XIX. But now we must give the likeness of this perfect orator and of this consummate eloquence, and his very name points out that he excels in this one particular, that is to say, in oratory and that other eminent qualities are kept out of sight in him. For it is not by his invention, or by his power of arrangement, or by his action, that he has embraced all these points, but in Greek he is called [Greek: raetor], and in Latin "eloquent," from speaking. For every one claims for himself some share in the other accomplishments which belong to an orator, but the greatest power in speaking is allowed to be his alone. For although some philosophers have spoken with elegance, (since Theophrastus derived his name from his divine skill in speaking, and Aristotle attacked Isocrates himself, and they say that the Muses as it were spoke by the mouth of Xenophon; and far above all men who have ever written or spoken, Plato is preeminent both for sweetness and dignity,) still their language has neither the vigour nor the sting of an orator or a forensic speaker. They are conversing with learned men whose minds they wish to tranquillize rather than to excite, and so they speak on peaceful subjects which have no connexion with any violence, and for the sake of teaching, not of charming, so that even in the fact of their aiming at giving some pleasure by their diction, they appear to some people to be doing more than is necessary for them to do.
It is not difficult, therefore, to distinguish between this kind of speaking and the eloquence which we are now treating of. For the address of philosophers is gentle, and fond of retirement, and not furnished with popular ideas or popular expressions, not fettered by any particular rhythm, but allowed a good deal of liberty. It has in it nothing angry, nothing envious, nothing energetic, nothing marvellous, nothing cunning, it is as it were a chaste, modest, uncontaminated virgin. Therefore it is called a discourse rather than an oration. For although every kind of speaking is an oration, still the language of the orator alone is distinguished by this name as its own property.
It appears more necessary to distinguish between it and the copy of it by the sophists, who wish to gather all the same flowers which the orator employs in his causes. But they differ from him in this that, as their object is not to disturb men's minds, but rather to appease them, and not so much to persuade as to delight, and as they do it more openly than we do and more frequently, they seek ideas which are neat rather than probable, they often wander from the subject, they weave fables into their speeches, they openly borrow terms from other subjects, and arrange them as painters do a variety of colours, they put like things by the side of like, opposite things by the side of their contraries, and very often they terminate period after period in similar manners.
XX. Now history is akin to this side of writing, in which the authors relate with elegance, and often describe a legion, or a battle, and also addresses and exhortations are intermingled, but in them something connected and fluent is required, and not this compressed and vehement sort of speaking. And the eloquence which we are looking for must be distinguished from theirs nearly as much as it must from that of the poets.
For even the poets have given room for the question, what the point is in which they differ from the orators, formerly it appeared to be chiefly rhythm and versification, but of late rhythm has got a great footing among the orators. For whatever it is which offers the ears any regular measure, even if it be ever so far removed from verse, (for that is a fault in an oration,) is called "number" by us, being the same thing that in Greek is called [Greek: ruthmos]. And, accordingly, I see that some men have thought that the language of Plato and Democritus, although it is not verse, still, because it is borne along with some impetuosity and employs the most brilliant illustration that words can give, ought to be considered as poetry rather than the works of the comic poets, in which, except that they are written in verse, there is nothing else which is different from ordinary conversation. Nor is that the principal characteristic of a poet, although he is the more to be praised for aiming at the excellences of an orator, when he is more fettered by verse. But, although the language of some poets is grand and ornamented, still I think that they have greater licence than we have in making and combining words, and I think too that they often, in their expressions, pay more attention to the object of giving pleasure to their leaders than to their subject. Nor, indeed, does the fact of there being one point of resemblance between them, (I mean judgment and the selection of words,) make it difficult to perceive their dissimilarity on other points. But that is not doubtful, and if there be any question in the matter, still this is certainly not necessary for the object which is proposed to be kept in view.
The orator, therefore, now that he has been separated from the eloquence of philosophers, and sophists, and historians, and poets, requires an explanation from us to show what sort of person he is to be
XXI. The eloquent orator, then, (for that is what, according to Antonius, we are looking for) is a man who speaks in the forum and in civil causes in such a manner as to prove, to delight, and to persuade. To prove, is necessary for him; to delight, is a proof of his sweetness, to persuade, is a token of victory. For that alone of all results is of the greatest weight towards gaining causes. But there are as many kinds of speaking as there are separate duties of an orator. The orator, therefore, ought to be a man of great judgment and of great ability, and he ought to be a regulator, as it were, of this threefold variety of duty. For he will judge what is necessary for every one, and he will be able to speak in whatever manner the cause requires. But the foundation of eloquence, as of all other things, is wisdom. For as in life, so in a speech, nothing is more difficult than to see what is becoming. The Greeks call this [Greek: prepon], we call it "decorum." But concerning this point many admirable rules are laid down, and the matter is well worth being understood. And it is owing to ignorance respecting it that men make blunders not only in life, but very often in poems, and in speeches.
But the orator must consider what is becoming not only in his sentences, but also in his words. For it is not every fortune, nor every honour, nor every authority, nor every age, or place, or time, nor every hearer who is to be dealt with by the same character of expressions or sentiments. And at all times, in every part of a speech or of life, we must consider what is becoming, and that depends partly on the facts which are the subject under discussion, and also on the characters of those who are the speakers and of those who are the hearers. Therefore this topic, which is of very wide extent and application, is often employed by philosophers in discussions on duty, not when they are discussing abstract right, for that is but one thing and the grammarians also too often employ it when criticising the poets, to show their eloquence in every division and description of cause. For how unseemly is it, when you are pleading before a single judge about a gutter, to use high sounding expressions and general topics, but to speak with a low voice and with subtle arguments in a cause affecting the majesty of the Roman people.
XXII. This applies to the whole genus. But some persons err as to the character either of themselves, or of the judges, or of their adversaries and not only in actual fact, but often in word. Although there is no force in a word without a fact, still the same fact is often either approved of, or rejected, according as this or that expression is employed respecting it. And in every case it is necessary to take care how far it may be right to go, for although everything has its proper limit, still excess offends more than falling short. And that is the point in which Apelles said that those painters made a blunder, who did not know what was enough.
There is here, O Brutus, an important topic, which does not escape your notice, and which requires another large volume. But for the present question this is enough, when we say that this is becoming, (an expression which we always employ in all words and actions, both great and small)—when, I say, we say that this is becoming and that that is not becoming, and when it appears to what extent each assertion is meant to be applicable, and when it depends on something else, and is quite another matter whether you say that a thing is becoming or proper, (for to say a thing is proper, declares the perfection of duty, which we and all men are at all times to regard to say a thing is becoming, as to say that it is fit as it were, and suitable to the time and person: which is often very important both in actions and words, and in a person's countenance and gestures and gait;)—and, on the other hand, when we say that a thing is unbecoming, (and if a poet avoids this as the greatest of faults, [and he also errs if he puts an honest sentiment in the mouth of a wicked man, or a wise one in the mouth of a fool,] or if that painter saw that, when Calchas was sad at the sacrifice of Iphigenia, and Ulysses still more so, and Menelaus in mourning, that Agamemnon's head required to be veiled altogether, since it was quite impossible to represent such grief as his with a paint brush; if even the actor inquires what is becoming, what must we think that the orator ought to do?) But as this is a matter of so much importance, the orator must take care what he does in his causes, and in the different parts of them; that is plain, that not only the different parts of an oration, but that even whole causes are to be dealt with in different styles of oratory.
XXIII. It follows that the characteristics and forms of each class must be sought for. It is a great and difficult task, as we have often said before; but it was necessary for us to consider at the beginning what we would discuss; and now we must set our sails in whatever course we are borne on. But first of all we must give a sketch of the man whom some consider the only orator of the Attic style.
He is a gentle, moderate man, imitating the usual customs, differing from those who are not eloquent in fact rather than in any of his opinions. Therefore those who are his hearers, even though they themselves have no skill in speaking, still feel confident that they could speak in that manner. For the subtlety of his address appears easy of imitation to a person who ventures on an opinion, but nothing is less easy when he comes to try it; for although it is not a style of any extraordinary vigour, still it has some juice, so that even though it is not endowed with the most extreme power, it is still, if I may use such an expression, in perfect health. First of all, then, let us release it from the fetters of rhythm. For there is, as you know, a certain rhythm to be observed by an orator, (and of that we will speak presently,) proceeding on a regular system; but though it must be attended to in another kind of oratory, it must be entirely abandoned in this. This must be a sort of easy style, and yet not utterly without rules, so that it may seem to range at freedom, not to wander about licentiously. He should also guard against appearing to cement his words together; for the hiatus formed by a concourse of open vowels has something soft about it, and indicates a not unpleasing negligence, as if the speaker were anxious more about the matter than the manner of his speech. But as to other points, he must take care, especially as he is allowed more licence in these two,—I mean the rounding of his periods, and the combination of his words; for those narrow and minute details are not to be dealt with carelessly. But there is such a thing as a careful negligence; for as some women are said to be unadorned to whom that very want of ornament is becoming, so this refined sort of oratory is delightful even when unadorned. For in each case a result is produced that the thing appears more beautiful, though the cause is not apparent. Then every conspicuous ornament will be removed, even pearls; even curling-irons will be put away; and all medicaments of paint and chalk, all artificial red and white, will be discarded; only elegance and neatness will remain. The language will be pure and Latin; it will be arranged plainly and clearly, and great care will be taken to see what is becoming.
XXIV. One quality will be present, which Theophrastus calls the fourth in his praises of oratory;—full of ornament, sweetness, and fluency. Clever sentiments, extracted from I know not what secret store, will be brought out, and will exert their power in the speeches of this perfect orator. There will be a moderate use of what I may call oratorical furniture; for there is to a certain degree what I may call our furniture, consisting of ornaments partly of things and partly of words. But the ornaments consisting of words are twofold: one kind consisting of words by themselves, the other consisting of them in combination. The simple embellishment is approved of in the case of proper and commonly employed words, which either sound very well, or else are very explanatory of the subject; in words which do not naturally belong to the subject,—it is either metaphorical, or borrowed from some other quarter; or else it is derived from the subject, whether it is a new term, or an old one grown obsolete; but even old and almost obsolete terms may be proper ones, only that we seldom employ them. But words when well arranged have great ornament if they give any neatness, which does not remain if the words are altered while the sense remains. For the embellishments of sentiments which remain, even if you alter the language in which they are expressed, are many, but still there are but few of them which are worth remarking.
Therefore a simple orator, provided he is elegant and not bold in the matter of making words, and modest in his metaphors, and sparing in his use of obsolete terms, and humble in the rest of his ornaments of words and sentences, will perhaps indulge in a tolerably frequent use of that kind of metaphor which is common in the ordinary conversation, not only of city people, but even of rustics; since they too are in the habit of saying, "that the vines sparkle with jewels," "that the fields are thirsty," "that the corn-fields are rejoicing," "that the crops are luxuriant." Now there is not one of these expressions which is not somewhat bold; but the thing is either like that which you use metaphorically; or else, if it has no name of its own, the expression which you use appears to have been borrowed for the sake of teaching, not of jesting. And this quiet sort of orator will use this ornament with rather more freedom than the rest; and yet he will not do it with as much licence as if he were practising the loftiest kind of oratory.
XXV. Therefore that unbecomingness (and what that is may be understood from the definition we have given of what is becoming) is visible here also, when some sublime expression is used metaphorically, and is used in a lowly style of oration, though it might have been becoming in a different one. But the neatness which I have spoken of, which illuminates the arrangement of language by these lights which the Greeks, as if they were some gestures of the speech, call [Greek: schaemata], (and the same word is applied by them also to the embellishments of sentences,) is employed by the refined orator (whom some men call the Attic orator, and rightly too, if they did not mean that he was the only one) but sparingly. For, as in the preparation of a feast, a man while on his guard against magnificence, is desirous to be thought not only economical but also elegant, he will choose what is best for him to use. For there are many kinds of economy suited to this very orator of whom I am speaking; for the ornaments which I have previously been mentioning are to be avoided by this acute orator,—I mean the comparing like with like, and the similarly sounding and equally measured ends of sentences, and graces hunted out as it were by the alteration of a letter; so that it may not be visible that neatness has been especially aimed at, and so that the orator may not be detected in having been hunting for means of pleasing the ears of his audience.
Again, if repetitions of the same expressions require a sort of vehemence and loudness of voice, they will then be unsuited to the simple style of oratory. The orator may use other embellishments promiscuously; only let him relax and separate the connexion of the words, and use as ordinary expressions as possible, and as gentle metaphors. Let him even avail himself of those lights of sentiments, as long as they are not too brilliant. He will not make the republic speak; nor will he raise the dead from the shades below; nor will he collect together a number of particulars in one heap, and so fold them in one embrace. Such deeds belong to more vigorous beings, nor are they to be expected or required from this man of whom we are giving a sketch; for he will be too moderate not only in his voice, but also in his style. But there are many embellishments which will suit his simple style, although he will use even them in a strict manner; for that is his character.
He will have besides this, action, not tragic, nor suited to the stage, but he will move his body in a moderate degree, trusting a great deal to his countenance; not in such a way as people call making faces but in a manner sufficient to show in a gentlemanlike manner in what sense he means what he is saying to be understood.
XXVI. Now in this kind of speech sallies of wit are admissible, and they carry perhaps only too much weight in an oration. Of them there are two kinds,—facetiousness and raillery,—and the orator will employ both; but he will use the one in relating anything neatly, and the other in darting ridicule on his adversaries. And of this latter kind there are more descriptions than one; however, it is a different thing that we are discussing now. Nevertheless we may give this warning,—that the orator ought to use ridicule in such a way as neither to indulge in it too often, that it may not seem like buffoonery; nor in a covertly obscure manner, that it may not seem like the wit of a comedian; nor in a petulant manner, lest it should seem spiteful; nor should he ridicule calamity, lest that should seem inhuman; nor crime, lest laughter should usurp the place which hatred ought to occupy; nor should he employ this weapon when unsuitable to his own character, or to that of the judges, or to the time; for all such conduct would come under the head of unbecoming.
The orator must also avoid using jests ready prepared, such as do not arise out of the occasion, but are brought from home; for they are usually frigid. And he must spare friendships and dignities. He will avoid such insults as are not to be healed; he will only aim at his adversaries, and not even always at them, nor at all of them, nor in every manner. And with these exceptions, he will employ his sallies of wit and his facetiousness in such a manner as I have never found any one of those men do who consider themselves Attic speakers, though there is nothing more Attic than that practice.
This is the sketch which I conceive to be that of a plain orator, but still of a great one, and one of a genius very kindred to the Attic; since whatever is witty or pleasant in a speech is peculiar to the Attics. Not, however, that all of them are facetious: Lysias is said to be tolerably so, and Hyperides; Demades is so above all others. Demosthenes is considered less so, though nothing appears to me to be more well-bred than he is; but he was not so much given to raillery as to facetiousness. And the former is the quality of a more impetuous disposition; the latter betokens a more refined art.
XXVII. There is another style more fertile, and somewhat more forcible than this simple style of which we have been speaking; but nevertheless tamer than the highest class of oratory, of which I shall speak immediately. In this kind there is but little vigour, but there is the greatest possible quantity of sweetness; for it is fuller than the plain style, but more plain than that other which is highly ornamented and copious.
Every kind of ornament in speaking is suitable to this style; and in this kind of oratory there is a great deal of sweetness. It is a style in which many men among the Greeks have been eminent; but Demetrius Phalereus, in my opinion, has surpassed all the rest; and while his oratory proceeds in calm and tranquil flow, it receives brilliancy from numerous metaphors and borrowed expressions, like stars.
I call them metaphors, as I often do, which, on account of their similarity to some other idea, are introduced into a speech for the sake of sweetness, or to supply a deficiency in a language. By borrowed expressions I mean those in which, for the proper word, another is substituted which has the same sense, and which is derived from some subsequent fact. And though this too is a metaphorical usage; still Ennius employed it in one manner when he said, "You are orphaning the citadel and the city;" and he would have used it in a different manner if he had used the word "citadel," meaning "country." Again, when he says that "horrid Africa trembles with a terrible tumult," he uses "Africa" for "Africans." The rhetoricians call this "hypallage," because one word as it were is substituted for another. The grammarians call it "metonymia," because names are transferred. But Aristotle classes them all under metaphor, and so he does the misuse of terms which they call [Greek: katachraesis]. As when we call a mind "minute" instead of "little," and misuse words which are near to others in sense; if there is any necessity for so doing, or any pleasure, or any particular becomingness in doing so. When many metaphors succeed one another uninterruptedly the sort of oration becomes entirely changed. Therefore the Greeks call it [Greek: allaegoria], rightly as to name; but as to its class he speaks more accurately who calls all such usages metaphors. Phalereus is particularly fond of these usages, and they are very agreeable; and although there is a great deal of metaphor in his speaking, yet there is no one who makes a more frequent use of the metonymia.
The same kind of oratory, (I am speaking of the moderate and temperate kind), admits of all sorts of figures of expressions, and of many also of ideas. Discussions of wide application and extensive learning are explained in it, and common topics are treated without any impetuosity. In a word, orators of this class usually come from the schools of philosophers, and unless the more vigorous orator, whom I am going to speak of presently, is at hand to be compared with them, the one whom I am now describing will be approved of. For there is a remarkable and flowery and highly-coloured and polished style of oratory, in which every possible elegance of expression and idea is connected together. And it is from the fountain of the sophist that all this has flowed into the forum; but still, being despised by the subtle arguers, and rejected by dignified speakers, it has taken its place in the moderate kind of oratory of which I am speaking.
XXVIII. The third kind of orator is the sublime, copious, dignified, ornate speaker, in whom there is the greatest amount of grace. For he it is, out of admiration for whose ornamented style and copiousness of language nations have allowed eloquence to obtain so much influence in states; but it was only this eloquence, which is borne along in an impetuous course, and with a mighty noise, which all men looked up to, and admired, and had no idea that they themselves could possibly attain to. It belongs to this eloquence to deal with men's minds, and to influence them in every imaginable way. This is the style which sometimes forces its way into and sometimes steals into the senses; which implants new opinions in men, and eradicates others which have been long established. But there is a vast difference between this kind of orator and the preceding ones. A man who has laboured at the subtle and acute style, in order to be able to speak cunningly and cleverly, and who has had no higher aim, if he has entirely attained his object, is a great orator, if not a very great one; he is far from standing on slippery ground, and if he once gets a firm footing, is in no danger of falling. But the middle kind of orator, whom I have called moderate and temperate, if he has only arranged all his own forces to his satisfaction, will have no fear of any doubtful or uncertain chances of oratory; and even if at any time he should not be completely successful, which may often be the case, still he will be in no great danger, for he cannot fall far. But this orator of ours, whom we consider the first of orators, dignified, vehement, and earnest, if this is the only thing for which he appears born, or if this is the only kind of oratory to which he applies himself, and if he does not combine his copiousness of diction with those other two kinds of oratory, is very much to be despised. For the one who speaks simply, inasmuch as he speaks with shrewdness and sense, is a wise man; the one who employs the middle style is agreeable; but this most copious speaker, if he is nothing else, appears scarcely in his senses. For a man who can say nothing with calmness, nothing with gentleness; who seems ignorant of all arrangement and definition and distinctness, and regardless of wit, especially when some of his causes require to be treated in that matter entirely, and others in a great degree; if he does not prepare the ears of his hearers before he begins to work up the case in an inflammatory style, he seems like a madman among people in their senses, or like a drunken man among sober men.
XXIX. We have then now, O Brutus, the orator whom we are looking for; but only in our mind's eye. For if I had had hold of him in my hand, even he himself, with all his eloquence, should never have persuaded me to let him go. But, in truth, that eloquent man whom Antonius never saw is now discovered. Who then is he? I will define him in a few words, and then describe him at length. For he is an eloquent man who can speak of low things acutely, and of great things with dignity, and of moderate things with temper.
Such a man you will say there never was. Perhaps there never was; for I am only discussing what I wish to see, and not what I have seen. And I come back to that sketch and idea of Plato's which I mentioned before; and although we do not see it, yet we can comprehend it in our mind. For I am not looking for an eloquent man, or for any other mortal or transitory thing; but for that particular quality which whoever is master of is an eloquent man; and that is nothing but abstract eloquence, which we are not able to discern with any eyes except those of the mind. He then will be an eloquent man, (to repeat my former definition,) who can speak of small things in a lowly manner, of moderate things in a temperate manner, and of great things with dignity. The whole of the cause in which I spoke for Caecina related to the language or an interdict: we explained some very involved matters by definitions; we praised the civil law; we distinguished between words of doubtful meaning. In a discussion on the Manilian law it was requisite to praise Pompey; and accordingly, in a temperate speech, we arrived at a copiousness of ornament. The whole question, of the rights of the people was contained in the cause of Rabinius; and accordingly we indulged in every conceivable amplification. But these styles require at times to be regulated and restrained. What kind of argument is there which is not found in my five books of impeachment of Verres? or in my speech for Avitus? or in that for Cornelius? or in the other numerous speeches in defence of different men? I would give instances, if I did not believe them to be well known, and that those who wanted them could select them for themselves; for there is no effort of an orator of any kind, of which there is not in our speeches, if not a perfect example, at least some attempt at and sketch of. If we cannot arrive at perfection, at all events we see what is becoming.
Nor are we at present speaking of ourselves, but of eloquence, in which we are so far from having a high opinion of our own proficiency, that we are so hard to please and exacting, that even Demosthenes himself does not satisfy us. For he, although he is eminent above all men in every description of oratory, still he does not always satisfy my ears; so greedy and capacious are they, and so unceasingly desiring something vast and infinite.
XXX. But still, since you became thoroughly well acquainted with this orator, in company with his devoted admirer Pammenes, when you were at Athens, and as you never put him down out of your hands, though, nevertheless, you are often reading my works, you see forsooth that he accomplishes many things, and that we attempt many things;—that he has the power, we the will to speak in whatever manner the cause requires. But he was a great man, for he came after great men, and he had consummate orators for his contemporaries. We should have done a great deal if we had been able to arrive at the goal which we proposed to ourselves in a city in which, as Antonius says, no eloquent man had been ever heard before. But, if Crassus did not appear to Antonius to be eloquent, or if he did not think he was so himself, certainly Cotta would never have seemed so to him, nor Sulpicius, nor Hortensius. For Cotta never said anything sublime, Sulpicius never said anything gently, Hortensius seldom spoke with dignity. Those former men were much more suited to every style; I mean Crassus and Antonius. We feel, therefore, that the ears of the city were not much accustomed to this varied kind of eloquence, and to an oratory so equally divided among all sorts of styles. And we, such as we were, and however insignificant were our attempts, were the first people to turn the exceeding fondness of the people for listening to this kind of eloquence.
What an outcry was there when, as quite a young man I uttered that sentence about the punishment of parricides! and even a long time afterwards we found that it had scarcely entirely worn off. "For what is so common, as breath to living people, the earth to the dead, the sea to people tossed about by the waves, or the shore to shipwrecked mariners?—they live while they are let live, in such a way as to be unable to breathe the air of heaven; they die so that their bones do not touch the earth; they are tossed about by the waves without ever being washed by them; and at last they are cast up by them in such a manner, that when dead they are not allowed a resting-place even on the rocks." And so on. For all this is the language of a young man, extolled not on account of any real merit or maturity of judgment, as for the hopes and expectations which he gave grounds for. From the same turn of mind came that more polished invective,—"the wife of her son-in-law; the mother-in-law of her son, the invader of her daughter's bed." Not, however, that this ardour was always visible in us, so as to make us say everything in this manner. For that very juvenile exuberance of speech in defence of Roscius has many weak passages in it, and some merry ones, such as also occur in the speech for Avitus, for Cornelius, and many others. For no orator has ever, even in the Greek language, written as many speeches as I have. And my speeches have the variety which I so much approve of.
XXXI. Should I permit Homer, and Ennius, and the rest of the poets, and especially the tragic poets, to forbear displaying the same vehemence on every occasion, and constantly to change their language, and sometimes even to come near to the ordinary language of daily conversation; and never myself descend from that fierce style of vehement expression? But why do I cite poets of godlike genius? We have seen actors, than whom nothing could be more admirable of their kind, who have not only given great satisfaction in the representation of the most different characters, and also in their own, but we have seen even a comedian gain great applause in tragedies, and a tragedian in comedies;—and shall not I attempt the same thing? When I say I, O Brutus, I mean you also; for, as for myself, all that can be done has been done. But will you plead every cause in the same manner, or are there some kind of causes which you will reject? or will you employ the same uninterrupted vehemence in the same causes without any alteration?
Demosthenes, indeed, whose bust of brass I lately saw between the images of yourself and your ancestors, (a proof, I suppose, of your fondness for him,) when I was with you at your Tusculan villa, does not yield at all to Lysias in acuteness, nor in shrewdness and cleverness to Hyperides, nor in gentleness or brilliancy of language to Aeschines. Many of his orations are very closely argued, as that against Leptines; many are wholly dignified, as some of the Philippics; many are of varied style, as those against Aeschines, the one about the false embassy, and the one also, against the same Aeschines in the cause of Ctesiphon. As often as he pleases he adopts the middle style, and, departing from his dignified tone, he indulges in that lower one. But when he raises the greatest outcry on the part of his hearers, and makes the greatest impression by his speech, is when he employs the topics of dignity.
However, let us leave Demosthenes for awhile, since it is a class that we are inquiring about, and not an individual. Let us rather explain the effect and nature of the thing; that is, of Eloquence. And let us recollect what we have just said, that we are not going to say anything for the sake of giving rules; but that we are going to speak so as to be thought people expressing an opinion rather than teaching. Though we often do advance further, because we see that you are not the only person who will read this; you who, in fact, know all this much better than we ourselves who appear to be teaching you; but it is quite certain that this book will be extensively known, if not from the recommendation which its being my work will give it, at all events, because of its appearing under the sanction of your name, by being dedicated to you.
XXXII. I think, then, that it belongs to a perfectly eloquent man, not only to have the ability, which is his peculiar province, of speaking copiously and with the assertion of large principles, but also to possess its neighbouring and contiguous science of dialectics: although an oration appears one thing and a discussion another; nor is talking the same thing as speaking; though each belongs to discussing. Let then the system of discussing and talking belong to the logicians; but let the province of the orators be to speak and to embellish their speeches. Zeno, that great man, who founded the school of the Stoics, was in the habit of showing with his hand what was the difference between these arts; for when he had compressed his fingers and made a fist, he said that dialectics were like that; but when he had opened his fingers and expanded his hand, he said that eloquence was like his open palm. And even before him Aristotle, in the beginning of his Rhetoric, said, that the art of eloquence in one portion of it corresponded to dialectics; so that they differ from one another in this, that the system of speaking is more wide, that of talking more contracted. I wish, then, that this consummate orator should be acquainted with the entire system of talking, as far as it can be applied to speaking; and that (as indeed you, who have a thorough acquaintance with these arts, are well aware) has a twofold method of teaching. For Aristotle himself has given many rules for arguing: and those who followed him, and who are called dialecticians, have delivered many very difficult rules. Therefore I think, that the man who is tempted by the glory of eloquence, is not utterly ignorant of those things; but that he has been brought up either in that old school, or in the school of Chrysippus. Let him first acquaint himself with the meaning and nature and classes of words, both single and combined; then let him learn in how many ways each word is used; then how it is decided, whether a thing is false or true; then what results from each proposition; then to what argument each result is a consequence, and to what it is contrary; and, as many things are stated in an ambiguous manner, he must also learn how each of them ought to be distinguished and explained. This is what must be acquired by an orator; for those things are constantly occurring; but, because they are in their own nature less attractive, it is desirable to employ some brilliancy of eloquence in explaining them.
XXXIII. And since in all things which are taught in any regular method and system, it is first of all necessary to settle what each thing is, (unless it is agreed by those who are discussing the point, what the thing really is which is being discussed; nor otherwise is it possible to discuss anything properly, or ever to get to the end of the discussion,) we must often have recourse to words to explain our meaning about each thing; and we must facilitate the understanding of an involved and obscure matter by definition; since definition is a kind of speech which points out in the most concise possible manner what that is which is the subject of discussion. Then, as you know, when the genus of each thing has been explained, we must consider what are the figures or divisions of that genus, so that our whole speech may be arranged with reference to them.
This faculty, then, will exist in the eloquent man whom we are endeavouring to describe, so that he shall be able to define a thing; and shall do it in the same close and narrow terms which are commonly employed in those very learned discussions; but he shall be more explanatory and more copious, and he shall adopt his definition more to the ordinary judgment and usual intelligence of mankind. And again, when circumstances require it, he shall divide and arrange the whole genus into certain species, so that none shall be omitted and none be superfluous. But when he shall do this, or how, is nothing to the present question; since, as I have said before, I am here only expressing an opinion, not giving a lesson.
Nor, indeed, must he be learned only in dialectics, but he must have all the topics of philosophy familiar to him and at his fingers' ends. For nothing respecting religion, or death, or affection, or love for one's country, or good fortune, or bad fortune, or virtues, or vices, or duty, or pain, or pleasure, or the different motions of the mind, or mistakes, all which topics frequently occur in causes, but are treated usually in a very meagre manner, can be discussed and explained in a dignified and lofty and copious manner without that knowledge which I have mentioned.
XXXIV. I am speaking at present concerning the subject matter of a speech, not about the kind of speaking requisite. For I would rather that an orator should first have a subject to speak of worthy of learned ears, before he considers in what words or in what manner he is to speak of everything; and, in order to make him grander, and in some sense loftier (as I have said above about Pericles,) I should wish him not to be utterly ignorant of physical science; and then, when he descends again from heavenly matters to human affairs, he will have all his words and sentiments of a more sublime and magnificent character: and while he is acquainted with those divine laws, I do not wish him to be ignorant of those of men. He must be a master of civil law, which forensic debates are in daily need of. For what is more shameful than for a man to undertake the conduct of legal and civil disputes, while ignorant of the statutes and of civil law? He must be acquainted also with the history of past ages and the chronology of old time, especially, indeed, as far as our own state is concerned; but also he must know the history of despotic governments and of illustrious monarchs; and that toil is made easier for us by the labours of our friend Atticus, who has preserved and made known the history of former times in such a way as to pass over nothing worth knowing, and yet to comprise the annals of seven hundred years in one book. For not to know what happened before one was born, is to be a boy all one's life. For what is the life of a man unless by a recollection of bygone transactions it is united to the times of his predecessors? But the mention of antiquity and the citation of examples give authority and credit to a speech, combined with the greatest pleasure to the hearers.
XXXV. Let him, therefore, come to his causes prepared in this kind of way; and he will in the first place be acquainted with the different kinds of causes. For he will be thoroughly aware that nothing can be doubted except when either the fact or the language gives rise to controversy. But the fact is doubted as to its truth, or its propriety, or its name. Words give rise to dispute if they are ambiguous or inconsistent. For it ever appears to be the case, that one thing is meant and another expressed; then that is one kind of ambiguity which arises from the words which are employed; and in this we see that two things are meant, which is a property of all ambiguous sentences.
As there are not many different kinds of causes, so also the rules for arguments to be used in them are few. Two kinds of topics are given from which they may be derived; one from the circumstances themselves, the others assumed. The handling, then, of the matters themselves makes the speech better; for the matters themselves are usually easy to be acquainted with. For what remains afterwards, which at least belongs to art, except to begin the speech in such a manner that the hearer may be conciliated, or have his attention roused, or may be made eager to learn? then after that to explain with brevity, and probability, and clearness, so that it may be understood what is the question under discussion; to establish his own arguments; to overturn those of the opposite party; and to do all that, not in an irregular and confused manner, but with separate arguments, concluded in such a manner, that everything may be established which is a natural consequence of those principles which are assumed for the confirmation of each point: and after everything else is done, then to wind up with a peroration which shall inflame or cool the hearers, as the case may require.
Now, how the consummate orator handles each separate division of his subject, it is hard to explain in this place; nor, indeed, are they handled at all times in the same manner. But since I am not seeking a pupil to teach, but a model to approve of, I will begin by praising the man who sees what is becoming. For this is above all others the wisdom which the eloquent man wants, namely—to be the regulator of times and persons. For I do not think that a man ought to speak in the same manner at all times, or before all people, or against every one, or in defence of every one, or to every one.
XXXVI. He, then, will be an eloquent man who can adapt his speech to whatever is becoming. And when he has settled that point, then he will say everything as it ought to be said; nor will he speak of rich subjects in a meagre manner, nor of great subjects in a petty manner, and vice versa; but his oration will be equal to, and corresponding to, his subject; his exordium will be moderate, not inflamed with exaggerated expressions, but acute in its sentiments, either in the way of exciting his hearers against his adversary, or in recommending himself to them. His relations of facts will be credible, explained clearly, not in historical language, but nearly in the tone of every day conversation. Then if his cause is but a slight one, so also will the thread of his argument be slight, both in asserting and in refuting. And it will be maintained in such a way, that there will be just as much force added to the speech as is added to the subject. But when a cause offers in which all the force of eloquence can be displayed, then the orator will give himself a wider scope, then he will influence and sway men's minds, and will move them just as he pleases, that is to say, just as the nature of the cause and the occasion requires.
But all that admirable embellishment of his will be of a twofold character; on account of which it is that eloquence gains such great honour. For as every part of a speech ought to be admirable, so that no word should be let drop by accident which is not either grave or dignified; so also there are two parts of it which are especially brilliant and lively: one of which I place in the question of the universal genus, which (as I have said before) the Greeks call [Greek Thesis]; the other is shown in amplifying and exaggerating matters, and is called by the same people [Greek auxaesis]. And although that ought to be spread equally over the whole body of the oration, still it is most efficacious in dealing with common topics; which are called common, because they appear to belong to many causes, but still ought to be considered as peculiar to some individual ones.
But that division of a speech which refers to the universal genus often contains whole causes; for whatever that is on which there is, as it were, a contest and dispute, which in Greek is called [Greek krinomenon], that ought to be expressed in such a manner that it may be transferred to the general inquiry and be spoken of the whole genus; except when a doubt is raised about the truth; which is often endeavoured to be ascertained by conjecture. But it shall be discussed, not in the fashion of the Peripatetics (for it is a very elegant exercise of theirs, to which they are habituated ever since the time of Aristotle), but with rather more vigour; and common topics will be applied to the subject in such a manner, that many things will be said gently in behalf of accused persons, and harshly against the adversaries.
But in amplifying matters, and, on the other hand, in discarding them, there is nothing which oratory cannot effect. And that must be done amid the arguments, as often as any opportunity is afforded one, of either amplifying or diminishing: and may be done to an almost infinite extent in summing up.
XXXVII. There are two things, which, when well handled by an orator, make eloquence admirable. One of which is, that which the Greeks call [Greek: haethikon], adapted to men's natures, and manners, and to all their habits of life; the other is, that which they call [Greek: pathaetikon], by which men's minds are agitated and excited, which is the especial province of oratory. The former one is courteous, agreeable, suited to conciliate good-will; the latter is violent, energetic, impetuous, by which causes are snatched out of the fire, and when it is hurried on rapidly it cannot by any means be withstood. And by the use of this kind of oratory we, who are but moderate orators, or even less than that, but who have at all times displayed great energy, have often driven our adversaries from every part of their case. That most consummate orator, Hortensius, was unable to reply to me, on behalf of one of his intimate friends; that most audacious of men, Catiline, was dumb when impeached in the senate by me. When Curio, the father, attempted in a private cause of grave importance to reply to me, he suddenly sat down, and said, that he was deprived of his memory by poison. Why need I speak of the topics used to excite pity? which I have employed to the greater extent, because, even if there were many of us employed in one cause, still all men at all times yielded me the task of summing up; and it was owing not so much to my ability as to my sensibility, that I appeared to excel so much in that part. And those qualities of mine, of whatever sort they are, and I am ashamed that they are not of a higher class, appear in my speeches: although my books are without that energy, on account of which those same speeches appear more excellent when they are delivered than when they are read.
XXXVIII. Nor is it by pity alone that it is desirable to move the minds of the judges, (though we have been in the habit of using that topic ourselves in so piteous a manner that we have even held an infant child by the hand while summing up; and in another cause, when a man of noble birth was on his trial, we lifted up his little son, and filled the forum with wailing and lamentations;) but we must also endeavour to cause the judge to be angry, to appease him to make him feel ill-will, and favour, to move him to contempt or admiration, to hatred or love, to inspire him with desire or disgust, with hope or fear, with joy or pain; in all which variety the speeches of prosecutors will supply instances of the sterner kinds, and my speeches in defence will furnish examples of the softer ones. For there is no means by which the mind of the hearer can be either excited or softened, which has not been tried by me; I would say, brought to perfection, if I thought it was the case; nor should I fear the imputation of arrogance while speaking the truth. But, as I have said before, it is not any particular force of genius, but an exceeding energy of disposition which inflames me to such a degree that I cannot restrain myself; nor would any one who listens to a speech ever be inflamed, if the speech which reached his ears was not itself a fiery one.
I would use examples from my own works if you had not read them; I would use them from the works of others, if I could find any; or Greek examples, if it were becoming to do so. But there are very few speeches of Crassus extant, and those are not forensic speeches. There is nothing extant of Antonius's, nothing of Cotta's, nothing of Sulpicius's. Hortensius spoke better than he wrote. But we must form our own opinions as to the value of this energy which we are looking for, since we have no instance to produce; or if we are still on the look out for examples, we must take them from Demosthenes, and we must cite them from that passage in the speech on the trial of Ctesiphon, where he ventures to speak of his own actions and counsels and services to the republic. That oration in truth corresponds so much to that idea which is implanted in our minds that no higher eloquence need be looked for.
XXXIX. But now there remains to be considered the form and character of the eloquence which we are searching for; and what it ought to be like may be understood from what has been said above. For we have touched upon the lights of words both single and combined, in which the orator will abound so much that no expression which is not either dignified or elegant will ever fall from his mouth. And there will be frequent metaphors of every sort; because they, on account of their resemblance to something else, move the minds of the hearers, and turn them this way and that way; and the very agitation of thought when operating in quick succession is a pleasure of itself.
And those other lights, if I may so call them, which are derived from the arrangement of words, are a great ornament to a speech. For they are like those things which are called decorations in the splendid ornamenting of a theatre or a forum; not because they are the only ornaments, but because they are the most excellent ones. The principle is the same in the case of these things which are the lights, and as one may say, the decorations of oratory: when words are repeated and reiterated, or are put down with slight alterations; or when the sentences are often commenced with the same word, or end with the same word; or both begin and end alike; or when the same word occurs in the same place in consecutive sentences; or when one word is repeated in different senses; or when sentences end with similar sounds; or when contrary circumstances are related in many contrary manners; or when the speech proceeds by gradations; or when the conjunctions are taken away and each member of the sentence is uttered unconnectedly; or when we pass over some points and explain why we do so; or when we of our own accord correct ourselves, as if we blamed ourselves; or if we use any exclamation of admiration, or complaint; or when the same noun is often repeated in different cases.
But the ornaments of sentiments are more important; and because Demosthenes employs them very frequently, some people think that that is the principal thing which makes his eloquence so admirable. And indeed there is hardly any topic treated by him without a careful arrangement of his sentences; nor indeed is speaking anything else except illuminating all, or at least nearly all, one's sentences with a kind of brilliancy: and as you are thoroughly aware of all this, O Brutus, why need I quote names or instances. I only let the place where they occur be noted.
XL. If then that consummate orator whom we are looking for, should say that he often treats one and the same thing in many different manners; and dwells a long time on the same idea; and that he often extenuates some point, and often turns something into ridicule; that he occasionally appears to change his intention and vary his sentiments; that he proposes beforehand the points which he wishes to prove; that when he has completed his argument on any subject he terminates it; that he often recals himself back, and repeats what he has already said; that he winds up his arguments with fresh reasons; that he beats down the adversary with questions; again, that he himself answers questions which as it were he himself has put; that he sometimes wishes to be understood as meaning something different from what he says; that he often doubts what he had best say, or how he had best say it; that he arranges what he has to say under different heads; that he leaves out or neglects some points; while there are some which he fortifies beforehand; that he often throws the blame on his adversary for the very thing for which he himself is found fault with; that he often appears to enter into deliberation with his hearers, and sometimes even with his adversary; that he describes the conversation and actions of men; that he introduces some dumb things, as speaking; that he diverts men's minds from the subject under discussion; that he often turns the discussion into mirth and laughter; that he sometimes preoccupies ground which he sees is attached; that he adduces comparisons; that he cites precedents; that he attributes one thing to one person and another to another; that he checks any one who interrupts him; that he says that he is keeping back something; that he adds threatening warnings of what his hearers must beware of; that he often takes a bolder licence; that he is sometimes even angry; that he sometimes utters reproaches, deprecates calamity, uses the language of supplication, and does away with unfavourable impressions; that he sometimes departs a very little from his subject, to express wishes or to utter execrations, or to make himself a friend of those men before whom he is speaking.
He ought also to aim at other virtues, if I may so call them, in speaking; at brevity, if the subject requires it. He will often, also, by his speech, bring the matter before people's eyes; and often extol it beyond what appears possible; his meaning will be often more comprehensive than his speech; he will often assume a cheerful language, and often give an imitation of life and nature.
XLI. In this kind of speaking, for you may look upon oratory as a vast wood, all the importance of eloquence ought to shine forth. But these qualities, unless they are well arranged and as it were built up together and connected by suitable language, can never attain that praise which we wish that it should.
And as I was aware that it would be necessary for me to speak on this point next, although I was influenced by the considerations which I had mentioned before, still I was more disturbed by those which follow. For it occurred to me, that it was possible that men should be found, I do not mean envious men, with whom all places are full, but even favourers of my glory, who did not think that it became a man with reference to whose services the senate had passed such favourable votes with the approbation of the whole Roman people, as they never did in the case of any one else, to write so many books about the method of speaking. And if I were to give them no other answer than that I was unwilling to refuse the request of Marcus Brutus, it would be a reasonable excuse, as T might well wish to satisfy a man who was my greatest friend and a most excellent man, and who only asked what was right and honourable. But if I were to profess (what I wish that I could) that I was about to give rules, and paths, as it were, to lead to eloquence those who are inclined to study oratory, what man who set a proper value on things would find fault with me? For who has ever doubted that eloquence has at all times been of the very highest estimation in our republic, among all the accomplishments of peace, and of our domestic life in the city; and that next to it is the knowledge of the law? and that the one had in it the greatest amount of influence, and credit, and protection; and the other contains rules for prosecutions and defence; and this latter would often of its own accord beg for assistance from eloquence; but if it were refused, would scarcely be able to maintain its own rights and territories.
Why then has it been at all times an honourable thing to teach civil law, and why have the houses of the most eminent professors of this science been at all times crowded with pupils? And yet if any one attempts to excite people to the study of oratory, or to assist the youth of the city in that pursuit, should he be blamed? For, if it be a vicious thing to speak in an elegant manner, then let eloquence be expelled altogether from the state. But if it not only is an ornament to those who possess it, but the whole republic also, then why is it discreditable to learn what it is honourable to know; of, why should it be anything but glorious to teach what it is most excellent to be acquainted with?
XLII. But the one is a, common study, and the other a novel one. I admit that; but there is a reason for both these facts. For it was sufficient to listen to the lawyers giving their answers, so that they who acted as instructors set aside no particular time for that purpose, but were at one and the same time satisfying the wants both of their pupils and their clients. But the other men, as they devoted all their time, when at home, to acquiring a correct understanding of the causes entrusted to them, and arranging the arguments which they were to employ; all their time when in the forum to pleading the cause, and all the rest of their time in recruiting their own strength; what time had they for giving rules or lessons? and I do not know whether most of our orators have not excelled more in genius than in learning; therefore, they have been able to speak better than they could teach, while our ability is perhaps just the contrary.
But there is no dignity in teaching.—Certainly not, if it is done as if one kept a school; but if a man teaches by warning, by exhorting, by asking questions, by giving information, sometimes by reading with his pupils and hearing them read, then I do not know, if by teaching anything you can sometimes make men better, why you should be unwilling to do it. Is it honourable to teach a man what are the proper words to alienate consecrated property with, and not honourable to teach him those by which consecrated property may be maintained and defended?
"But," men say, "many people profess law who know nothing about it; but even the very men who have acquired eloquence conceal their attainment of it, because wisdom is a thing agreeable to men, but eloquence is suspected by them." Is it possible then for eloquence to escape notice, or does that which a man conceals cease to exist? Or is there any danger of any one thinking with respect to an important and glorious art that it is a discreditable thing to teach others that which it was very honourable to himself to learn? But perhaps others may be better hands at concealment; I have always openly avowed that I have learnt the art. For what could I have done, having left my home when very young, and crossed the sea for the sake of those studies; and having had my house full of the most learned men, and when there were perhaps some indications of learning in my conversation; and when my writings were a good deal read; could I then have concealed the fact of my having learnt it? How could I justify myself except by showing that I had made some progress in those studies?
XLIII. And as this is the case still, the things which have been already mentioned, have had more dignity in the discussion of them than those which have got to be discussed. For we are now to speak about the arrangement of words, and almost about the counting and measuring of syllables. And, although these things are, as it appears to me, necessary, yet there is more show in the execution than in the teaching of them. Now that is true of everything, but it has a peculiar force with respect to this pursuit. For in the case of all great arts, as in that of trees, it is the height which delights us, but we take no pleasure in the roots or trunks; though the one cannot exist without the other. But as for me, whether it is that that well-known verse which forbids a man
"To fear to own the art he practises,"
does not allow me to conceal that I take delight in it; or whether it is your eagerness which has extorted this volume from me; still it was worth while to make a reply to those whom I suspected of being likely to find fault with me.
But if the circumstances which I have mentioned had no existence, still who would be so harsh and uncivilised as not to grant me this indulgence, so that, when my forensic labours and my public exertions were interrupted, I might devote my time to literature rather than to inactivity of which I am incapable, or to melancholy which I resist? For it was a love of letters which formerly led me into the courts of justice and the senate-house, and which now delights me when I am at home. Nor am I occupied only with such subjects as are contained in this book, but with much more weighty and important, ones; and if they are brought to perfection, then my private literary labours will correspond to my forensic exertions. However, at present let us return to the discussion we had commenced.
XLIV. Our words then must be arranged either so that the last may as correctly as possible be consistent with the first, and also so that our first expressions may be as agreeable as possible; or so that the very form of our sentences and their neatness may be well rounded off; or so that the whole period may end in a musical and suitable manner. And, in the first place, let us consider what kind of thing that is which above all things requires our diligence, so that a regular structure as it were may be raised, and yet that this may be effected without any labour. For the labour would be not only infinite, but childish. As in Lucilius, Scaevola is represented as attacking Albucius very sensibly:
"How neatly all your phrases are arranged; Like tesselated pavement, or a box Inlaid with deftly wrought mosaic."
The care taken in the construction must not be too visible. But still a practised pen will easily perfect this manner of arranging its phrases. For as the eye does in reading, so in speaking, the eye will see beforehand what follows, so that the combination of the last words of a sentence with the first may not leave the whole sentence either gaping or harsh. For sentiments ever so agreeable or dignified offend the ears if they are set down in ill-arranged sentences; for the judgment of the ears is very fastidious. And the Latin language is so particular on this point, that no one can be so ignorant as to leave quantities of open vowels. Though this is a point on which men blame Theopompus, because he was so ostentatious in his avoidance of such letters, although his master Isocrates did the same; but Thucydides did not; nor did that other far superior writer, Plato. And he did this not only in those conversations which are called Dialogues, when it ought to have been done designedly; but even in that oration addressed to the people, in which it is customary at Athens for those men to be extolled who have been slain in fighting for their country. And that oration was so greatly approved of that it was, as you know, appointed to be recited every year; and in that there is a constant succession of open vowels, which Demosthenes avoided in a great degree as vicious.
XLV. However, the Greeks must judge of that matter for themselves. We are not allowed to use our words in that manner, not even if we wish to; and this is shown even by those unpolished speeches of Cato. It is shown by all the poets except those who sometimes had recourse to a hiatus in order to finish their verse; as Naevius—
"Vos, qui accolitis Istrum fluvium, atque Algidam."
"Quam nunquam vobis Graii atque Barbari."
But Ennius does so only once—
And we too have written,—
"Hinc motu radiantis Etesiae in vada ponti."
For our countrymen would not have endured the frequent use of such a liberty, though the Greeks even praise it. But why should I talk about vowels? even without counting vowels, they often used contractions for the sake of brevity, so as to say—
Multi' modis for imdtis modis. Vas' argenteis for vasis argenteis. Palmi et crinibus for palmis et crinibus. Tecti' fractis for tectis fractis.
And what would be a greater liberty than to contract even men's names, so as to make them more suitable to verse? For as they contracted duellum into bellum, and duis into bis, so they called Duellius (the man I mean who defeated the Carthaginians in a naval action) Bellius, though his ancestors were always called Duellii. Moreover, they often contract words, not in obedience to any particular usage, but only to please the ear. For how was it that Axilla was made Ala, except by the flight of the larger letter? and so the elegant usage of Latin conversation takes this letter x out of maxilla, and taxilla, and vexillum, and paxillum.
They also joined words by uniting them at their pleasure; so as to say—sodes for si audes, sis for si vis. And in this word capsis there are no less than three words. So ain for aisne, nequire for non quire, malle for magis velle, nolle for son velle. And again, we often say dein for deinde, and exin for exinde. Well, need I give any more instances? Cannot we see easily from whence it arises that we say cum illis, but we do not say cum nobis, but nobiscum? because if it were said in the other way, the letters would clash in a discordant manner; as they would have clashed a minute ago if I had not put autem between them. This is the origin of our saying mecum and tecum, not cum me, and cum te, so that they too might be like nobiscum and vobiscum.
XLVI. And some men find fault with all this; men who are rather late in mending antiquity; for they wish us, instead of saying Deum atque hominum fidem, to say Deorum. Very likely it may be right, but were our ancestors ignorant of all this, or was it usage that gave them this liberty? Therefore the same poet who had used these uncommon contractions—
"Patris mei mecum factum pudet," for meorum factorum,
"Texitur: exitium examen rapit," for exitiorum,
does not say "liberum" as many of us do say in such an expression as cupidos liberum, or in liberum loco, but, as these men approve,
"Neque tuum unquam in gremium extollas liberorum ex te genus."
And again he says,—
"Namque aesculapi liberorum...."
And another of these poets says in his Chryses, not only
"Cives, antiqui amici majorum meum,"
which was common enough; but he says, with a much more unmusical sound,—
"Consilium, augurium, atque extum interpretes."
And again he goes on—
"Postquam prodigium horriferum, putentfum pavos,"
which are not at all usual contractions in a string of words which are all neuter. Nor should I much like to say armum judicium, though the expression occurs in that same poet,—
"Nihilne ad te de judicio armum accidit?"
instead of armorum. But I do venture (following the language of the censor's returns) to say jabrum and procum, instead of fabrorum and procorum. And I actually never by any chance say duorum virorum judicium, or triumvirorum capitalium, or decemvirorum litibus judicandis.
And Attius said—
"Video sepulchra dua duorum corporam."
And at another time he has said,—
"Mulier una duum virum."
I know which is proper; but sometimes I speak according to the licence of the present fashion, so far as to say Proh Deum, or Proh Deorum; and at other times I speak as I am forced to, when I say trium virum, not virorum, and sestertium nummum, not nummorum; because with respect to these words there is no variety of usage.
XLVII. What am I to say is the reason why they forbid us to say nosse, judicasse, and enjoin us to use novisse and judicavisse? as if we did not know that in words of this kind it is quite correct to use the word at full length, and quite in accordance with usage to use it in its contracted form. And so Terence does use both forms, and says,—
"Eho, tu cognatum tuum non noras?"
And afterwards he has,—
"Stilphonem, inquam, noveras?"
Siet is the word at full length; sit is the contracted form. One may use either; and so we find in the same passage,—
"Quam cara sint, quae post carendo intelligunt, Quamque attinendi magni dominatus sient."
Nor should I find fault with
"Scripsere alii rem."
I am aware that scripserunt is the more correct form; but I willingly comply with a fashion which is agreeable to the ears.
"Idem campus habet,"
says Eunius; and in another place he has given us,—
"In templis isdem;"
but eisdem would be more regular; but yet it would not have been so musical: and iisdem would have sounded ill. But custom has sanctioned our departing from strict rules for the sake of euphony; and I should prefer saying pomeridianas quadrigas to postmeridianas, and mehercule to mehercules. Non scire already appears a barbarism; nescire is sweeter. The word meridiem itself, why is it not medidiem?
I suppose because it sounded worse. There is one preposition, abs, which has now only an existence in account books; but in all other conversation of every sort is changed: for we say amovit, and abegit, and abstulit, so that you cannot now tell whether ab is the correct form or abs. What shall we say if even abfugit has seemed inadmissible, and if men have discarded abfer and preferred aufer? and that preposition is found in no word whatever except these two verbs. There were the words noti, and navi, and nari, and when in was forced to be prefixed to them, it seemed more musical to say ignoti, ignavi, ignari, than to adhere to the strict rules. Men say ex usu and republica, because in the one phrase a vowel followed the preposition, and in the other there would have been great harshness if you had not removed the consonant, as in exegit, edixit, effecit, extulit, edidit. And sometimes the preposition has sustained an alteration, regulated by the first letter of the verb to which it is added, as suffugit, summutavit, sustulit.
XLVIII. What are we to say of compound words? How neat is it to say insipientem, not insapientem; iniquum, not incequum; tricipitem, not tricapitem; concisum, not concoesum! and, because of this last instance, some people wish also to say pertisum; but the same fashion which regulates the other changes, has not sanctioned this one. But what can be more elegant than this, which is not caused by nature, but by some regular usage?—we say inclytus, with the first letter short; insanus, with the first letter long; inkumanus, with a short letter; infelix, with a long one: and, not to detain you with many examples, in those words in which the first letters are those which occur in sapiente and felice, it is used long; in all others it is short. And so, too, we have composuit, consuevit, concrvpuit, confecit. Consult the truth, it will reprove you; refer the matter to your ears, they will sanction the usage. Why so? Because they will say that that sound is the most agreeable one to them; and an oration ought to consult that which gives pleasure to the ears. Moreover, I myself, as I knew that our ancestors spoke so as never to use an aspirate except before a vowel, used to speak in this way: pulcros, Cetegos, triumpos, Cartaginem; when at last, and after a long time, the truth was forced upon me by the admonition of my own ears, I yielded to the people the right of settling the rule of speaking; and was contented to reserve to myself the knowledge of the proper rules and reasons for them. Still we say Orcivii, and Matones and Otones, Coepiones, sepulchra, coronas, lacrymas, because that pronunciation is always sanctioned by the judgment of our ears.
Ennius always used Burrum, never Pyrrhum: he says,—
"Vi patefecerunt Bruges;"
not Phryges; and so the old copies of his poems prove, for they had no Greek letters in them. But now those words have two; and though when they wanted to say Phrygum and Phrygibus, it was absurd either to use a Greek character in the barbarous cases only, or else in the nominative case alone to speak Greek, still we say Phrygum and Phrygibus for the sake of harmonizing our ears. Moreover (at present it would seem like the language of a ploughman, though formerly it was a mark of politeness) our ancestors took away the last letter of those words in which the two last letters were the same, as they are in optumus, unless the next word began with a vowel. And so they avoided offending the ear in their verse; as the modern poets avoid it now in a different manner. For we used to say,—
"Qui est omnibu' princeps," not "omnibus princeps;"
"Vita illa, dignu' locoquc," not "dignus."
But if unlettered custom is such an artist of euphony, what must we think is required by scientific art and systematic learning?
I have put all this more briefly than if I were discussing this matter by itself; (for this topic is a very extensive one, concerning the use and nature of words;) but still I have been more prolix than the plan I originally proposed to myself required.
XLIX. But because the choice of subjects and words is in the department of prudence, but of sounds and rhythm it is the ears that are the judges; because the one is referable to one's understanding, the other only to one's pleasure; therefore in the one case it is reason and in the other sensation that has been the inventor of the system. For it was necessary for us either to disregard the pleasure of those men by whom we wished to be approved of; or else it was necessary to discover a system by which to gain their good-will.
There are then two things which soothe the ears; sound and rhythm. Concerning rhythm we will speak presently; at this moment we are inquiring into sound. As I said before, words must be selected which as much as possible shall sound well; but they must not be, like the words of a poet, sought purely for sound, but taken from ordinary language.
"Qua ponto a Helles"
is an extravagant expression; but
"Auratua aries Colehorum"
is a verse illuminated with splendid names. But the next verse is polluted by ending with a most inharmonious letter;
"Frugifera et ferta arva Asiae tenet."
Let us therefore use the propriety of words of our own language, rather than the brilliancy of the Greeks; unless perchance we are ashamed of speaking in such a way as this—
"Qua tempestate Paris Helenam,"
and the rest of that sentence. Let us, I say, pursue that plan and avoid harshness of sound.
"Habeo istam ego perterricrepam.... Versutiloquas malitias."
Nor is it enough to have one's words arranged in a regular system, but the terminations of the sentences must be carefully studied, since we have said that that is a second sort of judgment of the ears. But the harmonious end of a sentence depends on the arrangement itself, which is so of its own accord, if I may so express myself, or on some particular class of words in which there is a certain neatness; and whether such words have cases the terminations of which are similar, or whether one word is matched with another which resembles it, or whether contrary words are opposed to one another, they are harmonious of their own nature, even if nothing has been done on purpose. In the pursuit of this sort of neatness Gorgias is reported to have been the leader; and of this style there is an example in our speech in defence of Milo: "For this law, O judges, is not a written one, but a natural one, one which we have not learnt, or received from others, or gathered from books; but which we have extracted, and pressed out, and imbibed from nature itself; it is one in which we have not been educated, but born; we have not been brought up in it, but imbued with it. For these sentences are such that, because they are referred to the principles to which they ought to be referred, we see plainly that harmony was not the thing that was sought in them, but that which followed of its own accord. And this is also the case when contraries are opposed to one another; as those phrases are by which not only a harmonious sentence, but even a verse is made.
"Eam, quam nihil accusas, damnas."
A man would say condemnas if he wished to avoid making a verse.
"Bene quam meritam esse autumas, dicis male mereri. Id, quod scis, prodest nihil; id, quod nescis, obest."
The very relation of the contrary effects makes a verse that would be harmonious in a narration.
"Quod scis, nihil prodest; quod nescis, multum obest."
These things, which the Greeks call [Greek: antitheta], as in them contraries are opposed to contraries, of sheer necessity produce oratorical rhythm; and that too without any intention on the part of the orator that they should do so.
This was a kind of speaking in which the ancients used to take delight, even before the time of Isocrates; and especially Gorgias; in whose orations his very neatness generally produces an harmonious rhythm. We too frequently employ this style; as in the fourth book of our impeachment of Verres:—"Compare this peace with that war; the arrival of this praetor with the victory of that general; the debauched retinue of this man, with the unconquerable army of the other; the lust of this man with the continence of that one; and you will say that Syracuse was founded by the man who in reality took it; and was stormed by this one, who in reality received it in an admirable and settled condition."
This sort of rhythm then must be well understood.
L. We must now explain that third kind of an harmonious and well-arranged speech, and say of what character it is; and what sort of ears those people have who do not understand its character, or indeed what there is in them that is like men at all, I do not know. My ears delight in a well-turned and properly finished period of words, and they like conciseness, and disapprove of redundancy. Why do I say my ears? I have often seen a whole assembly raise a shout of approval at hearing a musical sentence. For men's ears expect that sentences shall be strung together of well-arranged words. This was not the case in the time of the ancients. And indeed it was nearly the only thing in which they were deficient: for they selected their words carefully, and they gave utterance to dignified and sweet sounding ideas; but they paid little attention to arranging them or filling them up. "This is what delights me," one of them would say. What are we to say if an old primitive picture of few colours delights some men more than this highly finished one? Why, I suppose, the style which succeeds must be studied again; and this latter style repudiated.
People boast of the names of the ancients. But antiquity carries authority with it in precedents, as old age does in the lives of individuals; and it has indeed very great weight with me myself. Nor am I more inclined to demand from antiquity that which it has not, than to praise that which it has; especially as I consider what it has as of more importance than what it has not. For there is more good in well chosen words and ideas in which they excel, than in the rounding off of phrases in which they fail. It is after their time that the working up of the termination of a sentence has been introduced; which I think that those ancients would have employed, if it had been known and employed in their day; as since it has been introduced we see that all great orators have employed it.
LI. But it looks like envy when what we call "number," and the Greeks [Greek: ruthmos] is said to be employed in judicial and forensic oratory. For it appears like laying too many plots for the charming of people's ears if rhythm is also aimed at by the orator in his speeches. And relying on this argument those critics themselves utter broken and abrupt sentences, and blame those men who deliver well rounded and neatly turned discourses. If they blame them because their words are ill adapted and their sentiments are trifling, they are right; but if their arguments are sound, their language well chosen, then why should they prefer a lame and halting oration to one which keeps pace with the sentiments contained in it? For this rhythm which they attack so has no other effect except to cause the speaker to clothe his ideas in appropriate language; and that was done by the ancients also, not unusually by accident, and often by nature; and those speeches of theirs which are exceedingly praised, are so generally because they are concisely expressed. And it is now near four hundred years since this doctrine has been established among the Greeks; we have only lately recognised it. Therefore was it allowable for Ennius, despising the ancient examples, to say:—
"In verses such as once the Fauns And ancient poets sang:"
and shall it not be allowed me to speak of the ancients in the same manner? especially as I am not going to say, "Before this man ..." as he did; nor to proceed as he did, "We have ventured to open ..." For I have read and heard of some speakers whose orations were rounded off in an almost perfect manner. And those who cannot do this are not content with not being despised; they wish even to be praised for their inability. But I do praise those men, and deservedly too, whose imitators they profess to be; although I see something is wanting in them. But these men I do not praise at all, who imitate nothing of the others except their defects, and are as far removed as possible from their good qualities.
But if their own ears are so uncivilised and barbarous, will not the authority of even the most learned men influence them? I say nothing of Isocrates, and his pupils Ephorus and Naucrates; although those men who are themselves consummate orators ought also to be the highest authorities on making and ornamenting a speech. But who of all men was ever more learned, or more acute, or a more accurate judge of the discovery of, or decision respecting all things than Aristotle? Moreover, who ever took more pains to oppose Isocrates? Aristotle then, while he warns us against letting verses occur in our speeches, enjoins us to attend to rhythm. His pupil Theodectes, one of the most polished of writers, (as Aristotle often intimates,) and a great artist, both felt and enjoined the same thing. And Theophrastus is more distinct still in laying down the same rule.
Who then can endure those men who do not agree with such authorities as these? Unless indeed they are ignorant that they ever gave any such rules. And if that is the case, (and I really believe it is,) what then? Have they no senses of their own to be guided by? Have they no natural idea of what is useless? None of what is harsh, cramped, lame, or superfluous? When verses are being repeated, the whole theatre raises an outcry if there is one syllable too few or too many. Not that the mob knows anything about feet or metre; nor do they understand what it is that offends them, or know why or in what it offends them. But nevertheless nature herself has placed in our ears a power of judging of all superfluous length and all undue shortness in sounds, as much as of grave and acute syllables.
LII. Do you wish then, O Brutus, that we should give a more accurate explanation of this whole topic, than those men themselves have done who have delivered these and other rules to us? Or may we be content with those which have been delivered by them? But why do I ask whether you wish this? when I know from your letters, written in a most scholar-like spirit, that you wish for it above all things. First of all, then, the origin of a well-adapted and rhythmical oration shall be explained, then the cause of it, then its nature, and last of all its use.