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Title: The Training of a Public Speaker
Author: Kleiser, Grenville, 1868-1953
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_Formerly Instructor in Public Speaking at Yale Divinity
   School, Yale University. Author of_ "_How to Speak
      in Public_," "_Great Speeches and How to Make
      Them_," "_Complete Guide to Public Speaking_,"
            "_How to Build Mental Power_,"
          "_Talks on Talking_," _etc., etc._

[Illustration: Publisher's logo]






[_Printed in the United States of America_]

Published, February, 1920

Copyright Under the Articles of the Copyright Convention of the
Pan-American Republics and the United States, August 11, 1910


The power of eloquence to move and persuade men is universally
recognized. To-day the public speaker plays a vital part in the solution
of every great question and problem. Oratory, in the true sense, is not
a lost art, but a potent means of imparting information, instruction,
and persuasion.

Eloquence is still "the appropriate organ of the highest personal
energy." As one has well said, "The orator is not compelled to wait
through long and weary years to reap the reward of his labors. His
triumphs are instantaneous."

And again, "To stand up before a vast assembly composed of men of the
most various callings, views, passions, and prejudices, and mold them at
will; to play upon their hearts and minds as a master upon the keys of
a piano; to convince their understandings by the logic, and to thrill
their feelings by the art of the orator; to see every eye watching his
face, and every ear intent on the words that drop from his lips; to see
indifference changed to breathless interest, and aversion to rapturous
enthusiasm; to hear thunders of applause at the close of every period;
to see the whole assembly animated by the feelings which in him are
burning and struggling for utterance; and to think that all this is the
creation of the moment, and has sprung instantaneously from his fiery
brain and the inspiration imparted to it by the circumstances of the
hour;--_this_, perhaps, is the greatest triumph of which the human mind
is capable, and that in which its divinity is most signally revealed."

The aims and purposes of speaking to-day have radically changed from
former times. Deliberative bodies, composed of busy men, meet now to
discuss and dispose of grave and weighty business. There is little
necessity nor scope for eloquence. Time is too valuable to permit of
prolonged speaking. Men are tacitly expected to "get to the point," and
to be reasonably brief in what they have to say.

Under these circumstances certain extravagant types of old-time oratory
would be ineffectual to-day. The stentorian and dramatic tones, with
hand inserted in the breast of the coat, with exaggerated facial
expression, and studied posture, would make a speaker to-day an object
of ridicule.

This applies equally to speech in the law court, pulpit, on the lecture
platform, and in other departments of public address. The implicit
demand everywhere is that the speaker should say what he has to say
naturally, simply, and concisely.

This does not mean, however, that he must confine himself to plain
statement of fact, with no manifestation of feeling or earnestness. Men
are still influenced and persuaded by impassioned speech. There is
nothing incompatible between deep feeling and clear-cut speech. A man
having profound convictions upon any subject of importance will always
speak on it with fervor and sincerity.

The widespread interest in the subject of public speaking has suggested
this adaptation of Quintilian's celebrated work on the education of the
orator. This work has long been regarded as one of the most valuable
treatises ever written on oratory, but in its original form it is
ponderous and inaccessible to the average reader. In the present
abridged and modernized form it may be read and studied with benefit by
earnest students of the art of public speaking.

A brief account of Quintilian says: "Quintilianus, M. Fabius, was born
at Calagurris, in Spain, A. D. 40. He completed his education at Rome,
and began to practise at the bar about 68. But he was chiefly
distinguished as a teacher of eloquence, bearing away the palm in his
department from all his rivals, and associating his name, even to a
proverb, with preeminence in the art. By Domitian he was invested with
the insignia and title of consul, and is, moreover, celebrated as the
first public instructor who, in virtue of the endowment by Vespasian,
received a regular salary from the imperial exchequer. He is supposed to
have died about 118. The great work of Quintilian is a complete system
of rhetoric, in twelve books, entitled _De Institutione Oratoria Libre
XII_, or sometimes _Institutiones Oratoriæ_, dedicated to his friend
Marcellus Victorius, himself a celebrated orator, and a favorite at
Court. This production bears throughout the impress of a clear, sound
judgment, keen discrimination, and pure taste, improved by extensive
reading, deep reflection, and long practise."

The text used for this condensation is from the version of J. Patsall,
A.M., London, 1774, according to the Paris edition by Professor Rollin.
Many parts of the original work have been re-written or abridged, while
several chapters have been entirely omitted.

                                           GRENVILLE KLEISER.
New York City,
August, 1919.




THE NARRATION                       67

DIVISION AND ARGUMENT               85

THE PERORATION                      99


THE STUDY OF WORDS                 133

ELEGANCE AND GRACE                 145

COMPOSITION AND STYLE              173

COPIOUSNESS OF WORDS               197


CONCLUSION                         247



Rhetoric has been commonly defined as "The power of persuading." This
opinion originated with Isocrates, if the work ascribed to him be really
his; not that he intended to dishonor his profession, tho he gives us a
generous idea of rhetoric by calling it the workmanship of persuasion.
We find almost the same thing in the Gorgias of Plato, but this is the
opinion of that rhetorician, and not of Plato. Cicero has written in
many places that the duty of an orator is to speak in "a manner proper
to persuade"; and in his books of rhetoric, of which undoubtedly he does
not approve himself, he makes the end of eloquence to consist in

But does not money likewise persuade? Is not credit, the authority of
the speaker, the dignity of a respectable person, attended with the same
effect? Even without speaking a word, the remembrance of past services,
the appearance of distress, a beautiful aspect, make deep impressions on
minds and are decisive in their favor.

Did Antonius, pleading the cause of M. Aquilius, trust to the force of
his reasons when he abruptly tore open his garment and exposed to view
the honorable wounds he received fighting for his country? This act of
his forced streams of tears from the eyes of the Roman people, who, not
able to resist so moving a spectacle, acquitted the criminal. Sergius
Galba escaped the severity of the laws by appearing in court with his
own little children, and the son of Gallus Sulpitius, in his arms. The
sight of so many wretched objects melted the judges into compassion.
This we find equally attested by some of our historians and by a speech
of Cato. What shall I say of the example of Phryne, whose beauty was of
more service in her cause than all the eloquence of Hyperides; for tho
his pleading was admirable in her defense, yet perceiving it to be
without effect, by suddenly laying open her tunic he disclosed the naked
beauty of her bosom, and made the judges sensible that she had as many
charms for them as for others. Now, if all these instances persuade,
persuasion, then, can not be the end of rhetoric.

Some, therefore, have seemed to themselves rather more exact who, in the
main of the same way of thinking, define rhetoric as the "Power of
persuading by speaking." It is to this that Gorgias, in the book above
cited, is at last reduced by Socrates. Theodectes does not much differ
from them, if the work ascribed to him be his, or Aristotle's. In this
book the end of rhetoric is supposed to be "The leading of men wherever
one pleases by the faculty of speaking." But this definition is not
sufficiently comprehensive. Many others besides the orator persuade by
their words and lead minds in whatever direction they please.

Some, therefore, as Aristotle, setting aside the consideration of the
end, have defined rhetoric to be "The power of inventing whatever is
persuasive in a discourse." This definition is equally as faulty as that
just mentioned, and is likewise defective in another respect, as
including only invention, which, separate from elocution, can not
constitute a speech.

It appears from Plato's Gorgias that he was far from regarding rhetoric
as an art of ill tendency, but that, rather it is, or ought to be, if
we were to conceive an adequate idea of it inseparable from virtue. This
he explains more clearly in his Phædrus, where he says that "The art can
never be perfect without an exact knowledge and strict observance of
justice." I join him in this opinion, and if these were not his real
sentiments, would he have written an apology for Socrates and the
eulogium of those brave citizens who lost their lives in the defense of
their country? This is certainly acting the part of an orator, and if in
any respect he attacks the profession, it is on account of those who
make ill use of eloquence. Socrates, animated with the same spirit,
thought it unworthy of him to pronounce the speech Lysias had composed
for his defense, it being the custom of the orators of those times to
write speeches for arraigned criminals, which the latter pronounced in
their own defense; thus eluding the law that prohibited pleading for
another. Plato, likewise, in his Phædrus, condemns the masters that
separated rhetoric from justice, and preferred probabilities to truth.

Such are the definitions of rhetoric which have been principally set
forth. To go through all of them is not my purpose, nor do I think it
possible, as most writers on arts have shown a perverse dislike for
defining things as others do or in the same terms as those who wrote
before them. I am far from being influenced by a like spirit of
ambition, and far from flattering myself with the glory of invention,
and I shall rest content with that which seems most rational, that
rhetoric is properly defined as "The science of speaking well." Having
found what is best, it is useless to seek further.

Accepting this definition, therefore, it will be no difficult matter to
ascertain its end, for if it be "The science of speaking well," then "to
speak well" will be the end it proposes to itself.


The next question is on the utility of rhetoric, and from this point of
view some direct the bitterest invectives against it, and what is very
unbecoming, exert the force of eloquence against eloquence, saying that
by it the wicked are freed from punishment, and the innocent opprest by
its artifices; that it perverts good counsel, and enforces bad; that it
foments troubles and seditions in States; that it arms nations against
each other, and makes them irreconcilable enemies; and that its power is
never more manifest than when error and lies triumph over truth.

Comic poets reproach Socrates with teaching how to make a bad cause
good, and Plato represents Lysias and Gorgias boasting the same thing.
To these may be added several examples of Greeks and Romans, and a long
list of orators whose eloquence was not only the ruin of private
persons, but even destructive to whole cities and republics; and for
this reason it was that eloquence was banished from Sparta and so
restricted at Athens that the orator was not allowed to make appeal to
the passions.

Granting all this as sound argument, we must draw this necessary
inference, that neither generals of armies, nor magistrates, nor
medicine, nor philosophy, will be of any use. Flaminius, an imprudent
general, lost one of our armies. The Gracchi Saturninus, and Glaucia, to
raise themselves to dignity, put Rome into an uproar. Physicians often
administer poisons, and among philosophers some have been found guilty
of the most enormous crimes. Let us not eat of the meats with which our
tables are spread, for meats frequently have caused disease. Let us
never go into houses; they may fall and crush us to death. Let not our
soldiers be armed with swords; a robber may use the same weapon against
us. In short, who does not know that the most necessary things in life,
as air, fire, water, nay, even the celestial bodies, are sometimes very
injurious to our well-being?

But how many examples can be quoted in our favor? Did not Appius the
Blind, by the force of his eloquence dissuade the Senate from making a
shameful peace with Pyrrhus? Did not Cicero's divine eloquence appear
more popular than the Agrarian law he attacked? Did it not disconcert
the audacious measures of Cataline? And did not he, even in his civil
capacity, obtain by it honors that are conferred on only the most
illustrious conquerors? Is it not the orator who strengthens the
soldier's drooping courage, who animates him amidst the greatest
dangers, and inspires him to choose a glorious death rather than a life
of infamy?

The example of the Romans, among whom eloquence always has been held in
the greatest veneration, shall have a higher place in my regard than
that of the Spartans and Athenians. It is not to be supposed that the
founders of cities could have made a united people of a vagabond
multitude without the charms of persuasive words, nor that law-givers,
without extraordinary talent for speaking, could have forced men to bend
their necks to the yoke of the laws. Even the precepts of moral life,
tho engraved on our hearts by the finger of nature, are more efficacious
to inspire our hearts with love for them when their beauty is displayed
by the ornaments of eloquent speech. Tho the arms of eloquence may harm
and benefit equally, we must not, therefore, look on that as bad which
may be put to a good use. Doubts of this kind may well be entertained by
such as make "the force persuasion the end of eloquence," but we who
constitute it "The science of speaking well," resolved to acknowledge
none but the good man an orator, must naturally judge that its advantage
is very considerable.

Certainly, the gracious Author of all beings and Maker of the world, has
distinguished us from the animals in no respect more than by the gift of
speech. They surpass us in bulk, in strength, in the supporting of
toil, in speed, and stand less in need of outside help. Guided by nature
only, they learn sooner to walk, to seek for their food, and to swim
over rivers. They have on their bodies sufficient covering to guard them
against cold; all of them have their natural weapons of defense; their
food lies, in a manner, on all sides of them; and we, indigent beings!
to what anxieties are we put in securing these things? But God, a
beneficent parent, gave us reason for our portion, a gift which makes us
partakers of a life of immortality. But this reason would be of little
use to us, and we would be greatly perplexed to make it known, unless we
could express by words our thoughts. This is what animals lack, more
than thought and understanding, of which it can not be said they are
entirely destitute. For to make themselves secure and commodious
lodges, to interweave their nests with such art, to rear their young
with such care, to teach them to shift for themselves when grown up, to
hoard provisions for the winter, to produce such inimitable works as wax
and honey, are instances perhaps of a glimmering of reason; but because
destitute of speech, all the extraordinary things they do can not
distinguish them from the brute part of creation. Let us consider dumb
persons: how does the heavenly soul, which takes form in their bodies,
operate in them? We perceive, indeed, that its help is but weak, and its
action but languid.


If, then, the beneficent Creator of the world has not imparted to us a
greater blessing than the gift of speech, what can we esteem more
deserving of our labor and improvement, and what object is more worthy
of our ambition than that of raising ourselves above other men by the
same means by which they raise themselves above beasts, so much the more
as no labor is attended with a more abundant harvest of glory? To be
convinced of this we need only consider by what degrees eloquence has
been brought to the perfection in which we now see it, and how far it
might still be perfected. For, not to mention the advantage and pleasure
a good man reaps from defending his friends, governing the Senate by his
counsels, seeing himself the oracle of the people, and master of armies,
what can be more noble than by the faculty of speaking and thinking,
which is common to all men, to erect for himself such a standard of
praise and glory as to seem to the minds of men not so much to discourse
and speak, but, like Pericles, to make his words thunder and lightning.


There would be no end were I to expatiate to the limit of my inclination
on the subject of the gift of speech and its utility. I shall pass,
therefore, to the following question, "Whether rhetoric be an art?"
Those who wrote rules for eloquence doubted so little its being so, that
they prefixt no other title to their books than "The art of speaking."
Cicero says that what we call rhetoric is only an artificial eloquence.
If this were an opinion peculiar to orators, it might be thought that
they intended it as a mark of dignity attached to their studies, but
most philosophers, stoics as well as peripatetics, concur in this
opinion. I must confess I had some doubt about discussing this matter,
lest I might seem diffident of its truth; for who can be so devoid of
sense and knowledge as to find art in architecture, in weaving, in
pottery, and imagine that rhetoric, the excellence of which we have
already shown, could arrive at its present state of grandeur and
perfection without the direction of art? I am persuaded that those of
the contrary opinion were so more for the sake of exercising their wit
on the singularity of the subject than from any real conviction.


Some maintain that rhetoric is a gift of nature, yet admit that it may
be helped by exercise. Antonius, in Cicero's books of the Orator, calls
it a sort of observation and not an art. But this opinion is not there
asserted as truth, but only to keep up the character of Antonius, who
was a connoisseur at concealing art. Lysias seems to be of the same
opinion, which he defends by saying that the most simple and ignorant
people possess a kind of rhetoric when they speak for themselves. They
find something like an exordium, they make a narration, they prove,
refute, and their prayers and entreaties have the force of a peroration.
Lysias and his adherents proceed afterward to vain subtleties. "That
which is the effect of art," say they, "could not have existed before
art. In all times men have known how to speak for themselves and against
others, but masters of rhetoric have been only of a late date, first
known about the time of Tisias and Corax; therefore oratorical speech
was prior to art, consequently it could not be the result of art, and
therefore, rhetoric is not an art." We shall not endeavor to enquire
into the time when rhetoric began to be taught, but this we may say,
that it is certain Homer makes mention not only of Phoenix, who was a
master, skilled in both speaking and fighting, but also of many other
orators. We may observe likewise from Homer, that all the parts of a
discourse are found in the speech of the three captains deputed to
Achilles, that several young men dispute for the prize of eloquence, and
that among other ornaments of sculpture on the buckler of Achilles,
Vulcan did not forget law-causes and the pleaders of them.

It will be sufficient, however, to answer that "Everything perfected by
art has its source in nature." If it were not so, we should exclude
medicine from the catalog of arts, the discovery of which was owing to
observations made on things conducive or harmful to public health, and
in the opinion of some it is wholly grounded on experiments. Before it
was reduced to an art, tents and bandages were applied to wounds, rest
and abstinence cured fever; not that the reason of all this was then
known, but the nature of the ailment indicated such curative methods and
forced men to this regimen. In like manner architecture can not be an
art, the first men having built their cottages without its direction.
Music must undergo the same charge, as every nation has its own
peculiarities in dancing and singing. Now, if by rhetoric be meant any
kind of speech, I must own it prior to art; but if not everyone who
speaks is an orator, and if in the primitive ages of the world men did
not speak orator-like, the orator, consequently, must have been made so
by art, and therefore could not exist before it.


The next objection is not one so much in reality as it is a mere cavil;
that "Art never assents to false opinions, because it can not be
constituted as such without precepts, which are always true; but
rhetoric assents to what is false, therefore it is not an art." I admit
that sometimes rhetoric says false things instead of true, but it does
not follow that it assents to what is false. There is a wide difference
between assenting to a falsehood, and making others assent to it. So it
is that a general of an army often has recourse to stratagems. When
Hannibal perceived himself to be blocked up by Fabius, he ordered
faggots of brush-wood to be fastened about the horns of some oxen, and
fire being set to the faggots, had the cattle driven up the mountains in
the night, in order to make the enemy believe he was about to decamp.
But this was only a false alarm, for he himself very well knew what his
scheme was. When Theopompus the Spartan, by changing clothes with his
wife, made his escape out of prison, the deception was not imposed upon
himself, but upon his guards. Thus, when an orator speaks falsehood
instead of truth, he knows what he is about; he does not yield to it
himself, his intention being to deceive others. When Cicero boasted that
he threw darkness on the minds of the judges, in the cause of Cluentius,
could it be said that he himself was unacquainted with all the
intricacies of his method of confusing their understanding of the facts?
Or shall a painter who so disposes his objects that some seem to project
from the canvas, others to sink in, be supposed not to know that they
are all drawn on a plain surface?


It is again objected that "Every art proposes to itself an end; but
rhetoric has no end, or does not put into execution the end it proposes
to itself." This is false, as is shown from what already has been said
concerning the end of rhetoric and in what it consists. The orator will
never fail to obtain this end, for he always will speak well. This
objection, therefore, can affect only those who make persuasion the end
of rhetoric; but our orator, and our definition of art, are not
restricted to events. An orator, indeed, strives to gain his cause; but
suppose he loses it, as long as he has pleaded well he fulfils the
injunctions of his art. A pilot desires to come safe into port, but if a
storm sweeps away his ship, is he, on that account, a less experienced
pilot? His keeping constantly to the helm is sufficient proof that he
was not neglecting his duty. A physician tries to cure a sick person,
but if his remedies are hindered in their operation by either the
violence of the disease, the intemperance of the patient, or some
unforeseen accident, he is not to be blamed, because he has satisfied
all the directions of his art. So it is with the orator, whose end is to
speak well; for it is in the act, and not in the effect, that art
consists, as I shall soon make clear. Therefore, it is false to say that
"Art knows when it has obtained its end, but rhetoric knows nothing of
the matter," as if an orator could be ignorant of his speaking well and
to the purpose.

But it is said, further, that rhetoric, contrary to the custom of all
other arts, adopts vice, because it countenances falsehood and moves the
passions. Neither of these are bad practises, and consequently not
vicious, when grounded on substantial reasons. To disguise truth is
sometimes allowable even in the sage, and if a judge can not be brought
to do justice except by means of the passions, the orator must
necessarily have recourse to them. Very often the judges appointed to
decide are ignorant, and there is necessity for changing their wrongly
conceived opinions, to keep them from error. Should there be a bench, a
tribunal, an assembly of wise and learned judges whose hearts are
inaccessible to hatred, envy, hope, fear, prejudice, and the impositions
of false witnesses, there would be little occasion for the exertions of
eloquence and all that might seem requisite would be only to amuse the
ear with the harmony of cadence. But if the orator has to deal with
light, inconstant, prejudiced, and corrupt judges, and if many
embarrassments must be removed in order to throw light upon truth, then
artful stratagem must fight the battle, and set all its engines to work,
for he who is beaten out of the straight road can not get into it again
except by another turnabout.


These are the principal objections which have been made against
rhetoric. There are others of less moment but derived from the same
source. That rhetoric is an art is thus briefly demonstrated. If art, as
Cleanthes thinks, is a power which prepares a way and establishes an
order, can it be doubted that we must keep to a certain way and a
certain order for speaking well? And if, according to the most generally
accepted opinion, we ought to call art, everything which by a
combination of agreeing and co-exercised principles conducts to a useful
end, have we not already shown that nothing of all this is lacking in
rhetoric? Has it not, likewise, the two constituent parts of other
arts, theory and practise? Again, if dialect be an art, as it is
granted, for the same reason; so is rhetoric an art, the chief
difference lying not so much in the genus as in the species. But we must
not forget this observation, that art must be where a thing is done
according to rule, and not at random; and art must be where he who has
learned succeeds better than he who has not learned. But in matter of
eloquence not only will the ignorant person be surpassed by the learned,
but also the learned by the more learned; otherwise we should not have
so many rules nor so many excellent masters. This ought to be
acknowledged by all, but more especially by us who do not separate
eloquence from the man of integrity.


The exordium, or introduction, is that part of the discourse which is
pronounced before the subject is entered upon. As musicians make a
prelude for obtaining silence and attention before they play their
selections, so orators, before they begin their cause, have specified by
the same application that which they say by way of preface for securing
for themselves a kindly feeling in the listeners.


The reason for an exordium is to dispose the auditors to be favorable to
us in the other parts of the discourse. This, as most authors agree, is
accomplished by making them friendly, attentive, and receptive, tho due
regard should be paid to these three particulars throughout the whole
of a speech.

Sometimes the exordium is applicable to the pleader of the cause, who,
tho he ought to speak very little of himself, and always modestly, will
find it of vast consequence to create a good opinion of himself and to
make himself thought to be an honest man. So it is he will be regarded
not so much as a zealous advocate, as a faithful and irreproachable
witness. His motives for pleading must, therefore, appear to proceed not
from tie of kindred, or friendship, but principally from a desire to
promote the public good, if such motive can be urged, or any other
important consideration. This conduct will befit plaintiffs in a much
greater degree, that they may seem to have brought their action for just
and weighty reasons, or were even compelled to do it from necessity.

As nothing else gives so great a sanction to the authority of the
speaker as to be free from all suspicion of avarice, hatred, and
ambition, so, also, there is a sort of tacit recommendation of ourselves
if we profess our weak state and inability for contending with the
superior genius and talents of the advocate of the other side. We are
naturally disposed to favor the weak and opprest, and a conscientious
judge hears an orator willingly whom he presumes not to be capable of
making him swerve from his fixt purpose of doing justice. Hence the care
of the ancients for concealing their talents.


All contemptuous, spiteful, haughty, calumniating expressions must be
avoided and not so much as even insinuated to the defamation of any
particular person or rank, much less against those to whom an affront
would alienate the minds of the judges. To be so imprudent as to attack
judges themselves, not openly, but in any indirect manner, would be most

The advocate for the other side may likewise furnish sufficient matter
for an exordium. Sometimes honorable mention may be made of him, as when
we pretend to be in dread of his interest and eloquence in order to make
them suspected by the judges, and sometimes by casting odium on him,
altho this must be done very seldom. I rather think, from the authority
of the best authors, that whatever affects the orator, affects also the
cause he patronizes, as it is natural for a judge to give more credit to
those whom he more willingly hears.

We shall procure the favor of the judge not so much by praising him,
which ought to be done with moderation, and is common to both sides, but
rather by making his praise fitting, and connecting it with the interest
of our cause. Thus, in speaking for a person of consequence, we may lay
some stress on the judge's own dignity; for one of mean condition, on
his justice; for the unhappy, on his mercy; for the injured, on his


It also would not be amiss to become acquainted, if possible, with his
character. For, according as his temper is, harsh or mild, pleasant or
grave, severe or easy, the cause should be made to incline toward the
side which corresponds with his disposition, or to admit some mitigation
or softening where it runs counter to it.

It may happen sometimes, too, that the judge is our enemy, or the
opponent's friend. This is a circumstance requiring the circumspection
of both parties, yet I think the favored advocate should behave with
great caution, for a judge of a biased disposition will sometimes choose
to pass sentence against his friends, or in favor of those to whom he
bears enmity, that he may not appear to act with injustice.


Judges have also their private opinions and prejudices, which we must
either strengthen or weaken, according as we see necessary. Fear, too,
sometimes must be removed, as Cicero, in his defense of Milo, endeavors
to assure the judges that Pompey's army, drawn up about the Forum, is
for their protection; and sometimes there will be an occasion to
intimidate them, as the same orator does in one of his pleadings against

There are two ways of proceeding in this last case, the first plausible,
and frequently used, as when it is hinted to them that the Roman people
might entertain an ill opinion of them, or that there might be an appeal
from their judgment; the other desperate, and not so much used, as when
threatened with prosecution themselves if they suffer themselves to be
corrupted. This is a hazardous point, and is conducted with more safety
to the orator when in a large assembly where corrupt judges are
restrained by fear, and the upright have the majority. But I would never
counsel this before a single judge, unless every other resource was
wanting. If necessity requires it, I can not say that it is the business
of the art of oratory to give directions in the matter, any more than to
lodge an appeal, tho that, too, is often of service, or to cite the
judge in justice before he passes sentence, for to threaten, denounce,
or indict may be done by any one else as well as the orator.

If the cause itself should furnish sufficient reason for gaining the
good will of the judge, out of this whatever is most specious and
favorable may be inserted in the exordium. It will be unnecessary to
enumerate all the favorable circumstances in causes, they being easily
known from the state of facts; besides, no exact enumeration can take
place on account of the great diversity of law-suits. It is the cause
itself, therefore, that must teach us to find and improve these
circumstances; and, in like manner, with a circumstance that may make
against us the cause will inform us how it may either be made entirely
void, or at least invalidated.

From the cause compassion also sometimes arises, whether we have
already suffered or are likely to suffer anything grievous. For I am not
of the opinion of those who to distinguish the exordium from the
peroration, will have the one to speak of what is past and the other of
what is to come. They are sufficiently distinguished without this
discrimination. In the exordium the orator ought to be more reserved,
and ought only to throw out some hints of the sentiments of compassion
he designs to excite in the minds of the judges; whereas in the
peroration he may pour out all the passions, introduce persons speaking,
and make the dead to come forth, as it were, out of their graves, and
recommend to the judges the care of their dearest pledges. All these
particulars are seldom executed in the exordium. But the manner just
pointed out, it will be very proper to observe in it, and to wear down
all impressions to the contrary made by the opposite side, that as our
situation will be deplorable if we should be defeated in our
expectations, so, on the other hand, the behavior of our opponent would
be insolent and haughty.


Besides persons and causes, the exordium likewise is sometimes taken
from their adjuncts, that is, from things relating to the cause and
persons. To persons are applicable not only the pledges above mentioned,
but affinities, friendships, sometimes cities and whole countries are
also likely to suffer by the person's misfortunes.

Theophrastus adds another kind of exordium, taken from the pleading of
the orator who speaks first. Such seems to be that of Demosthenes for
Ctesiphon, in which he requests the judges to please permit him to
reply as he thinks suitable rather than to follow the rules prescribed
by the accuser.

As the confidence observable in some orators may easily pass for
arrogance, there are certain ways of behavior which, tho common, will
please, and therefore ought not to be neglected, to prevent their being
used by the opposing side: these are wishing, warding off suspicion,
supplicating, and making a show of trouble and anxiety.

The judge's attention is secured by inducing him to believe that the
matter under debate is new, important, extraordinary, or of a heinous
nature, or that it equally interests him and the public. Then his mind
is to be roused and agitated by hope, fear, remonstrance, entreaty, and
even by flattery, if it is thought that will be of any use. Another way
of procuring attention may be to promise that we shall take up but
little of their time, as we shall confine ourselves to the subject.

From what has been said, it appears that different causes require to be
governed by different rules; and five kinds of causes are generally
specified, which are said to be, either honest, base, doubtful,
extraordinary, or obscure. Some add shameful, as a sixth kind, which
others include in base or extraordinary. By extraordinary is understood
that which is contrary to the opinion of men. In a doubtful cause the
judge should be made favorable; in an obscure, docile; in a base,
attentive. An honest cause is sufficient of itself to procure favor.
Extraordinary and base causes lack remedies.


Some, therefore, specify two kinds of exordiums, one a beginning, the
other an insinuation. In the first the judges are requested openly to
give their good will and attention; but as this can not take place in
the base kind of cause, the insinuation must steal in upon their minds,
especially when the cause does not seem to appear with a sufficiently
honest aspect, either because the thing itself is wicked, or is a
measure not approved by the public. There are many instances of causes
of unseemly appearance, as when general odium is incurred by opposing a
patriot; and a like hostility ensues from acting against a father, a
wretched old man, the blind, or the orphan.

This may be a general rule for the purpose, "To touch but slightly on
the things that work against us, and to insist chiefly on those which
are for our advantage." If the cause can not be so well maintained, let
us have recourse to the goodness of the person, and if the person is not
condemnable, let us ground our support on the cause. If nothing occurs
to help us out, let us see what may hurt the opponent. For, since to
obtain more favor is a thing to be wished, so the next step to it is to
incur less hatred.

In things that can not be denied, we must endeavor to show that they are
greatly short of what they are reported to be, or that they have been
done with a different intention, or that they do not in any wise belong
to the present question, or that repentance will make sufficient amends
for them, or that they have already received a proportionate punishment.
Herein, therefore, it will be better and more suitable for an advocate
to act than for the person himself; because when pleading for another he
can praise without the imputation of arrogance, and sometimes can even
reprove with advantage.

Insinuation seems to be not less necessary when the opponent's action
has pre-possest the minds of the judges, or when they have been fatigued
by the tediousness of the pleading. The first may be got the better of
by promising substantial proofs on our side, and by refuting those of
the opponent. The second, by giving hopes of being brief, and by having
recourse to the means prescribed for making the judge attentive. In the
latter case, too, some seasonable pleasantry, or anything witty to
freshen the mind will have a good effect. It will not be amiss,
likewise, to remove any seeming obstruction. As Cicero says of himself,
he is not unaware that some will find it strange that he, who for so
many years had defended such a number of people, and had given no
offense to anyone, should undertake to accuse Verres. Afterward he shows
that if, on the one hand, he accuses Verres, still, on the other, he
defends the allies of the Roman people.


The orator should consider what the subject is upon which he is to
speak, before whom, for whom, against whom, at what time, in what place,
under what conditions, what the public think of it, what the judges may
think of it before they hear him, and what he himself has to desire, and
what to apprehend. Whoever makes these reflections will know where he
should naturally begin. But now orators call exordium anything with
which they begin, and consider it of advantage to make the beginning
with some brilliant thought. Undoubtedly many things are taken into the
exordium which are drawn from other parts of the cause or at least are
common to them, but nothing in either respect is better said than that
which can not be said so well elsewhere.


There are many very engaging things in an exordium which is framed from
the opponent's pleading, and this is because it does not seem to favor
of the closet, but is produced on the spot and comes from the very
thing. By its easy, natural turn, it enhances the reputation of genius.
Its air of simplicity, the judge not being on his guard against it,
begets belief, and tho the discourse in all other parts be elaborate and
written with great accuracy, it will for the most part seem an
extempore oration, the exordium evidently appearing to have nothing

But nothing else will so well suit an exordium as modesty in the
countenance, voice, thoughts, and composition, so that even in an
uncontrovertible kind of cause, too great confidence ought not to
display itself. Security is always odious in a pleader, and a judge who
is sensible of his authority tacitly demands respect.

An orator must likewise be exceedingly careful to keep himself from
being suspected, particularly in that regard; therefore, not the least
show of study should be made, because all his art will seem exerted
against the judge, and not to show this is the greatest perfection of
art. This rule has been recommended by all authors, and undoubtedly with
good reason, but sometimes is altered by circumstances, because in
certain causes the judges themselves require studied discourses, and
fancy themselves thought mean of unless accuracy appears in thought and
expression. It is of no significance to instruct them; they must be
pleased. It is indeed difficult to find a medium in this respect, but
the orator may so temper his manner as to speak with justness, and not
with too great a show of art.


Another rule inculcated by the ancients is not to admit into the
exordium any strange word, too bold a metaphor, an obsolete expression,
or a poetical turn. As yet we are not favorably received by the
auditors, their attention is not entirely held, but when once they
conceive an esteem and are warmly inclined toward us, then is the time
to hazard this liberty, especially when we enter upon parts the natural
fertility of which does not allow the liberty of expression to be
noticed amidst the luster spread about it.

The style of the exordium ought not to be like that of the argument
proper and the narration, neither ought it to be finely spun out, or
harmonized into periodical cadences, but, rather, it should be simple
and natural, promising neither too much by words nor countenance. A
modest action, also, devoid of the least suspicion of ostentation, will
better insinuate itself into the mind of the auditor. But these ought to
be regulated according to the sentiments we would have the judges imbibe
from us.

It must be remembered, however, that nowhere is less allowance made than
here for failing in memory or appearing destitute of the power of
articulating many words together. An ill-pronounced exordium may well
be compared to a visage full of scars, and certainly he must be a bad
pilot who puts his ship in danger of sinking, as he is going out of

In regard to the length of the exordium, it ought to be proportionate to
the nature of the cause. Simple causes admit of a shorter exordium; the
complex, doubtful, and odious, require a longer exordium. Some writers
have prescribed four points as laws for all exordiums,--which is
ridiculous. An immoderate length should be equally avoided, lest it
appear, as some monsters, bigger in the head than in the rest of the
body, and create disgust where it ought only to prepare.


As often as we use an exordium, whether we pass next to the narration,
or immediately to the proofs, we ought always to preserve a connection
between what follows and what goes before. To proceed from one part to
another, by some ingenious thought which disguises the transition, and
to seek applause from such a studied exertion of wit, is quite of a
piece with the cold and childish affectation of our declaimers. If a
long and intricate narration must follow, the judge ought naturally to
be prepared for it. This Cicero often does, as in this passage: "I must
proceed pretty high to clear up this matter to you, which I hope,
gentlemen, you will not be displeased at, because its origin being known
will make you thoroughly acquainted with the particulars proceeding from


There are causes so short as to require rather to be proposed than told.
It is sometimes the case with two contending sides, either that they
have no exposition to make, or that agreeing on the fact, they contest
only the right. Sometimes one of the contending parties, most commonly
the plaintiff, need only propose the matter, as most to his advantage,
and then it will be enough for him to say: "I ask for a certain sum of
money due to me according to agreement; I ask for what was bequeathed to
me by will." It is the defendant's business to show that he has no right
to such a debt or legacy. On other occasions it is enough, and more
advisable, for the plaintiff to point out merely the fact: "I say that
Horatius killed his sister." This simple proposition makes known the
whole crime, but the details and the cause of the fact will suit better
the defendant. Let it be supposed, on the other hand, that the fact can
not be denied or excused; then the defendant, instead of narrating, will
best abide by the question of right. Some one is accused of sacrilege
for stealing the money of a private person out of a temple. The pleader
of the cause had better confess the fact than give an account of it. "We
do not deny that this money was taken out of the temple. It was the
money of a private person, and not set apart for any religious use. But
the plaintiff calumniates us by an action for sacrilege. It is,
therefore, your business, gentlemen, to decide whether it can properly
be specified as sacrilege."


There are two kinds of narration in judicial matters, the one for the
cause, the other for things belonging to it. "I have not killed that
man." This needs no narration. I admit it does not; but there may be a
narration, and even somewhat long, concerning the probable causes of
innocence in the accused, as his former integrity of life, the
opponent's motives for endangering the life of a guiltless person, and
other circumstances arguing the incredibility of the accusation. The
accuser does not merely say, "You have committed that murder," but shows
reasons to evince its credibility; as, in tragedies, when Teucer imputes
the death of Ajax to Ulysses, he says that "He was found in a lonely
place, near the dead body of his enemy, with his sword all bloody."
Ulysses, in answer, not only denies the crime, but protests there was
no enmity between him and Ajax, and that they never contended but for
glory. Then he relates how he came into that solitary place, how he
found Ajax dead, and that it was Ajax's own sword he drew out of his
wound. To these are subjoined proofs, but the proofs, too, are not
without narration, the plaintiff alleging, "You were in the place where
your enemy was found killed." "I was not," says the defendant, and he
tells where he was.


The end of the narration is rather more for persuading than informing.
When, therefore, the judges might not require information, yet, if we
consider it advisable to draw them over to our way of thinking, we may
relate the matter with certain precautions, as, that tho they have
knowledge of the affair in general, still would it not be amiss if they
chose to examine into every particular fact as it happened. Sometimes we
may diversify the exposition with a variety of figures and turns; as,
"You remember"; "Perhaps it would be unnecessary to insist any longer on
this point"; "But why should I speak further when you are so well
acquainted with the matter."

A subject of frequent discussion is to know whether the narration ought
immediately to follow the exordium. They who think it should, seem to
have some reason on their side, for as the design of the exordium is to
dispose the judges to hear us with all the good will, docility, and
attention, we wish, and as arguments can have no effect without previous
knowledge of the cause, it follows naturally that they should have this
knowledge as soon as it can conveniently be given to them.


If the narration be entirely for us, we may content ourselves with those
three parts, whereby the judge is made the more easily to understand,
remember, and believe. But let none think of finding fault if I require
the narration which is entirely for us, to be probable tho true, for
many things are true but scarcely credible, as, on the contrary, many
things are false tho frequently probable. We ought, therefore, to be
careful that the judge should believe as much what we pretend as the
truth we say, by preserving in both a probability to be credited.

Those three qualities of the narration belong in like manner to all
other parts of the discourse, for obscurity must be avoided throughout,
and we must everywhere keep within certain bounds, and all that is said
must be probable; but a strict observance of these particulars ought to
be kept more especially in that part wherein the judge receives his
first information, for if there it should happen that he either does not
understand, remember, or believe, our labor in all other parts will be
to no purpose.


The narration will be clear and intelligible if, first, it be exprest in
proper and significant words, which have nothing mean and low, nothing
far-fetched, and nothing uncommon. Second, if it distinguishes exactly
things, persons, times, places, causes; all of which should be
accompanied with a suitable delivery, that the judge may retain the more
easily what is said.

This is a quality neglected by most of our orators, who, charmed by the
applause of a rabble brought together by chance, or even bribed to
applaud with admiration every word and period, can neither endure the
attentive silence of a judicious audience, nor seem to themselves to be
eloquent unless they make everything ring about them with tumultuous
clamor. To explain simply the fact, appears to them too low, and common,
and too much within the reach of the illiterate, but I fancy that what
they despise as easy is not so much because of inclination as because of
inability to effect it. For the more experience we have, the more we
find that nothing else is so difficult as to speak in such a manner that
all who have heard us may think they could acquit themselves equally as
well. The reason for the contrary notion is that what is so said is
considered as merely true and not as fine and beautiful. But will not
the orator express himself in the most perfect manner, when he seems to
speak truth? Now, indeed, the narration is laid out as a champion-ground
for eloquence to display itself in; the voice, the gesture, the
thoughts, the expression, are all worked up to a pitch of extravagance,
and what is monstrous, the action is applauded, and yet the cause is far
from being understood. But we shall forego further reflections on this
misguided notion, lest we offend more by reproving faults, than gratify
by giving advice.

The narration will have its due brevity if we begin by explaining the
affair from the point where it is of concern to the judge; next, if we
say nothing foreign to the cause; and last, if we avoid all
superfluities, yet without curtailing anything that may give insight
into the cause or be to its advantage. There is a certain brevity of
parts, however, which makes a long whole: "I came to the harbor, I saw a
ship ready for sailing, I asked the price for passengers, I agreed as to
what I should give, I went aboard, we weighed anchor, we cleared the
coast, and sailed on briskly." None of these circumstances could be
exprest in fewer words, but it is sufficient to say, "I sailed from the
port." And as often as the end of a thing sufficiently denotes what went
before, we may rest satisfied with it as facilitating the understanding
of all other circumstances.

But often when striving to be short, we become obscure, a fault equally
to be avoided, therefore it is better that the narration should have a
little too much, than that it should lack enough. What is redundant,
disgusts; what is necessary is cut down with danger. I would not have
this rule restricted to what is barely sufficient for pronouncing
judgment on, because the narration may be concise, yet not, on that
account, be without ornament. In such cases it would appear as coming
from an illiterate person. Pleasure, indeed, has a secret charm; and the
things which please seem less tedious. A pleasant and smooth road, tho
it be longer, fatigues less than a rugged and disagreeable short cut. I
am not so fond of conciseness as not to make room for brightening a
narration with proper embellishments. If quite homely and curtailed on
all sides, it will be not so much a narration as a poor huddling up of
things together.


The best way to make the narration probable is to first consult with
ourselves on whatever is agreeable to nature, that nothing may be said
contrary to it; next, to find causes and reasons for facts, not for all,
but for those belonging to the question; and last, to have characters
answerable to the alleged facts which we would have believed; as, if one
were guilty of theft, we should represent him as a miser; of adultery,
as addicted to impure lusts; of manslaughter, as hot and rash. The
contrary takes place in defense, and the facts must agree with time,
place, and the like.

Sometimes a cause may be prepared by a proposition, and afterward
narrated. All circumstances are unfavorable to three sons who have
conspired against their father's life. They cast lots who shall strike
the blow. He on whom the lot falls, enters his father's bed-chamber at
night, with a poniard, but has not courage to put the design into
execution. The second and the third do the same. The father wakes. All
confess their wicked purpose, and by virtue of a law made and provided
for such case, they are to be disinherited. But should the father, who
has already made a partition of his estate in their favor, plead their
cause, he may proceed thus: "Children are accused of parricide, whose
father is still alive, and they are sued in consequence of a law that is
not properly applicable to their case. I need not here give an account
of a transaction that is foreign to the point of law in question. But if
you require a confession of my guilt, I have been a hard father to them,
and rather too much occupied in hoarding up the income of my estate,
which would have been better spent in necessaries for them." Afterward
he may say that they did not form this plan by themselves, that they
were instigated to it by others who had more indulgent parents, that the
result clearly showed they were not capable of so unnatural an action,
that there was no necessity for binding themselves by oath if in reality
they could have had such an inclination, nor of casting lots if each did
not want to avoid the perpetration of such a crime. All these
circumstances, such as they are, will be favorably received, softened in
some measure by the short defense of the previous propositions.


I am not of the opinion of those who think that the facts ought always
to be related in the same order in which they happened. That manner of
narration is best which is of most advantage to the cause, and it may,
not improperly, call in the aid of a diversity of figures. Sometimes we
may pretend that a thing has been overlooked, so that it may be better
exprest elsewhere than it would be in its own order and place; assuring
the judges at the same time that we shall resume the proper order, but
that the cause in this way will be better understood. Sometimes, after
explaining the whole affair, we may subjoin the antecedent causes. And
thus it is that the art of defense, not circumscribed by any one
invariable rule, must be adapted to the nature and circumstances of the

It will not be amiss to intimate that nothing enhances so much the
credibility of a narration as the authority of him who makes it, and
this authority it is our duty to acquire, above all, by an
irreproachable life, and next, by the manner of enforcing it. The more
grave and serious it is, the more weight it will have. Here all
suspicion of cunning and artifice should, therefore, be particularly
avoided, for the judges, ever distrustful, are here principally on their
guard, and, likewise, nothing should seem a pure fiction, or the work of
study, which all might rather be believed to proceed from the cause than
the orator. But this we can not endure, and we think our art lost unless
it is seen; whereas it ceases to be art if it is seen.


Some are of the opinion that division should always be used, as by it
the cause will be more clear and the judge more attentive and more
easily taught when he knows of what we speak to him and of what we
intend afterward to speak. Others think this is attended with danger to
the orator, either by his sometimes forgetting what he has promised, or
by something else occurring to the judge or auditor, which he did not
think of in the division. I can not well imagine how this may happen,
unless with one who is either destitute of sense or rash enough to plead
without preparation. In any other respect, nothing else can set a
subject in so clear a light as just division. It is a means to which we
are directed by the guidance of nature, because keeping in sight the
heads on which we propose to speak, is the greatest help the memory can


But if division should seem requisite, I am not inclined to assent to
the notion of those who would have it extend to more than three parts.
Indeed, when the parts are too many, they escape the judge's memory and
distract his attention; but a cause is not scrupulously to be tied down
to this number, as it may require more.


There are reasons for not always using division, the principal reason
being that most things are better received when seemingly of extempore
invention and not suggestive of study, but arising in the pleading from
the nature of the thing itself. Whence such figures are not unpleasing
as, "I had almost forgotten to say"; "It escaped my memory to acquaint
you"; and "You have given me a good hint." For if the proofs should be
proposed without something of a reputation of this kind, they would
lose, in the sequel, all the graces of novelty.

The distinguishing of questions, and the discussing of them, should be
equally avoided. But the listeners' passions ought to be excited, and
their attention diverted from its former bias, for it is the orator's
business not so much to instruct as to enforce his eloquence by emotion,
to which nothing can be more contrary than minute and scrupulously exact
division of a discourse into parts.


If many things are to be avoided or refuted, the division will be both
useful and pleasing, causing everything to appear in the order in which
it is to be said. But if we defend a single crime by various ways,
division will be superfluous, as, "I shall make it clear that the person
I defend is not such as to make it seem probable that he could be guilty
of murder; it shall also be shown that he had no motives to induce him
to do it; and lastly, that he was across the sea when this murder took
place." Whatever is cited and argued before the third point must seem
quite unnecessary, for the judge is in haste to have you come to that
which is of most consequence, and the patient, will tacitly call upon
you to acquit yourself of your promise, or, if he has much business to
dispatch, or his dignity puts him above your trifling, or he is of a
peevish humor, he will oblige you to speak to the purpose, and perhaps
do so in disrespectful terms.


Many doubt the desirability of this kind of defense: "If I had killed
him, I should have done well; but I did not kill him." Where is the
occasion, say they, for the first proposition if the second be true?
They run counter to each other, and whoever advances both, will be
credited in neither. This is partly true, for if the last proposition be
unquestionable, it is the only one that should be used. But if we are
apprehensive of anything in the stronger, we may use both. On these
occasions persons seem to be differently affected; one will believe the
fact, and exculpate the right; another will condemn the right, and
perhaps not credit the fact. So, one dart may be enough for an unerring
hand to hit the mark, but chance and many darts must effect the same
result for an uncertain aim. Cicero clears up this matter in his defense
of Milo. He first shows Clodius to be the aggressor, and then, by a
superabundance of right, adds that tho he might not be the aggressor, it
was brave and glorious in Milo to have delivered Rome of so bad a

Tho division may not always be necessary, yet when properly used it
gives great light and beauty to a discourse. This it effects not only by
adding more perspicuity to what is said, but also by refreshing the
minds of the hearers by a view of each part circumscribed within its
bounds; just so milestones ease in some measure the fatigue of
travelers, it being a pleasure to know the extent of the labor they have
undergone, and to know what remains encourages them to persevere, as a
thing does not necessarily seem long when there is a certainty of coming
to the end.


Every division, therefore, when it may be employed to advantage, ought
to be first clear and intelligible, for what is worse than being obscure
in a thing, the use of which is to guard against obscurity in other
things? Second, it ought to be short, and not encumbered with any
superfluous word, because we do not enter upon the subject matter, but
only point it out.

If proofs be strong and cogent, they should be proposed and insisted on
separately; if weak, it will be best to collect them into a body. In the
first case, being persuasive by themselves, it would be improper to
obscure them by the confusion of others: they should appear in their
due light. In the second case, being naturally weak, they should be made
to support each other. If, therefore, they are not greatly effective in
point of quality, they may be in that of number, all of them having a
tendency to prove the same thing; as, if one were accused of killing
another for the sake of inheriting his fortune: "You did expect an
inheritance, and it was something very considerable; you were poor, and
your creditors troubled you more than ever; you also offended him who
had appointed you his heir, and you know that he intended to alter his
will." These proofs taken separately are of little moment, and common;
but collectively their shock is felt, not as a peal of thunder, but as a
shower of hail.

The judge's memory, however, is not always to be loaded with the
arguments we may invent. They will create disgust, and beget distrust
in him, as he can not think such arguments to be powerful enough which
we ourselves do not think sufficient. But to go on arguing and proving,
in the case of self-evident things, would be a piece of folly not unlike
that of bringing a candle to light us when the sun is in its greatest

To these some add proofs which they call moral, drawn from the milder
passions; and the most powerful, in the opinion of Aristotle, are such
as arise from the person of him who speaks, if he be a man of real
integrity. This is a primary consideration; and a secondary one, remote,
indeed, yet following, will be the probable notion entertained of his
irreproachable life.


It has been a matter of debate, also, whether the strongest proofs
should have place in the beginning, to make an immediate impression on
the hearers, or at the end, to make the impression lasting with them, or
to distribute them, partly in the beginning and partly at the end,
placing the weaker in the middle, or to begin with the weakest and
proceed to the strongest. For my part I think this should depend on the
nature and exigencies of the cause, yet with this reservation, that the
discourse might not dwindle from the powerful into what is nugatory and

Let the young orator, for whose instruction I make these remarks,
accustom himself as much as possible to copy nature and truth. As in
schools he often engages in sham battles, in imitation of the contests
of the bar, let him even then have an eye to victory, and learn to
strike home, dealing moral blows and putting himself on his defense as
if really in earnest. It is the master's business to require this duty,
and to commend it according as it is well executed. For if they love
praise to the degree of seeking it in their faults, which does them much
harm, they will desire it more passionately when they know it to be the
reward of real merit. The misfortune now is that they commonly pass over
necessary things in silence, considering what is for the good of the
cause as of little or no account if it be not conducive to the
embellishment of the discourse.


The peroration, called by some the completion, by others the conclusion,
of a discourse, is of two kinds, and regards either the matters discust
in it or the moving of the passions.

The repetition of the matter and the collecting it together, which is
called by the Greeks recapitulation, and by some of the Latins
enumeration, serves for refreshing the judge's memory, for placing the
whole cause in one direct point of view, and for enforcing in a body
many proofs which, separately, made less impression. It would seem that
this repetition ought to be very short, and the Greek term sufficiently
denotes that we ought to run over only the principal heads, for if we
are long in doing it, it will not be an enumeration that we make, but,
as it were, a second discourse. The points which may seem to require
this enumeration, however, ought to be pronounced with some emphasis,
and enlivened with opposite thoughts, and diversified by figures,
otherwise nothing will be more disagreeable than a mere cursory
repetition, which would seem to show distrust of the judge's memory.


This seems to be the only kind of peroration allowed by most of the
Athenians and by almost all the philosophers who left anything written
on the art of oratory. The Athenians, I suppose, were of that opinion
because it was customary at Athens to silence, by the public crier, any
orator who should attempt to move the passions. I am less surprized at
this opinion among philosophers, every perturbation of the mind being
considered by them as vicious; nor did it seem to them compatible with
sound morality to divert the judge from truth, nor agreeable to the idea
of an honest man to have recourse to any sinister stratagem. Yet moving
the passions will be acknowledged necessary when truth and justice can
not be otherwise obtained and when public good is concerned in the
decision. All agree that recapitulation may also be employed to
advantage in other parts of the pleading, if the cause is complicated
and requires many arguments to defend it, and, on the other hand, it
will admit of no doubt that many causes are so short and simple as to
have no occasion in any part of them for recapitulation. The above rules
for the peroration apply equally to the accuser and to the defendant's

They, likewise, use nearly the same passions, but the accuser more
seldom and more sparingly, and the defendant oftener and with greater
emotions; for it is the business of the former to stir up aversion,
indignation, and other similar passions in the minds of the judges, and
of the latter to bend their hearts to compassion. Yet the accuser is
sometimes not without tears, in deploring the distress of those in whose
behalf he sues for satisfaction, and the defendant sometimes complains
with great vehemence of the persecution raised against him by the
calumnies and conspiracy of his enemies. It would be best, therefore, to
distinguish and discuss separately the different passions excited on the
parts of the plaintiff and defendant, which are most commonly, as I
have said, very like what takes place in the exordium, but are treated
in a freer and fuller manner in the peroration.


The favor of the judges toward us is more sparingly sued for in the
beginning, it being then sufficient to gain their attention, as the
whole discourse remains in which to make further impressions. But in the
peroration we must strive to bring the judge into that disposition of
the mind which it is necessary for us that he should retain when he
comes to pass judgment. The peroration being finished, we can say no
more, nor can anything be reserved for another place. Both of the
contending sides, therefore, try to conciliate the judge, to make him
unfavorable to the opponent, to rouse and occasionally allay his
passions; and both may find their method of procedure in this short
rule, which is, to keep in view the whole stress of the cause, and
finding what it contains that is favorable, odious, or deplorable, in
reality or in probability, to say those things which would make the
greatest impression on themselves if they sat as judges.

I have already mentioned in the rules for the exordium how the accuser
might conciliate the judges. Yet some things, which it was enough to
point out there, should be wrought to a fulness in the peroration,
especially if the pleading be against some one universally hated, and a
common disturber, and if the condemnation of the culprit should redound
as much to the honor of the judges as his acquittal to their shame. Thus
Calvus spoke admirably against Vatinius:

"You know, good sirs, that Vatinius is guilty, and no one is unaware
that you know it." Cicero, in the same way, informs the judges that if
anything is capable of reestablishing the reputation of their judgment,
it must be the condemnation of Verres. If it be proper to intimidate the
judges, as Cicero likewise does, against Verres, this is done with
better effect in the peroration than in the exordium. I have already
explained my sentiments on this point.


In short, when it is requisite to excite envy, hatred, or indignation
there is greater scope for doing this to advantage in the peroration
than elsewhere. The interest in the accused may naturally excite the
judge's envy, the infamy of his crimes may draw upon him his hatred,
the little respect he shows him may rouse his indignation. If he is
stubborn, haughty, presumptuous, let him be painted in all the glaring
colors that aggravate such vicious temper, and these manifested not only
from his words and deeds, but from face, manner, and dress. I remember,
on my first coming to the bar, a shrewd remark of the accuser of
Cossutianus Capito. He pleaded in Greek before the Emperor, but the
meaning of his words was: "Might it not be said that this man disdains
even to respect Cæsar."

The accuser has recourse frequently to the arousing of compassion,
either by setting forth the distrest state of him for whom he hopes to
find redress, or by describing the desolation and ruin into which his
children and relations are likely thereby to be involved. He may, too,
move the judges by holding out to them a prospect of what may happen
hereafter if injuries and violence remain unpunished, the consequence of
which will be that either his client must abandon his dwelling and the
care of his effects, or must resolve to endure patiently all the
injustice his enemy may try to do him.

The accuser more frequently will endeavor to caution the judge against
the pity with which the defendant intends to inspire him, and he will
stimulate him, in as great a degree as he can, to judge according to his
conscience. Here, too, will be the place to anticipate whatever it is
thought the opponent may do or say, for it makes the judges more
circumspect regarding the sacredness of their oath, and by it the answer
to the pleading may lose the indulgence which it is expected to receive,
together with the charm of novelty in all the particulars which the
accuser has already cleared up. The judges, besides, may be informed of
the answer they should make to those who might threaten to have their
sentence reversed; and this is another kind of recapitulation.

The persons concerned are very proper objects for affecting the mind of
the judge, for the judge does not seem to himself to hear so much the
orator weeping over others' misfortunes, as he imagines his ears are
smitten with the feelings and voice of the distrest. Even their dumb
appearance might be a sufficiently moving language to draw tears, and as
their wretchedness would appear in lively colors if they were to speak
it themselves, so proportionately it must be thought to have a powerful
effect when exprest, as it were, from their own mouths. Just so, in
theatrical representations, the same voice, and the same emphatic
pronunciation, become very interesting under the masks used for
personating different characters. With a like view Cicero, tho he gives
not the voice of a suppliant to Milo, but, on the contrary, commends his
unshaken constancy, yet does he adapt to him words and complaints not
unworthy of a man of spirit: "O my labors, to no purpose undertaken!
Deceiving hopes! Useless projects!"

This exciting of pity, however, should never be long, it being said, not
without reason, that "nothing dries up so soon as tears." If time can
mitigate the pangs of real grief, of course the counterfeit grief
assumed in speaking must sooner vanish; so that if we dally, the auditor
finding himself overcharged with mournful thoughts, tries to resume his
tranquility, and thus ridding himself of the emotion that overpowered
him, soon returns to the exercise of cool reason. We must, therefore,
never allow this kind of emotion to become languid, but when we have
wound up the passions to their greatest height, we must instantly drop
the subject, and not expect that any one will long bewail another's
mishap. Therefore, as in other parts, the discourse should be well
supported, and rather rise, so here particularly it should grow to its
full vigor, because that which makes no addition to what has already
been said seems to diminish it, and a passion soon evaporates that once
begins to subside.

Tears are excited not only by words but by doing certain things, whence
it is not unusual to present the very persons who are in danger of
condemnation, in a garb suitable to their distress, together with their
children and relations. Accusers, too, make it a custom to show a bloody
sword, fractured bones picked out of wounds, and garments drenched in
blood. Sometime, likewise, they unbind wounds to show their condition,
and strip bodies naked to show the stripes they have received. These
acts are commonly of mighty efficacy, as fully revealing the reality of
the occurrence. Thus it was that Cæsar's robe, bloody all over, exposed
in the Forum, drove the people of Rome into an excess of madness. It was
well known that he was assassinated; his body also lay in state, until
his funeral should take place; yet that garment, still dripping with
blood, formed so graphic a picture of the horrible murder that it seemed
to them to have been perpetrated that very instant.

It will not be amiss to hint that the success of the peroration depends
much on the manner of the parties in conforming themselves to the
emotions and action of their advocates. Stupidity, rusticity, and a want
of sensibility and attention, as it is said, throw cold water on a cause
against which the orator can not be too well provided. I have, indeed,
often seen them act quite contrary to their advocate's instructions. Not
the least show of concern could be observed in their countenance. They
laughed foolishly and without reason, and made others laugh by some
ridiculous gesticulation or grimace, especially when the heat of a
debate exhibited anything akin to theatrical action.

An orator of slender ability will acquit himself better if he allows the
judges by themselves to feel the compassion with which his subject may
naturally inspire them, especially since the appearance, and voice, and
studied air of the advocate's countenance are often ridiculed by such as
are not affected by them. Let the orator make an exact estimate of his
powers, therefore, and be conscious of the burden he undertakes. Here
there is no middle state; he must either make his hearers weep, or
expect to be laughed at.

It should not be imagined, as some have thought, that all exciting of
the passions, all sentimental emotions, ought to be confined to the
exordium and peroration. In them they are most frequent, yet other parts
admit them likewise, but in a shorter compass, as their greatest stress
should be reserved for the end. For here, if anywhere, the orator may be
allowed to open all the streams of eloquence. If we have executed all
other parts to advantage, here we take possession of the minds of the
judges, and having escaped all rocks, may expand all our sails for a
favorable gale; and as amplification makes a great part of the
peroration, we then may raise and embellish our style with the choicest
expressions and brightest thoughts. And, indeed, the conclusion of a
speech should bear some resemblance to that of tragedy and comedy,
wherein the actor courts the spectator's applause. In other parts the
passions may be touched upon, as they naturally rise out of the subject,
and no horrible or sorrowful thing should be set forth without
accompanying it with a suitable sentiment. When the debate may be on the
quality of a thing, it is properly subjoined to the proofs of each thing
brought out. When we plead a cause complicated with a variety of
circumstances, then it will be necessary to use many perorations, as it
were; as Cicero does against Verres, lending his tears occasionally to
Philodamus, to the masters of ships, to the crucified Roman citizens,
and to many others.


It may well be imagined that nothing else is so important in the whole
art of oratory as the proper use of the passions. A slender genius,
aided by learning or experience, may be sufficient to manage certain
parts to some advantage, yet I think they are fit only for instructing
the judges, and as masters and models for those who take no concern
beyond passing for good speakers. But to possess the secret of forcibly
carrying away the judges, of moving them, as we please, to a certain
disposition of mind, of inflaming them with anger, of softening them to
pity, so as to draw tears from them, all this is rare, tho by it the
orator is made most distinguished and by it eloquence gains empire over
hearts. The cause itself is naturally productive of arguments, and the
better share generally falls to the lot of the more rightful side of the
question, so that whichever side wins by dint of argument, may think
that so far they did not lack an advocate. But when violence is to be
used to influence the minds of the judges, when they are to be turned
from coolly reflecting on the truth that works against us, then comes
the true exercise of the orator's powers; and this is what the
contending parties can not inform us of, nor is it contained in the
state of their cases. Proofs, it is true, make the judges presume that
our cause is the better, but passion makes them wish it to be such, and
as they wish it, they are not far from believing it to be so. For as
soon as they begin to absorb from us our passions of anger, favor,
hatred, or pity, they make the affair their own. As lovers can not be
competent judges of beauty, because love blinds them, so here a judge
attentive to the tumultuous working of a passion, loses sight of the way
by which he should proceed to inquire after the truth. The impetuous
torrent sweeps him away, and he is borne down in the current. The effect
of arguments and witnesses is not known until judgment has been passed,
but the judge who has been affected by the orator, still sitting and
hearing, declares his real sentiments. Has not he who is seen to melt
into tears, already pronounced sentence? Such, then, is the power of
moving the passions, to which the orator ought to direct all his
efforts, this being his principal work and labor, since without it all
other resources are naked, hungry, weak, and unpleasing. The passions
are the very life and soul of persuasion.


What we require in the orator is, in general, a character of goodness,
not only mild and pleasing, but humane, insinuating, amiable, and
charming to the hearer; and its greatest perfection will be if all, as
influenced by it, shall seem to flow from the nature of things and
persons, that so the morals of the orator may shine forth from his
discourse and be known in their genuine colors. This character of
goodness should invariably be maintained by those whom a mutual tie
ought to bind in strict union, whenever it may happen that they suffer
anything from each other, or pardon, or make satisfaction, or admonish,
or reprimand, but far from betraying any real anger or hatred.

A sentiment very powerful for exciting hatred may arise when an act of
submission to our opponents is understood as a silent reproach of their
insolence. Our willingness to yield must indeed show them to be
insupportable and troublesome, and it commonly happens that they who
have desire for railing, and are too free and hot in their invectives,
do not imagine that the jealousy they create is of far greater prejudice
to them than the malice of their speech.

All this presupposes that the orator himself ought to be a good and
humane man. The virtues which he commends, if he possibly can, in his
client, he should possess, or be supposed to possess, himself. In this
way will he be of singular advantage to the cause he undertakes, the
good opinion he has created of himself being a prejudice in its favor.
For if while he speaks he appears to be a bad man, he must in
consequence plead ill, because what he says will be thought repugnant to
justice. The style and manner suitable on these occasions ought,
therefore, to be sweet and insinuating, never hot and imperious, never
hazarded in too elevated a strain. It will be sufficient to speak in a
proper, pleasing, and probable way.

The orator's business in regard to the passions should be not only to
paint atrocious and lamentable things as they are, but even to make
those seem grievous which are considered tolerable, as when we say that
an injurious word is less pardonable than a blow, and that death is
preferable to dishonor. For the powers of eloquence do not consist so
much in forcing the judge into sentiments which the nature of the matter
itself may be sufficient to inspire him with, as they do in producing
and creating, as it were, the same sentiments when the subject may seem
not to admit them. This is the vehemence of oratorical ability which
knows how to equal and even to surpass the enormity and indignity of the
facts it exposes, a quality of singular consequence to the orator, and
one in which Demosthenes excelled all others.


The great secret for moving the passions is to be moved ourselves, for
the imitation of grief, anger, indignation, will often be ridiculous if
conforming to only our words and countenance, while our heart at the
same time is estranged from them. What other reason makes the afflicted
exclaim in so eloquent a manner during the first transports of their
grief? And how, otherwise, do the most ignorant speak eloquently in
anger, unless it be from this force and these mental feelings?

In such passions, therefore, which we would represent as true copies of
real ones, let us be ourselves like those who unfeignedly suffer, and
let our speech proceed from such a disposition of mind as that in which
we would have the judge be. Will he grieve who hears me speak with an
expressionless face and air of indifference? Will he be angry when I,
who am to excite him to anger, remain cool and sedate? Will he shed
tears when I plead unconcerned? All this is attempting impossibilities.
Nothing warms nor moistens but that which is endued with the quality of
heat or moisture, nor does anything give to another a color it has not
itself. The principal consideration, then, must be that we, ourselves,
retain the impression of which we would have the judges susceptible, and
be ourselves affected before we endeavor to affect others.


But how shall we be affected, the emotions or passions being not at our
command? This may be done by what we may call visions, whereby the
images of things absent are so represented to the mind that we seem to
see them with our eyes and have them present before us. Whoever can work
up his imagination to an intuitive view of this kind, will be very
successful in moving the passions.

If I deplore the fate of a man who has been assassinated, may I not
paint in my mind a lively picture of all that probably happened on the
occasion? Shall not the assassin appear to rush forth suddenly from his
lurking place? Shall not the other appear seized with horror? Shall he
not cry out, beg for his life, or fly to save it? Shall I not see the
assassin dealing the deadly blow, and the defenseless wretch falling
dead at his feet? Shall I not picture vividly in my mind the blood
gushing from his wounds, his ghastly face, his groans, and the last gasp
he fetches?

When there is occasion for moving to compassion, we should believe and,
indeed, be persuaded that the distress and misfortunes of which we speak
have happened to ourselves. Let us place ourselves in the very position
of those for whom we feel sorrow on account of their having suffered
such grievous and unmerited treatment. Let us plead their cause, not as
if it were another's, but taking to ourselves, for a short time, their
whole grief. In this way we shall speak as if the case were our own. I
have seen comedians who, when they have just appeared in a mournful
character, often make their exit with tears in their eyes. If, then, the
expression given to imaginary passions can affect so powerfully, what
should not orators do, whose inner feelings ought to sympathize with
their manner of speaking, which can not happen unless they are truly
affected by the danger to which their clients are exposed.


In the declamatory exercises of schools it would be expedient, likewise,
to move the passions and imagine the scene as a real one in life, and
it is the more important as there the part is performed rather of a
pleader against some person, than an advocate for some person. We
represent a person who has lost his children, or has been shipwrecked,
or is in danger of losing his life, but of what significance is it to
personate such characters, unless we also assume their real sentiments.
This nature, and these properties of the passions, I thought it
incumbent on me not to conceal from the reader, for I, myself, such as I
am, or have been (for I flatter myself that I have acquired some
reputation at the bar), have often been so affected that not only tears,
but even paleness, and grief, not unlike that which is real, have
betrayed my emotions.


What now follows requires special labor and care, the purpose being to
treat of elocution, which in the opinion of all orators is the most
difficult part of our work, for M. Antonius says that he has seen many
good speakers, but none eloquent. He thinks it good enough for a speaker
to say whatever is necessary on a subject, but only the most eloquent
may discuss it with grace and elegance. If down to the time he lived in,
this perfection was not discoverable in any orator, and neither in
himself nor in L. Crassus, it is certain that it was lacking in them and
their predecessors only on account of its extreme difficulty. Cicero
says that invention and disposition show the man of sense, but eloquence
the orator. He therefore took particular pains about the rules for this
part, and that he had reason for so doing the very name of eloquence
sufficiently declares. For to be eloquent is nothing else than to be
able to set forth all the lively images you have conceived in your mind,
and to convey them to the hearers in the same rich coloring, without
which all the principles we have laid down are useless, and are like a
sword concealed and kept sheathed in its scabbard.

This, then, is what we are principally to learn; this is what we can not
attain without the help of art; this ought to be the object of our
study, our exercise, our imitation; this may be full employment for our
whole life; by this, one orator excels another; and from this proceeds
diversity of style.


It should not be inferred from what is said here that all our care must
be about words. On the contrary, to such as would abuse this concession
of mine, I declare positively my disapprobation of those persons who,
neglecting things, the nerves of causes, consume themselves in a
frivolous study about words. This they do for the sake of elegance,
which indeed is a fine quality when natural but not when affected. Sound
bodies, with a healthy condition of blood, and strong by exercise,
receive their beauty from the very things from which they receive their
strength. They are fresh-colored, active, and supple, neither too much
nor too little in flesh. Paint and polish them with feminine cosmetics,
and admiration ceases; the very pains taken to make them appear more
beautiful add to the dislike we conceive for them. Yet a magnificent,
and suitable, dress adds authority to man; but an effeminate dress, the
garb of luxury and softness, lays open the corruption of the heart
without adding to the ornament of the body. In like manner, translucent
and flashy elocution weakens the things it clothes. I would, therefore,
recommend care about words, but solicitude about things.

The choicest expressions are for the most part inherent in things, and
are seen in their own light, but we search after them as if always
hiding and stealing themselves away from us. Thus we never think that
what ought to be said is at hand; we fetch it from afar, and force our
invention. Eloquence requires a more manly temper, and if its whole
body be sound and vigorous, it is quite regardless of the nicety of
paring the nails and adjusting the hair.


It often happens, too, that an oration becomes worse by attending to
these niceties, because simplicity, the language of truth, is its
greatest ornament, and affectation the reverse. The expressions that
show care, and would also appear as newly formed, fine, and eloquent,
lose the graces at which they aim, and are far from being striking and
well received, because they obscure the sense by spreading a sort of
shadow about it, or by being too crowded they choke it up, like
thick-sown grain that must run up too spindling. That which may be
spoken in a plain, direct manner we express by paraphrase; and we use
repetitions where to say a thing once is enough; and what is well
signified by one word, we load with many, and most things we choose to
signify rather by circumlocution than by proper and pertinent terms.

A proper word, indeed, now has no charms, nothing appearing to us fine
which might have been said by another word. We borrow metaphors from the
whims and conceits of the most extravagant poets, and we fancy ourselves
exceedingly witty, when others must have a good deal of wit to
understand us. Cicero is explicit in his views in this respect. "The
greatest fault a speech can have," says he, "is when it departs from the
common way of discourse and the custom of common sense." But Cicero
would pass for a harsh and barbarous author, compared to us, who make
little of whatever nature dictates, who seek not ornaments, but
delicacies and refinements, as if there were any beauty in words without
an agreement with things, for if we were to labor throughout our whole
life in consulting their propriety, clearness, ornament, and due
placing, we should lose the whole fruit of our studies.


Yet many are seen to hesitate at single words, even while they invent,
and reflect on and measure what they invent. If this were done
designedly to use always the best, this unhappy temper would still be
detestable, as it must check the course of speaking and extinguish the
heat of thought by delay and diffidence. For the orator is wretched,
and, I may say, poor, who can not patiently lose a word. But he will
lose none who first has studied a good manner of speaking, and by
reading well the best authors has furnished himself with a copious
supply of words and made himself expert in the art of placing them. Much
practise will so improve him afterward that he always will have them at
hand and ready for use, the thought fitting in naturally with the proper
manner of expression.

But all this requires previous study, an acquired faculty, and a rich
fund of words. For solicitude in regard to inventing, judging, and
comparing, should take place when we learn, and not when we speak.
Otherwise they who have not sufficiently cultivated their talents for
speaking will experience the fate of those who have made no provision
for the future. But if a proper stock of words is already prepared,
they will attend as in duty bound, not so much in the way of answering
exigencies as always to seem inherent in the thought and to follow as a
shadow does a body.


Yet this care should not exceed its due bounds, for when words are
authorized by use, are significant, elegant, and aptly placed, what more
need we trouble ourselves about? But some eternally will find fault, and
almost scan every syllable, who, even when they have found what is best,
seek after something that is more ancient, remote, and unexpected, not
understanding that the thought must suffer in a discourse, and can have
nothing of value, where only the words are commendable. Let us,
therefore, pay particular regard to elocution, yet, at the same time be
convinced that nothing is to be done for the sake of words, they having
been invented solely for the sake of things. The most proper words
always will be those which are best expressive of the ideas in our mind,
and which produce in the ideas of the judges the effect we desire. Such
undoubtedly will make a speech both admirable and pleasing, but not so
admirable as are prodigies, nor pleasing by a vicious and unseemly
pleasure, but a pleasure reflecting dignity with praise.


The orator will recommend himself particularly by the embellishments he
adopts, securing in other ways the approbation of the learned, and in
this also the favor of popular applause.

Not so much with strong as with shining armor did Cicero engage in the
cause of Cornelius. His success was not due merely to instructing the
judges, and speaking in a pure and clear style. These qualities would
not have brought him the honor of the admiration and applause of the
Roman people. It was the sublimity, magnificence, splendor, and dignity
of his eloquence that forced from them signal demonstrations of their
amazement. Nor would such unusual eulogies have been given him if his
speech had contained nothing extraordinary, nothing but what was common.
And, indeed, I believe that those present were not completely aware of
what they were doing, and that what they did was neither spontaneous,
nor from an act of judgment, but that filled with a sort of enthusiasm,
and not considering the place they were in, they burst forth with
unrestrained excitement.


These ornaments of speech, therefore, may be thought to contribute not a
little to the success of a cause, for they who hear willingly are more
attentive and more disposed to believe. Most commonly it is pleasure
that wins them over, and sometimes they are seized and carried away with
admiration. A glittering sword strikes the eyes with some terror, and
thunder would not so shock us if its crash only, and not its lightning,
was dreaded. Therefore Cicero, with good reason, says in one of his
epistles to Brutus: "The eloquence which does not excite admiration, I
regard as nothing." Aristotle, too, would have us endeavor to attain
this perfection.

But this embellishment, I must again and again repeat, ought to be
manly, noble, and modest; neither inclining to effeminate delicacy, nor
assuming a color indebted to paint, but glistening with health and

Let none of those who build up their reputation on a corrupt manner of
eloquence, say that I am an enemy to such as speak with elegance. I do
not deny that it is a perfection, but I do not ascribe it to them. Shall
I think a piece of ground better laid out and improved, in which one
shall show me lilies and violets and pleasing cascades, than one where
there is a full harvest or vines laden with grapes? Shall I esteem a
barren planetree and shorn myrtles beyond the fruitful olive and the elm
courting the embraces of the vine? The rich may pride themselves on
these pleasures of the eye, but how little would be their value if they
had nothing else?

But shall no beauty, no symmetry, be observed in the care of fruit
trees? Undoubtedly there should, and I would place them in a certain
order, and keep a due distance in planting them. What is more beautiful
than the quincunx, which, whatever way you look, retains the same direct
position? Planting them out so will also be of service to the growth of
the trees, by equally attracting the juices of the earth. I should lop
off the aspiring tops of my olive; it will spread more beautifully into
a round form, and will produce fruit on more branches. A horse with
slender flanks is considered handsomer than one not framed in that
manner, and the same quality also shows that he excels in swiftness. An
athlete whose arms from exercise show a full spring and play of the
muscles, is a beautiful sight, and he, likewise, is best fitted as a
combatant. Thus the true species is never without its utility, as even a
meager judgment easily may discern.


But it will be of more importance to observe that this decent attire
ought to be varied according to the nature of the subject. To begin with
our first division, the same style will not suit equally demonstrative,
deliberative, and judicial causes. The first, calculated for
ostentation, aims at nothing but the pleasure of the auditory. It,
therefore, displays all the riches of art, and exposes to full view all
the pomp of eloquence; not acting by stratagem, nor striving for
victory, but making praise and glory its sole and ultimate end. Whatever
may be pleasing in the thought, beautiful in the expression, agreeable
in the turn, magnificent in the metaphor, elaborate in the composition,
the orator will lay open for inspection and, if it were possible, for
handling, as a merchant exposes his wares; for here the success wholly
regards him and not the cause.

But when the serious part of a trial is on hand, and the contest is
truly in earnest, care of reputation ought to be the orator's last
concern. For this reason, when everything in a way is at stake, no one
ought to be solicitous about words. I do not say that no ornaments ought
to have place in them, but that they should be more modest and severe,
less apparent, and above all suited to the subject. For in deliberations
the senate require something more elevated; the assemblies of the
people, something more spirited; and at the bar, public and capital
causes, something more accurate. But a private deliberation, and causes
of trivial consequence, as the stating of accounts and the like, need
little beyond the plain and easy manner of common discourse. Would it
not be quite shameful to demand in elaborate periods the payment of
money lent, or appeal to the emotions in speaking of the repairs of a
gutter or sink?


As the ornament, as well as perspicuity, of speech consists either in
single words or in many together, we shall consider what they require
separately and what in conjunction. Tho there is good reason for saying
that perspicuity is best suited by proper words, and ornament by
metaphorical, yet we should always know that an impropriety is never
ornamental. But as many words very often signify the same thing, and
therefore are called synonymous, some of these must be more sublime,
more bright, more agreeable, and sweeter and fuller in pronunciation
than others. As the more clear-sounding letters communicate the same
quality to the syllables they compose, so the words composed of these
syllables become more sonorous, and the greater the force or sound of
the syllables is, the more they fill or charm the ear. What the
junction of syllables makes, the copulation of words makes also, a word
sounding well with one, which sound badly with another.

There is a great diversity in the use of words. Harsh words best express
things of an atrocious nature. In general, the best of simple words are
believed to be such as sound loudest in exclamation, or sweetest in a
pleasing strain. Modest words will ever be preferred to those that must
offend a chaste ear, and no polite discourse ever makes allowance for a
filthy or sordid expression. Magnificent, noble, and sublime words are
to be estimated by their congruity with the subject; for what is
magnificent in one place, swells into bombast in another; and what is
low in a grand matter, may be proper in a humble situation. As in a
splendid style a low word must be very much out of place and, as it
were, a blemish to it, so a sublime and pompous expression is unsuited
to a subject that is plain and familiar, and therefore must be reputed
corrupt, because it raises that which ought to find favor through its
native simplicity.


I shall pass now to the construction of words, observing that their
ornamental use may be considered from two points of view; first, as it
regards the elocution we conceive in our minds; second, the manner of
expressing it. It is of particular consequence that we should be clear
as to what ought to be amplified or diminished; whether we are to speak
with heat or moderation; in a florid or austere style; in a copious or
concise manner; in words of bitter invective, or in those showing placid
and gentle disposition; with magnificence or plainness; gravity or
politeness. Besides which it is equally important to know what
metaphors, what figures, what thoughts, what manner, what disposition,
are best suited for effecting our purpose.


In speaking of the ornaments of a discourse, it may not be amiss to
touch first upon qualities contrary to them, because the principal
perfection consists in being free from faults. We, therefore, must not
expect ornament that is not probable, in a discourse. Cicero calls that
kind of ornament probable which is not more nor less than it ought to
be. Not that it should not appear neat and polished, for this is a part
of ornament, but because too much in anything is always a fault. He
would have authority and weight in words, and thoughts that are
sensible, or conformable to the opinions and manners of men. These
inviolably retained and adhered to, he makes ample allowance for
whatever else may contribute to illustrate a discourse. And thus it is
that metaphors, superlatives, epithets, compound, and synonymous words,
if they seem to express the action and fully represent things, seldom
fail to please.

We should avoid the fault which makes a sentence appear not full enough,
on account of something defective, tho this is rather a vice of
obscurity than want of ornament in speech. But when it is done for some
particular reason, then it becomes a figure of speech. We should
likewise be aware of tautology, which is a repetition of the same word
or thought, or the use of many similar words or thoughts. Tho this does
not seem to have been much guarded against by some authors of great
note, it is, notwithstanding, a fault, and Cicero himself often falls
into it.

Similarity of expression is a still greater vice, because the mind is
wearied by lack of the graces of variety, and the discourse being all of
one color, shows a great deficiency in the art of oratory. It, besides,
creates loathing, and at length becomes insupportable, both to the mind
and ear, through the tedious repetition of the same cold thoughts,
figures, and periods.

There is another fault, that of being over-nice, which is caused by
extreme anxiety to be exact, but which is as far distant from exactness
as superstition is from true religion. In short, every word that
contributes neither to perspicuity nor ornament, may be called vicious.

A perverse affectation is faulty in all respects. All bombast, and
flimsiness, and studied sweetness, and redundancies, and far-fetched
thoughts, and witticisms, fall under the same denomination. Thus
whatever stretches beyond the bounds of perfection, may be called
affectation, and this happens as often as the genius is lacking in
judgment, and suffers itself to be deceived by an appearance of good. It
is the worst of vices in matters of eloquence, for even when others are
avoided, this is sought after, and its whole trespass is against
elocution. There are vices incident to things, which come from being
devoid of sense, or from being common, or contrary, or unnecessary, and
a corrupt style consists principally in impropriety of words, in their
redundancy, in their obscure import, in a weak composition, and in a
puerile hunting after synonymous or equivocal words. But every perverse
affectation is false in consequence of its idea, tho not everything that
is false is an affectation, the latter saying a thing otherwise than as
nature will have it, and than it ought to be, and than is sufficient.


There can not be a greater perfection than to express the things we
speak of in such lively colors as to make them seem really to take place
in our presence. Our words are lacking in full effect, they assume not
that absolute empire they ought to have, when they strike only the ear,
and when the judge who is to take cognizance of the matter is not
sensible of its being emphatically exprest.

One manner of representation consists in making out of an assemblage of
circumstances the image we endeavor to exhibit. An example of this we
have in Cicero's description of a riotous banquet; he being the only one
who can furnish us with examples of all kinds of ornaments: "I seemed to
myself to see some coming in, others going out; some tottering with
drunkenness, others yawning from yesterday's carousing. In the midst of
these was Gallius, bedaubed with essences, and crowned with flowers. The
floor of their apartment was all in a muck of dirt, streaming with wine,
and strewed all about with chaplets of faded flowers, and fish-bones."
Who could have seen more had he been present?

In this manner pity grows upon us from hearing of the sacking of a town.
Undoubtedly he who acquaints us of such an event, comprehends all the
incidents of so great a calamity, yet this cursory piece of intelligence
makes but a languid impression upon the mind. But if you enter into
descriptive pictures of all that was included in one word, as it were,
flames will appear spreading through houses and temples; the crash of
falling houses will be heard; and one confused noise formed out of all
together. Some will be seen striving to escape the danger, but know not
where to direct their flight; others embracing for the last time their
parents and relations; here the dismal shrieks of women and piercing
cries of children fill one with pity; there the sighs and groans of old
men, lamenting their unhappy fate for having lived so long as to be
witnesses of their country's desolation. A further addition to these
scenes of woe is the plunder of all things, sacred as well as profane;
the avidity of the soldier prowling after and carrying away his prey;
the wretched citizens dragged away in chains before their haughty
conquerors; mothers struggling to keep with them their children; and
slaughter still exercising its cruelties wherever there is the least
expectation of booty. Tho all these details are comprehended in the idea
of the sacking of a town, yet it is saying less to state merely that the
town was sacked than to describe its destruction in this circumstantial

Such circumstances may be made to appear vivid if they retain a likeness
to truth. They may not have happened in reality, yet, as they are
possible, the descriptive evidence is not objectionable. The same
evidence will arise also from accidents, as in the following examples:

                    ... me horror chills,
     Shudd'ring, and fear congeals my curdling blood.

             ... to their bosoms press'd,
     The frighted mothers clasp'd their crying babes.

This perfection, the greatest, in my opinion, a discourse can have, is
very easily acquired by only considering and following nature. For
eloquence is a picture of the happenings of human life, every one
applying to himself what he hears, by making the case in some measure
his own, and the mind receives very willingly that with which it has
become familiar.

To throw light, also, upon things, similes have been invented, some of
which by way of proof are inserted among arguments, and others are
calculated for expressing the images of things, the point we are here

                        ... Thence like wolves
     Prowling in gloomy shade, which hunger blind
     Urges along, while their forsaken whelps
     Expect them with dry jaws.

        ... Thence with all his body's force
     Flings himself headlong from the steepy height
     Down to the ocean: like the bird that flies
     Low, skimming o'er the surface, near the sea,
     Around the shores, around the fishy rocks.


We must be exceedingly cautious in regard to similitudes, that we do not
use such as are either obscure or unknown. For that which is assumed for
the sake of illustrating another thing, ought indeed to be clearer than
that which it so illustrates.

In speaking of arguments I mentioned a kind of similitude which, as an
ornament to a discourse, contributes to make it sublime, florid,
pleasing, and admirable. For the more far-fetched a similitude is, the
more new and unexpected it will appear. Some may be thought commonplace,
yet will avail much for enforcing belief; as, "As a piece of ground
becomes better and more fertile by cultivation, so does the mind by good
institutions." "As physicians prescribe the amputation of a limb that
manifestly tends to mortification, so would it be necessary to cut off
all bad citizens, tho even allied to us in blood." Here is something
more sublime: "Rocks and solitudes echo back the melody, and the
fiercest beasts are often made more gentle, being astonished by the
harmony of music." But this kind of similitude is often abused by the
too great liberties our declaimers give themselves; for they use such as
are false, and they do not make a just application of them to the
subjects to which they would compare them.

In every comparison the similitude either goes before, and the thing
follows; or the thing goes before, and the similitude follows. But the
similitude sometimes is free and separate: sometimes, which is best, it
is connected with the thing of which it is the image, this connection
being made to aid and correspond mutually on both sides. Cicero says in
his oration for Murena: "They who have not a genius for playing on the
lyre, may become expert at playing on the flute (a proverbial saying
among the Greeks to specify the man who can not make himself master of
the superior sciences): so among us they who can not become orators,
turn to the study of the law." In another passage of the same oration,
the connected comparison is conceived in a sort of poetical spirit. "As
storms are often raised by the influence of some constellation, and
often suddenly and from some hidden cause which can not be accounted
for, so the stormy agitations we sometimes behold in the assemblies of
the people are often occasioned by a malign influence easily
discoverable by all; and often their cause is so obscure as to seem
merely the effect of chance." There are other similes, which are very
short, as this, "Strolling and wandering through forests like beasts."
And that of Cicero against Clodius, "From which judgment we have seen
him escape naked, like a man from his house on fire." Such similes
constantly occur in common discourse.

Of a similar kind is an ornament which not only represents things, but
does so in a lively and concise manner. Undoubtedly a conciseness in
which nothing is lacking, is deservedly praised; that which says
precisely only what is necessary, is less estimable; but that which
expresses much in a few words is of all the most beautiful.

Eloquence does not think it enough to show of what it speaks, in a clear
and evident manner; it uses, besides, a variety of other expedients for
embellishing a discourse. Thus it is that a simple and unaffected style
is not without beauty, but it is a beauty entirely pure and natural,
such as is admired in women. Beauty is also annexed to propriety and
justness of expression, and this beauty is the more elegant as it shows
but little care. There is an abundance that is rich, an abundance that
smiles amidst the gaiety of flowers, and there is more than one sort of
power, for whatever is complete in its kind can not be destitute of its
proper strength and efficacy.


I well know that there are some who will not sanction any care in
composition, contending that our words as they flow by chance, however
uncouth they may sound, are not only more natural, but likewise more
manly. If what first sprang from nature, indebted in nowise to care and
industry, be only what they deem natural, I admit that the art of
oratory in this respect has no pretensions to that quality. For it is
certain that the first men did not speak according to the exactness of
the rules of composition; neither were they acquainted with the art of
preparing by an exordium, informing by a narration, proving by
arguments, and moving by passions. They were deficient in all these
particulars, and not in composition only; and if they were not allowed
to make any alterations for the better, of course they would not have
exchanged their cottages for houses, nor their coverings of skins for
more decent apparel, nor the mountains and forests in which they ranged
for the abode of cities in which they enjoy the comforts of social
intercourse. And, indeed, what art do we find coeval with the world, and
what is there of which the value is not enhanced by improvement? Why do
we restrain the luxuriance of our vines? Why do we dig about them? Why
do we grub up the bramble-bushes in our fields? Yet the earth produces
them. Why do we tame animals? Yet are they born with intractable
dispositions. Rather let us say that that is very natural which nature
permits us to meliorate in her handiwork.


How can a jumble of uncouth words be more manly than a manner of
expression which is well joined and properly placed? If some authors
weaken the subjects of which they treat, by straining them into certain
soft and lascivious measures, we must not on that account judge that
this is the fault of composition. As the current of rivers is swifter
and more impetuous in a free and open channel than amidst an obstruction
of rocks breaking and struggling against the flow of their waters, an
oration that is properly connected flows with its whole might, and is
far preferable to one that is craggy and desultory by reason of frequent
interruptions. Why, then, should it be thought that strength and beauty
are incompatible, when, on the contrary, nothing has its just value
without art, and embellishment always attends on it? Do not we observe
the javelin which has been cleverly whirled about, dart through the air
with the best effect; and in managing a bow and arrow, is not the beauty
of the attitude as much more graceful as the aim is more unerring? In
feats of arms, and in all the exercises of the palæstra, is not his
attitude best calculated for defense or offense, who uses a certain art
in all his motions, and keeps to a certain position of the feet?
Composition, therefore, in my opinion, is to thoughts and words what the
dexterous management of a bow or string may be for directing the aim of
missive weapons; and I may say that the most learned are convinced that
it is greatly conducive not only to pleasure, but also to making a good
impression on others. First, because it is scarcely possible that
anything should affect the heart, which begins by grating on the ear.
Secondly, because we are naturally affected by harmony, otherwise the
sounds of musical instruments, tho they express no words, would not
excite in us so great a variety of pleasing emotions. In sacred
canticles, some airs are for elating the heart into raptures, others to
restore the mind to its former tranquillity. The sound of a trumpet is
not the same when it is the signal for a general engagement, and when on
defeat it implores the conqueror's mercy; neither is it the same when an
army marches up to give battle, and when it is intent on retreating. It
was a common practise with the Pythagoric philosophers, on arising in
the morning, to awake their minds by an air on the lyre, in order to
make them more alert for action; and they had recourse to the same
musical entertainment for disposing them to sleep, believing it to be a
means for allaying all tumultuous thoughts which might in any way have
ruffled them in the course of the day.

If, then, so great a power lies in musical strains and modulations, what
must it be with eloquence, the music of which is a speaking harmony? As
much, indeed, as it is essential for a thought to be exprest in suitable
words, it is equally necessary for the same words to be disposed in
proper order by composition, that they may flow and end harmoniously.
Some things of little consequence in their import, and requiring but a
moderate degree of elocution, are commendable only by this perfection;
and there are others which appear exprest with so much force, beauty,
and sweetness, that if the order in which they stand should be changed
or disturbed, all force, beauty, and sweetness would vanish from them.


There are three things necessary in every kind of composition, and these
are order, correction, and number.

_1. Order_

We shall speak first of order, which applies to words considered
separately or joined together. In regard to the former, care must be
taken that there be no decrease by adding a weaker word to a stronger,
as accusing one of sacrilege, and giving him afterward the name of
thief; or adding the character of wanton fellow to that of a highwayman.
The sense ought to increase and rise, which Cicero observes admirably
where he says: "And thou, with that voice, those lungs, and that
gladiator-like vigor of thy whole body." Here each succeeding thing is
stronger than the one before; but if he had begun with the whole body,
he could not with propriety have descended to the voice and lungs. There
is another natural order in saying men and women, day and night, east
and west.

Words in prose not being measured, as are the feet which compose verse,
they are, therefore, transferred from place to place, that they may be
joined where they best fit, as in a building where the irregularity,
however great, of rough stones is both suitable and proper. The happiest
composition language can have, however, is to keep to a natural order,
just connection, and a regularly flowing cadence.

Sometimes there is something very striking about a word. Placed in the
middle of a sentence, it might pass unnoticed, or be obscured by the
other words that lie about it, but when placed at the end the auditor
can not help noting it and retaining it in his mind.

_2. Connection_

Juncture follows, which is equally requisite in words, articles,
members, and periods, all these having their beauty and faults, in
consequence of their manner of connection. It may be a general
observation that in the placing of syllables, their sound will be
harsher as they are pronounced with a like or different gaping of the
mouth. This, however, is not to be dreaded as a signal fault, and I know
not which is worse here, inattention or too great care. Too scrupulous
fear must damp the heat and retard the impetuosity of speaking, while
at the same time it prevents the mind from attending to thoughts which
are of greater moment. As, therefore, it is carelessness to yield to
these faults, so it is meanness to be too much afraid of them.

_3. Number_

Numbers are nowhere so much lacking, nor so remarkable, as at the end of
periods; first, because every sense has its bounds, and takes up a
natural space, by which it is divided from the beginning of what
follows: next, because the hearers following the flow of words, and
drawn, as it were, down the current of the oration, are then more
competent judges, when that impetuosity ceases and gives time for
reflection. There should not, therefore, be anything harsh nor abrupt in
that ending, which seems calculated for the respite and recreation of
the mind and ear. This, too, is the resting-place of the oration, this
the auditor expects, and here burst forth all his effusions of praise.


The beginning of periods demands as much care as the closing of them,
for here, also, the auditor is attentive. But it is easier to observe
numbers in the beginning of periods, as they are not depending on, nor
connected with, what went before. But the ending of periods, however
graceful it may be in composition and numbers, will lose all its charm
if we proceed to it by a harsh and precipitate beginning.

As to the composition of the middle parts of a period, care must be
taken not only of their connection with each other, but also that they
may not seem slow, nor long, nor, what is now a great vice, jump and
start from being made up of many short syllables, and producing the same
effect on the ear as the sounds from a child's rattle. For as the
ordering of the beginning and ending is of much importance, as often as
the sense begins or ends; so in the middle, too, there is a sort of
stress which slightly insists; as the feet of people running, which, tho
they make no stop, yet leave a track. It is not only necessary to begin
and end well the several members and articles, but the intermediate
space, tho continued without respiration, ought also to retain a sort of
composition, by reason of the insensible pauses that serve as so many
degrees for pronunciation.

Cicero gives many names to the period, calling it a winding about, a
circuit, a comprehension, continuation, and circumscription. It is of
two kinds; the one simple when a single thought is drawn out into a
considerable number of words; the other compound, consisting of members
and articles which include several thoughts.

Wherever the orator has occasion to conduct himself severely, to press
home, to act boldly and resolutely, he should speak by members and
articles. This manner has vast power and efficacy in an oration. The
composition is to adapt itself to the nature of things, therefore, even
rough things being conceived in rough sounds and numbers, that the
hearer may be made to enter into all the passions of the speaker. It
would be advisable, for the most part, to make the narration in members;
or if periods are used, they ought to be more loose and less elaborate
than elsewhere. But I except such narrations as are calculated more for
ornament than for giving information.


The period is proper for the exordiums of greater causes, where the
matter requires solicitude, commendation, pity. Also in common places
and in every sort of amplification; but if you accuse, it ought to be
close and compact; if you praise, it should be full, round, and flowing.
It is likewise of good service in perorations, and may be used without
restriction wherever the composition requires to be set off in a
somewhat grand and noble manner, and when the judge not only has a
thorough knowledge of the matter before him, but is also captivated with
the beauty of the discourse and, trusting to the orator, allows himself
to be led away by the sense of pleasure.

History does not so much stand in need of a periodical flow of words, as
it likes to move around in a sort of perpetual circle, for all its
members are connected with each other, by its slipping and gliding along
from one subject to the next, just as men, strengthening their pace,
hold and are held, by grasping each other by the hand. Whatever belongs
to the demonstrative kind has freer and more flowing numbers. The
judicial and deliberative, being varied in their matter, occasionally
require a different form of composition.


Who doubts that some things are to be exprest in a gentle way, others
with more heat, others sublimely, others contentiously, and others
gravely? Feet composed of long syllables best suit grave, sublime, and
ornamental subjects. The grave will take up a longer space in the
pronunciation, and the sublime and ornamental will demand a clear and
sonorous expression. Feet of short syllables are more agreeable in
arguments, division, raillery, and whatever partakes of the nature of
ordinary conversation.

The composition of the exordium will differ, therefore, as the subject
may require. For the mind of the judge is not always the same, so that,
according to the time and circumstances, we must declare our mournful
plight, appear modest, tart, grave, insinuating; move to mercy and
exhort to diligence. As the nature of these is different, so their
composition must be conducted in a different way.

Let it be in some measure a general observation that the composition
ought to be modeled on the manner of pronunciation. In exordiums are we
not most commonly modest, except when in a cause of accusation we strive
to irritate the minds of the judges? Are we not copious and explicit in
narration; in arguments animated and lively, even showing animation in
our actions; in common places and descriptions, exuberant and lavish of
ornaments; and in perorations, for the most part weighed down by
distress? Of the variety which ought to be in a discourse, we may find
another parallel instance in the motions of the body. With all of them,
do not the circumstances regulate their respective degrees of slowness
and celerity? And for dancing as well as singing, does not music use
numbers of which the beating of the time makes us sensible? As our voice
and action are indeed expressive of our inner feelings in regard to the
nature of the things of which we speak, need we, then, be surprized if a
like conformity ought to be found in the feet that enter into the
composition of a piece of eloquence? Ought not sublime matters be made
to walk in majestic solemnity, the mild to keep in a gentle pace, the
brisk and lively to bound with rapidity, and the nice and delicate to
flow smoothly?


If faults in composition be unavoidable, I should rather give preference
to that which is harsh and rough than to that which is nerveless and
weak, the results of an affected style that many now study, and which
constantly corrupts, more and more, by a wantonness in numbers more
becoming a dance than the majesty of eloquence. But I can not say that
any composition is good, however perfect otherwise, which constantly
presents the same form, and continually falls into the same feet. A
constant observing of similar measures and cadences, is a kind of
versification, and all prose in which this fault is discoverable, can
have no allowance made for it, by reason of its manifest affectation
(the very suspicion of which ought to be avoided), and its uniformity,
which, of course, must fatigue and disgust the mind. This vice may have
some engaging charms at first sight, but the greater its sweets are, the
shorter will be their continuance; and the orator once detected of any
anxious concern in this respect, will instantly lose all belief that has
been placed in him, and vainly will he strive to make on others' minds
the impressions he expected to make; for how is it to be expected that
a judge will believe a man, or permit himself to feel grief or anger on
account of one whom he observes to have attended to nothing more than
the display of such trifles? Some of the connections of smooth
composition ought, therefore, to be designedly broken, and it is no
small labor to make them appear not labored.

Let us not be such slaves to the placing of words as to study
transpositions longer than necessary, lest what we do in order to
please, may displease by being affected. Neither let a fondness for
making the composition flow with smoothness, prevail on us to set aside
a word otherwise proper and becoming; as no word, in reality, can prove
disagreeable enough to be wholly excluded, unless it be that in the
avoiding of such words we consult mere beauty of expression rather than
the good of composition.

To conclude, composition ought to be graceful, agreeable, varied. Its
parts are three: order, connection, number. Its art consists in adding,
retrenching, changing. Its qualities are according to the nature of the
things discust. The care in composition ought to be great, but not to
take the place of care in thinking and speaking. What deserves to be
particularly attended to is the concealing of the care of composition,
that the numbers may seem to flow of their own accord, and not with the
least constraint or affectation.


Eloquence will never be solid and robust, unless it collects strength
and consistence from much writing and composing; and without examples
from reading, that labor will go astray for lack of a guide; and tho it
be known how everything ought to be said, yet the orator who is not
possest of a talent for speaking, always ready to exert himself on
occasion, will be like a man watching over a hidden treasure.

Our orator, who we suppose is familiar with the way of inventing and
disposing things, of making a choice of words, and placing them in
proper order, requires nothing further than the knowledge of the means
whereby in the easiest and best manner he may execute what he has
learned. It can not, then, be doubted that he must acquire a certain
stock of wealth in order to have it ready for use when needed, and this
stock of wealth consists of a plentiful supply of things and words.


Things are peculiar to each cause, or common to few; but a provision of
words must be made indiscriminately for all subjects. If each word were
precisely significant of each thing, our perplexity would be less, as
then words would immediately present themselves with things, but some
being more proper than others, or more ornamental, or more emphatic, or
more harmonious, all ought not only to be known but to be kept ready and
in sight, as it were, that when they present themselves for the
orator's selection, he easily may make a choice of the best.

I know that some make a practise of classing together all synonymous
words and committing them to memory, so that out of so many at least one
may more easily come to mind; and when they have used a word, and
shortly after need it again, to avoid repetition they take another of
the same significance. This is of little or no use, for it is only a
crowd that is mustered together, out of which the first at hand is taken
indifferently, whereas the copiousness of language of which I speak is
to be the result of acquisition of judgment in the use of words, with
the view of attaining the true expressive force of eloquence, and not
empty volubility of speech. This can be affected only by hearing and
reading the best things; and it is only by giving it our attention that
we shall know not only the appellations of things, but what is fittest
for every place.


With some eloquent compositions we may derive more profit by reading
them, but with some others, more by hearing them pronounced. The speaker
keeps awake all our senses, and inspires us by the fire that animates
him. We are struck, not by the image and exterior of things, but by the
things themselves. All is life and motion, and with solicitude for his
success, we favorably receive all he says, its appeal to us lying in the
charm of novelty. Together with the orator, we find ourselves deeply
interested in the issue of the trial and the safety of the parties whose
defense he has undertaken. Besides these we find that other things
affect us: a fine voice, a graceful action corresponding with what is
said, and a manner of pronunciation, which perhaps is the most powerful
ornament of eloquence; in short, everything conducted and managed in the
way that is most fitting.


In reading, our judgment goes upon surer ground, because often our good
wishes for the speaker, or the applause bestowed on him, surprizes us
into approbation. We are ashamed to differ in opinion from others, and
by a sort of secret bashfulness are kept from believing ourselves more
intelligent than they are; tho indeed we are aware, at the same time,
that the taste of the greater number is vicious, and that sycophants,
even persons hired to applaud, praise things which can not please us;
as, on the other hand, it also happens that a bad taste can have no
relish for the best things. Reading is attended, besides, with the
advantage of being free, and not escaping us by the rapidity which
accompanies action; and we may go over the same things often, should we
doubt their accuracy, or wish to fix them in our memories. Repeating and
reviewing will, therefore, be highly necessary; for as meats are chewed
before they descend into the stomach, in order to facilitate their
digestion, so reading is fittest for being laid up in the memory, that
it may be an object of imitation when it is no longer in a crude state
but has been softened and elaborated by long meditation.


None, however, but the best authors, and such as we are least liable to
be deceived in, demand this care, which should be diligent and extended
even almost to the point of taking the pains to transcribe them. Nor
ought judgment to be passed on the whole from examining a part, but
after the book has been fully perused, it should have a second reading;
especially should this be done with an oration, the perfections of which
are often designedly kept concealed. The orator, indeed, often prepares,
dissembles, lies in wait, and says things in the first part of the
pleading which he avails himself of in the last part. They may,
therefore, be less pleasing in their place, while we still remain
ignorant of the purpose for their being said. For this reason, after a
due consideration of particulars, it would not be amiss to re-read the


Theophrastus says that the reading of poetry is of vast service to the
orator. Many, and with good reason, are of the same opinion, as from the
poets may be derived sprightliness in thought, sublimity in expression,
force and variety in sentiment, propriety and decorum in character,
together with that diversion for cheering and freshening minds which
have been for any time harassed by the drudgery of the bar.

Let it be remembered, however, that poets are not in all things to be
imitated by the orator, neither in the liberty of words, nor license of
figures. The whole of that study is calculated for ostentation. Its sole
aim is pleasure, and it invariably pursues it, by fictions of not only
what is false, but of some things that are incredible. It is sure, also,
of meeting with partizans to espouse its cause, because, since it is
bound down to a certain necessity of feet it can not always use proper
words, and being driven out of the straight road, must turn into byways
of speaking, and be compelled to change some words, and to lengthen,
shorten, transpose and divide them. As for orators, they must stand
their ground completely armed in the order of battle, and having to
fight for matters of the highest consequence, must think of nothing but
gaining the victory.

Still would I not have their armor appear squalid and covered with rust,
but retain rather a brightness that dismays, such as of polished steel,
striking both the mind and eyes with awe, and not the splendor of gold
and silver, a weak safeguard, indeed, and rather dangerous to the

History, likewise, by its mild and grateful sap may afford kind
nutriment to an oratorical composition. Yet the orator should so read
history as to be convinced that most of its perfections ought to be
avoided by him. It nearly borders upon poetry, and may be held as a
poem, unrestrained by the laws of verse. Its object is to narrate, and
not to prove, and its whole business neither intends action nor
contention, but to transmit facts to posterity, and enhance the
reputation of its author.

In the reading of history there is another benefit, and indeed the
greatest, but one not relative to the present subject. This proceeds
from the knowledge of things and examples, which the orator ought to be
well versed in, so that not all his testimonies may be from the parties,
but many of them may be taken from antiquity, with which, through
history, he will be well acquainted; these testimonies being the more
powerful, as they are exempt from suspicion of prejudice and partiality.

I shall venture to say that there are few which have stood the test of
time, that may not be read with some profit by the judicious. Cicero
himself confesses that he received great help from old authors, who
were, indeed, very ingenious but were deficient in art. Before I speak
of the respective merit of authors, I must make, in a few words, some
general reflections on the diversity of taste in regard to matters of
eloquence. Some think that the ancients deserve to be read, believing
that they alone have distinguished themselves by natural eloquence and
that strength of language so becoming men. Others are captivated with
the flowery profusion of the orators of the present age, with their
delicate turns, and with all the blandishments they skilfully invent to
charm the ears of an ignorant multitude. Some choose to follow the plain
and direct way of speaking. Others take to be sound and truly Attic
whatever is close, neat, and departs but little from ordinary
conversation. Some are delighted with a more elevated, more impetuous,
and more fiery force of genius. Others, and not a few, like a smooth,
elegant, and polite manner. I shall speak of this difference in taste
more fully when I come to examine the style which may seem most proper
for the orator.



We may begin properly with Homer.

He it is who gave birth to, and set the example for all parts of
eloquence, in the same way, as he himself says, as the course of rivers
and springs of fountains owe their origin to the ocean. No one, in great
subjects, has excelled him in elevation; nor in small subjects, in
propriety. He is florid and close, grave and agreeable, admirable for
his concise as well as for his copious manner, and is not only eminent
for poetical, but likewise oratorical, abilities.


Æschylus is the one who gave birth to tragedy. He is sublime, and grave,
and often pompous to a fault. But his plots are mostly ill-contrived and
as ill-conducted. For which reason the Athenians permitted the poets who
came after him to correct his pieces and fit them for the stage, and in
this way many of these poets received the honor of being crowned.

_Sophocles and Euripides_

Sophocles and Euripides brought tragedy to greater perfection; but the
difference in their manner has occasioned dispute among the learned as
to their relative poetic merits. For my part, I shall leave the matter
undecided, as having nothing to do with my present purpose. It must be
confest, nevertheless, that the study of Euripedes will be of much
greater value to those who are preparing themselves for the bar; for
besides the fact that his style comes nearer the oratorical style, he
likewise abounds in fine thoughts, and in philosophic maxims is almost
on an equality with philosophers, and in his dialog may be compared with
the best speakers at the bar. He is wonderful, again, for his masterly
strokes in moving the passions, and more especially in exciting

_Thucydides and Herodotus_

There have been many famous writers of history, but all agree in giving
the preference to two, whose perfections, tho different, have received
an almost equal degree of praise. Thucydides is close, concise, and ever
pressing on. Herodotus is sweet, natural, and copious. One is remarkable
for his animated expression of the more impetuous passions, the other
for gentle persuasion in the milder: the former succeeds in harangues
and has more force; the other surpasses in speeches of familiar
intercourse, and gives more pleasure.


A numerous band of orators follows, for Athens produced ten of them,
contemporary with one another. Demosthenes was by far the chief of them,
and in a manner held to be the only model for eloquence; so great is
his force; so closely together are all things interwoven in his
discourse, and attended with a certain self-command; so great is his
accuracy, he never adopting any idle expression; and so just his
precision that nothing lacking, nothing redundant, can be found in him.
Æschines is more full, more diffusive, and appears the more grand, as he
has more breadth. He has more flesh, but not so many sinews.

_Lysias and Isocrates_

Lysias, older than these, is subtle and elegant, and if it is enough for
the orator to instruct, none could be found more perfect than he is.
There is nothing idle, nothing far-fetched in him; yet is he more like a
clear brook than a great river. Isocrates, in a different kind of
eloquence, is fine and polished, and better adapted for engaging in a
mock than a real battle. He was attentive to all the beauties of
discourse, and had his reasons for it, having intended his eloquence for
schools and not for contentions at the bar. His invention was easy, he
was very fond of graces and embellishments, and so nice was he in his
composition that his extreme care is not without reprehension.


Among philosophers, by whom Cicero confesses he has been furnished with
many resourceful aids to eloquence, who doubts that Plato is the chief,
whether we consider the acuteness of his dissertations, or his divine
Homerical faculty of elocution? He soars high above prose, and even
common poetry, which is poetry only because comprised in a certain
number of feet; and he seems to me not so much endowed with the wit of
a man, as inspired by a sort of Delphic oracle.


What shall I say of Xenophon's unaffected agreeableness, so unattainable
by any imitation that the Graces themselves seem to have composed his
language? The testimony of the ancient comedy concerning Pericles, is
very justly applicable to him, "That the Goddess of Persuasion had
seated herself on his lips."

_Aristotle and Theophrastus_

And what shall I say of the elegance of the other disciples of Socrates?
What of Aristotle? I am at a loss to know what most to admire in him,
his vast and profound erudition, or the great number of his writings, or
his pleasing style and manner, or the inventions and penetration of his
wit, or the variety of his works. And as to Theophrastus, his elocution
has something so noble and so divine that it may be said that from these
qualities came his name.


In regard to our Roman authors, we can not more happily begin than with
Vergil, who of all their poets and ours in the epic style, is without
any doubt the one who comes nearest to Homer. Tho obliged to give way to
Homer's heavenly and immortal genius, yet in Vergil are to be found a
greater exactness and care, it being incumbent on him to take more
pains; so that what we lose on the side of eminence of qualities, we
perhaps gain on that of justness and equability.


I proceed to our orators, who likewise may put Roman eloquence upon a
par with the Grecian. Cicero I would strenuously oppose against any of
them, tho conscious of the quarrel I should bring upon myself by
comparing him with Demosthenes in a time so critical as this; especially
as my subject does not oblige me to it, neither is it of any
consequence, when it is my real opinion that Demosthenes ought to be
particularly read, or, rather, committed to memory.

I must say, notwithstanding, that I judge them to be alike in most of
the great qualities they possest; alike in design, disposition, manner
of dividing, of preparing minds, of proving, in short in everything
belonging to invention. In elocution there is some difference. The one
is more compact, the other more copious; the one closes in with his
opponent, the other allows him more ground to fight in; the one is
always subtle and keen in argument, the other is perhaps less so, but
often has more weight; from the one nothing can be retrenched, neither
can anything be added to the other; the one has more study, the other
more nature.

Still ought we to yield, if for no other reason than because Demosthenes
lived before Cicero, and because the Roman orator, however great, is
indebted for a large part of his merit to the Athenian. For it seems to
me that Cicero, having bent all his thoughts on the Greeks, toward
forming himself on their model, had at length made constituents of his
character the force of Demosthenes, the abundance of Plato, and the
sweetness of Isocrates. Nor did he only, by his application, extract
what was best in these great originals, but by the happy fruitfulness of
his immortal genius he himself produced the greater part, or rather all,
of these same perfections. And to make use of an expression of Pindar,
he does not collect the water from rains to remedy a natural dryness,
but flows continually, himself, from a source of living waters, and
seems to have existed by a peculiar gift of Providence, that in him
eloquence might make trial of her whole strength and her most powerful

For who can instruct with more exactness, and move with more vehemence?
What orator ever possest so pleasing a manner that the very things he
forcibly wrests from you, you fancy you grant him; and when by his
violence he carries away the judge, yet does the judge seem to himself
to obey his own volition, and not to be swept away by that of another?
Besides, in all he says there is so much authority and weight that you
are ashamed to differ from him in opinion; and it is not the zeal of an
advocate you find in him, but rather the faith and sincerity of a
witness or judge. And what, at the same time, is more admirable, all
these qualities, any one of which could not be attained by another
without infinite pains, seem to be his naturally; so that his
discourses, the most charming, the most harmonious, which possibly can
be heard, retain, notwithstanding, so great an air of happy ease that
they seem to have cost him nothing.

With good reason, therefore, is he said by his contemporaries to reign
at the bar, and he has so far gained the good graces of posterity that
Cicero is now less the name of a man than the name of eloquence itself.
Let us then keep him in view, let him be our model, and let that orator
think he has made considerable progress who has once conceived a love
and taste for Cicero.


If Cæsar had made the bar his principal occupation, no other of our
orators could better have disputed the prize of eloquence with Cicero.
So great is his force, so sharp his wit, so active his fire, that it
plainly appears he spoke with as much spirit as he fought. A wonderful
elegance and purity of language, which he made his particular study,
were a further embellishment of all these talents for eloquence.


It remains only to speak of those who have written on subjects of
philosophy. Hitherto we have had but few of this kind. Cicero, as in
all other respects, so also in this, was a worthy rival of Plato. Brutus
has written some excellent treatises, the merit of which is far superior
to that of his orations. He supports admirably well the weight of his
matter, and seems to feel what he says. Cornelius Celsus, in the manner
of the Skeptics, has written a good many tracts, which are not without
elegance and perspicuity. Plancus, among the Stoics, may be read with
profit, for the sake of becoming acquainted with the things he
discusses. Catius, an Epicurean, has some levity in his way, but in the
main is not an unpleasing author.


I have designedly omitted speaking hitherto of Seneca,--who was
proficient in all kinds of eloquence,--on account of the false opinion
people entertained that I not only condemned his writings, but also
personally hated him. I drew this aspersion upon myself by my endeavor
to bring over eloquence to a more austere taste, which had been
corrupted and enervated by very many softnesses and delicacies. Then
Seneca was almost the only author young people read with pleasure. I did
not strive to exclude him absolutely, but could not bear that he should
be preferred to others much better, whom he took all possible pains to
cry down, because he was conscious that he had taken to a different
manner from their way of writing, and he could not otherwise expect to
please people who had a taste for these others. It was Seneca's lot,
however, to be more loved than imitated, and his partizans run as wide
from him as he himself had fallen from the ancients. Yet it were to be
wished that they had proved themselves like, or had come near, him. But
they were fond of nothing in him but his faults, and every one strove to
copy them if he could. Then priding themselves on speaking like Seneca,
of course they could not avoid bringing him into disgrace.

His perfections, however, were many and great. His wit was easy and
fruitful, his erudition considerable, his knowledge extensive--in which
last point he sometimes was led into mistakes, probably by those whom he
had charged to make researches for him. There is hardly a branch of
study on which he has not written something; for we have his orations,
his poems, epistles, and dialogs. In philosophic matters he was not so
accurate, but was admirable for his invectives against vice.

He has many bright thoughts, and many things are well worth reading in
him for improvement of the moral character; but his elocution is, for
the most part, corrupt, and the more dangerous because its vices are of
a sweet and alluring nature. One could wish he had written with his own
genius and another's judgment. For if he had rejected some things, if he
had less studiously affected some engaging beauties, if he had not been
overfond of all his productions, if he had not weakened the importance
of his matter by frivolous thoughts, he would have been honored by the
approbation of the learned rather than by the love of striplings.

However, such as he is, he may be read when the taste is formed and
strengthened by a more austere kind of eloquence, if for no other
reason than because he can exercise judgment on both sides. For, as I
have said, many things in him are worthy of praise, worthy even of
admiration if a proper choice had been made, which I wish he had made
himself, as indeed that nature is deserving of an inclination to embrace
what is better, which has ability to effect anything to which it


Knowledge of the civil law will, likewise, be necessary for the orator
whom we have described, and together with it knowledge of the customs
and religion of the commonwealth of which he may take charge, for how
shall he be able to give counsel in public and private deliberations if
ignorant of the many things which happen together particularly to the
establishment of the State? And must he not falsely aver himself to be
the patron of the causes he undertakes, if obliged to borrow from
another what is of greatest consequence in these causes, in some measure
like those who repeat the writings of poets? And how will he accomplish
what he has so undertaken if the things which he requires the judge to
believe, he shall speak on the faith of another, and if he, the reputed
helper of his clients, shall himself stand in need of the help of


But we will suppose him not reduced to this inconvenience, having
studied his cause sufficiently at home, and having thoroughly informed
himself of all that he has thought proper to lay before the judges: yet
what shall become of him when unforeseen questions arise, which often
are suddenly started on the back of pleadings? Will he not with great
unseemliness look about him? Will he not ask the lower class of
advocates how he shall behave? Can he be accurate in comprehending the
things then whispered to him, when he is to speak on them instantly?
Can he strongly affirm, or speak ingenuously for his clients? Grant that
he may in his pleadings, but what shall be his fate in altercation, when
he must have his answer ready and he has no time for receiving
information? And what if a person learned in the law is not assisting?
What if one who knows little of the matter tells him something that is
wrong? And this is the greatest mischief in ignorance, to believe such a
monitor intelligent.

Now, as we suppose the orator to be a particularly learned and honest
man, when he has made sufficient study of that which naturally is best,
it will give him little trouble if a lawyer dissents from him in
opinion, since even they are admitted to be of different opinions among
themselves. But if he desires to know their sentiments on any point of
law, he need only read a little, which is the least laborious part of
study. If many men who despaired of acquiring the necessary talents for
speaking in public, have engaged in the study of law, with how much more
ease will the orator effect this, which may be learned by those who from
their own confession could not be orators?

M. Cato was as much distinguished by his great eloquence as by his great
learning in the law. Scævola and Servius Sulpitius, both eminent
lawyers, were also very eloquent. Cicero not only in pleading never
appeared at a loss in knowledge of the law, but also began to write some
tracts on it. From all these examples it appears that an orator may not
less attend to the teaching than the learning of it.


I would not have him who is to speak rise unconcerned, show no change of
color, and betray no sense of danger,--if they do not happen naturally,
they ought at least to be pretended. But this sense should proceed from
solicitude for performing well our duty, not from a motive of fear; and
we may decently betray emotion, but not faint away. The best remedy,
therefore, for bashfulness, is a modest assurance, and however weak the
forehead may be, it ought to be lifted up, and well it may by conscious


There are natural aids, as specified before, which are improved by care,
and these are the voice, lungs, a good presence, and graceful action,
which are advantages sometimes so considerable as to beget a reputation
for wit. Our age produced orators more copious than Trachallus, but when
he spoke he seemed to surpass them all, so great was the advantage of
his stature, the sprightliness of his glance, the majesty of his aspect,
the beauty of his action, and a voice, not as Cicero desires it should
be, but almost like that of tragedians, and surpassing all the
tragedians I ever heard. I well remember that when he once pleaded in
the Julian Hall before the first bench of judges, and there also, as
usual, the four classes of judges were then sitting, and the whole place
rang with noise, he was not only heard distinctly from the four benches,
but also was applauded, which was a disparagement to those who spoke
after him. But this is the accumulation of what can be wished for, and a
happiness hard to be met with, and as it can not fall to every one's
lot, let the orator strive at least to make himself heard by those
before whom he speaks.


Above all, as happens to a great many, let not desire for temporary
praise keep our orator from having an eye to the interest of the cause
he has undertaken. For as generals in waging wars do not always march
their armies over pleasant plains, but often must climb rugged hills,
must lay siege to forts and castles raised on steep rocks and mountains,
and fortified both by nature and by art: so an orator will be pleased
with an opportunity to make great excursions, and when he engages on
champion ground, he will display all his forces so as to make an
exceedingly fine appearance; but if under the necessity of unraveling
the intricacies of some points of law, or placing truth in a clear
light from amidst the obscurity thrown around it, he will not then
ostentatiously ride about, nor will he use a shower of pointed
sentences, as missive weapons; but he will carry on his operations by
frustrating his enemy; by mines, by ambuscade, and by stratagem: all of
which are not much to be commended while they are being used, but after
they have been practised. Whence those men benefit themselves most, who
seem least desirous of praise; for when the frivolous parade of
eloquence has ceased its bursts of thunder among its own applauders, the
more potent applause of true talents will appear in genuine splendor;
the judges will not conceal the impressions which have been made on
them; the sense of the learned will outweigh the opinion of ignorance:
so true it is that it is the winding up of the discourse, and the
success attending it, that must prove its true merit.


It was customary with the ancients to hide their eloquence; and M.
Antonius advises orators so to do, in order that they may be the more
believed, and that their stratagems may be less suspected. But the
eloquence of those times could well be concealed, not yet having made an
accession of so many luminaries as to break out through every
intervening obstacle to the transmission of their light. But indeed all
art and design should be kept concealed, as most things when once,
discovered lose their value. In what I have hitherto spoken of,
eloquence loves nothing else so much as privacy. A choice of words,
weight of thought, elegance of figures, either do not exist, or they
appear. But because they appear, they are not therefore to be displayed
with ostentation. Or if one of the two is to be chosen, let the cause
rather than the advocate be praised; still the issue will justify him,
by his having pleaded excellently a very good cause. It is certain that
no one else pleads so ill as he who endeavors to please, while his cause
displeases; because the things by which he pleases must necessarily be
foreign to his subject.

The orator ought not to be so particular and vain as not to undertake
the pleading of the smaller kind of causes, as beneath him, or as if a
matter of less consequence should in any respect lessen the reputation
he has acquired. Duty indeed is a just motive for his undertaking them,
and he should wish that his friends were never engaged in any other
kind of suits, which in the main are set off with sufficient eloquence
when he has spoken to the purpose.


Some are very liberal in abuse of the advocate of the opposing party,
but unless he has brought it upon himself, I think it is acting very
ungenerously by him, in consideration of the common duties of the
profession. Add to this that these sallies of passion are of no
advantage whatever to him who pleads, the opponent having, in his turn,
an equal right to abuse; and they may even be harmful to the cause,
because the opponent, spurred on to become a real enemy, musters
together all the forces of wit to conquer if possible. Above all, that
modesty is irrecoverably lost which procures for the orator so much
authority and belief, if once departing from the character of a good
man, he degenerates into a brawler and barker, conforming himself not to
the disposition of the judge, but to the caprice and resentment of the

Taking liberties of this kind frequently leads the orator to hazard some
rash expressions not less dangerous to the cause than to himself.
Pericles was accustomed to wish, with good reason, that no word might
ever enter his mind which could give umbrage to the people. But the
respect he had for the people ought in my opinion to be had for all, who
may have it in their power to do as much hurt; for the words that seemed
strong and bold when exprest, are called foolish when they have given


As every orator is remarkable for his manner, the care of one having
been imputed to slowness, and the facility of another to rashness, it
may not be amiss to point out here a medium. Let him come for pleading
prepared with all possible care, as it must argue not only neglect, but
also a wicked and treacherous disposition in him, to plead worse than he
can in the cause he undertakes, therefore he should not undertake more
causes than he is well able to handle.

He should say things, studied and written, in as great a degree as the
subject can bear, and, as Demosthenes says, deeply engraven, if it were
possible, on his memory, and as perfect as may be. This may be done at
the first pleading of a cause, and when in public judgments a cause is
adjourned for some time before it comes to a rehearsing. But when a
direct reply is to be made, due preparations are impracticable; and even
they who are not so ready find what they have written to be rather a
prejudice to them if anything unexpectedly is brought forward; for it is
with reluctance that they part with what they have prepared, and keeping
it in mind during the whole pleading, they are forced to continually
wonder if anything can be taken from it to be included in what they are
obliged to speak extempore. And tho this may be done, there will still
be a lack of connection, and the incoherence will be discoverable from
the different coloring and inequality of style. Thus there is neither an
uninterrupted fluency in what they say extempore, nor a connection
between it and what they recite from memory, for which reason one must
be a hindrance to the other, for the written matter will always bring
to it the attention of the mind, and scarcely ever follow it. Therefore
in these actions, as country-laboring men say, we must stand firmly on
our legs. For, as every cause consists of proving and refuting, whatever
regards the first may be written, and whatever it is certain the
opponent will answer, as sometimes it is certain what he will, may be
refuted with equal care and study.

Knowing the cause well is one essential point for being prepared in
other respects, and listening attentively to all the opponent states, is
another. Still we may previously think of many particular incidents and
prepare the mind for all emergencies, this being of special advantage in
speaking, the thought being thereby the more easily transmitted and

But when in answering or otherwise there may be necessity for extempore
speaking, the orator will never find himself at a loss and disconcerted,
who has been prepared by discipline, and study, and exercise, with the
powers of facility, and who, as always under arms and ready for
engaging, will no more lack a sufficient flow of speech in the pleading
of causes than he does in conversation on daily and domestic
occurrences; neither will he ever, for lack of coming duly prepared,
decline burdening himself with a cause, if he has time to learn the
state of it, for with anything else he always will be well


The orator having distinguished himself by these perfections of
eloquence at the bar, in counsels, in the assemblies of the people, in
the senate, and in all the duties of a good citizen, ought to think,
likewise, of making an end worthy of an honest man and the sanctity of
his ministry: not that during the course of his life he ought to cease
being of service to society, or that, endowed with such integrity of
mind and such talent of eloquence, he can continue too long in the
exercise of so noble an employment; but because it is fitting that he
should guard against degrading his character, by doing anything which
may fall short of what he has already done. The orator is indebted for
what he is, not only to knowledge, which increases with his years, but
to his voice, lungs, and strength of body; and when the latter are
impaired by years, or debilitated by infirmities, it is to be feared
that something might be lacking in this great man, either from his
stopping short through fatigue, and out of breath at every effort, or by
not making himself sufficiently heard, or, lastly, by expecting, and not
finding, him to be what he formerly was.

When the orator does sound a retreat, no less ample fruits of study will
attend on him. He either will write the history of his time for the
instruction of posterity, or he will explain the law to those who came
to ask his advice, or he will write a treatise on eloquence, or that
worthy mouth of his will employ itself in inculcating the finest moral
precepts. As was customary with the ancients, well-disposed youth will
frequent his house, consulting him as an oracle on the true manner of
speaking. As the parent of eloquence will he form them, and as an old
experienced pilot will he give them an account of shores, and harbors,
and what are the presages of storms, and what may be required for
working the ship in contrary or favorable winds. To all this will he be
induced not only by a duty of humanity common to mankind, but also by a
certain pleasure in it; for no one would be glad to see an art going
into decay, in which he himself excelled, and what is more laudable than
to teach others that in which one is perfectly skilled?

For all I know, the happiest time in an orator's life is when he has
retired from the world to devote himself to rest; and, remote from envy,
and remote from strife, he looks back on his reputation, as from a
harbor of safety; and while still living has a sense of that veneration
which commonly awaits only the dead; thus anticipating the pleasure of
the noble impression posterity will conceive of him. I am conscious that
to the extent of my poor ability, whatever I knew before, and whatever I
could collect for the service of this work, I have candidly and
ingenuously made a communication of, for the instruction of those who
might be willing to reap any advantage from it: and it is enough for an
honest man to have taught what he knows.

To be good men, which is the first and most important thing, consists
chiefly in the will, and whoever has a sincere desire to be a man of
integrity, will easily learn the arts that teach virtue; and these arts
are not involved in so many perplexities, neither are they of such
great number, as not to be learned by a few years' application. The
ordering of an upright and happy life is attainable by an easy and
compendious method, when inclination is not lacking. Nature begot us
with the best dispositions, and it is so easy to the well-inclined to
learn that which is good, that we can not help being surprized, on
making a due estimate of things, how there can be so many bad persons in
the world. For, as water is naturally a proper element for fish, dry
land for quadrupeds, and air for birds, so indeed it ought to be more
easy to live according to the prescript of nature than to infringe her

As to the rest, tho we might measure our age, not by the space of more
advanced years, but by the time of youth, we should find that we had
quite years enough for learning, all things being made shorter by
order, method, and the manner of application. To bring the matter home
to our oratorical studies, of what significance is the custom which I
see kept up by many, of declaiming so many years in schools, and of
expending so much labor on imaginary subjects, when in a moderate time
the rules of eloquence may be learned, and pursuant to their directions,
a real image framed of the contests at the bar? By this I do not mean to
hint in the least that exercises for speaking should ever be
discontinued, but rather that none should grow old in any one particular
exercise for that purpose, for we may require the knowledge of many
sciences, and learn the precepts of morality, and exercise ourselves in
such causes as are agitated at the bar, even while we continue in the
state of scholars. And indeed the art of oratory is such as need not
require many years for learning it. Each of the arts I have mentioned
may be abridged into few books, there being no occasion to consider them
so minutely and so much in detail. Practise remains, which soon makes us
well skilled in them. Knowledge of things is increasing daily, and yet
books are not so many; it is necessary to read in order to acquire this
knowledge, of which either examples as to the things themselves may be
met with in history, or the eloquent expression of them may be found in
orators. It is also necessary that we should read the opinions of
philosophers and lawyers, with some other things deserving of notice.


All this indeed may be compassed, but we ourselves are the cause of our
not having time enough. How small a portion of it do we allot to our
studies! A good part of it is spent in frivolous compliments and paying
and returning visits, a good part of it is taken up in the telling of
idle stories, a good part at the public spectacles, and a good part in
the pleasures of the table. Add to these our great variety of
amusements, and that extravagant indulgence we bestow upon our bodies.
One time we must go on a course of travels, another time we wish
recreation amidst the pleasures of rural life, and another time we are
full of painful solicitude regarding the state of our fortune,
calculating and balancing our loss and gain; and together with these,
how often do we give ourselves up to the intoxication of wine, and in
what a multiplicity of voluptuousness does our profligate mind suffer
itself to be immersed? Should there be an interval for study amidst
these avocations, can it be said to be proper? But were we to devote all
this idle or ill-spent time to study, should we not find life long
enough and time more than enough for becoming learned? This is evident
by only computing the time of the day, besides the advantages of the
night, of which a good part is more than sufficient for sleep. But we
now preposterously compute not the years we have studied, but the years
we have lived. Tho geometricians and grammarians, and the professors of
other arts, spent all their lives, however long, in treating and
discussing their respective arts, does it thence follow that we must
have as many lives as there are things to be learned? But they did not
extend the learning of them to old age, being content with learning them
only, and they spent so many years not so much in their study as in
their practise.

Now, tho one should despair of reaching to the height of perfection, a
groundless hope even in a person of genius, health, talent, and with
masters to assist him; yet it is noble, as Cicero says, to have a place
in the second, or third, rank. He who can not rival the glory of
Achilles in military exploits, shall not therefore have a mean opinion
of the praise due to Ajax, or Diomedes, and he who can not approach
Homer, need not despise the fame of Tyrteus. If men were to yield to the
thought of imagining none capable of exceeding such eminent persons as
went before them, then they even who are deemed excellent would not have
been so. Vergil would not have excelled Lucretius and Macer; nor Cicero,
Crassus and Hortensius; and no one for the future would pretend to any
advantage over his predecessor.

Tho the hope of surpassing these great men be but faint, yet it is an
honor to follow them. Have Pollio and Messala, who began to appear at
the bar when Cicero was already possest of the empire of eloquence,
acquired little dignity in their life-time, and left but a small degree
of glory for the remembrance of posterity? True it is that arts brought
to perfection would deserve very ill of human affairs if afterward they
could not at least be kept to the same standard.


Add to this that a moderate share of eloquence is attended with no small
advantage, and if measured by the fruits gathered from it, will almost
be on a par with that which is perfect. It would be no difficult matter
to show from many ancient or modern examples that no other profession
acquires for men, greater honors, wealth, friendship, present and future
glory, were it not degrading to the honor of letters to divert the mind
from the contemplation of the most noble object, the study and
possession of which is such a source of contentment, and fix it on the
less momentous rewards it may have, not unlike those who say they do not
so much seek virtue as the pleasure resulting from it.

Let us therefore with all the zealous impulses of our heart endeavor to
attain the very majesty of eloquence, than which the immortal gods have
not imparted anything better to mankind, and without which all would be
mute in nature, and destitute of the splendor of a perfect glory and
future remembrance. Let us likewise always make continued progress
toward perfection, and by so doing we shall either reach the height, or
at least shall see many beneath us.

This is all, as far as in me lies, I could contribute to the promoting
and perfecting of the art of eloquence; the knowledge of which, if it
does not prove of any great advantage to studious youth, will, at least,
what I more heartily wish for, give them a more ardent desire for doing

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

How to Read and Declaim



_Formerly Instructor in Public Speaking at Yale Divinity School; Author
of "How to Speak in Public," etc._

This eminently practical book is divided into five parts:

PART ONE--Preparatory Course: Twenty Lessons on Naturalness,
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kindred topics.

PART TWO--Advance Course: Twenty Lessons on Thought Values, Thought
Directions, Persuasion, Power, Climax, etc., etc.

PART THREE--Articulation and Pronunciation.

PART FOUR--Gesture and Facial Expression.

PART FIVE--The most up-to-date and popular prose and poetic selections
anywhere to be found.

It is a book to beget intelligent reading, so as to develop in the
student mental alertness, poise, and self-confidence.

_12mo, Cloth. $1.50, net; by mail, $1.65_



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Kleiser's Complete Guide to Public Speaking


Famous Author of many Practical Books and Courses

The only extensive, comprehensive, encyclopedic work of its kind ever
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     _Of Great Worth to the Public Speaker_

     "I consider it a compendium of particularly valuable information to
     all men who are called upon to address public
     audiences."--_Josephus Daniels_, Secretary of the Navy.

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_Royal 8vo, Cloth, over 700 Pages, $5.00 net. Full Flexible Leather,
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