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I come now to Cicero. He had the same battle with his contemporaries which I have with you. They admired the ancients; he preferred the eloquence of his own time. It was in taste more than anything else that he was superior to the orators of that age. In fact, he was the first who gave a finish to oratory, the first who applied a principle of selection to words, and art to composition. He tried his skill at beautiful passages, and invented certain arrangements of the sentence, at least in those speeches which he composed when old and near the close of life, that is when he had made more progress, and had learnt by practice and by many a trial, what was the best style of speaking. As for his early speeches, they are not free from the faults of antiquity. He is tedious in his introductions, lengthy in his narrations, careless about digressions; he is slow to rouse himself, and seldom warms to his subject, and only an idea here and there is brought to a fitting and a brilliant close. There is nothing which you can pick out or quote, and the style is like a rough building, the wall of which indeed is strong and lasting, but not particularly polished and bright. Now I would have an orator, like a rich and grand householder, not merely be sheltered by a roof sufficient to keep off rain and wind, but by one to delight the sight and the eye; not merely be provided with such furniture as is enough for necessary purposes, but also possess among his treasures gold and jewels, so that he may
find a frequent pleasure in handling them and gazing on them. On the other hand, some things should be kept at a distance as being now obsolete and ill-savoured. There should be no phrase stained, so to speak, with rust; no ideas should be expressed in halting and languid periods after the fashion of chronicles. The orator must shun an offensive and tasteless scurrility; he must vary the structure of his sentences and not end all his clauses in one and the same way.

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