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The third and highest degree of Eloquence is that by which we are not only convinced, but interested, agitated, and carried along with the speaker; our passions rise with his; we share all his emotions; we love, we hate, we resent as he inspires us ; and are prompted to resolve, or to act with vigor and warmth.
Debate in popular assemblies opens the most extensive field to this species of eloquence and the pulpit also admits it.
This high species of Eloquence is always the offspring of passion. By passion we mean that state of mind in which it is agitated and fired by some object in view. Hence the universally acknowledged power of enthusiasm in public speakers for affecting their audience. Hence all studied declamation and laboured ornaments of style, which show the mind to be cool and unmoved, are inconsistent with persuasive eloquence. Hence every kind of affectation in gesture and pronunciation detracts so much from the weight of a speak
Hence the necessity of being, and of being believed to be, disinterested and in earnest in order to persuade.
In tracing the origin of Eloquence, it is not necessary to go far back into the early ages of the world, or to search for it
the monuments of Eastern or Egyptian antiquity. In those ages, it is true, there was a certain kind of eloquence, but it was more nearly allied to poetry, than to what we properly call oratory. While the intercourse of men was in frequent, and force was the principal mean employed in deciding controversies, the arts of oratory and persuasion, of reasoning and debate, could be little known.
The first empires were of the despotic kind. A single person, or at most a few, field the reins of government. The multitude were accustom ed to blind obedience; they were driven, not persuaded. Consequently none of those refinements of society which make public speaking an object of importance, were introduced.
Before the rise of the Grecian Republics we perceive no remarkable appearances of Eloquence, as the art of persuasion; and these gave it such a field, as it never had before, and perhaps has never had again since that time. Greece was divided into many little states. These were gove erned at first by kings ; who being for their tyranny successively expelled from tbeir dominions, there sprung up a multitude of democratical governments founded nearly upon the same plan, animated by the same high spirit of freedom, mutually jealous and rivals of each other. Among these Athens was most noted for arts of every kind, but especially for Eloquence. We shall pass over the orators, who flourished in the ear. ly period of this republic, and take a view of the great Demosthenes, in whom eloquence shone with unrivalled splendour. Not formed by nature either to please or persuade, he struggled with and surmounted the most formidable impediments. He shut himself up in a cave that he might study with less distraction. He de. claimed by the sea-shore that he might be used to the noise of a tumultuous assembly, and with
; pebbles in his mouth, that he might correct a defect in his speech. He practised at home with a naked sword hanging over his shoulder, that he might check an ungraceful motion to
which he was subject. Hence the example of this great man affords the highest encouragement to every student of eloquence; since it shows how far art and application availed for acquiring an excellence, which uature appeared willing to deny.
No orator had ever a finer field than Demosthenes in his Olynthiacs and Philippies, which are his capital orations; and undoubtedly to the greatness of the subject, and to that integrity and public spirit, which breathe in them, they owe much of their merit. The object is to rouse the indignation of his countrymen against Philip of Macedon, the public enemy of the liberties of Greece; and to guard them against the insidious measures by which that crafty prince endeavoured to lay them asleep to danger. To attain this end, we see him using every proper mean to animate a people, distinguished by justice, humanity, and valour; but in many instances become corrupt and degenerate. He boldly accuses them of venality, indolence, and indifference to the public cause ; while at the same time he reminds them of the glory of their ancestors, and of their present resources, His cotemporary orators, who were bribed by Philip, and pursuaded the people to peace, he openly reproaches, as traitors to their country. He not only prompts to vigorous measures, but lays down the plan of execution. His orations are strongly animated, and full of the impetuosity and fire of public spirit. His composition is not distinguished by ornament and splendour. It is energy of thought, peculiarly his own, which forms his character, and sets him above all others. He seems not to attend to
words, but to things. We forget the orator, and think of the subject. He has no parade ; no studied introductions ; but is like a man full of his
; subject, who, after preparing his audience by a sentence or two for hearing plain truths, enters directly on business.
The style of Demosthenes is strong and concise, though sometimes harsh and abrupt. His words are very expressive and his arrangement firm and manly. Negligent of little graces, he aims at that sublime which lies in sentiment. His action an pronunciation were uncomvonly vehement and ardent. His character is of the austere rather than of the gentle kind. He is always grave, serious, passionate; never degrading himself. nor attempting any thing like pleasantry. If his admirable eloquence be in any respect faulty, it is in this, he sometimes borders on the hard and dry. He may be thought to want smoothness and grace; which is attributed to his imitating too closely the manner of Thucydides, who was his great model for style, and whose history he transcribed eight times with his own hand. But these defects are more than compensated by that masterly force of masculine eloquence, which, as it overpowered all who heard it, cannot in the present day be Pead without emotion.
ROMAN ELOQUENCE...CICERO...MODERN ELOQUENCE.
Having treated of Eloquence among the Greeks, We now proceed to consider its progress among
the Romans; where we shall find one model at least of eloquence in its most splendid form. The Romans derived their eloquence, poetry, and learning, from the Greeks, and were far inferi. or to them in genius for all these accomplishments. They have neither their vivacity, nor sensibility; their passions were not so easily moved nor their conceptions so lively ; in comparison with them they were a phlegmatic people. Their language resembled their character; it was regular, firm and stately; but wanted that expressiye simplicity, that flexibility to suit every different species of composition, by which the Greek tongue is peculiarly distinguished. Hence we always find in Greek productions more native genius; in Roman, more regularity and art.
As the Roman government, during the republic, was of the popular kind, public speaking early became the mean of acquiring power and distinction. But in the unpolished times of the state their speaking hardly deserved the name of eloquence. It was but a short time before the age of Cicero, that the Roman orators rose into any reputation. Crassus and Antonius seem to have been the most eminent; but as none of their works are extant, nor any of Hortensius's who was Cicero's rival at the bar, it is not necessary to transcribe what Cicero said of them, and of the character of their eloquence.
The objeet most worthy of our attention, is Cicero himself; whose name alone suggests every thing splendid in oratory. With his life and character in other respects we are not at present concerned. We shall view him only as an eloquent speaker; and endeavour to mark both his