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« est, οτι δεί την όχλοκρατίας και αναρχίαν ανελόντας μετα« λαμβάνειν δημοκρατίαν. Existimatur autem vocata fuisse
Areopagitica hæc Oratió, quod ab Isocrate in ipso Areopago “ habita fuerit: sed fieri etiam potest (meo quidem judicio) ut
a dignitate et præstantia nomen hac consequuta sit: tanquam
digna quæ vel in medio Areopago haberetur. Sic de Oratione " quæ Archidamus inscribitur, creditum est a quibusdam, sic
esse dictam quod Archidamo conveniens esset, ac digna quæ “ ab eo apud Lacedæmonios haberetur.” Fol. 1593.
The precise purport of Isocrates' designation seems to be involved in a perplexity which it will not be required of an Editor of the English AREOPAGITICA to disentangle: his option is not hard to make. The last exposition of H. Stephens comes the nearest to that which Milton recognizes; who by the Areopagitic mode must have intended to characterize the chastened and argumentative declamation he chose upon this occasion, because the most decorous modification of style in which to address the “ States and Governours of the Common“ wealth ;” especially when he was contending against an Order which they had recently promulgated, and which he was urging them to resciod.
That skilful Critic believed the Rhetor to have devised this superscription to apprize the Athenian Public, that his exercitation merited for its tenour and its importance to bave been delivered before their supreme Tribunal.
This seems preferable to the interpretation of Wolfius, which is, that it was thus denominated because read to them; since it contains no internal proof, and there has not been transmitted down to us any extrinsic evidence that this Oration was actually recited in the Senate House. For all that we can infer from the succeeding words of Plutarch, or whoever it was that wrote the Life of Isocrates, is, that these political prolusions were repeated, some by himself and some by others, in the Alambiby, or gra
tuitous School for Students in Philosophy and Rhetoric, which he had opened at Athens. Διατριβης δε συσησαμενος, επι το φιλοσοφειν και γραφειν α διανοηθειη, ετραπετο και γραφων τον τε πανηγυρικον λογον, και τινας αλλος των συμβουλευτικων, τους μεν αυτος ανεγινωσκεν, τους δε ετεροις παρεσκευαζεν ηγουμενος, ουτως επι το τα δεοντα φρονείς τους Ελληνας προτρεψασθαι. It is, moreover, a construction less forced, than the learned Abbé's novel and arbitrary assumption.
The lively sympathies which agitated the aggregate Assemblies of the Athenians, and at times rose to turbulence and tumult, were remarkably opposite to the austerity thrown over the proceedings of this Tribunal, as well as to the imposing ceremonials it observed. Of this, the singular and in all probability salutary regulation, which I have had occasion to mention in another place, is an example; that in the pleadings before this venerable judicature, all the amplifications of Eloquence and even the embellishments of figurative Language were repressed, because of the liability of rhetorical aggravation by influencing the Imagination to operate disadvantageously to the dispensation of Justice. From the sedate deportment which the Areopagites affected in every circumstance and situation of life, the more effectually to inspire reverential submission to their decrees and adjudications, Açeotagions grew to be proverbially taken for any Person noted for a grave demeanour, whether he were a member of this Body, or nothing more than a private Citizen. It would slide by an easy association into this sense: the transition of meaning to any oratorical composition which was written conformably to the rule imposed on all who spoke before the Areopagita was to the full as obvious and as pertinent.
Τελέυθερον δ' εκείνο, εί τις θέλει πόλει
This is true Liberty when free born men
THE YEARE, 1644.