previous next


Obtestatio is a forme of speech, by which the Orator expresseth his most earnest request, petition, or praier.

And example of Terence: O Chremes I beseech thee for Gods sake and for our old friendships sake, which hath continued ever since wee were children which time hath also encreased, and for thy onely daughters sake, & my sons, whom I have committed wholly to thy governement, help me in this matter.

Another of Cicero: O Caesar for thy promise, thy constancy, and thy mercies sake, discharge us from this feare, specially that we may not so much as suspect that nay part of anger remaineth in thee, for thy right hands sake I beseech which thou gavest to Deiotarus in promise.

Another: If innocency may deserve favour, if misery may move to pittie, or praiers prevaile with me: let your mercy for Gods sake relieve misery, and your compassion extend to us that are ready to perish.

The use of this figure.

This is that forme of speech, which men in necessitie and distresse
To beseech most earnestly.
do use as a meane whereby to seeke, and obtaine relief and comfort in their miseries, as in hunger for food, in perplexity for counsaile, in perill for defence, in trouble for deliverance, in the state of condemation for mercy and life.

The Caution.

There are diverse abuses of this figure, namely when it is
1. In unlawfull petitions.
used in unlawfull petitions, and for trifling matters, also
2. In smal causes.
when the name of God is vainely used in requests and petitions, as it is usually of common beggers and vagabonds, charging and as it were adjuring men to give them.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: