At another time, too, they say, when he had been rebuffed by the people and was going off homewards disconcerted and in great distress, Satyrus the actor, who was a familiar acquaintance of his, followed after and went indoors with him. Demosthenes lamented to him that although he was the most laborious of all the orators and had almost used up the vigour of his body in this calling, he had no favour with the people, but debauchees, sailors, and illiterate fellows were listened to and held the bema, while he himself was ignored.
‘You are right, Demosthenes,’ said Satyrus,
‘but I will quickly remedy the cause of all this, if you will consent to recite off-hand for me some narrative speech from Euripides or Sophocles.’ Demosthenes did so, whereupon Satyrus, taking up the same speech after him, gave it such a form and recited it with such appropriate sentiment and disposition that it appeared to Demosthenes to be quite another. Persuaded, now, how much of ornament and grace action lends to oratory, he considered it of little or no use for a man to practise declaiming if he neglected the delivery and disposition of his words.
After this, we are told, he built a subterranean study, which, in fact, was preserved in our time,1
and into this he would descend every day without exception in order to form his action and cultivate his voice, and he would often remain there even for two or three months together, shaving one side of his head in order that shame might keep him from going abroad even though he greatly wished to do so.