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1 in that portion of his works in which he attacks the tyrants of his day and shows himself a real moral force. He is, moreover, terse and magnificent in style, while the vigour of his diction resembles that of oratory. But he also wrote poetry of a more sportive nature and stooped to erotic poetry, despite his aptitude for loftier themes. [64] Simonides2 wrote in a simple style, but may be recommended for the propriety and charm of his language. His chief merit, however, lies in his power to excite pity, so much so, in fact, that some rank him in this respect above all writers of this class of poetry.

[65] The old comedy is almost the only form of poetry which preserves intact the true grace of Attic diction, while it is characterized by the most eloquent freedom of speech, and shows especial power in the denunciation of vice; but it reveals great force in other departments as well. For its style is at once lofty, elegant and graceful, and if we except Homer, who, like Achilles among warriors, [p. 39] is beyond all comparison, I am not sure that there is any style which bears a closer resemblance to oratory or is better adapted for forming the orator. [66] There are a number of writers of the old comedy, but the best are Aristophanes, Eupolis and Cratinus.3 Aeschylus was the first to bring tragedy into prominence: he is lofty, dignified, grandiloquent often to a fault, but frequently uncouth and inharmonious. Consequently, the Athenians allowed later poets to revise his tragedies and to produce them in the dramatic contests, and many succeeded in winning the prize by such means. [67] Sophocles and Euripides, however, brought tragedy to far greater perfection: they differ in style, but it is much disputed as to which should be awarded the supremacy, a question which, as it has no bearing on my present theme, I shall make no attempt to decide. But this much is certain and incontrovertible, that Euripides will be found of far greater service to those who are training themselves for pleading in court. [68] For his language, although actually censured by those who regard the dignity, the stately stride and sonorous utterance of Sophocles as being more sublime, has a closer affinity to that of oratory, while he is full of striking reflexions, in which, indeed, in their special sphere, he rivals the philosophers themselves, and for defence and attack may be compared with any orator that has won renown in the courts. Finally, although admirable in every kind of emotional appeal, he is easily supreme in the power to excite pity. [69] Menander, as he often testifies in his works, had a profound admiration for Euripides, and imitated him, although in a different type of work. Now, [p. 41] the careful study of Menander alone would, in my opinion, be sufficient to develop all those qualities with the production of which my present work is concerned; so perfect is his representation of actual life, so rich is his power of invention and his gift of style, so perfectly does he adapt himself to every kind of circumstance, character and emotion. [70] Indeed, those critics are no fools who think the speeches attributed to Charisius4 were in reality written by Menander. But I consider that he shows his power as an orator far more clearly in his comedies; since assuredly we can find no more perfect models of every oratorical quality than the judicial pleadings of his Epitrepontes,5 Epicleros and Locri, or the declamatory speeches in the Psophodes, Nomothetes. and Hypobolimaeus. [71] Still, for my own part, I think that he will be found even more useful by declaimers, in view of the fact that they have, according to the nature of the various controversial themes, to undertake a number of different roles and to impersonate fathers, sons, soldiers, peasants, rich men and poor, the angry man and the suppliant, the gentle and the harsh. And all these characters are treated by this poet with consummate appropriateness. [72] Indeed, such is his supremacy that he has scarce left a name to other writers of the new comedy, and has cast them into darkness by the splendour of his own renown. Still, you will find something of value in the other comic poets as well, if you read them in not too critical a spirit; above all, profit may be derived from the study of Philemon,6 who, although it was [p. 43] a depraved taste which caused his contemporaries often to prefer him to Menander, has none the less deserved the second place which posterity has been unanimous in awarding him.

[73] If we turn to history, we shall find a number of distinguished writers; but there are two who must undoubtedly be set far above all their rivals: their excellences are different in kind, but have won almost equal praise. Thucydides is compact in texture, terse and ever eager to press forward: Herodotus is pleasant, lucid and diffuse: the former excels in vigour, speeches and the expression of the stronger passions; the latter in charm, conversations and the delineation of the gentler emotions. [74] Theopompus7 comes next, and though as a historian he is inferior to the authors just mentioned, his style has a greater resemblance to oratory, which is not surprising, as he was an orator before he was urged to turn to history. Philistus8 also deserves special distinction among the crowd of later historians, good though they may have been: he was an imitator of Thucydides, and though far his inferior, was somewhat more lucid. Ephorus,9 according to Isocrates, needed the spur. [75] Clitarchus10 has won approval by his talent, but his accuracy has been impugned. Timagenes11 was born long after these authors, but deserves our praise for the very fact that he revived the credit of history, the writing of which had fallen into neglect. I have not forgotten Xenophon, but he will find his place among the philosophers.

[p. 45] [76] There follows a vast army of orators, Athens alone having produced ten remarkable orators12 in the same generation. Of these Dermosthenes is far the greatest: indeed he came to be regarded almost as the sole pattern of oratory. Such is the force and compactness of his language, so muscular his style, so free from tameness and so self-controlled, that you will find nothing in him that is either too much or too little. [77] The style of Aesehines is fuller and more diffuse, while his lack of restraint gives an appearance of grandeur. But he has more flesh and less muscle. Hyperides has extraordinary charm and point, but is better qualified, not to say more useful, for cases of minor importance. [78] Lysias belongs to an earlier generation than those whom I have just mentioned. He has subtlety and elegance and, if the orator's sole duty were merely to instruct, it would be impossible to conceive greater perfection. For there is nothing irrelevant or far-fetched in his speeches. None the less I would compare him to a clear spring rather than to a mighty river. [79] Isocrates was an exponent of a different style of oratory: he is neat and polished and better suited to the fencingschool than to the battlefield. He elaborated all the graces of style, nor was he without justification. For lie had trained himself for the lecture-room and not the law-courts. He is ready in invention, his moral ideals are high and the care which he bestows upon his rhythm is such as to be a positive fault. [80] I do not regard these as the sole merits of the orators of whom I have spoken, but have selected what seemed to me their chief excellences, while those whom I have passed over in silence were far from being indifferent. In fact, I will readily admit that the [p. 47] famous Demetrius of Phalerum,13 who is said to have been the first to set oratory on the downward path, was a man of great talent and eloquence and deserves to be remembered, if only for the fact that he is almost the last of the Attic school who can be called an orator: indeed Cicero14 prefers him to all other orators of the intermediate school.

[81] Proceeding to the philosophers, from whom Cicero acknowledges that he derived such a large portion of his eloquence, we shall all admit that Plato is supreme whether in acuteness or perception or in virtue of his divine gift of style, which is worthy of Homer. For he soars high above the levels of ordinary prose or, as the Greeks call it, pedestrian language, and seems to me to be inspired not by mere human genius, but, as it were, by the oracles of the god of Delphi. [82] Why should I speak of the unaffected charm of Xenophon, so far beyond the power of affectation to attain? The Graces themselves seem to have moulded his style, and we may with the utmost justice say of him, what the writer of the old comedy15 said of Pericles, that the goddess of persuasion sat enthroned upon his lips. [83] Why should I dwell on the elegance of the rest of the Socratics? or on Aristotle,16 with regard to whom I hesitate whether to praise him more for his knowledge, for the multitude of his writings, the sweetness of his style, the penetration revealed by his discoveries or the variety of the tasks which he [p. 49] essayed? In Theophrastus17 we find such a superhuman brilliance of style that his name is said to be derived therefrom. [84] The ancient Stoics indulged their eloquence comparatively little. Still, they pleaded the cause of virtue, and the rules which they laid down for argument and proof have been of the utmost value. But they showed themselves shrewd thinkers rather than striking orators, which indeed they never aimed at being.

[85] I now come to Roman authors, and shall follow the same order in dealing with them. As among Greek authors Homer provided us with the most auspicious opening, so will Virgil among our own. For of all epic poets, Greek or Roman, he, without doubt, most nearly approaches to Homer. [86] I will repeat the words which I heard Domitius Afer use in my young days. I asked what poet in his opinion came nearest to Homer, and he replied, “Virgil comes second, but is nearer first than third.” And in truth, although we must needs bow before the immortal and superhuman genius of Homer, there is greater diligence and exactness in the work of Virgil just because his task was harder. And perhaps the superior uniformity of the Roman's excellence balances Homer's pre-eminence in his outstanding passages. [87] All our other poets follow a long way in the rear. Macer and Lucretius are, it is true, worth reading, but not for the purpose of forming style, that is to say, the body of eloquence: both deal elegantly with their themes, but the former is tame and the latter difficult. The poems by which Varro of Atax18 gained his reputation were translations, but he is by no means to be despised, although his diction is not sufficiently rich to be of much [p. 51] service in developing the resources of eloquence. [88] Ennius deserves our reverence, but only as those groves whose age has made them sacred, but whose huge and ancient trunks inspire us with religious awe rather than with admiration for their beauty. There are other poets who are nearer in point of time and more useful for our present purpose. Ovid has a lack of seriousness even when he writes epic and is unduly enamoured of his own gifts, but portions of his work merit our praise. [89] On the other hand, although Cornelius Severus19 is a better versifier than poet, yet if, as has been said, he had written his poem on the Sicilian war in the same style throughout as his first book, he would have had a just claim to the second place. A premature death prevented the powers of Serranus20 from ripening to perfection, but his youthful works reveal the highest talent and a devotion to the true ideal of poetry, which is remarkable in one so young. [90] We have suffered serious loss in the recent death of Valerius Flaccus. Saleius Bassus21 showed an ardent and genuinely poetic genius, but, like that of Serranus, it was not mellowed by years. Rabirius22 and Pedo23 deserve to be studied by those who have the time. Lucan is fiery and passionate and remarkable for the grandeur of his general reflexions, but, to be frank, I consider that he is more suitable for imitation by the orator than by the poet. [91] I have restricted my list of poets to these names, because Germanicus [p. 53] Augustus24 has been distracted from the study of poetry on which he had embarked by his care for the governance of the world, and the gods have thought it scarce worthy of his powers that he should be the greatest of poets. But what can be more sublime, more learned, more perfect in every detail than those works to which he devoted himself in the seclusion to which he retired after conferring the supreme power upon his father and his brother? Who could sing of war better than he who wages it with such skill? To whom would the goddesses that preside over literature sooner lend an ear? To whom would Minerva, his familiar deity,25 more readily reveal her secrets? [92] Future ages shall tell of these things more fully; to-day his glory as a poet is dimmed by the splendour of his other virtues. But you will forgive us, Caesar, who worship at the shrine of literature, if we refuse to pass by your achievements in silence and insist on testifying at least that, as Virgil sings,

The ivy creeps amid your victor bays

Ecl. viii. 13.
[93] We also challenge the supremacy of the Greeks in elegy. Of our elegiac poets Tibullus seems to me to be the most terse and elegant. There are, however, some who prefer Propertius. Ovid is more sportive than either, while Gallus26 is more severe. Satire, on the other hand, is all our own. The first of our poets to win renown in this connexion was Lucilius, some of whose devotees are so enthusiastic that they do not hesitate to prefer him not merely to all other satirists, but even to all other poets. I disagree with them as much as I do with Horace,27 [94] who holds that Lucilius' verse has a “muddy flow, [p. 55] and that there is always something in him that might well be dispensed with.” For his learning is as remarkable as his freedom of speech, and it is this latter quality that gives so sharp an edge and such abundance of wit to his satire. Horace is far terser and purer in style, and must be awarded the first place, unless my judgment is led astray by my affection for his work. Persius also, although he wrote but one book, has acquired a high and well-deserved reputation, while there are other distinguished satirists still living whose praises will be sung by posterity. [95] There is, however, another and even older type of satire which derives its variety not merely from verse, but from an admixture of prose as well. Such were the satires composed by Terentius Varro,28 the most learned of all Romans. He composed a vast number of erudite works, and possessed an extraordinary knowledge of the Latin language, of all antiquity and of the history of Greece and Rome. But he is an author likely to contribute more to the knowledge of the student than to his eloquence. [96] The iambic has not been popular with Roman poets as a separate form of composition, but is found mixed up with other forms of verse.29 It may be found in all its bitterness in Catullus, Bibaculus30 and Horace, although in the last-named the iambic is interrupted by the epode.31 Of our lyric writers Horace is almost the sole poet worth reading: for he rises at times to a lofty grandeur and is full of sprightliness and charm, while there is great variety in his figures, and his boldness in the choice of words is only equalled by his felicity. If any other lyric poet is to be mentioned, it will be Caesius Bassus, who has but [p. 57] lately passed from us. But he is far surpassed in talent by poets still living.

[97] Among writers of tragedy Accius and Pacuvius32 are most remarkable for the force of their general reflexions, the weight of their words and the dignity of their characters. But they lack polish, and filed to put the finishing touches on their works, although the fault was perhaps rather that of the times in which they lived than of themselves. Accius is generally regarded as the most vigorous, while those who lay claim to learning regard Pacuvius as the more learned of the two. [98] The Thyestes of Varius33 is a match for any Greek tragedy, and the Medea of Ovid shows, in my opinion, to what heights that poet might have risen if he had been ready to curb his talents instead of indulging them. Of the tragic writers whom I myself have seen, Pomponius Secundus34 is by far the best: his older critics thought him insufficiently tragic, but admitted his eminence as far as learning and polish were concerned. [99] Comedy is our weakest point. Although Varro quotes Aelius Stilo35 as saying that if the Muses wished to speak Latin, they would use the language of Plautus, although the ancients extol Caecilius,36 and although Scipio Africanus is credited with the works of Terence (which are the most elegant of their kind, and would be still more graceful if the poet had confined himself to the iambic trimeter), [100] we still scarcely succeed in reproducing even a faint shadow of the charm of Greek comedy. Indeed, it seems to me as though the language of Rome were incapable of reproducing that graceful wit which was [p. 59] granted to Athens alone, and was beyond the reach of other Greek dialects to achieve. Afranius37 excels in the purely Roman comedy, but it is to be regretted that he revealed his own character by defiling his plots with the introduction of indecent paederastic intrigues.

[101] In history, however, we hold our own with the Greeks. I should not hesitate to match Saillst against Thucydides, nor would Herodotus resent Titus Livius being placed on the same level as himself. For the latter has a wonderful charm and transparency in narrative, while his speeches are eloquent beyond description; so admirably adapted is all that is said both to the circumstances and the speaker; and as regards the emotions, especially the more pleasing of them, I may sum him up by saying that no historian has ever depicted them to greater perfection. [102] Thus it is that, although by different means, he has acquired no less fame than has been awarded to the immortal rapidity of Sallust. For I strongly approve of the saying of Servilius Nonianus,38 that these historians were equal rather than alike. Servilius, whom I myself have heard, is himself remarkable for the force of his intellect, and is full of general reflexions, but he is less restrained than the dignity of history demands. [103] But that dignity is admirably maintained, thanks to his style, by Aufidius Bassus,39 a slightly earlier writer, especially in his work on the German war: he is always praiseworthy, though at times he fails to do his powers full justice. [104] But there still survives to add lustre to this glorious age a man40 worthy to be remembered through all time: he is appreciated today, but after generations shall declare his name [p. 61] aloud. The bold utterances of Crenutius41 also have their admirers, and deserve their fame, though the passages which brought him to his ruin have been expurgated; still that which is left reveals a rich store of lofty animation and fearless reflexions upon life. There are other good writers as well, but I am merely selecting from the different departments of literature, not reviewing complete libraries.

[105] But it is our orators, above all, who enable us to match our Roman eloquence against that of Greece. For I would set Cicero against any one of their orators without fear of refutation. I know well enough what a storm I shall raise by this assertion, more especially since I do not propose for the moment42 to compare him with Demosthenes; for there would be no point in such a comparison, as I consider that Demosthenes should be the object of special study, and not merely studied, but even committed to memory. [106] I regard the excellences of these two orators as being for the most part similar, that is to say, their judgment, their gift of arrangement, their methods of division, preparation and proof, as well as everything concerned with invention. In their actual style there is some difference. Demosthenes is more concentrated, Cicero more diffuse; Demosthenes makes his periods shorter than Cicero, and his weapon is the rapier, whereas Cicero's periods are longer, and at times he employs the bludgeon as well: nothing can be taken from the former, nor added to the latter; the Greek reveals a more studied, the Roman a more natural art. [107] As regards wit and the power of exciting pity, the two most powerful instruments where the feelings are concerned, we have the advantage. Again, it is possible [p. 63] that Demosthenes was deprived by national custom43 of the opportunity of producing powerful perorations, but against this may be set the fact that the different character of the Latin language debars us from the attainment of those qualities which are so much admired by the adherents of the Attic school. As regards their letters, which have in both cases survived, and dialogues, which Demosthenes never attempted, there can be no comparison between the two. [108] But, on the other hand, there is one point in which the Greek has the undoubted superiority: he comes first in point of time, and it was largely due to him that Cicero was able to attain greatness. For it seems to me that Cicero, who devoted himself heart and soul to the imitation of the Greeks, succeeded in reproducing the force of Demosthenes, the copious flow of Plato, and the charm of Isocrates. [109] But he did something more than reproduce the best elements in each of these authors by dint of careful study; it was to himself that he owed most of, or rather all his excellences, which spring from the extraordinary fertility of his immortal genius. For he does not, as Pindar44 says, “collect the rain from heaven, but wells forth with living water,” since Providence at his birth conferred this special privilege upon him, that eloquence should make trial of all her powers in him. [110] For who can instruct with greater thoroughness, or more deeply stir the emotions? Who has ever possessed such a gift of charm? He seems to obtain as a boon what in reality he extorts by force, and when he wrests the judge from the path of his own judgment, the latter seems not to be swept away, but merely to follow. [111] Further, there is such weight in all that he [p. 65] says that his audience feel ashamed to disagree with him, and the zeal of the advocate is so transfigured that it has the effect of the sworn evidence of a witness, or the verdict of a judge. And at the same time all these excellences, of which scarce one could be attained by the ordinary man even by the most concentrated effort, flow from him with every appearance of spontaneity, and his style, although no fairer has ever fallen on the ears of men, none the less displays the utmost felicity and ease. [112] It was not, therefore, without good reason that his own contemporaries spoke of his “sovereignty” at the bar, and that for posterity the name of Cicero has come to be regarded not as the name of a man, but as the name of eloquence itself. Let us, therefore, fix our eyes on him, take him as our pattern, and let the student realise that he has made real progress if he is a passionate admirer of Cicero. [113] Asinius Pollio45 had great gifts of invention and great precision of language (indeed, some think him too precise), while his judgment and spirit were fully adequate. But he is so far from equalling the polish and charm of Cicero that he might have been born a generation before him. Messala,46 on the other hand, is polished and transparent and displays his nobility in his utterance, but he fails to do his powers full justice. [114] As for Gaius Caesar, if he had had leisure to devote himself to the courts, he would have been the one orator who could have been considered a serious rival to Cicero. Such are his force, his penetration and his energy that we realise that he was as vigorous in speech as in his conduct of war. And yet all these qualities are enhanced by a marvellous elegance of language, of which he was an exceptionally zealous [p. 67] student. [115] Caelius47 has much natural talent and much wit, more especially when speaking for the prosecution, and deserved a wiser mind and a longer life. I have come across some critics who preferred Calvus48 to all other orators, and others again who agreed with Cicero that too severe self-criticism had robbed him of his natural vigour. But he was the possessor of a solemn, weighty and chastened style, which was also capable at times of genuine vehemence. He was an adherent of the Attic school and an untimely death deprived him of his full meed of honour, at least if we regard him as likely to have acquired fresh qualities. [116] Servius Sulpicius49 acquired a great and well-deserved reputation by his three speeches. Cassius Severus,50 if read with discrimination, will provide much that is worthy of imitation: if to his other merits he had added appropriateness of tone and dignity of style, [117] he would deserve a place among the greatest. For his natural talents are great, his gift of bitterness, wit and passion remarkable, but he allowed the sharpness of his temper to prevail over his judgment. Moreover, though his jests are pungent enough, this very pungency often turned the laugh against himself. [118] There are many other clever speakers, but it would be a long task to deal with them all. Domitius Afer51 and Julius Africanus52 are by far the most distinguished. The former is superior in art and in every department of oratory, indeed he may he ranked with the old orators without fear of [p. 69] contradiction. The latter shows greater energy, but is too great a precisian in the choice of words, prone to tediously long periods and somewhat extravagant in his metaphors. There have been distinguished talents even of more recent date. [119] For example, Trachalus53 was, as a rule, elevated and sufficiently clear in his language: one realised that his aims were high, but he was better to listen to than to read. For his voice was, in my experience, unique in its beauty of tone, while his delivery would have done credit to an actor, his action was full of grace and he possessed every external advantage in profusion. Vibius Crispus,54 again, was well-balanced, agreeable and born to charm, though he was better in private than in public cases. [120] Julius Secundus,55 had he lived longer, would undoubtedly have attained a great and enduring reputation. For he would have acquired, as he was actually acquiring, all that was lacking to his qualities, namely, a far greater pugnacity and a closer attention to substance as well as form. [121] But, in spite of the untimeliness of his end, he occupies a high place, thanks to his fluency, the grace with which he set forth whatever he desired, the lucidity, smoothness and beauty of his speech, the propriety revealed in the use of words, even when employed figuratively, and the point which characterises even his most hazardous expressions. [122] Subsequent writers on the history of oratory will find abundant material for praise among the orators who flourish to-day: for the law courts can boast a glorious wealth of talent. Indeed, the consummate advocates of the present day are serious rivals of the ancients, while enthusiastic effort and lofty ideals lead many a young student [p. 71] to tread in their footsteps and imitate their excellence.

[123] I have still to deal with writers on philosophy, of whom Rome has so far produced but few who are distinguished for their style. But Cicero, who is great in every department of literature, stands out as the rival of Plato in this department as well. Brutus56 was an admirable writer on such themes, in which he distinguished himself far more than in his speeches: he is equal to the serious nature of his subject, and the reader realises that he feels what he says. [124] Cornelius Celsus,57 a follower of the Sextii,58 wrote a number of philosophical works, which have considerable grace and polish. Among the Stoics Plautus59 is useful as giving a knowledge of the subject. [125] Among the Epicureans Catius60 is agreeable to read, though lacking in weight. I have deliberately postponed the discussion of Seneca in connexion with the various departments of literature owing to the fact that there is a general, though false, impression that I condemn and even detest him. It is true that I had occasion to pass censure upon him when I was endeavouring to recall students from a depraved style, weakened by every kind of error, to a severer standard of taste. [126] But at that time Seneca's works were in the hands of every young man, and my aim was not to ban his reading altogether, but to prevent his being preferred to authors superior to himself, but whom he was never tired of disparaging; for, being conscious of the fact that his own style was very different [p. 73] from theirs, he was afraid that he would fail to please those who admired them. But the young men loved him rather than imitated him, and fell as far below him as he fell below the ancients. [127] For I only wish they had equalled or at least approached his level. But he pleased them for his faults alone, and each individual sought to imitate such of those faults as lay within his capacity to reproduce: and then brought reproach on his master by boasting that he spoke in the genuine Senecan manner. [128] Seneca had many excellent qualities, a quick and fertile intelligence with great industry and wide knowledge, though as regards the last quality he was often led into error by those whom he had entrusted with the task of investigating certain subjects on his behalf. [129] He dealt with almost every department of knowledge; for speeches, poems, letters and dialogues all circulate under his name. In philosophy he showed a lack of critical power, but was none the less quite admirable in his denunciations of vice. His works contain a number of striking general reflexions and much that is worth reading for edification; but his style is for the most part corrupt and exceedingly dangerous, for the very reason that its vices are so many and attractive. [130] One could wish that, while he relied on his own intelligence, he had allowed himself to be guided by the taste of others. For if he had only despised all unnatural expressions and had not been so passionately fond of all that was incorrect, if he had not felt such affection for all that was his own, and had not impaired the solidity of his matter by striving after epigrammatic brevity, he would have won the approval of the learned instead of the [p. 75] enthusiasm of boys. [131] But even as it is, he deserves to be read by those whose powers have been formed and firmly moulded on the standards of a severer taste, if only because he will exercise their critical faculties in distinguishing between his merits and his defects. For, as I have said, there is much in him which we may approve, much even that we may admire. Only we must be careful in our selection: would he had been as careful himself. For his genius deserved to be devoted to better aims, since what it does actually aim at, it succeeds in achieving.

II. It is from these and other authors worthy of our study that we must draw our stock of words, the variety of our figures and our methods of composition, while we must form our minds on the model of every excellence. For there can be no doubt that in art no small portion of our task lies in imitation, since, although invention came first and is all-important, it is expedient to imitate whatever has been invented with success. [2] And it is a universal rule of life that we should wish to copy what we approve in others. It is for this reason that boys copy the shapes of letters that they may learn to write, and that musicians take the voices of their teachers, painters the works of their predecessors, and peasants the principles of agriculture which have been proved in practice, as models for their imitation. In fact, we may note that the elementary study of every branch of learning is directed by reference to some definite standard that is placed before the learner. [3] We must, in fact, either be like or unlike those who have proved their excellence. It is rare for nature to produce such resemblance, which is more often the result of imitation. But the very fact that in [p. 77] every subject the procedure to be followed is so much more easy for us than it was for those who had no model to guide them, is a positive drawback, unless we use this dubious advantage with caution and judgment.

[4] The first point, then, that we must realise is that imitation alone is not sufficient, if only for the reason that a sluggish nature is only too ready to rest content with the inventions of others. For what would have happened in the days when models were not, if men had decided to do and think of nothing that they did not know already? The answer is obvious: nothing would ever have been discovered. [5] Why, then, is it a crime for us to discover something new? Were primitive men led to make so many discoveries simply by the natural force of their imagination, and shall we not then be spurred on to search for novelty by the very knowledge that those who sought of old were rewarded by success? [6] And seeing that they, who had none to teach them anything, have handed down such store of knowledge to posterity, shall we refuse to employ the experience which we possess of some things, to discover yet other things, and possess nought that is not owed to the beneficent activity of others? Shall we follow the example of those painters whose sole aim is to be able to copy pictures by using the ruler and the measuring rod?61 [7] It is a positive disgrace to be content to owe all our achievement to imitation. For what, I ask again, would have been the result if no one had done more than his predecessors? Livius Andronicus62 would mark our supreme achievement in poetry and the annals of the Pontifices63 would be our ne plus ultra in history. We [p. 79] should still be sailing on rafts, and the art of painting would be restricted to tracing a line round a shadow thrown in the sunlight. [8] Cast your eyes over the whole of history; you will find that no art has remained just as it was when it was discovered, nor come to a standstill at its very birth, unless indeed we are ready to pass special condensation on our own generation on the ground that it is so barren of invention that no further development is possible; and it is undoubtedly true that no development is possible for those who restrict themselves to imitation. [9] But if we are forbidden to add anything to the existing stock of knowledge, how can we ever hope for the birth of our ideal orator? For of all the greatest orators with whom we are as yet acquainted, there is not one who has not some deficiency or blemish. And even those who do not aim at supreme excellence, ought to press toward the mark rather than be content to follow in the tracks of others. [10] For the man whose aim is to prove himself better than another, even if he does not surpass him, may hope to equal him. But he can never hope to equal him, if he thinks it his duty merely to tread in his footsteps: for the mere follower must always lag behind. Further, it is generally easier to make some advance than to repeat what has been done by others, since there is nothing harder than to produce an exact likeness, and nature herself has so far failed in this endeavour that there is always some difference which enables us to distinguish even the things which seem most like and most equal to one another. [11] Again, whatever is like another object, must necessarily be inferior to the object of its imitation, just as the [p. 81] shadow is inferior to the substance, the portrait to the features which it portrays, and the acting of the player to the feelings which he endeavours to reproduce. The same is true of oratory. For the models which we select for imitation have a genuine and natural force, whereas all imitation is artificial and moulded to a purpose which was not that of the original orator. [12] This is the reason why declamations have less life and vigour than actual speeches, since the subject is fictitious in the one and real in the other. Again, the greatest qualities of the orator are beyond all imitation, by which I mean, talent, invention, force, facility and all the qualities which are independent of art. [13] Consequently, there are many who, after excerpting certain words from published speeches or borrowing certain particular rhythms, think that they have produced a perfect copy of the works which they have read, despite the fact that words become obsolete or current with the lapse of years, the one sure standard being contemporary usage; and they are not good or bad in virtue of their inherent nature (for in themselves they are no more than mere sounds), but solely in virtue of the aptitude and propriety (or the reverse) with which they are arranged, while rhythmical composition must be adapted to the theme in hand and will derive its main charm from its variety.

[14] Consequently the nicest judgment is required in the examination of everything connected with this department of study. First we must consider whom to imitate. For there are many who have shown a passionate desire to imitate the worst and most decadent authors. Secondly, we must consider what [p. 83] it is that we should set ourselves to imitate in the authors thus chosen. [15] For even great authors have their blemishes, for which they have been censured by competent critics and have even reproached each other. I only wish that imitators were more likely to improve on the good things than to exaggerate the blemishes of the authors whom they seek to copy. And even those who have sufficient critical acumen to avoid the faults of their models will not find it sufficient to produce a copy of their merits, amounting to no more than a superficial resemblance, or rather recalling those sloughs which, according to Epicurus, are continually given off by material things.64 [16] But this is just what happens to those who mould themselves on the first impressions derived from the style of their model, without devoting themselves to a thorough investigation of its good qualities, and, despite the brilliance of their imitation and the close resemblance of their language and rhythm, not only fail absolutely to attain the force of style and invention possessed by the original, but as a rule degenerate into something worse, and achieve merely those faults which are hardest to distinguish from virtues: they are turgid instead of grand, bald instead of concise, and rash instead of courageous, while extravagance takes the place of wealth, over-emphasis the place of harmony and negligence of simplicity. [17] As a result, those who flaunt tasteless and insipid thoughts, couched in an uncouth and inharmonious form, think that they are the equals of the ancients; those who lack ornament and epigram, pose as Attic; those who darken their meaning by the abruptness with which they close their periods, count themselves the superiors of Sallust and Thucydides; those who are [p. 85] dreary and jejune, think that they are serious rivals to Pollio, while those who are tame and listless, if only they can produce long enough periods, swear that this is just the manner in which Cicero would have spoken. [18] I have known some who thought that they had produced a brilliant imitation of the style of that divine orator, by ending their periods with the phrase esse videatur.65 Consequently it is of the first importance that every student should realise what it is that he is to imitate, and should know why it is good.

[19] The next step is for each student to consult his own powers when he shoulders his burden. For there are some things which, though capable of imitation, may be beyond the capacity of any given individual, either because his natural gifts are insufficient or of a different character. The man whose talent is for the plain style should not seek only what is bold and rugged, nor yet should he who has vigour without control suffer himself through love of subtlety at once to waste his natural energy and fail to attain the elegance at which he aims: for there is nothing so unbecoming as delicacy wedded to ruggedness. [20] True, I did express the opinion that the instructor whose portrait I painted in my second book,66 should not confine himself to teaching those things for which he perceived his individual pupils to have most aptitude. For it is his further duty to foster whatever good qualities he may perceive in his pupils, to make good their deficiencies as far as may be, to correct their faults and turn them to better things. For he is the guide and director of the minds of others. It is a harder task to mould one's own nature. [21] But not even our [p. 87] ideal teacher, however much he may desire that everything that is correct should prevail in his school to the fullest extent, will waste his labour in attempting to develop qualities to the attainment of which he perceives nature's gifts to be opposed.

It is also necessary to avoid the fault to which the majority of students are so prone, namely, the idea that in composing speeches we should imitate the poets and historians, and in writing history or poetry should copy orators and declaimers. [22] Each branch of literature has its own laws and its own appropriate character. Comedy does not seek to increase its height by the buskin and tragedy does not wear the slipper of comedy. But all forms of eloquence have something in common, and it is to the imitation of this common element that our efforts should be confined.

[23] There is a further fault to which those persons are liable who devote themselves entirely to the imitation of one particular style: if the rude vigour of some particular author takes their fancy, they cling to it even when the case on which they are engaged calls for an easy and flowing style; if, on the other hand, it is a simple or agreeable style that claims their devotion, they fail to meet the heavy demands of severe and weighty cases. For not only do cases differ in their general aspect, but one part of a case may differ from another, and some things require a gentle and others a violent style, some require an impetuous and others a calm diction, while in some cases it is necessary to instruct and in others to move the audience, in all these instances dissimilar and different methods being necessary. [24] Consequently I should be reluctant even to advise a [p. 89] student to select one particular author to follow through thick and thin. Demosthenes is by far the most perfect of Greek orators, yet there are some things which others have said better in some contexts as against the many things which he has said better than others. But it does not follow that because we should select one author for special imitation, he should be our only model. What then? [25] Is it not sufficient to model our every utterance on Cicero? For my own part, I should consider it sufficient, if I could always imitate him successfully. But what harm is there in occasionally borrowing the vigour of Caesar, the vehemence of Caelius, the precision of Pollio or the sound judgment of Calvus? [26] For quite apart from the fact that a wise man should always, if possible, make whatever is best in each individual author his own, we shall find that, in view of the extreme difficulty of our subject, those who fix their eyes on one model only will always find some one quality which it is almost impossible to acquire therefrom. Consequently, since it is practically impossible for mortal powers to produce a perfect and complete copy of any one chosen author, we shall do well to keep a number of different excellences before our eyes, so that different qualities from different authors may impress themselves on our minds, to be adopted for use in the place that becomes them best.

[27] But imitation (for I must repeat this point again and again) should not be confined merely to words. We must consider the appropriateness with which those orators handle the circumstances and persons involved in the various cases in which they were engaged, and observe the judgment and powers of arrangement which they reveal, and the manner [p. 91] in which everything they say, not excepting those portions of their speeches which seem designed merely to delight their audience, is concentrated on securing the victory over their opponents. We must note their procedure in the exordium, the method and variety of their statement of facts, the power displayed in proof and refutation, the skill revealed in their appeal to every kind of emotion, and the manner in which they make use of popular applause to serve their case, applause which is most honourable when it is spontaneous and not deliberately courted. If we have thoroughly appreciated all these points, we shall be able to imitate our models with accuracy. [28] But the man who to these good qualities adds his own, that is to say, who makes good deficiencies and cuts down whatever is redundant, will be the perfect orator of our search; and it is now above all times that such perfection should be attained when there are before us so many more models of oratorical excellence than were available for those who have thus far achieved the highest success. For this glory also shall be theirs, that men shall say of them that while they surpassed their predecessors, they also taught those who came after.

1 2. xiii. 26. Alcaeus of Mitylene (circa 600 B.C.).

2 Simondes of Ceos. 556–468 B.C., famous for all forms of lyric poetry, especially funeral odes.

3 Contemporaries: Cratinus (519–422), Aristophanes (448– 380), Eupolis (446–410).

4 A contemporary of Demosthenos; his speeches have not survived, but were considered to resemble those of Lysias.

5 The greater portion of the Epitrepontes has been recovered from a papyrus. The other plays are lost. The names may be translated: “The Arbitrators,” “The Heiress,” “The Locri,” “The Timid Man,” “The Lawgiver,” “The Changeling.”

6 Philemon of Soli (360–262); Menader of Athens (342– 290).

7 Theopompus of Chios, born about 378 B.C., wrote a history of Greece (Hellenica) from close of Peloponnesian war to 394 B.C., and a history of Greece in relation to Philip of Macedon (Philippica). His master, Isocrates, urged him to write history.

8 Philistus of Syracuse, born about 430 B.C., wrote a history of Sicily.

9 Ephorus of Cumae, flor. circ. 340 B.C., wrote a universal history. He was a pupil of Isocrates. Cp. II. viii. 11.

10 Clitarchus of Megara wrote a history of Persia and of Alexander, whose contemporary he was.

11 Timagenes, a Syrian of the Augustan age, wrote a history of Alexander and his successors.

12 Antiphon, Andocides, Lysias (flor. 403–380), Isocrates (435–338), Isacus, Demosthenes, Aeschines, Lycargus, Hyperides and Dinarchus.

13 Governed Athens as Cassander's vicegerent 317–307: then tied to Egypt, where he died in 283.

14 de Or. ii. 95. Orat. 92. The “intermediate” style is that which lies between the “grand” and the “plain” styles.

15 Eupolis, πειθώ τις ἐπεκάθιζεν ἐπὶ τοῖς χείλεσιν.

16 “Sweet” is the last epithet to be applied to the surviving works of Aristotle. But Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Cicero praise him no less warmly, referring, no doubt, to works that are lost.

17 Theophrastus, Aristotle's successor as head of his school (322–287). Diogenes Laertius (v. 38) says that his real name was Tyrtamus, but that Aristotle called him Theophrastus because of the “divine qualities of his style” (φράσις).

18 Varro of Atax in Gaul (82–37 B.C. ) was specially famous for his translation of the Argontautica of Apollonius Rhodius. he also wrote didactic poetry and historical epic.

19 Friend and contemporary of Ovid. A considerable fragment is preserved by Sen. Suas. vi. 26. The Sicilian War was the war with Sextus Pompeius (38–36) and perhaps formed a portion of a larger work on the Civil War. The surviving fragment deals with the death of Cicero. The priunus liber may therefore perhaps be the first book of this larger work.

20 Nothing is known of this poet except the name.

21 Nothing is known of this poet save that he is highly praised by Tacitus in his Diblogues, and was patronized by Vespasian. The unfinished Argonautica of Valerius Flaccus survives.

22 A contemporary of Ovid, believed to be the author of a fragment on the battle of Actium, found at Hereulaneum.

23 C. Albinovanns Pedo wrote a poem on the voyage of Germanicus to the north of Germany. A fragment is preserved by Sen. Suas. i. 14.

24 Domitian.

25 He claimed to be the son of Minerva. It is doubtful if he ever wrote any poetry. Cp. Tac Hist. iv. 86, Suet. Dom. 2 and 20.

26 Cornelius (Gallus, the friend of Virgil, and the first distinguished writer of elegy at Rome.

27 Sat. I. iv. 11.

28 His Menippean Satires, of which only fragments survive. Although ostensibly an imitation of the work of the Greek Menippus of Gadara, they can still be said to belong to the older type of satire, the “medley” or “hotch-potch.”

29 The meaning is not clear. The words may mean (i that these writers did not confine themselves to the iambus, or (iii that the iambus alternates with other metres, cp. epodos below.

30 M. Furius Bibaculus, contemporary of Catullus, and writer of similar invective against the Caesareans.

31 i. e. the short iambic line interposed between the trimeters.

32 Accius (170 90), Pacuvius (220–132).

33 L. Varius Rufus, friend of Virgil and Horace, editor of the Aeneid; wrote epic and a single tragedy.

34 Pomponius Secundus, died 60 A.D.; wrote a tragedy entitled Aeneas.

35 The first Roman philologist (141–70 B.C.).

36 Caecilils (219–166), Terence (194159), Afranius (flor. circ. 150). Only fragments of Caecilius and Afranius remain.

37 Caecilils (219–166), Terence (194–159), Afranius (flor. cire. 150) Only fragments of Caecilius and Afanius survive.

38 Friend of Persius, and famous as orator, reciter and historian; died 60 A.D.

39 He wrote a history of the empire down to the death of Claudius. The work on the German war was probably a separate work.

40 Probably Fabius Rusticus. Tacitus would have been too young at this time to be mentioned in such terms.

41 Crenutius Cordus wrote a history of the Civil wars and reign of Augustus. He was accused for his praise of Brutus and Cassius, and committed suicide in A.D. 25. It was he who called Cassius “the last of all the Romans.”

42 See XII. i. 14 sqq., also XII x. 12 sqq.

43 cp. xvi. 4; vi i 7 Quintilian refers to an alleged law at Athens forbidding appeals to the emotion.

44 The quotation is not found in Pindar's extant works.

45 Asinius Pollio (75 B.C.—A.D. 4), the friend of Virgil, distinguished as poet, historian and orator.

46 M. Valerius Corvinus (64 B.C.—A.D. 8), the friend of Tibullus and distinguished as an orator.

47 M. Rufus Caelius, defended by Cicero in the pro Catlio. Killed in 48 B.C. Cp. IV. ii. 123.: VII. i. 53.

48 Calvus ((Gaius Licinius), a distinguish poet and. with Brutus, the leading orator of the Attic School. He died at the age of 34 in 48 B.C.

49 Servius Sulpicius Rufus, the greatest jurist of the Ciecronian age.

50 assius Severus (d. A.D. 34) banished by Augustus on account of his scurrilous lampoons.

51 Domitius Afer (d. 59 A.D.), the leading orator of the reigns of Tiberius and his successors.

52 Iulius Africanus, a Gaul, who flourished in the reign of Nero.

53 M. Galerius Trachalus (cos. (18 A.D.) Cp XII v. 5

54 Vibius Crispus, a delator under Nero, died about A.D. 90, after acquiring great wealth. Cp. Juv. iv. 81–93.

55 Julius Secundus, a distinguished orator of the reign of Vespasian. One of the characters in the Dialogus of Tacitus.

56 Brutus, omitted from Qauintilian's list of orators, was a follower of the Stoic and Academic schools. He is known to have written treatises on Virtue, Duty and Patience.

57 An encyclopedic writer under Augustus and Tiberius. His medical treatises have survived. He wrote on oratory also, and is not infrequently quoted by Quintilian.

58 The Sextii, father and son, were Pythagorean philosophers of the Augustan age, with something of a Stoic tendency as well.

59 123

60 A contemporary of Cicero, who speaks of him somewhat contemptuously. He wrote four books de rerum matura et de summo bono.

61 The reference is to copying by dividing the surface of the picture to be copied, and of the material on which the copy is to be made, into a number of equal squares.

62 Livius Andronicus, a slave from Tareotum, was the founder of Latin poetry. He translated the Odyssey, and produced the first Latin comedy and tragedy composed in Greek metres (240 B.C.)

63 The Annales Maximi kept by the Pontifex Maximus, containing the list of the consul and giving a curt summary of the events of each consulate.

64 Epicurus held that all sense-perception was caused by the impact of such atomic sloughs: cp. Lucret. iv. 42 sqq.

65 cp. ix. iv. 73. Tac. Dial. 23.

66 Ch. 8.

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