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But if it be your pleasure that this institution should be altered, if you wish to have the Cornelian law, concerning bribery, extended to all ranks, then let us join, not in violating the law, but in proposing to have this alteration made by a new luw. My client, Cluentius, will be the foremost in this measure, who now, while the old law subsists, rejected its defence, and required his cause to be pleaded, as if he had been bound by it. But, though he would not avail himself of the law, you are bound in justice not to stretch it beyond its proper limits.'
Such is the reasoning of Cicero on this head; eloquent surely, and strong. As his manner is diffuse, I have greatly abridged it from the original, but have endeavoured to retain its force.
In the latter part of the oration, Cicero treats of the other accusation that was brought against Cluentius, of having poisoned Oppianicus. On this, it appears, his accusers themselves laid small stress; having placed their chief hope in overwhelming Cluentius with the odium of bribery in the former trial; and therefore, on this part of the cause, Cicero does not dwell long. He shows the improbability of the whole tale which they related concerning this pretended poisoning, and makes it appear to be altogether destitute of any shadow of proof.
Nothing, therefore, remains, but the peroration or conclusion of the whole. In this, as indeed throughout the whole of this oration, Cicero is uncommonly chaste; and, in the midst of much warmth and earnestness, keeps clear of turgid declamation. The peroration turns on two points; the indignation which the character and conduct of Sassia ought to excite, and the compassion due to a son, persecuted through his whole life by such a mother. He recapitulates the crimes of Sassia; her lewdness, her violation of every decorum; her incestuous marriages, her violence and cruelty. He places, in the most odious light, the eagerness and fury which she had shown in the suit she was carrying on against her son; describes her journey from Larinum to Rome, with a train of attendants, and a great sture of money, that she might employ every method for circumventing and oppressing him in this trial; while, in the whole course of her journey, she was so detested, as to make a solitude wherever she lodged; she was shunned and avoided by all; her company and her very looks were reckoned contagious; the house was deemed polluted which was entered into by so abandoned a womnan.* To this he opposes the character of Cluentius, fair, unspotted, and respectable. He produces the testimonies of the magistrates of Larinum in his favour, given in the most ample and honourable manner by a public decree, and supported by a great concourse of the most ni ted inhabitants, who were now present to second every thing that Cicero could say in favour of Cluentius.
* Cum appropinquarc hujus judicium ei nuntiatum est, confestim huc adolavit; ne aut accusatoribus diligentia, aut pecunia testibus deesset ; aut ne forte mater hoc sibi optatissimum spectaculum hujus sordium atque luctus, et tanti squaloris amitteret. Jam vero quod iter Romam hujus mulieris fuisse existimatis ? Quod ego propter vici. nitatem Aquinatium et Venafranorum ex multis comperi : quos concursus in his oppidis ? Quantos et virorum et mulierum gemitus esse factos ? Mulierem quandam Larino, atque illam usque a mari supero Romam proficisci cum magno comitatu et pecuniâ, quo facilius circumvenire judicio capitis, atque opprimere filium posset. Nemo erat illorum, pæne dicam, quin expiandum illum locum esse arbitraretur quacunque ila iter fecisset; nemo, quin terram ipsam violari, quæ mater est omnium, vestigiis conscleralæ matris putaret. Itaque nullo in oppido consistendi ei potestas fuit; nemo ex tot hospitibus inventus est qui non contagioucm aspectûs fugeret.'
"Wherefore, judges,' he concludes, “if you abominate crimes, stop the triumph of this in pious woman; prevent this most unnatural mother from rejoicing in her son's blood. If you love virtue and worth, relieve this unfortunate man, who, for so many years, has been exposed to most unjust reproach through the calumnies raised against him by Sassia, Oppianicus, and all their adherents. Better far had it been for him, to have ended his days at once by the poison which Oppianicus had prepared for him, than to have escaped those snares, if he must still be oppressed by an odium which I have shown to be so unjust. But in you he trusts, in your clemency, and your equity, that now, on a full and fair hearing of this cause, you will restore him to his honour; you will restore him to his friends and fellow-citizens, of whose zeal and high estimation of him you have seen such strong proofs; and will show, by your decision, that though faction and calumny may reign for a while in popular meetings and harangues, in trial and judgment, regard is paid to the truth only.'
I have given only a skeleton of this oration of Cicero. What I principally aimed at, was to show his disposition and method; his arrangement of facts, and the conduct and force of some of his inain arguments. But, in order to have a full view of the subject, and of the art with which the orator manages it, recourse must be had to the original. Few of Cicero's orations contain a greater variety of facts and argumentations, which renders it difficult to analyze it fully. But for this reason I chose it, as an excellent example of managing at the bar, a complex and intricate cause, with order, elegance, and force.
QUESTIONS. What was treated of in the last lec-i There, what have they not, for employture? Much of what was said on that'ing the arts of speech? How is this il head is applicable to what; and what; lustrated ? In the last place, what do is the consequence ? But, as all that was the nature and management of the subsaid in the former lecture, must not bejects which belong to the bar, require ? applied to it, what is of importance ? Tlow is this difference illustrated ? For In the first place, what is observed ? In these reasons, what is clear; and for popular assemblics, what is the great similar reasons, of what must we beobject, and at what does the orator aim? | ware? Why is it necessary to warn For accomplishing this end, what is in- young lawyers of this? What is the cumbent on him ? At the bar, what is first cause to which this was owing ? the great object, and there, what is the How is this remark ilustrated ? What, speaker's business; and to what, conse- consequently, more than jurisprudence, quently, is h's eloquence adılressed? was the study of those who were to Or this difference, what is observed ? plead causes? What does Cicero someIn the second place, to whom do speak- where say; and even what opinion preers at the bar address themselves ? I vailed? There were among the Romans what set of men; and what was their much recommended to those who are office ? What iray we next observe ? I be rinning 10 practice at the bar ? To How is this remark fully illustrated ? what habit should they form themHence, what consequences followed; selves? If this habit be once acquired, and hence, what practices, which would / what will be the consequence? Wherebe reckoned theatrical ainong us, were as, what will be the consequence of common at the Roman bar? Why, then, sutlering a loose and negligent style to wou:d too strict an imitation of Cicero's become familiar? What is a capital manner of plearling, now be extremely property in speaking at the bar; and injudicious ? As he may, however, still in what two things, chiefly, should it be studied to great advantage, in what be shown ? What is of the utmost conou'ght he to be imitated ? By what sequence in every sort of oration; and imitations of him would a pleader ren where is this indispensable? In what, der himself perfectly ridiculous? Be- therefore, cannot too much pains bé fore descending to more pa ticular di- taken; and why? With respect to the rections concerning the eloquence of the conduct of narration and argument, bar, of what does our author take no what only, at present, is observed ; tice? Or this, what is observed ; and Why .s this remark made? Whereas, why? Besides previous study, and a hy cutting off all superfluous circumproper stock of knowledge attained, stances in his recital, what effect does what is hi shly material to the success he produce? Why should a more difof every pleader ? How did the ancient fuse manner in argumentation be used rhetoricians regard this? What does at the bar, than on some other occaCicero tell us on this subject? Whom sions ? doos he very severely censure; and! When the p'eader comes to refute the with what does he tax them ? To the argumente employed by his adversary, same purpose, what is done by Quinti- why should he not do them injustice ? lian; and what does he again and Whereas, what will be the effect of again recommend ? Repeat the pas- stating them with accuracy and cansage. Suppose an advocate to be thus Jour ? In this case, what are they natuprepared, what is next observed ? | rally led to think? To what is the What inference would be altogether julge thereby inclined ; and what rewrong? Though the manner of speak- mark follows? When may wit be of ing be changed, yet what follows ? service at the bar ? Though the repuFrom what consideration does it ap- tation of wit be dazzling to a young pear that, perhaps, there is no scene pleader, yet why should he not rest his of public speaking, where eloquence is strength upon this talent ? In pleading more necessary than at the bar ? What a cause, what is always of use ? How does the dryness and subtilty of the is this remark illustrated ? As an advosubjects generally agitated at the bar, cate personates his client, and stands in require? How is this illustrated ? | his place, what is very improper, and What is no small encouragement to has a bad effect; and what follows? eloquence, at the bar ? To what is he At the same time, of what must he less exposed thar some others? Why beware; why; and what must never is he sure of coming forward according he forgotten? What is scarcely possible? to his merit? What may be done for a How is this illustrated ? How must this young pleader, by his friends ? Why opinion of honour and probity, therewill a reputation resting on these assist- fore, be preserved? Though, perhaps, ances, soon fall ? What must be laid the nature of the profession may ren down for a first principle ? Why may der it difficult to carry this delicacy to a little play to the imagination be some- its utmost length, yet what follows? times allowed; but how must this liber-Embarking in what causes will he alty be taken? How is the speaker who ways decline; and when he supports a uscs a florid style and sparkling manner (oubtful one, what course will he purheart? What is their effect? What is sue? In what manner does our author chiefly to be studied ? Of whit are the propose further to illustrate this subgentlemen of this profession often ac-ject? What oratiron has our author cused; and how are they betrayed in-chosen; and why? What is the subject to it? What. therefore, cannot be tool of the oration? Of the introduction
what is observed ? How does it begin ;, following passage? Repeat it. In the and what were these two parts? What | latter part of the oration, of what does does Cicero propose? On what does he Cicero treat? Of this, what is observed? make several proper observations; and What does Cicero here show? Of the what does he acknowledge ? Begging peroration what is observed ; and on a patient and attentive hearing, of what two points does it turn? With rewhat does he assure the judges? Whatgard to Sassia, what does Cicero do? reigns throughout this introduction ? To the character of Sassia, what does What circumstances naturally raised | he oppose ; and what does he produce? strong prejudices against Cicero's client? With what remarks does he conclude? What was, therefore, the first step to be in this skeleton, what was principally taken by the orator ; and in what man- aimed at ? In order to have a full view ner? What rendered this plan proper ? of it, to what must recourse be had; In executing his plan, what does he and why? do? What evidence have we of the abandoned character of Sassia, the mother? What was the fate of Meli
ANALYSIS. nus? When Oppianicus himself made his addresses to her, on what ground | 1. Eloquence of the bar. did she object to him? Upon the remo- l A. The difference between it and val of this objection, what followed ?
popular eloquence. How are these flagrant deeds painted B. Cicero's and Demosthenes' oraby Cicero? As Cluentive could no
tions not models for modern longer live on terms with Sassia, what
speakers at the bar. followed? What does Cicero say of c. The requisites for a lawyer's sucOppianicus? Repeat, fully, the history
cess. of the trial. Of both these Prejudicia, a. A profound knowledge of his what is observed; and what was a na
profession. tural consequence? What was pecu b. Eloquence in pleading. liar to this prosecution ? By what argu D. Directions for speaking at the bar. ments does Cicero defend his client a. To be calm and temperate. against this heavy charge of the b. Verbosity to be avoided. Crimen corrupti Judicii? What is
c. Distinctness a capital property. the effect of these plausible facts and d. Conciseness in narration requireasonings? What difficult part of the
site. orator's business still renia ned? To all e. Candidness in stating an oppo these decisions, how does Cicero reply;
nent's arguments. and what does he show ? At length, f. A proper degree of warmth Cicero comes to reason of what; and
useful. of what does he take advantage ? 2. An analysis of one of Cicero's oraWhy does our author introduce the
ELOQUENCE OF THE PULPIT. Before treating of the structure and component parts of a regular oration, I purposed making some observations on the peculiar strain, the distinguishing characters, of each of the three great kinds of public speaking. I have already treated of the eloquence of popular assemblies, and of the eloquence of the bar. The subject which remains for this lecture is, the strain and spirit of that eloquence which is suited to the pulpit.
Let us begin with considering the advantages and disadvantages which belong to this field of public speaking. The pulpit has plainly several advantages peculiar to itself. The dignity and impor
tance of its subjects must be acknowledged superior to any other. They are such as ought to interest every one, and can be brought home to every man's heart; and such as admit, at the same time, both the highest embellishment in describing, and the greatest vehemence and warmth in enforcing them. The preacher has also great advantages in treating his subjects. He speaks not to one or a few judges, but to a large assembly. He is secure from all interruption. He is obliged to no replies, or extemporaneous efforts. He chooses his theme at leisure; and comes to the public with all the assistance which the most accurate premeditation can give him.
But, together with these advantages, there are also peculiar difficulties that attend the eloquence of the pulpit. The preacher, it is true, has no trouble in contending with an adversary ; but then, debate and contention enliven genius and procure attention. The pulpit orator is, perhaps, in too quiet possession of his field. His subjects of discourse are, in themselves, noble and important; but they are subjects trite and familiar. They have, for ages, employed so many speakers, and so many pens; the public ear is so much accustomed to them, that it requires more than an ordinary power of genius to fix attention. Nothing within the reach of art is more difficult, than to bestow, on what is common, the grace of novelty. No sort of composition whatever is such a trial of skill, as where the merit of it lies wholly in the execution; not in giving any information that is new, not in convincing men of what they did not believe; but in dressing truths which they knew, and of which they were before convinced, in such colours as may most forcibly affect their imagination and heart.* It is to be considered, too, that the subject of the preacher generally confines him to abstract qualities, to virtues and vices; whereas, that of other popular speakers leads them to treat of persons; which is a subject that commonly interests the hearers more, and takes faster hold of the imagination. The preacher's business is solely to make you detest the crime; the pleader's, to make you detest the criminal. He describes a living person; and with more facility rouses
* What I have said on this subject, coincides very much with the observations made by the famous M. Bruyère, in his Mæurs de Siecle, when he is comparing the eloquence of the pulpit to that of the bar. L'eloquence de la chaire, en ce qui y entre d'humain, & du talent de l'orateur, est cachée, connue de peu de personnes, & d'une difficile execution. Il faut marcher par des chemins battus, dire ce qui a été dit, & ce qui l'on prévoit que vous allez dire : les matières sont grandes, mais usées & triviales ; les principes surs, mais dont les auditeurs penetrent les conclusions d'une seule vue : il y entre des sujets qui sont sublimes, mais qui peut traiter le sublime?Le Prédicateur n'est point soutenu comme l'avocat par des faits toujours nouveaux, par de differens evenemens, par des aventures inouies ; il ne s'exerce point sur les questions douteuses; il ne fait point valoir les violentes conjectures, & les presomptions; toutes choses, neanmoins, qui élevent le genie, lui donnent de la force, & de l'étendue, & qui contraignent bien moins l'éloquence, qu'elles ne le fixent, & le dirigent. Il doit au contraire, tirer son discours d'une source commune, & ou tout le monde puise ; & s'il s'écarte de ces lieux communs il n'est plus populaire ; il est abstrait ou déclamateur.' The inference which he draws from these reflections is very just : 'il est plus aisé de prêcher que de plaider ; mais plus difficile de bien précher que de bien plaider. Les Caractères, ou Mæurs de ce Siècle, p. 601.