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[95] which give a title to a place in literature lies, if we pause to reflect upon it, in the very nature of the speech itself.

Charles Fox was the author of the famous aphorism that ‘no good speech ever read well.’ This is a declaration in epigrammatic form that the speech which is prepared like an essay and then read or recited, which, in other words, is primarily literature and not oratory, is not a thoroughly good speech, and of the soundness of the doctrine there can hardly be a doubt. But the theory, however valid, is not without its dangers. Charles Fox lived up to his own principle. He was, it may well be thought, the greatest of English orators at the moment of speech, but he is little read and seldom quoted now. What he actually said has faded from the minds of men despite its enchanting, its enormous effect at the moment. On the other hand, the speech which is literature before it is spoken is ineffective or only partially effective at the moment, and if it is read afterwards, however much we may enjoy the essay, we never mistake it for the genuine eloquence of the spoken word.

Macaulay is an example of this latter class, as Fox is of the former. Macaulay's speeches are essays, eloquent and rhetorical, but still essays—literature, and not speeches. He was listened to with interest and delight, but he was not a parliamentary debater or speaker of the first order. The highest oratory, therefore, must combine in exact balance the living force and freshness of the spoken word with the literary qualities which alone ensure endurance. The best examples of this perfection are to be found in the world of imagination, in the two speeches of Brutus and Mark Antony following the death of Caesar. They are speeches and nothing else— one cool, stately, reasonable; the other a passionate, revolutionary appeal, hot from the heart and pouring from the lips with unpremeditated art, and yet they both have the literary quality, absolutely supreme in this instance, because Shakespeare wrote them.

It is not the preparation or even the writing out beforehand which makes a speech into an essay, for these things can both be done without detracting from the spontaneity, without dulling the sound of the voice which the wholly great speech must have, even on the printed page. The speech loses when

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