EVery question or demaund in things, is of two sortes.
Either it is an infinite question, & without end, or els
it is definite, and comprehended within some ende.
Those questions are called infinite, which generally are
propounded, without the comprehension of tyme, place, and
persone, or any such like: that is to say, when no certaine
thing is named, but onely words are generally spoken. As
thus, whether it be best to marrie, or to liue single. Which
is better, a courtiers life, or a Scholers life.
Those questions are called definite, which set forth a matter,
with the appointment and naming of place, time, and person.
As thus. Whether now it be best here in Englande, for a
Priest to Marrie, or to liue single. Whether it were meete
The arte of Rhetorique.
for the kings Maiestie that nowe is, to marrie with a stranger,
or to marrie with one of his owne Subiects. Now the definite
Questions definite, belong
properly to an Orator.
question (as the which concerneth some one person) is most
agreeing to the purpose of an Orator, considering particuler
matters in the law, are euer debated betwixt certaine persons,
the one affirming for his parte, and the other denying as fast
againe for his parte.
Thinges generally spoken without all circumstaunces, are
more proper vnto the Logician
, who talketh of thinges vniuersally,
without respect of person, time, or place. And yet
doth say, that whosoeuer will talke of
particuler matter must remember, that within the same also
is comprehended a generall. As for example. If I shall aske
this question, whether it bee lawfull for William Conquerour
to inuade England, and win it by force of Armour, I must
also consider this, whether it bee lawfull for any man to
vsurpe power, or it bee not lawful. That if the greater
cannot be borne withall, the lesse can not bee neither. And
in this respect, a generall question agreeth well to an Orators
profession, and ought well to bee knowne for the better
furtheraunce of his matter, notwithstanding the particuler
question is euer called in controuersie, and the generall only
thereupon considered, to comprehend and compasse the same,
as the which is more generall.
The ende of Rhetorique.
Three thinges are required of an Orator.
- To teach.
- To delight.
- And to perswade.
FIrst therefore, an Orator must labour to tell his tale,
that the hearers may well knowe what he meaneth, and
vnderstand him wholy, the which he shall with ease vse, if he
vtter his minde in plaine words, such as are vsually receiued,
and tell it orderly, without going about the bush. That if he
doe not this, he shall neuer doe the other. For what man
can be delited, or yet be perswaded with the only hearing of
those thinges, which he knoweth not what they meane. The
tongue is ordeined to expresse the minde, that one may
vnderstand an others meaning: now what auaileth to speake,
when none can tell what the speaker meaneth? Therefore
The arte of Rhetorique.
the Philosopher (as Gellius
telleth the tale) did hit
a yong man ouer the Thumbes very handsomely, for vsing ouer
old, and ouer straunge wordes. Sirha (quoth he) when our olde
great auncesters and Graundsires were aliue, they spake
plainly in their mothers tongue, and vsed olde language, such
wittie saying to a
yong man that
sought to speake
as was spoken then at the building of Roome. But you talke
me such a Latine, as though you spake with them euen now,
that were two or three thousand yeres agoe, and onely
because you would haue no man to vnderstand what you say.
Now, were it not better for thee a thousande fold, (thou foolish
fellowe) in seeking to haue thy desire, to holde thy peace, and
speake nothing at all? For then by that meanes, fewe should
knowe what were thy meaning. But thou saiest, the olde
antiquitie doth like thee best, because it is good, sober, and
modest. Ah, liue man, as they did before thee, and speake
thy mind now as men doe at this day. And remember that
saieth, beware as long as thou liuest of straunge
wordes, as thou wouldest take heede and eschue great Rockes
in the Sea.
The next part that he hath to play, is to chere his geastes,
and to make them take pleasure, with hearing of thinges
Orators must vse delitefull
wordes and sayinges.
wittely deuised, and pleasauntly set foorth. Therefore euery
Orator should earnestly labour to file his tongue, that his
words may slide with ease, and that in his deliueraunce he
may have such grace, as the sound of a Lute, or any such
Instrument doth giue. Then his sentences must be wel
framed, and his words aptly vsed, through the whole discourse
of his Oration.
Thirdly, such quicknesse of witte must bee shewed, and such
pleasaunt sawes so well applied, that the eares may finde
much delite, whereof I will speake largely, when I shall
intreate of mouing laughter. And assuredly nothing is more
needfull, then to quicken these heauie loden wittes of ours,
Preachers not so diligently
heard as common Players.
and much to cherish these our lompish and vnweldie Natures,
for except men finde delite, they will not long abide: delite
them, and winne them: wearie them, and you lose them for
euer. And that is the reason, that men commonly tarie the
ende of a merie Play, and cannot abide the halfe hearing of
a sower checking Sermon. Therefore euen these auncient
Preachers, must now and then play the fooles in the pulpit, to
The arte of Rhetorique
serue the tickle eares of their fleting audience, or els they are
like sometimes to preach to the bare walles, for though their
spirite bee apt, and our will prone, yet our flesh is so heauie,
and humours so ouerwhelme vs, that we cannot without
Preachers must sometimes be
mery when they speake
to the people.
Affections must be moued.
refreshing, long abide to heare any one thing. Thus we see,
that to delite is needfull, without the which weightie matters
will not be heard at all, and therefore him cunne I thanke,
that both can and will ever, mingle sweete among the sower,
be he Preacher, Lawyer, yea, or Cooke either hardly, when
hee dresseth a good dish of meate: now I need not to tell
that scurrilitie, or ale-house iesting, would bee thought odious,
or grosse mirth would be deemed madnesse: considering that
euen the meane witted do knowe that alreadie, and as for
other that haue no wit, they will neuer learne it, therfore
God speede them. Now when these two are done, hee must
perswade, and moue the affections of his hearers in such wise,
that they shalbe forced to yeeld vnto his saying, whereof
(because the matter is large, and may more aptly be declared,
when I shall speake of Amplification) I will surcease to speake
any thing thereof at this tyme.