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of Ligarius, of an usurper, as if he were implorring the clemency of a lawful sovereign. The commendations which he lavishes on Cæsar in the ingenious conclusion of his speech, seem to justify the reproaches which he received from the stoic Brutus, after the death of the Dictator, in that famous letter where Brutus accuses him of flattering Octavius, and which is justly ranked amongst the chief productions of antiquity.
It is in his orations against Verres : against Cataline ; in his second Philippic; in the conclusions of all his speeches ; it is in his treatises of “the Orator,” and “ of illustrious Orators," that we find the Eloquence of Cicero. All his writings ought to be the manual of Christian Orators,
The rapidity with which he composed his immortal discourses, notwithstanding the multiplicity and importance of the concerns which oppressed him, did not prevent him from bestowing on his style a perfection so uncommon, that it is as easy to understand his Orations, as it is difficult, and perhaps even impossible to translate them well. His example evidently proves that our Advocates should not justify their inattention to Elocution by the inevitable avocations of their profession.
It was during a very short interval, and amidst
the agitation of a civil war, that Cicero published his famous Orations against Marc Antony, which he called his Philippics.
We are at a loss to conceive how he could retain sufficient freedom of mind, after the death of Cæsar, and in the sixty-fourth and last year
of his life, to compose those fourteen discourses with which he finished his rhetorical career.
Brutus, whose taste was as severe as were his morals, openly disapproved, in the writings of the Roman Orator, of this inexhaustible exuberance, this copiousness, always elegant and harmonious, which sometimes, perhaps, enervated his vigour; and he told Cicero himself that his Eloquence wanted reins. Posterity hath thought with Brutus*.
* Of CICERO, Apb. FENELON makes the following remarks in his Dialogues : he observes that Tully said there • were very few complete Orators who knew how to seize * and captivate the heart,' and he owns that even this Orator was sometimes deficient in this respect, as the rhetorical flowers with which he embellished his harangues were more calculated to amuse the fancy than to touch the heart: he observes farther, that we should distinguish between those orations which Tully composed in his youth, (and which have frequently this defect, while they discover much of his moving and persuading art) and those harangues which he made in his more advanced age, for the neces. sities of the republic. In these, he displays the utmost efforts of his eloquence. He is artless and vehement. With a negligent air he delivers the most natural and affecting It is not, surely, to be ascribed to any principle of taste, but to the fear of displeasing Augustus, who had shamefully sacrificed his benefactor Cicero, that Virgil and Horace were cowardly enough never to make mention in their poetry of this Orator, as celebrated in the present day as is Rome itself. Virgil, especially, ought not to have forgotten him when celebrating the privileges of the Roman people. But the assassin of
sentiments, and says every thing that can move and animate the passions.- FENELON's. Dialogue ii. p. 52, 54.
CICERO, as an orator, is thus characterized by Dr. BLAIR: In all his orations there is high art. He begins generally ' with a regular exordium ; and with much preparation and
insinuation prepossesses the hearers, and studies to gain their affections. His method is clear, and his arguments are arranged with great propriety. His method is indeed more clear than that of Demosthenes, and this is one ad. vantage which he 'has over him: we find every thing in its proper place. He never attempts to move till he has • endeayoured to convince ; and in moving, especially the • softer passions, he is very successful. No man that ever wrote, knew the power and force of words better than Ci.
He rolls them along with the greatest beauty and * pomp; and, in the structure of his sentences, is curious • and exact to the highest degree. He is always full and • flowing, never abrupt. He is a great amplifier of every • subject ; magnificent, and in his sentiments highly moral. • Though his manner is, on the whole, diffuse, yet it is often • happily varied, and suited to the subject. When a great • public objeet-roused his mind, and demanded indignation • and force, he departs considerably from that loose and • declamatory manner to which he inclines at other times, * and becomes exceedingly cogent and vehement. This
Cicero was upon the throne : and the courtly poet did not scruple to make a sacrifice to Augustus of one of the most glorious monuments of his; country, in yielding the palm of Eloquence to the Orators of Greece, in preference to the consul of Rome. Orabunt (alii) melius causas, &c*.
great Orator, however, is not without his defects. In most of his orations there is too much art, even carried to the • length of ostentation. He seems often to aim at obtaining admiration, rather than at operating conviction. Hence, on some occasions, he is shewy rather than solid ; and • diffuse, where he ought to have been pressing. His sen• tences are, at all times, round and sonorous ; they cannot • be accused of monotony, for they possess variety of ca•dence ; but from too great a study of magnificence, he is * sometimes deficient in strength. Though the services • which he had performed to his country were very consi. • derable, yet he is too much his own panegyrist. Ancient manners, which imposed fewer restraints on the side of de. corum, may, in some degree, excuse, but cannot entirely • justify his vanity:"-BLAIR's Lectures, vol. ii. p. 28.
* The passage referred to by our Author, is to be found in Æneid, lib. vü l. 849, and stands thus in connection :
Excudent alii spirantia mollius æra :
NOTWITHSTANDING the decision
Virgil, learned men have not passed judgment unanimously between Cicero and Demosthenes. These two Orators hold nearly an equal rank.*
• But Rome, 'tis thine alone with awful sway
* The opinions of learned men, have indeed been various, as M. Maury intimates, respecting the intrinsic and relative merits of Cicero and Demosthenes. Out of a va. riety which might be mentioned, the following observations are selected:
QUINTILLIAN says, Quorum ego virutes plerasque ar. bitror similes, consilium, ordinem dividendi, præparandi, . probandi rationem ; omnia denique, quæ sunt inventionis. In eloquendo est aliqua diversitas ; densior ille, (Demosthenes) hic (Cicero) copiosior : ille concludit adstrictius ; “hic latius pugnat : ille acumine semper; hic frequenter et pondere ; illi nihil detrahi potest: huic nihil adjici; curæ . plus in hoc; in illo nataræ-cedendum vero in hoc quidem,
quod ille et prior fuit, et ex magna parte Ciceronem, quan. 'tus est, fecit. Nam mihi videtur M. Tullius cum se totum
ad imitationem Græcorum contulisset, effinxisse vim De. ·mosthenis, copiam Platonis jucunditatem Isocratis."Quint. lib. x. c. 1.