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sage is alike worthy of Fenelon, by its distinguished moderation, as well as by the rhetorical expression, which he makes use of, to justify the reservedness of his eulogium.
"You have just heard, my brethren, all that I have said to this Prince. What have I not dared to say to him? And what ought I not to be bold
to him, since his only fear is not to know the truth? The greatest praise would do him in' finitely less honour, than the episcopal liberty 6 with which he wishes me to address him.'
It is difficult to adopt a direct address in Compliments, without appearing either to exaggerate, or to have an uniformity of style, and also with out embarrassing the person too much, whom we mean to praise.
It is preferable to include them in a paraphrase of the holy scriptures, or in prayer to God, or in an apostrophe addressed to the auditory.
But, whatever be the mode of expression that we select, the Compliment delivered must be connected with the subject under discussion ; common places, which characterize no one, must be avoided ; instruction must be blended with praise, or, rather, be made to proceed out of the praise itself; we must confine ourselves to a small number of lively and striking ideas; and endeavour
to conclude with a passage happily expressed, and easily remembered.
Bourdaloue never excelled in this article. All his compliments are trivial. In the sermon he preached at Versailles, two days after the marriage of the Duke of Bourbon, son of the great Dauphin, with Adelaide of Savoy, he repeated, towards his conclusion, a passage of scripture, the application of which forcibly struck the auditory. Some esteemed it a very happy allusion, while others were of opinion, that it degenerated into a play of words.
After a very instructive eulogium, Bourdaloue speaks, in these terms, of the young Princess :
• There is that, which, in my estimation, renders her more respectable than her rank, and which induces me to say as Eliezer, the servant • of Abraham, when, beholding for the first time
spouse of the son of his master, cried out in a transport of admiration and praise, this
truly is she whom God hath chosen to be the wife of the son of
OF A DIRECT ADDRESS; AND RHETORICAL
excepted, in which the Orator may sometimes descend, without degradation, to the sparkling efforts of wit, a manly energy, of which solidity constitutes the beauty, should enliven all the members of his discourses.
Whenever he addresses an assembly, he should affect them, for the language of the passions is that alone which strikes the multitude.
I have often remarked, that in the reading societies which are formed in the country, eloquent works are chosen in preference to those of instruction. Truth satisfies the mind of a solitary reader; but no sooner doth he unite with others, than he wishes to be affected ; and writings otherwise excellent cease to please, when they undergo the formidable experiment of being read aloud.
Attempt not then, to write a book, when you are composing a sermon. Guard against ever adopting the languid trammels of a writer, who speaks from his pen, or his paper, while I should be attending to his discourse as the inspiration of the moment.
Are you desirous that your Eloquence may be animated ? Substitute for the languor of a continued discourse, the liveliness of an immediate address. Converse continually with your hearers. Instead of wandering in abstract contemplations, as if you were meditating in solitude, speak to that numerous assembly, which gathers around
to hear you.
You will find a very good example of this direct address, in the familiar instruction of Massillon, upon the ceremony of Absolution :"> an admirable exhortation, which bears no resemblance to any of his other discourses, and in which each expression is a dart thrown by the Orator, transfixing the hearts of his Auditory!
To speak to the hearers is not sufficient. It is also requisite to make them speak themselves, and to add to the variegated charms of an immediate address, the never failing and increasing effect of Dialogue.
The ancients discussed in Dialogues, the most philosophic subjects. These men who knew so well how to imitate nature, did not compose inanimate books, when they meant to unfold the ideas they had collected in their meditations. They approached to the manner of the drama. They placed upon the stage, some friends, whose conversations they reported. They thus discussed various apposite cpinions, with an equal mixture of wisdom and urbanity. They made choice of each reader for a judge ; and hence it is, that they have diffused over the writings of antiquity, all that delight, which is experienced while at.. tending to the conversation of a select number of intelligent guests, who mutually impart each other's thoughts, in the agreeable freedom of an entertainment.
If, by this mode of Dialogue, Plato and Cicero have succeeded in enlivening metaphysical subjects, how much greater impulse and life would it not impart to Eloquence?
In Oratory, Dialogue supplies the place of alternate speakers, breaks the monotony, gives strength to the argument, and inspires confidence, provided the Orator does not weaken those difficulties which he ought to propose to himself; for, if the hearer can render the objection more forcible than the Orator, he will no longer attend to his answers.
Besides, nothing is better calculated for reviving the attention, than those suspensions, properly managed, which cause the hearers to fluctuate in a kind of uncertainty, proceeding at first from an emotion of surprise, when the Orator starts objections to himself, which he afterwards converts into curiosity, when he refutes them,