Apoplansis is also another kind of aversion or turning away, and it is when the speaker leadeth away the mind of his hearer, from the matter propounded or question in hand, which maketh much against him. The way and cunning to do this, is manifold & almost infinite. Cicero when he should have answered to an accusation, in which it was objected that Caelius poysoned Metellus, for as much as it was proved that Caelius had poison prepared in his house: and furthermore that the force of that poison was tried in a servant of his, he digressed by and by to Metellus death, and maketh a suspition that he was poisoned by the mischievous deede of Clodius: he sigheth, weepeth and bewaileth that death, whereby he staieth and appeaseth his adversaries, and causeth them to mourne with him, and to be striken (as it were) with the same wound, and so by his vehement and forcible perswasion turneth the mindes of the Judges from the cogitation of the fact, now and then touching it a little, and slipping from it again.
The use of this figure.
This figure hath two speciall uses, the one to make an evasion
or escape from a difficultie or hard objection, or when the cause of the Orator is weake, and not able to abide the uttermost
2. To cause forgetfulnes of sorrow.
triall. The other is to asswage sorrow by leading the minde of the mourner from the matter of greefe to new objects: in respect of
3. Compared to a strategeme.
evasion it may be compared to the subtiltyes of war called strategems, which do consist more in provident counsell then in confident strength, by which means it commeth often times to passe, that a few prevaile against many, and wisedome against strength.
Albeit that this figure may in these respects rehearsed be a
necessarie forme of speech, yet may it be abused by evill conscience, subtitlty and craft, as when it is used to smother good causes,
3. Shifting with naughty matters.
and to shift out with evill matters, an abuse God knoweth too common.