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Phrases like "Fortune's wheel" and "Verrine soup," I do not care to ridicule, or that stock ending of every third clause in all Cicero's speeches, "it would seem to be," brought in as the close of a period. I have mentioned them with reluctance, omitting several, although they are the sole peculiarities admired and imitated by those who call themselves orators of the old school. I will not name any one, as I think it enough to have pointed at a class. Still, you have before your eyes men who read Lucilius rather than Horace, and Lucretius rather than Virgil, who have a mean opinion of the eloquence of Aufidius Bassus, and Servilius Nonianus compared with that of Sisenna or Varro, and who despise and loathe the treatises of our modern rhetoricians, while those of Calvus are their admiration. When these men prose in the old style before the judges, they have neither select listeners nor a popular audience; in short the client himself hardly endures them. They are dismal and uncouth, and the very soundness of which they boast, is the result not so much of real vigour as of fasting. Even as to health of body, physicians are not satisfied with that which is attained at the cost of mental worry. It is a small matter not to be ill; I like a man to be robust and hearty and full of life. If soundness is all that you can praise him for, he is not very far from being an invalid. Be it yours, my eloquent friends, to grace our age to the best of your ability, as in fact you are doing, with the noblest style of oratory. You, Messala, imitate, I observe, the choicest beauties of the ancients. And you, Maternus and Secundus, combine charm and finish of expression with weight of thought. There is discrimination in the phrases you invent, order in the treatment of your subject, fullness, when the case demands it, conciseness, when it is possible, elegance in your style, and perspicuity in every sentence. You can express passion, and yet control an orator's licence. And so, although ill-nature and envy may have stood in the way of our good opinions, posterity will speak the truth concerning you.

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