« AnteriorContinuar »
knowledge of the general principles applicable to the questions in discussion, with the modifications arising from the particular circumstances of the case. Mixed with very great intellectual force, there is, in Cicero's argumentative materials, much of that rhetorical art, the knowledge and application of which requires no extraordinary power of understanding :-Burke's argumentative materials derive little aid from rhetorical art. Both shew an understanding capable of investigating hidden truths :--Burke had actually investigated more than Cicero.
Another species of materials that tends to illustrate truth, and embellish eloquence, is imagery. In imagery, Burke is much more copious and variegated than Cicero. Superior copiousness, however, of imagery does not necessarily imply superior fertility of imagination: the power of combination being equal, he will most easily combine who has the most copious materials. If there be two men of equal powers of imagination, and the one knows history and ethics, the other history and ethics equally well, and physics besides, the latter may have with ease more abundant imagery than the former. The sources of imagery are more numerous to the modernis; because knowledge is greater. But when we particularly examine the imagery of Cicero and of Burke, we find Burke's to be much more abundant, not only from the stores of modern discovery and practice, but from those of external and moral nature, known in the time of Cicero, and at all times. Hence we may fairly infer that the imagination of Burke was naturally more fertile than that of Cicero. In the imagery, as well as the arguments of Cicero, an attentive reader will find more of rhetorical art than in Burke's. Cicero deals more in antithesis, climax, interrogation,the productions of study: Burke, in metaphors, personification, apostrophe,—the effusions of genius. Burke not only abounds in serious imagery, but in those combinations which constitute wit: in wit, Cicero seldom succeeds, but frequently descends to puns. Wit, indeed, in general bears a greater pro
portion to the intellectual exertions of our countrymen than to those of the Romans. In humour, both the orators are very happy, though both are sometimes very coarse. In the pathetic, Cicero's orations abound more frequently than Burke's. Cicero's perorations are highly wrought up, especially in his harangues to the people. Indeed it is to such audiences that pathos is properly. used: to. informed British gentlemen it would be absurd to speak to their feelings, but through their understandings. When Burke is pathetic, his pathos equals that of Cicero, or any orator.
Both Cicero and Burke abound in the purest morality, though the former frequently, and the latter sometimes, defended men by no means moral in their conduct. Cicero's speeches were filled with egotism, a defect from which Burke's are exempt : Burke's with ebullitions of rage, which are seldom found in Cicero's.
In the disposition of their materials, both shew great judgment and skill, though
Cicero displays more art, and a more regular attention to rhetorical rules for the conduct of a discourse. In their exordiums, both have a great degree of insinuation ; both tend to prepossess their hearers: but Cicero's introductions are generally more laboured than Burke's. The narrative part of Cicero's orations is no doubt very excellent, clear, concise, yet full ; omitting nothing important, and seldom introducing any thing extraneous: they are the well told statements of an able lawyer. Burke's narratives are also extremely clear on the whole, and distinct in their several parts. His subjects generally require a greater compass of narration than Cicero's: they comprehend larger portions of time, more variety of events, and greater intricacy of relations. He excels in detailing particulars, in marke ing the principal epoclis, in classing his subjects according to their respective relations, and in shewing causes and effects. His narratives are the abridged histories of a philosophical historian.