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who do not pronounce exactly as we speak in common conversation, for such pronunciation would be devoid of art; nor do they depart far from nature, as by such a fault imitation would be destroyed; but they exalt the simplicity of familiar discourse with a certain scenic grace.
HOW TO CULTIVATE GOOD DELIVERY
ELIVERY is by most writers called action; but it appears to derive the one
name from the voice and the other from the gesture, for Cicero calls ac
tion sometimes the language, as it were, and sometimes the eloquence of the body. Yet he makes two constituent parts of action, which are the same as those of delivery, voice, and motion. We, therefore, make use of either term indiscriminately.
As for the thing itself, it has a wonderful power and efficacy in oratory; for it is not of so much importance what sort of thoughts we conceive within ourselves, as it is in what manner we express them; since those whom we address are moved only as they hear. Accordingly there is no proof that proceeds in any way from a pleader, of such strength that it may not lose its effect, unless it be supported by a tone of affirmation in the speaker. All attempts at exciting the feelings must prove ineffectual, unless they be enlivened by the voice o the speaker, by his look, and by the action of almost his whole body. For when we have displayed energy in all these respects, we may think ourselves happy, if the judge catches a single spark of our fire; and we surely cannot hope to move him if we are languid and supine, or expect that he will not slumber if we yawn. Even actors on the stage give proof of the power of delivery, since they add so much grace even to the best of our poets, that the same passages delight us infinitely more when they are heard than when they are read; and they gain a favorable hearing for the most contemptible performances, insomuch that pieces which have no place in our libraries are welcomed time after time at the theatre. If, then, in matters which we know to be fictitious and unreal, delivery is of such effect as to exicte in us anger, tears, and concern, how much additional weight must it have when we also believe the subjects on which it is bestowed ? For my own part, I should be inclined to say that language of but moderate merit, recommended by a forcible delivery, will make more impression than the very best, if it be unattended with that advantage. Accordingly Demosthenes, when he was asked what was the chief excellence in the whole art of oratory, gave the palm to delivery, and assigned to it also the second and third place, until he ceased to be questioned; so that he may be thought to have esteemed it not merely the principal, but the only excellence. It was for this reason that he himself studied it under Andronicus the actor, and with such success that Æschines, when the Rbodians expressed admiration of his speech, appears to have exclaimed with great justice, What if you had heard him himself deliver it ? Cicero also thinks that delivery has supreme power in oratory. He says that Cneius Lentulus obtained more reputation by his delivery than by any real power of eloquence; that it was by delivery that Caius Gracchus, in deploring his brother's death, excited the tears of the whole Roman people; and that Antonius and Crassus produced great impression by it, but Hortensius more than either of them. A proof of this remark regarding Hortensius is, that his writings are so much below that character for which he was long accounted the chief of our orators, then the rival of Cicero, and at last, as long as he lived, second to him; whence it appears that there was some charm in his delivery which we do not find in reading him. Indeed, as words have much power of themselves, as the voice adds a particular force to thought, and as gesture and motion are not without meaning, some great excellence must necessarily be the result when all these sources of power are combined.
Yet there are some who think that an unstudied mode of delivery, such as the impulse of the individual speaker's mind produces, is more forcible, and indeed the only mode of delivery worthy of men. But those who hold this opinion are mostly such as make it their practice to decry all care, and art, and polish in speaking in general, and to condemn whatever is acquired by study as affected and unnatural; or such as pretend to imitate antiquity by an assumed rudeness of style and pronunciation, as Cicero says that Lucius Cotta used to do. Let those, however, who think it enough for men to be born to become orators, enjoy their own opinion, but let them be indulgent, at the same time, to the trouble which I take, who believe that there can be no consummate excellence except when nature is assisted by art. But I allow, without the least reluctance, that the chief power rests with nature; for he, assuredly, will be unable to deliver himself properly, to whom either memory is wanting for retaining what he has written, or ready facility in uttering what he has to speak extempore; or if any incurable defects of utterance disable him. There may even be such extraordinary deformity of body in a person that it cannot be remedied by any effort of art. Nor can a weak voice attain any degree of excellence in delivery; for we may manage a sound and strong voice as we please, but a bad or weak voice prevents us from doing many things that are necessary, as giving emphasis and elevation of tone, and forces us to do many other things that we ought to avoid, as breaking our sentences, adopting an unnatural pitch, and recruiting a hoarse throat and exhausted lungs with an offensive resemblance to singing. But let me now speak of him who is so qualified by nature that rules will not fail to be of use to him.
Since delivery in general, as I said, depends upon two things, voice and gesture, of which the one affects the eyes and the other the ears, the two senses through which all impressions find their way into the mind, it is natural to speak first of the voice, to which, also, the gesture is to be adapted.
In regard to it, then, the first thing to be considered is what sort of voice we have, and the next, how we use it. The natural power of the voice is estimated by its quantity and its quality. Of these, the quantity is the more simple consideration, for it may be said in general that it is either much or little; but between the extremes of these quantities there are many diversities, and many gradations from the lowest tone to the highest, and from the highest to the lowest. Quality is more varied; for the voice is either clear or husky, full or weak, smooth or rough, of smaller or larger compass, hard or flexible, sharp or flat. The breath may also be longer or shorter. As to the causes whence each of these peculiarities arises, it is not necessary to the design of my work to consider whether the difference lies in those parts of the body in which the breath is generated, or in those through which, as through tubes, it passes; whether it results from the nature of the voice itself, or from the impulse which it receives; or whether strength of lungs, or of the chest, or even of the head, affords it most assistance; for there is need of concurrent aid from all these parts, as well as of a clear formation, not only of the mouth, but also of the nostrils, through which the remainder of the breath is expelled. The general tone of the voice, however, ought to be sweet, not grating.
In the management of the voice there are many particulars to be observed; for besides the three main distinctions of acute, grave, and intermediate, there is need of many other kinds of intonation, as the forcible and the gentle, the higher and the lower; and of slower or quicker time. But between these varieties there are other intermediate varieties; and as the face, though it consists of very few features, is infinitely diversified, so the voice, though it has very few variations that can be named, has yet a peculiar tone in each individual; and the voice of a person is as easily distinguished by the ear as the face by the eye.
But the good qualities of the voice, like those of all our other faculties, are improved by attention and deteriorated by neglect. The attention to be paid to the voice by orators, however, is not the same as that which is required from singing masters; though there are many things equally necessary to both: as strength of body, for instance, that the voice may not dwindle down to the weak tone of eunuchs, women, and sick persons; strength, which walking, anointing with oil, continence, and easy digestion of food, which is the result of moderation in eating, contribute to maintain. It is necessary, also, that the throat be in good condition, that is, soft and flexible, for by any defect in it the voice may be rendered broken, husky, rough, or squeaking; for as Autes, receiving the same breath, give one sound, when the holes are stopped, another when they are open, another when the instruments are not thoroughly clean, and another when they are cracked, so the throat, when swollen, strangles the voice; when not clear, stifles it; when dry, roughens it; and when affected with spasms, gives forth a sound like that of broken pipes. The breath, too, is sometimes broken by some obstruction, as a small stream of water by a pebble, the current of which, though it unites soon after the obstruction, yet leaves something of a void behind it. Too much moisture also impedes the voice, and too little weakens it. As to fatigue, it affects the voice as it affects the whole body, not for the present merely, but for some time afterwards.
But though exercise is necessary alike for singing masters and orators, in order that all their faculties may be in full vigor, yet the same kind of attention to the body is not to be expected from both; for certain times for walking cannot be fixed for himself by a man who is occupied in so many duties of civil life, nor can he tune his voice at leisure from the lowest to the highest notes; or give it rest when he pleases from the labors of the forum, since he has often to speak on many trials in succession. Nor need he observe the same care in regard to diet; for he has occasion, not so much for a soft and sweet voice, as for one that is strong and durable, and though singers may soften all sounds, even the highest, by a certain modulation of the voice, we, on the contrary, must often speak with roughness and vehemence. We must frequently, also, watch whole nights; we must imbibe the smoke of the lamp by which we study; and remain long, during the daytime, in garments moistened with perspiration. Let us not, therefore, weaken our voice by delicate treatment of ourselves, or bring it to a condition which will not be enduring; but let the exercise which we give it be similar to the exertion for which it is destined; let it not be relaxed by want of use, but strengthened by practice, by which all difficulties are smoothed.
To learn passages of authors by heart, in order to exercise the voice, will be an excellent method; for as to those who speak extempore, the feeling which is excited by their matter prevents them from giving due attention to the voice; and it will be well to learn passages of as much variety of subject as possible, such as may exercise us in exclamation, in discussion, in the familiar style, and in the softer kind of eloquence, that we may be prepared for every mode of speaking. This will be sufficient exercise; but the delicate voice, which is too much nursed, will be unequal to any extraordinary exertion; just as athletes accustomed to the oil and the gymnasium, though they may appear, in their own games, handsome and strong, yet if we were to order them on a military expedition, and require them to carry burdens and pass whole nights on guard, would soon faint with fatigue, and long to be anointed and to perspire at freedom in an undress. Who indeed, in a work like this, would endure to find it directed that sunshine and wind, cloudy and very dry days, should be objects of dislike to an orator? If, then, we be called upon to speak in the sun, or on a windy, moist, or hot day, shall we desert our clients ? As to the admonitions that some give, that an ora. tor should not speak when he is suffering from indigestion, or heavy after a full meal, or intoxicated, I suppose that no man who retains possession of his senses would be guilty of such folly.
THE ORATORY OF THE BAR
HERE has prevailed among most declaimers, in regard to deliberative speeches,
an error that has not been without its consequences; for they have imag
ined that the deliberative style of speaking is different from the judicial, and, indeed, altogether opposed to it; and they have accordingly affected abrupt commencements, a kind of oratory always vehement, and a liberal embellishment, as they call it, in their expressions, and have studied to make shorter notes, forsooth, for deliberative than for judicial subjects. For my part, though I do not see that there is any need for a regular exordium in deliberative speeches for the reasons which I have previously stated, I still do not understand why we should commence with furious exclamation; for he who is asked his opinion on a question proposed does not, if he is a man of sense, begin immediately to cry out, but endeavors to gain the confidence of those who consult him by a modest and rational entrance on the subject. Or why should the style of the speaker be like a torrent, and uniformly vehement, when counsel requires in the most eminent degree moderation and calm reasoning? I admit that, in judicial pleadings, the tone of the speaker is often lowered in the exordium, the statement of facts, and the argumentative portions, and that, if you take away these three parts, there will remain something like the substance of which deliberative orations consist, but that substance ought to be more calm, not more violent and furious.
As to grandeur of diction, it is not to be affected by those who declaim deliberative speeches more than by others; but it comes more naturally to them; for to those who imagine their own subjects, great personages are generally most attractive, such as those of kings, princes, people, senates, with important topics for discussion; and thus, when the style is suited to the matter, it assumes a degree of magnificence from it. With regard to real causes the case is different, and therefore Theophrastus has pronounced that the language in all deliberative oratory should be free from every kind of affectation; following in this respect the authority of his master, though he does not hesitate frequently to differ from him; for Aristotle was of opinion that the panegyrical department of oratory was the best adapted for improvement in composition, and next to it the judicial; since the first is devoted wholly to display, and the latter requires art so as even to deceive the hearers if expediency demands; but counsel needs nothing but truth and prudence. With these critics in respect to panegyric I agree, for all other writers have expressed themselves of a similar opinion; but in judicial and deliberative subjects I think that the manner of speaking is to be adapted to the matter, according to the nature of the question that may be under consideration. I see that the Philippics » of Demosthenes are distinguished by the same merits as the speeches which he pronounced in judicial causes; and the opinions of Cicero delivered in the senate, and his speeches to the people, exhibit a splendor of eloquence not less luminous than that which appears in his accusations and defenses. Yet he speaks of the deliberative kind of oratory in this way: «The language ought to be uniformly simple and grave, and more distinguished for studied thoughts than for studied phraseology.” That there is no kind of oratory to which the application of examples is more suitable, all writers are justly agreed, as the future seems for the most part to correspond to the past, and experience is regarded as some attestation to reason.
As to shortness or length in such speeches, it depends, not on the nature of the subject, but on the compass of it; for as in deliberations the question is generally more simple, so in judicial affairs it is often of less extent.
All these remarks he will find to be true, who shall prefer, instead of growing gray over the treatises of the rhetoricians, to read, not speeches only, but also histories; for in history the orations pronounced to the people, and the opinions delivered in councils of state, generally afford examples of persuasion and dissuasion. He will find, too, that in deliberative speeches the commencements are not abrupt; that the diction in judicial pleadings is often more animated; that style is suited to the matter in one class as well as in the other; and that the speeches in courts of justice are sometimes shorter than those in public councils. Nor will he find in them the faults into which some of our declaimers fall, who indulge in coarse invectives against those that dissent in opinion from them, and speak, on the whole, as if they were the natural adversaries of those who ask their advice; and thus exhibit themselves in the character rather of railers than of counselors.
THE FIVE DIVISIONS OF AN ORATION
AM now to speak of the judicial kind of oratory, which is extremely varied, but lies in the two duties of attack and defense. The divisions of it, as most
authors are of opinion, are five, the exordium, the statement of facts, the proof of what we advance, the refutation of our adversary, and the peroration. To these some have added partition, proposition, and digression; the first two of which evidently fall under proof; for you must necessarily propose what you are going to prove, as well as conclude after you have proved; and if proposition is a division of a cause, why is not also conclusion ? As for partition, it is only one of the duties of arrangement, which is a portion of oratory in general, equally pervading all its parts and the whole body of each, like invention and delivery. We are, therefore, not to consider partition as one division of a speech, taken as a whole, but as belonging to every single question in it; for what question is there in which the orator may not state what he is going to say in the first place what in the second, and what in the third; and this is the business of partition. How ridiculous is it, then, that each question should be a species of proof, and that partition, which is but a species of question, should be called a part of the speech as a whole ? But as for digression, or, what has become a more common term, excessus, (excursion,) if it be without the cause, it cannot be a part of the cause; and if it be within the cause, it is an aid or ornament to the parts from which it proceeds; for if whatever is in the cause is to be called a part of the cause, why is not every argument, comparison, commonplace, address to the feel. ings, and example, called a part of the cause ?
I do not, however, agree with those who, like Aristotle, omit refutation as comprehended under proof; for proof establishes, refutation overthrows. Aristotle also makes an innovation to a certain degree by placing next to the exordium, not the