Pragmatographia is a description of things whereby ye Orator by gathering together all circumstances belonging to them, doth as plainly portray their image, as if they were most lively painted out in coulours, & set forth to be seene: If one should say the citie was overcome by an assault: he hath (saith Fabius) comprehended all in a summe, but if thou wilt open and set abroad all things, and everie particuler effect included within that summe, there shall appeare many fires and scattered flames upon houses and Temples, the noyse of houses falling downe, a confused sound of many thinges, and wofull cries, some flying with great perill, other imbracing their frends, and bidding them farewell for ever, infants scriking, women most bitterly weeping, olde men reserved by most unhappy destinie to see that day, the spoiling of temporall, and prophaning of hallowed things, the running forth of them that carrie away the spoiles, and the submission of them that entreat for their owne goods, every captive led chained before his taker, the mother rastling to retaine her sucking babe, and wheresoever great wealth is, there is also great fighting and contention among the spoilers themselves: now albeit this word Destruction might well comprise all these thinges, yet is it lesse to declare the whole then to name the partes, he comprehendeth the whole, which saith, the Cittie was taken and destroyed, and no more, but he that rehearseth all thinges orderly doth much more largely expresse the same, for he doth not onely say, the cittie was taken, tmeples overthrowen, houses burned, everie thing spoiled, but also how the cittie was taken, temples, houses and buildings destroied, what perished else, what lamentation, what weeping, how horrible the slaughter was, the ravishing of Virgins, the shedding of blood, and many other thinges which is more then if hee rehearseth the whole in a total summe.
King Aeacus (in 7. book of Metamorphosis) maketh a pittifull description of a great and cruell pestilence.
Likewise in the 8.booke of the hunting of the wild Bore.
And in the 11. of a cruell tempest.
Many like descriptions are in Virgils Aeneiados: Cicero describeth the murdering of Roscius, the luxuritie and riots of Antony with many other more.
The use of this figure.
To present things or actions to the minde of the hearer.
To this figure belong the descriptions of warres, tempestes, shipwrackes, conquestes, tryumphes, destructions of citties, and countries, murders, open shewes, dearthes and deathes.
This kinde of exornation helpeth much to amplifie, to declare things plainly, and none more forcible to move pittie.
The chiefest regard in this discription ought to be, that the principall
1. Principall circumstances no omitted.
effects and circumstances be not omitted. Secondly, that they be not preposterously placed, as to rehearse that last, which
2. Preposterous placing of circumstances, odious.
was first done: which fault is called Hysteron proteron.