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Mystery of this whole Art, he engages Antonius tó uncertake it, who had compos'd a Tract to this purpose, and who accordingly enters upon the Subject in the Second Book. What he says, is much the same with that which Aristotle delivers in his second Book of Rhetorick, concerning the Knowledge of Humanė Nature, and the entring into Man's Heart by the way of his Pafions, Inclinations and Manners; which he describes with the utmost Advantage. He proceeds to the other Qualities necessary to accomplish an Orator : And then enters into the particular Description of the five Parts of an Oration, each of which he touches with very masterly Strokes. Here he recites in brief all that Train of Precepts which are wont to be dictated in the Schuols of Rhetorick : And while be is expressing his Difike of these, he falls at the same time into the almost infinite Variety of Court Business and Questions of Law : And tho this may seem the driest and leaft entertaining Enguiry, in all the Compass of Eloquence, he has yet manag’d it agreeably, and like a Gentleman. In the same fine manner he paints out the several Ways of establishing, or overihrowing, the Proofs and Arguments in Pleading, which he reduces under common Heads; and soleads those, who are born with a Talent for publick Speaking, to the true Source and Fountain of Oratory : Still artfully excusing himself, as not presurning to give Rules, but barely to deliver what he had learnt by Experience of Business, and Course of Tears. In the last place be illustrates the pathetick Part, after a new Way, and with a different Turn from all other Authors ; especially by his own Example in the Case of Norbanus and Cæpio, which be reports at large, and then teaches the Art of moving the Affetions according to the Rules of Aristotle. After which he engages Cæfar, who is suppos’d to fall inte the Company during this Conference, and who hadi the Reputation of sarpassing all others in the Delicacy
and Fineness of Raillery, to speak of that part as one of the brightest Ornaments of Discourse, when prformed with Decency and good Grace. Cæfar having ended this Task, Antonius returns to the Management of the four Branches of an Oration, the Exordium, the Narration, the Confirmation, and the Conclufion. He gives a summary View of the Rules of Panegyrick ; and having explain'd the Invention and Disposition of Speech, be only adds a Word about Memory, and leaves Crassus to treat of Elocution.
Crassus, in the third Book undertakes this part, and makes all the Secret of it to consist in two Things ; first, in speaking finely, or ornamentally, so as to give Dignity to a Discourse; and secondly, in speaking agreeably to the Subječt, by the Choice of Words, the Structure, Harmony and Cadence of Periods. There are, says he, two kinds of Ornaments of Speech : The first Kind is diffus’d thro' the whole Body of an Oration, rendring it Noble and Majestick, fit to attract the publick Admiration, to strike the Heart, and move the Spirits : The second Kind arises from the Figures of Sense and Diction; which that they may look well, must always be set in their proper place. Opon this latter Kind depends the Art of Amplification and Diminution; to aggrandize or leffen Things, as there is occasion, which alone may challenge all the Grace and all the Power of Oratory, when skilfully perform’d. He proceeds to the Composition of Style, by the framing of the Expression, the Turn of Period, and all the Harmony of Speech, which must be adjusted, even to the Nicery of Syllables, that by charming "the Ear, me may win and engage the Soul. He concludes with giving the Rules for Action, which he extols , 20t only as the principal and most important part, but as the very Life and Spirit of true Eloquence. Thus by tracing Cicero in his Three Books, we shall find the Footsteps of the Three Books of Aristotle, without finding the same Drywefs and Severity of
Style. And therefore I cannot come into the Sentiments of Angelus Politian, pho in his Preface to Quintilian, takes upon him to censure the Rhetarical Pieces of Tully, as inaccurate, and immethodical. Whereas they have really a secret Thread, and a latent Method, which is therefore only laid out of sight, that this Artifice may render the Work more curious, and more agreeable.
I shall not stay to go thro the other pieces of this great Orator on the Subject of Eloquence. That which be addresses to Brutus, his particular. Friend, and a great Admirer of this Arte is a list of the Grecian and Roman Orators, with an History of the Times in which they flourisl’d, and an Account of their different Characters, the most instruktive imaginable. That which is intituled Orator, and infcribd to the Same Gentleman, is an Elay of the most excellent Manner of Speaking, and moft perfe&t Kind of Eloquence, among that Multitude of great Mafters who
Signalized themselves in al Ages. The Topicks, the Partitions, the Books of Invention, and those inscrib'd to Herennius, are so many particular Tracts, chiefly fram'd to regulate the Disposition af sommon Places; but such as are not mit haut their Beauty and their use.
As for Quintilian, he has chosen a quite different Track, from that of Aristotle and Cicero. He takes his young Orator out of the very Cradle and the Arms of his Nurse, to train him up for the Bar, and to conduct him Step by Step thro’ the several Parts of Knowledge that are necessary to his Professi
In the first Book be puts him into the Hands of good Master, to form his Tongue by the initial Elements of Pronunciation and Grammar. In the See cond he brings him to the publick Schools of Rhetorick, explains the Nature of this study, with its several Parts, and their mutual Relation and Dependence. In the Third Book be enters upon the Subject of Elo
cution, and pursues it to the End of the sixth. In the seventh Book be treats of the Disposition and Oeconomy of Discourse, which he carries on thro' the four Bocks that follow. In the twelfth and last, he describes all that belongs to the Person of an Orator; he gives the finishing Strokes to his Mind andıhis Behaviour, and invests him with all the good Qualities of a Man of Honour and Vertue. This is the short of Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian in their several Methods.
But after all, if we would speak the Truth, we must confess, that whatever Advantage Eloquence may have receiv'd from the Instructions of so incomparable Mafters, there is still lefs of Art than of Genius in
and most Subjects that come into the Province of an Orator, are of such a kind, as to depend much inore, in their power and Efficacy, on the Opinion of the Hearers, than on the Knowledge and Capacity of the Speaker.' We are to discourse before Asemblies where Ignorance has a large Majority: The Multitude indeed, is almost perpetually the Judge of Speech: And we find Men of all Profesions, who really speak well, and have a Title to the Praise of Eloquence, tho they are utter Strangers to its Rules. But still Art is serviceable in supplying the Defects of Genim; and he that would be compleat in Eloquence, must joyn the Improvements of the one to the Talents of the other; as I hope to make appear in the following Reflexions.
Ο Ρ Ο Ν Τ Η Ε
HOUGH true Eloquence bears a
more absolute Empire, than either i commonly submit, no otherwise than
Authority, or Force, to which we
in Decency, or by Constraint; yer this Empire, like others, is subject to Revolutions, and Decays, by means of certain evil Tastes, which from time to time, impose upon the World, and during the Imposition, pass for good. It was thus that Eloquence began to decline under Tiberius and his Successors; and the Fall of the Roman Polity, which was the most general Cause of the Ruin of this Art, did, soon after, so confound all the Ideas of it, that we are greatly at a loss in these our Days, to recover any Mark or Footftep of the Power which it exercis'd over the