Prosopopoeia, the faining of a person, that is, when to a thing sencelesse and dumbe we faine a fit person, or attribute a person to a commonwealth or multitude: This figure Orators do use as well as Poetes: the Orator by this figure maketh ye commonwealth to speake, to commend, to dispraise, to aske, to complaine, also life and death, vertue and pleasure, honesty and profite, wealth and poverty, envy and charity: to contend and plead one against another, and sometime he raiseth againe as it were the dead to life, and bringeth them forth complaining or witnessing what they knew. sometime to Cities, townes, beastes, birdes, trees, stones, weapons, fire, water, lights of the firmament, and such like things he attributeth speech, reason, and affection, and to no other end then to further his purpose and to confirme and make his cause evident, as for example: If an orator having occasion to commend some vertue to his hearers, as truth or such like, he may after he hath sufficiently praised truth, faine it a person, and bring it in bitterly complaining how cruelly she is oppressed and how litle esteemed, how often outfaced, and how much abhorred, how many be her enemies, how few her frends, how she wandreth hither and thither without intertainment, and remaineth without habitation, he may faine her complaing against false ballances, weightes and measures, against false testimonies, lies and perjurie, against wicked hipocrisie and cursed heresie, against feare, favour and avarice which are her enemies in the seats of judgement conspiring against her and violently throwing her downe from thence, and cruelly treading her underfoote, also he may cause her to accuse flatterie and detraction, theft, violence, and fraude, and to make a most true and long complaint, as well against persons that be her enemies, as against vices which do oppose and oppresse her.
The use of this figure.
This figure is an apt forme of speech to complaine, to accuse,
to reprehend, to confirme, and to commend, but the use of it ought to be very rare, then chiefly, when the Orator having
spent the principall strength of his arguments, is as it
were constrained to call for helpe and aide else where, not unlike to Champion having broken his weapons in the force of
his conflict calleth for new of his frendes, or of such as favour his person and cause, or to an army having their number
diminished, or their strength inffebled, do crave and call for a new supply.
It is not convenient that the Orator should use the helpe of
1. Not without urgent cause.
fained persons without some urgent cause compelling him thereunto. Secondly, it is necessarie to provide that the person
fained may speake to the purpose of the matter propounded, and
give strength to the fainting cause, and aslo minister a pleasure to the hearer: for otherwise this figure shal be used without cause, speake without profit, and be applied without pleasure.
2. To speake to the purpose.