previous next


Descriptio is a generall name of many and sundry kindes of descriptions, and a description is when the Orator by a diligent gatherin together of circumstances, and by a fit and naturall application of them, doth expresse and set forth a thing so plainly and lively, that it seemeth rather painted in tables, then declared with words, and the mind of the hearer therby so drawen to an earnest and stedfast contemplation of the thing described, that he rather thinketh he seeth it then heareth it. By this exornation the Orator imitateth the cunning painter which doth not onely draw the true proportion of thines, but also bestoweth naturall colours in their proper places, whereby he compoundeth as it were complexion with substance and life with countenance: for hence it is, that by true proportion and due coloure, cunning and curious Images are made so like to the persons which they present, that they do not onely make a likely shew of life, but also by outward countenance of the inward spirite and affection.

So great and singular is that science, that there is no creature under heaven, no action, no passion, no frame in art, nor countenance in man, whose true proportion and externall forme is not finely counterfaited, and wonderfully imitated. Trees and plaints in their colours, flowers in their bewty, beastes & birdes in their natures, men in their countenances and habite, some grave, some smiling, some angry, some weeping, some yong, some old, some asleepe, some dead, also in their degrees, as Princes and subjects, magistrates and prisoners, riche men and beggers, men of artes and occupations, ladies, gentlewomen, maidens, old women, captains, souldiers, finally al kind of persons in their countenance, gesture and apparell: even so doth the Orator by his art and his speech describe and set forth to the contemplation of mans mind, any person, deede, thing, place or time, so truly by circumstance, that the hearer shall thinke that he doth plainly behold the matter described. Now under the generall name of Description, I do not only reckon speciall kindes of description, but also all other figures, which do chiefly respect circumstances and adjuncts without form of comparison serving onely to make matters evident and lightsome.

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: