previous next


Scemaismus, when the Orator propoundeth his meaning by a circuite of speech, wherin he would have ye understoode by a certaine suspicion which he doth not speake, and that for 3. special causes.

1. For safetie sake: As when it is undecent to be speake directly and openly.

2. For modestie and good manners sake: As when it is undecent to be spoken plainly.

3. For delectation sake and grace of the hearer, as when it may bring greater delight under the figurative shadow, then by the plaine report and open shew.

1. If some good man for the love of justice and pittie of his countrey should take upon him to reprehend a tirant, and to remove him from his crueltie, to an equitie and mildnesse of government, he should venture upon a verie dangerous enterprise, more likelie to loose his life, then obtaine his purpose, as often experience hath prooved: Except the manner and forme of his handling the cause be with the greater wisedome premeditated, and the more circumspectly delivered. For Kinges and tirants which are mightie, are not wont, or can hardly heare their faultes and wickednesse, which they commit with patient mindes, but rather kindled with displeasure: goe not so soon in hand, to amend their errors, as to revenge his advertisement: And therfore he that shoudl take this dangerous enterprise in hand must doo it with a

This was wel observed of Nathan.
cunning shadow of speech, and not in the sight of the Sunne, I meane not openly and plainlie: for the naked truth doth often offend in a naked tale.
2. Samuel. 12.

The Orators speech may be shadowed two manner of waies, either by reproving another person, in whom the same evils are, or were in, while he lived: or by commending such persons in whom the contraries are. If a man should in the respect of reprehension speake to Dionysius the king of Sicilia, hee might reprove the crueltie of Phalaris, and by an artificiall description and reprehension of that creltie and tirannie in Phalaris, he may make a most bright and resplendent glasse wherein Dionysius must needes behold himselfe and his deformed tirannie.

Or if a man shall commend and highly praise those Princes and Kinges which have done the contrarie, I meane, which have goverened by wisedome, equitie, moderation and mercie. An evill man hearing the praises, and glorious fame of others, is moved in mind, and begins to covet commendation and praise, and seeing it cannot be obtained onely by desire, hee enclineth to the meanes by which he may deserve it.

For modesties sake, thus: whose mother is delighted with daily mariages, signifying hereby her unchast life.

The holy Scripture in this respect hath many examples, and chast Phrases, which ought to be presidents to us as oft as we have occasion to expresse or signifie matters which are bashfull & undecent to be plainly told.

Adam knew Eve his wife which conceived and bare Cain.

Thou shalt not be excellent because thou wenteth up to thy fathers bed. Salomon observeth most seemly the chastitie of speech, where he saith. Let her breastes alwaies satisfie thee, and hold ever content with her love. And in the next verse: Why shouldest thou unbrace the bosome of a stranger?

Herein nature it selfe also seemeth to prescribe this dutie, that those thinges, which she hideth, mans owne reverence ought to keepe secret.

3. To delight the hearer by the grace of shadowed speech is very usuall among pleasant wittes and apt conceites: and therefore I judge it needlesse to exemplifie this part. Concerning the use and caution of this figure there is alreadie sufficiently said.

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: