Abbildungen der Seite

more correct, and less verbose ; and even his body was grown more robust. [u] He found two orators at Rome, who had gained great reputation, and whom he much desired to equal; these were Cotta and Hortensius, but especially the latter, who was very near of the same age with himself, and whose manner of writing bore a near resemblance to his own. It is not an idle curiosity in young men designed for the Bar, to see those two great orators contending for prizes, like two wrestlers, and disputing for victory with one another during several years, through a noble emulation. I shall here relate a part of what Cicero tells us on that subject.

[.2] Hortensius wanted none of those qualifications, either naturaloracquired, which form the great orator. He had a lively genius, an inconceivable passion for study, a large extent of knowledge, a prodigious memory, and so perfect a manner of pronunciation, that the most celebrated actors of his time went on purpose to hear hiin, in order to form themselves by his example for gesture and declamation. Thus he made a shining figure at the Bar, and acquired great reputation.

[y] But there being nothing further to animate his ambition, after he was raised to the consulship, and desirous of a more happy way of life, as he imagined, or at least a more easy one, with the great possessions he had acquired, he began to grow indolent, and abated very much of the warmth he had always entertained for study from his childhood. There was

(] Duo tum excellebant orato. puero fuerat incensus : atque in om. res, qui me imitandi cupiditate in. nium rerum abundantiâ voluit beacitarent, Cotta & Hortensius. ... tiùs, ut ipse putabat, remissiùs cerCum Hortensio mihi magis arbitra. iè, vivere. Primus, & secundus an. bar rem esse; quod & dicendi ardore nus, & tertius tantum quasi de pice eram propior, & ætate conjunctior. turæ veteris colore detraxerat, quan

tum non quivis unus ex populo, sed {*} Nihil isti, neque à naturâ, existimator doctus & intelligens pose neque à doctrinâ defuit. ... Erat set cognoscere. Longiùs autem proingenia peracri, & studio Aagranti, cedens, & in cæteris eloquentiæ & doctrinâ eximiâ & memoriâ sin- partibus, tum maximè in celeritate gulari. 3. de Orat. n. 229, 230,

& continuatione verborum adhæres(3] Pose consulatum . , suminum cens; sui dissimilior videbatur fieri Hlud suum studium remisit, quo à quotidie. Brut. n. 320.


Brut. n. 317.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

some difference in his manner of pleading, the first, second, and third years after his consulship; but this was scarce perceivable; and none but the learned could observe it: as happens to pictures, the brightness of whose colours decay insensibly. This declension increased with his years, and, when his fire and vivacity left him, he grew every day more unlike himself.

[-] Cicero, however, redoubling his efforts, made a very great progress, endeavouring to come up with his rival, and even outstrip him, if possible, in that noble career of glory, where pleaders are allowed to dispute the palm with their best friends. A new species of Eloquence, beautiful as well as energetic, which he introduced in the Bar, drew people's eyes upon him, and made him the object of public admiration. He himself gives an excellent picture of this, but in a curious and delicate manner; by observing what was wanting in others, and shewing by that means what was admired in himself. I shall transcribe the whole passage, because youth may therein see all the parts which form this great orator.

[a] No person at that time, says Cicero, made polite literature his particular study, without which “there is no perfect Eloquence: no one studied phi

[z] Nos autem non desistebamus, moriam rerum Romanarum teneret, cum omni genere exercitationis, ex qua, si quando opus esset, ab intum maximè stilo, nostrum illud feris locupletissimos testes excitaret: quod erat augere : quantumcumque nemo, qui breviter argutèque inerat. . . Nam cùm propter assiduita. cluso adversario, laxaret judicum tem in causis, & industriam, tum animos, atque à severitate paulisper propter exquisitius & minimè vul- ad hilaritatem risumque traduceret: gare orationis genus, animos homi- nemo, qui dilatare posset, atque à num ad me dicendi novitate conver- propriâ ac definitâ disputatione hoteran. n. 521.

minis ac temporis ad communem [a] Nihil de me dicam ; dicam quæstionem universi generis oration de cæteris, quorum nemo erat qui nem traduceret : nemo, qui delecvideretur exquisitiùs quam vulgus tandi gratiâ digredi parumper

â hominum suduisse literis, quibus causâ: nemo, qui ad iracundiam fons perfectæ eloquentiæ continetur; magnoperè judicem, nemo, qui ad nemo, qui philosophiam complexus Aetuin posset adducere: nemo qui esset, matrem omnium benè facto. animum ejus (quod unum est ora. rum benèque dictorum : nemo, qui toris maximè proprium) quocumjus civile didicisset, rem ad privatas que res postularet, impelleret. Brut. causas, & ad oratoris prudentiam, n. 322. maximè necessariamn: nemo, qui me

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]


"losophy thoroughly, which alone teaches us at one

and the same time, to live and speak well: no one " learned the civil law, which is absolutely necessary

for an orator, to enable him to plead well in pri

vate causes, and form a true judgment of public “affairs: there was no person well skilled in the Ro

man history, or able to make a proper use of it in pleading: no one could raise a cheerfulness in the judges, and unruffle them, as it were, by season"able railleries, after having vigorously pushed his adversary, by the strength and solidity of his

arguments; no one had the art of transferring or con

verting the circumstance of a private affair into a “common or general one: no person could some"times depart from his subject by prudent digres

sions, to throw in the agreeable into his discourse : " in fine, no person could incline the judges some

times to anger, sometimes to compassion; and inspire them with whatever sentiments he pleased, "wherein, however, the principal merit of an ora"tor consists."

[6] Cicero's great success roused Hortensius from his lethargy, especially when he saw him promoted to the consulate: fearing, no doubt, that now he was equal to him in dignity, he would surpass him in merit. They afterwards pleaded together for twelve years, lived in great unity, and had an esteem for one another, each exalting the other much above himself. But the public gave the preference to Cicero without hesitation.

[c] The latter orator tells us the reason why Hortensius was more agreeable to the public in his youth, than in his advanced years.

gave into a florid

kind [b] Itaque, cùm jam penè evanu. junctissimè versati sumus. Brut, n. isset Hortensius,& ego consul factus 313. essem, revocare se ad industriam cæ- [c] Si quærimus cur adolescens pit: ne, cùm pares honore essemus, magis floruerit dicendo, quàm sealiquâ re superior viderer. Sic du. nior Hortensius : causas reperiemus odecim post meum consulatum an- verissimas duas. Primùm, quòd nos in maximis causis cùm ego mi- genus erat orationis Asiaticum,adobi illum, sibi me ille anteferretcon- Tescentiæ magis concessum, quàm VOL. II. H

senectuti, Sed cùm

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


kind of Eloquence, enriched with happy expressions; a great beauty and delicacy of thought, which was often more shining than solid; an uncommon correctness, justness and elegance. His discourses thus, laboured with infinite care and art, supported by a musical voice, an agreeable action, and an exquisite utterance, were extremely pleasing in a young man, and at first engrossed the applause of all men. But afterwards this kind of gay Eloquence became unseasonable, because the weight of the public employments he had passed through, and the maturity of his years, required something more grave and serious. He was always the same orator, had always the same style, but not the same success. Besides, as his ardor for study was very much abated, and he did not take so much pains as formerly, the thoughts, which till then had brightened his pieces, having no longer their former embellishment, but appearing with a negligent air, lost most of their splendor, and by that means made the orator sink very much in his reputation.



The bare relation I have made of the conduct of the great orators of antiquity, will sufficiently point out to youth designed for the Bar, the path they are to follow, if they propose to attain the same end.

senectutí ... Itaque Hortensius hoc auctoritatis habebat parum, tamen
genere florens, clamores faciebat aptum esse ætati videbatur. Et
adolescens. ... Erat in verborum certè, quòd ingenii quædam forma
splendore elegans, compositione ap- lucebat ... summam hominum ad-
tus, facultate copiosus... Vox ca- mirationem excitabat,
nora & suavis: motus & gestus etin jam honores, & illa senior auctori-
am plus artis habebat quàm erat tas gravius quiddam requireret ; se.
oratori satis. Habebat illud studio manebat idem, nec decebat idem.
um crebrarun venustarumque sen- Quodque exercitationem studium-
tentiarum: in quibus erant quædam que dimiserat, quod in eo fuerat acer-
magis venustæ dulcesque sententiæ, rimum, concinnitas illa crebritasque
quàm aut necessariæ, aut interdum sententiarum pristina manebat, sed
utiles. Et erat oratio cùm incitata ea vestitu illo orationis, quo consue-
& vibrans, tum etiam accurata & verat, ornata non erat. Brut. 325,
polita. .. Etsi genus illud dicendi 326, 327, & 330.




1. The first and principal thing they must do, is to form a grand idea of their profession. For, though it does not now lead to the chief employments in the state, as formerly at Athens and at Rome; yet what esteem does it not gain those who distinguish themselves in it, either in pleading or giving counsel ? [d] Can any thing delight a private man more, than to see his house frequented by persons of the greatest rank, and even by princes, who in all their doubts and necessities resort to him as to an oracle, to pay homage to his profession and extraordinary abilities, and to acknowledge a superiority of learning and prudence, which riches and grandeur cannot bestow? Is there any finer sight, than to see a numerous auditory attentive, immoveable, and, as it were, hanging on the lips of a pleader, who manages speech, seemingly common to all, with so much art, that he charms and ravishes the minds of his hearers, and makes himself absolute master over them? But besides this glory, which would be trifling enough were there no other motive; what solid joy is it for a virtuous man to think he has received a talent from God, which makes him the sanctuary of the unfortunate, the protector of justice ; and enables him to defend the lives, fortunes, and honours of his brethren ?

2. A natural consequence of this first reflection, is, that those designed for the Bar should prepare themselves for a profession of such great importance, and imitate, at least at a distance, the passion and indefa

[d] Quid est præclarius, quàm DIMITTO, UT NE RES TE. honoribus & reipublicæ muneribus

MERE TRACTENT TURperfunctum senem, posse suo jure dicere idem, quod apud Ennium Est enim sine dubio domus juris. dicat ille Pythius Apollo, se eum

consulti totius vraculum civitatis. esse, UNDE sibi non POPU- 1. de Orat. n. 166, 200. LI ET REGES, at omnes sui

Ulla-ne tanta ingentium opum ac cives CONSILIUM EXPE- magnæ potentiæ voluptas, quam TANT,

spectare homines veteres & senes, SUARUM RERUM INCERTI: & totius urbis gratiâ subnixos, in QUOS EGO MEA OPE EX summâ omnium rerum abundantiâ, INCERTIS CERTOS, COM. confitentes id quod optimum sit se POTESQUE CONSILII non habere ? Dialog. de Orat. n.6.



H 2

« ZurückWeiter »