Now since we have the voice as the organ of
speech, we should aim to secure two properties
for it: that it be clear, and that it be musical.
We must, of course, look to Nature for both gifts.
But distinctness may be improved by practice; the
musical qualities, by imitating those who speak
with smooth and articulate enunciation.
There was nothing in the two Catuli to lead one
to suppose that they had a refined literary taste;
they were men of culture, it is true; and so were
others; but the Catuli were looked upon as the perfect
masters of the Latin tongue. Their pronunciation
was charming; their words were neither mouthed
nor mumbled: they avoided both indistinctness and
affectation; their voices were free from strain, yet
neither faint nor shrill. More copious was the speech
of Lucius Crassus and not less brilliant, but the reputation of the two Catuli for eloquence was fully
equal to his. But in wit and humour Caesar, the
elder Catulus's half-brother, surpassed them all:
even at the bar he would with his conversational
style defeat other advocates with their elaborate
If, therefore, we are aiming to secure propriety in
every circumstance of life, we must master all these