, (whence they are also called motus) it must be acknowledged that both those peculiarities are found equally in figures. 2. The use of them is also the same; for they add force to our thoughts, and confer a grace upon them. Nor have authors been wanting to give tropes the name of figures, among whom is Caius Artorius Proculus.
3. The resemblance between them is indeed so striking, that it is not easy for every one to tell the difference: for though some species of both are evidently distinct, (even while there still remains a general similarity in their nature, inasmuch as they both deviate from simple and direct language for the purpose of adding to the beauties of style,) yet others are divided by a very narrow boundary, as irony, for example, which is numbered as well among figures of thought as among tropes; while as to periphrasis, and hyperbaton, and onomatopoeia, even eminent authors have called them figures of speech rather than tropes.
4. The difference between them, therefore, requires the more carefully to be specified. A TROPE, then, is an expression turned from its natural and principal signification to another, for the purpose of adorning style; or, as most of the grammarians define it, an expression altered from the sense in which it is proper to one in which it is not proper. A FIGURE (as is indicated by its very name) is a form of speech differing from the common and ordinary mode of expression. 5. In tropes, accordingly, some words are substituted for others, as in metaphor, metonymy antonomasia, metalepsis, synecdoche, catachresis, allegory, and, generally, in hyperbole, which has place, however, both in matter and in words.
Onomatopoeia is the coining of a word, which word is then put for some other word or words which we should have used if we had not coined it. 6. Periphrasis, though it commonly fills up the place of the term instead of which it is used, employs several words for one. The επιθετον, inasmuch as it generally partakes of the antonomasia, becomes, by union with it, a trope. [We speak in a trope, and adopt the antonomasia, when we use Pelides, for example, by itself, for Achilles, If we use the two in conjunction, Achilles Pelides, "Achilles, son of Peleus," Pelides is but an epitheton.] In the hyperbaton there is a change of order, and many, therefore, exclude that kind of figure from among tropes; it transfers, however, a word, or part of a word, from its own place to another. 7. Nothing of this sort is necessary to figures; for a figure may consist of natural words arranged in their common order. As to irony, how it comes to be sometimes a trope, and sometimes a figure, I shall explain in the proper place; for I allow that the two appellations are applied to it indifferently, and I am aware what complicated and subtle disputations the question about the name has originated; but they have no relation to my present object: and it is of no importance how a trope or a figure is termed, provided it be understood of what use it is in style.
8. The nature of things is not changed by a change in their appellations; and as men, if they take a name different from that which they had, are still the same persons, so the forms of expression, of which we are speaking, whether they be called tropes or figures, are still of the same efficacy, for their use does not consist in their name but in their influence: just as in regard to the state of a cause, it is of no consequence whether we call it the conjectural, or the negative, or one about fact, or the existence of a thing, provided we understand that the question is the same. 9. It will, therefore, be best, in respect to forms of speech, to adopt the terms generally received, and to endeavor to comprehend the thing, by whatever name it be called. It is to be observed, however, that the trope and the figure often meet in the same sentences; for style is diversified as well by metaphorical words, as by words in their natural sense.
10. But there is no small disagreement among authors, as to what is the exact sense of the word figure, and how many genera of figures there are, and how many and what species. We must therefore, first of all consider what we are to understand by the word figure; for it is used in two senses; signifying, in the one, any form of words, whatever it may be, as bodies, of whatever they be composed, have some certain shape; in the other, in which it is properly termed a figure, any deviation, either in thought or expression, from the ordinary and simple method of speaking, as our bodies assume different postures when we sit, lie, or look back.
11. When, therefore, a speaker or writer uses constantly, or too frequently, the same cases, or tenses, or numbers, or even feet, we generally admonish him to vary his figures in order to avoid uniformity. 12. In using this expression, we speak as if all language had its figure: as also when we say that cursitare is of the same figure as lectitare, that is, is formed in the same way. If we adopt the first and general sense, then, there will be no part of language that is not figured; and if we confine ourselves to that sense, we must consider that Apollodorus (if we trust the report of Caecilius) justly thought that precepts on this head would be numberless. 13. But if particular habits, and, as it were, gestures of language, are to receive this designation, that only must here be regarded as a figure, which deviates, by poetical or oratorical phraseology, from the simple and ordinary modes of speaking.
Thus we shall be right in saying that one sort of style is ασχηματιστον, or destitute of figures, (and this is no small fault,) and another εσχηματισμενον, or diversified with figures. 14. This sense of the word, however, Zoilus [the same Zoilus that assailed Homer. He wrote on rhetoric, grammar, and various other subjects] limited too narrowly, for he thought that only a figure in which something is pretended to be said different from what is really said; and I know that the word figure is vulgarly taken in this sense; whence certain subjects for exercise in oratory, of which I shall speak a little farther on, are called figurative [in which there is something ironical, simulatory, or dissimulatory]. Let the definition of a figure, then, be a form of speech artfully varied from common usage.
15. Some rhetoricians have thought that there was but one kind of figures; though they were led to adopt that opinion by different considerations; for some said that all figures lay in words, because a change in the words produced a change also in the thought; others said that they all lay in the thought, because it is to thoughts that words are adapted. 16. But with both these parties there is evident sophistry; for the same things are constantly expressed in different ways, and the thought remains the same while the language is altered; and a figure of thought may be expressed in various figures of words; for the one figure lies in a conception of the mind, and the other in the expression of that conception: but they are frequently found in union; as in the sentence, Jamjam, Dolabella, neque me tui, neque tuorum liberum, &c., "Now, Dolabella, I have no pity for you, or for your children," &c. [Cic. Verr. i. 30.] For the conversion of the address from the judge to Dolabella lies in the thought; jamjam and liberum are figures of words. [Jamjam being a palillogia, or duplication; and liberum being contracted by syncope.]
17. It is admitted, then, as far as I know, among most authors, that there are two kinds of figures, those of διανοια, that is, of thought, mens, sensus, or sententiae, for they are designated by all those terms, and those of λεξις, that is, of words, or diction, or expression, or language, or speech, for they have various names, and it is of no consequence by which name we call them. 18. Cornelius Celsus, however, adds to figures of speech and thought figures of complexion, [he designates, by this term, such figures as we use when we wish to give a favorable coloring to a cause which is in itself bad] allowing himself to be swayed, assuredly, by too great fondness for novelty: for who can suppose that such a man, learned in other respects, did not see that figures of complexion must be figures of thought? Figures, therefore, like every part of language, must necessarily lie either in thought or in words.
19. But as it is the order of nature that we should conceive thoughts in the mind before we enunciate them, I must accordingly speak first of those figures that relate to thought; figures of which the influence is so extensive and so various, that it makes itself apparent, with the utmost conspicuousness, in every part of oratory; for though it may seem to be of little importance in establishing a proof in what figure our arguments are advanced, yet figures make what we say probable, and penetrate imperceptibly into the mind of the judge.
20. Indeed, as, in a passage of arms, it is easy to see, parry, and ward off direct and undisguised strokes, while side-blows and feints are less observable, and as it is a proof of art to aim at one part when you intend to hit another, so that kind of oratory which is free from artifice can fight only with its own mere weight and force, but such as disguises and varies its attacks can assail the flank or rear of an enemy, can turn aside his weapons, and deceive him as it were with a nod. 21. Over the feelings nothing has greater power; for if the look, the eyes, the gesture of a speaker has a powerful effect on the mind, how much more influence must the air, as it were, of his speech have, when adapted to make the impression which he desires? But the greatest power of figures is shown in rendering oratory attractive, either by giving plausibility to the character of the speaker, by securing favor to his cause, by relieving weariness with variety, or by presenting certain points in a more becoming or safe light.
22. Before I proceed, however, to show what kinds of figures are applicable to particular subjects, I must observe that they are far from being so numerous as many writers represent them; for all those names of figures, which it is so easy for the Greeks to invent, have no influence with me. 23. First of all, therefore, those who think that there are as many figures as there are affections of the mind, are to be utterly disregarded; not because an affection of the mind is not a certain condition of it, but because a figure (of which we now speak, not in its general, but in its restricted sense,) is not a mere expression of any condition of the mind whatever.
To testify anger, therefore, in speaking, or grief, or pity, or fear, or confidence, or contempt, is not to use a figure, any more than to advise, or threaten, or entreat, or excuse. 24. But what deceives those who do not consider the question sufficiently, is, that they find figurative expressions in all such modes of thought, and produce examples of them from speeches; a task by no means difficult, since there is no part of oratory which is not open to figures; but it is one thing to admit a figure and another to be a figure; for I shall not shun the frequent repetition of the same word for the purpose of thoroughly explaining the thing.
25. My opponents, I know, will point to figures in orators expressing anger, or pity, or entreaty; but to be angry, or to pity, or to entreat, will not for that reason be a figure. Cicero, indeed, includes all the embellishments of oratory under this head, adopting, as I consider, a kind of middle course; not intimating, on the one hand, that all sorts of phrases are to be regarded as figures, nor, on the other, those only which assume a form at variance with common usage; but making all such expressions figurative as are most brilliant, and most effective in impressing an audience. This judgment of his, which he has delivered in two of his works, I subjoin word for word, that I may not withhold from the reader the opinion of that eminent author.
26. In the third book De Oratore [C. 52, 53], is the following passage: "But with regard to the composition of words, when we have acquired that smoothness of junction, and harmony of numbers, which I have explained, our whole style of oratory is to be distinguished and frequently interspersed with brilliant lights, as it were, of thoughts and of language. 27. For the dwelling on a single circumstance has often a considerable effect; and a clear illustration, and exhibition of matters to the eye of the audience, almost as if they were transacted before them. This has wonderful influence in giving a representation of any affair, both to illustrate what is represented, and to amplify it: so that the point which we magnify may appear to the audience to be really as great as the powers of our language can represent it.
"Opposed to this is rapid transition over a thing, which may often be practiced. There is also signification that more is to be understood than you have expressed, distinct and concise brevity, and extenuation; 28. and, what borders upon this, ridicule, not very different from that which was the object of Caesar's [one of the speakers in Cicero De Oratore] instructions; and digression from the subject, and, when gratification has thus been afforded, the return to the subject ought to be happy and elegant: proposition of what you are about to say, transition from what has been said, and return to the subject; repetition; apt conclusion of reasoning; 29. exaggeration or surpassing of the truth for the sake of amplification or diminution; interrogation, and, akin to this, as it were, consideration or seeming inquiry, followed by the delivery of your own opinion; and dissimulation, the humor of saying one thing and signifying another, which steals into the minds of men in a peculiar manner, and which is extremely pleasing when it is well managed, not in a vehement strain of language, but in a conversational style; 30. also doubt, and distribution; and correction of yourself, either before or after you have said a thing, or when you repel any thing from yourself; there is also premunition, with regard to what you are going to prove; there is the transference of blame to another person; there is communication or consultation, as it were, with the audience before whom you are speaking; imitation of manners and character, either with names of persons or without, which is a great ornament to a speech, and adapted to conciliate the feelings even in the utmost degree, and often also to rouse them; 31. the introduction of fictitious characters, the most heightened figure of exaggeration; there is description; falling into a willful mistake; excitement of the audience to cheerfulness; anticipation; comparison and example, two figures which have a very great effect; division; interruption; contrast; suppression; commendation; 32. a certain freedom and even uncontrolledness of language for the purpose of exaggeration; anger; reproach; promise; deprecation; beseeching; slight deviation from your intended course, but not like digression, which I mentioned before; expurgation; conciliation; attack; wishing; execration. 33. Such are the figures in which thoughts give lustre to speech.
"Of words themselves, as of arms, there is a sort of threatening and attack for use, and also a management for grace. For the reiteration of words has sometimes a peculiar force, and sometimes elegance; as well as the variation or deflection of a word from its common signification; and the frequent repetition of the same word in the beginning, and recurrence to it at the end, of a period; forcible emphasis on the same words; conjunction [supposed to be the same with συμπλοκη, or κοινοτης, when phrases begin and end with the same word]; adjunction; progression; a sort of distinction as to some word often used; the recall of a word; the use of words also which end similarly, or have similar cadences, or which balance one another, or which correspond to one another.
34. "There is also a certain gradation, a conversion [an antithetic position of words, as Esse ut vivas, non vivere ut edas], an elegant transposition of words; there is antithesis, asyndeton, declination [the same as the αντιμεταβολη of Quintilian], reprehension [or correction], exclamation, diminution; and the use of the same word in different cases; the referring of what is derived from many particulars to each particular singly; reasoning subservient to your proposition, and reasoning suited to the order of distribution; concession; 35. and again another kind of doubt; the introduction of something unexpected; enumeration; another correction [correction in regard to a word]; division; continuation; interruption; image [εικων, or similitude, as fruit of the mind for thought]; answering your own questions; immutation [αλλοιωσις]; disjunction [or accurate distinction]; order [ταξις]; relation; digression: and circumscription. 36. These are the figures, and others like these, or there may even be more, which adorn language by peculiarities in thought and in structure of style."
Most of these forms of language, though not all, are mentioned in the Orator [C. 39], and with somewhat greater distinctness; for, after having spoken of figures of speech and thought, he adds a third division, relating, as he says, to other virtues, as they may be called, of style:
37. "Those other illuminations, so to speak, which are derived from the arrangement of words, add great splendor to language; for they are like what are called, in the full decoration of a theatre or forum, the insignia, or 'most striking objects,' not as being the only ornaments, but as being more remarkable than any of the others. 38. Such is the effect of what are called illuminations, and, as it were, insignia, of language; for the mind of the hearer is necessarily struck when words are repeated and reiterated, or reproduced with a slight change; or when several sentences are begun or ended, or both, with the same word; or when the same word or phrase is doubled, either in the body or at the close of a sentence; or when one word constantly recurs, but not in the same sense; or when words are used in the same cases and with the same terminations; 39. or when words of a contrary sense are in various ways opposed; or when the force of the language advances upwards step by step; or when conjunctions are omitted, and several words or phrases are uttered without connection; or when we pass over some points, and explain why we do so; or when we correct ourselves, with an air of censure; or when any exclamation, of surprise or complaint, is used; or when the cases of the same word are frequently changed.
40. "But the figures of thought are of a much higher character; and, as Demosthenes uses them very frequently, there are some who think it is from them that his eloquence receives its greatest excellence; for scarcely any subject, indeed, is treated by him without the introduction of some figure of thought; and, to say the truth, to speak like an orator is nothing else than to illumine all our thoughts, or at least the greater part of them, with some appearance of brilliancy. 41. But as you, Brutus [to whom Cicero's Orator is addressed], have a thorough knowledge of the varieties of thoughts, why should I give names or examples? Only let the subject be noted in your memory.
"The orator, therefore, whom we desire to see, will speak in such a way as to present one and the same thing under different aspects: and to rest and dwell upon the same thought. 42. Often, too, he will speak so as to extenuate some point; often so as to throw ridicule on something; or so as to decline and turn aside his course of thought from his object; to state what he designs to say; to pronounce a conclusive decision when he has dispatched any point; to retrace his steps occasionally, and repeat what he has said; to wind up a course of argumentation with fresh proofs; to press his adversary with questions; to reply to questions put as it were by himself; to intimate that he is to be understood and regarded as meaning something different from what he says; 43. to express doubt what he should say in preference to something else, and how he should say it; to divide his matter into heads; to omit or disregard some points that he has specified; to fortify some by anticipation; to throw blame upon his adversary for the very things for which he himself is censured; to seem to consult, at times, with his audience, and occasionally even with his opponent; 44. to describe the characters and conversations of men; to introduce dumb objects as speaking; to divert the attention from the subject which is under discussion; to excite the audience, frequently, to mirth and laughter; to obviate objections that he sees likely to arise; to compare similar cases; to adduce examples; to make distinctions of persons, attributing one thing to one, and another to another; to check the interruptions of his adversary; to observe that he is silent on certain particulars; to show on what points the judge must be on his guard; to hazard at times the boldest assertions; to manifest even anger; to utter reproaches now and then; to use deprecation and entreaty; to remove unfavorable impressions; to digress a little from his subject; to utter wishes or execrations; and to assume a familiar tone towards those to whom he is speaking.
45. "Let him aim also at other virtues, if I may so call them, of oratory. He will adopt brevity, for instance, if his subject require it; he will often set a thing, by his eloquence, before the eyes of his hearers; he will amplify it beyond what can possibly have taken place; what he intimates will often be more than what he says; he will often assume cheerfulness, and indulge in an imitation of life and nature. By such means (for you see as it were a forest before you) the full power of eloquence must make itself manifest."
1. He, therefore, who shall think proper to consider the figures of words and thought in a more extensive sense than I myself contemplate them, will have something to follow; nor would I venture to say that anything can be offered on the subject better than what Cicero has stated; but I would wish him to read Cicero's remarks with a reference to my views; for I purpose to treat only of those figures of thought which deviate from common modes of expression; a method which has been adopted, I observe, by many extremely learned men. 2. All those embellishments of language, however, even such as are of a different kind, are such necessary qualities of oratory, that a speech could scarcely be imagined to be produced without them; for how can a judge be instructed, if there be wanting lucid explanation, statement, offer of proofs, definition of the point in question, distinction, exposition of the speaker's own opinion, just conclusion from arguments, anticipation of objections, comparisons, examples, digestion and distribution of matter, occasional interruption of our opponent, restraint on him when he interrupts ourselves, assertion, justification, destructive attacks?
3. What could eloquence do at all, if the privileges of amplification and extenuation were withheld from it? amplification, which gives an intimation of more than has been expressed, that is, εμφασις, and which allows us to go beyond and exceed reality; extenuation, which includes diminution and palliation. What strong impressions on the feelings would be made, without boldness of speech, without giving the rein to passion, without invectives, wishes, and imprecations? Or what gentler impressions, unless they be promoted by recommendation of ourselves to our hearers, by conciliating their good-will, and exciting them to cheerfulness? 4. What pleasure could be afforded, or what indication even of moderate learning, by a speaker, if he knew not how to enforce some points by repetition, and others by dwelling upon them; how to make a digression, and return to his subject; how to remove a charge from himself, and transfer it to another; and how to judge what particulars should be omitted, or represented as important?
In such arts consists the life and energy of oratory; and, if they be taken from it, it is spiritless, and wants as it were a soul to animate its body. 5. But these qualities ought not only be found in eloquence, but also to be variously dispersed throughout it, that they may charm the auditor with every kind of melody, such as we perceive produced from musical instruments. These excellences, however, generally present themselves obviously; they do not disguise, but manifest themselves. Yet they admit, as I said, of figures, as may be sufficiently proved from the figure of which I shall immediately proceed to speak.
6. What is more common than interrogare, "to ask," or percontari, "to question?" for we use both terms indifferently, though one seems to apply properly to mere desire of information, and the other to that of establishing proof. But the thing itself, by whatever name it be distinguished, is susceptible of many varieties of figure. Let us begin with those by which proof, to which I have given the first place, is rendered more strong and efficacious. 7. It is a simple interrogation to say,
Sed vos qui tandem? quibus aut venistis ab oris? [Aeo. i. 369]
But it is an interrogation with a figure, when it is adopted, not for the sake of seeking information, but in order to attack the person interrogated; for example, What was your drawn sword doing, Tubero, in the field of Pharsalia? [Cic. Pro Ligar. c. 3] and, How long, I pray, Catiline, will you abuse our patience? Do you not see that your machinations are discovered? [Cic. Cat. i. 1] and so on, through the whole of the passage. 8. How much more animated is such a mode of expression than to say, You abuse our patience a long time; your machinations are discovered.
We sometimes ask, also, concerning what cannot he denied; as, Has Caius Fidiculanius Falcula, I pray, been brought to judgment? [Pro Cluent. c. 37.] Or when to find an answer is difhcult; as we say in common conversation, How? How is it possible? Or to throw odium on the person to whom we address ourselves; as Medea says in Seneca, Quas peti terras jubes? "What land do you command me to seek?" [Sen. Med. 453.] 9. Or to excite pity; as Sinon in Virgil,
Heu quae me tellus, inquit, quae me aequora possunt
AIas! what land, he cries, what seas, can now
Or to press our opponent, and deprive him of all ground for pretending not to understand us; as Asinius Pollio said, Do you hear? We are attacking the will of a madman, I say, not of a person who merely failed in his duty. 10. Interrogation is indeed subservient to various purposes. It assists in expressing indignation:
—Et quisquam numen Junonis adoret? [Aen. i. 48]
—Quid non mortalia pectora cogis,
11. Sometimes it is a more spirited form of command: as,
Non arma expedient, totaque ex urbe sequentur? [Aen. iv. 592]
Sometimes we ask ourselves; as in Terence,
Quid igitur faciam? [Eun. i. 1, 1.]
12. A figure is sometimes adopted, too, in a reply: as when a person asks a question about one thing, and a reply is made to him about another more to the respondent's purpose. This may be done, for example, with the view of aggravating a charge; as when a witness against an accused person, being asked, Whether he had been beaten with a stick by the accused, replied, Although I was innocent [the same example is given by Julius Rufinianus, c. 8]; or with the view of eluding a charge; which is a more frequent case; as when the question is, I ask whether you have killed a man, and the reply given is, A robber; or, Have you seized upon an estate? My own. 13. Or an answer may be given in such a way that defense may precede confession; as in Virgil's Bucolics [III. 17], where one shepherd says to another,
Non ego te vidi Damonis, pessime, caprum,
the reply is,
An mihi cantando victus non redderet ille?
14. Similar to this kind of answer is dissimulation, which is used only to excite laughter, and has consequently been noticed in its proper place [by dissimulation is meant replying in such a way as to seem not to understand the speaker]; for if it be used seriously, it has the effect of a confession.
The practice also of questioning and replying to one's self is generally not unpleasing; as Cicero does in his speech for Ligarius [C. 3], Before whom, then, do I say this? Before him, assuredly, who, at a time when he had a full knowledge of what I have just said, nevertheless brought me back, even before he had seen me, to my country? 15. In his speech for Caelius [C. 17], he adopts another mode, that of supposing a question: Some one will say, Is this your moral discipline? Do you thus instruct youth? &c., and he then replies, I, judges, if any man was ever of such strength of mind, and so naturally disposed to virtue and chastity, &c. Another method is, when you have asked a person a question, not to wait for an answer, but immediately to add one yourself; as, Was a house wanting to you? But you had one. Was ready money superabundant with you? But you were in want. [Cic. Orat. c. 67.] This figure some call per suggestionem, "by way of hypobole, or intimation."
10. Interrogation is also made by comparison; as, which of the two, then, will more easily give a reason for his opinion? [Pro Cluent. c. 38.] And in other ways, sometimes concisely, sometimes at greater length, sometimes on one point, sometimes on several.
But what has a wonderful effect in pleadings is anticipation [prolepsis], which is called by the Greeks προληψις, and by which we prevent objections that may be brought against us. It is used, not sparingly, in other parts of a speech, but is of the greatest effect in the exordium. 17. Though there is in reality but one kind of it, yet it includes several species; for there is praemunitio, "precaution," as in the speech of Cicero against Quintus Caecilius [Div. in Verr. c. 1], when he premises, that having always before defended, he is now proceeding to accuse; there is a sort of confession, as that of Cicero, in his pleading for Rabirius Posthumus [at the beginning, and in c. 9], whom he acknowledges to be blamable in his opinion, for having entrusted money to king Ptolemy; there is a sort of prefatory statement, as, I will say, not for the purpose of aggravating the charge, &c.; there is a kind of self-correction, as, I entreat you to pardon me if I have gone too far; and there is also, what is very frequent, a species of preparation, when we state at some length, either why we are going to do something, or why we have done it. 18. The force or propriety of a word, too, is sometimes established by prolepsis; as, Though that was not the punishment, but the prohibition, of crime [from a lost speech of Cicero]; or by correction, as, Citizens, citizens, I say, if I may call them by that name. [Clc. pro Muraen. c. 37.]
19. Doubt also may give an air of truth to our statements, as when we feign, for example, to be at a loss where to begin, or where to end, or what to say in preference to something else, or whether we ought to speak at all. Of examples of such hesitation all speeches are full; but one will suffice: Indeed [Cic. pro Cluent. c. 1], as far as concerns myself, I know not whither to turn. Can I deny that there was an ill report of the judges having been bribed? 20. This figure may likewise refer to the past, for we may pretend that we have been in doubt.
There is no great difference between doubt and that sort of figure called communication, which we use either when we consult, as it were, our opponents, as Domitius Afer in pleading for Cloantilla, In her agitation, she knows not what is permitted to her as a woman, nor what becomes her as a wife. Perhaps chance has thrown you in the way of the unhappy woman in her anxiety; what advice do you, her brother, and you, the friends of her father, offer? 21. Or when we pretend to deliberate with the judges, which is a very common artifice, saying, what do you advise? or, I ask you yourselves what ought to have been done. Thus Cato exclaims, I pray you, if you had been in that situation, what else would you have done? and in another place, Suppose that it were a matter of concern to you all, and that you had been appointed to manage the affair.
22. But sometimes, in such communications, we subjoin something unexpected, which is in itself a figure; as Cicero, in speaking against Verres [V. 5], said, What then? What do you think that he has committed? Some theft, perhaps, or some robbery? and then, when he had kept the minds of the judges for a long time in suspense, added something far more atrocious. This figure Celsus calls sustentatio [as a translation of the Greek word εποχη], "suspension." 23. It is, however, of two kinds; for frequently, on the other hand, when we have raised an expectation of something enormous, we stoop to something that is either of little moment or not at all criminal. But as this is not always done by communication, others have given the figure the name of παραδοξον, or surprise. 24. Let me add, that I do not agree with those who think that even when we speak of something surprising having happened to ourselves, our language is figurative; as in what Pollio says, I never imagined it would come to pass, judges, that, when Scaurus was accused, I should have to entreat that interest may have no influence on his trial.
25. The source of what we call permission is almost the same as that of communication. We are said to use this figure, when we leave something to he settled by the judges themselves, or sometimes even by the opposite party: as Calvus said to Vatinius, Assume a bold face, and say that you are more worthy to be made praetor than Cato.
26. As to the figures which are adapted for exciting the feelings, they consist chiefly in simulation; for we feign that we are angry, and that we rejoice, or fear, or wonder, or grieve, or feel indignant, or wish, or are moved by other similar affections. Hence the expressions, Liberatus sum: respiravi [Cic. pro Mil. c. 18], "I am freed, I have recovered my spirits:" Bene habet, "It is well;" Quae amentia est haec? "What madness is this?" O tempora, O mores! [Cic. in Catil. i. 1.] "O times, O manners!" Miserum me! consumptis enim lacrymis infixus tamen pectori haeret dolor [Clc. Philipp. ii. 26]; "Wretched that I am! for, though my tears are exhausted, grief yet remains fixed in my heart." And,
Magnae nunc hiscite terrae!
27. This some call exclamation, and number among verbal figures. When such exclamations, however, arise from sincere feeling, they are not figurative in the sense of which I am speaking; but, when they are fictitious, and the offspring of art, they must indisputably be regarded as figures. The same may be said of that freedom of speech which Cornificius calls licentia, and the Greeks παρρησια: for what can be less figurative than plain and sincere speech; but under the appearance of it there frequently lurks flattery.
28. Thus when Cicero says in his speech for Ligarius [C. 3], After the war had been commenced, Caesar, and even almost brought to a conclusion, I, without being driven by any compulsion, but of my own purpose and will, set out to join that party which had taken up arms against you, he not only looks to the interest of Ligarius, but bestows the highest possible praise on the clemency of the conqueror. 29. But in the question [Cic. pro Ligar. c. 4], What other object had we in view, Tubero, but that we might possess the same power which Caesar now possesses? he represents, with admirable art, the cause of both parties as good, while he thus conciliates him whose cause was in reality bad.
A figure which is still bolder, and requires, as Cicero thinks [Orat. c. 25], greater force, is the personation of characters, or prosopopoeia. 30. This figure gives both variety and animation to eloquence, in a wonderful degree. By means of it, we display the thoughts of our opponents, as they themselves would do in a soliloquy; but our inventions of that sort will meet with credit only so far as we represent people saying what it is not unreasonable to suppose that they may have meditated; and so far as we introduce our own conversations with others, or those of others among themselves, with an air of plausibility, and when we invent persuasions, or reproaches, or complaints, or eulogies, or lamentations, and put them into the mouths of characters likely to utter them.
31. In this kind of figure it is allowable even to bring down the gods from heaven, and evoke the dead; and cities and states are gifted with voices. There are some, indeed, who give the name of prosopopoeiae only to those figures of speech in which we represent both fictitious beings and speeches, and prefer calling the feigned discourses of men διαλογοι, "dialogues;" some of the Latins have applied to them the term sermocinatio. 32. For my own part, I have included both, according to the received practice, under the same designation: for assuredly a speech cannot be conceived without being conceived as the speech of some person. But when we give a voice to things to which nature has not given a voice, our figure may be softened in such a way as this [Cic. Catil. i. 11]: For if my country, which is far dearer to me than my life, if all Italy, if the whole republic, should thus address me, Marcus Cicero, what are you doing? &c.
Another prosopopoeia, in the same speech, is of a bolder nature [Cic. Catil. i. 7]: Your country, Catiline, thus pleads, and as it were tacitly addresses you: No great wickedness has arisen, for several years past, but by your means. 33. We also pretend at times, and with good effect, that the images of things and persons are before our eyes. and that their voices sound in our ears, and affect to wonder that the same appearances are not perceptible to our opponents or to the judges; as when we say, It seems to me, or, Does it not seem to you? But great power of eloquence is necessary for such efforts; for what is naturally fictitious and incredible must either make a stronger impression from being beyond the real, or be regarded as nugatory from being unreal.
34. But as speeches are often imagined, so also are writings. Thus Asinius Pollio suggests an imaginary will in pleading for Liburnia: Let my mother, who was most dear to me and my greatest delight, who lived for me, and gave me life twice in the same day, &c., inherit none of my property. This is itself a figure, and is doubly so when, as in this case, it is framed in imitation of another document; 35. for a will had been read on the other side in this form, Let Publius Novanius Gallio, to whom, as my greatest benefactor, I desire and owe everything good, and in consideration of his eminent affection towards me, (several other particulars being also added,) inherit all my property. This partakes of the nature of parody, a term derived from the modulation of tunes in imitation of other tunes, but applied, catachrestically, to imitation in verse or prose.
30. We also frequently conceive imaginary beings, as Virgil personifies Fame [Aen. iv. 174], Prodicus (as is said by Xenophon, [Mem. Soc. ii. 1]) Pleasure and Virtue, and Ennius Death and Life, whom he represents in one of his Satires as engaging in combat. An imaginary speech is sometimes given, too, to a person not specified, as, "Here somebody says," or, "Somebody may say." 37. A speech may also be given without mention of any person; as,
Hic Dolopum manus, hic soevus tendebat Achilles, [Aen. ii. 29]
This is effected by a union of figures, since to prosopopoeia is added the figure of speech which is called per detractionem, or ellipsis, for all allusion as to who made the speech is omitted. The prosopopoeia sometimes assumes the appearance of narration [this happens when the historian continues his narrative in such a way as to introduce, casually as it were, a person speaking, whose manner he imitates]; whence oblique speeches are found among the historians; as in the beginning of the first book of Livy, That cities also, as well as other things, spring from humble origins, and that those which the gods and their own valor support, acquire at length great power and a great name.
38. The diversion of our speech from the judge, also, a figure which is called αποστροφη, has an extraordinary effect, whether in attacking our adversary, as, What was that sword of yours doing, Tubero, in the field of Pharsalia? [Cicero pro Ligar. c. 3] or in digressing to make some invocation, as, For I call upon you, O Alban hills and groves! [Pro Mil. c. 31] or in imploring aid, in order to throw odium on the opposite party; as, O Porcian laws! O Sempronian laws! [In Verr. v. 64.] 39. But whatever draws away the hearer from the subject in question is called apostrophe; as,
Non ego eum Danais Trojanam exscindere gentem
This is done by means of many and various figures; for example, when we feign that we expected something else, or that we feared something more considerable, or that some point may seem of greater importance to the judges, being but imperfectly informed on it, than it really is. Such is the object of the exordium of the speech for Caelius.
40. But as to the figure which, as Cicero says, sets things before the eyes, it is used, when a thing is not simply mentioned as having been done, but is mentioned with a representation how it was done, not merely in a general way, but in all its attendant circumstances. This figure I have noticed in the preceding book under evidentia, or "illustration," and Celsus has given it that name; by others it is called hypotyposis, which means a representation of things so fully expressed in words that it seems to be seen rather than heard [In Verr. v. 62]; He himself, inflamed with wickedness and fury, came into the forum; his eyes glared; cruelty showed itself over his whole countenance. 41. Nor do we imagine only what has been done, or is done, but also what is likely to be, or might have been. Cicero gives an admirable example of this in his speech for Milo [C. 32], where he depicts what Clodius would have done if he had secured the praetorship. But this transmutation of times [a transition from the present so as to give a representation of the future], (which is properly called μεταστασις,) was very cautiously used in hypotyposis by the old orators; for they introduced it with some such observations as these: Imagine that you behold; as Cicero says, These things, which you have not seen with your eyes, you may represent to yourselves in your minds.
42. But our modern speakers, and especially our declaimers, indulge their imaginations more boldly, and not without some animation; as Seneca, for example, in that case of which the substance is that a father killed his son and his son's step-mother, having surprised them in adultery, another son of his conducting him to the place where they were; Lead me, the father is made to say, I follow; take my aged hand, and direct it wherever you please. 43. And a little afterwards the son is represented as exclaiming, See what you have long refused to believe. As for me, I cannot see; night and the thickest darkness comes over my eyes. Such a figure is of too bold a character; for the case does not seem to be stated, but to be acted. 44. Under hypotyposis is also included, by some writers, the luminous and vivid description of places; but others call it topographia.
As to ειρωνεια, I have found some authors who call it dissimulation [as Cicero], but as the whole force of this figure does not appear to be sufficiently indicated by that name, I shall content myself, as in regard to most other figures, with the Greek term. That ειρωνεια, then, which is called a figure, differs but little, as to kind, from that which is called a trope; for in both the contrary to what is said is to be understood; but for him who considers the various species of them, it will be easy to see that they are distinct. 45. In the first place, the trope is less disguised; and though it expresses something different from what it means, yet it can hardly be said to pretend anything different; for all that accompanies it is generally plain; as in what Cicero says of Catiline [In Cat. 1, 8], Being repulsed by him, you betook yourself to your accomplice, that excellent man Marcus Marcellus. Here the irony lies only in two words, and, therefore, it is a very short trope.
46. But in irony considered as a figure, there is a disguise of the speaker's whole meaning; a disguise rather perceptible than ostentatious; for, in the trope, some words are put for others, but, in the figure, the sense of a passage in a speech, and sometimes the whole configuration of a cause, is at variance with the air of our address; nay, even the whole life of a man may wear the appearance of a continued irony, as did that of Socrates: for he was called ειρων because he assumed the character of an ignorant man, and affected to be the admirer of other men's wisdom. Thus, as a continued metaphor constitutes an allegory, so a continuation of ironical tropes forms the figure irony.
47. Some kinds of this figure, however, have no affinity with tropes: as, in the first place, that which has its name from negation, and which some call αντιφρασις [a figure of thought, when we say that we do not say a thing, and yet say it at the same time. Julius Rufinianus, c. 12]: as, I will not proceed with you according to the rigor of the law; I will not insist upon a point which I should perhaps carry [Cicero in Verr. v. 2]; and, Why should I mention his decrees, his plunderings, the rights of inheritance to property resigned to him, or of which he forcibly possessed himself? and, I say nothing of that injury committed through lust [Cic. Phil. ii. 26]; and, I do not even produce the evidence which has been given concerning the seven hundred thousand sesterces; and, I could say, &c. 48. Such kinds of irony we carry sometimes through entire divisions of a speech; thus Cicero [Pro Cluent. c. 60] says, If I were to treat this matter as if I had a charge to overthrow, I should express myself at greater length. Irony is also used when we assume the air of persons commanding or permitting something, in such a way as this:
I, sequere Italiam ventis, [Aen. iv. 381]
49. Or when we allow to our adversaries qualities which we should be unwilling to see recognized in them; and this kind of irony is more cutting when those qualities are in ourselves and are not in our adversaries:
A similar effect is produced, though in a contrary way, when we own as it were to faults from which we are free, and which even touch our opponent:
Me duce Dardanius Spartam expugnavit adulter,
50. Nor is this artifice of saying something contrary to what you wish to be understood, used only with regard to persons, but may be extended also to things, as in the whole of the exordium of the speech for Ligarius, and in those extenuations, Videlicet, dii boni, "Forsooth, O good gods!" So likewise in Virgil,
Scilicet is superis labor est! [Aen. iv. 379]
51. Another example is the well-known passage in the [lost] speech for Oppius, O wonderful love! O singular benevolence! &c. Not very different from irony are these three modes of speaking, very similar to one another: the first, Confession, such as will not hurt the party who makes it; as, You have, therefore, Tubero, what is most to be desired by an accuser, a confession from the accused [Cic. pro Ligar. c. 1]; the second, Concession, when we make a show of admitting something unfavorable to us, through confidence in our cause; as The captain of a ship, from a most honorable city, redeemed himself from the terror of a scourging by paying a sum of money; it was kind in Verres to allow it [In Verr. v. 44]; and, as it is said, in the speech for Cluentius [C. 2], concerning popular feeling: Let it prevail in assemblies of the people, but let it have no influence in courts of justice; the third, Acknowledgment, as Cicero, in the same speech [C. 23], acknowledges that the judges had been bribed.
52. The last of these figures is more observable, when we assent to something that is likely to prove in our favor, but which nevertheless will not be so without some error on the part of our adversary. Faults, too, that have been committed by a person whom we accuse, we sometimes affect to praise; as Cicero, in pleading against Verres [IV. 17] says of the charge brought against him about Apollonius of Drepanum, If you took anything from him, I am even delighted at it, and think that nothing better was ever done by you. 53. Sometimes also we exaggerate charges against ourselves, when we might either refute or deny them; a practice which is too frequent to render an example of it necessary. Sometimes, again, by such exaggeration, we render charges against us incredible; as Cicero, in his oration for Roscius [C. 22], speaking of the enormity of parricide, which is sufficiently manifest of itself, nevertheless exaggerates it by the power of his eloquence.
54. The figure αποσιωπησις, which Cicero calls reticentia, Celsus obticentia, and some authors interruptio, is used in testifying something of passion or anger; as,
Quos ego — sed motos praestat componere fluctus, [Aen. i. 135]
or anxiety and conscientious hesitation; as, Would he have dared to make mention of the law of which Clodius boasts that he was the author, while Milo lived, I will not say while he was consul? for, with regard to all of us,— I cannot venture to say everything [this appears to be a passage from the speech which Cicero actually spoke in behalf of Milo], &c; a passage to which there is something similar in the exordium of the speech of Demosthenes for Ctesiphon [comp. Aquil. Roman. c. 5]. 55. Or it may be adopted for the purpose of making a transition; as, Cominius [this name shows that the quotation is from one of the speeches of Cicero for Cornelius; for the brothers Cominii had accused Cornelius of treason, when Cicero defended him] however — but pardon me, judges, &c., where the figure digression also follows, (if indeed digression ought to be reckoned among figures, for by some it is considered as one of the divisions of a cause,) and the speech goes off into the praises of Pompey, who might, however, have been praised without recourse being had to aposiopesis.
56. As to the shorter kind of digression, it may be made, as Cicero says, in various ways; but the two following instances will suffice as examples: When Caius Varenus [IV. 1, 74], he who was killed by the slaves of Ancharius, (to this point, judges, pay, I beseech you, the most careful attention,) &c.: and, in the speech for Milo [C. 12], He regarded me with that sort of look which he was accustomed to assume when he threatened everybody with every kind of violence, &c. 57. There is also a kind of self-interruption, which is not indeed an aposiopesis, so as to leave a speech unfinished, but a suspension of what we are saying before we come to the natural termination of it, as, I am too urgent, the young man seems to be moved; and, Why should I say more? you have heard the young man himself speak.
58. The imitation of other persons' manners, which is called ηθοποιια, or, as others prefer, μιμησις, may be numbered among the lighter artifices for touching the feelings; for it consists mostly in mimicry; but it may be exhibited either in acts or in words. That which consists in acts is similar to 'υποτυπωσις; of that which consists in words we may take the following example from Terence [Eun. i. 2, 75]:
At ego nescibam quorsum tu ires. Parvula
59. But an imitation of our own sayings and doings is sometimes adopted in narration, and is of a similar character, except that it is more frequently intended for asseveration than mere mimicry: as, I said that they had for accuser Quintus Caecilius. [Cicero Divin. in Caecil. c. 2.]
There are other artifices, too, which are not only pleasing, but are of great service in securing favorable attention to our arguments, as well by the variety which they give, as by their own nature; for, by making our speech appear plain and unstudied, they render us objects of less suspicion to the judge. 60. One of these is a repenting, as it were, of what we have said, as in the speech for Caelius [C. 15], But why did I introduce so grave a character? Of a similar nature, also, are the expressions which we daily use, such as, Imprudens incidi [Cic. in Verr. iv. 20], "I have hit upon the matter unawares;" or as we say when we pretend to be at a loss, What comes next? or, Have not I omitted something? or when we pretend to find something suggested to us by the matter of which we are speaking; thus Cicero says, One charge of this sort remains for me to notice, and, One thing is suggested to me by another.
61. By such means, likewise, graceful transitions are effected; (though transition itself, be it observed, is not a figure;) as Cicero, after relating the story of Piso, who had given orders, while he was sitting on his judgment-seat, for a ring to be made for him by a goldsmith, adds, as if reminded by the circumstance [Cic. in Verr. iv. 26], This ring of Piso has just put me in mind of something that had entirely escaped me. From how many honest men's fingers do you think that he has taken away gold rings? &c. Sometimes we affect ignorance of some particular [Cic. in Verr. iv. 3], But the artificer of those statues, whom did they say that he was? whom? You prompt me correctly — they said that it was Polycletus.
62. This kind of artifice may serve for more purposes than one; for, by such means, we may, while we seem to be intent on one object, accomplish another; as Cicero, in the present instance, while he reproaches Verres with his inordinate rage for statues and pictures, secures himself from being thought to have a passion for them likewise. Demosthenes [De Coron. c. 60], also, in swearing by those who were killed at Marathon and Salamis, makes it his object that he may suffer less odium for the disaster incurred at Chaeronea. 63. It gives agreeableness to a speech, moreover, to defer the discussion of some points, laying them up as it were in the memory of the judge, and afterwards to reclaim what we have deposited, to separate certain particulars by some figure, (for separation is not itself a figure,) to bring others prominently forward, and to exhibit the subjects of our speech under various aspects; for eloquence delights in variety; and as the eyes are more attracted by the contemplation of diversified objects, so that is always more gratifying to the mind to which it directs itself with the expectation of novelty.
64. Among figures is also to be numbered emphasis, which is used when some latent sense is to be elicited from some word or phrase; as, in this passage of Virgil,
Non licuit thalami expertem sine crimine vitam
for though Dido complains of marriage, yet her passion forces us to understand that she thinks life without marriage to be a life not for human beings, but for beasts. There is another example of it, but of a different character, in Ovid, where Zmyrna confesses to her nurse her passion for her father, in these words:
—O, dixit, felicem conjuge matrem!
65. Similar to this figure, or identical with it, is one of which we make great use in the present day; for I must now proceed to treat of a sort of figure which is extremely common, and on which I believe it is earnestly expected that I should make some observations; a figure in which we intimate, by some suspicion that we excite, that something is to be understood which we do not express; not however something contrary to what we express, as in the ειρωνεια, but something latent, and to be discovered by the penetration of the hearer. This, as I mentioned above [of this sort of figure Dionysius of Halicarrassus treats copiously de Arte Rhetorica, c. 8, 9], is almost the only mode of expression that is called, among our rhetoricians, a figure; and it is from the frequent use of it that certain pleadings have the name of figurative. 66. It may be adopted for one of three reasons; first, if it is unsafe to speak plainly; secondly, if it is unbecoming to do so; and, thirdly, if recourse is had to the figure merely for the purpose of ornament, and of giving more pleasure, through novelty and variety, than would be felt if a straightforward narration were offered.
67. Of these three cases, the first is of common occurrence in the schools; when conditions made by tyrants laying down their power, and decrees of senates after a civil war, are imagined, and it is a capital crime to reproach a person with what is past; and what is not allowable in the forum, is considered not to be admissible in the schools. But, in reality, the declaimer has not the same need for figures as the orator; for he may speak as plainly as he pleases against those tyrants, provided that what he says be susceptible of another interpretation, since it is danger only to himself, and not offence to them, that he has to avoid; and if he can escape all hazard through ambiguity of language, every one will applaud his address.
68. But real pleadings have never been attended with such necessity for silence, though they sometimes require caution almost equal to it, and, indeed, are much more embarrassing to the orator; I mean when persons in power oppose him, without offence to whom his cause cannot be gained. 69. Hence he must proceed with greater care and circumspection; for, if he offend, it makes no difference how the offence is given, whether in a figure or otherwise; and if a figure betrays itself, it ceases to be a figure. Accordingly all this sort of artifice is rejected by some rhetoricians, whether it be understood or not understood. But it is possible to be moderate in the use of such figures.
In the first place, we may take care that they be not too palpable; and they will not be so, if they are not formed of words of doubtful or double meaning; like the equivocation in regard to the daughter-in-law suspected of a criminal connection with her father-in-law, I married a wife, said her husband, that pleased my father; 70. or what is much more foolish, of ambiguous arrangements of words, of which there is an example in the case in which a father, accused of having dishonored his virgin daughter, asks her at whose hands she had suffered violence: who, says he, ill-treated you? when she replies, My father, do not you know? [The Latin is, Tu, pater, nescis? which might be pronounced Tu, pater. Nescis?]
71. Let the matter itself lead the judge to a suspicion of the truth; and let us set aside other points, that it may appear the more evident; to which end displays of feeling will greatly contribute, and words interrupted by silence and hesitation. Thus it will happen, that the judge himself will seek for the latent something, which he perhaps would not believe if he heard it stated plainly, but to which he will give credit when he thinks that he has himself divined it.
72. Figures, however, even if they be of the highest possible excellence, ought not to be numerous, for they betray themselves by multiplicity; and, while they are not less objectionable, are less effective. Our forbearance to speak plainly appears then to proceed, not from modesty, but from distrust of our cause; in a word, the judge puts most trust in our figures when he thinks that we are unwilling to express ourselves undisguisedly. 73. I have, indeed, met with persons who could not be gained but by such artifice; and I was once concerned in a cause (a thing of less frequent occurrence) in which it was absolutely required.
I defended a woman who was accused of having produced a forged will as that of her husband; and the heirs named in it were said to have given a bond to the husband as he was at the point of death [a bond, namely, that they would make over the property to the woman], and the latter allegation was true; for, as the wife could not be made his heir by law [she seems to have been barren, or childless], that expedient had been devised in order that the property might pass into her hands by a secret conveyance in trust. 74. To defend the woman against the main charge was easy, even if we had stated the matter boldly; but the inheritance would thus have been lost to the woman. I had to manage the matter, therefore, in such a way that the judges might understand what had been done, and yet that the informers [delatores. The word seems here to be used in its proper sense, as the case had regard to the treasury, into which the property ought deferri, to be carried] might be unable to take advantage of anything that was said; and I was successful in both objects.
This affair I should not have mentioned, through fear of the imputation of vanity, had I not wished to show that there may be use for such figures, even in the forum. 75. Some things, too, which we cannot prove, may advantageously be here and there insinuated by a figure; for a hidden dart sometimes sticks fast, and cannot be extracted for the very reason that it is hidden; while, if you state the same things plainly, they will be contradicted, and you will have to prove them.
76. But when respect for a person stands in our way, (which I mentioned as the second case,) we must speak with still more caution, as respect is a stronger restraint on the ingenuous than fear. In such a case, the judge must think that we hide what we know, and that we check our words when bursting from us under the force of truth; for how much less will those, against whom we speak, or the judges, or the audience, dislike our figurative mode of attack, if they think that we wish to say what we are saying? 77. Or what difference does it make how we speak, if what we express, and our feeling, be understood? Or what do we gain by speaking thus, but to make it evident that we are doing what we feel should not be done? [We are offending a person whom we are unwilling to offend.]
Yet those times, in which I first began to teach rhetoric, suffered excessively from this fault; for the declaimers spoke, at least willingly, only on such causes as were attractive from their apparent difficulty, though they were, in reality, much easier than many others. 78. A straightforward kind of eloquence cannot recommend itself but with the aid of the strongest power of mind; while doublings and turnings are the resources of weakness; as those who are but poor runners endeavor to elude their pursuers by winding about. That figurative sort of oratory, which is so much affected, is not very different from jesting; and it is an assistance to it that the auditor delights to understand what is insinuated, applauds his own penetration, and plumes himself on another's eloquence.
79. Hence declaimers had recourse to figures, not only when respect for some person was a hindrance to plainness of speech, (in which case there is oftener need of caution than of figures,) but made a place for them even when they were useless or pernicious. Thus a father, who had secretly put to death his son, as being guilty of a criminal connection with his mother, and who was accused by his wife of having ill-treated her [this is the subject of the xviiith and xixth of the Declamations that go under the name of Quintilian], would be made to throw out oblique insinuations, in figures, against his wife. 80. But what could have been more scandalous in a man than to have retained such a wife? or what could be more absurd, than that he, who was brought under accusation because he had suspected his wife of the most detestable guilt, should, by the nature of his defense, confirm the guilt, which he ought to have set himself to disprove? [As the husband is accused of ill-treating his wife, he ought rather to endeavor to clear her character; for, if he throws out insinuations against it, he excites a suspicion that there is ground for the charge against him.] Had those declaimers conceived themselves in the place of the judges, they would have perceived how little they would have endured pleading of such a kind; and much less when abominable charges were thrown out against parents.
81. Since we have fallen upon this subject, let us bestow a little more consideration on the schools; for it is in them that the orator is brought up; and on the manner in which he declaims depends the manner in which he will plead. I must speak, therefore, concerning those declamations, in which most teachers have introduced, I do not say harsh figures, but such as are contrary to the spirit of the cause. One case, for example, is this: Let it be the law that a person who is found guilty of aspiring to tyranny be put to the torture, to compel him to name his accomplices; and that his accuser be allowed to choose whatever recompense he pleases: A son, who had established such an accusation against his father, desires that his father may not be put to the torture; the father opposes his desire. 82. No declaimer, when pleading on behalf of the father, has restrained himself from throwing out insinuations, in figurative expressions [by figures, in this passage, are meant malignant allusions directed against the son; as Suetonius, Vespas. c. 13, has causidicorum figuras for crafty insinuations and sarcasms], against the son, intimating that the father, if put to the torture, will name him among his accomplices.
But what is more preposterous than such a course? for when the judges understand the insinuations, the father will either not be put to the torture, (if such be his reason for wishing to be put to it,) or, if he is put to it, he will not be believed. 83. But, it may be said, it is probable that his object was to implicate his son; perhaps so; but he should then have disguised it in order to succeed in it. But what will it profit us (I speak in the person of the declaimers) to have discovered that object, unless we make it known? If, then, a real cause of the kind were pleaded, should we, in such a manner, bring to light that concealed object? Or what if such is not the real object? The guilty father may have other reasons for opposing the desire of his son; he may think that the law should be observed; or he may be unwilling to owe a favor to his accuser; or (what I should think most probable) he may be resolved to assert his own innocence under the torture.
84. To those, therefore, who plead in such a way, not even the common excuse, that He who invented the case intended that mode of defense, will be any support; for perhaps the inventor intended no such thing; but suppose that he did intend it, are we, if he judged foolishly, for that reason to plead foolishly? For my own part, I think that in pleading even real causes, we should frequently pay no attention to what the party going to law wishes.
85. It is also a common mistake in declaimers in this kind of cases, to suppose that certain characters say one thing and mean another. A remarkable example of this occurs in the case of the man who petitions for leave to put himself to death: A man who had given proofs of bravery on previous occasions, and had, in a subsequent war, demanded to be exempted from service according to the law, because he was fifty years of age, but, being opposed by his son, had been compelled to take the field, deserted: his son, who distinguished himself by his valor in that war, demands, in his right of option, his father's life: the father opposes the demand.
Here, say the declaimers, the father does not really wish to die, but merely to throw odium on his son. 86. For myself, I laugh at the fear which they manifest on his account, speaking as if they themselves were in danger of death, and carrying their terrors into their counsels, forgetful of the multitudes of instances of voluntary deaths, and of the reason which a man who was once brave, and has become a deserter, may have for putting an end to his life. 87. But to particularize all that would be against a cause in any one instance would be useless. I think that, in general, it is no business of a pleader to prevaricate [praevaricari. By this word Quintilian means all deviation from honesty of purpose in pleading; and perhaps alludes to similarity of object in the accuser and defendant; for, in this case, the son entreats that his father's life may be spared; and the father makes the same entreaty, as far as intention is concerned], and I can form no conception of a cause in which both parties have the same object in view; nor can I imagine a man so foolish, that, when he wishes to save his life, he would rather ask for death absurdly, than forbear to ask for it at all.
88. I do not, however, deny that there are causes in which figures of this kind may have a place; such, for instance, as the following: A young man accused of murder, as having killed his brother, seemed likely to he found guilty; but his father stated in his evidence that the son had committed the murder by his order: yet, when the son was acquitted, the father disinherited him. In this case, the father does not pardon his son entirely, yet he cannot openly retract what he asserted in his evidence at first, and, though he does not extend his severity beyond the punishment of disinheritance, yet he does not hesitate to disinherit him; and figurative insinuation has besides more effect on the side of the father, and less on that of the son, than it ought fairly to have. [With respect to the father, the figurative insinuation proves too much; for if the son, as is intimated, killed his brother of his own mere motion, why does the father do nothing more than disinherit him? With regard to the son, it proves too little; for if, as is represented, he is innocent of the murder, why is he disinherited?]
89. A person, again, may not speak contrary to what he wishes, yet he may wish something of more importance than what he says; as the disinherited son, who petitions his father to take back another son whom he had exposed, and who had been brought up by himself, on paying for his maintenance, would perhaps prefer that he himself should be reinstated in his rights, yet he may be thought sincere in desiring what he asks.
90. There is also a sort of tacit insinuation, which we adopt when rigid justice on our adversary is demanded by us from the judge, and yet some hope of mercy is intimated; not indeed openly, lest we should appear to make a promise, but so as to afford some plausible suspicion of our intent. Examples of this may be seen in many cases in the schools, and especially in the following: Let there be a law that he who has dishonored a virgin is to be put to death, unless he obtains pardon from the father of the virgin, as well as from his own father, within thirty days after the commission of the crime: A man who has dishonored a virgin, after obtaining the forgiveness of her father, cannot obtain that of his own, and charges him with being insane.
91. In this case, should the father promise forgiveness, the process is at an end; should he give no hope of it, he would be thought, though not mad, yet certainly cruel, and alienate the feelings of the judge. Porcius Latro, accordingly, with great judgment, made the son say, Will you kill me then, my father? and the father reply. Yes, if I shall be able. The elder Gallio made the father express himself more relentingly, and more in accordance with his own disposition. Be resolute, my soul, be resolute; yesterday thou wast more determined. 92. Similar to this sort of figures are those so much celebrated among the Greeks, by which they give a softer signification to that which would appear harsh.
Thus Themistocles is thought to have persuaded the Athenians to commit their city to the care of the gods [Plutarch, Life of Themistocles], because it would have been offensive to them to say abandon it. He, also, who recommended that some golden statues of Victory should be melted down for the expenses of a war, brought forward his proposal in this form, that they should make a proper use of their victories [Demetrius de Eloc. sect. 281, cited by Vossius Orat. iv. p. 187]. All that belongs to allegory is of a similar nature, and consists in saying one thing, and intimating that another is to be understood.
93. It is also a matter of consideration how we ought to reply to figures. Some rhetoricians have been of opinion that they should always be laid open by the opposite party, as morbid matter is cut out of the human body. This, indeed, should be the course most frequently adopted; for otherwise the objections contained in them cannot be overthrown, especially when the matter in question lies in the very point at which the figures aim. But when they are mere vehicles of invective, it is sometimes a mark of good judgment to affect not to understand them. 94. If such figures, however, be too numerous to allow us to avoid noticing them, we must call upon our opponents to state plainly, if they have confidence enough in their cause, the charge, whatever it may be, that they are endeavoring to intimate in ambiguous expressions, or to forbear at least from expecting that the judge will not only comprehend, but even believe, that which they themselves will not venture to express intelligibly.
95. It is sometimes of great effect, too, to pretend not to understand that a figure is a figure: as in the case of him, (the story is well known, [it is mentioned by Seneca the father, Controv. iii. praef., and Suetonius de Clar. Rhet. sub fin.]) who, when he had been addressed by the advocate of his opponent in the words, Swear by the ashes of your patron, replied that he was quite ready to do so; and the judge gravely accepted his proposal, though the advocate made great opposition, and said that the use of figures would thus be utterly abolished. It is, consequently, a necessary precept that we must not use figures of that kind rashly.
96. There is a third kind of figure in which the object sought is to add grace to style; and which Cicero [De Orat. iii. 63], therefore, considers as not falling on the point in question between the parties. Such is the remark which Cicero himself directs against Clodius [these words are not found in the extant writings of Cicero; perhaps a portion of his speech against Clodius and Curio, now lost. Profanation of the rites of the Bona Dea is evidently signified]: By which means he, who was well acquainted with all our sacrifices, thought that the gods might easily be propitiated in his favor. 97. Irony is very common in observations of this nature. But the far greatest proof of art is given when one thing is intimated through another. Thus a person engaged in a suit against a tyrant who had laid down his power on condition of an amnesty, said to him, It is not lawful for me to speak against you, but do you speak against me; and you can; for I very lately had conceived the intention of killing you [intimating that he thought him deserving of death].
98. It is also a common practice, though not much deserving of imitation, to employ an oath by way of figure. Thus an advocate, speaking in behalf of a son who had been disinherited, exclaimed, So may it be my fate to die, having a son for my heir! [The advocate signifies by this exclamation that to disinherit a son was culpable and unnatural. By wishing to have a son for his heir, he expresses his detestation of renouncing a son.] To swear at all, except when it is absolutely necessary, is by no means becoming in a man of sense; and it was happily said by Seneca, that to swear is the business, not of pleaders, but of witnesses. Nor does he, indeed, who swears for the sake of a little oratorical flourish, deserve attention. To swear as well as Demosthenes, to whom I alluded a little above, is a very different matter.
99. By far the most trivial sort of figure is that which consists in a play upon a single word, though an example of it is to be found in a remark of Cicero [Cicero pro Cael. c. 13] on Clodia: Praesertim quum omnes amicam omnium potius quam cujusquam inimicam putaverunt; "Especially when everybody thought her rather the friend of all men than the enemy of any man."
100. As to comparison, I conceive, for my own part, that it is not to be numbered among figures, as it is sometimes a sort of proof, and sometimes the foundation of a cause; and as the form of it is such as it appears in Cicero's speech for Muraena [C. 9]: You watch by night, that you may give answers to your clients; he, that he may arrive early at the place to which he is marching; the crowing of cocks awakes you, and the sound of trumpets rouses him, &c. 101. I am not sure whether it be not a verbal figure rather than a figure of thought; the only difference being, that generals are not opposed to generals, but particulars to particulars. Celsus, however, and Visellius, no negligent author, have placed it among figures of thought; while Rutilius Lupus puts it under both kinds of figures, and calls it antithesis.
102. But in addition to the figures which Cicero calls illuminations of thought, the same Rutilius, following Gorgias, (not the Leontine, but another who was his contemporary, and whose four books he has condensed into one of his own,) and Celsus, following Rutilius, enumerate many others; 103. as consummatio, "comprehension," which Gorgias calls διαλλαγη, when several arguments are brought to establish one point; consequens, "consequence," which he calls επακολουθησις, and of which we have spoken under the head of arguments; collectio, "collection," which with him is συλλογισμος: threatening, which he calls καταπληξις, and exhortation, παραινετικον. But every one of these is delivered in plain and simple language, unless when it attaches to itself some one of the figures of which we have been speaking.
104. Yet, besides these, Celsus thinks that to except, to assert, to refuse, to excite the judge, to use proverbs, or verses, or jests, or invectives, or invocations, to aggravate a charge, (which is the same as δεινωσις,) to flatter, to pardon, to express disdain, to admonish, to apologize, to entreat, to reprove, are figures. 105. He has the same opinion, too, regarding partition, and proposition, and distinction, and affinity between two things, that is, the demonstration that things which appear to be different may establish the same fact; for example, that not he only is a poisoner who has destroyed a man's life by giving him a potion, but he also who has destroyed his understanding; a point which depends on definition.
106. To these Rutilius, or Gorgias, adds αναγκαιον, "the representation of the necessity of a thing," αναμνησις, "reminding," or "recapitulation," ανθυποφορα, "replying to anticipated objections," αντιρρησις, "refutation of the objections of our adversary," παραυξησις, "amplification," προεκθεσις, which is "to state what ought to have been done, and then what has been done," εναντιοτης, "proof from the admissions of the opposite party," (from whence come enythymenes κατ' αντιασιν,) and μεταληψις, which Hermagoras considers as a state.
107. Visellius, though he makes very few figures, reckons among them the ενθυμημα, which he calls commentum, "conception," and the επιχειρημα, which he calls ratio, "reason." This Celsus in some degree admits, for he doubts whether consequence is not the same as the epicheirema. Visellius adds also sententia. I find some, too, who add to these what the Greeks call διασκευη, "circumstantiality," απαγορευσις, "prohibition," παραδιηγησις, "extraneous confirmation;" but though these are not regarded as figures, yet there may perhaps be others that have escaped me; or even fresh ones might still be made, though they would be of the same nature as those of which I have spoken.
1. As to verbal figures, they have been perpetually subject to change, and continue to be changed as custom exerts its influence. When, accordingly, we compare the language of our forefathers with our own, we are led to regard almost every phrase that we use as figurative; for instance, we say, hac re invidere [from several passages of Pliny the Younger, as well as from Pliny the Elder, viii. 22, Lucan. vii. 798, Tacit. Ann. i. 22, it appears that the more recent writers preferred using the ablative where Cicero and the older authors had always used the accusative], "to grudge this thing," not as the ancients said, and Cicero in particular, hanc rem; incumbere illi, "to lean upon him," not in illum; plenum vino, "full of wine," not vini; huic adulari, "to flatter a person," not hunc; and a thousand other examples might be given. I wish that the worse may not have prevailed over the better.
2. However this may be, verbal figures are of two kinds; one, as they say, lies in the formation of phrases; the other is to be sought chiefly in the collocation of them; and though both kinds equally concern the art of oratory, yet we may call the one rather grammatical and the other rhetorical.
The first sort arises from the same source as solecisms; for a figure of speech would be a solecism, if it were not intentional, but accidental. 3. But figures are commonly supported by authority, antiquity, custom, and sometimes by some special reason. Hence a variation from plain and direct phraseology is a beauty, if it has something plausible on which it models itself. In one respect figures are of great service, by relieving the wearisomeness arising from ordinary and uniform language, and raising us above mere common-place forms of expression. 4. If a speaker use them moderately, and as his subject requires, his style will be more agreeable, as with a certain seasoning sprinkled over it; but he who affects them too much, will miss the very charm of variety at which he aims.
There are, however, some figures so common, that they have almost lost their name, and consequently, however often they are used, they produce but little effect upon ears accustomed to them. 5. As to such as are less usual, and remote from everyday language, and for that reason more elevated, though they produce excitement by their novelty, they cause satiety if they are lavished in profusion, and show that they did not present themselves to the speaker, but were sought by him, and dragged forth and collected from every place where they were concealed.
6. Figures, then, may occur, with regard to nouns, in their gender; for example, the phrases oculis capti talpae, "blind moles," and timidi damae, "timid deer," are used by Virgil; but not without reason, as both genders are signified under one, and it is certain that there are male talpae and damae as well as female. [Virg. Georg. i. 183: Ecl. viii. 28.] Figures may also affect verbs, as fabricatus est gladium [Cicero pro Rabir. Post. c. 3], "he fabricated a sword," punitus est inimicum [Cicero pro Mil. c. 13], "he punished his enemy." 7. This is the less surprising, as it is not uncommon with us, in the use of verbs, to express what we do by a passive form, as arbitror, "I think," suspicor, "I suspect," and, on the other hand, to signify what we suffer by an active form, as vapulo, "I am beaten;" and hence there are frequent interchanges of the two, and many things are expressed in either form: as luxuriatur, luxuriat, "luxuriates," fluctuatur, fluctuat, "fluctuates," assentior, assentio, "I assent."
8. There may be also a figure in number, either when the plural is joined with the singular, as, Gladio pugnacissimi gens Romani, "The Romans are a nation that fight vigorously with the sword," gens being a noun of multitude; or when a singular is attached to a plural, as,
Qui non risere parentes,
"Those who have not smiled on their parents, neither has a god honored him with his table, nor a goddess with her couch," that is, among those who have not smiled, is he whom a god has not honored, &c. 9. In a satire of Persius [Sat. i. 8] we have,
Et nostrum istud vivere triste
"And I saw that sad to live of ours," where he has used an infinitive mood for a substantive, for he intends nostram vitam to be understood. We also sometimes use a verb for a participle, as,
Magnum dat ferre talentum, [Aen. v. 248]
"He gives a great talent to carry" ferre for ferendum; and a participle for a verb, as Volo datum, "I wish given," for Volo dari, "I wish to be given." 10. Sometimes it may even be doubted on what solecism a figure borders, as in this expression,
Virtus est vitium fugere, [Hor. Ep. i. 1, 41]
"To flee vice is virtue," for the author either interchanges parts of speech, for Virtus est fuga vitiorum, "Virtue is the avoidance of vices," or alters a case, for Virtutis est vitium fugere, "It is the part of virtue to avoid vice;" but the form which he himself adopts is much more spirited than either of the others. Sometimes two or more figures are used together, as Sthenelus sciens pugnae [Hor. Od. i. 15, 24], "Sthenelus skillful in fight," for Scitus Sthenelus pugnandi. 11. One tense, too, is sometimes put for another, as Timarchides negat esse ei periculum a securi [see Cicero Verr. v. 44], "Timarchides says that he is in no danger of being beheaded," the present being put for the preterperfect. And one mood for another, as,
Hoc Ithacus velit, [Aen. ii. 104]
velit being for vult. Not to dwell upon the matter, a figure may appear in as many forms as a solecism. 12. One which I may particularly notice, is that which the Greeks call 'ετερωσις, to which what they term εξαλλαγη is not very dissimilar. There is an example in Sallust [Jug. c. 10], Neque ea res falsum me habuit, "Nor have my anticipations deceived me," and another Duci probare.
In such figures brevity, as well as novelty, is generally an object. Hence the same author has proceeded so far as to say non poeniturum, "not about to repent," for non acturum poenitentiam; and visuros, "about to see," for ad videndum missos. 13. These expressions he must have considered as figures; whether they can now be called by that name, may be a question; for they are received into common use, and we are content with what is received, though it rest only on the authority of the vulgar. Thus rebus agentibus, which Asinius Pollio condemns in Labienus, has struggled into use, as well as contumeliam fecit [Cic. Philipp. iii. 9], which is well known to have been censured by Cicero, for in his days they said affici contumelia.
14. Another recommendation of figures is that of antiquity, of which Virgil was an eminent lover:
Vel quum se pavidum contra mea jurgia jactat, [Aen. xi. 406]
Progeniem sed enim Trojano a sanguine duci
Similar phraseology is found in abundance in the old tragic and comic poets. One word of the kind has remained in use, enimvero, "for truly." 15. There is more of the same sort in the same author; as,
Nam quis te, juvenum confidentissime,—
for quis is usually set at the commencement of a phrase. And, speaking of the Chimaera on the crest of Turnus,
Tam magis illa tremens, et tristibus effera flammis,
which is an inversion of the usual order, Quam magis aerumna urget, tam magis ad malefaciendum viget, "The more affliction presses, the more influence it has in prompting evil deeds." 16. The ancients are full of such expressions; as Terence at the beginning of the Eunuch, Quid igitur faciam? "What then shall I do?" Allusit tandem leno. And Catullus [LXII. 46. Yet the modern editions of Catullus have, Dum intacta manet, tum cara suis.], in his Epithalamium, has,
—Dum innupta manet, dum cara suis est,
the first dum signifying quoad, the second usque eo. 17. In Sallust are many phrases translated from the Greek, as Vulgus amat fieri [Jug. c. 34], "[Things which] the crowd likes to be done;" also in Horace [Sat. ii. 6, 83], who was a great lover of Hellenisms,
—Nec ciceris, nec longae incidit avenae,
and in Virgil,
Tyrrhenum navigat aequor, [Aen. i. 67]
18. It is now a common expression, too, in the public acts [of which the style was not particularly elegant. See Lips. ad Tacit. Annal. v. 4], saucius pectus, "wounded in the breast." Under the same head of figures fall the addition and abstraction of words. To add a word more than is necessary may seem useless, but it is often not without grace; as,
Nam neque Parnassi vobis juga, nam neque Pindi, [Virg. Ecl. x. 11]
the second nam being superfluous. In Horace we have,
As to suppressions of words, in the body of a sentence, they are either faulty or figurative; as,
Accede ad ignem, jam calesces plus satis, [Terence, Eun. i. 2, 5]
Plus satis being for plus quam satis, one word only being omitted. In other cases of suppression, a supply of many words may be necessary. 19. Comparatives we very often use for positives; thus a person will say that he is infirmior, "weaker," that is, weaker than ordinary; and we are also in the habit of opposing two comparatives to each other, instead of a positive and comparative; as, Si te, Catilina, comprehendi, si interfici jussero, credo, erit verendum mihi, ne non hoc potius omnes boni serius a me, quam quisquam crudelius factum esse dicat. [Cicero in Cat. i. 2.] "If I should order you, Catiline, to be seized, if I should order you to be put to death, I should have to fear lest all good members of society should think that such a course was adopted too late by me, rather than that any one should consider it adopted with too much severity."
20. There are also such expressions as the following, which, though not indeed of the nature of solecisms, put one number for another, and are consequently to be in general reckoned among tropes. [For they belong to synecdoche.] Thus we speak of a single person in the plural:
Sed nos immensum spatiis confecimus aequor, [Virg. Georg. ii. 541]
Or of several persons in the singular:
Haud secus ac patriis acer Romanus in armis, [Georg. iii. 346]
21. Of a different species, though the same in kind, are the following instances:
Neve tibi ad solem vergant vineta cadentem, [Georg. ii. 298]
for Virgil does not admonish one person in the first passage, or himself alone in the second, but intends his precepts for all.
22. We speak, too, of ourselves as if we were speaking of others: Dicit Servius, "Servius asserts;" Negat Tullius; "Cicero denies;" and we speak in our person instead of speaking in that of another; and put one third person in place of another. There is an example of both figures in the speech for Caecina [C. 29]: Cicero, addressing Piso, the advocate of the opposite party, says, Restituisse te dixti? nego me ex edicto praetoris restitutum esse; "Do you say that you reinstated me? I deny that I was reinstated by an edict of the praetor;" but it was Aebutius [the adversary of Caecina] that said restituisse, and Caecina that replied, nego me ex edicto praetoris restitutum esse; and there is a figure used in the word dixti, from which a syllable is struck out.
23. Some other figures may be regarded as of the same nature. One is that which we call interpositio or interclusio, and the Greeks parenthesis, when some interposed remark breaks the course of a sentence; as, Ego quum te, (mecum enim saepissime loquitur,) patriae dedidissem, [Cicero pro Mil. c. 34] "when I had brought you back (for he very often talks with me) to your country,'' &c. With this some join the hyperbaton, which they do not choose to number among tropes.
24. Another is one which is similar to the figure of thought called apostrophe; it does not affect the sense, but only the form of expression; as,
Decios, Marios, magnosque Camillos,
25. Of this there is a still more spirited example where the poet is speaking of Polydore:
Fas omne abrumpit, Polydorum obtruncat, et auro
Those who have distinguished small differences with particular names, add the term μεταβασις [properly any transition from one person or thing to another], which they consider as a different kind of apostrophe; as,
Quid loquor? aut ubi sum? [Aen. iv. 495]
26. Virgil unites the parenthesis and apostrophe in this passage:
Haud procul inde citae Metium in diversa quadrigae
27. These figures, and such as these, whether they arise from change, addition, abstraction, or transposition, attract the attention of the auditor, and do not suffer him to grow languid, as he is roused from time to time by some striking expression; and they derive something of the pleasure which they give from their resemblance to faults, as a little acidity is sometimes grateful in cookery. This result will be produced, if they are not extravagantly numerous, or if those of the same kind are not thrown together, or introduced too frequently; for rarity in their use, as well as diversity, will prevent satiety.
28. Those sorts of figures have a more striking effect, which not only concern the form of expression, but communicate grace and energy to the thoughts.
Of these we may notice in the first place that which consists in addition. There are several kinds; for words are sometimes repeated, either for the sake of amplification, as, I have killed, I have killed, not Spurius Maelius, [Cicero pro Mil. c. 27] &c., where the first "I have killed" merely asserts the act, the second confirms the assertion. Or of expressing pity; as,
Ah Corydon, Corydon, &c. [Virg. Ecl. ii. 69]
29. This figure is sometimes, too, employed for the sake of extenuation, and by way of irony. Something similar to this reiteration of a word, is the repetition of one after a parenthesis, which adds, however, force at the same time: I have seen the property, unhappy that I am! (for though my tears are spent, grief still dwells fixed in my heart,) the property, I say, of Cneius Pompey, subjected to the cruel voice of the public crier. [Cicero Philipp. ii. 26.] You live, and live not to lay aside, but to increase your audacity. [Cicero in Cat. i. 2.] 30. Sentences, again, are sometimes commenced, to give them spirit and energy, with the same word; as, Nihilne te nocturnum praesidium palatii, nihil urbis vigiliae, nihil timor populi, nihil consensus bonorum omnium, nihil hic munitissimus habendi senatus locus, nihil horum ora vultusque moverunt? [Cicero in Cat. i. 1.] "Has not the nightly guard of the palatium, has not the watch kept in the city, has not the fear of the people, has not the unanimity of all men of honor, has not this fortified place for assembling the senate, have not the countenances and looks of those here present, produced any effect upon you?"
31. Sometimes they are ended with the same word; as, Who called for them? Appius. Who produced them? Appius. [Cicero pro Mil. c. 22.] This last example, however, may be referred to another kind of figure [which they call symploce], in which the beginning and end of each phrase are alike, "who" and "who," "Appius" and "Appius." Of this figure the following is an apt example: Who are they that have frequently broken treaties? The Carthaginians. Who are they that have waged war with the utmost cruelty? The Carthaginians. Who are they that have devastated Italy? The Carthaginians. Who are they that importune to be forgiven? The Carthaginians. [Ad Herenn. iv. 14.]
32. In antitheses, also, or comparisons, there is commonly a repetition of the first words of each phrase alternately, so as to correspond; and I, therefore, said just above that it was referable to this head rather than to any other: You wake in the night, that you may give answers to your clients; he, that he may arrive early with his army at the place whither he is marching. You are aroused by the crowing of cocks, he, by the sound of trumpets. You conduct lawsuits, he draws up troops. You are on the watch lest your clients should be disappointed, he, lest his towns or his camp should be taken. [Cicero pro Muraen. c. 9.] 33. But not content with having produced this beauty, the orator presents the same figure in a reverse order: He knows and understands how the forces of the enemy are to be kept at a distance; you, how the rain may he prevented from annoying us. ["That the rain may be kept off." Annoyance from drains or water-spouts, about which there were frequent lawsuits, is meant.] He exercises himself in extending boundaries, you, in settling them.
34. The middle may also be made to correspond with the beginning: as,
Te nemus Anguitiae, vitrea te Fucinus unda, [Aen. vii. 759]
or with the end; as, Haec navis onusta praeda Sicilsensi, quum ipsa quoque esset ex praeda, [Cicero in Verr. v. 17] "This ship laden with Sicilian spoil, being itself also a portion of the spoil." Nor will it be doubted that by the same figure that which is in the middle may be put both at the beginning and the end. The end may also be made to correspond with the beginning; as, Many severe afflictions were found for parents, and for relatives many. [Cic. in Verr. v. 45.] 35. There is, likewise another kind of repetition, which recurs to things or persons mentioned before, and distinguishes them:
Iphitus el Pelias mecum, quorum Iphitus aevo
This is what in Greek is called επανοδος: our writers term it regressio. 36. Nor are the same words repeated only in the same sense, but often in a different one, and in opposition; as, The dignity of the leaders was almost equal; but not equal, perhaps, was that of those who followed them. [Cicero pro Ligar. c. 6.] Sometimes this kind of repetition is varied as to cases and genders; as, Magnus est labor dicendi, magna res est, "Great is the labor of eloquence; great is its importance." In Rutilius there is an example of this in a longer period [the following is a translation of the passage in Rutilius (i. 10): "Is this man to be deemed your father, only that he may be thought to be obliged to support you in your poverty? Do you now call him your father whom you formerly deserted, as if he had been a stranger, when he needed your aid? Are you a son to your father only that you may enjoy his wealth, when you have acted as his most cruel enemy, to bring affliction on his old age? Assuredly we beget children inconsiderately: for it is from them that we derive most of our misery and dishonor."]; but the commencements of the sentences are, Pater hic tuus? Patrem nunc appellas? Patri tu filius es? "Is this your father? Do you now call him father? Are you to him as a son to a father?"
37. By a change of cases, too, is sometimes formed the figure which they call πολυπτωτον. It is also formed in other ways, as in Cicero's speech for Cluentius [C. 60]: Quod autem tempus veneni dandi? Illo die? In illa frequentia? Per quem porro datum? Unde sumptum? Quae porro interceptio poculi? cur non de integro autem datum? "But what was the time at which the poison was given? Was it on that day? Among such a number of people? By whose instrumentality, moreover, was it given? Whence was it taken? What was the means of intercepting the cup? Why was it not given a second time?"
38. Such a combination of different particulars Caecilius calls μεταβολη, of which another passage from the speech for Cluentius [C. 14] may be given as an example; it is in reference to Oppianicus: Illum tabulas publicas Larini censorias corrupisse, decuriones universi judicaverunt; cum illo nemo rationem, nemo rem ullam contrahebat; nemo illum ex tam multis cognatis et affinibus tutorem unquam liberis suis scripsit, "That he falsified the public registers at Larinum, the decuriones were unanimously of opinion; no man kept any account, no man made any bargain with him; no man, of all his numerous kinsmen and connections, ever appointed him guardian to his children," and much more to the same purpose.
39. As particulars are here thrown together, so, on the other hand, they may be distributed, or, as Cicero [Orat. c. 31], I think, calls it, dissipated; as,
Hic segetes, illic veniunt felicius uvae,
40. In Cicero is seen an example of a remarkable mixture of figures, in a passage in which the last word, after a long interval, is repeated in correspondence to the first; the middle also is in accordance with the commencement, and the conclusion with the middle: Vestrum jam hic factum deprehenditur, Patres Conscripti, non meum; ac pulcherrimum quidem factum; verum, ut dixi, non rneum, sed vestrum [possibly the words come from the speech of Cicero against Metellus, which he delivered in the senate, and calls his Metellina oratio in a letter to Atticus, i. 13]; "Your work now appears here, Conscript Fathers, not mine; and a very honorable work, indeed, it is; but, as I said, it is not mine, but yours." 41. This frequent repetition the Greeks call πλοκη [see Aquila Romanus, sect. 28; and Rufinus, c. 12]: it consists, as I said, of a mixture of figures; a letter to Brutus [now lost: but there are references to the same subject in some of the extant letters of Cicero, as ad Fam. ii. 13; iii. 10] affords an example of it: "When I had returned into favor with Appius Claudius, and it was through Cneius Pompey that I did return, and, accordingly, when I had returned," &c.
42. It may be formed also by a repetition of the same words, in various forms, in the same sentence; as in Persius,
and in Cicero, Neque enim poterat, indicio et his damnatis, qui indicabantur: "For neither could he, when those were found guilty on information against whom information was given." 43. But whole sentences, too, are sometimes ended with the phrases with which they are commenced: He came from Asia. Of how much advantage was even this? But it was in the character of a tribune of the people that he came from Asia. When, however, the last word in a period is made to correspond with the first, another repetition of it may be given, as to the sentence just quoted is added, However he came from Asia. Sometimes a series of words may be repeated, and in precisely the same order: What could Cleomenes do? For I cannot accuse any one falsely. What, to much purpose could Cleomenes do? [Cicero in Verr. v. 41.]
44. The last word of the former of two sentences, and the first of the latter, are often the same; a figure which poets, indeed, use more frequently than prose writers:
Pierides, vos haec facietis maxima Gallo,
But orators afford not unfrequent examples of it: Yet he lives. Lives? Nay, he even comes into the seriate. [Cicero in Cat. i. 1.] 45. Sometimes, (the remark is similar to what I said in regard to the repetition of words,) the beginnings and conclusions of phrases are made to correspond with each other by means of words which, though different, are yet of a similar signification. The beginnings, for example, thus: Dediderim periculis omnibus, obtulerim insidiis, objecerim invidiae: "I would have thrown him into every kind of danger, I would have exposed him to treachery, I would have consigned him to public odium."
The conclusions thus: Vos enim statuistis, vos sententiam dixistis, vos judicastis: "You determined, you gave your opinion, you pronounced judgment." This some call συνωνυμια, others disjunction; and both terms, though of different meaning, are used with propriety; for it is a separation of words having the same signification. Sometimes, again, words that have the same signification are congregated [Cic. in Cat. i. 5]: Such being the case, Catiline, go whither you had intended to go; depart at length from the city; the gates are open; commence your journey. 46. And in another speech against Catiline, He is gone, he has departed, he has sallied forth, he has escaped. [Cic. in Cat. ii. 1.]
This, in the opinion of Caecilius, is pleonasm, that is, language copious beyond what is necessary, as in the words,
Vidi oculos ante ipse meos, [Aen. xii. 638.]
for in vidi "I saw," is included ipse, "myself" But such phraseology, as I have remarked in another place, is, when burdened with any useless addition, faulty; when it adds strength to the plain thought, as in this case, it is a beauty; for the several words vidi, ipse, and ante oculos, produce each its impression on the mind.
47. Why Caecilius, then, should have characterized it by such a term, I cannot tell; for every sort of reduplication, and repetition, and addition, might be called pleonasm with just as much propriety. Not only words of similar import, however, but also thoughts, are sometimes accumulated; as, Perturbatio istum mentis, et quaedam scelerum offusa caligo, et ardentes Furiarum faces excitarunt. "Perturbation of mind, darkness shed over him through his crimes, and the burning torches of the Furies excited him." 48. Words and phrases of different import are also thrown together; as, Mulier, tyranni soeva crudelitas, patris amor, ira praeceps, temeritas, dementia, &c. "The woman, the savage cruelty of the tyrant, his love for his father, violent anger, rashness, madness," &c. Another example is to be found in Ovid,
Sed grave Nereidum numen, sed corniger Ammon,
49. I have found some authors call the following form of sentence πλοκη: Quaero ab inimicis, sintne haec investigata, comperta, patefacta, sublata, deleta, extincta per me? [the speech of Cicero against Metellus] "I ask of my enemies whether it was not by my means that these plots were investigated, discovered, exposed, overthrown, destroyed, annihilated?" But with these authors I do not agree, as the words form but one figure, though they are of a mixed nature, partly of similar and partly of different signification; a union which they call διαλλαγη: for investigata, comperta, patefacta, state one thing, and sublata, deleta, extincta, state another, the latter being similar one to another, but dissimilar to the former. 50. We may observe, too, that the last quotation, and the last but one, afford an example of another figure, which, as it consists in the omission of conjunctions, is called dialysis, and is aptly used when we have to express anything with vehemence, as by means of it particulars are severally impressed on the mind, and appear to be rendered as it were more numerous. [By not being united into a body, but left separate.]
Hence we use this figure not only in single words, but also in phrases, as Cicero says in his reply to the speech of Metellus, Those of whom information was given, I ordered to he summoned, to be kept in custody, to be brought before the senate; it was in the senate that they were arraigned, and so on through the whole of that passage. This mode of expression the Greeks call βραχυλογια [brachylogy, according to Rutilius Lupus, ii. 8, is when the speaker, by brevity of expression, goes on faster than the hearers expected], which may be regarded as a conjunctive disjunction. 51. Opposed to this is the figure which consists in superfluity of conjunctions; the one is called asyndeton, the other polysyndeton, which arises either from repetitions of the same conjunction, as,
52. or of different conjunctions, as
Arma virumque —,
53. In like manner adverbs and pronouns are also varied:
Hic illum vidi juvenem —
But both the asyndeton and the polysyndeton are coacervations of words, the only difference being in the presence or absence of conjunctions. 54. Writers have given them their own names, which are various, as it suited the fancy of those who invented them. The source of them, indeed, is the same, as they render what we say more vivacious and energetic, exhibiting an appearance of vehemence, and of passion bursting forth as it were time after time.
Gradation, which is called by the Greeks κλιμαξ, is produced by art less disguised, or more affected, and ought for that reason to be less frequently used. 55. It lies too, in repetition, for it recurs to what has been said, and takes a rest, as it were, on something that precedes, before it passes on to anything else. An example of it may be translated from a well-known Greek passage [Demosth. de Cor. p. 288 ed. Reisk.]: I not only did not say this, but I did not even write it; I not only did not write it, but took no part in the embassy; I not only took no part in the embassy, but used no persuasion to the Thebans.
56. A Latin example or two, however, may also be added: Exertion gained merit to Africanus, merit glory, and glory rivals [cited ad Herenn. iv. 25]; and, from Calvus [from a speech of his against Vatinius, Aquil. Rom. c. 40], Trials for extortion have not, therefore, ceased more than those for treason; nor those for treason, more than those under the Plautian law; nor those under the Plautian law more than those for bribery; nor those for bribery more than those under any other law. 57. Examples are also to be found in the poets, as in Homer about the sceptre, which he brings down from Jupiter to Agamemnon: and in a tragic poet of our own,
Jove propogatus est, ut perhibent, Tantalus,
58. As to figures which consist in the omission of a word or words, they aim chiefly at the merit of brevity or novelty. One of them is that which I delayed to consider till I should enter upon figures, when I was speaking in the preceding book about synecdoche, a figure in which any word that is omitted is easily understood from the rest, as when Caelius says, in speaking against Antonius, Stupere gaudio Graecus, "the Greek began to be astonished with joy," for capit, "began," is readily understood.
So Cicero writes to Brutus, Sermo nullus scilicet, nisi de te; quid enim potius? Tum Flavius, Cras inquit, tabellarii, et ego ibidem has inter coenam exaravi, "There is no talk, indeed, but of you: for what better can there be? Then Flavius says, To-morrow the couriers (will set out,) and this letter I wrote there during supper." 59. Of a similar character, in my opinion, are passages in which a word or words are properly suppressed from regard to decency:
Novinus et qui te, transversa tuentibus hircis,
60. Some regard this as an aposiopesis, but erroneously; for what the aposiopesis suppresses, is uncertain, or requires to be told by some addition to that which has been expressed; but here only one word, which is well known, is wanting; and if this is aposiopesis, every omission of any word or phrase whatever may be called by that name. 61. For my part, I do not constantly call that an aposiopesis, in which anything whatever is left to be understood; as in the following words, which Cicero has, in one of his letters, Data Lupercalibus, quo die Antonius Caesari, for he used no real suppression, nor intended any jest, since nothing else could be understood but diadema imposuit. "Given on the Lupercalia, on the day on which Antony put the diadem on Caesar."
62. A second figure produced by omission, is that of which I have already spoken, and which consists in. the elimination of conjunctions.
A third, which is called by the Greeks συνεζευγμενον, is that by which several phrases or thoughts are referred in combination to the same word, each of which, if set alone, would require that word for itself. This may be done, either by putting the verb first, so that other portions of the sentence may look back to it; as, Vicit pudorem libido, timorem audacia, rationem amentia, [Cicero pro Cluent. c. 6] "Licentiousness overcame modesty, audacity fear, madness reason;" or by putting it last, so that several particulars may be brought as it were to a conclusion in it; Neque enim is es, Catilina, ut te aut pudor unquam a turpitudine, aut metus a periculo, aut ratio a jurore revocaverit; [Cicero in Catil. i. 9] "For neither are you of such a character, Catiline, that either shame can restrain you from dishonor, or fear from danger, or reason from rage."
63. The verb may also be placed last, so that it may suffice both for what precedes and what follows. The same figure joins different sexes, too, as when we call a male and female child, filii, and puts the singular for the plural, and the plural for the singular. 64. But expressions of this kind are so common, that they can hardly claim for themselves the merit of figures. A figure is certainly used, however, when two different forms of phrase are united; as,
Sociis tunc arma capessant,
for though the part of the sentence that follows bellum ends with a participle, the verb edico has an equal effect on both parts. This sort of conjunction, which is not made for the purpose of suppressing any word, but which unites two different things, the Greeks call συοικειωσις. Another example of it is,
Tam deest avaro quod habet, quam quod non habet,
"To the miser is wanting as well what he has, as what he has not."
65. To this figure they oppose distinctio, which they call παραδιαστολη, and by which things that have some similitude are distinguished; as, When you call yourself wise instead of cunning, brave instead of presumptuous, frugal instead of miserly. Such designations, however, depend wholly on definition, and I, therefore, doubt whether a sentence of that kind can properly be called figurative. Of an opposite sort is the figure which makes a short transition from one thing to another of a different nature, as though they were similar:
Brevis esse laboro,
66. There remains to be noticed a third kind of figures, which, by some resemblance, equality, or opposition of words, attracts and excites the attention of the hearer. Of these is the παρονομασια, which is called by the Latins annominatio. It is produced in more ways than one, but always depends on some resemblance in a word that follows to a word that has gone before. These words may be in different cases, as in what Domitius Afer says in his speech for Cloantilla: Mulier omnium rerum imperita, in omnibus rebus infelix; "A woman unskilled in everything, unhappy in everything." 67. Or the same word may be rendered more significant by being joined to another, Quando homo, hostis homo. [Either "Since he is a man, he is an enemy," or "Since he is a man, can he be an enemy?"] These examples I have used for another purpose. Such reduplication of a word, however, is easy. But to this species of paronomasia is opposed that by which a word is proved to be false, as it were, by a repetition of the same word; as, Quae lex privatis hominibus esse lex non videbatur, "Which law did not seem to be a law to private persons."
68. Similar to this is the antanaclasis, the use of the same word in a contrary sense. When Proculeius complained of his son that he was waiting for his death, and the son said that he was not waiting for it; Nay, rejoined Proculeius, I desire that you may wait for it. Sometimes resemblance is sought, not in different senses of the same word, but in two different words; as when we say that a person whom we deem dignus supplicatione, "worthy of supplication on his behalf," should be treated as dignus supplicio, worthy of punishment." 69. Sometimes, again, the same word is used in a different signification, or varied only by the lengthening or shortening of a syllable; a practice which is contemptible, however, even in jests, and I am surprised that it should be noticed among rules.
70. The following examples of it I give rather that they may be avoided than that they may be imitated: Amari jucundum est, si curetur ne quid insit amari: "It is pleasant to be loved, if we take care that there be no bitter in the love." Avium dulcedo ad avium ducit: "The sweet song of birds attracts to sequestered spots:" and we find in Ovid, in a humorous passage,
Cur ego non dicam, Furia, te furiam?
71. Cornificius calls this traduction, that is, the transition from one signification to another: but it has most elegance when it is employed in making exact distinctions; as, This pest of the commonwealth might be repressed for a time, but not suppressed for ever [Cicero in Cat. i. 12]; and in the use of verbs, which are altered in sense by a change in the prepositions with which they are compounded; as non emissus ex urbe, sed immissus in urbem esse videatur [Cicero in Cat. i. 11]: "He may seem, not to have been sent out of the city, but to have been sent into the city?"
The effect is better and more spirited, when what is said is both figurative in expression, and strong in sense, as, emit morte immortalitatem, "He purchased immortality by death," 72. Such as the following are frivolous: Non Pisonum, sed pistorum, "Not of the Pisos, but of the bakers;" Ex oratore arator [Cicero Philipp. iii. 9], "From an orator become a plowman." But the most contemptible plays on words are such as these: Ne patres conscripti videantur circumscripti; [Ad Herenn. iv. 21] Raro evenit, sed vehementer venit. It is possible, however, that a bold and spirited thought may receive some not unsuitable grace from the contrast of two words not quite the same.
73. Why should modesty prevent me from using an example from my own family? My father, in reply to a man that had said se immoriturum legationi, that he would die on an embassy, on which he was going, rather than not effect the object of it, and then returned, after the lapse of a few days, without having succeeded, said, non exigo ut immoriaris legationi, immorare, "I do not ask that you should die on an embassy, but at least dwell on it:" for the sense is good, and the sounds of the two words, so different in meaning, have a pleasing correspondence, especially as they were not sought, but, as it were, presented themselves, the speaker using but one of his own, and receiving the other from the person whom he addressed.
74. To add grace to style by balanced antitheses, was a great object with the ancients; Gorgias studied it immoderately, and Isocrates was extremely devoted to it, at least in the early part of his life. Cicero had great delight in the practice, but he set bounds to his indulgence in it, (though it is not indeed unpleasing unless it offend by excess,) and gave weight to what would otherwise have been trifling by the importance of his matter. Indeed affectation, which would in itself be dry and empty, seems, when it is united with vigorous thoughts, to be not forced, but natural.
75. Of producing correspondences in words there are about four modes. The first is, when a word is chosen by the speaker that is similar in sound, or not very dissimilar, to another word; as,
Puppesgue tuoe, pubesque tuorum; [Aen. i. 399]
and, Sic in hac calamitosa fama, quasi in aliqua perniciossissima flamma [Cicero pro Cluent. c. 1]; and, non enim tam spes laudanda, quam res est. Or they have at least a resemblance in termination; as, non verbis, sed armis. 76. This artifice also, whenever it is combined with vigorous thought, is pleasing: as, Quantum possis, in eo semper experire, ut prosis. This is what is called παρισον, as most authors have it; but Cleosteleus thinks that the παρισον consists in similarity in the members of sentences.
77. The second is, when two or more clauses terminate alike, the same syllables corresponding at the end of each, constituting the 'ομοιοτελευτον, the similar ending of two or more phrases; as, Non modo ad salutem ejus extinguendam, sed etiam gloriam per tales viros infringendam [Pro Mil. c. 2]. Of this kind are what they call τρικωλα, though these do not always exactly correspond in termination: as, Vicit pudorem libido, timorem audacia, rationem amentia. But such resemblance may be extended to four members or even more. Each member may also consist of a single word: as,
Hecuba, hoc dolet, pudet, piget;
and Abiit, excessit, erupit, evasit.
78. The third is that which consists in a repetition of the same case, and is called 'ομοιοπτωτον: but it has not that name because it presents similar endings, for that which lies in similar endings is termed 'ομοιοτελευτον: and the 'ομοιοπτωτον is only a resemblance in cases, while the declensions of the words may be different; and it is not seen only at the ends of phrases, but may exhibit a correspondence either in beginnings with beginnings, middles with middles, or terminations with terminations; or there may even be an interchange, so that the middle of one phrase may answer to the beginning of another, or the conclusion of one to the middle of another; and indeed the resemblance may be maintained in any way whatever. 79. Nor do the correspondent phrases always consist of an equal number of syllables. Thus we see in Domitius Afer, Amisso nuper infelicis aulae, si non praesidio inter pericula, tamen solatio inter adversa. The best species of this figure appears to be that in which the beginnings and ends of the phrases correspond; as here, praesidio, solatio; and in which there is a similitude in the words, so that they afford like cadences, and like terminations.
80. The fourth kind is that in which there is a perfect equality in the clauses, which is called by the Greeks ισοκωλον; as, [Cicero pro Caecin. init.] Si, quantum in agro locisque desertis audacia potest, tantum in foro atque judiciis impudentia valeret. "If impudence had as much power in the forum and in courts of justice as boldness has in wilds and desert places;" (where there is both the ισοκωλον and the 'ομοιοπτωτον): non minus nunc in causa cederet Aulus Caecina Sexti Aebutii impudentiae, quam tum in vi facienda cessit audaciae, "Aulus Caecina, in the present cause, would give way to the impudence of Sextus Aebutius not less than he then yielded to his audacity in the commission of violence," where there is ισοκωλον, 'ομοιοπτωτον, and 'ομοιοτελευτον.
To this figure is attached, also, that beauty which arises from the figure in which I said that words are repeated with a change of case or tense; as, Non minus cederet, quam cessit, "He would yield no less than he has yielded." The 'ομοιοτελευτον and the παρονομασια may also be united, as Neminem alteri posse dare in matrimonium, nisi penes quam sit patrimonium, "No one could give to another in matrimony, except him in whose hands is the patrimony."
81. Contraposition, or, as some call it, contention, (it is termed by the Greeks αντιθετον,) is effected in several ways; for it occurs when single words are opposed one to another, as in the example which I used a little above, Vicit pudorem libido, timorem audacia; or when two are opposed to two; as, Non nostri ingenii, vestri auxilii est, [Cic. pro Cluent. c. 1] "It depends not on our ability, but your aid;" or when sentences are opposed to sentences: as, Dominetur in concionibus, jaceat in judiciis. [Ibid. c. 2.]
82. With this species of antithesis is very properly joined that which we have termed distinction: Odit Populus Romanus privatam luxuriam, publicam magnificentiam diligit, [Cic. pro Muraen. c. 32] "The Roman people detest private luxury, but love public magnificence;" and that in which words of similar termination, but of dissimilar meaning, are placed at the end of different clauses; as, Quod in tempore mali fuit, nihil obsit, quin, quod in causa boni fuit, prosit, [Cic. pro Cluent. c. 29] "So that what was unfortunate in the time may not prevent what was good in the cause from being of advantage."
83. Nor is the second term always immediately subjoined to that to which it corresponds; as in this passage, Est igitur, judices, non scripta, sed nata lex, [Cic. pro Milone, c. 4] "It is a law, therefore, judges, not written for us, but inherent in us by nature;" but, as Cicero says, there may be a correspondence between several preceding and subsequent particulars, as in the sequel of the passage to which I have just referred, Quam non didicimus, accepimus, legimus, verum ex natura ipsa accepimus, hausimus, expressimus, "A law which we have not learned, or acquired, or read, but which we have imbibed, and derived, and received from nature herself." 84. Nor is that which is opposed to what precedes always presented in the antithetic form; as in these words, cited by Rutilius Lupus [B. ii. c. 16. The words are translated from Demetrius Phalereus], Nobis primum dii immortales fruges dederunt; nos, quod soli accepimus, in omnes terras distribuimus: "To us the immortal gods first gave corn; that which we alone received, we have distributed through every region of the earth."
85. An antithesis is also produced with the aid of that figure in which words are repeated with variations in case or tense, and which is called by the Greeks αντιμεταβολη: as, Non, ut edam, vivo; sed, ut vivam, edo; "I do not live that I may eat, but eat that I may live." There is an example of this in Cicero, which is so managed, that, though it exhibits a change in cases, the two members have a similar ending: Ut et sine invidia culpa plectatur, et sine culpa invidia ponatur, [Cic. pro Cluent. c. 2] "That both guilt may be punished without odium, and odium may be laid aside without guilt."
86. The members may also terminate with the very same word; as in what Cicero says of Roscius [Cic. pro Quint. c. 25], Etenim, quum artifex ejusmodi sit, ut solus dignus videatur esse qui scenam introeat, tum vir ejusmodi sit, ut solus videatur dignus qui eo non accedat, "For, while he is an actor of such powers that he alone seems worthy to enter on the stage, he is a man of such a character that he alone seems worthy to be exempted from entering on it." There is also a peculiar grace in the antithetic opposition of names; as, Si consul Antonius, Brutus hostis; si conservator reipublicae Brutus, hostis Antonius; [Cic. Philipp. iv. 3] "If Antony is a consul, Brutus is an enemy; if Brutus is a preserver of his country, Antony is an enemy."
87. I have now said more concerning figures than was perhaps necessary; yet there are some who will maintain that such a phrase as, What I say is incredible, but true, is a figure, and call it ανθυποφορα: that, Somebody has borne this once, I have borne it twice, I have borne it three times, is also a figure, and to be termed διεξοδος: and that, I have digressed too far, and return to my subject, is another, to be called αφοδος. [That is, " digression," egressio or excursus.]
88. Some figures of words differ but very little from figures of thought, as dubitatio, "doubt;" for when it regards the matter, it is to be numbered among figures of thought, and when it concerns only words, among the other sort of figures; as Sive me malitiam, sive stultitiam dicere oportet, "Whether I ought to call this wickedness or folly." The same is the case with respect to correction, for as doubt may refer to either language or thought, so likewise may emendation.
89. Some think that this twofold nature of figures has place also in personification, and that the figure in the following words is verbal, Avarice is the mother of cruelty [this saying is cited also by Rutilius Lupus, ii. 6], as well as in the exclamation of Sallust against Cicero, O Romulus of Arpinum, and in the expression in Menander, Thriasian Oedipus. [Probably some native of the Athenian village Thria (Herod. viii. 65), ridiculed by Menander.] All these points those writers have treated with great fullness, who have not merely touched on them as portions of treatises, but have dedicated whole books to this particular subject, as Caecilius, Dionysius, Rutilius, Cornificius, Visellius, and many others; but the glory of some living writers will not be inferior to theirs.
90. Though I admit, however, that more figures of speech may have been invented by certain of our rhetoricians, yet I do not allow that they are better than those which have been specified by eminent writers on the subject. Cicero, especially, has mentioned many figures in his third book De Oratore, which, by omitting them in his Orator, a work written subsequently, he appears himself to have condemned. Some of them, indeed, are figures of thought rather than of words, as diminution, the introduction of something unexpected, image, answering our own questions, digression, permission, [called by the Greeks epitrope and synchoresis] antithesis, (for I suppose this to be the same as what is called εναντιοτης,) proof derived from the statements of the opposite party.
91. Some, again, are not figures at all, as order, enumeration, and circumscription, whether he understands, by the last word, a thought concisely expressed, or definition, which, however, Cornificius and Rutilius consider as a figure of speech. As to elegant transposition of words, that is, hyperbaton, which Caecilius also thinks a figure, it has been placed by me among tropes. 92. Of immutation, though it is what Rutilius [II. 2] calls αλλοιωσις, the object is to show the difference between men, things, and actions; and, if it be taken in an extended sense, it is certainly not a figure; if in a confined sense, it will be mere antithesis; but if the term be intended to signify hypallage, enough has already been said of it.
93. What sort of a figure, again, is reasoning subservient to your proposition? Is it what Rutilius [II. 19] calls αιτιολογια? It may also be doubted whether reasoning suited to the order of distribution, which is put by Rutilius in the first place [prosapodosis is the figure with which Rutilius Lupus commences his first book], is is a figure. 94. Rutilius calls it προσαποδοσις, which, even if the propriety of the term be fully admitted, must certainly relate to several propositions, because reasoning is either immediately subjoined to each, as in Caius Antonius: But neither do I dread him as an accuser, inasmuch as I am innocent; nor do I fear him as a competitor, since I am Antonius; nor do I expect anything from him as consul, since he is Cicero; [Asconius Pedianus (p. 153) says that both Catiline and Antonius made contumelious replies to Cicero's speech In Toga Candida, inveighing against his want of nobility of birth, which was the only point on which they could assail him] 95. or, after two or three points are laid down, the reasoning applicable to each is given in the same order; as in these words of Brutus respecting the dictatorship of Pompey: For it is better to command no one than to be a slave to any one; for we may live honorably without command, but in slavery there is no endurance of life. 96. But many reasons are often subjoined to one observation; as in this passage of Virgil,
Sive inde occultas vires, et pabula terrae
97. In what sense he would have relation to be taken, I cannot say. If he means υπαλλαγη, επανοδος, or μεταβολη, I have spoken of them all. But whatever is signified, he makes no mention of it, or of the preceding figures, in the Orator. The only figure put in that book among figures of words is exclamation, which I rather consider as a figure of thought; for it is an expression of feeling; and in this respect I agree with all other rhetoricians.
98. To these Cornelius adds περιφρασις, of which I have spoken; and Cornificius interrogation, ratiocination, subjection, transition, occultation, besides sentence, member, article, interpretation, conclusion; the first five of which are figures of thought, and the other five are not figures at all. 99. Rutilius, again, in addition to the figures which are given in other authors, specifies παρομολογια [when, after conceding some point to our adversary, we advance some still stronger argument against him. Rutil. Lupus, i. 19], αναγκαιον, ηθοποιια, δικαιολογια [when we state the equity of our cause in as brief a form of argument as possible. Rutil. Lupus, ii. 3], προληψις, χαρακτηρισμος [a description of the character or manners of a person, Rutil. Lup. ii. 7], βραχυλογια, παρασιωπησις [when we say that we forbear to state anything, yet express ourselves in such a way that it is understood. Rutil. Lup. ii. 11], παρρησια [when we make a bold attack on the judge. Rutil. Lup. ii. 18], of which I say also that they are not figures. As to those authors who have made scarcely any end of seeking for names, and who have inserted among figures that which belongs to arguments, I shall pay them no attention.
100. Concerning what are really figures, too, I would briefly remark, in addition, that though they are ornaments to language when they are judiciously employed, they are extremely ridiculous when introduced in immoderate profusion. Some speakers, regardless of weight of matter or force of thought, think that, if they can but distort empty words into the guise of figures, they have attained the perfection of art, and therefore never cease to string them together, though it is as ridiculous to aim at the form of eloquence without the substance, as it would be to study dress and gesture for what is not a living body. 101. Even such figures as are happily applied ought not to be too much crowded.
Changes of countenance, and expressive glances of the eye, add great effect to pleading, but if a speaker should be perpetually molding his features into studied configurations, or should keep up a perpetual agitation in his forehead and his eyes, he would only make himself a laughing-stock; and language has, as it were, a certain natural appearance, and though it ought not to appear torpid in immoveable rigidity, it should yet generally be kept in that form which nature has assigned it. 102. But what we ought chiefly to understand in regard to pleading is, what places, persons, and occasions, require; for the greater part of figures are intended to please; but when a speaker has to labor to excite emotions of indignation, hatred, or compassion, who would endure to hear him raging, lamenting, or supplicating, in studied antitheses, balanced clauses, and similar cadences? Affected attention to words, in such cases, destroys all trust in his expression of feeling, and, wherever art shows itself, truth is thought to be absent.
1. On composition I should not presume to write after Cicero, (by whom I know not whether any part of oratory has been more carefully treated,) had not men of his own age [one of those meant is Brutus; see ad Att. xiv. 20, xv. 1. See xii. 1, 22; 10, 12; also Dial. de Orat. c. 18], in letters which' they addressed to himself, ventured to criticize his style, and had not many writers, since his day, communicated to the world many observations on the same subject. 2. I shall however adhere to Cicero in general, and shall touch but briefly on such points as are undisputed; in some things I shall perhaps dissent from him. But even when I offer my own opinion, I shall leave my readers to form their own.
3. I know that there are some who would repudiate all attention to composition, and who contend that unpolished language, such as it happens to present itself, is both more natural and more manly. But if such persons say that that only is natural which originally sprung from nature, and which preceded culture, the whole art of oratory is at an end. 4. For men of the earliest ages did not speak with our exactness and care, nor had any knowledge of preparing an audience with an exordium, enlightening them with statements of facts, convincing them with arguments, and exciting them with appeals to their feelings. They were ignorant of all these arts, and not of composition merely; and if we ought to speak in no respect better than they, huts should never have been relinquished for houses, dresses of skins for decent apparel, or mountains and forests for cities.
5. What art too, we may ask, came to perfection at once? What is not improved by culture? Why do we prune our vines? Why do we dig about them? Why do we root out brambles from our fields, when the ground naturally produces them? Why do we tame animals when they are born untamed? But, in truth, a thing is most natural, when nature has allowed it to be brought into the best condition. 6. Should we say that what is unconnected is stronger than what is compact and well-arranged? If short feet, such as those of Sotadic and Galliambic metre, and others that wanton with almost equal license in prose, diminish the force of our matter, this is not to be imputed to too much care in composition. 7. As the current of rivers is more forcible in a descending channel, which offers no obstruction to their course, than amidst rocks that oppose their broken and struggling waters, so language that is properly connected, and flows on with a full flood, is preferable to that which is rugged and fragmentary.
Why, then, should they think that strength is relaxed by attention to beauty, when nothing attains its full strength without art, and beauty always accompanies art? 8. Do we not see that the spear, which is hurled with the greatest effect, is also hurled with the most grace? The surer is the aim of those who direct arrows from the bow, the finer are their attitudes. In passages of arms, and in all the exercises of the palaestra, what blow is successfully avoided or aimed by him whose movements have not something artificial, and whose step is not assured by skill?
9. Thoughts, in like manner, appear to me to be aimed and impelled by studied composition, as javelins and arrows are by the thong [the amentum was a thong attached to a javelin, that it might be hurled with greater force] or the bowstring. The most learned, indeed, are of opinion that it is of the highest efficacy not only for giving pleasure, but for producing conviction; 10. because, in the first place, nothing can fairly pass into the mind which gives offence as it enters the ear, which is, as it were, the vestibule of the mind; and because, in the second place, we are adapted by nature to feel pleasure in harmony; otherwise, it would be impossible for the notes of musical instruments, which express nothing but meaningless sounds, to excite various emotions in the hearer.
11. In the sacred games, the musicians do not excite and calm the mind with the same strains; they do not employ the same tunes when a warlike charge is to be sounded, and when supplication is to be made on the bended knee; nor is there the same concert of signals when an army is going forth to battle, as when notice is given to retreat. 12. It was the custom of the disciples of Pythagoras, when they awoke in the morning, to excite their minds with the sound of the lyre, that they might be more alert for action; and to soothe themselves with it before they lay down to sleep, in order to allay any tumultuous thoughts that might have disturbed them.
13. If, then, there is such a secret force in mere melody and modulation, there must surely be the utmost power in the music of eloquence. As it makes a difference to a thought in what words it is expressed, so it makes a difference to words in what form they are arranged, either in the body of a sentence, or in the conclusion of it. Some thoughts, indeed, that are but of slight import, and expressed with but moderate force, beauty in the language conveying them sets off and recommends. 14. In short, let the reader take to pieces any sentence that he has thought forcibly, agreeably, or gracefully expressed, and alter the arrangement of the words, and all the force, agreeableness, and grace, will at once disappear. Cicero [Orat. c. 70. The words are from his Oratio Corneliana] has thus taken to pieces some of his own sentences in his Orator; as, neque me divitiae movent, quibus omnes Africanos et Laelios multi venalitii mercatoresque superdrunt; and some of the following periods; in which when you effect such disarrangement, you seem to throw, as it were, broken or ill-directed weapons.
15. Cicero [Ibid.] also corrects a sentence which he regards as having been composed inelegantly by Gracchus. This was very becoming in him; but for ourselves, we may be content with the task of rendering compact what has presented itself to us loosely while writing it. For as to seeking examples of incorrectness, which every one may find in his own compositions, to what profit would it be? I consider it quite enough to remark, that the more beautiful, in thought and expression, are the sentences that we take to pieces, the more their language appears disfigured; for the faultiness in arrangement is seen more clearly by the light of their brilliant phraseology.
16. At the same time that I admit, however, that the art of composition, I mean the perfection of the art, was the last that was attained by orators, I consider that it was counted among objects of study by the ancients as far as their skill had then reached; for not even Cicero himself, great as his authority is, shall persuade me that Lysias, Herodotus, and Thucydides felt but little solicitude about it. 17. They perhaps did not aim at the same sort of style as Demosthenes and Plato, (who however were quite unlike each other,) for the simple and delicate diction of Lysias was not to be vitiated by the introduction of fuller periods, as it would have lost the grace of its simple and unaffected coloring, which is seen in him in its highest excellence; and it would have lost also the credit which it commanded, as he wrote for others, and did not speak himself, so that his orations were necessarily made to appear plain and artless, a quality which is itself the effect of art.
18. As to history, which ought to flow on in a continuous stream, those clauses that break the course of oratory, those breathing-places so necessary in spoken pleadings, and those artificial modes of concluding and commencing sentences, would have been but ill-suited to it. In the speeches of the historians, indeed, we may see something of similarity of cadence and antithetic arrangement. In Herodotus, assuredly, his whole style, as I at least think, has a smooth flow, and the very dialect which he uses has such a sweetness that it appears to contain within it some latent rhythmical power. 19. But of the diversity in styles I shall speak hereafter. At present, I shall notice some particulars that must first he learned by those who would compose with success.
There are, then, in the first place, two kinds of style; one compact, and of a firm texture; the other of a looser nature, such as is used in common conversation and in familiar letters, except when they treat of something above their ordinary subjects, as questions of philosophy, politics, and the like. 20. In saying this, I do not mean to intimate that the looser sort of style has not a certain measure, which is perhaps even more difficult to be observed than that of the other kind; (for the style of conversation and correspondence should not present perpetual recurrences of hiatus between vowels, or be destitute of rhythm,) but it does not flow in an unbroken stream, or maintain an exact coherence, or attach phrase to phrase; so that it has rather a lax connection than none at all. 21. Such simplicity of style is sometimes becoming in pleading causes of an inferior kind; a simplicity which is not void of numerousness, but has it of a different sort from that of the higher oratory, and dissembles it, or rather observes it less ostentatiously.
22, The more compact kind of style has three principal parts: phrases, which are by the Greeks called κομματα; members, or κωλα: and periods, for which the Latin term is ambitus, circumductum, continuatio, or conclusio. But in all composition there are three particulars necessary to be observed, order, junction, and rhythm.
23. Let us first, then, speak of order, regard to which is to be had in the use of words both separate and in conjunction. Words taken separately we call ασυνδετα. In respect to these, we must be cautious that they do not decrease in force, and that a weaker be not subjoined to a stronger, as thief to temple-spoiler, or insolent fellow to robber; for the sense ought to increase and rise, as in the admirable words of Cicero [Philipp. ii. 25], You, with that throat, those sides, and that strength of your whole frame suitable for a gladiator, &c.: since the words are successively of larger meaning; but if he had commenced with the whole frame, he could not have proceeded with good effect to the sides and the throat. There is also another sort of order which we may call natural; thus we should say men and women, day and night, rising and setting, rather than the reverse way.
24. Some words, when their position is changed, become superfluous, as in fratres gemini; for if gemini is put first, it is not necessary to add fratres. The solicitude of certain writers, who desired that nouns should be prefixed to verbs, verbs to adverbs, nouns to adjectives and pronouns, was absurd; for the contrary is often done with the happiest effect. 25. It is a proof of too great scrupulosity, also, to put that always first which is first in the order of time; not that this order is not frequently to be preferred, but because that which precedes is often of the greater importance, and ought consequently to be put after what is of less. 26. To close the sense with the verb, is by far the best, if the composition will allow; for the force of language lies in verbs. But if that order is attended with harshness of sound, it must yield to a more harmonious arrangement, as is very often the case among the most eminent orators both Greek and Latin.
Doubtless every verb that is not at the end, causes a hyperbaton; but this is admitted among tropes and figures, which are considered as beauties. 27, Words indeed are not arranged by feet, and may therefore be transferred from one place to another, so as to be joined with those to which they are most suitable; as, in piling together unhewn stones, their very irregularity suggests to what other stones they may be applied, and where they may rest. The happiest kind of composition, however, is that in which a judicious order, proper connection, and harmony of cadence, are found combined.
28. But some transpositions are carried to too great a length, as I have observed in the preceding books, and give rise at times to faults in construction, being adopted merely in sport or wantonness; as these phrases of Maecenas, [the ancients disliked in Maecenas the fantastical niceties of style. The sense will then be something like this: "[They] are red with the rays of the sun, and much light from the east. The sacred water flows amidst the ash trees. I would not, alone among the most miserable of men, see my own funeral rites."] Sole et aurora rubent plurima. Inter sacra movit aqua fraxinos. Ne exequias quidem unus inter miserrimos viderem meas. What is the most objectionable in this passage, is, that the composition is flighty upon a grave subject.
29. There is sometimes an extraordinary force in some particular word, which, if it be placed, in no very conspicuous position, in the middle part of a sentence, is likely to escape the attention of the hearer, and to be obscured by the words surrounding it; but, if it be put at the end of the sentence, is urged upon the hearer's notice, and imprinted on his mind; as in the passage of Cicero, Ut tibi necesse esset in conspectu populi Romani vomere postridie; "That you were forced to vomit in the sight of the people of Rome the following day." [Philipp. ii. 25.] 30. Transfer the last word to some other place, and it will have much less effect; for, standing at the conclusion, it forms a point, as it were, to the whole sentence; adding, to the disgraceful necessity of vomiting, (when the audience expected nothing further,) the shamefulness of being unable to retain meat on his stomach the following day.
31. Domitius Afer, again, used to put particular words at the end of his sentences, merely for the purpose of giving roughness to his style, especially in his exordia. Thus, in his speech for Cloantilla, he says, Gratias agam continuo, "I will thank you at once," and in that for Laelia, Eis utrisque apud te judicem periolitatur Laelia, "By both of these Laelia is brought into danger before you as judge." He was so little disposed to be studious of the nice and delicate gratifications of melody, that, even when harmony presented itself, he would put something in its way to interrupt it. 32. That ambiguity may be produced by a faulty collocation of words, I suppose that nobody is ignorant. These few remarks I thought it necessary to make respecting order; for, if the order of a speaker's words be ill-judged, his style, though it be on the whole compact and harmonious, will nevertheless be justly characterized as deficient in elegance.
The next particular is connection, which has reference to words, phrases, members and whole sentences; for all these have beauties and faults dependent on combination.
33. To proceed methodically, there are, in the first place, some faults so palpable that they incur the reprehension even of the illiterate; for instance, when two words, coming together, produce, by the union of the last syllable of the former with the first syllable of the latter, some offensive expression. In the next place there is the clashing of vowels; for, when this occurs, the phrases gape, open, dispart, and seem to labor. Long vowels, especially when they are the same, have the very worst of sound in conjunction; but the hiatus is most remarkable in such vowels as are pronounced with a round or wide opening of the mouth. [Meaning the two vowels, O and A.] 34. E has a flatter and I a closer sound; and consequently any fault in the management of them is less perceptible.
The speaker who shall put short vowels after long will give less offence, and still less he who shall put short ones before long; but the least offence of all is given by the concurrence of two short. In fact, whenever vowels follow vowels, the collision of them will be more or less harsh, in proportion as the mode in which they are pronounced is more or less similar. 35. A hiatus of vowels, however, is not to be dreaded as any great crime; and indeed I know not whether too little or too much care in regard to it be the worse. The fear of it must necessarily be a restraint on an orator's efforts, and divert his attention from points of more consequence.
As it is a mark of carelessness, therefore, to be constantly running into this fault, so it is a sign of littleness to be perpetually in dread of it; and it is not without reason that critics consider all the followers of Isocrates, and especially Theopompus [see Demetr. Phal. sect. 68; and Dionys. Hal. Epist. ad Pomp. de Platone, &c., sub. fin. p. 786 ed. Reisk], to have felt too much solicitude as to this particular. 36. As for Demosthenes and Cicero, they paid it but moderate attention. Indeed, the amalgamation of two vowels, which is called synaloepha, may render a period smoother than it would be if every word retained its own vowel at the end. Sometimes, too, a hiatus is becoming, and throws an air of grandeur over what is said: as, Pulchra oratione acta omnino jactare.
Besides, syllables that are long in themselves, and require a fuller pronunciation, gain something from the time that intervenes, as if for taking a rest, between the two vowels. 37. On this point I shall quote, with the utmost respect, the words of Cicero [Orat. c. 23]: The hiatus and concourse, he says, of open vowels has something soft in it, indicating a not unpleasing negligence, as if the speaker were more anxious about his matter than about his words.
But consonants also are liable to jar with one another in the connection of words, and especially such as are of a harsher nature; as S at the end of a word with X at the commencement of the following; and the hissing is still more unpleasant if two of these consonants clash together, as, Ars studiorum. 38. This was Servius' reason, as I observed, for cutting off the the letter S whenever it terminated a word, and was followed by another consonant; a practice which Lauranius blames, and Messala defends; for they do not think that Lucilius retained the final S when he said, Serenus fuit, and Dignus locoque; and Cicero in his Orator [C. 48] states that many of the ancients spoke in the same way. 39. Hence belligerare and po'meridiem, and the Diee hanc of Cato the Censor, the letter M being softened into E.
Such modes of writing, when found in old books, persons of little learning are disposed to alter; and, while they think to censure the ignorance of transcribers, expose their own. 40. But the same letter M, when it terminates a word, and is in contact with a vowel at the commencement of the following word, so that it may coalesce with it, is, though it is written, hardly expressed; as, Multum ille, Quantum erat; so that it gives the sound almost of a new letter; for it is not extinguished, but merely obscured, and is, as it were, a mark of distinction between the two vowels to prevent them from combining. 41. We must also take care that the final syllables of a preceding word, and the initial syllables of that which follows it, be not the same. That no one may wonder at such an admonition, I may remark that there has escaped even from Cicero, in a letter, Res mihi invisae visae sunt, Brute, and in his verses,
O fortunatam natam me consule Romam. [Juvenal x. 122]
42. A number of monosyllables, too, have a bad effect in succession, because the language, from the many stops that it will occasion, will seem to proceed by fits and starts. For the same reason, also, a succession of short verbs and nouns should be avoided; and, on the other hand, of long ones, which make sentences heavy and slow. It is a fault moreover of the same class, when words of similar cadence, and of similar terminations and inflexions, are joined together. 43. Nor is it proper that verbs should be joined to verbs, or nouns to nouns, and the like, in a long succession, as even beauties themselves will tire, unless they are aided by the charms of variety.
44. The connection of members and phrases does not require the same management as that of single words, (though the beginnings and endings of them should harmonize,) but it makes a great difference, as to composition, what is put first or last. Thus in the words Vomeus frustis esculentis gremium suum et totum tribunal implevit, [Cic. Philipp. ii. 25] the proper gradation is observed; but, on the other hand, (for I shall often use the same examples for different purposes, that they may be the more familiar,) in the phrases [Cic. pro Archia, c. 8] Saxa atque solitudines voci respondent, bestiae saepe immanes cantu flectuntur atque consistunt, there would be a better rise in the sense, if their order were inverted, for it is a greater thing that rocks should be moved than beasts; yet gracefulness of structure has ordered it the other way.
45. But let us pass on to numbers; for all structure, and measure, and connection of words, is concerned either with numbers, (by numbers I wish rhythm to be understood,) or with metres, that is, certain dimensions of syllables.
46. But though both rhythm and metre are composed of feet, they have nevertheless several points of difference; for rhythm, that is numbers, consists of lengths of times; metre, besides length, requires the times to be in a certain order; and thus the one seems to refer to quantity, the other to quality. 47. Rhythm lies either in feet having two parts equally balanced, as the dactyl, which has one long syllable equal to two short; (there is, indeed, the same property in other feet, but the name of dactyl is the most common;— that a long syllable consists of two times, and a short syllable of one, even children know;—) or in feet that have one part consisting of two times and another of three, as the first paeon, which is formed of a long syllable and three short, or its opposite, which is formed of three short syllables and one long; (or in whatever other way three syllables opposed to two make this sesquialteral proportion;) or in feet in which the one part is double of the other, as the iambus, which is formed of a short and a long syllable, or the trochee which is the reverse.
48. The same feet are used in metre, but there is this difference, that it is of no moment to the rhythm whether the dactyl has the first or last syllables short; for rhythm measures merely the time, its object being that the space from the raising to the lowering of the voice be the same. The measure of verses is altogether different; for there an anapaest or spondee cannot be put for a dactyl, nor can a paeon begin or end with short syllables indifferently. 49. Not only, indeed, does the regularity of metre refuse to admit one foot for another, but it will not, possibly, admit even one dactyl or one spondee for another. Thus if, in the verse,
Panditur interea domus omnipotentis Olympi, [Aen. x. 1]
we change the order of the five dactyls, we destroy the metre altogether. 50. There are also the following differences: Rhythm has indefinite space, metre definite; metre runs in a certain circle, rhythm flows on as it has commenced, as far as the μεταβολη, or point of transition to another kind of rhythm; metre is concerned only with words, rhythm is applied even to the motions of the body. 51. Rhythm also more easily admits blank times [a short syllable may be in some degree lengthened by an inane tempus or pause after it], though these are found also in metre. There is, however, still greater license in music, where people measure time in their mind, and where they distinguish intervals by certain marks, with a stroke of the foot or the hand, and observe how many short notes such intervals contain, whence the terms percussions τετρασημοι, "of four times," πεντασημοι, "of five times," and others still. longer, for the Greek word σημειον denotes one time. 52. In the structure of prose the measure is more determined, and ought to be kept more apparent to every hearer.
Measure consists, accordingly, in metrical feet; and these so readily present themselves in prose, that, in writing it, verses of all kinds frequently escape us without our knowledge; and certainly there is nothing written in prose that may not be reduced into some sorts of verses or parts of verses. 53. But I have met with grammarians so fastidious, that they would force the syllables of prose composition into various measures similar to the verses of lyric poets. 54. Cicero, it is true, observes in several places that the whole beauty of composition consists in numbers, and is in consequence censured by some writers, as if he wanted to bind prose down to rhythmical rules; for numbers are rhythm, as he himself asserts [Orat. c. 20], and Virgil who followed him,
Numeros memini, si verba tenerem, [Virg. Ecl. ix. 45]
and Horace [Od. iv. 2, 11],
55. They attack, accordingly, that passage of Cicero [Orat. c. 70], among others, in which he says, that the thunderbolts of Demosthenes would not have vibrated with so much force, if they had not been hurled and impelled in numbers. If, by this expression, he means impelled by rhythm, I am not of his opinion, for rhythm, as I said [all rhythm is number, but all number is not rhythm], has no certain limit, nor any variety in its course, but runs on to the end with the same elevations and depressions with which it commenced. But prose will not stoop to be measured by taps of the fingers. 56. This Cicero himself understood very well, for he frequently remarks, that he desires prose to be numerous only so far that it should be rather not αρρυθμος, (which would be a mark of ignorance and barbarity,) than ενρυθμος, or poetical; just as we do not wish men to be palaestritae, and yet do not wish them to be such as are called απαλαιστοι.
57. But the regular flow of a period, which results from the combination of feet, requires some name. What name can be better, then, than number, that is, oratorical number, as an enthymeme is called an oratorical syllogism? For my own part, that I may not fall under the censure which not even Cicero has escaped, I request that, wherever I use the term number to signify regular composition, and wherever I have already used it in that sense, I may be considered to mean oratorical number.
58. As to collocation, its business is to collect words already chosen and approved, and such as are, as it were, consigned to it; for words rudely united are better than words that are useless. Yet I would allow a speaker to select some words, for the sake of euphony, in preference to others, provided he select from such as are of the same signification and force, and to add words, on condition that he does not add such as are superfluous, and to take away, so that he does riot withdraw any that are necessary; I would permit him also to vary cases and numbers by means of figures, since variety, which is frequently adopted for embellishing composition, pleases even independently of anything else.
59. When reason, too, pleads for one word, and custom for another, let composition choose which of the two it thinks proper, vitavisse or vitasse, deprendere or deprehendere. Nor am I unwilling to admit coalescence of syllables, or anything that is not prejudicial to the thought or the expression. 60. The triumph of art, however, in this department, is to understand what word is most suitable for any particular place; and he will construct his sentences best who shall best observe this, though not merely with a view to structure.
But the management of feet in prose, it should be observed, is much more difficult than in verse; first, because a verse is included in a comparatively small number of words, while prose often runs in long periods; and, secondly, because verse is always in some degree uniform, and flows in one strain, while the language of prose, unless it be varied, offends by monotony, and convicts itself of affectation. 61. Numbers, indeed, are dispersed throughout the whole body, and, so to speak, course, of prose; for we cannot even speak but in short and long syllables, of which feet are composed.
It is at the close of periods, however, that regard to numbers is more requisite, as well as more observable, than anywhere else; first, because every body of thought has its limit, and requires a natural interval to separate it from the commencement of that which follows; and, secondly, because the ear, having listened to a continuous flow of words, and having been led on, as it were, by the current of the speech, is better able to form a judgment when the stream comes to a stop, and gives time for consideration. 62. There should be nothing, therefore, harsh or abrupt in that part where the mind takes breath, as it were, and is recruited. The close of the period is the natural resting-place of the speech; it is this that the auditor expects, and it is here that approbation bursts forth into applause.
The beginnings of periods demand a degree of care next to that which is required for the close of them; for to them also the hearer pays strict attention. 63. But the management of them is less difficult; for they have no close connection with what precedes, but merely refer to it so far as to take a starting-point from it, with whatever descent towards the close; though this descent must be graceful, for the close will lose all its charms if we proceed to it by a rough path. Hence it happens that, though the language of Demosthenes is thought to be unobjectionably euphonious in the words, Πρωτον μεν, ω ανδρες Αθηναιοι, τοις θεοις ευχομαι πασι και πασαις, [De Coron. init.] "In the first place, Athenians, I pray to all the gods and goddesses," and in the phrase (which, as far as I know, has been disliked by nobody but Brutus, and has satisfied every one else) καν μηπω βαλλη μηδε τοξευη, "even though he does not yet throw or shoot," 64. the critics find fault with Cicero in regard to Familiaris caeperat esse balneatori, "he had begun to be familiar with the bath keeper," and Non nimium dura archipiratae, "not too severe to the private captain;" for though balneatori and archipiratae are terminations similar to πασι και πασαις and μηδε τοξευη, yet the words of Demosthenes are more studied; 65. and there is something in the circumstance, too, that, in Cicero, two feet are included in one word; a peculiarity which, even in verse, has much of nervelessness, not only when a word of five syllables ends a verse, as fortissima Tyndaridarum, [Horat. Sat. i. 1, 100] but even when the concluding word consists of but four, as Apennino [Pers. Sat. i. 95. Ov. Met. ii. 226], armamentis [Ovid. Met. xi. 456], Orione. [Aen. iii. 517.] 66. We must, accordingly, take care not to use words of several syllables at the close of a period.
As to the middle parts of periods, we must not only take care that they cohere, but that they be not drawling or prolix, and also, what is a great vice of the present day, that they do not, from being composed of a number of short syllables, proceed by starts, as it were, and make a sound like that of children's rattles. 67. For though the beginnings and endings of periods are of the most importance, inasmuch as it is there that the sense commences and concludes, yet there is also, here and there, a stress in the middle parts, which causes a slight pause, as the foot of a runner, though it does not stop, yet leaves an impression. Hence, not only members and phrases ought to be well begun and ended, but even in the parts which are closely connected, and allow no respiration, there ought still to be certain, almost imperceptible, rests.
68. Who can doubt, for example, that there is but one thought in the following words, and that they ought to be pronounced without respiration, Animadverti, judices, omnem accusatoris orationem in duas divisam esse partes [Cicero pro Cluent. c. 1]: yet the first two words, the next three, the two following, and the last three, have respectively, as it were, their own numbers, which allow relief to the breath; at least so it is thought by those who are studious of rhythm. 69. In proportion as these short divisions, too, are grave or spirited, slow or quick, languid or lively, the periods composed of them will be severe or effeminate, compact or lax.
70. The ends of phrases, we may observe, appear sometimes lame and loose, when they are considered as they stand by themselves, but are upheld and supported by the words that follow them; and thus that which would be faulty as a close is corrected by continuation. The phrase Non vult populus Romanus obsoletis criminibus accusari Verrem [In Verr. v. 44], is harsh if you stop at the end of it; but when it is joined to that which follows, nova postulat, inaudita desiderat, (though disunited in sense,) the course of the whole is unobjectionable. 71. The words, Ut adeas, tantum dabis [In Verr. v. 45], would form a bad close, for they are the ending of a trimeter iambic verse, but there follows, ut cibum vestitumque inferre liceat, tantum, which, still abrupt, is strengthened and supported by the conclusion, nemo recusabat.
73. The occurrence of a whole verse in prose has an extremely bad effect, and even a part of one is unpleasing; especially if the latter half of a verse presents itself at the close, or the former half at the beginning of a period. As to the reverse, it is often not without grace; for the first part of a verse sometimes forms an elegant conclusion to a sentence, provided it be confined to a few syllables, and chiefly those of the iambic trimeter or tetrameter. 73. In Africa fuisse is the beginning of a senarius, and closes the first member of the speech for Quintua Ligarius. Esse videatur, which is now too much in use, is the beginuing of an octonarius [the tetrametar trochaio, which Cicero, Tusc. Disp. i. 44, calls septenarius]. Of a like nature, are the expressions of Demosthenes, πασι και πασαις: και πασιν 'υμιν: οσην ευνοιαν, and throughout almost all the exordium of the speech against Ctesiphon.
74. The ends of verses, also, are very suitable for the commencements of periods; as Etsi vereor, judices [Cic. pro Mil. c. 1], and Animadverti, judices. [Cic. pro Ligar. c. 1, and pro Cluent. c. 1.] But the beginnings of verses are not suitable for the beginnings of periods; though Livy commences his history with the commencement of a hexameter, Facturusne operae pretium sim; for so he published it; and it is better so than as it has been corrected. [Namely Facturusne sim operae pretium; as it appears in most manuscripts.] 75. Nor are endings of verses proper for the endings of periods; though Cicero says, Quo me vertam nescio [Pro Ligar. c. 1], which is the end of an iambic trimeter. We may call such a verse a trimeter or senarius indiscriminately; for it has six feet and three percussions. The end of a hexameter forms a still worse conclusion; of which Brutus gives an example in one of his letters [not extant], Neque illi malunt habere tutores aut defensores, quanquam sciunt placuisse Catoni.
76. Iambic verses are less observable, because that kind of verse is nearer akin to prose. Such verses, accordingly, often escape us unawares; Brutus, through his very anxiety for elegance in composition, makes them very frequently; Asinius Pollio not seldom; and even Cicero himself, at times, as in the commencement of his speech against Lucius Piso, Pro dii immortales, quis hic illuxit dies? 77. But we must avoid with equal care whatever is ενρυθμον, or metrical, as in that of Sallust [Bell. Jug. init. They are the last five feet of a trimeter iambic], Falso queritur de natura sua; for though prose should be bound, it should nevertheless appear free.
78. Yet Plato, though most careful in his composition, could not avoid such faults at the very commencement of his Timaeus; for you may find there, first of all, the commencement of a hexameter verse; then you may form an Anacreontic, and, if you please, a trimeter iambic, and what is called by the Greeks a penthemimer, consisting of two feet and a half. All this is in a very few words. There has also escaped from Thucydides [I. 8] a phrase of the softest kind of metre, 'υπερ ημισυ Καρες εφανησαν.
79. But since all prose, as l said, consists of feet, I shall add some remarks on them also; and as different names are given them by different authors, we must settle, in the first place, by what name each is to be called. On this head I shall follow Cicero [Orat. c. 64, 65], (for he followed the most eminent of the Greeks,) excepting that a foot, in my opinion, does not exceed three syllables, though he admits the paeon and the dochmius, of which the former extends to four and the latter to five feet; but does not omit to notice, at the same time, that they are regarded by some as numbers, not feet. 80. Nor is this opinion unreasonable; for whatever exceeds three syllables contains more than one foot. Since, then, there are four feet that consist of two syllables, and eight of three, I shall call that which consists of two long syllables, a spondee; that which has two short, a pyrrhic (some call it a pariambus) [because it has one time less than an iambus, this being denoted by the Greek preposition παρα]; that which has a short and a long syllable, an iambus; the contrary to it, formed of a long and a short, a choreus, not, as others term it, a trochee.
81. Of those, again, which consist of three syllables, that which is formed of a long and two short, is universally called a dactyl; that which contains an equal number of times, but in the reverse order, an anapaest. A short syllable between two long forms an amphimacer, but the name more commonly given it is cretic. 82. A long syllable between two short is called an amphibrachys; two long syllables following a short, a bacchius; two long preceding a short a palimbacchius. Three short syllables make a trochee, which those who give the name trochee to the choreus, choose to call a tribrach; three long make a molossus. 83. Of these feet, there is no one that has not a place in prose composition; but such as are fuller in times, and stronger in long syllables, give proportionably more weight to language; short syllables give it celerity and briskness. Each sort is useful in its proper place; for gravity and slowness, when there is need of rapidity, and quickness and precipitation, when there is need of solemnity, are justly and equally reprehensible.
84. It may be of importance to remark, also, that some long syllables are longer than others, and some short syllables shorter than others; so that, though no long syllables appear to have more than two times, nor any short syllables less than one time, (and hence all short syllables, and all long, when arranged in metre, are accounted equal one to another respectively,) yet there are almost imperceptible differences in them, some seeming to contain more and some less. As to verses, they have their own peculiarities, and in them, accordingly, some syllables are common. 85. Nature, indeed, allows a vowel to be either short or long, as well when it stands alone, as when it precedes two or three consonants; but, in the measuring of feet, a syllable that is short, with another that is short following it, but which has two consonants at the commencement, becomes long; as,
Agrestem tenui musam medltaris avena.
86. A is short; and gre is short [short by nature only; by position it is long], yet makes the syllable preceding it long, and therefore communicates to it a portion of its own time. But how could it do so, unless it had more time than the very shortest of syllables, such as it would itself be if the consonants st were withdrawn? As it is, it lends one time to the syllable that goes before it, and borrows one from that which follows it; and thus the two syllables by nature short become possessed of four times by position.
87. But I wonder that certain writers, and some of the greatest learning, should have entertained the opinion that they ought to choose some feet for prose and reject others, as if there were any foot that must not at times enter into prose composition. Although, therefore, Ephorus [Cicero Orat. c. 57] delights in the paeon, which was invented by Thrasymachus [Cicero de Orat. iii. 47, and Aristotle Rhet. iii. 84] and approved by Aristotle, and in the dactyl, as being happy compounds of short and long syllables, while he shuns the spondee and the trochee, objecting to the slowness of the one and the rapidity of the other; 88. although Aristotle thinks the heroic foot, that is, the dactyl, is more suitable for lofty subjects, and the iambus for those of common life, and dislikes the trochee as too flighty, giving it the name of a dancing measure [the cordax was a light dance used in comedy. That Aristotle gave this name to the trochee appears from Cicero Orat. c. 57]; and although Theodectes and Theophrastus express similar opinions, and, subsequently to them, Dionysius of Halicarnassus; 89. yet the feet to which they object will force themselves upon them in spite of their utmost efforts, and they will not be able constantly to use their dactyl or their paeon, the latter of which they commend most, because it rarely forms a verse. It is not, however, the mere choice of words, which cannot be altered as to quantity, or made long or short like syllables in music, that will render the recurrence of certain feet more or less frequent, but the arrangement and combination of them after they are chosen.
90. Most feet, indeed, arise from the connection or separation of words; hence different feet may be formed from the same words; and I remember that a poet, of no mean repute, wrote, in sport,
Astra tenet coelum, mare classes, area messem,
a verse which, read backwards, becomes a Sotadic [so called from Sotades, a poet who wrote much in it, and consisting of three Ionics a majore and a half] verse. So a trimeter iambic may be formed from a Sotadic read backwards:
Caput exeruit mobile pinus repetita.
91. Feet are consequently to be intermixed; and we must take care that those which are of a pleasing kind form the greater number, and that the less agreeable be hidden, as it were, in a crowd of the better sort. The nature of letters and syllables cannot be changed, but much effect may be produced by studying that those may be associated which are best adapted to each other. Long syllables, as I remarked, have more impressiveness and weight; short ones more lightness. Short syllables, if they are mixed with long, may be said to run; if they are continued in unbroken succession, to bound.
92. Feet that rise from short syllables to long are more spirited in sound; those which descend from long to short, more gentle. It is best to commence with long syllables; but we may sometimes commence very properly with short; as, Novum crimen [Cic. pro Ligar. init.], or, what is milder in sound, Animadverti, judices [Cic. pro Cluent. init.], words which are happily repeated at the commencement of the speech for Cluentius, since such a beginning has something of similarity to partition, which requires speed.
93. The close of a period, too, may very well be composed of long syllables; though short ones may also form a conclusion; the length of the last syllable is regarded as indifferent. I am not ignorant that a short syllable, at the end of a sentence, is accounted as long, because the time in which it is deficient is In some degree supplied from that which follows it; but, when I consult my own ears, I feel that it makes a great difference whether the concluding syllable be really long, or only be accepted as long. For example, the conclusion, Dicere incipienem timere [Cic. pro Mil. c. 1], is not so full in sound as Ausus est confiteri. [Cic. pro Ligar. c 1.]
94. Yet if it makes no difference whether the last syllable be long or short, the same foot will close both; but to me the latter has, I know not how, the air of sitting down, the former that of merely stopping. Hence some have been induced to assign three times to a long final syllable, in order that that time which a short syllable following a long one takes from it, might be added to the long syllable. Nor is it only of importance what foot is last in the period; it is also of consequence what foot precedes the last.
95. It is not necessary, however, to take account of more than three feet from the end, (and three are not to be regarded unless they consist of fewer than three syllables, but poetical nicety is to be avoided,) or fewer than two [we may observe three dissyllabic feet from the end; but not more than two trisyllabic feet. See Cicero Orat. c. 64]; if we go further back, the result will be measure, not number. But the one concluding foot may be a dichoreus, if that, indeed, be one foot which consists of two chorei. 96. Or it may be that paeon which consists of a choreus and a pyrrhic, and which is thought peculiarly fit for the commencement of a sentence; or it may be the other paeon which is of a contrary form, and which is deemed appropriate for the termination of periods; and it is these two paeons that writers on rhetoric generally mean when they speak of paeons; though they call other feet [by other feet Quintilian means the second and third paeons] consisting of three long syllables and one short by that name, in whatever order the short syllables, and the long one, occur.
97. Or it may be a dochmius, which is formed of a bacchius and iambus, or an iambus and cretic, and which is a firm and grave foot for the close of a period. Or it may be a spondee, which Demosthenes has frequently used, and which has great stability; and a cretic may very happily precede it, as in these words, De qua ego nihil dicam, nisi depellendi criminis causa. [Cic. pro Cael. c. 13.] This exemplifies what I said above, that it makes a great difference whether the two concluding feet are contained in one word, or whether each consists of a single word. Thus criminis causa is forcible; archipiratae soft; and the softness becomes still greater when a tribrach precedes the spondee, as facilitates, temeritates.
98. For there is a certain portion of time latent between the syllables of a word when it is divided, as in the spondee which forms the middle part of a pentameter, which, unless it consists of the final syllable of one word, and the initial syllable of the next, constitutes no part of a regular verse. To the spondee, too, though with less effect, may be prefixed an anapaest, as, Muliere non solum nobili, verum etiam nota. 99. So the anapaest and the cretic, as well as the iambus which is found in both, but is shorter than either by a syllable, may very well precede the spondee, for thus one short syllable will be prefixed to three long.
A spondee also may very properly go before an iambus, as lisdem in armis fui. [Cic. pro Ligar. c. 3.] A spondee and bacchius, too, may be prefixed to the iambus, since the conclusion will then be a dochmius, as In armis iisdem fui. 100. From what I have just shown, it appears that a molossus is very suitable for the conclusion, provided that it has a short syllable, belonging to any foot whatever, before it; as, Illud scimus, ubicumque sunt, esse pro nobis. 101. If a pyrrhic precedes the spondee, it will have less gravity: as, Judicii Juniani [Cic. pro Cluent. c. 1]; but the effect will be still worse if a paeon precedes; as, Brute, dubitari [Cic. Orat. c. 1] (unless we regard this rather as a dactyl and a bacchius). Two spondees can scarcely ever be used in succession, (such a termination being remarkable even in a verse,) unless when they may be made to consist, as it were, of three members; as, Cur de perfugis nostris copias comparat is contra nos? [ib. c. 66. The words are from a speech of the orator Crassus] where we have one syllable, then two, and then one.
102. Nor can a dactyl be properly prefixed to a spondee, because we dislike the end of a verse at the end of a sentence in prose. The bacchius may conclude a period, and may be doubled, as Venenum timeres [Cic. pro Cael. c. 14]; and it likes a choreus and spondee to be before it, as, Ut venenum timeres. The palimbacchius, also, will form a very proper ending, unless we wish the last syllable to be long; and it will take a molossus before it with very good effect, as Civis Romanus sum [Cic. in Verr. v. 62], or a bacchius, as, Quod hic potest, nos possemus. [Cic. pro Ligar. c. 4.] 103. But it is more proper to say that these phrases are terminated by a choreus with a spondee preceding, for the rhythm lies chiefly in the words Nos possemus, and Romanus sum. The dichoreus may also form a conclusion, that is, the choreus or trochee may be doubled, a termination which the Asiatics frequently use, and of which Cicero affords us this example, Patris dictum sapiens temeritas filii comprobavit. [Orat. c. 63.] 104. The choreus will admit a pyrrhic before it, as, Omnes prope cives virtute, gloria, dignitate superabat.
A dactyl, too, will form a good termination, or attention to the last syllable may make it a cretic, as, Muliercula nixus in litore [Cic. in Verr. v. 33]; and it will take before it, with very good effect, a cretic or iambus, but not a spondee, and still less a choreus. 105. An amphibrachys forms a very good ending; as Quintum Ligarium in Africa fuisse; or we may prefer, by lengthening the last syllable, to make it a bacchius. The tribrach is not a very good ending, if the last syllable be accounted short, as it certainly must sometimes be, or otherwise how could a sentence end with a double trochee, which is a favorite ending with many?
106. From the tribrach, by lengthening the last syllable, is formed an anapaest; and by prefixing to it a long syllable it becomes a paeon, as, Si potero, and, Dixit hoc Cicero, and, Obstat invidia. But rhetoricians have consigned the paeon to the beginnings of sentences. A pyrrhic will form a conclusion with a choreus preceding it, for the two form a paeon. But all terminations of periods formed of short syllables, will have less weight than those that consist of long; nor are they eligible, except where rapidity of language is required, and no stress is laid upon the close of the sense. 107. The cretic is excellent for the commencement of periods; as, Quod precatus a diis immortalibus sum [Pro Muraen. init.], and for terminations also, as, In conspectu populi Romani vomere postridie. [Cic. Philipp. ii. 25.]
From the last of these examples it appears how properly an anapaest, or the paeon which is thought most suitable for conclusions, may precede the cretic; and a double cretic may also be used with very good effect, as Servare quam plurimos. [Cic. pro Ligar. extr.] This is better than if a trochee were to precede the cretic, as Non turpe duceret [Cic. Philipp. ii. 25], where I shall suppose that the final syllable is considered as long. 108. Let us, however, make it Non turpe duceres. But in these words occurs the vacant interval of which I spoke; for we make a short pause between the last word but one and the last, and lengthen the last syllable of turpe by the break; otherwise an extremely tripping kind of sound would be produced, like that of the end of an iambic verse, Quis non turpe duceret? So the phrase, Ore excipere liceret [Cic. in Verr. v. 45], if it be pronounced without a pause, forms part of a free kind of verse, but uttered with certain intervals, and three commencements, as it were, it becomes full of gravity.
109. But in specifying the preceding feet, I do not lay down a law that no others are to be used, but merely show what effect is commonly produced by those which I have mentioned, and what I thought best, for the moment, in each case. Let me add, that one anapaest following another produces but an ill effect, as being the conclusion of a pentameter, or the metre which takes its name from the anapaest [since the conclusion of the pentameter may be taken as two anapaests]; as, Nam ubi libido dominatur, innocentiae leve praesidium est [Crassus apud Cic. Orat. c. 65]; for the synalaepha makes the two syllables sound as one. 110. The effect will be better if a spondee or a bacchius precede, as will be the case if we transpose the concluding words of the phrase just cited, and make it, leve innocentiae praesidium est. The paeon which consists of three short and a long, has not, (though in this respect I dissent from some great authors,) many charms for me, for it is but an anapaest with a short syllable prefixed, as, facilitas, agilitas.
Why it pleased those writers so much I do not understand; but possibly most of those who liked it were men that fixed their attention rather on the language of common life than on that of oratory. 111. It likes to have before it a pyrrhic or trochee, as, mea facilitas, nostra facilitas; and even if a spondee be put before it, the conclusion [i.e. the last foot] will still be that of a trimeter iambic verse, as is that of the paeon itself. The paeon which has the syllables in the reverse order, is deservedly esteemed for the commencement of periods, for it has one syllable pronounced slowly and three rapidly. Yet I think that there are others better than it for that purpose.
112. This subject, however, has not been introduced with the intention that the orator, whose language ought to flow onward in a continued stream, should waste his energies in measuring feet and weighing syllables, for that would be the part of a mean mind, that occupies itself about trifles. 113. He, indeed, who should devote himself wholly to that study, would be unable to attend to things of more importance, but, disregarding force and beauty of thought, would employ himself, as Lucilius says [Cic. de Orat. iii. 43. Orat. c. 44], in arranging words like the parts of a tesselated pavement, or mosaic work. Would not his ardor be thus cooled, and his force checked, as delicate riders break the pace of horses by shortening their steps? [Palfreys or trotting horses are meant; see Plin. H. N. viii. 42, 67.]
114. Numbers, surely, present themselves naturally in composition, and it is with prose as with poetry, which, doubtless, was at first poured forth artlessly, originating in the measure of time by the ear, and the observation of portions of language flowing similarly; and it was not till after some time that feet were invented. Practice in writing, accordingly, will qualify us sufficiently for observing due numbers in prose, and enable us to pour them forth in a similar way extemporaneously. 115. Nor is it so much particular feet that are to be regarded, as the general flow of the composition; as those who make verses contemplate, not merely the five or six parts of which their lines are composed, but the whole sweep of their paragraphs. Verse had its being before the art of versification, and hence it is well said,
Fauni vatesque canebant,
and the place, therefore, which versification holds in poetry, composition holds in prose,
116. The great judge of composition is the ear, which is sensible of what fills it, misses something in whatever is defective, is offended with what is harsh, soothed with what is gentle, startled by what is distorted, approves what is compact, marks what is lame, and dislikes whatever is redundant and superfluous. Hence, while the learned understand the art of composition, the unlearned enjoy pleasure from it. 117. But some things cannot be taught by art; for instance, it is an excellent precept that a case must be changed, if, when we have commenced with it, it leads to harshness of construction; but can it be shown by rule to what other case we must have recourse? A diversity of figures is often a support to composition when it seems to flag; but of what figures, of speech, of thought, or of both? Can any certain directions be given on such points?
We must look to opportunity, and ask counsel of the circumstances in which we are placed. 118. The very pauses, which have a great effect in oratory, by what judgment can they be regulated but that of the ear? Why are some periods, that are conceived in few words, sufficiently full, or even more than sufficiently, when others, comprised in many, seem curt and mutilated? Why, in some sentences, even when the sense is complete, does there appear to be still something of vacancy? 119. Neminem vestrum, says Cicero, ignorare arbitror, judices, hunc per hosce dies sermonem vulgi, atque hanc opinionem populi Romani fuisse. [Cic. in Verr. i. 1.] "I suppose that no one of you is ignorant, judges, that it has been the talk of the common people during several days past, and that it has been the opinion of the people of Rome in general," &c.
Why does he use hosce in preference to hos, for hos would not be harsh? I should perhaps be unable to assign any reason, but I feel that hosce is the better. Why would it not have been sufficient to say simply, sermonem vulgi fuisse? The structure and sense would have admitted it. I cannot say; but, when I listen to the words, I feel that the period would be unsatisfactory without a clause to correspond to that which precedes. 120. It is to the judgment, therefore, that such matters must be referred. A person may be unable, perhaps, to understand exactly what is accurate and what is pleasing, yet he may act better under the guidance of nature than of art; but there is some degree of art in strict adherence to nature.
121. What is undoubtedly the business of the orator, is to understand on what subjects he must employ particular kinds of composition. This embraces two points for consideration; one having reference to feet; the other to periods composed of feet.
122. Of the latter I shall speak first. I observed that the parts of language are commas, members, and periods. A comma, according to my notion, is a certain portion of thought put into words, but not completely expressed; by most writers it is called a part of a member. The following examples of it Cicero [Orat. c. 67] affords us: Domus tibi deerat? At habebas. Pecunia superabat? At egebas. "Was a house wanting to you? But you had one. Was money superabundant with you? But you were in want." A comma may consist merely of a single word; as, Diximus, Testes dare volumus, "We said, We are willing to produce witnesses;" where Diximus is a comma.
123. A member is a portion of thought completely expressed, but detached from the body of the sentence, and establishing nothing by itself. Thus, O callidos homines! "O crafty men!" is a complete member, but, abstracted from the rest of the period, has no force, any more than the hand, or foot, or head, separated from the human body. So, too, O rem excogitatam! "O matter well considered!" When, then, do such members begin to form a body? When the conclusion is added: as, Quem, quaeso, nostrum fefellit, id vos ita esse facturos? "To which of us, I pray, was it unknown that you would act in this manner?" a sentence which Cicero thinks extremely concise. Thus commas and members are generally mixed, and necessarily require a conclusion. 124. To the period Cicero [Orat. c. 61] gives several names, ambitus, circuitus, comprehensio, continuatio, circumscriptio. There are two kinds of it; one simple, when a single thought is expressed in a rather full compass of words; the other consisting of members and commas, which may contain several thoughts; as, Aderat janitor carceris, et carnifex praetoris, &c.
125. A period must have at least two members; the average number appears to be four; but it frequently admits of more. Its proper length is limited by Cicero [Orat. c. 66, where, however, Cicero says hexameters, not iambics] to that of about four iambic trimeters, or the space between the times of taking breath. It ought fairly to terminate the sense; it should be clear, that it may be easily understood; and it should be of moderate length, that it may be readily retained in the memory. A member longer than is reasonable, causes slowness in a period; such as are too short, give it an air of instability. 126. Whenever we have to speak with spirit, urgency, and resolution, we must speak in a mixture of members and commas; for such a style is of vast force in pleadings; and our language should be so nicely adapted to our matter that rough numbers should be applied to rough subjects, and the hearer should be as strongly affected as the speaker.
127. In stating facts, we may use chiefly members, or distinguish our periods into longer divisions, with a looser sort of connection, except in those portions which are introduced, not to inform, but to embellish, as the abduction of Proserpine in one of the orations against Verres; for a gentle and flowing sort of composition is suitable for such recitals. 128. Full periods are very proper for the exordia of important causes, where it is necessary to excite solicitude, interest, or pity. They are also adapted for moral dissertations, and for any kind of amplification. A close style is proper when we accuse; a more diffuse one when we eulogize; and it is also of great effect in perorations.
129. But we are to make it our great care that this copious kind of style may be used when the judge not only thoroughly understands the case, but is captivated with the eloquence of the pleader, resigns himself wholly to its influence, and is led away by the pleasure which he experiences. History requires, not so much studied numbers, as a certain roundness and connectedness of style; for all its members are attached, as it rolls and flows along; as men, who steady their steps by taking hold of each others' hands, support and are supported. 130. All the demonstrative land of eloquence requires free and flowing numbers; the judicial and deliberative kinds, as they are various in their matter, admit of proportionate variety in their style.
I must now treat of the second division of the two which I just now made. Who doubts that some parts of a speech are to be uttered with slowness, others with rapidity, some in a lofty manner, others in a tone of argument, some in an ornate style, others with an air of simplicity? 131. Who doubts that long syllables are most suitable for grave, sublime, and demonstrative subjects? Calm topics require lengthening of the vowels; sublime and showy ones, fullness in the pronunciation of them; topics of an opposite kind, such as arguments, distinctions, jests, and whatever approaches nearer to common conversation, demand rather short vowels.
132. As to the exordium, we may vary the style of it as the subject may require; for I cannot agree with Celsus, who has given one set form for this part, and says that the best model of an exordium is to be found in Asinius: If, Caesar [Augustus], from among all men that are now alive, or that ever have lived, a judge could be chosen for the decision of this cause, no one would be more desirable for us than yourself. 133. I do not deny that this commencement is excellently composed, but I cannot admit that such a form of commencement should be observed in all exordia; for the mind of the judge is to be influenced by various means; sometimes we would wish to excite pity, sometimes to assume an air of modesty, spirit, gravity, or plausibility, sometimes to sway the judge to certain opinions, or to exhort him to pay diligent attention to us. As these objects are of various characters, each of them requires a different sort of language. Has Cicero used the same kind of rhythm in his exordia for Milo, for Cluentius, and for Ligarius?
134. Statements of facts require slower, and, if I may use the expression, more modest feet, and, in general, a mixture of all kinds. The style of this part is commonly indeed grave, but sometimes assumes elevation; its great object is to inform the judge, and to fix particulars in his mind; and this is not to be done by hasty speakers. To me it appears, that the whole narrative part of a speech admits of longer members than the other portions, but should be confined within shorter periods.
135. Arguments, too, that are of a spirited and rapid description, will require feet suited to their qualities, but among them they must not admit tribrachs, which will give quickness, but not force; though they should be composed, however, of short and long syllables, they should not admit more long than short.
136. The elevated portions of a speech require long and sonorous syllables; they like the fullness of the dactyl also, and of the paeon, which, though it consists mostly of short syllables, is yet sufficiently strong in times. Rougher parts, on the contrary, are best set forth in iambic feet, not only because they consist of only two syllables, and, consequently, allow of more frequent beats as it were, a quality opposed to calmness; but because every foot rises, springing and bounding from short to long, and is for that reason preferable to the trochee, which from a long falls to a short. 137. The more subdued parts of a speech, such as portions of the peroration, call for syllables that are long indeed, but less sonorous.
Celsus represents that there is a superior kind of composition; but if I knew what it was I should not teach it, as it must necessarily be dull and tame. Unless it arises of itself, however, from the nature of our language and thoughts, it cannot be sufficiently condemned.
138. But, to make an end of this subject, we must form our language to suit our delivery. Is not our manner, in the exordium, generally subdued, unless, indeed, when, in making an accusation, we must rouse the feelings of the judge, and excite him to some degree of indignation? Are we not, in narration, full and expressive; in argumentation, lively and animated, and spirited even in our action? Do we not, in moral observations and in descriptions, adopt a diffuse and flowing style; and, in perorations, one that is submissive, and sometimes, as it were, faltering? 139. Even the movements of the body have their rhythm; and the musical science of numbers applies the percussions of measured feet no less to dancing than to tunes. Is not our tone of voice, and our gesture, adapted to the nature of the subjects on which we speak?
Such adaptation, then, is by no means wonderful in the rhythm of our language, since it is natural that what is sublime should march majestically, that what is calm should advance leisurely, that what is spirited should run, and that what is tender should flow. 140. Hence, when we think it necessary, we affect even tumor, which is best accomplished by the use of spondees and iambi:
En impero Argis: sceptra mihi liquit Pelops,
141. But the comic senarius, which is called trochaic, runs on rapidly by assuming several chorei, (which, by others, are called trochees,) and pyrrhics; but what it gains in celerity it loses in weight:
Quid igitur faciam? Non eam, ne nunc quidem? [Ter. Eun. i. 1, 1.]
But what is rough and contentious proceeds better, as I said, in iambic feet, even in verse:
Quis hoc potest videre? quis potest pati?
142. In general, however, if I were obliged to make a choice, I
should prefer language to be harsh and rough rather than excessively
delicate and nerveless, such as I see in many writers; and, indeed, we
grow every day more effeminate in our style, tripping, as it were, to
the exact measures of a dance. [Syntona are
supposed to be the same as scabilla, a kind of musical
instruments, which, when pressed with the foot, always gave the same
tone, and to which they danced on the stage. Cicero pro Cael. c. 27. The
scabilla were inserted in the shoe of the performer; and the ordinaey
Greek name for them was
144. Accordingly, some of our composition should be purposely of a looser kind, so that, though we may have labored it most carefully, it may appear not to have been labored. But we must not cultivate such studied negligence so far as to introduce extravagantly long hyperbata, (lest we should make it evident that we affect that which we wish to seem to have done without affectation,) nor must we, above all, set aside any apt or expressive word for the sake of smoothness. 145. No word, in reality, will prove so unmanageable, that it may not find a suitable place in a period; but our object, to say the truth, in avoiding such words, is frequently not elegance, but ease, in composition.
But I do not wonder that the Latins have studied niceties of composition more than the Greeks, though they have less variety and grace in their words. 146. Nor do I call it a fault in Cicero, that he has differed in this respect from Demosthenes. But the difference between the Latin and Greek languages shall be set forth in my last book.
Composition (for I hasten to put an end to a book that has exceeded the limits prescribed to it) ought to be elegant, pleasing, and varied. The particulars that require attention in it are three, order, connection, and rhythm. 147. The art of it lies in adding, retrenching, and altering. The quality of it must be suited to the nature of the subjects on which we speak. The care required in it is great, but that devoted to thought and delivery should be greater. But all our care must be diligently concealed, in order that our numbers may seem to flow from us spontaneously, and not to be forced or studied.
1. But these precepts of oratory, though necessary to be known, are yet insufficient to produce the full power of eloquence, unless there be united with them a certain efficient readiness, which among the Greeks is called εξις, "habit," and to which I know that it is an ordinary subject of inquiry whether more is contributed by writing, reading, or speaking. This question we should have to examine with careful attention, if we could confine ourselves to any one of those exercises; 2. but they are all so connected, so inseparably linked, with one another, that if any one of them be neglected, we labor in vain in the other two; for our speech will never become forcible and energetic, unless it acquires strength from great practice in writing, and the labor of writing, if left destitute of models from reading, passes away without effect, as having no director; while he who knows how everything ought to be said, will, if he has not his eloquence in readiness, and prepared for all emergencies, merely brood, as it were, over locked up treasure.
3. Though some one quality, again, may be requisite above others, it will not necessarily, for that purpose, be chief in importance for forming the orator. For since the business of the orator lies in speaking, to speak is doubtless necessary to him before anything else; and it is evident that from speaking the commencement of the art arose; also that the next thing in order is imitation; and, last of all, diligent exercise in writing. 4. But as we cannot arrive at the highest excellence otherwise than by initial efforts, so, as our work proceeds, those things which are of the greatest importance begin to appear of the least.
But I am not here saying how the orator is to be trained, (for that has been told already, if not satisfactorily, at least as well as I could,) but by what kind of discipline an athlete, who has already learned all his exercises from his master, is to be prepared for real contests. Let me, therefore, instruct the student, who knows how to invent and arrange his matter, and who has also acquired the art of selecting and disposing his words, by what means he may be able to practice, in the best and easiest possible manner, that which he has learned.
5. Can it then be doubted, that he must secure certain resources, which he may use whenever it shall be necessary? Those resources will consist in supplies of matter and of words. 6. But every cause has its own peculiar matter, or matter common to it with but few others; words are to be prepared for all kinds of causes. If there were a single word for every single thing, words would require less care, for all would then at once present themselves with the things to be expressed. As some, however, are more appropriate, or more elegant, or more significant, or more euphonious, than others, they ought all, not only to be known, but to be kept in readiness, and, if I may so express myself, in sight, so that, when they present themselves to the judgment of the speaker, the choice of the best of them may be easily made.
7. I know that some make a practice of learning by heart such words as have the same signification, in order that one word out of several may the more readily occur to them, and that, when they have used one of the number, they may, if it should be wanted again within a short space of time, substitute for it, for the sake of avoiding repetition, another from which the same thing may be understood. But this is a childish practice, attended with miserable labor, and productive of very little profit; for the learner merely musters a crowd of words, to snatch from it without distinction whichsoever first presents itself.
8. By us, on the contrary, our stock of words must be prepared with judgment, as we have a view to the proper force of oratory, and not to the volubility of the charlatan. But this object we shall effect by reading and listening to the best language; for, by such exercise, we shall not only learn words expressive of things, but shall learn for what place each word is best adapted. 9. Almost all words, indeed, except a few that are of indecent character, find a place in oratorical composition; and the writers of iambics [inasmuch as the phallic verses were in iambic measure; as well as the furious effusions of Archilochus and Hipponax, whose character we know from Horace], and of the old comedy, are often commended for the use of words of that description; but it is sufficient for us at present to look to our own work. All sorts of words, then, except those to which I have alluded, may be excellently employed in some place or other; for we have sometimes occasion for low and coarse words; and such as would seem mean in the more elegant parts of a speech, are, when the subject requires them, adopted with propriety.
10. To understand words thoroughly, and to learn not only the signification of them, but their forms and measures [formae seems to refer to declensions and conjugations: mensurae to quantity, feet, and the rhythm of words in combination], and to be able to judge whether they are adapted to the places to which they are assigned, are branches of knowledge that we cannot acquire but by assiduous reading and hearing, since we receive all language first of all by the ear. Hence infants brought up, at the command of princes [Quintilian speaks as if this experiment had been several times made. But we find only one instance of it recorded; that of Psammetichus, king of Egypt, mentioned by Herodotus, ii. 2], by dumb nurses and in solitude, were destitute of the faculty of speech, though they are said to have uttered some unconnected words.
11. There are, however, some words of such a nature that they express the same thing by different sounds, so exactly that it makes no difference to the sense which we use in preference to another; for instance ensis and gladius. There are others, again, which, though properly belonging to distinct objects, are yet by a trope, as it were, used for conveying the same idea; as ferrum and mucro. [Ferrum means any steel weapon; mucro the point of such weapon.] 12. Thus, too, by a catachresis, we call all assassins sicarii [from sica, a dagger or poniard], whatever be the weapon with which they have committed slaughter. Some things, moreover, we indicate by a circumlocution, as pressi copia lactis. ["Plenty of pressed milk," for "cheese." Virg. Ecl. i. 81.] Many things, also, by a change of words, we express figuratively, as, for I know, we say I am not ignorant, or It does not escape me, or It does not fail to attract my attention, or Who is not aware? or No man doubts. 13. We may likewise profit by the near import of words, for I understand, I perceive, I see, have often just the same meaning as I know.
Of such synonyms reading will furnish us with copious supplies, so that we may use them not only as they present themselves, but as they ought to be adopted. 14. For such terms do not always express exactly the same things; and though I may properly say "I see" in reference to the perception of the mind, I cannot say "I understand" in reference to the sight of the eyes; nor, though mucro indicates gladius, does gladius indicate mucro. 15. But though a copious stock of words be thus acquired, we are not to read or hear merely for the sake of words; for in all that we teach examples are more powerful even than the rules which are taught, (I mean when the learner is so far advanced that he can enter into the subjects without a guide, and pursue them with his own unassisted efforts,) inasmuch as what the master teaches, the orator exhibits. [We are not to read or hear merely to get words, but to observe at the same time how they are used by the best writers and speakers.]
16. Some speeches contribute more to our improvement when we hear them delivered, others when we peruse them. He who speaks to us rouses us by his animation, and excites us, not by an artificial representation and account of things, but by the things themselves. Every thing seems to live and move before us, and we catch the new ideas, as it were at their birth, with partiality and affection. We feel interested, not only in the event of the cause, but in the perilous efforts of those who plead it. 17. In addition to this, a becoming tone and action, a mode of delivery adapted to what particular passages require, (which is perhaps the most powerful element in oratory,) and, in a word, all excellent qualities in combination teach us at the same time.
In reading, on the other hand, the judgment is applied with more certainty, for, when a person is listening to speeches, his own partiality for any particular speaker, or the ordinary applause of approving auditors, often deprives him of the free exercise of his judgment; 18. since we are ashamed to express dissent from others, and are prevented, by a sort of secret modesty, from trusting too much to ourselves, though what is faulty sometimes pleases the majority, and even what does not please is applauded by those who are engaged to applaud.
19. On the contrary, too, it sometimes happens that the bad taste of the audience does not do justice to the finest passages. But reading is free, and does not escape us with the rapidity of oral delivery, but allows us to go over the same passages more than once, whether we have any doubt of their meaning, or are desirous to fix them in our memory. Let us review, then, and reconsider the subject of our reading, and as we consign our food to our stomach only when it is masticated and almost dissolved, in order that it may be easier of digestion, so let what we read be committed to the memory and reserved for imitation, not when it is in a crude state, but after being softened, and as it were triturated, by frequent repetition.
20. For a long time, too, none but the best authors must be read, and such as are least likely to mislead him who trusts them; but they must be read with attention, and indeed with almost as much care as if we were transcribing them; and every portion must be examined, not merely partially, but a whole book, when read through, must be taken up afresh, and especially any excellent oration, of which the merits are often designedly concealed; 21. for the speaker frequently prepares his audience for what is to follow, dissembles with them, and places ambuscades; and states in the first part of his pleading what is to have its full effect at the conclusion. Hence what is advanced in its proper place often pleases us less than it ought, since we are not aware why it is advanced; and all such passages, accordingly, ought to be perused again after we have read the whole.
22. But one of the most useful exercises, is to learn the history of those causes of which we have taken the pleadings in hand for perusal, and, whenever opportunity shall offer, to read speeches delivered on both sides of the same question; as those of Demosthenes and Aeschines in opposition to each other; those of Servius Sulpicius and Messala, of whom one spoke for Aufidia, and the other against her; those of Pollio and Cassius when Asprenas [he was accused of poisoning by Cassius Severus, as appears from Pliny, H. N. xxxv. 46, and Suet. Aug. c. 56] was accused; and many others. 23. Even if the pleaders seem unequally matched, yet some of the speeches may be reasonably consulted in order to ascertain the question for decision, as the orations of Tubero against Ligarius and of Hortensius on behalf of Verres, in opposition to those of Cicero. It will also be of advantage to know how different orators pleaded the same causes; for Calidius [something concerning this orator, and his style of speaking, may be learned from Cicero Brut. c. 79, 80. He is also mentioned by Caesar, B. C. i. 2; by Festus in Suffes; and by Eusebius, Chron. an. 1960. His oration, De Domo Ciceronis, was in favor of rebuilding the house of Cicero] delivered a speech concerning the house of Cicero; and Brutus wrote an oration in defense of Milo, merely as an exercise; Cornelius Celsus, indeed, thinks that Brutus spoke it, but he is mistaken. 24. Pollio and Messala, too, defended the same persons; and, when I was a boy, there were in circulation celebrated speeches of Domitius Afer, Crispus Passienus, and Decimus Laelius, in defense of Volusenus Catulus.
Nor must he who reads feel immediately convinced that everything that great authors have said is necessarily perfect; for they sometimes make a false step, or sink under their burden, or give way to the inclination of their genius; nor do they always equally apply their minds, but sometimes grow weary; as Demosthenes seems to Cicero [Orat. c. 29] sometimes to nod, and Homer himself appears to Horace [A. P. 359] to do so. 25. They are great men, indeed, but men nevertheless; and it often happens to those, who think that whatever is found in such authors is a law for eloquence, that they imitate what is inferior in them, for it is easier to copy their faults than their excellences, and fancy that they fully resemble great men when they have adopted great men's defects.
26. Yet students must pronounce with diffidence and circumspection on the merits of such illustrious characters, lest, as is the case with many, they condemn what they do not understand. If they must err on one side or the other, I should prefer that every part of them should please youthful readers rather than that many parts should displease them.
27. Theophrastus says that the reading of the poets is of the greatest use to the orator. Many others adopt his opinion; and not without reason; for from them is derived animation in relating facts, sublimity in expression, the greatest power in exciting the feelings, and gracefulness in personifying character; and, what is of the utmost service, the faculties of the orator, worn out as it were by daily pleading in the forum, are best recruited by the charms of the works of such authors. Accordingly Cicero [Pro Arch. c. 6] thinks that relaxation should he sought in that sort of reading. 28. But we must remember that poets are not to he imitated by the orator in every respect; not, for instance, in freedom of language, or unrestrained use of figures; that the style of poets is adapted for display, and, besides, that it aims merely at giving pleasure, and pursues its object by inventing not only what is false, but even sometimes what is incredible; 29. that it enjoys certain privileges, inasmuch as, being confined to the regular requirements of feet, it cannot always use proper terms, but, being driven from the straight road, must necessarily have recourse lo certain by-paths of eloquence, and is obliged not only to change words, but to lengthen, shorten, transpose, and divide them; but that we orators stand in arms in a field of battle, contend for concerns of the highest moment, and must struggle only for victory. 30. Yet I would not wish that the arms of the orator should be squalid from foulness and rust, but that there should be a brightness on them like that of steel, which may dismay opponents, and by which the mind and the eye may at once be dazzled, and not like that of gold or silver, which is unwarlike, and dangerous rather to the wearer than to the enemy.
31. History, also, may nourish oratory with a kind of fertilizing and grateful aliment. But it must be read with the conviction that most of its very excellences are to be avoided by the orator; for it borders closely on poetry, and may be said, indeed, to be a poem unfettered by the restraints of metre; it is written to relate, not to prove; and its whole nature is suited, not to the pleading of causes, or to instant debate, but to the transmission of events to posterity, and to gain the reputation of ability for its author; and for this reason it relieves the tediousness of narrative by words more remote from common usage, and by a more bold employment of figures.
32. Accordingly, as I observed, neither is the brevity of Sallust, than which nothing can be more perfectly pleasing to the unoccupied and learned ear, to be studied by us in addressing a judge, who is engaged with various thoughts, and often destitute of literature; nor will the milky exuberance of Livy satisfactorily instruct a hearer who looks not for beauty of statement, but for proof of fact. 33. Besides, Cicero [see Orat. c. 9: Brut. 83: de Opt. Gen. Orat. c. 5] thinks that not even Thucydides and Xenophon are of any use to the orator, though he allows that the one sounds the trumpet of war, and that the muses spoke by the mouth of the other. In digressions, however, we may at times adopt the polished elegance of history, provided we remember that in the parts of our speech on which the question depends, there is need, not of the showy muscles of the athlete, but of the nervous arms of the soldier; and that the variegated robe which Demetrius Phalereus is said to have worn is not adapted to the dust of the forum.
34. There is also, indeed, another advantage to be gained from history, and an advantage of the greatest value, though of no concern with the present part of my subject; I mean that which is to be derived from the knowledge of facts and precedents, with which the orator ought to be extremely well acquainted, that he may not have to seek all his arguments from the parties going to law, but may avail himself of many drawn from an accurate knowledge of antiquity; arguments the more weighty, as they alone are exempt from the charges of prejudice and partiality.
35. That we have to derive much from the study of the philosophers, has been occasioned by another fault [see Cicero de Orat. iii. 15—20] in orators, who have given up to them the better part of their duty; for the philosophers speak copiously of what is just, and honorable, and useful, of what is of a contrary nature, and of divine subjects, and reason upon all these topics with the utmost acuteness; and the followers of Socrates excellently qualify the future orator for debates and examinations of witnesses. 36. But in studying these writers, too, we must use similar judgment; and, though we may have to speak on the same subjects with them, we must bear in mind that the same manner is not suited for lawsuits as for philosophical disputations, for the forum as for the lecture-room, for exercises on rules as for actual trials.
37. I suppose that, since I consider there is so much advantage in reading, most of my friends will expect me to insert in my work some remarks on the authors that ought to be read, and the peculiar excellence of each. But to go through authors one by one, would be an endless task. 38. For when Cicero, in his Brutus, employs so many thousands of lines in speaking of the Roman orators only, and yet observes silence concerning all of his own age, among whom he lived, except Caesar and Marcellus, what limit would there be to my task, if I should undertake to review not only all those, but those who succeeded them, and all the Greek philosophers and poets? 39. That brevity, therefore, would be safest for me to observe, which is adopted by Livy in a letter addressed to his son, that Demosthenes mid Cicero should first be read, and afterwards every writer according as he most resembles Demosthenes and Cicero.
40. Yet the conclusions to which my judgment has led me must not be withheld. I think that among all the authors who have stood the test of time, few, or, indeed, scarcely a single one, can be found, who would not contribute some profit to such as read them with judgment; for Cicero himself acknowledges that he was greatly benefited by even the most ancient writers, who had plenty of ability, though they were destitute of art. 41. Nor do I entertain a very different opinion with regard to the moderns; for how few can be found so utterly devoid of sense, as not to hope, from some small confidence in at least some part of their work, to secure a hold on the memory of posterity? If there be any such writer, he will be detected in his very first lines, and will release us too soon for the trial of his work to cost us any great waste of time. 42. But it is not everything in an author that relates to any department of knowledge whatever, that is adapted to produce the copiousness of diction of which we are speaking.
Before I proceed, however, to speak of authors individually, a few general remarks must be premised in regard to the diversity of opinions concerning them. 43. Some think that the ancients only deserve to be read, and imagine that in no others is to be found natural eloquence and manly force. On the contrary, the floridness and affectation of the moderns, and all the blandishments intended to charm the ear of the ignorant multitude, delight others. 44. Even of those, again, who would adopt a right sort of style, some think that no language but such as is concise and simple, and departs as little as possible from common conversation, is sound and truly Attic; while more sublime efforts of genius, more animated, more full of lofty conceptions, attract others; and there are also not a few lovers of a quiet, neat, and subdued style.
Concerning such differences in taste I shall speak more at large, when I come to consider the species of style most proper for the orator. 45. In the meantime, I shall briefly touch on the advantages which those may derive from reading who wish to increase their facility in speaking, and show by what kind of reading they may be most benefited; for I intend to select for notice a few of the authors who are most distinguished; and it will be easy for the studious to judge who are most similar to them. This I mention, lest any one should complain that writers, whom he himself highly approves, have been omitted; for I admit that more ought to be read than those whom I shall here specify.
But I shall now merely go through the various sorts of reading which I consider peculiarly suitable for those who aim at becoming orators.
40. As Aratus, then, thinks that we ought to begin with Jupiter [the well known commencement of the Phaenomena, Εκ Διος αρχωμεσθα], so I think that I shall very properly commence with Homer; for, as he says that the might of rivers and the courses of springs take their rise from the ocean [Il. xxi. 195], so has he himself given a model and an origin for every species of eloquence. No man has excelled him in sublimity on great subjects, no man in propriety on small ones. He is at once copious and concise, pleasing and forcible; admirable at one time for exuberance, and at another for brevity; eminent not only for poetic, but for oratorical excellence.
47. To say nothing of his laudatory, exhortatory, and consolatory speeches, does not the ninth book of the Iliad, in which the deputation sent to Achilles is comprised, or the contention between the chiefs in the first book, or the opinions delivered in the second, display all the arts of legal pleadings and of councils? 48. As to the feelings, as well the gentle as the more impetuous, there is no one so unlearned as not to acknowledge that he had them wholly under his control. Has he not, at the commencement of both his works, I will not say observed, but established, the laws of oratorical exordia? for he renders his reader well-affected towards him by an invocation of the goddesses who have been supposed to preside over poets; he makes him attentive by setting forth the grandeur of his subjects, and desirous of information by giving a brief and comprehensive view of them. 49. Who can state facts more concisely than he who relates the death of Patroclus [II. xviii. 20], or more forcibly then he who describes the combat of the Curetes and Aetolians? [II. ix. 530.]
As to similes, amplifications, illustrations, digressions, indications and proofs of things, and all other modes of establishment and refutation, examples of them are so numerous in him, that even most of those who have written on the rules of rhetoric produce from him illustrations of their precepts. 50. What peroration of a speech will ever be thought equal to the entreaties of Priam beseeching Achilles for the body of his son? [II. xxiv. 486.] Does he not, indeed, in words, thoughts, figures, and the arrangement of his whole work, exceed the ordinary bounds of human genius? So much, indeed, that it requires a great man even to follow his excellences, not with rivalry, (for rivalry is impossible,) but with a just conception of them, 51. But he has doubtless left all authors, in every kind of eloquence, far behind him, but the epic poets most remarkably, as, in similar subjects, the comparison is most striking.
52. As for Hesiod, he rarely rises above the general level, and a great part of his poetry is occupied with mere names, yet his sententious manner is useful in delivering precepts, and the easy flow of his words and style merits approbation; and in that middle kind of writing the palm is allowed to be his.
53. In Antimachus [his chief work was the Thebais, a poem on the expedition of the seven chiefs against Thebes. See Porphyrio ad Hor. A. P. 146], on the other hand, there is energy and force, and his manner of expression, which is by no means common, has great merit. But although the unanimous consent of critics assigns him the second place [next to Homer], he is so deficient in power over the feelings, in ability to please, in the arrangement of his matter, and in every requisite of the poetic art, that he affords us a convincing proof how different a thing it is to be near to another writer, and to be second to him.
54. Panyasis [a native of Halicarnassus, and relative of Herodotus. He wrote a poem on the exploits of Hercules, and another on the origin of the cities of Ionia] they consider as compounded of both [both Hesiod and Antimachus], as far as his style is concerned, but as reaching, on the whole, the excellences of neither; yet they allow that the one is surpassed by him in the nature of his materials, and the other in the arrangement of them.
Apollonius [Apollonius Rhodius, the author of the Argonautica] is not included in the catalogue given by the critics, since Aristarchus and Aristophanes, those great judges of the poets, inserted no one of their own age in their list; yet he produced a work, in a style of evenly sustained mediocrity, which is by no means to be despised.
55. Aratus's subject is destitute of animation, as there is in it no variety, no action on the feelings, no portraiture of character, no speech from any person. But he is equal to the work to which he thought himself equal.
Theocritus is admirable in his peculiar style, but his rustic and pastoral muse shrinks not only from appearing in the forum, but even from approaching the city.
56. I seem to hear my readers collecting together from all sides the names of a vast number of poets. What, they say, has not Pisander [a native of Cameirus in Rhodes. The Alexandrian grammarians acknowledged him as one of the Epic poets] sung, with great effect, the achievements of Hercules? Have Macer and Virgil [Nicander wrote Georgica, a poem often quoted by Athenaeus, which Virgil might have read] without reason imitated Nicander? Shall we pass over Euphorion [a native of Chalcis in Eubaea. He was librarian to Antiochus the Great, and wrote on various subjects], when, if Virgil had not admired him, he would certainly never have made mention, in his Bucolics [X. 50], of poems composed in Chalcidian verse? Does Horace [A. P. 401], without reason, name Tyrtaeus next to Homer? 57. No one assuredly, is so void of all knowledge of those authors, that he might not transfer into his book a catalogue of them taken from some library. Nor am I, for my part, ignorant of the writers whom I omit, and, certainly, I do not condemn them as worthless, having already said that there is some good in all of them. 58. But we shall return to them when our strength is matured and confirmed; as it often happens to us at great banquets, that after we have satisfied ourselves with the best dishes, the variety of plainer food is still agreeable to us.
Then we shall have time, too, to take in hand the elegiac poets, of whom Callimachus is considered as the chief; while Philetas [a native of Cos, and preceptor to Ptolemy Philadelphus. He is praised by Propertius], in the opinion of most critics, has made good his claim to the second place. 59. But while we are acquiring that efficient readiness, as I termed it, we must devote ourselves to the perusal of the best authors; and the character of our mind must be formed, and a complexion given to our oratory, by much reading in good writers, rather than by reading many.
Of the three [the other two being Simonides and Hipponax] writers of Iambics, then, sanctioned by the judgment of Aristarchus, Archilochus only will have any great influence in assisting us to attain facility of style. 60. There is in him the utmost vigor of language, thoughts forcible, concise, and lively, and abundance of life and energy; insomuch that some think it owing to his subjects, not to his genius, that he is inferior to any writer whatever.
61. But of the nine [Pindar, Stesichorus, Alcaeus, Simonides, Ibycus, Alcman, Bacchylides, Anacreon, Sappho] Lyric poets, Pindar is by far the chief in nobleness of spirit, grandeur of thought, beauty of figures, and a most happy exuberance of matter and words, spreading forth as it were in a flood of eloquence; on account of all which qualities Horace [Od. iv. 2] justly thinks him inimitable.
62. As to Stesichorus, the very subjects that he has chosen show how powerful he is in genius, when he sings of the greatest wars and most illustrious leaders, and supports on his lyre all the weight of the epic song; for he assigns to his characters due dignity in acting and speaking; and if he had kept a just control over himself, he seems likely to have proved Homer's nearest rival; but he is redundant and over-flowing; a fault, however, which, though deserving of censure, is yet that of an exuberant genius.
63. Aicaeus is deservedly complimented with a golden quill [Aureo Plectro. Hor. Od. ii. 13, 26] for that part of his works in which he inveighs against tyrants, and contributes much to the improvement of morals. In his language, also, he is concise, magnificent, and careful, and in many passages resembles Homer; but he descends to sportive and amorous subjects, though better qualified for those of a higher nature.
64. Simonides, though in other respects of no very high genius, may be commended for a propriety of language, and a pleasing kind of sweetness; but his chief excellence is in exciting pity, so that some prefer him, in that particular, to all other writers of the kind.
65. The old comedy retains, almost alone, the pure grace of Attic diction, and the charm of a most eloquent freedom of language; and though it is chiefly employed in attacking follies, yet it has great force in other departments; for it is sublime, elegant, and graceful; and I know not whether any poetry, next to Homer's, (whom it is always right to except, as he himself excepts Achilles, [Il. ii. 674]) has either a greater resemblance to oratory, or is better adapted for forming orators. 66. The authors of it are numerous; but Aristophanes, Eupolis, and Cratinus, are the principal.
Tragedy Aeschylus first brought before the world, an author of great sublimity and power, and grandiloquent even to a fault, but in many parte rough and unpolished; for which reason the Athenians permitted the poets who succeeded him to exhibit his plays, when corrected, in competition for the prize; and by that means many obtained the crown. 67. But Sophocles and Euripides throw a brighter lustre on that kind of composition; concerning whom, as their styles are different, it is a question among many which is the better poet. This point, since it has no relation to my present subject, I shall, for my own part, leave undecided.
68. But every one must acknowledge that for those who are preparing themselves for pleading, Euripides will be by far the more serviceable; for, in his style, (which those to whom the gravity, and dignified step, and lofty tone of Sophocles, appear to have an air of greater sublimity, think proper to censure,) he approaches nearer to the language of oratory; he abounds with fine thoughts; in precepts of morality, such as have been delivered by the philosophers, he is almost equal to the philosophers themselves; in addresses and replies he is comparable to any of those who have been distinguished as eloquent speakers in the forum; and in touching every kind of feeling he has remarkable power, but in exciting that of pity holds undisputed pre-eminence.
69. Menander, as he himself often testifies, admired Euripides greatly, and even imitated him, though in a different department of the drama; and Menander alone, in my judgment, would, if diligently read, suffice to generate all those qualities in the student of oratory for which I am an advocate; so exactly does he represent all the phases of human life; such is his fertility of invention, and easy grace of expression; and so readily does he adapt himself to all circumstances, persons, and feelings. 70. Nor are those, assuredly, destitute of penetration, who think that the orations which are circulated under the name of Charisius [see Cicero Brut. c. 83], were written by Menander. But to me he seems to prove himself a far greater orator in his own province, unless it be said that those trials, which the Epitrepontes, the Epicleros, and the Locrians contain, are absurd, and that the speeches [that is μελεται, formal speeches, on matters not judicial, like that spirited one which we have among the fragments of the Hypobolimaeus, ed. Cleric. p. 184] in the Psophodees, the Nomothetes, and the Hypobolimaeus [names of six of the comedies of Menander], are not finished off with all the perfections of oratory.
71. But I think that to declaimers he may contribute still greater service, since it is necessary for them, according to the nature of the cases which they attempt, to assume various characters, as those of fathers, sons, soldiers, countrymen, rich and poor men, of persons angry and persons beseeching, of persons of mild and persons of savage dispositions; in all which characters propriety is wonderfully observed by Menander, who indeed has left other authors in that species of writing scarcely a name, having, by the splendor of his reputation, thrown over them a veil of darkness. 72. Other comic writers, however, if they be read with indulgence, have some good passages that we may select, and especially Philemon, who, preferred as he frequently was to Menander by the bad taste of his age, deserves in the opinion of all critics to be regarded as second to him.
73. History many have written with eminent reputation; but nobody doubts that two writers of it are greatly to be preferred to all others; two whose opposite excellences have gained nearly equal praise. Thucydides is pithy, concise, and ever hastening forward; Herodotus is pleasing, clear, and diffuse; the one excels in the expression of animated, the other in that of milder sentiments; the one in speeches, the other in narrative; the one in force, the other in agreeableness.
74. Next to these stands Theopompus, who, inferior to them as an historian, yet bears more resemblance to the orator, since, before he was induced [by his master Isocrates. See Cicero de Orat. ii. 13] to apply to historical composition, he had been for some time a public speaker. Philistus, too, deserves to be distinguished from the crowd of good authors next to these; he is an imitator of Thucydides and, though much less forcible, is somewhat more perspicuous. Ephorbus, as Isocrates thought, needed the spur. The ability of Clitarchus [he accompanied Alexander the Great, and wrote a history of his exploits. See Cicero, Brut. c. 11. Longinus, v. 3] is admired, but his veracity is impeached. 75. Timagenes, born a long time afterwards, deserves commendation at least on this account, that he revived with fresh lustre the pursuit of writing history which had begun to be neglected. Xenophon I have not forgotten, but he is to be noticed among the philosophers.
76. A numerous band of orators follows, since one age produced ten living at the same time at Athens; of whom Demosthenes was by far the most eminent, and has been almost the sole model for oratory; such is his energy, so compact is his whole language, so tense, as it were, with nerves, so free from anything superfluous; and such the general character of his eloquence, that we can neither find anything wanting in it, nor anything superfluous. 77. Aeschines is more copious and diffuse in style, and, as being less confined in scope, has more appearance of magnitude, but he has only more flesh and less muscle. Hyperides is extremely agreeable and acute, but better qualified, not to say more serviceable, for causes of minor importance. [What is said of him by Dionysius Halicarnassensis (De Vett. Script. Cens. vol. v. p. 434, ed. Reisk.), by Longinus, c. 34, and other writers, tends to show that he was much of the same character as Quintilian thinks him.]
78. Lysias, an orator that preceded these in time, is refined and elegant, and, if it be enough for an orator to inform his hearers, we need not seek anything more excellent than he is; for there is nothing unmeaning, nothing far-fetched, in his sentences; but he is more like a clear spring than a great river. 79. Isocrates, in a different style of oratory, is neat and polished, but better fitted for the fencing-school than for actual combat; he assiduously courts every beauty of diction; and not without reason, for he had qualified himself for lecture-rooms, and not for courts of justice; he is ready in invention, and constantly aiming at embellishment; and so careful in composition that his care is even censured.
80. I do not consider that these are the only, but the chief excellences, in those authors of whom I have spoken; nor do I think the others, whom I have omitted to name, had not a high degree of merit. I even admit that the famous Demetrius Phalereus, though he is said to have been the first to cause the decline of eloquence [he was the first, says Cicero, Brut. c. 9, who relaxed the force of eloquence, and gave her a soft and tender air], had much talent and command of language; and he deserves to be remembered, if for no other reason than that he was almost the last of the Athenians that could be called an orator. Cicero [Orat. c. 27, De Orat. ii. 23: Off. i. 1], however, prefers him to all other orators in the middle kind of eloquence.
81. Of the Philosophers, from whom Cicero acknowledges that he derived a large portion of his eloquence [Orat. c. 3], who can doubt that Plato is the chief, as well in acuteness of reasoning, as in a certain divine and Homer-like power of language? For he rises far above ordinary prose, and what the Greeks call oratio pedestris [πεζος λογος, not only prose, but such a style of poetry as approaches to prose, such as is in general that of comedy], so that he appears to me to be animated, not with mere human genius, but with the inspiration as it were of the Delphic oracle. 82. Why need I dwell on the sweetness of Xenophon, sweetness which is unaffected, but which no affectation could attain? so that even the Graces themselves are said to have formed his style, and the testimony of the Old Comedy concerning Pericles may justly be applied to him, that the goddess of persuasion was seated on his lips. [The passage of Eupolis is well known; see Plin. Ep. i. 20. The verses of Eupolis are quoted by the Scholiast on Aristoph. Acharn. 530. See also Cicero Orat. c. 15.]
83. Why need I expatiate on the elegance of the rest of the Socratic school? Why need I speak of the merits of Aristotle, of whom I am in doubt whether I should deem him more admirable for his knowledge of things, for the multitude of his writings, for the agreeableness of his language, the penetration shown in his discoveries, or the variety exhibited in his works? As to Theophrastus, there is such a divine beauty in his language, that he may be said even to have derived his name from it. [It is said that his original name was Tyrtamus, and that Aristotle changed it to Theophrastus, which signifies "possessed of divine eloquence." See Diog. Laert. v.] 84. The old Stoics indulged but little in eloquence, but they recommended what was virtuous, and had great power in reasoning, and in enforcing what they taught. They were rather, however, acute in discussing their subjects than lofty in their style, an excellence at which they certainly did not aim.
85. The same order I intend to observe, also, in proceeding through the Roman authors.
As Homer, accordingly, among the Greeks, so Virgil among our own countrymen, presents the most auspicious commencement; an author who of all poets of that class, Greek or Roman, approaches doubtless nearest to Homer. 86. I will here repeat the very words which, when I was a young man, I heard from Domitius Afer, who, when I asked him what poet he thought came nearest to Homer, replied, Virgil is second to him, but nearer the first than the third. Indeed, though we must give place to the divine and immortal genius of Homer, yet in Virgil there is more care and exactness, for the very reason that he was obliged to take more pains; and for what we lose in the higher qualities we perhaps compensate in equability of excellence.
87. All our other poets will follow at a great distance. Macer and Lucretius should be read indeed, but not in order to form such a style as constitutes the fabric of eloquence; each is an elegant writer on his own subject, but the one is tame, and the other difficult. Varro Atacinus, in those writings in which he has gained a name, as the interpreter of another man's work [the interpretation to which Quintilian alludes was a version of the Argonautlca of Apollonius Rhodius], is not indeed to be despised, but is not rich enough in diction to increase the power of the orator. 88. Ennius we may venerate, as we venerate groves sacred from their antiquity; groves in which gigantic and aged oaks affect us not so much by their beauty, as by the religious awe with which they inspire us.
There are other poets nearer to our own times, and better suited to promote the object of which we are speaking. Ovid allows his imagination to wanton, even in his heroic verse, and is too much a lover of his own conceits, but deserves praise in certain passages. 89. Cornelius Severus [contemporary with Ovid, who addresses him in one of his Epistles from Pontus, iv. 2, 2], though a better versifier than poet, yet if he had finished his "Sicilian War," as has been observed, in the manner of his first book, would justly have claimed the second place in epic poetry. [That is, next to Virgil.] But an immature death prevented his powers from being brought to perfection; yet his youthful compositions display very great ability, and a devotion to a judicious mode of writing which was wonderful, especially at such an age.
90. In Valerius Flaccus we have lately had a great loss. The genius of Saleius Bassus [he was contemporary with Statius, and is named by Juvenal, viii. 80] was ardent, and highly poetical, and had not reached maturity even in his old age. Rabirius [Ovid, who calls him Magni Rabirius oris, Epist. ex Pont. iv. 16, seems to have had a higher opinion of him than Quintilian. See also Veil. Pat. ii. 36] and Pedo [he wrote a poem on Theseus, as appears from Ovid, Epist. ex Pont. iv. 16, and is supposed also to have written a poem in the epic form on the exploits of Germanicus; see Sen. Suasor. b. i.] are not unworthy of the orator's acquaintance, if he has time to read them. Lucan is fiery and spirited, and sublime in sentiment, and, to say what I think, deserving to be numbered rather with orators than poets.
91. These authors we have named, since the government of the world has diverted Germanicus Augustus [the Emperor Domitian himself is meant. He was flattered by the poets Silius Italicus, iii. 618, Valerius Flaccus, i. 12, and Martial, viii. 82, for his merits in poetry] from the studies which he had commenced, and it did not seem sufficient to the gods that he should be the greatest of poets. [But the words will bear another signification: " It did not seem good to the gods, that he should be the greatest of poets;" i.e. the gods, by conferring empire upon him, drew him away from those studies which, if he had pursued them, would have rendered him the greatest of poets.] Yet what can be more sublime, more learned, more excellent in all respects, than the works on which he had entered in his youth, when he gave up his military command? [See Tacitus, Hist. b. iv. sub fin., and Suet. Dom. c. 2.] Who could sing of wars more ably than he who so ably conducts them? To whom would the goddesses that preside over liberal studies listen more propitiously? To whom would Minerva, his familiar deity, more willingly communicate her accomplishments?
92. Future ages will speak of these matters more fully; for at present the merit of the poet is obscured by the dazzling brightness of other great qualities. Yet you will bear with us, Caesar, if, while we are celebrating the sacred rites of literature, we do not pass over your genius in silence, but testify, at least by citing a verse from Virgil, that
Inter victrices hederam tibi serpere lauros,
93. In Elegy, also, we challenge equality with the Greeks; and Tibullus seems to me the most terse and elegant writer of it. There are some that prefer Propertius. Ovid is more luxuriant in style than either, and Gallus more harsh.
Satire is certainly wholly our own; and Lucilius, who first obtained eminent distinction in it, has still admirers so devoted to him, that they do not hesitate to prefer him, not only to all writers in the same kind of composition, but to all other poets whatever. 94. For my own part, I differ from them as much as I do from Horace, who thinks that Lucilius runs muddy, and that there is always something in him which you might remove [Hor. Sat. i. 4, 11]; for there is in him wonderful learning, spirit, causticity resulting from it, and an abundance of wit. Horace is far more terse and pure in his style, and eminently happy in remarking on the characters of mankind. Persius has gained much, and indeed just, reputation, though only by one book.
There are also excellent writers in that department in our day, whose names will hereafter be celebrated. 95. In that other and older kind of satire, but diversified not with varieties of verse only [prose was intermingled with the verse], Terentius Varro wrote, a man of all the Romans the most learned. He composed a vast number of works of very great erudition, having a thorough acquaintance with the Latin tongue, with all antiquity, and with the events of Grecian and Roman history; yet he is an author that will add more to our knowledge than to our eloquence.
96. Iambic verse has not been cultivated by any writer among the Romans, as his peculiar province [as it was cultivated by Archilochus, Hipponax, and Simonides, among the Greeks], though it has been interspersed with some other kinds of verse; its bitterness is to be seen in Catullus, Bibaculus [Furius Bibaculus], and Horace, though in Horace the epode is found introduced between the iambics.
Of our Lyric poets Horace is almost the only one that deserves to be read; for he soars occasionally, is full of agreeableness and grace, and shows a most happy daring in certain figures and expressions. If the student should wish to add any other, there is Caesius Bassus [he perished in the same eruption of Vesuvius as Pliny the Elder, according to Probus, cited by the Scholiast on Persius, who inscribed to him his sixth Satire], whom we lately saw among us; but the genius of some that are living far excels his.
97. The writers of Tragedy most celebrated, among the ancients, for their force of thought, weight of language, and the dignity of their personages, are Accius and Pacuvius; neatness and finish in the polishing of their works seems to have been wanting in them rather through the fault of their age than through their own. To Accius, however, is attributed the greater share of energy; those who affect to be learned themselves, would have Pacuvius thought the more learned of the two. 98. The Thyestes of Varius is comparable to any of the Greek tragedies. Ovid's Medea appears to me to show how much that great man could have done, if he had been willing to control rather than indulge his genius. Of those whom I have myself seen, Pomponius Secundus is by far the most eminent; a writer whom the oldest men of the day thought not quite tragic enough, but acknowledged that he excelled in learning and elegance of style.
99. In Comedy we are extremely deficient; though Varro says that the muses, in the opinion of Aelius Stilo [an eminent grammarian and teacher of rhetoric at Rome. He gave instruction to Varro and Cicero], would, if they had wished to speak Latin, have spoken in the language of Plautus; though the ancients extol Caeciius; and though the writings of Terence have been ascribed to Scipio Africanus; and Terence's writings are indeed extremely elegant in their kind; yet they would have had still more gracefulness if they had been strictly confined to trimeter iambic verse. 100. We scarcely attain a faint image of the Greek comedy, so that the Latin language itself seems to me not susceptible of that beauty which has hitherto been granted to the Attics only, since not even the Greeks themselves have attained it in any other dialect of their language. Afranius excels in comedies purely Latin; and I wish that he had not polluted his plays with offensive amours, betraying his own character.
101. In history, however, I cannot allow superiority to the Greeks; I should neither fear to match Sallust against Thucydides, nor should Herodotus feel indignant if Livy is thought equal to him, an author of wonderful agreeableness, and remarkable perspicuity, in his narrative, and eloquent beyond expression in his speeches, so admirably is all that is said in his pages adapted to particular circumstances and characters; and as to the feelings, especially those of the softer kind, no historian, to speak but with mere justice, has succeeded better in describing them. 102. Hence, by his varied excellences, he has equalled in merit the immortal rapidity of Sallust; for Servilius Nontanus [he became famous for writing a history of Roman affairs after he had been long celebrated as a speaker in the forum, according to Tacit. Ann. xiv. 19. See Dial, de Orat. c. 23; Plin. Ep. i. 13, 3. He was regarded by Persius as a father; see Suetonius in vit.] seems to me to have remarked with great happiness that they were rather equal than like; a writer to whom I have listened while he was reading his own histories; he was a man of great ability, and wrote in a sententious style, but with less conciseness than the dignity of history demands.
103. That dignity Bassus Aufidius [the elder Pliny wrote a continuation of his history. Plin. Ep. iii. 5, 6], who had rather the precedence of him in time, supported with admirable effect, at least in his books on the German war; in his own style of composition he is everywhere deserving of praise, but falls in some parts below his own powers. 104. But there still survives, and adds lustre to the glory of our age, a man [Tacitus?] worthy to be remembered by the latest posterity, whose name will hereafter be celebrated with honor, and is now well understood. He has admirers, but no imitators, since the freedom of his writings, though some of his expressions have been pruned, has been injurious to him. Even in what remains, however, we may see his lofty spirit and boldness of thought. There are also other good writers; but we touch only on particular departments of composition, and do not review whole libraries.
105. But our orators may, above all, set the Latin eloquence on an equality with that of Greece; for I would confidently match Cicero against any one of the Greek orators. Nor am I unaware how great an opposition I am raising against myself [Cicero, in Quintilian's time, was out of favor with many, as appears from the Dialogue de Oratoribus. Plutarch, in his comparison of Cicero and Demosthenes, makes Demosthenes far superior to Cicero], especially when it is no part of my design at present to compare him with Demosthenes, for it is not at all necessary, since I think that Demosthenes ought to be read above all other orators, or rather learned by heart. 106. Of their great excellences I consider that most are similar; their method, their order of partition, their manner of preparing the minds of their audience, their mode of proof, and, in a word, everything that depends on invention.
In their style of speaking there is some difference; Demosthenes is more compact, Cicero more verbose; Demosthenes argues more closely, Cicero with a wider sweep; Demosthenes always attacks with a sharp-pointed weapon, Cicero often with a weapon both sharp and weighty; from Demosthenes nothing can be taken away, to Cicero nothing can be added; in the one there is more study, in the other more nature. 107. In wit, certainly, and pathos, two stimulants of the mind which have great influence in oratory, we have the advantage.
Perhaps the custom of his country did not allow Demosthenes pathetic perorations; but, on the other hand, the different genius of the Latin tongue did not grant to us those beauties which the Attics so much admire. In the epistolary style, indeed, though there are letters written by both, and in that of dialogue [Quintilian alludes to Cicero's treatises de Oratore, Brutus, and his philosophical writings, in which the subjects are treated in the method of dialogue], in which Demosthenes wrote nothing, there is no comparison. 108. We must yield the superiority, however, on one point, that Demosthenes lived before Cicero, and made him, in a great measure, the able orator that he was; for Cicero appears to me, after he devoted himself wholly to imitate the Greeks, to have embodied in his style the energy of Demosthenes, the copiousness of Plato, and the sweetness of Isocrates. 109. Nor did he, by zealous effort, attain only what was excellent in each of these, but drew most, or rather all excellences, from himself, by the felicitous exuberance of his immortal genius.
He does not, as Pindar says, collect rain water, but overflows from a living fountain, having been so endowed at his birth, by the special kindness of Providence, that in him eloquence might make trial of her whole strength. For who can instruct a judge with more exactness, or excite him with more vehemence? What orator had ever so pleasing a manner? 110. The very points which he wrests from you by force, you would think that he gained from you by entreaty; and when he carries away the judge by his impetuosity, he yet does not seem to be hurried along, but imagines that he is following of his own accord.
111. In all that he says, indeed, there is so much authority, that we are ashamed to dissent from him; he does not bring to a cause the mere zeal of an advocate, but the support of a witness or a judge; and, at the same time, all these excellences, a single one of which any other man could scarcely attain with the utmost exertion, flow from him without effort; and that stream of language, than which nothing is more pleasing to the ear, carries with it the appearance of the happiest facility. 112. It was not without justice, therefore, that he was said by his contemporaries to reign supreme in the courts; and he has gained such esteem among his posterity, that Cicero is now less the name of a man than that of eloquence itself. To him, therefore, let us look; let him be kept in view as our great example; and let that student know that he has made some progress to whom Cicero has become an object of admiration.
113. In Asinius Pollio there is much invention, and the greatest accuracy; so great indeed, that by some it is regarded as excessive; and there is also sufficient method and spirit; but he is so far from having the polish or agreeableness of Cicero, that he may be thought to have preceded him by a century. Messala, again, is elegant and perspicuous, and gives proof as it were in his style of the nobleness of his birth, but is deficient in energy. 114. As for Julius Caesar, if he had devoted himself wholly to the forum, no other of our country-men would have been named as a rival to Cicero. There is in him such force, such perspicuity, such fire, that he evidently spoke with the same spirit with which he fought. All these qualities, too, he sets off with a remarkable elegance of diction, of which he was peculiarly studious.
115. In Caelius [Marcus Caelius Rufus, whom Cicero defended against the charge of having obtained his quaestorship by bribery] there is much ability, and much pleasant wit, especially in bringing an accusation; and he was a man worthy to have had wiser thoughts and a longer life. I have found some critics that preferred Calvus [Caius Licinius Macer Calvus, born on the same day with Caelius; Plin. H. N. vii. 60] to all other orators; I have found some who agreed in opinion with Cicero [Brut. c. 82], that he had, by too severe criticism on himself, diminished his natural energy; yet his language is chaste, forcible, correct, and often also spirited. But he is an imitator of the Attics, and his untimely death was an injury to him, if he intended to add anything to what he had done, but not if he intended to take from it.
116. Servius Sulpicius [Servius Sulpicius Rufus. One of the speeches to which Quintilian alludes was for Licinius Muraena, who was accused of bribery; another was for or against Aufidia], also, has gained a distinguished reputation, and not undeservedly, by three speeches. Cassius Severus [he lived in the reigns of Augustus and Tiberius. For some remarks on his style, see the Dialogue de Orat. c. 19 and 26], if he be read with judgment, will offer us much that is worthy of imitation, and if, in addition to his other excellences, he had given coloring and body to his language, he might have been ranked among the most eminent orators. 117. For there is great ability in him, and extraordinary power of sarcasm, as well as abundance of wit; but he allowed more influence to his passion than to his judgment; and besides, while his jokes are bitter, their bitterness often becomes ridiculous.
118. There have been also many other eloquent speakers, whom it would be tedious to particularize. Of those whom I have seen, Domitius Afer and Julius Africanus were by far the most eminent. Domitius deserved the preference for skill, and for his general manner of speaking, and we need not fear to rank him with the ancient orators. Africanus had more animation, but was too fastidious in the choice of his words, tedious, at times, in his phraseology, and too lavish in the use of metaphors.
There were also men of ability in recent times. 119. Trachallus [Galerius Trachalus; he was consul with Silius Italicus, A.D. 68] was generally elevated, and sufficiently perspicuous; and we might have supposed that he aimed at the highest excellence; yet he was greater when heard than when read; for he had such a fine tone of voice as I never knew in any other person, a delivery that would have sufficed for the stage, gracefulness of action, and every external advantage even to excess. Vibius Crispus [a contemporary of Quintilian; he is mentioned three or four times by Tacitus] was succinct and agreeable in his style, and naturally qualified to please; but he was better in pleading private than public causes.
120. If longer life had been granted to Julius Secundus [Dialogue de Oratoribus, c. 2], his name as an orator would doubtless have been highly renowned among posterity; for he would have added, and was indeed continually adding, whatever was wanting to his other excellences; and what he wanted was, to be more energetic in debate, and to turn his attention more frequently from his delivery to his matter. 121. But even though cut off prematurely, he claims a high place for himself; such is his eloquence, such his gracefulness in expressing whatever he pleased; such is the perspicuity, smoothness, and attraction of his style; such his felicity in the use of words, even those that are pressed into his service; and such his force of expression in some that he boldly hazarded.
122. But they who shall write of orators after me, will have ample reason for praising those that are now at the height of reputation; for there are in the present day men of eminent ability by whom the forum is highly adorned. Our finished advocates rival the ancients, and the efforts of our youth, aiming at the highest excellence, imitate them and follow in their footsteps.
123. There remain to be noticed those who have written on philosophy, in which department Roman literature has as yet produced but few eloquent writers. Yet Cicero, who distinguishes himself on all subjects, stands forth in this as a rival to Plato. But Brutus [the conspirator against Caesar. He wrote several philosophical treatises, as appears from Cicero, Acad. i. 3, and Fin. i. 3], a noble writer, and of more excellence in philosophy than in oratory, has ably supported the weight of such subjects; for his reader may feel sure that he says what he thinks. 134. Cornelius Celsus [the well-known writer on medicine], too, has written no small number of works, following in the track of the Sextii [there were two Sextii, Quintus Sextius the father, who refused the latus clavus when it was offered him by Julius Caesar, and his son, who, St. Jerome says, was born in the same year with Jesus Christ. They are several times mentioned by Seneca in his Epistles and books de Ira, and at the end of the seventh book of the Naturales Quaestiones], and not without grace and elegance. Among the Stoics, Plancus maybe read with profit, from the knowledge which he displays of his subject. Among the Epicureans Catius [he with whose spectra, the eidola of Epicurus, Cicero makes merry, ad Div. xv. 16, 19] is a light, but not unpleasing author.
125. Of Seneca I have purposely delayed to speak, in reference to any department of eloquence, on account of a false report that has been circulated respecting me, from which I was supposed to condemn and even to hate him. This happened to me while I was striving to bring back our style of speaking, which was spoiled and enervated by every kind of fault, to a more severe standard of taste. 126. At that time Seneca was almost the only writer in the hands of the young. I was not desirous, for my own part, to set him aside altogether, but I could not allow him to be preferred to those better authors whom he never ceased to attack [the same charge is brought against Seneca by Aulus Gellius, xii. 12], since, being conscious that he had adopted a different style from theirs, he distrusted his power of pleasing those by whom they were admired.
But his partisans rather admired than succeeded in imitating him, and fell as far below him as he had fallen below the older writers. 127. Yet it had been desirable that his followers should have been equal to him, or at least have made near approaches to him; but he attracted them only by his faults, and each of them set himself to copy in him what he could; and then, when they began to boast that they wrote like him, they brought dishonor on his name. 128. Still he had many and great merits; a ready and fertile wit, extraordinary application, and extensive knowledge on various subjects, though he was sometimes deceived by those whom he had employed to make researches for him.
129. He has written on almost every department of learning; for there are orations of his, and poems, and letters, and dialogues, in circulation. In philosophy he was not sufficiently accurate, though an admirable assailant of vices. There are many bright thoughts in him, and much that may be read for moral improvement, but most of his phraseology is in a vitiated taste, and most hurtful to students for the very reason that it abounds in pleasing faults. 130. We could wish that he had written from his own mind, and under the control of another person's judgment; for if he had rejected some of his thoughts, if he had not fixed his affections on small beauties, if he had not been in love with everything that he conceived, if he had not weakened the force of his matter by petty attempts at sententiousness, he would have been honored with the unanimous consent of the learned rather than the admiration of boys.
131. Yet, such as he is, he ought to be read by those whose judgment is matured, and whose minds have been strengthened by a severer manner of writing, if with no other object than that the reader may exercise his judgment for and against him; for, as I said, there is much in him worthy of approval, and much deserving of admiration; only it must be our care to choose judiciously, as I wish that he himself had done, since natural powers that could accomplish whatever they pleased, were worthy of having better objects to accomplish.
1. From these authors, and others worthy to be read, a stock of words, a variety of figures, and the art of composition, must be acquired; and our minds must be directed to the imitation of all their excellences; for it cannot be doubted that a great portion of art consists in imitation, since, though to invent was first in order of time, and holds the first place in merit, yet it is of advantage to copy what has been invented with success. 2. Indeed the whole conduct of life is based on the desire of doing ourselves that which we approve in others.
Thus boys follow the traces of letters in order to acquire skill in writing; thus musicians follow the voice of their teachers, painters look for models to the works of preceding painters, and farmers adopt the system of culture approved by experience. We see, in short, that the beginnings of every kind of study are formed in accordance with some prescribed rule. 3. We must, indeed, be either like or unlike those who excel; and nature rarely forms one like, though imitation does so frequently. But the very circumstance that renders the study of all subjects so much more easy to us, than it was to those who had nothing to imitate, will prove a disadvantage to us, unless it be turned to account with caution and judgment.
4. Undoubtedly, then, imitation is not sufficient of itself, if for no other reason than that it is the mark of an indolent nature to rest satisfied with what has been invented by others. For what would have been the case, if, in those times which were without any models, mankind had thought that they were not to execute or imagine anything but what they already knew? Assuredly nothing would have been invented. 5. Why then is it unlawful for anything to be devised by us which did not exist before? Were our rude forefathers led, by the mere natural force of intellect, to the discovery of so many things, and shall not we be roused to inquiry by the certain knowledge which we possess that those who sought, found? 6. When those who had no master in any subject, have transmitted so many discoveries to posterity, shall not the experience which we have in some things assist us to bring to light others, or shall we have nothing but what we derive from other men's bounty, as some painters aim at nothing more than to know how to copy a picture by means of compasses and lines?
7. It is dishonorable even to rest satisfied with simply equalling what we imitate. For what would have been the case, again, if no one had accomplished more than he whom he copied? We should have nothing in poetry superior to Livius Andronicus, nothing in history better than the Annals of the Pontiffs; we should still sail on rafts; there would be no painting but that of tracing the outlines of the shadow which bodies cast in the sunshine. [See Pliny, H. N. xxxv. 3; Athenag. Leg. pro Christ, p. 69 ed. Dechair.] 8. If we take a view of all arts, no one can be found exactly as it was when it was invented; no one that has confined itself within its original limits; unless, indeed, we have to convict our own times, beyond all others, of this unhappy deficiency, and to consider that now at last nothing improves; for certainly nothing does improve by imitation only. 9. But if it is not allowable to add to what has preceded us, how can we ever hope to see a complete orator, when among those, whom we have hitherto recognized as the greatest, no one has been found in whom there is not something defective or censurable?
Even those who do not aim at the highest excellence, should rather try to excel, than merely follow, their predecessors; for he who makes it his object to get before another, will possibly, if he does not go by him, get abreast of him. 10. But assuredly no one will come up with him in whose steps he thinks that he must tread, for he who follows another must of necessity always be behind him. Besides, it is generally easier to do more, than to do precisely the same; since exact likeness is attended with such difficulty that not even nature herself has succeeded in contriving that the simplest objects, and such as may be thought most alike, shall not be distinguished by some perceptible difference. 11. Moreover, everything that is the resemblance of something else, must necessarily be inferior to that of which it is a copy, as the shadow to the substance, the portrait to the natural face, and the acting of the player to the real feeling.
The same is the case with regard to oratorical composition; for in the originals, which we take for our models, there is nature and real power, while every imitation, on the contrary, is something counterfeit, and seems adapted to an object not its own. 12. Hence it happens that declamations have less spirit and force than actual pleadings, because in one the subject is real, in the other fictitious. In addition to all this, whatever excellences are most remarkable in an orator, are inimitable, as natural talent, invention, energy, easiness of manner, and whatever cannot be taught by art. 13. In consequence, many students, when they have selected certain words, or acquired a certain rhythm of composition, from any orator's speeches, think that what they have read is admirably represented in their own sentences; though words fall into desuetude, or come into use, according to the fashion of the day, so that the most certain rule for their use is found in custom, and they are not in their own nature either good or bad, (for in themselves they are only sounds,) but just as they are suitably and properly applied, or otherwise; and when our composition is best adapted to our subject, it becomes most pleasing from its variety.
14. Everything, therefore, relating to this department of study, is to be considered with the nicest judgment. First of all, we must be cautious as to the authors whom we would imitate, for many have been desirous to resemble the worst and most faulty originals. In the next place, we must examine what there is in the authors whom we have chosen for models, that we should set ourselves to attain, for even in great writers there occur faulty passages and blemishes, which have been censured by the learned in their remarks on one another; and I wish that our youth would improve in their oratory by imitating what is good, as much as they are deteriorated in it by copying what is bad.
15. Nor let those who have sufficient judgment for avoiding faults, be satisfied with forming a semblance, a mere cuticle, if I may so express myself, of excellence, or rather one of those images of Epicurus [see Lucret. iv. 48. Aul. Gell. v. 16. Cic. Ep. ad Div. xv. 16, 19], which he says are perpetually flying off from the surfaces of bodies. 16. This, however, is the fate of those who, having no thorough insight into the merits of a style, adapt their manner, as it were, to the first aspect of it; and even when their imitation proves most successful, and when they differ but little from their original author, in language and harmony, they yet never fully attain to his force or fertility of language, but commonly degenerate into something worse, lay hold on such defects as border on excellences, and become tumid instead of great, weak instead of concise, rash instead of bold, licentious instead of exuberant, tripping instead of dignified, careless instead of simple.
17. Accordingly, those who have produced something dry and inane, in a rough and inelegant dress, fancy themselves equal to the ancients; those who reject embellishment of language or thought, compare themselves, forsooth, to the Attic writers; those who become obscure by curtailing their periods, excel Sallust and Thucydides; the dry and jejune rival Pollio; and the dull and languid, if they but express themselves in a long period, declare that Cicero would have spoken just like themselves. 18. I have known some, indeed, who thought that they had admirably represented the divine orator's manner in their speeches, when they had put at the end of a period esse videatur. The first consideration, therefore, for the student, is, that he should understand what he proposes to imitate, and have a thorough conception why it is excellent.
19. Next, in entering on his task, let him consult his own powers, (for some things are inimitable by those whose natural weakness is not sufficient for attaining them, or whose natural inclination is repugnant to them,) lest he who has but a feeble capacity, should attempt only what is arduous and rough, or lest he who has great but rude talent, should waste his strength in the study of refinement, and fail of attaining the elegance of which he is desirous; for nothing is more ungraceful than to treat of delicate subjects with harshness. 20. I did not suppose, indeed, that by the master whom I instructed in my second book, those things only were to be taught, to which he might see his pupils severally adapted by nature; he ought to improve whatever good qualities he finds in them; to supply, as far as he can, what is deficient; to correct some things and to alter others; for he is the director and regulator of the minds of others; to mould his own nature may be more difficult. 21. But not even such a teacher, however he may wish everything that is right to be found in the highest excellence in his pupils, will labor to any purpose in that to which he shall see that nature is opposed.
There is another thing also to be avoided, a matter in which many err; we must not suppose that poets and historians are to be the objects of our imitation in oratorical composition, or orators and declaimers in poetry or history. 22. Every species of writing has its own prescribed law; each its own appropriate dress; for comedy does not strut in tragic buskins, nor does tragedy step along in the slipper of comedy: yet all eloquence has something in common; and let us look on that which is common as what we must imitate. 23. On those who have devoted themselves to one particular kind of style, there generally attends this inconvenience, that if, for example, the roughness of some writer has taken their fancy, they cannot divest themselves of it in pleading those causes which are of a quiet and subdued nature; or if a simple and pleasing manner has attracted them, they become unequal to the weight of their subject in complex and difficult causes; when not only the nature of one cause is different from that of another, but the nature of one part of a cause differs from that of another part, and some portions are to be delivered gently, others roughly, some in a vehement, others in an easy tone, some for the purpose of informing the hearer, others with a view to excite his feelings; all which require a different and distinct style.
24. I should not, therefore, advise a student to devote himself entirely to any particular author, so as to imitate him in all respects. Of all the Greek orators Demosthenes is by far the most excellent; yet others, on some occasions, may have expressed themselves better; and he himself has expressed many things better on some occasions than on others. But he who deserves to be imitated most, is not therefore the only author to be imitated. 25. "What then?" the reader may ask, "is it not sufficient to speak on every subject as Cicero spoke?" To me, assuredly, it would be sufficient, if I could attain all his excellences. Yet what disadvantage would it be to assume, on some occasions, the energy of Caesar, the asperity of Caelius, the accuracy of Pollio, the judgment of Calvus?
26. For besides that it is the part of a judicious student to make, if he can, whatever is excellent in each , author his own, it is also to be considered, that if, in a matter of such difficulty as imitation, we fix our attention only on one author, scarcely any one portion of his excellence will allow us to become masters of it. Accordingly, since it is almost denied to human ability to copy fully the pattern which we have chosen, let us set before our eyes the excellences of several, that different qualities from different writers may fix themselves in our minds, and that we may adopt, for any subject, the style which is most suitable to it.
27. But let imitation (for I must frequently repeat the same precept) not be confined merely to words. We ought to contemplate what propriety was observed by those great men, with regard to things and persons; what judgment, what arrangement, and how everything, even what seems intended only to please, was directed to the attainment of success in their cause. Let us notice what is done in their exordium; how skillful and varied is their statement of facts; how great is their ability in proving and refuting; how consummate was their skill in exciting every species of emotion; and how even the applause which they gained from the public was turned to the advantage of their cause; applause which is most honorable when it follows unsolicited, not when it is anxiously courted.
If we gain a thorough conception of all these matters, we shall then be such imitators as we ought to be. 28. But he who shall add to these borrowed qualities excellences of his own, so as to supply what is deficient in his models, and to retrench what is redundant, will be the complete orator whom we desire to see; and such an orator ought now surely to be formed, when so many more examples of eloquence exist than fell to the lot of those who have hitherto been considered the best orators; for to them will belong the praise, not only of surpassing those who preceded them, but of instructing those who followed.
1. Such, then, are the means of improvement to be derived from external sources. But of those which we must secure for ourselves, practice in writing, which is attended with the most labor, is attended also with the greatest advantage. Nor has Cicero without reason called the pen the best modeller and teacher of eloquence; and by putting that opinion into the mouth of Lucius Crassus, in his Dialogues on the character of the Orator [De Orat. i. 33], he has united his own judgment to the authority of that eminent speaker.
2. We must write, therefore, as carefully, and as much, as we can; for as the ground, by being dug to a great depth, becomes more fitted for fructifying and nourishing seeds, so improvement of the mind, acquired from more than mere superficial cultivation, pours forth the fruits of study in richer abundance, and retains them with greater fidelity. For without this precaution, the very faculty of speaking extempore will but furnish us with empty loquacity, and words born on the lips [not coming from the depths of the understanding]. 3. In writing are the roots, in writing are the foundations of eloquence; by writing resources are stored up, as it were, in a sacred repository, whence they may be drawn forth for sudden emergencies, or as circumstances require.
Let us above all things get strength, which may suffice for the labor of our contests, and may not be exhausted by use. 4. Nature has herself appointed that nothing great is to be accomplished quickly, and has ordained that difficulty should precede every work of excellence [in allusion, probably, to the line of Hesiod, Op. et Di. i. 287, Where Virtue dwells, the gods have plac'd before The dropping sweat that springs from ev'ry pore]; and she has even made it a law with regard to gestation, that the larger animals are retained longer in the womb of the parent.
5. But as two questions arise from this subject, how, and what, we ought principally to write, I shall consider them both in this order. Let our pen be at first slow, provided that it be accurate. Let us search for what is best, and not allow ourselves to be readily pleased with whatever presents itself; let judgment be applied to our thoughts, and skill in arrangement to such of them as the judgment sanctions; for we must make a selection from our thoughts and words, and the weight of each must be carefully estimated; and then must follow the art of collocation, and the rhythm of our phrases must be tried in every possible way, since any word must not take its position just as it offers itself.
6. That we may acquire this accomplishment with the more precision, we must frequently repeat the last words of what we have just written; for besides that by this means what follows is better connected with what precedes, the ardor of thought, which has cooled by the delay of writing, recovers its strength anew, and, by going again over the ground, acquires new force; as is the case, we see, in a contest at leaping; men run over a certain portion of ground that they may take a longer spring, and be carried with the utmost velocity to the other part on which they aim at alighting; as in hurling a javelin, too, we draw back the arm; and, when going to shoot an arrow, we pull back the bowstring. 7. At times, however, if a gale bear us on, we may spread our sails to it, provided that the license which we allow ourselves does not lead us astray; for all our thoughts please us at the time of their birth; otherwise they would not be committed to writing.
But let us have recourse to our judgment, and revise the fruit of our facility, which is always to be regarded with suspicion. 8. Thus we learn that Sallust wrote; and his labor, indeed, is shown in his productions. That Virgil wrote very few verses in a day Varus bears testimony. [See Aul. Gell. xvii. 10, where it is related that Virgil used to say of himself, that he licked his verses into shape as bears lick their cubs.] 9. With the speaker, indeed, the case is different; and I, therefore, enjoin this delay and solicitude only at the commencement of his course; for we must make it first of all our object, and must attain that object, to write as well as we can; practice will bring celerity; thoughts, by degrees, will present themselves with greater readiness, words will correspond to them, and suitable arrangement will follow; and everything, in a word, as in a well ordered household, will be ready for service.
10. The sum of the whole matter, indeed, is this; that by writing quickly we are not brought to write well, but that by writing well we are brought to write quickly. But after this facility has been attained, we must then, most of all, take care to stop and look before us, and restrain our high-mettled steeds with the curb; a restraint which will not so much retard us, as give us new spirit to proceed.
Nor, on the other hand, do I think that those, who have acquired some power in the use of the pen, should be chained down to the unhappy task of perpetually finding fault with themselves. 11 . For how could he perform his duty to the public, who should waste his life in polishing every portion of his pleadings? But there are some whom nothing ever satisfies; who wish to alter everything, and to express everything in a different form from that in which it first occurs to them. Some, again, there are, who, distrustful of themselves, and paying an ill compliment to their own powers, think that accuracy in writing means to create for themselves extraordinary difficulties.
12. Nor is it easy for me to say which I regard as more in the wrong, those whom everything that they produce, or those whom nothing that they produce, pleases; for it is often the case even with young men of talent, that they wear themselves away with useless labor, and sink into silence from too much anxiety to speak well. In regard to this subject, I remember that Julius Secundus, a contemporary of mine, and, as is well known, dearly beloved by me, a man of extraordinary eloquence, but of endless labor, mentioned to me something that had been told him by his uncle. 13. This uncle was Julius Florus [there is a Julius Floras to whom Horace addresses the third epistle of his first book], the most celebrated man for eloquence in the provinces of Gaul, (for it was there that he practiced it,) and, in other respects, an orator to be ranked with few, and worthy of his relationship to Secundus.
He, happening one day to observe that Secundus, while he was still working at school, was looking dejected, asked him what was the reason of his brow being so overcast. 14. The youth used no concealment, but told him that that was the third day that he had been vainly endeavoring, with his utmost efforts, to find an exordium for a subject on which he had to write: whence not only grief had affected him in respect to the present occasion, but despair in regard to the time to come. Florus immediately replied with a smile, Do you wish to write better than you can? 15. Such is the whole truth of the matter; we must endeavor to speak with as much ability as we can, but we must speak according to our ability. For improvement there is need of application, but not of vexation with ourselves.
But to enable us to write more, and more readily, not practice only will assist, (and in practice there is doubtless great effect,) but also method, if we do not, lolling at our ease, looking at the ceiling, and trying to kindle our invention by muttering to ourselves, wait for what may present itself, but, observing what the subject requires, what becomes the character concerned, what the nature of the occasion is, and what the disposition of the judge, set ourselves to write like reasonable beings; for thus nature herself will supply us not only with a commencement but with what ought to follow. 16. Most points, indeed, are plain, and set themselves before our eyes if we do not shut them; and accordingly not even the illiterate and untaught have long to consider how to begin; and therefore we should feel the more ashamed if learning produces difficulty. Let us not, then, imagine that what lies hid is always best; or, if we think nothing fit to be said but what we have not discovered, we must remain dumb.
17. A different fault is that of those who wish, first of all, to run through their subject with as rapid a pen as possible, and, yielding to the ardor and impetuosity of their imagination, write off their thoughts extemporaneously, producing what they call a rough copy [silvam. The thoughts being committed to writing, without any regular order, like trees in a wood], which they then go over again, and arrange what they have hastily poured forth; but though the words and rhythm of the sentences are mended, there still remains the same want of solid connection that there was originally in the parts hurriedly thrown together. 18. It will be better, therefore, to use care at first, and so to form our work from the beginning that we may have merely to polish it, and not to mould it anew. Sometimes, however, we may give a loose rein to our feeling, in the display of which warmth is generally of more effect than accuracy.
19. From my disapprobation of carelessness in writing, it is clearly enough seen what I think of the fine fancy of dictation [self-indulgence, and dislike of labor, had then become so prevalent that men of any station were growing careless about manual dexterity in writing, and, subsequently, to dictate, instead of to write, became a great portion of the business of the learned. Thus Sidonius Apollinaris, viii. 6, says that he had excelled many others vario dictandi genere, "in the various departments of dictation"]; for in the use of the pen, the hand of the writer, however rapid, as it cannot keep pace with the celerity of his thoughts, allows them some respite; but he to whom we dictate urges us on, and we feel ashamed at times to hesitate, or stop, or alter, as if we were afraid to have a witness of our weakness. 20. Hence it happens, that not only inelegant and casual expressions, but sometimes unsuitable ones, escape us, while our sole anxiety is to make our discourse connected; expressions which partake neither of the accuracy of the writer nor of the animation of the speaker; while, if the person who takes down what is dictated, prove, from slowness in writing, or from inaccuracy in reading, a hindrance, as it were, to us, the course of our thought is obstructed, and all the fire that had been conceived in our mind is dispelled by delay, or, sometimes, by anger at the offender.
21. Besides, those gestures which accompany the stronger excitements of the mind, and which, in some degree, rouse the imagination, such as waving of the hand, alteration of the features, turning from side to side, and all such acts as Persius [I. 106] satirizes, when he alludes to a negligent species of style, (the writer, he says.
Nec pluteum coedit, nec demorsos sapit ungues,
are utterly ridiculous except when we are alone. 22. In short, to mention once for all the strongest argument against dictation, privacy is rendered impossible by it; and that a spot free from witnesses, and the deepest possible silence, are the most desirable for persons engaged in writing, no one can doubt.
Yet we are not therefore necessarily to listen to those, who think that groves and woods are the most proper places for study, because, as the free and open sky, they say, and the beauty of sequestered spots, give elevation to the mind and a happy warmth to the imagination. 23. To me, assuredly, such retirement seems rather conducive to pleasure than an incentive to literary exertion; for the very objects that delight us must, of necessity, divert our attention from the work which we designed to pursue; for the mind cannot, in truth, attend effectually to many things at once, and in whatever direction it looks off, it must cease to contemplate what had been intended for its employment. 24. The pleasantness, therefore, of the woods, the streams gliding past, the breezes sporting among the branches of the trees, the songs of birds, and the very freedom of the extended prospect, draw off our attention to them; so that all such gratifications seem to me more adapted to relax the thoughts than to brace them.
25. Demosthenes acted more wisely, who secluded himself in a place where no voice could be heard, and no prospect contemplated, that his eyes might not oblige his mind to attend to anything else besides his business. As for those who study by lamp-light, therefore, let the silence of the night, the closed chamber, and a single light, keep them as it were wholly in seclusion. 26. But in every kind of study, and especially in such nocturnal application, good health, and that which is the principal means of securing it, regularity of life [boni mores], are necessary, since we devote the time appointed us by nature for sleep and the recruiting of our strength, to the most intense labor; but on this labor we must not bestow more time than what is too much for sleep, and what will not leave too little for it; 27. for weariness hinders application to writing; and day-light, if we are free from other occupations, is abundantly sufficient for it; it is necessity that drives men engaged in business to read at night. Yet study by the lamp, when we come to it fresh and vigorous, is the best kind of retirement.
28. But silence and seclusion, and entire freedom of mind, though in the highest degree desirable, cannot always fall to our lot; and therefore we must not, if any noise disturbs us, immediately throw aside our books, and deplore the day as lost, but we must strive against inconveniences, and acquire such habits, that our application may set all interruptions at defiance; for if we direct our attention, with our whole mental energy, to the work actually before us, nothing of all that strikes our eyes or ears will penetrate into the mind. 29. Does a casual train of thought often cause us not to see persons in our way, and to wander from our road, and shall we not attain the same abstraction if we resolve to do so? We must not yield to excuses for idleness; for if we fancy that we must not study except when we are fresh, except when we are in good spirits, except when we are free from all other cares, we shall always have some reason for self-indulgence.
30. In the midst of crowds, therefore, on a journey, and even at festive meetings, let thought secure for herself privacy. Else what will be the result, when we shall have, in the midst of the forum, amid the hearing of so many causes, amid wranglings and casual outcries, to speak, perhaps on a sudden, in a continued harangue, if we cannot conceive the memoranda which we enter on our tablets, anywhere but in solitude? For this reason Demosthenes, though so great a lover of seclusion, used to accustom himself, by studying on the sea-shore, where the breakers dashed with the loudest noise, not to be disconcerted at the uproar of public assemblies.
31. Some lesser matters also (though nothing is little that relates to study) must not be left unnoticed; one of which is, that we can write best on waxen tablets, from which there is the greatest facility for erasing, unless, perchance, weakness of sight [the letters, it appears, were plainer and more legible on parchment or paper than on waxen tablets] requires the use of parchment; but parchment, though it assists the sight, yet, from the frequent movement of the hand backwards and forwards, while dipping the pen in the ink, causes delay, and interrupts the current of thought. 32. Next we may observe, that in using either of these kinds of material, we should take care to leave some pages blank, on which we may have free scope for making any additions; (since want of room sometimes causes a reluctance to correct, or, at least, what was written first makes a confused mixture with what is inserted.)
But I would not have the waxen tablets extravagantly broad, having found a youth, otherwise anxious to excel, make his compositions of too great a length, because he used to measure them by the number of lines, a fault which, though it could not be corrected by repeated admonitions, was at last removed by altering the size of his tablets. 33. There should also be a portion of space left vacant on which may be noted down what frequently occurs out of order to persons who are writing, that is, in reference to other subjects than those which we have in hand; for excellent thoughts sometimes start into our minds, which we cannot well insert in our pages, and which it is not safe to delay noting down, because they sometimes escape us, and sometimes, if we are anxious to keep them in memory, divert us from thinking of other things. Hence they will be properly deposited in a place for memoranda.
1. Next follows correction, which is by far the most useful part of our studies; for it is believed, and not without reason, that the pen is not least serviceable when it is used to erase [see Cicero de Orat. ii. 23]. Of correction there are three ways, to add, to take away, and to alter.
In regard, however, to what is to be added or taken away, the decision is comparatively easy and simple; but to compress what is tumid, to raise what is low, to prune what is luxuriant, to regulate what is ill-arranged, to give compactness to what is loose, to circumscribe what is extravagant, is a two-fold task; for we must reject things that had pleased us, and find out others that had escaped us. 2. Undoubtedly, also, the best method for correction is to lay by for a time what we have written, so that we may return to it, after an interval, as if it were something new to us, and written by another, lest our writings, like new-born infants, compel us to fix our affections on them.
3. But this cannot always be done, especially by the orator, who must frequently write for present purposes; and correction must therefore have its limits; for there are some that return to whatever they compose as if they presumed it to be incorrect; and, as if nothing could be right that has presented itself first, they think whatever is different from it is better, and find something to correct as often as they take up their manuscript, like surgeons who make incisions even in sound places; and hence it happens that their writings are, so to speak, scarred and bloodless, and rendered worse by the remedies applied.
Let what we write, therefore, sometimes please, or at least content us, that the file may polish our work, and not wear it to nothing. To the time, too, allowed for correction, there must be a limit; for as to what we hear about Cinna's Zmyrna [Zmyrna or Myrrha. The author was Caius Helvius Cinna; and that he was nine years about the poem, is stated in one of the epigrams of Catullus], that it occupied nine years in writing, and about the Panegyric of Isocrates, which they who assign the shortest period to its production [some say that it occupied fifteen years, as Plutarch observes in his Life of Isocrates], assert to have been ten years in being finished, it is of no import to the orator, whose aid would be useless if it were so long in coming.
1. The next point is, to decide on what we should employ ourselves when we write. It would be a superfluous labor, indeed, to detail what subjects there are for writing, and what should be studied first, or second, and so on in succession; for this has been done in my first book, in which I prescribed the order for the studies of boys, and in my second, where I specified those of the more advanced; and what is now to be considered, is whence copiousness and facility of expression may be derived.
2. To translate Greek into Latin our old orators thought to be a very excellent exercise. Lucius Crassus, in the well-known books of Cicero De Oratore [I. 34], says that he often practiced it; and Cicero himself, speaking in his own person, very frequently recommends it, and has even published books of Plato and Xenophon [the Timaeus and Protagoras of Plato, and the Oeconomics of Xenophon] translated in that kind of exercise. It was also approved by Messala; and there are extant several versions of speeches made by him, so that he even rivalled the oration of Hyperides for Phryne in delicacy of style, a quality most difficult of attainment to Romans. 3. The object of such exercise is evident; for the Greek authors excel in copiousness of matter, and have introduced a vast deal of art into the study of eloquence; and, in translating them, we may use the very best words, for all that we use may be our own. As to figures, by which language is principally ornamented, we may be under the necessity of inventing a great number and variety of them, because the Roman tongue differs greatly from that of the Greeks.
4. But the conversion of Latin writing into other words will also be of great service to us. About the utility of turning poetry into prose, I suppose that no one has any doubt; and this is the only kind of exercise that Sulpicius is said to have used; for its sublimity may elevate our style, and the boldness of the expressions adopted by poetic license does not preclude the orator's efforts to express the same thoughts in the exactness of prose. He may even add to those thoughts oratorical vigor, supply what has been omitted, and give compactness to that which is diffuse, since I would not have our paraphrase to be a mere interpretation, but an effort to vie with and rival our original in the expression of the same thoughts.
5. I therefore differ in opinion from those who disapprove of paraphrasing Latin orations [something to this effect is said by Crassus in Cicero de Orat. i. 34], on the pretext that, as the best words and phrases have been already used, whatever we express in another form, must of necessity be expressed worse. But for this allegation there is no sufficient ground; for we must not despair of the possibility of finding something better than what has been said; nor has nature made language so meagre and poor that we cannot speak well on any subject except in one way; unless we suppose, indeed, that the gestures of the actor can give a variety of turns to the same words, but that the power of eloquence is so much inferior that when a thing has been once said, nothing can be said after it to the same purpose. 6. But let it be granted that what we conceive is neither better than our original nor equal to it; yet it must be allowed, at the same time, that there is a possibility of coming near to it.
7. Do not we ourselves at times speak twice or oftener, and sometimes a succession of sentences, on the same subject, and are we to suppose that though we can contend with ourselves we cannot contend with others? If a thought could be expressed well only in one way, it would be but right to suppose that the path of excellence has been shut against us by some of our predecessors; but in reality there are still innumerable modes of saying a thing, and many roads leading to the same point. 8. Conciseness has its charms, and so has copiousness; there is one kind of beauty in metaphorical, another in simple expressions; direct expressions become one subject, and such as are varied by figures another.
In addition, the difficulty of the exercise is most serviceable. Are not our greatest authors by this means studied more carefully? For, in this way, we do not run over what we have written in a careless mode of reading, but consider every individual portion, and look, from necessity, thoroughly into their matter, and learn how much merit they possess from the very fact that we cannot succeed in imitating them.
9. Nor will it be of advantage to us only to alter the language of others; it will be serviceable also to vary our own in a number of different forms, taking certain thoughts for the purpose, and putting them, as harmoniously as possible, into several shapes, just as different figures are molded out of the same wax. 10. But I consider that the greatest facility in composition is acquired by exercise in the simplest subjects: for in treating of a multiplicity of persons, causes, occasions, places, sayings, and actions, our real weakness in style may readily escape notice amidst so many subjects which present themselves on all sides, and on some of which we may readily lay hold. 11. But the great proof of power is to expand what is naturally contracted, to amplify what is little, to give variety to things that are similar, and attraction to such as are obvious, and to say with effect much on a little.
To this end indefinite questions will much contribute, questions which we call θεσεις, and on which Cicero, even when he had become the first orator in his country, used to exercise himself. [Cicero ad Att. ix. 4, 19. Cicero's Paradoxes are of this species of composition.] 12. Next in utility to these are refutations and defenses of sentences; for as a sentence is a sort of decree and order, whatever questions may arise regarding the subject of it, may also arise regarding the decision on the subject. Next stand common-places, on which we know that accomplished orators have written. For he who shall succeed in treating fully on questions that are plain and direct, and do not involve any complicated inquiries, will be still better able to expatiate on such as admit of excursive discussion, and will be prepared for any cause whatever.
13. All causes, indeed, rest on general questions; for what difference does it make, for instance, whether Cornelius, as tribune of the people, is accused of having read to the people the manuscript of a proposed law, or whether we have to consider the general question, Is it a breach of the dignity of office, if a magistrate reads his own law to the people in his own person? What difference does it make whether the question to be tried is, Did Milo lawfully kill Clodius? or, Ought a lier-in-wait to be killed, or a mischievous member of the commonwealth, even though he be not a lier-in-wait? What is the difference whether the question is, Did Cato act properly in giving up his wife to Hortensius? or, Does such a proceeding become a respectable man? Decision is pronounced concerning the persons, but the dispute concerns the general questions.
14. Declamations, too, such as are usually pronounced in the schools, are, if but adapted to real cases, and made similar to actual pleadings, of the greatest service, not only while our education has still to reach maturity, (for the exercise is alike both in conception and in arrangement,) but even when our studies are said to be completed, and have obtained us reputation in the forum; since eloquence is thus nurtured and made florid, as it were, on a richer sort of diet, and is refreshed after being fatigued by the constant roughnesses of forensic contests.
15. Hence, also, the copious style of history may be tried with advantage for exercising the pen; and we may indulge in the easy style of dialogues. Nor will it be prejudicial to our improvement to amuse ourselves with verse; as athletes, relaxing at times from their fixed rules for food and exercise, recruit themselves with ease and more inviting dainties. 16. It was from this cause, as it seems to me, that Cicero threw such a glorious brilliancy over his eloquence, that he used freely to ramble in such sequestered walks of study; for if our sole material for thought is derived from law cases, the gloss of our oratory must of necessity be rubbed off, its joints must grow stiff, and the points of its wit be blunted by daily encounters.
17. But though this feasting, as it were, of eloquence, refreshes and recruits those who are employed, and, as we may say, at war, in the field of the forum, yet young men ought not to be detained too long in fictitious representations and empty semblances of real life; to such a degree, I mean, that it would be difficult to familiarize them, when removed from such illusions, to the occupations of the forum; lest, from the effect of the retirement in which they have almost wasted away their life, they should shrink from the field of action as from too dazzling sunshine. 18. This is said indeed to have been the case with Porcius Latro, who was the first professor of rhetoric of any eminence, so that, when he was called on to plead a cause in the forum, at the time that he bore the highest character in the schools, he used earnestly to entreat that the benches of the judges might be removed into the hall; for so strange did the open sky appear to him, that all his eloquence seemed to lie within a roof and walls.
19. Let the young man, then, who has carefully learned skill in conception and expression from his teachers, (which will not be an endless task if they are able and willing to teach,) and who has gained a fair degree of facility by practice, choose some orator, as was the custom among the ancients, whom he may follow and imitate; let him attend as many trials as possible, and be a frequent spectator of the sort of contest for which he is intended. 20. Let him set down cases also in writing, either the same that he has heard pleaded, or others, provided that they be on real facts, and let him handle both sides of the question; and, as we see in the schools of gladiators, let him exercise himself with arms that will decide contests ["The gladiators," says Seneca the Rhetorician, Controv. lib. iv. praef. "exercise themselves with heavier arms than those with which they actually fight."], as we observed that Brutus did in composing a speech for Milo. This is a much better practice than writing replies to old speeches, as Cestius [a man of Greek origin, who practiced rhetoric at Rome. See Seneca the father, p. Bip. 399] did to the speech of Cicero on behalf of Milo, though he could not have had a sufficient knowledge of the other side from reading only the defense.
21. The young man will thus be sooner qualified for the forum, whom his master has obliged to approach in his declamations as nearly as possible to reality, and to range through all sorts of cases, of which masters now select only the easiest parts, as most favorable for exhibition. The ordinary hindrances to such variety in cases, are the crowd of pupils, the custom of hearing the classes on stated days, and, in some degree, the influence of parents, who count their sons' declamations rather than judge of the merit of them. 22. But a good master, as I said, I believe, in my first book, will not encumber himself with a greater number of pupils than he can well undertake to teach; he will put a stop to all empty loquacity, allowing everything to be said that concerns the question for decision, but not everything, as some would wish, within the range of possibility; and he will relax the stated course for speaking by granting longer time, or will permit his pupils to divide their cases into several parts, for one part carefully worked out will be of more service than many only half finished or just attempted. 23. It is from this desultoriness that nothing is put in its proper place in a speech, and that what is introduced at the beginning does not keep within its due bounds, as the young men crowd all the flowers of eloquence into what they are just going to deliver, and hence, from a fear of losing opportunities in the sequel, throw their commencement into utter confusion.
1. Next to writing is meditation, which indeed derives strength from it, and is something between the labor of writing and the trial of our fortune in extemporary speaking; and I know not whether it is not more frequently of use than either; for we cannot write everywhere and at all times; but there is abundance of time and room for thought. Meditation may in a very few hours embrace all points of the most important causes. When our sleep is broken at night, meditation is aided by the very darkness. Between the different stages in the pleading of a cause it finds some room to exercise itself, and never allows itself to be idle. 2. Nor does it only arrange within its circle the order of things, (which would itself be a great assistance to us,) but forms an array of words, and connects together the whole texture of a speech, with such effect, that nothing is wanting to it but to write it down. That, indeed, is in general more firmly fixed in the memory, on which the attention does not relax its hold from trusting too securely to writing.
But at such power of thought we cannot arrive suddenly or even soon. 3. In the first place, a certain form of thinking must be acquired by great practice in writing, a form which may be continually attendant on our meditations; a habit of thinking must then be gradually gained by embracing in our minds a few particulars at first, in such a way that they may be faithfully repeated; next, by additions so moderate that our task may scarcely feel itself increased, our power of conception must be enlarged, and sustained by plenty of exercise; power which in a great degree depends on memory, and I shall consequently defer some remarks on it till I enter on that head of my subject.
4. Yet it has already been made apparent, that he to whom nature does not obstinately refuse her aid, may, if assisted only by zealous application, attain such proficiency that what he has merely meditated, as well as what he has written and learned by heart, may be faithfully expressed in his efforts at oratory. Cicero indeed has acquainted us that, among the Greeks, Metrodorus of Scepsis [celebrated for the cultivation of his memory. See Cicero de Orat. ii. 88. See also Pliny, H. N. vii. 24], and Empylus [a rhetorician of that name is mentioned by Plutarch as the companion of Brutus, Vit. Brut. c. 2] of Rhodes, and Hortensius among our own countrymen, could, when they pleaded a cause, repeat word for word what they had premeditated.
5. But if by chance, while we are speaking, some glowing thought, suggested on the instant, should spring up in our minds, we must certainly not adhere too superstitiously to that which we have studied; for what we meditate is not to be settled with such nicety, that room is not to be allowed for a happy conception of the moment, when thoughts that suddenly arise in our minds are often inserted even in our written compositions. Hence the whole of this kind of exercise must be so ordered that we may easily depart from what we have arranged and easily return to it; since, though it is of the first importance to bring with us from home a prepared and precise array of language, yet it would be the greatest folly to reject the offerings of the moment.
6. Let our premeditation, therefore, be made with such care that fortune, while she is unable to disappoint, may have it in her power to assist us. But it will depend on the strength of our memory, whether what we have embraced in our minds flows forth easily, and does not prevent us, while we are anxious and looking back, and relying on no hope but that of recollection, from casting a glance in advance; otherwise I should prefer extemporary venturesomeness to premeditation of such unhappy coherence.
It has the very worst effect to be turning back in quest of our matter, because, while we are looking for what is in one direction, we are diverted from what is in another, and we derive our thoughts rather from mere memory than from our proper subject. Supposing, too, that we had to depend wholly on premeditation or wholly on the conceptions of the moment, we know very well that more may be imagined than has been imagined.
1. But the richest fruit of all our study, and the most ample recompense for the extent of our labor, is the faculty of speaking extempore; and he who has not succeeded in acquiring it, will do well, in my opinion, to renounce the occupations of the forum, and devote his solitary talent of writing to some other employment; for it is scarcely consistent with the character of a man of honor to make a public profession of service to others which may fail in the most pressing emergencies, since it is of no more use than to point out a harbor to a vessel, to which it cannot approach unless it be borne along by the gentlest breezes. 2. There arise indeed innumerable occasions where it is absolutely necessary to speak on the instant, as well before magistrates, as on trials that are brought on before the appointed time; and if any of these shall occur, I do not say to any one of our innocent fellow-citizens, but to any of our own friends or relatives, is an advocate to stand dumb, and, while they are begging for a voice to save them, and are likely to be undone if succor be not instantly afforded them, is he to ask time for retirement and silent study, till his speech be formed and committed to memory, and his voice and lungs be put in tune?
3. What system of pleading will allow of an orator being unprepared for sudden calls? What is to be done when we have to reply to an opponent? for that which we expected him to say, and in answer to which we composed our speech, often disappoints our anticipations, and the whole aspect of the cause is suddenly changed; and as the pilot has to alter his course according to the direction of the winds, so must our plan be varied to suit the variation in the cause. 4. What profit does much writing, constant reading, and a long period of life spent in study, bring us, if there remains with us the same difficulty in speaking that we felt at first? He, assuredly, who has always to encounter the same labor, must admit that his past efforts were to no purpose. Not that I make it an object that an orator should prefer to speak extempore; I only wish that he should be able to do so.
This talent we shall most effectually attain by the following means. 5. First of all, let our method of speaking be settled; for no journey can be attempted before we know to what place, and by what road, we have to go. It is not enough not to be ignorant what the parts of judicial causes are, or how to dispose questions in proper order, though these are certainly points of the highest importance, but we must know what ought to be first, what second, and so on, in each department of a pleading; for different particulars are so connected by nature that they admit no alteration of their order, nor allow any thing to be forced between them, without manifest confusion.
6. But he who shall speak according to a certain method, will be led forward, most of all, by the series of particulars, as by a sure guide; and hence even persons of but moderate practice will adhere with the greatest ease to the chain of facts in their narratives. They will also know what they want in each portion of a speech, and will not look about like persons at a loss; nor will they be distracted by ideas that present themselves from other quarters, nor mix up their speech of ingredients collected from separate spots, like men leaping hither and thither, and resting nowhere.
7. They will likewise have a certain range and limit, which cannot exist without proper division. When they have treated, to the hest of their ability, of everything that they had proposed to themselves, they will be sensible that they have come to a termination.
These qualifications depend on art; others on study; thus we must acquire, as has been already directed, an ample store of the best language; our style must be so formed by much and diligent composition, that even what is poured forth by us unpremeditatedly may present the appearance of having been previously written; so that, after having written much, we shall have the power of speaking copiously. 8. For it is habit and exercise that chiefly beget facility, and if they are intermitted, even but for a short period, not only will our fluency be diminished, but our mouth may even be closed.
9. Since, though we have need of such natural activity of mind, that, while we are uttering what is immediately present to our thoughts, we may be arranging what is to follow, and that thought preconceived and put into shape may always be ready for our voice, yet scarcely could either nature or art fix the mind on such manifold duties, as that it should suffice at once for invention, arrangement, delivery, for settling the order of our matter and words, for conceiving what we are uttering, what we must say next, and what is to be contemplated still further on, while its attention is given, at the same time, to our tone, pronunciation, and gesture. 10. Our activity of mind, indeed, must stretch far in advance, and drive our subject, as it were, before it, and whatever portion of our matter is consumed in speaking, an equal portion must be brought forward from that which is to follow, so that, until we arrive at the end, our prospect may advance no less than our step, unless, indeed, we are content to stop and stumble at every phrase, and throw out short and broken expressions like persons sobbing out what they have to say.
11. There is accordingly a certain unreflecting and mechanical habit, which the Greeks call αλογος τριζη, such as that by which the hand runs on in writing, and by which the eye, in reading, sees several lines, with their turns and transitions, at once, and perceives what follows before the voice has uttered what precedes. Hence the possibility of those wonderful tricks of performers on the stage with balls, and of other jugglers, whose dexterity is such that one might suppose the things which they throw from them to return into their hands of their own accord, and to fly whithersoever they are commanded to go. 12. But such habit will be of advantage to us only where the art, of which we spoke, has preceded it, so that that which is done without reflection may yet have its origin in reflection. For he only seems to me to speak, who speaks connectedly, elegantly, and fluently; otherwise he appears only to utter noisy gabble.
13. Nor shall I ever admire a stream of fortuitous eloquence, which I hear in abundance even among women when they are quarrelling, though it often happens, that when ardor and animation carry a speaker along, no study can equal the success of his extemporary efforts. 14. When such a flow of language occurred, the old orators, as Cicero observes, used to say that some god had inspired the orator. But the cause of the fluency is evident; for strongly conceived thoughts, and images rising fresh in the mind, bear us along with uninterrupted rapidity, when they would sometimes, if retarded by the slowness of writing, grow cool, and, if put off, would never return. When to this, too, is added an unhappy scrupulousness about words, and the progress of the speaker is thus stopped at every step, the impulse of eloquence can have no free course; and even though his choice of particular words may be extremely happy, yet the combination of them will proceed with no natural ease, but will appear like the laborious construction of art.
15. Those images, therefore, to which I have alluded, and which, I observed, are called φαντασιαι by the Greeks, must be carefully cherished in our minds, and everything on which we intend to speak, every person and every question, and all the hopes and fears likely to be attendant on them, must be kept full before our view, and admitted as it were into our hearts; for it is strength of feeling combined with energy of intellect, that renders us eloquent. Hence even to the illiterate words are not wanting, if they be but roused by some strong passion. 16. Our attention must also be fixed, not merely on any single object, but on several in connection, just as, when we cast our eye along a straight road, we see everything that is on it and about it, commanding a view, not only of the end of it, but of the whole way to the end.
17. The fear of failure, moreover, and the expectation of praise for what we shall say, gives a spur to our exertions, and it may seem strange that though the pen delights in seclusion, and shrinks from the presence of a witness, extemporal oratory is excited by a crowd of listeners, as the soldier by the mustering of the standards; for the necessity of speaking expels and urges forth our thoughts, however difficult to be expressed, and the desire to please increases our efforts. So much does everything look to reward, that even eloquence, though it has the highest pleasure in the exercise of its own powers, is yet greatly incited by the enjoyment of praise and reputation.
18. But let no one feel such confidence in his talents, as to hope that this power will come to him as soon as he attempts oratory; but, as I directed with regard to meditation, so, in cultivating facility in extemporary speaking, we must advance it, by slow degrees, from small beginnings to the highest excellence; but it can neither be acquired nor retained without practice. 19. It ought, however, to be attained to such a degree, that premeditation, though safer, may not be more effective; since many have had such command of language, not only in prose, but even in verse, as Antipater of Sidon [Cicero de Orat. iii. 50] and Licinius Archias [Cicero pro Archia, c. 8]; for we must rely on Cicero's authority with regard to them both; not but that even in our own times some have exercised this talent and still exercise it. I mention the acquirement, however, not so much because I think it commendable in itself, (for it is of no practical value, nor at all necessary,) as because I consider it a useful example for those who require to be encouraged in the hope of attaining such facility, and who are in the course of preparation for the forum.
20. Nor, again, would I ever wish, for my own part, to have such confidence in my readiness to speak, as not to take at least a short time, which may almost always be had, to consider what I am going to say; and time indeed is always allowed both on trials and in the forum. No one, assuredly, can plead a cause which he has not studied. 21. Yet a perverse kind of ambition moves some of our declaimers to profess themselves ready to speak as soon as a case is laid before them; and, what is the most vain and theatrical of all their practices, they even ask for a word with which they may commence. But Eloquence, in her turn, derides those who thus insult her; and those who wish to appear learned to fools are decidedly pronounced fools by the learned.
22. Yet if any chance shall give rise to such a sudden necessity for speaking extempore, we shall have need to exert our mind with more than its usual activity; we must fix our whole attention on our matter, and relax, for the time, something of our care about words, if we find it impossible to attend to both. A slower pronunciation, too, and a mode of speaking with suspense and doubt, as it were, gives time for consideration; yet we must manage so that we may seem to deliberate and not to hesitate. 23. To this cautious method of delivery we may adhere as long as we are clearing the harbor, should the wind drive us forward before our tackle is sufficiently prepared; afterwards, as we proceed on our course, we shall fill our sails and arrange our ropes by degrees, and pray that our canvas may be filled with a prosperous gale. This will be better than to launch forth on an empty torrent of words, so as to be carried away with it, as by the blasts of a tempest, whithersoever it may wish to sweep us.
24. But this talent requires to be kept up with no less practice than it is acquired. An art, indeed, once thoroughly learned, is never wholly lost. Even the pen, by disuse, loses but very little of its readiness; while promptitude in speaking, which depends on activity of thought, can be retained only by exercise. Such exercise we may best use by speaking daily in the hearing of several persons, especially of those for whose judgment and opinion we have most regard; for it rarely happens that a person is sufficiently severe with himself. [A man is apt to be too indulgent to his own performances.] Let us however rather speak alone than not speak at all.
25. There is also another kind of exercise, that of meditating upon whole subjects and going through them in silent thought, (yet so as to speak as it were within ourselves,) an exercise which may be pursued at all times and in all places, when we are not actually engaged in any other occupation; and it is in some degree more useful than the one which I mentioned before it; for it is more accurately pursued than that in which we are afraid to interrupt the continuity of our speech. [Rather than interrupt the course of a speech that we deliver aloud, we even make use of trifling and common phraseology, but in "speaking as it were within ourselves," we may use none but the best language that we can command.] 26. Yet the other method, again, contributes more to improve other qualifications, as strength of voice, flexibility of features, and energy of gesture, which of itself, as I remarked, rouses the orator, and, as he waves his hand and stamps his foot, excites him as lions are said to excite themselves by the lashing of their tails [as Longinus, sect. 15, says of Euripides].
27. But we must study at all times and in all places; for there is scarcely a single one of our days so occupied that some profitable attention may not be hastily devoted during at least some portion of it, (as Cicero ["Amid your most important occupations, you never intermit the pursuits of learning; you are always either writing something yourself, or inviting me to write." Cicero Orat. c. 10] says that Brutus used to do,) to writing, or reading, or speaking. Caius Carbo [Carbo's industry in his studies is highly commended by Cicero, Brut. c. 27, and de Orat. i. 34], even in his tent, was accustomed to continue his exercises in oratory. 38. Nor must we omit to notice the advice, which is also approved by Cicero, that no portion even of our common conversation should ever be careless; and that whatever we say, and wherever we say it, should be as far as possible excellent in its kind.
As to writing, we must certainly never write more than when we have to speak much extempore; for by the use of the pen a weightiness will be preserved in our matter, and that light facility of language, which swims as it were on the surface, will be compressed into a body [respectiug the amputation of the roots of vines, see Columella, iv. 8]; as husbandmen cut off the upper roots of the vine, (which elevate it to the surface of the soil,) in order that the lower roots may be strengthened by striking deeper.
29. And I know not whether both exercises, when we perform them with care and assiduity, are not reciprocally beneficial, as it appears that by writing we speak with greater accuracy, and by speaking we write with greater ease. We must write, therefore, as often as we have opportunity; if opportunity is not allowed us, we must meditate; if we are precluded from both, we must nevertheless endeavor that the orator may not seem to be caught at fault, nor the client left destitute of aid. 30. But it is the general practice among pleaders who have much occupation, to write only the most essential parts, and especially the commencements, of their speeches; to fix the other portions that they bring from home in their memory by meditation; and to meet any unforeseen attacks with extemporaneous replies.
That Cicero adopted this method is evident from his own memoranda. But there are also in circulation memoranda of other speakers, which have been found, perhaps, in the state in which each had thrown them together when he was going to speak, and have been arranged in the form of books; for instance, the memoranda of the causes pleaded by Servius Sulpicius, three of whose orations are extant; but these memoranda, of which I am now speaking, are so carefully arranged, that they appear to me to have been composed by him to be handed down to posterity. 31. Those of Cicero, which were intended only for his particular occasions, his freedman Tiro collected; and, in saying this, I do not speak of them apologetically, as if I did not think very highly of them, but intimate, on the contrary, that they are for that reason more worthy of admiration.
Under this head, I express my full approbation of short notes, and of small memorandum-books which may be held in the hand, and on which we may occasionally glance. 32. But the method which Laenas recommends, of reducing what we have written into summaries, or into short notes and heads, I do not like; for our very dependence on these summaries begets negligence in committing our matter to memory, and disconnects and disfigures our speech.
I even think that we should not write at all what we design to deliver from memory; for, if we do so, it generally happens that our thoughts fix us to the studied portions of our speech, and do not allow us to try the fortune of the moment. Thus the mind hangs in suspense and perplexity between the two [between the writing and the memory], having lost sight of what was written, and yet not being at liberty to imagine anything new. For treating on the memory, however, a place is appointed in the next book; but it cannot be immediately subjoined to these remarks, because I must speak of some other matters previously.