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εισαν θεμίαν ανθρωπινα) αθρόα ες εαυτόν έσπασε, δια Πέτο, οϊς έχει καλοις, άπανίας αει νικά, και υπέρ ών έκ εχει, ωσπερει καλαβρούλα και καλαφίγγει θες απ' αιώνος μη ορας"- και θάττον άν τις κεραυνόις φερομένους ανlανοϊζαι τα οριμαία δύναιθο, ή ανθοφθολμήσαι τοις έπαλλήλοις έκανε παθεσιν.
• Forasmuch, however, as the beauties of the one (Hyperides) although numerous, are not great in their kind,-are the productions of a person of no excitement,-are inefficient, and such as permit the hearer to remain unmoved, no one, for this reason, who reads Hyperides, is impassioned. But the other (D.) having acquired qualities of the highest order, and improved them to the highest pitch of perfection,-a tone of sublimity,--heart-felt passion,--a richness and copiousness of style,-justness of conception,—rapidity, and, in addition to these,—that which is his peculiar characteristic, a force and power which none have ever approached ;– having, I say, appropriated to himself in abundance these, which ought rather to be deemed gifts vouchsafed to him from the Gods, than human qualities and excellencies, he thereby always surpasses all competition ; and, as a compensation for his defects, he strikes down before him, as if with a thunderbolt, all orators of all times, and consumes them in his blaze. For it would be easier for a man to behold, with undazzled eyes, the lightning flashing upon him, than to contemplate without emotion his successive and various passions.'
Our readers will not fail to remark, (and therefore chiefly the quotation is made)—we do not say what efforts the rhetorician makes,—but into what agonies and convulsions he throws himself to give, if possible, an adequate idea of—what he seems to think, the more than human excellence of this Orator.
Cicero, to whose admirable proficiency and transcendent powers we have done no more than justice upon former occasions, and whose testimony, upon a subject of this nature, is almost conclusive, never speaks of his great predecessor and prototype, except in terms of the most unbounded and unaf. fected admiration. It is perfectly astonishing,' says he, how much Demosthenes is superior to all the Grecian orators.'-In Græcis verò oratoribus quidem admirabile est, quantum inter omnes unus excellat.' Orat.-Upon another occasion, he thus expresses himself. • Demosthenes you may, without difficulty, pronounce to be absolutely perfect, and deficient in no particular.'-* · Planè quidem perfectum, et cui nihil admodùm desit, Demosthenem facilè dixeris,'--Not Plato more copious, not Lysias more simple, not Isocrates more finished, not Hyperides more acute,-not Athens itself more Attic.--*• Ne Athenas quidem ipsas magis credo fuisse Atticas.' Practically, and judging by experience, and with reference to any thing which
* De Cl. Orat.
had existed, he pronounces him, as we have seen, absolutely perfect, and declares that what he (Cicero) was attempting, Demosthenes had achieved.'- . Vides perfectò illum multa perficere,-nos multa conari ;-illum posse, nos velle quocunque modo Causa postulet, dicere.' Upon one occasion, he goes farther, and declares, as a reason for his preference, that Demosthenes had formed himself upon a model of imaginary excellence, and not of what had been known to exist in any person.'—%. Recordor me longè omnibus unum anteferre Demosthenem, qui vim accommodaret ad eam, quam sentiam, Eloquentiam, non ad eam quam in aliquo esse agnoverim.' Elsewhere, he does indeed complain, and it is with a sort of apology for his own unreasonableness, that he is so severe a critic, and so d fficult to be pleased, as not even to be satisfied by Demosthenes himself; who, though he adnits him to be above all competition in every species of oratory, did not, as it seems, al wavs fill his ears ;-50 greedy and capacious were they, and always longing after something immense and infinite.'-- Tantùm abest ut nostra miremur, ut usque eò difficiles ac morosi sumus, ut nobis non satisfaciat ipse Demosthenes; qui quanquam unus emineat in omni genere dicendi, tamen non semper implet aures meas : ità sunt avida et capaces, et semper aliquod immensum infinitumg. desiderent.' It seems then that this wonderful man, by his unwearied diligence,-his everlasting application to one single object,—by constant reflexion and endless eff rts, in the Senate,-in the Forum,-at Athens,-at Tusculum, had been able to frame to himself, with difficulty nevertheless, a possible excellence,-an imaginary perfection,-a beau ideal, beyond the performances even of Demosthenes. Just as no degree of dignity or of loveliness can be supposed to exist, beyond which art may not be supposed to reach ; (the Olympian Jupiter was, we are told, a sort of concentrated Majesty,
-and the Coan Venus a quintessence of Beauty);-or as in Geometry, no point, however remote, can be assigned, beyond which another may not be assumed in the vast and boundless regions of absolute space.
To Dionysius of Halicarnassus we refer. the more willingly; þecause, though inferior to none in powers of composition himself, or of forming a judgment on others, he is, for some reason or other, less known and admired than he deserves. This distinguished Critic, as many of our readers are aware, commences his Treatise on · The Oratorical Power of Demosthepes,' with a general definition of style, of which he (as does Ci.
cero) makes three kinds : which are usually called, the Austere, the Florid, and the Middle. Having discussed the general subject, he proceeds to examine, with much acuteness and sigacity, the respective properties and merits of Lysias, Thucydides, Isocrates, and Plato. He then comes to Demosthenes, on whose account, he observes, the preliminary observations and criticisms had been introduced, and begins his notice of him by the following (to us, at least, we know not what M. Planche may think), untranslateable passage.
Τοιάυτην δη καταλαβών την πολιθικήν λέξιν, ο Δημοσθένης, έτω κεκινημένην ποικίλως, και ηλικέτoις επεισελθών ανδράσιν, ενος έθενος αξίωσε γενέσθαι ζηλωθής, άτε χαρακλήρος, έτε ανδρος" ήμιέργες λινάς άπανίας διόμενος έναι και άλελείς εξ απάλων δαυτών όσα κράτισαν και χρησιμώτατα ήν, εκλεγομενος, συνύφανκε, και μιάν εκ πολλών διάλεκον απέλα,- μεγαλοπρεπή, λιών: --περιττήν, απέειττον·-- εξηλλαγμένην, συνήθη·-πανηγυρικήν, αληθίνην· -. αυστηράν, έλκράν: σύνθονον, άνευμένην·-ηδείαν, πικράν-θικην, παθητικών δεν διαλλάττωσαν 18 μεμυθευμένα παρα μους αρχαίους ποιηλαίς Πρωτέως: ας άπασαν ιδέαν μορφής αμογελί μλέλαμβανεν· ότι θεός ή δαίμων Πές εκάνος άρα ήν, παρακρυόμενος όψεως Πας ανθρωπίνας: άτε διαλέκτε ποικίλον δή χρήμα έν ανδρι σοφώ, πάσης απαλήλων ακοής» και μάλλον άν τις εικάσεων. Εγώ μεν Ποιάυλην ενα δόξαν υπέρ της Δημοθένες λέξεως έχω, και το χαρακλήρα τέτων αποδί δωμι άλω, ' έξ απασης, μικίον
• Demosthenes, then, finding the art of public speaking in this state,-so skilfully improved, and.coming, as he did, after men of such excellence, did not condescend to become an imitator of any one style or person,-conceiving them all to be half-artists and in complete ;-but, selecting from all whatever was the best and the most useful in each, he combined and, out of the many, made up a species of composition,-sublime, yet simple,-redundant, yet con
cise, --refined, yet idiomatic,—declamatory, yet natural.--austere, yet lively,-nervous, yet flowing, soft, yet pungent,--temperate, yet passionate,-differing, in no respect, from Proteus, celebrated by the poets of old for being able to assyme, without effort, every kind of shape ;- whether he was some God ør Dæmon who deceived the vision of mankind, or, as one wou'd rather guess, some gifted person, accomplished in the power of speech, by which he imposed upon
the senses of every hearer. Some such notion have I of the oratory of Demosthenes; and this description I give of it, that it is composed of every species.'
In another part, he selects a passage (and a very beautiful one) from the Funeral Oration of Plato, and then one from that part of the Oration for the Crown, which includes the celebrated Apostrophe, and places them side by side. He then proceeds thus,
* Dion. Hal. Vol. 2. p. 273. Oxford Edition. Fol.
• There is surely no one, who has even a moderate skill in composition, and is not determined to wrangle and dispute, who must not readily admit, that the latter specimen as much exceeds the former, as the arms of warfare are superior to those which are used in Shows and Spectacles,-as real figures to shadows,—or, as the bódies of men trained up in air and exercise are to those which have been rocked and dandied in confinement and luxury.'
Ουθές εσιν ος ουχ ομολογήσειεν ει μονον έχοι μελείαν αισθησιν περί λόγες, και μηε βάσκανος, ή μήτε δυσερίς τις, έτω διαφέρειν την αρθίως παρατεθείσαν λέξιν της προλέρας, όσω διαλλάττει πολεμιστήρια μεν όπλα πομπευτηρίων, αληθιναι δε όψεις ειδώλων, έν ήλιω δε και πόνοις έθρεμμένα σώματα 1ών σκίας και μασώνας διωκόνων. *
The preference here given, our readers will observe, is over no less a writer than the one, of whom it has been said, that if the Gods spoke Greek, which, if we had any faith in the Polytheism of antiquity, we should believe they did, without doubt Jupiter would adopt his style. Again, (and it shall be our last extract), after saying, that when he reads Isocrates he feels himself in a composed and tranquil state, not unlike that which is induced by soft music, he goes on thus.
“Όταν δε Δημοσθένες Πινα λάβω λόγων, ενθεσιώ τε, και δεύρο κακϊσε άγομαι, πάθος έτερον εξ ετέρε μεταλαροβένων" --- απισών, αγωνιών, δεδιώς, καλάφρονών, μισών, ελεών ευνοών, οργιζόμενος, φθονών, -άπανα τα πάθη μελαλαμβάνων, όσα κραθών ανθρωπίνης γνώμης. +
* But when I take up one of the orations of Demosthenes, I am wrought up to a pitch of enthusiasm, and am hurried backwards and forwards, and assume one passion after another, -distrusting,-la. bouring,-fearing,-despising,-hating,-now moved with compassion, now with good-will, --sometimes with anger, and sometimes with envy, taking up, in succession, every passion that sways the human breast.'
We cannot go farther. Our readers will, at once, recognise in the description which this admirable writer, who is worthy of being a Commentator on Demosthenes, gives of his own hurried and varied emotions, the very effects which Cicero, in his glowing panegyric upon Eloquence, ascribes to the power of speech. Dionysius concludes by asking, if, at such a distance of time from the transactions themselves, when all interest has long ago subsided, such marvellous impressions are made by the bare perusal,- What must have been the effect upon the contemporary Athenians and strangers who Aocked to hear the Orator defend his own and his country's cause--and that, too, with a force and energy of action which is admitted to have been foremost, if possible, amidst his numerous and transcendent qualificatsons ? *_ What,' said Æschines to the Rhodians, applauding the recital of the speech which caused his banishment, What if you had heard the monster himself?' Ti dè, si kurš tő Ingis axnxócile !
* Dion. Hal. Vol. 2. P:
298. + Ibid. 288.
Oxford Edition. Fol.
After perusing these testimonials, to which addition might be made at pleasure, from persons of the highest authority,-themselves at once judges and masters of composition, if such ever existed, the first question which suggests itself is,-where are discoverable these astonishing properties,--these dispensations of the Divinity
?-In what part of the Speech does the thunderbolt reside? By what peculiar arrangement--by what laborious and artificial structure-by what display of ornament, has the Orator contrived to attract such unbounded and passionate commendation ?-To which our classical readers are aware that we must answer, that these praises have been bestowed upon compositions remarkable for simplicity, in the whole of which, we will venture to say, not one single ornament (for its own sake) is to be found; in which there are no splendid patches; where a vulgar appetite for tropes, figures and metaphors (no matter how introduced) must remain unsatisfied;—where, though the composition is so highly wrought, that one of the critics, to whom we have referred, bestows a whole page upon a sentence of a dozen words, to show the delicacy of its structure, and the disorder which would ensue upon the slightest alteration or transposition of any of its parts, yet would no one suppose that to the mind of Demosthenes was ever present more than one idea, bis subject, and nothing but his subject. Not that we would be supposed as flying in the face of such a body of criticism :-We perfectly agree with it, and are aware that, when apparently unadorned, he is adorned the most; but we notice this general abstemiousness observable in the manner of Demosthenes, not merely as peculiar to his character, but, in some degree, as illustrative of his powers. The less imposing and attractive he is upon a superficial observation, the more of substance must there be to justify such commendations from such judges. The truth is, that this vigour,--this tension,--this sublimity, of which we read so much, is not discoverable in detached parts--in striking and brilliant passages, but in the effect of the whole. The Spirit and Power and Rapidity, which are so justly celebrated, and which, in the perusal of his Orations, we as
* Demosthenem ferunt ei, qui quæsivisset quid primum esset in dicendo,-actionem, quid secundum, idem-et idem tertium respondisse. Cic. de Cl. Orat.