Page images
PDF
EPUB

ac

* Quod fi è portu folventibus, ii, qui jam in portum ex alto invebuntur, præcipere fummo fiudio folent & tempeftatum rationem, & prædonum, & locorum, quod na. tura affert ut eis faveamus, qui eadem pericula, quibus rios perfuncti fumus, ingrediuntur : quo tandem me animo effe oportet, prope jam ex magna jactatione terram videntem, in eum, cui video maximas reipublicæ tempestates

. effe fubeundas ? Nothing can be smoother than this period: but were we to throw some of the words out of the order in which they ftand, it would difguise the whole ftrangely.

y Omnes urbanæ res, omnia hæc noftra præclara fra dia, & hæc forenfis laus & induftria, latent in tutela prafdio bellicæ virtutis tumultus, artes. illico noftræ conticefcunt. This concluding cadence, which is a dichoreus, is extremely harmonious; and for that very reason, Cicero thinks it should not be too often used in orations; because affectation becomes vicious, even in the best things.

? Animadverti, judices, omnem accufatoris orationem in duas divisam effe partes. According to the natural order it should be, in duas partes divifam effe. But what a difference ! Rectum erat, sed durum & incomptum, fays Quintilian, in bis obfervation on this difposition of the words.

Quam fpem cogitationum & confiliorum meorum, cum graves communium temporum, tum varii nostri cafus fe

feller unt. Nam qui locus quietis & tranquillitatis pleniffimus fore videbatur, in eo maximæ moleftiarum & turbulentisima tempestates extiterunt. Is there any thing in music sweeter than these periods ?

Hæc Centuripina navis erat incredibili celeritate velis ... Evalarat jam è conspectu fere fugiens quadriremis, cum etiam tunc cetære naves in suo loco moliebantur. Here every thing is rapid ; the choice of words, as well as the disposition of them; and the choice of

[ocr errors]

b

* Pro Mur. n. 4.
y Ibid. n. 22.
2 Pro Cluent. n. 1.

a Lib. I. de Orat. n. 2.

In Verr. 7. n. 87.

the

the very letters, moft of which are liquid and fmooth, Incredibili celeritate velis. The cadence at the beginning, tvolarat, jam, &c. is as swift as the fhip itself; whereas that at the end, which consists wholly of one very long, heavy word, represents in a wonderful manner the efforts of an ill-equipped fleet, Moliebantur.

* Refpice celeritatem rapidisimi temporis : cogita brevitatem hujus spatii, per quid citatiffimi currimus,. It is plain that Seneca endeavoured in this place to defcribe the rapidity of time, by that of words and letters.

& Servius agitat rem militarem : infeftatur totam hanc legationem : afduitatis, & operarum harum quotidianarum putat effe confulatum. One cannot doubt but Cicero purposely affected to employ three pretty long genitives plural, and the same termination in this place; (which would have a very ill effect in any other) the more to degrade the profeffion which his ad verfary undertook to magnify. He seems to have copied this passage from Terence. O faciem pula chram. Deleo omnes dehinc ex animo mulieres. Tædet quotidianarum harum formarum.

The fame orator endeavoured to prove that Milo did not leave Rome with an intention to attack Clo. dius; hé gives the following description of his equipage: Cum hic infidiator, qui iter illud ad cædem faciendam apparaffet, cum uxore veheretur in rheda, penulatus, vulgi magno impedimento, ac muliebri & delicata ancillarum puerorumque comitatu.

who has ever so little ear, but is fenfible on the bare reading of this passage, that the orator affected to employ in this place, long words, consisting of many fyllables ; and that he crowded them one upon another, the better to express the multitude of men and women ato tendants, who were more likely to incumber than be of service in a combat?

A second method of order or disposition. The order I have hitherto been treating of, has no other end, properly speaking, but to please the ear,

e Eunuch. act. 2, sc. 3.

and

What man,

Epift. 99.

d Pio Mur, 9, 21,

and to make the oration more harmonious. There is another kind, by which the orator is more intent upon giving strength than grace and beauty to his difcourse. This consists in dispofing certain expressions in such a manner, that the oration may grow still more vigorous as it goes on; and that the last may have always the most energy, and always add something to those which preceded them. Sometimes, certain words are rejected in the conclusion, which have a particular emphasis, and give the greatest strength to a thought or description; in order that being separated, as it were, from the rest, and set in a stronger light, they may strike forcibly on the mind. Tois kind of order is as remarkable as the former, and deserves the utmost attention of the master. I will give two or three examples of this kind extracted from Cicero, and add Quintilian's reflections, which alone would be fufficient to form our taste, and teach us to understand and explain authors.

1. .' Tu iftis faucibus, iftis lateribus, ifta gladiatoria totius corporis firmitate, tantum vini in Hippia nuptiis exhauseras, ut tibi neceffe effet in populi Romani conspectu vomere poftridie. Quintilian weighs every word in this description. Quid fauces & latera, says he, ad ebrietatem ? Minime funt otiosa. Nam respicientes ad hæc poffumus aftimare quantum ille vini in Hippiæ nuptiis exhauserit, quod ferre & coquere non poffet illa gla. diatoria corporis firmitate.

We are sensible enough of the effect which is produced by this disposition of the words, faucibus, lateribus, gladiatoria totius corporis firmitate, which rise to the end.

We should not perhaps have taken so much notice of the reason which induced Cicero to repeat the word postridie, in the end, if Quintilian had not made us attentive to it. Sæpe eft vehemens aliquis fenfus in verbo: quod si in media parte sententiæ latet, tranfiri intentione, & obfcurari circumjacentibus folet, in claufula Philip. 2. n. 63: & Quiat, l. 9, C. 4.

pofitum pofitum afsignatur auditori & infingitur, quale eft illud Ciceronis : Ut tibi necesse esset in conspectu populi Romani vomere poftridie. Transfer hoc ultimum, minus valebit. Nam totius dutus hic eft quasi mucro, ut per fe fædæ womendi neceffitati, jam nihil ultra expeftantibus, hanc quoque adjiceret formitatem, ut cibus teneri non poffet poftridie.

But let us hear Cicero explain his own thought, and plainly point out to us the whole extent of it". O rem non modo visu fædam, fed etiam auditu ! Si boc tibi inter cænam, in tuis immanibus illis poculis acçidiffet, quis non turpe duceret? In cætu vero populi Romani, negotium publicum gerens, magifter equitum, cui rućtare turpe effet, is vomens fruftis esculentis, vinum redolentibus, gremium fuum & totum tribunal implevit, It is obvious, that the last expreffions ftill improve upon the preceding ones i Singula incrementum babet. Per fe deforme, vel non in cætu vomere : in cætu etiam non populi : populi etiam non Romani : vel fi nullum negotium ageret, vel fi non publicum, vel fi non magifter equitum. Sed alius divideret hæc, Šo circa fingulos. gradus moraretur : hic in fublime etiam currit, & ad fummum pervenit non nixu, fed impetu. This is a beautiful model of explanation for masters.

But how beautiful foever the Roman orator's defcription of Anthony's vomiting may be, and whatever precaution he may take to advertise us first of the effect it must produce: O rem non modo visu fædam, sed etiam auditu ; I do not believe our language, which is fo nice and delicate with regard to decency, could bear this detail of circumstances which disgusts and fhocks the imagination, and would never bear these words, vomere, ruetare, fruftis efculentis k. Here is an opportunity of making youth observe the difference in the genius of languages, and the indispuh Philip. 2, n, 63.

practice very common in that age) Quint. l. 8. c. 4.

made these expresions not * Perbaps, the custom of retch- distaftesul. ing voluntarily after meals, (a

table I Verrem, 7. n. 85. m Ibid. n. 177.

i

fo

table advantage which ours has in this fefpect, over the Greek and Latin.

2. Stetit fizatus prætor populi Romani cum pallio teritaque talari muliercala nixus in littore. These kft words, in littore, placed in the close, add a prodigious ftrength to Cicero's thought, which I will explain in another place, where I endeavour to point out the beauty of this description, and relate Quintilian's admirable exposition of the passage.

3. * Aderat janiter carceris, carnifex prætoris, mor's terto que fociorum civium Romanorum, lietor Sextius. Whoever thould put lister Sextius in the beginning, would spoil all: the dreadful apparatus of this executioner muft go before him. Whoever fhould throw the members of this period into another order, would destroy all its beauty, which, according to the rules of rhetoric and good sense, muft grow more emphatic as it proceeds. Nevertheless, this rule here complies with the delicacy of the ear, which would have been offended had the words been placed thus, terror morfque fociorum, according to their natural order, dearb making a stronger impreffion than terror.

ARTICLE the FIFT H.

Of Figures.
IGURES of rhetoric are certain turns and

modes of expression which differ a little from the common and plain way of speaking; and are used to give more grace and force to discourse. They confift either in the words or the thoughts. I comprize in the former what the rhetoricians call tropes, though there may be some difference in them.

Crescere folec oratio verbis

omnibus alt us atque alrius insurgencibus. Quint. 1. 8. c. 4.

« PreviousContinue »