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any orator should add something ornamental to that which is merely necessary, and than which less cannot be given, he will not be deserving of censure from those who hold this opinion.
To me, indeed, ordinary discourse, and the language of a truly eloquent man, appear to be of a different nature; for if it were sufficient for an orator to express his thoughts plainly, he would have nothing to study beyond mere suitableness of words; but since he has to please, to move, and to rouse the minds of his audience to various states of feeling, he must have recourse for those purposes, to the means which are afforded us by the same nature that supplies us with ordinary speech; just as we are led by nature to invigorate our muscles with exercise, to increase our general strength, and to acquire a healthy complexion. It is from this cause that in all nations one man is esteemed more eloquent, and more agreeable in his mode of expression than another; for if such were not the case, all would be on an equality in this respect, and the same way of speaking would become every man alike; but, as it is, men speak in different methods and preserve a distinction of character. Thus I conceive that the greater impression a man produces by his words, the more he speaks in conformity with the natural intention of eloquence. I, therefore, have not much to say against those who think that we must accommodate ourselves in some degree to circumstances, and to the ears of audiences that require something more refined and studied than ordinary language. I am so far from thinking, therefore, that an orator should be restricted to the style of those who preceded Cato and the Gracchi, that I do not consider he should be restricted to the style even of these. I see that it was the practice of Cicero, though he did nothing but with a view to the interest of his cause, to study in some measure the gratification of his audience, saying that he thus promoted his object, and contributed in the best possible way to the success of his client. He, in fact, profited in proportion as he pleased. To the attractions of his style I do not know, for my own part, what can be added, unless, indeed, we introduce, to suit modern taste, a few more brilliant thoughts; for this may certainly be done without damage to a cause, and without diminution to the impressiveness of a pleader, provided that the embellishments be not too numerous and close together, so as to destroy the effects of each other. But though I am thus far complaisant, let no man press for any further concession; I allow, in accordance with the fashion of the day, that the toga should not be of rough wool, but not that it should be of silk; that the hair should not be uncut, but not that it should be dressed in stories and ringlets; it being also considered that what is most becoming is also most elegant, provided that elegance be not carried to the extent of ostentation and extravagance. But as to what we call brilliant thoughts, which were not cultivated by the Ancients, and not, above all, by the Greeks (I find some in Cicero), who can deny that they may be of service, provided that they bear upon the cause, are not redundant in number, and tend to secure success? They strike the mind of the hearer, they frequently produce a great effect by one impulse; they impress themselves, from being short, more effectually on the memory; and they persuade while they please.
But there are some, who, though they will allow an orator to utter such dazzling thoughts, consider that they are wholly to be excluded from speeches that are written.
This is an opinion, accordingly, which I must not pass unnoticed; as, indeed, many men of great learning have thought that the modes of speaking and writing are essentially different; and that it is from this cause that some who were highly distinguished for speaking have left nothing to posterity, nothing in writing that would be at all lasting, as Pericles and Demades; and that others again, who were excellent in writing, have been unfitted for speaking, as Isocrates. Besides, they say that impetuosity, and thoughts merely intended to please, and perhaps somewhat too boldly hazarded, have often the very greatest effect in speaking, as the minds of the ignorant part of an audience must frequently be excited and swayed; but that what is committed to writing, and published as something good, bught to be terse and polished, and in conformity with every law and rule of composition, because it is to come into the hands of the learned, and to have artists as judges of the art with which it is executed.
ORATORY MANIFESTLY AN ART
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Et us proceed to the question that follows, whether oratory be an art. That it is an art, every one of those who have given rules about eloquence has
been so far from doubting, that it is shown by the very titles of their books that they are written on the oratorical art; and Cicero also says that what is called oratory is artificial eloquence. This distinction, it is not only orators that have claimed for themselves (since they may be thought, perhaps, to have given their profession something more than its due), but the philosophers, the Stoics, and most of the Peripatetics, agree with them. For myself, I confess that I was in some doubt whether I should. look upon this part of the inquiry as necessary to be considered; for who is so destitute, I will not say of learning, but of the common understanding of mankind, as to imagine that the work of building, or weaving, or molding vessels out of clay, is an art, but that oratory, the greatest and noblest of works, has attained such a height of excellence without being an art ? Those, indeed, who have maintained the contrary opinion, I suppose not so much to have believed what they advanced, as to have been desirous of exercising their powers on a subject of difficulty, like Polycrates, when he eulogized Busiris and Clytemnestra, though he is said also to have written the speech that was delivered against Socrates; nor would that, indeed, have been inconsistent with his other compositions.
Some will have oratory to be a natural talent, though they do not deny that it may be assisted by art. Thus Antonius, in Cicero's “De Oratore,” says that oratory is an effect of observation, not an art; but this is not advanced that we may receive it as true, but that the character of Antonius, an orator who tried to conceal the art that he used, may be supported. But Lysias seems to have really entertained this opinion; for which the argument is, that the ignorant, and barbarians, and slaves, when they speak for themselves, say something that resembles an exordium; they state facts, prove, refute, and (adopting the form of a peroration) deprecate. The supporters of this notion also avail themselves of certain quibbles upon words, that nothing that proceeds from art was before art, but that man. kind have always been able to speak for themselves and against others; that teachers of the art appeared only in later times, and first of all about the age of Tisias and Corax; that oratory was, therefore, before art, and is consequently not an art. As to the period, indeed, in which the teaching of oratory commenced, I am not anxious to inquire; we find Phoenix, however, in Homer, as an instructor, not only in acting but in speaking, as well as several other orators; we see all the varieties of eloquence in the three generals, and contests in eloquence proposed among the young men, and among the figures on the shield of Achilles are represented both lawsuits and pleaders. It would even be sufficient for me to observe that everything which art has brought to perfection had its origin in nature, else from the number of the arts must be excluded medicine, which resulted from the observation of what was beneficial or detrimental to health, and which, as some think, consists wholly in experiments, for somebody had, doubtless, bound up a wound before the dressing of wounds became an art, and had allayed fever by repose and abstinence, not because he saw the reason of such regimen, but because the malady itself drove him to it. Else, too, architecture must not be considered an art, for the first generation of men built cottages without art; nor music, sipce singing and dancing, to some sort of tune, are practiced among all nations. So if any kind of speaking whatever is to be called oratory, I will admit that oratory existed before it was an art; but if every one that speaks is not an orator, and if men in early times did not speak as orators, our reasoners must confess that an orator is formed by art, and did not exist before art. This being admitted, another argument which they use is set aside, namely, that that has no concern with art which a man who has not learned it can do, but that men who have not learned oratory can make speeches. To support this argument they observe that Demades, a waterman, and Æschines, an actor, were orators; but they are mistaken; for he who has not learned to be an orator cannot properly be called one, and it may be more justly said that those men learned late in life, than that they never learned at all; though Æschines, indeed, had some introduction to learning in his youth, as his father was a teacher; nor is it certain that Demades did not learn; and he might, by constant practice in speaking, which is the most efficient mode of learning, have made himself master of all the power of language that he ever possessed. But we may safely say, that he would have been a better speaker if he had learned, for he never ventured to write out his speeches for publication, though we know that he produced considerable effect in delivering them.
Aristotle, for the sake of investigation, as is usual with him, has conceived, with his peculiar subtlety, certain arguments at variance with my opinion in his «Gryllus »; but he has also written three books on the Art of Rhetoric,” in the first of which he not only admits that it is an art, but allows it a connection with civil polity, as well as with logic. . . .
In Cicero's second book “De Oratore » are also advanced the following objections: that art has place in things which are known, but that the pleading of an orator depends on opinion, not on knowledge, since he both addresses himself to those who do not know, and sometimes says what he himself does not know. One of these points, whether the judges have a knowledge of what is addressed to them, has nothing to do with the art of the orator; to the other, that art has place in things which are known, I must give some answer. Oratory is the art of speaking well, and the orator knows how to speak well. But it is said, he does not know whether what he says is true; neither do the philosophers, who say that fire, or water, or the four elements, or indivisible atoms, are the principles from which all things had their origin, know that what they say is true; nor do those who calculate the distances of the stars, and the magnitudes of the sun and the earth, yet every one of them calls his system an art: but if their reasoning has such effect that they seem not to imagine, but, from the force of their demonstrations, to know what they assert, similar reasoning may have a similar effect in the case of the orator. But, it is further urged, he does not know whether the cause which he advocates has truth on its side; nor, I answer, does the physician know whether the patient, whọ says that he has the headache, really has it, yet he will treat him on the assumption that his assertion is true, and medicine will surely be allowed to be an art. ... Those who are unfavorable to oratory add that pleaders often defend, in certain causes, that which they have assailed in others; but this is the fault, not of the art, but of the person.
These are the principal charges that are brought against oratory. There are others of less moment, but drawn from the same sources.
But that it is an art may be proved in a very few words; for whether, as Cleanthes maintained, an art is a power working its effects by a course, that is by method, no man will doubt that there is a certain course and method in oratory; or whether that definition, approved by almost everybody, that an art consists of perceptions consenting and co-operating to some end useful to life, be adopted also by us, we have already shown that everything to which this definition applies is to be found in oratory. Need I show that it depends on understanding and practice, like other arts? If logic be an art, as is generally admitted, oratory must certainly be an art, as it differs from logic rather in species than in genus. Nor must we omit to observe that in whatever pursuit one man may act according to a method, and another without regard to that method, that pursuit is an art; and that in whatever pursuit he who has learned succeeds better than he who has not learned that pursuit is an art.
But, in the pursuit of oratory, not only will the learned excel the unlearned, but the more learned will excel the less learned; otherwise there would not be so many rules in it, or so many great men to teach it. This ought to be acknowledged by everyone, and especially by me, who allow the attainment of oratory only to the man of virtue.
THE ATTIC AND CICERONIAN SCHOOLS
If we contemplate the varieties of oratory, we find almost as much diversity in
the minds as in the bodies of orators. There were some forms of elo
quence of a rude nature, in agreement with the times in which they appeared, but indicating mental power in the speakers; among whom we may number the Lælii Africani, Catos, and Gracchi; and these we may call the Polygnoti and Cal. lones of oratory. Of the middle kind Lucius Crassus and Quintus Hortensius may be thought the chief representatives. There may be contemplated a vast multitude of orators, all flourishing about the same time. Among them we find the energy of Cæsar, the natural talent of Cælius, the subtlety of Calidius, the accuracy of Pollio, the dignity of Messala, the austerity of Calvus, the gravity of Brutus, the acuteness of Sulpicius, and the severity of Cassius. Among those, also, whom we have ourselves seen, we recollect the copiousness of Seneca, the force of Julius Africanus, the mature judgment of Domitius Afer, the agreeableness of Crispus, the sonorous pronunciation of Trachalus, and the elegance of Secundus.
But in Cicero we have not merely a Euphranor, distinguished by excellence in several particular departments of art, but eminent in every quality that is commended in any orator whatever. Yet the men of his own time presumed to censure him as timid, Asiatic, redundant, too fond of repetition, indulging in tasteless jests, loose in the structure of his sentences, tripping in his manner, and (what is surely very far from truth) almost too effeminate in his general style for a man. And after that he was cut off by the proscription of the triumvirs, those who had hated, envied, and rivaled him, and who were anxious to pay their court to the rulers of the day, attacked him from all quarters, when he was no longer able to reply to them. But the very man who is now regarded by some as meagre and dry appeared to his personal enemies, his contemporaries, censurable only for too flowery a style and too much exuberance of matter. Both charges are false, but for the latter there is the fairer ground.
But his severest critics were those who desired to be thought imitators of the Attic orators. This band of calumniators, as if they had leagued themselves in a solemn confederacy, attacked Cicero as though he had been quite of another country, neither caring for their customs nor bound by their laws; of which school are our present dry, sapless, and frigid orators. These are the men who give their meagreness the name of health, which is the very opposite to it; and who, because they cannot endure the brighter lustre of Cicero's eloquence, any more than they can look at the sun, shelter themselves under the shade of the great name of Attic oratory. But as Cicero himself has fully answered such critics, in many parts of his works, brevity in touching on this point will be the rather excusable in me.
The distinction between Attic and Asiatic orators is, indeed, of great antiquity; the Attics being regarded as compressed and energetic in their style, the Asiatics as inflated and deficient in force; in the Attics it was thought that nothing was redundant, in the Asiatics that judgment and restraint were in a great measure wanting. This difference some, among whom is Santra, suppose to have arisen from the circumstance that, when the Greek tongue spread itself among the people of Asia nearest to Greece, certain persons who had not yet acquired a thorough mastery over the language desired to attain eloquence, and began to express some things which might have been expressed closely, in a periphrastic style, and afterwards continued to do so. To me, however, the difference in the character of the speakers and their audiences seems to have caused the difference in their styles of oratory; for the people of Attica, being polished and of refined taste, could endure nothing useless or redundant; which the Asiatics, a people in other respects vain and ostentatious, were puffed up with fondness for a showy kind of eloquence. Those who made distinctions in these matters soon after added a third kind of eloquence, the Rhodian, which they define to be of a middle character between the other two, and partaking of each; for the orators of this school are not concise like the Attics, nor exuberant like the Asiatics, but appear to derive their styles partly from the country, and partly from their founder; for Æschines, who fixed on Rhodes for his place of exile, carried thither the accomplishments then studied at Athens, which, like certain plants that degenerate when they are removed to a foreign climate and soil, formed a union of the Attic flavor with that of the country to which they were transplanted. The orators of the Rhodian school are accordingly accounted somewhat deficient in vigor and spirit, though, nevertheless, not without force, resembling, not pure springs, nor turbid torrents, but calm foods.
Let no one doubt, then, that •of the three styles, that of the Attics is by far the best. But though there is something common to all that have written in this style, namely, a keen and exact judgment, yet there are great varieties in the characters of their genius. Those, therefore, appear to me to be very much mistaken who think that the only Attic orators are such as are simple, clear, expressive, restrict. ing themselves, as it were, to a certain frugality in the use of their eloquence, and always keeping their hand within their cloak. For who shall be named as such an Attic orator ? Suppose it be Lysias; for the admirers of that style recognize him as a model of it. But may we not as well, then, be sent to Coccus and Andocides? Yet I should like to ask whether Isocrates spoke after the Attic manner; for no one can be more unlike Lysias. They will say that he did not; yet his school sent forth the most eminent of the Greek orators. Let us look, then, for some one more like Lysias. Was Hyperides Attic? Doubtless. Yet he studied agreeableness of style more than Lysias. I say nothing of many others, as Lycurgus, Aristogeiton, and their predecessors, Isæus and Antiphon, whom, though resembling each other in kind, we should call different in species. What was Æschines, whom I just now mentioned ? Was he not broader, and bolder, and loftier in style than they? What, to come to a conclusion, was Demosthenes ? Did he not surpass all those dry and