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beautiful, the brightest, and moft uncommon; and who lose time in torturing themselves with wrangling with every word, and almost every syllable.
9 But this is an unprofitable labour, a mistaken delicacy, which at last only extinguishes the fire of the imagination, and makes the orator unhappy! The art of speaking would be of no great value, did it always coft so much pains, or were we condemned all our lives to the tedious task of hunting after words, and of weighing and adjusting them. The orator if he deferves the name, must be poffefTed of all the treasures of eloquence, and of the art of managing them; like the poffeffor of an estate, whodisposes of it as he thinks fit.
There are several examples relating to the choice of words, in the article where I have treated of the ebegance and delicacy of the Latin tongue; to which
add a few more in this place Appius uses a comparison taken from hunting, to exhort the Romans to continue the fiege of Veia in winter; telling them that the pleasure we find in it makes us forget the greatest fatigues, and carries os into the moft Iteep, craggy places, in spite of the sea verity of the weather. Obfecro uos, venandi ftudium ec voluptas homines per nives ac pruinas in montes" sylvasque rapit: belli neceffitatibus eam patientiam non adbibebimus, quam vel lufus ac voluptas elicere folet? How strong is the word rapit? To have a juft fenfe of it, we need only compare it with another expression which Seneca uses in a thought not unlike this. He speaks of merchants who undertake long and dangerous voyages by sea and land, through an insatiable thirst of gain. Alium mercandi præceps cupiditas circa omnes
9 Abominanda hæc infelicicas quit, ægrè verba vertencem, & erat, quæ & cursum dicendi re- perpendendis coagmenrandifque eis frænat, & calorem cogitationis ex intabescentim. Nitidus ille, & tinguit mora & diffidentia. Ibid. fublimis, & locuples, circumfuen
Ne enim vis fumma dicendi. tibus undique entiæ copiis imeft admiratione digna, fit infelix perat. Quintil. 1. 12, c. 1o. usque ad ultimum folicitudo perse
I Liv. lib. 5. n. 5. quitur, ac oratorem macerat & co. s De brevit, vicæ, c. 2.
terras, omnia maria, fpe lucri ducit. The word ducit is too flow for so violent a passion as avarice: præceps cupiditas.
Salluft condemns the fury of soldiers against the vanquished, and accounts for it thus : Igitur hi milites, pofitquam victoriam adepti sunt, nihil reliqui vietis fecere. Quippe fecundæ res sapientum animos fatigant: ne illi, corruptis moribus, victoria temperarent. I would only fix upon this word fatigant. Is it possible to give a fhorter or more lively representation of the hard trials which inost good people undergo in prosperity ? It attacks them, pursues them incessantly, inakes perpetual war against them, and does not leave them till it has despoiled them of their virtue; and if it cannot conquer them by force, it seems to hope at least that they will give up their arms through fatigue and weariness. Secundæ res fapientum animos fatigant.
This expression makes me call to mind another of Tacitus, which is full as emphatical. * An cum Tiberius, poft tantam rerum experientiam, vi dominationis convulfus & mutatus fit, C. Cæfarem, &c. which A. blancourt translates to this purpose;" If Tiberius, " after such long experience, fuffered himself to be cor
rupted by his good fortune, what must become of
Caligula? &c.” This translation enervates the whole force of the thought, which consists in these two words, convulfus, and vi dominationis. Convellere signifies to tear away, to eradicate, to carry away by force, and to displace a thing by violence. There is in sovereign power a pomp, a pride and haughtiness which attack the beft Princes with a violence they cannot guard against; so that being torn from themselves, and their good inclinations, they are foon changed into other men, Vi dominationis convulfus & mutatus.
The same author speaks of prosperity, in his hiftories, in the same sense with Sallust, but under another idea. Fortunam adhuc tantum adverfam tulifti, Secunda res acrioribus ftimulis animos explorant : quia miAnnal, 1. 6. c.48.
u Hiftor. l. I. C. 13.
serie tolerantur, felicitate corrumpimur. Fidem, libertatem, amicitiam, præcipua humani animi bona, tu quidem eadem conftantia retinebis; fed alii per obsequium imminuent. Irrumpet adulatio, blanditiæ peffimum ve'ri affectus venenum, sua cuique utilitas. This paffage
taken from Galba's speech to Piso, on his adopting and making him his associate in the empire, which Ablancourt has translated to this purpose. Fortune «' has hitherto been averse to you ; she is now changing " to your advantage. Be now.careful to make your" self capable of supporting her favours as well as her ** frowns. For the incentives of prosperity are much
more powerful than those of adversity; because we “ yield to the one and refift the other. Although you “ Thould preserve your virtue, yet all those near your “ person will lose theirs. Flattery will take the place “ of truth, and interest that of affection, to which
they are poison and venom.” Much might be said upon this translation, but that it would be foreign to our present purpose. I only would observe, that it has not preserved the beauty of those words, irrumpet adulatio, which import, that whatever measures and precautions Piso might take to keep off Aattery, the would however force herself a passage, and, in a manner, break through all the barriers he might oppose against her. The French does not sufficiently represent that idea; Flattery will take the place of truth.
Pliny the naturalist ascribes the decay and ruin of morals to the prodigious expences of Scaurus during his Ædileship. He expresses this thought in a wonderful manner, by a very few words which are highly emphatical. * Cujus nefcio an ædilitas maxime proAraverit mores. His Ædileship completed the ruin of morals.
In all our good French writers, we meet with a multitude of expressions, either sprightly or emphatical ; shining or beautiful. w Lib. 36. C. 15.
* That man (Maccabeus) whom God had set over Ifrael, like a wall of brass, where the forces of Asia were fe often shattered, after defeating powerful armies
came every year, as though he had been the meaneft of the Ifraelites, to repair with his triumpbant hands, the breaches which the enemy had made in the sanctuary, : We saw him, (M. de Turenne) in the famous battle of the Downs, force the weapons out of the hands of the mercenary troops, when thoy were going to fall on the vanquished with a brutal fury.
He won the hearts of those, who are generally kept within the limits of their duty by fear of punishment only, with the obligation of respect and friendship.... By what invisible chains did he thus lead the will ?
How often did he make his greatest efforts, to tear of the fatal bandage which closed bis eyes against truth?
We might observe in many of the above cited examples, that epithets contribute very much to the ele gance and strength of an oration. They chiefly produce that effect, when they are figurative and metaphorical, according to Quintilian's obfervation. y Difcamus fpes effrænatas & animum in futura eminentem velut in vinculis habere z Vide quantum rerum per unam gulam tranfiturarum permisceat luxuria, terrarum marisque vastatrix. The same Seneca speaks thus in an excellent encomium upon the death of the wife of a provincial governor : * Loquax & ingeniofa in contumelias præfe&torum provincia, in
qua etiam qui vitaverunt culpam, non effugerunt infamiam, eam velut unia cum fanétitatis exemplum suspexit. Cicero fays fomething like this of his brother. Quæ cum honefta fint in his privatis noftris quotidianisque rationibus; in tan10 imperio, tam depravatis moribus, tam corruptrice provincia, divina videantur neceffe eft.
A discourse without epithets is languid, and seems almost without life or soul. However, we must not * M. Flechier.
5 Ep. I, ad Quirt. frat. l. 1.' 9 Senec. de tranq.anim.
Talis est ratio hujusce virtutis, z Idem epift 95.
ut sine oppositis nuda fit & incompo De cops. ad Hely, f. 17.
multiply them too much. For, to use Quintilian's comparison, it is with epithets in a discourse as with servants in an army, who would be extremely burthenfom, and of no other use but to embarrass. it, if every soldier had one ; for then the number would be doubled, but not the strength.
ARTICLE the FOURTH.
T muft be owned, that the placing of words con
tributes" very much to the beauty and sometimes even to the strength of a discourse. Nature has implanted a taste in man, which makes him sensible to harmony and number; and in order to introduce this kind of harmony and concert into languages, we need only confult nature, study the genius of those languages, and sound and interrogate, as it were, the ear, which Cicero juftly calls a proud and disdainful judge. Indeed, let a thought be ever so beautiful in itself, if the words which express it are ill placed, the delicacy of the ear is shocked; * a harsh and in
multis. Nam fit longa & impe. verbis elatæ offendunt aures, quadita, ut .... eam judices fimilem rum eft judicium superbiffimum. agmini totidem lixas habenti, quot Orat. n. 150. milites quoque : in quo & nume- Aurium sensus faftidiofiflimus. rus eft duplex, nec dupium virium. Lib, 1. ad Heren. n. 32. Quintil. 1. 8. c. 6.
Itaque & longiora & breviora Natura ducimur ad modos. judicat, & perfecta ac moderati Quint. I. 9. c. 4.
semper expectat. Mutila sentit Aures, vel animus aurium nun- quædam, & quasi decurtara, quicio naturalem quandam in fe con- bus tanquam debito fraudetur: tinet vocum omnium mentionem. productiora alia, & quafi immode
Animadversum est eadem na- ratiùs excurrentia ; quæ magis etura admonente, effe quofdam cer- tiam aspernantur aures. Orat. A. tos cursus conclufionesque verbo- 177, 178. Orat. n. 177, 178.
Optimè de illa compositione) · Graves sententiæ inconditis judicant aures, quæ & plena fen