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[42] A change in the tactics of defence is also often selected for censure. For example, Attius1 in his speech against Cluentius complains that Cicero insists on the letter of the law, and Aeschines2 in his speech against Ctesiphon complains that Demosthenes refuses to consider the legal aspect of the case.

It is however necessary to issue a special warning to declaimers that they should not put forward objections that can easily be met or assume that their opponent is a fool. As it is, owing to our tendency to think that the subject-matter of our speech may be drawn from our own fancy, florid commonplaces and epigrams designed to bring down the house occur to our minds with the utmost [p. 339] readiness, with the result that we should do well to bear in mind the lines:

A shrewd retort! Could it be otherwise?
A foolish question makes for smart replies.

Origin unknown.

1 pro Cluent. Iii.

2 Aesch. in Ctes. § 206. cp. also III. vi. 3.

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