Clearness and conciseness.
Closely connected with this simplicity is his clearness. Lysias is clear in a twofold sense; in thought, and in expression. Figurative language is often a source of confusion of thought; and the habitual avoidance of figures by Lysias is one reason why he not only speaks but thinks clearly. In regard to this clearness of expression Dionysios has an excellent remark. This quality might, he observes, result merely from ‘deficiency of power,’ i.e. poverty of language and of fancy which constrained the speaker to be simple. In the case of Lysias it does, in fact, result from wealth of the right words1
. He uses only plain words; but he has enough of these to express with propriety the most complex idea. The combination of clearness with conciseness is
achieved by Lysias because he has his language thoroughly under command; his words are the disciplined servants of his thoughts2
. Isokrates is clear; but he is not also concise. In the union of these two excellences, Isaeos3
perhaps stands next to Lysias. There are, indeed, exceptions to the
conciseness of Lysias, as there are exceptions to the purity and the plainness of his diction. Instances occur in which terms nearly synonymous are accumulated, either for the sake of emphasis or merely for the sake of symmetry4
; but such instances are not frequent.