Page images



[blocks in formation]







In this edition of the Speeches of the Athenian Orator, I have endeavoured to produce a work which may prove generally useful, and to contribute by a good text and judicious comments to the pleasure and facility with which his Orations may be read. I have endeavoured in fact to adapt the work to the wants of university students, and of the upper classes in our public schools, in the hope, that, if at all successful, it may also be of service to more advanced scholars, and not without benefit to the teacher as well as the pupil. The familiarity which an editor of ordinary diligence and ability must gain with his author, ought to secure these results, and suggests, if it does not realize, corresponding expectations.

But with such a subject as Demosthenes, an editor may not unreasonably expect another class of readers, besides the student, the teacher, and the scholar by profession. For if the Orator is not unworthy of the praise which has been bestowed upon him, his style and diction must be a valuable study for all who wish to arrive at excellence, or even proficiency in the art of which he was so great a master. Accordingly we find that even in his own age he had imitators such as his calumniator Deinarchus (Dion. Hal. v. 607), and in after times such as the Christian orator “ John of the Golden Mouth !." Indeed it has even been conjectured that we owe the preservation of so many

1 Dobree in his Adversaria (i. part ii.) quotes from St. Chrysostom many passages which are evidently imitations of Demosthenes. The curious reader may compare Gibbon's (c. xxxii.) account of the return of the Christian Orator to Constantinople (A.D. 404) after exile, with the description of the corresponding events in the lives of Cicero and Demosthenes. See page xxxi.

of his speeches to the estimation in which he was held by the most eloquent of the Eastern Church. (A. G. Becker, Literatur der Demosthenes, 52.) In our own times and country, lawyers and statesmen have translated or illustrated his speeches, and recommended them as models for the bar and the senate. Nay, it has been said (Lord Brougham, Eloquence of the Ancients, p. iv) that “the Orator of old was the parliamentary debater, the speaker at public meetings, the preacher, the newspaper, the published sermon, the pamphlet, the volume, all in one.” If this be true of any one, especially is it true of Demosthenes, whose eloquence expresses facts clearly, develops reasoning logically, and combines all those qualities which impel men to action. Such indeed was his chief object in his deliberative speeches; and to those who, amid the struggles of active life, sometimes wish to refresh themselves with the studies of their earlier years, or to prepare themselves for the higher contests of oratory, this Edition of a Master in the art will, I trust, prove both attractive and useful. For I have faithfully endeavoured to explain whatever difficulties occurred to myself, or appeared likely to perplex others, and I have spared neither time nor labour in illustrating those allusions which Demosthenes so frequently makes to the history of his times, and the institutions of his countrymen. In doing this, I have also kept in mind the educational purposes which the “Bibliotheca Classica ” is intended to serve, and to which the works of Demosthenes are so well calculated to minister, whether as regards the training of the intellect, the inculcation of principles, or the acquisition of the Greek language. For as no one can follow the arguments of a logical speaker without exercising the reasoning powers, so even the Christian moralist may adopt the sentiments which the Stoics admired in Demosthenes, while his language, naturally simple and unaffected, never becomes obscure from mysticism in his ideas, or indistinctness in his conceptions, or irresolution in his purpose. Indeed, throughout the whole of this volume, I do not remember more than one sentiment to which objection can fairly

« PreviousContinue »