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[23] The application of humour to oratory may be divided into three heads: for there are three things out of which we may seek to raise a laugh, to wit, others, ourselves, or things intermediate. In the first case we either reprove or refute or make light of or retort or deride the arguments of others. In the [p. 451] second we speak of things which concern ourselves in a humorous manner and, to quote the words of Cicero,1 say things which have a suggestion of absurdity. For there are certain sayings which are regarded as folly if they slip from us unawares, but as witty if uttered ironically.

1 de Or. II. lxxi. 289.

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