Oration iudiciall what it is.
ORation Iudiciall, is an earnest debating in open assemblie,
of some weightie matter before a Iudge, where the
complainaunt commenseth his action, and the defendant
thereupon aunswereth at his perill, to all such thinges as are
laied to his charge.
Of the foundation, or rather the principall point in euery
debated matter, called of the Rhetoricians the
state, or constitution of the cause.
NOt onely it is needefull in causes of iudgement, to
consider the scope whereunto we must leauell our
reasons, and direct our inuention: but also we ought in
euery cause to haue a respect vnto some one espesiall point
and chiefe article: that the rather the whole drift of our
doinges, may seeme to agree with our first deuised purpose.
For by this meanes our iudgement shalbe framed to speake
with discretion, and the ignoraunt shall learne to perceiue
with profite, whatsoeuer is said for his instruction. But they
that take vppon them to talke in open audience, and make
not their accompt before, what they will speake after: shall
neither be well liked for their inuention, nor allowed for their
wit, nor esteemed for their learning. For what other thing
The arte of Rhetorique.
doe they, that boult out their wordes in such sort, and without
all aduisement vtter out matter: but shew themselues to
play as yong boyes or scarre Crowes doe, which shot in the
open and plaine fieldes at all aduentures hittie missie. The
Definition of a
thing must first
be knowen ere we
speake our minde
learned therfore, and such as loue to be coumpted clerkes of
vnderstanding, and men of good circumspection and iudgement,
do warely scan what they chiefly minde to speake, and
by definition seeke what that is, whereunto they purpose to
direct their whole doinges. For by such aduised warenesse,
and good eye casting: they shall alwaies bee able both to
knowe what to say, and to speake what they ought. As for
example, if I shal haue occasion to speake in open audience,
of the obedience due to our soueraigne King, I ought first to
learne what is obedience, and after knowledge attained, to
direct my reasons to the onely proofe of this purpose, and
wholie to seeke confirmation of the same, and not turne my
tale to talke of Robin Hood, and to shew what a goodly
Archer was he, or to speake wonders of the man in the
Moone, such as are most needlesse, and farthest from the
purpose. For then the hearer looking to be taught his
obedience, and hearing in the meane season mad tales of
Archerie, and great meruailes of the man in the Moone:
being halfe astonied at his so great straying, will perhappes
say to himselfe: now whether the deuill wilt thou, come in
man againe for very shame, and tell me no bytales, such as
are to no purpose, but shew me that which thou didest
promise, both to teach and perswade at thy first entrie.
Assuredly such fond fellowes there haue bene, yea euen among
Preachers, that talking of faith, they haue fetcht their full
race from the xii. signes in the Zodiake. An other talking of
the generall resurrection, hath made a large matter of our
blessed Ladie, praysing her to bee so gentle, so curteous, and
so kinde, that it were better a thousand fold, to make sute to
her alone, then to Christ her sonne. And what needed
(I pray you) any such rehearsall being both vngodly, and
nothing at all to the purpose. For what maketh the praise of
our Ladie, to the confirmation of the generall doome?
Would not a man thinke him mad, that hauing an earnest
errande from London to Douer, would take it the next way
to ride first into Northfolke, next into Essex, and last into
The arte of Rhetorique.
Kent? And yet assuredly, many an vnlearned and witlesse
man, hath straied in his talke much farther a great deale, yea
truely as farre as hence to Roome gates. Therefore wise are
they that followe Plinies
aduise, who would that all men both
in writing, and speaking at large vpon any matter, should
Plinies counsaile for
handeling of causes.
euer haue an eye to the chiefe title, and principall ground of
their whole entent, neuer swaruing from their purpose, but
rather bringing all things together, to confirme their cause so
much as they can possible. Yea, the wise and expert men will
aske of themselues, how hangeth this to the purpose? To
what end do ye speake it? What maketh this for confirmation
of my cause? And so by oft questioning, either chide their
owne follie if they speake amisse, or els be assured they speake
to good purpose.
A state therefore generally, is the chiefe ground of a matter,
and the principall point whereunto both he that speaketh
should referre his whole wit, and they that heare should
chiefly marke. A Preacher taketh in hande to shewe what
A state generally,
what it is.
prayer is, and how needfull for man to call vpon God: now
he should euer remember this his matter, applying his reasons
whollie and fullie to this end, that the hearers may both
knowe the nature of prayer, and the needfulnesse of prayer.
The which when he hath done, his promise is fulfilled, his
time well bestowed, and the hearers well instructed.