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[2] People who are fed on this diet can no more be sensible than people who live in the kitchen can be savoury. With your permission I must tell you the truth, that you teachers more than anyone have been the ruin of true eloquence. Your tripping, empty tones stimulate certain absurd effects into being, with the result that the substance of your speech languishes and dies. In the age: when Sophocles or Euripides found the inevitable word for their verse, young men were not yet being confined to set speeches. When Pindar and the nine lyric poets were too modest to use Homer's lines, no cloistered[p. 5] pedant had yet ruined young men's brains. I need not go to the poets for evidence. I certainly do not find that Plato or Demosthenes took any course of training of this kind. Great style, which, if I may say so, is also modest style, is never blotchy and bloated. It rises supreme by virtue of its natural beauty. Your flatulent and formless flow of words is a modern immigrant from Asia to Athens. Its breath fell upon the mind of ambitious youth like the influence of a baleful planet, and when the old tradition was once broken, eloquence halted and grew dumb. In a word, who after this came to equal the splendour of Thucydides or Hyperides? Even poetry did not glow with the colour of health, but the whole of art, nourished on one universal diet, lacked the vigour to reach the grey hairs of old age. The decadence in painting was the same, as soon as Egyptian charlatans had found a short cut to this high calling."

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