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boldness with which they were committed. But regard is to be had to the defend. ant's dignity, with such caution that an offensive confidence may not appear in him.
There are also perorations of a milder sort, in which we seek to pacify an adversary, if his character, for instance, be such that respect is due to him, or in which we give him some friendly admonition, and exhort him to concord; a kind of peroration that was admirably managed by Passienus, when he pleaded the cause of his wife Domitia, to recover a sum of money, against her brother Ænobarbus, for, after he had enlarged on their relationship, he added some remarks on their fortune, of which both had abundance, saying: “There is nothing of which you have less need than that about which you are contending.”
But all these addresses to the feelings, though they are thought by some to have a place only in the exordium and the peroration, in which, indeed, they are most frequently introduced, are admissible also in other parts, but more sparingly, as it is from them that the decision of the cause must be chiefly evolved; but in the peroration, if anywhere, we may call forth all the resources of eloquence; for if we have treated the other parts successfully, we are secure of the attention of the judges at the conclusion; where, having passed the rocks and shallows on our voyage, we may expand our sails in safety; and, as amplification forms the greatest part of a peroration, we may use language and thoughts of the greatest magnificence and elegance. It is then that we may shake the theatre, when we come to that with which the old tragedies and comedies were concluded, Plaudite, «Give us your applause.)
THE ART OF REMEMBERING IN ORATORY
OME have thought memory to be a mere gift of nature; and to nature, doubtless,
it is chiefly owing; but it is strengthened, like all our other faculties, by exer
cise; and all the study of the orator, of which we have hitherto been speaking, is ineffectual, unless the other departments of it be held together by memory as by an animating principle. All knowledge depends on memory; and we shall be taught to no purpose if whatever we hear escapes from us. It is the power of memory that brings before us those multitudes of precedents, laws, judgments, sayings, and facts, of which an orator should always have an abundance, and which he should always be ready to produce. The memory is accordingly not without reason called the treasury of eloquence.
But it is necessary for those who are to plead, not only to retain multitudes of particulars firmly in the memory, but also to have a quick conception of them; not only to remember what they have written after repeated perusals, but to observe the order of thoughts and words even in what they have merely meditated; and to recollect the statements of the adverse party, not necessarily with a view to refute them in the order in which they have been advanced, but to notice each of them in the most suitable place. The ability of speaking extempore seems to me to depend on no other faculty of the mind than this; for, while we are uttering one thought, we have to consider what we are to say next; and thus, while the mind is constantly looking forward beyond its immediate object, whatever it finds in the meantime it deposits in the keeping, as it were, of the memory, which, receiving it from the conception, transmits it, as an instrument of intercommunication, to the delivery.
If a long speech is to be retained in the memory, it will be of advantage to learn it in parts; for the memory sinks under a vast burden laid on it at once. At
the same time, the portions should not be extremely short, for they will then distract and harass the memory. I cannot, however, prescribe any certain length, since this must be suited, as much as possible, to the different divisions of the subject, unless a division, perchance, be of such magnitude that it requires to be subdivided. But certain limits must assuredly be fixed, that frequent meditation may connect the series of words in each, which is attended with great difficulty, and that a repetition of the parts in their order may unite them into a whole. As to those which are least easily remembered, it will be of advantage to associate with them certain marks, the recollection of which may refresh and excite the memory. Scarcely any man has so unbappy a memory as not to remember what symbol he designed for any particular part; but, if he be so unfortunately dull, it will be a reason for him to adopt the remedy of marks, that they may stimulate him. For it is of no small service in this method to affix signs to those thoughts which are likely, we think, to escape us; an anchor, if we have to speak of a ship; a spear, if we have to think of a battle; since signs are of great efficacy, and one idea arises from another,-as when a ring shifted from one finger to another, or tied with a thread, reminds us why we shifted or tied it.
Those contrivances have the greatest effect in fixing things in the memory, which lead it from some similar object to that which we have to remember; as, in regard to names, if Fabius, for instance, is to be kept in our memory, we may think of the famous Cunctator, who will surely not escape us, or of some one of our friends, who is named Fabius. This is still more easy in respect to such names as Aper, Ursus, Naso, or Crispus, since we can fix in our minds the things to which they allude. A reference to the origin of derivative names is sometimes even a still better means of remembering them, as in those of Cicero, Verrius, Aurelius.
What will be of service, however, to every one, is to learn by heart from the same tablets on which he has written; for he will pursue the remembrance of what he has composed by certain traces, and will look, as it were, with the eye of his mind, not only on the pages, but on almost every individual line, resembling, while he speaks, a person reading. If, moreover, any erasure, or addition, or alteration has been made, they will be as so many marks, and while we attend to them we shall not go astray.
To learn by heart in silence (for it is a question whether we should do so or not) would be best, if other thoughts did not intrude on the mind at a time when it is, so to speak, at rest, for which reason it requires to be stimulated by the voice, that the memory may be excited by the double duty of speaking and hearing. But the tone of voice ought to be low, and rather a kind of murmur. As to him that learns from another person who reads to him, he is in some degree retarded, as the sense of seeing is quicker than that of hearing, but he may, on the other hand, be in some degree benefited, as, after he has heard a passage once or twice, he may immediately begin to try his memory, and attempt to rival the reader; indeed, for other reasons, we should make it our great care to test the memory from time to time, since continuous reading passes with equal celerity over that which takes less and that which takes more hold of the mind; while, in making trial whether we retain what we have heard, not only a greater degree of attention is applied, but no time is unoccupied, or lost in repeating that which we already know, as, in this way, only the parts that have escaped us are gone over again, that they may be fixed in the memory by frequent repetition, though generally, indeed, these very parts are more securely stored in the memory than others, for the very reason that they escaped it at first.
It is common alike to learning by heart and to composition, that good health, excellent digestion, and a mind free from other subjects of care, contribute greatly to success in them.
But for fixing in the memory what we have written, and for retaining in it what we meditate, the most efficacious, and almost the only, means (except exercise, which is the most powerful of all), are division and arrangement. He who makes a judicious division of his subject, will never err in the order of particulars; for, if we but speak as we ought, there will be certain points, as well in the treatment as in the distribution of the different questions in our speech, that will naturally be first, second, and so on; and the whole concatenation of the parts will be so manifestly coherent that nothing can be omitted or inserted in it without being at once perceived.
If any one ask me, however, what is the only and great art of memory, I shall say that it is exercise and labor. To learn much by heart, to meditate much, and, if possible, daily, are the most efficacious of all methods. Nothing is so much strengthened by practice, or weakened by neglect, as memory. Let children, therefore, as I directed, learn as much as possible by heart at the earliest possible age; and let every one, at whatever age, that applies himself to strengthen his memory by cultivation, get resolutely over the tedium of going through what has often been written and read, and of masticating repeatedly, as it were, the same food; a labor which may be rendered easier, if we begin with learning a few things first, and such as do not create disgust in us; and we may then add to our task a verse or two every day, the addition of which will cause no sensible increase to our labor, but will lead, at length, to almost inconceivable results. We may first learn pieces of poetry, then passages from orators, and at last composition of a less studied kind, and more remote from the style of oratory, as that of writers on law. For what is intended as an exercise ought to be of a rather difficult nature in order that that for which it is intended as an exercise may be easier; just as athletes accustom their hands to leaden weights, though they must use them empty and unarmed in actual combats.
I must not omit to mention, what is found to be true by daily experience, that in minds of a somewhat slow nature, the impression of what is recent on the memory is by no means exact. It is astonishing how much strength the interval of a night gives it; and a reason for the fact cannot be easily discovered; whether it be from the effort, the fatigue of which was a hindrance to itself, being suspended during the e; or whether it be that reminiscence, which is the most efficient quality of the memory, is cherished or matured; certain it is that what could not be repeated at first is readily put together on the following day; and the very time which is generally thought to cause forgetfulness is found to strengthen the memory. On the other hand, the extraordinary quick memory soon allows what it has grasped to escape it; and as if, after discharging a present duty, it owed nothing further, it resigns its charge like a dismissed steward. Nor is it, indeed, surprising that what has been longest impressed upon the mind should adhere to it with the greatest tenacity.
All the foregoing extracts are from the translation
of John Selby Watson.
(c.50 A. D.- (?))
ERHAPS no one else has written so well on the Philosophy of Elo
quence as the great Stoic Epictetus,-one of the world's most
remarkable thinkers. He treats eloquence as a faculty of the will, – that is, as a power of expression which will come to all who are really determined to know what is right and to express it. Speaking with the authority of a master, he disposes once for all of the discussion of whether this man or that can become a good orator. « Yes,” he answers in effect; "he can,-if he is a good man brave enough to give his goodness expression. For what is eloquence but goodness expressed in the language of one who dares to give it the best possible expression!”
Epictetus was born in Phrygia probably as a slave. The date of his birth is not known, but when first heard of in Rome, he was the slave of Epaphroditus who is described as a profligate freedman of the Emperor Nero.” It is supposed that he died under Hadrian. He was a highly educated man, but he wrote nothing. His « Discourses » as they were reported by his disciple Arrian make one of the most remarkable books in existence.
ON THE POWER OF SPEAKING
VERY man will read a book with more pleasure or even with more ease, if it is
written in fairer characters. Therefore every man will also listen more
readily to what is spoken, if it is signified by appropriate and becoming words. We must not say, then, that there is no faculty of expression; for this affir. mation is the characteristic of an impious and also of a timid man. Of an impious man, because he undervalues the gifts which come from God, just as if he would take away the commodity of the power of vision, or of hearing, or of seeing. Has then God given you eyes to no purpose ? and to no purpose has he infused into them a spirit so strong and of such skillful contrivance as to reach a long way and to fashion the forms of things which are seen?
What messenger is so swift and vigilant? And to no purpose has he made the interjacent atmosphere so efficacious and elastic that the vision penetrates through the atmosphere which is in a manner moved? And to no purpose has he made light, without the presence of which there would be no use in any other thing.
Man, be neither ungrateful for these gifts nor yet forgot the things which are superior to them. But, indeed, for the power of seeing and hearing, and, indeed, for life itself, and for the things which contribute to support it, for the fruits which are dry, and for wine and oil give thanks to God; but remember that he has given you something else better than all these. I mean the power of using them, proving them, and estimating the value of each. For what is that which gives information about each of these powers, what each of them is worth ? Is it each faculty itself ? Did you ever hear the faculty of vision saying anything about itself ? or the faculty of hearing ? or wheat, or barley, or a horse, or a log? No; but they are appointed as ministers and slaves to serve the faculty which has the power of making use of the appearances of things. And if you inquire what is the value of each thing, of whom do you inquire ? who answers you u ? How then can any other faculty be more powerful than this, which uses the rest as ministers and itself proves each and pronounces about them ? for which of them knows what itself is, and what is its own value? which of them knows when it ought to employ itself and when not? what faculty is it which opens and closes the eyes, and turps them away from objects to which it ought not to apply them and does apply them to other objects? Is it the faculty of vision ? No; but it is the faculty of the will. What is that faculty which closes and opens the ears? what is that by which they are curious and inquisitive, or, on the contrary, unmoved by what is said ? is it the faculty of hearing ? It is no other than the faculty of the will. Will this faculty then, seeing that it is amid all the other faculties which are blind and dumb and unable to see anything else except the very acts for which they are appointed in order to minister to this (faculty) and serve it, but this faculty alone sees sharp and sees what is the value of each of the rest; will this faculty declare to us that anything else is the best, or that itself is? And what else does the eye do when it is opened than see? But whether we ought to look on the wife of a certain person, and in what manner, who tells us ? The faculty of the will. And whether we ought to believe what is said or not to believe it, and if we do believe, whether we ought to be moved by it or not, who tells us? Is it not the faculty of the will ? But this faculty of speaking and of ornamenting words, if there is, indeed, any such peculiar faculty, what else does it do, when there happens to be discourse about a thing, than to ornament the words and arrange them as hairdressers do the hair ? But whether it is better to speak or to be silent, and better to speak in this way or that way, and whether this is becoming or not becoming, and the season for each and the use, what else tells us than the faculty of the will ? Would you have it then to come forward and condemn itself?
What then ? it (the will) says, if the fact is so, can that which ministers be superior to that to which it ministers, can the horse be superior to the rider, or the dog to the huntsman, or the instrument to the musician, or the servants to the king? What is that which makes use of the rest ? The will. What takes care of all? The will. What destroys the whole man, at one time by hunger, at another time by hanging, and at another time by a precipice? The will. Then is anything stronger in men than this ? and how is it possible that the things which are subject to restraint are stronger than that which is not ? What things are naturally formed to hinder the faculty of vision ? Both will and things which do not depend on the faculty of the will. It is the same with the faculty of hearing, with the faculty of speaking in like manner. But what has a natural power of hindering the will ? Nothing which is independent of the will; but only the will itself, when it is perverted. Therefore this (the will) is alone vice or alone virtue.
Then being so great a faculty and set over all the rest, let it (the will) come forward and tell us that the most excellent of all things is the Aesh. Not even if the flesh itself declared that it is the most excellent, would any person bear that it should
But what is it, Epicurus, which pronounces this, which wrote about the End (purpose) of our Being, which wrote on the Nature of Things, which wrote about the Canon (rule of truth), which led you to wear a beard, which wrote when it was dying that it was spending the last and a happy day? Was this the