페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

implanted in mankind by the great Author of nature, as a guardian of virtue, which ought for this reason to be cherished with the greatest care; because, as Seneca has well observed, if it be once lost, it is scarce ever to be recovered. Therefore the true cause or foundation of shame is any thing base or vicious; for this wounds the character, and will not bear reflection. And he must arrive at no small degree of insensibility who can stand against such a charge, if he be conscious to himself that it is just. Therefore to deter persons from vicious actions, or to expose them for the commission of them, the orator endeavours to set them in such a light as may most awaken this passion, and give them the greatest uneasiness by the reflection. And because the bare representation of the thing itself is not always sufficient for this purpose, he sometimes enforces it by enlarging the view, and introducing those persons as witnesses of the fact, for whom they are supposed to have the greatest regard. Thus when some of the Athenians, in an arbitration about certain lands which had been referred to them by the contending parties, proposed it as the shortest way of deciding the controversy, to take the possession of them into their own hands, Cydias, a member of the assembly, to dissuade them from such an unjust action, desired them to imagine themselves at that time in the general assembly of the states of Greece (who would all hear of it shortly) and then consider how it was proper to act. But where persons labour under an excess of modesty, which prevents them from exerting themselves in things fit and laudable, it may sometimes be necessary to show that it is faulty and ill grounded. On the other hand, immodesty or impudence, which

consists in a contempt of such things as affect the reputation, can never be too much discouraged and exposed. And the way of doing this is to make use of such arguments as are most proper to excite shame. We have a very remarkable instance of it in Cicero's second Philippic, wherein he affixes this character upon Mark Antony, through every scene of his life.

I come now to those passions which may be referred to judicial discourses;—and these are anger and lenity, pity and indignation.

Anger is a resentment, occasioned by some affront or injury done without any just reason. Now men are more inclined to resent such a conduct, as they think they less deserve it. Therefore persons of distinction and figure, who expect a regard should be paid to their character, can the less bear any indications of contempt. And those who are eminent in any profession or faculty are apt to be offended, if reflections are cast either upon their reputation or art. Magistrates also, and persons in public stations, sometimes think it incumbent on them to resent indignities, for the support of their office. But nothing sooner inflames this passion, than if good services are rewarded with slights and neglect. The instance of Narsites, the Roman general, is remarkable in this kind; who, after he had been very successful in his wars with the Goths, falling under the displeasure of the emperor Justin, was removed from the government of Italy, and received by the empress with this taunt: That he must be sent to weave among the girls: which so provoked him, that he said he would weave such a web as they should never be able to unravel. And accordingly he soon after brought down the Longo

bards, a people of Germany, into Italy, where they settled themselves in that part of the country which, from them, is now called Lombardy. The time and place in which an injury was done, and other circumstances that attended it, may likewise contribute very much to heighten the fact. Hence Demosthenes, in his oration against Midias, endeavours to aggravate the injury of being struck by him, both as he was then a magistrate, and because it was done at a public festival. From hence it appears, that the persons who most usually occasion this passion are such who neglect the rules of decency, contemn and insult others, or oppose their inclination; as likewise the ungrateful, and those who violate the ties of friendship, or requite favours with injuries. But when the orator endeavours to excite anger, he should be careful not to exceed due bounds in aggravating the charge, lest what he says appear rather to proceed from prejudice, than a strict regard to the demerit of the action.

Lenity is the remission of anger. The designs of men's actions are principally to be regarded; and therefore what is ignorantly, or through inadvertency, is sooner forgiven. Also to acknowledge a fault, submit, and ask pardon, are the ready means to take off resentment; for a generous mind is soon cooled by submission. Besides he who repents of his fault does really give the injured party some satisfaction, by punishing himself, as all repentance is attended with grief and uneasiness of mind; and this is apt very much to abate the desire of revenge: as, on the contrary, nothing is more provoking than when the offender either audaciously justifies the fact, or confidently denies it. Men are likewise wont to lay aside their

resentment, when their adversaries happen by some other means to suffer what they think a sufficient satisfaction. Lastly, easy circumstances, a lucky incident, or any thing which gives the mind a turn to mirth and pleasure, has a natural tendency to remove anger for anger is accompanied with pain and uneasiness, which very ill suit joy and cheerfulness. The orator therefore, in order to assuage and pacify the minds of his auditors, will endeavour to lessen their opinion of the fault, and by that means to take off the edge of their resentment. And to this purpose, it will be proper either to represent, that the thing was not designed, or that the party is sorry for it; or to mention his former services; as also to show the credit and reputation which will be gained by a generous forgiveness. And this last topic is very artfully wrought up by Cicero, in his address to Cæsar, in favour of Ligarius.

Pity arises from the calamities of others, by reflecting that we ourselves are liable to the like misfortunes. So that evils, considered as the common lot of human nature, are principally the cause of pity. And this makes the difference between pity and good will, which, as I have shown already, arises merely from a regard to the circumstances of those who want our assistance. But considering the uncertainty of every thing about us, he must seem in a manner divested of humanity, who has no compassion for the calamities of others; since there is no affliction, which happens to any man, but either that, or some other as great, may fall upon himself. But those persons are generally soonest touched with this passion who have met with misfortunes themselves. And by how much greater

[ocr errors]

er the distress is, or the person appears less deserving it, the higher pity does it excite; for which reason persons are generally most moved at the misfortunes of their relations and friends, or those of the best figure and character. The orator therefore, in order to excite the greater pity, will endeavour to heighten the idea of the calamity, from the several circumstances both of the thing itself, and the person who labours under it. A fine example of this may be seen in Cicero's defence of Muræna.

Indignation, as opposed to pity, is an uneasiness at the felicity of another, who does not seem to deserve it. But this respects only external advantages, such as riches, honours, and the like; for virtues cannot be the object of this passion. Aristotle therefore says, that pity and indignation are generally to be found in the same persons, and are both evidences of a good disposition. Now the orator excites this passion, by showing the person, to be unworthy of that felicity which he enjoys. And as, in order to move compassion, it is sometimes of use to compare the former happy state of the person with his present calamity, so here the greater indignation is raised, by comparing his former mean circumstances with his present advancement: as Cicero does in the case of Vatinius.

These are the passions with which an orator is principally concerned. In addressing to which, not only the greatest warmth and force of expression is often necessary, but he must likewise first endeavour to impress his own mind with the same passion he would excite in others, agreeably to that of Horace :

My grief with others' just proportion bears;

To make me weep, you must be first in tears,

« 이전계속 »