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Cicero hath an unquestionable advantage over his rival in literature and philosophy, but he hath
LONGINUS, also, draws the following comparison on this subject, when he says to this effect : “ My dear Terentianus, Cicero himself differs not in any respect more than in what I have mentioned, from Demosthenes ; Demos-> thenes is concisely, Cicero is diffusely, sublime. Demos
thenes, who burns and bears down all before him with an 's irresistible violence, rapidity, strength and fury, may be
compared to an hurricane or thunderbolt : but Cicero's Eloquence, I apprehend, resembles some overwhelming conflagration, that spreads and destroys all before it, re“ tains an intense and inextinguishable heat, breaks out in • different forms in different places, and is nourished by in• exhanstible supplies of fuel.*"
Fenelon passes a similar judgment with Quintillian : • I will go farther, and am not afraid to say that I think * Demosthenes a greater Orator than Cicero. I protest . there is no man admires Cicero more than I do. He em. • bellishes every thing he handles. He is an honour to speech; and makes that happy use of words that no one else could. He has a vast variety of wit. He is even concise and vehement when he designs to be so against • Cataline, Verres, and Antony. But we may perceive • some finery in his discourses. His art is wonderful ; but • still we discern it. While he is concerned for the safety
* Φιλατε Τερεντιανε, και ο Κικέρων τε Δημοσθενες εν τοις μεγεθεσι παραλλαττει. Ο μεν γαρ εν υψει το πλεον αποτομώ, ο δε Κικέρων εν χυσει και ο μεν ημέτερος δια το μεγα βιας εκαρα,
ταχες, ρωμες δεινοτηθος, διον καιειν τι αμα και διορταζειν, σκηπίω τινι παρεικαζοιτ' αν η κεραυνω" ο δε Κικέρων, ως αμφιλαφης τις εμπρησμος (ιμαι) σανδη νεμεαι, και ανειλείται, σολν εχων και ετινoμoν αει το καιον, και διακληρονομε μενον αλλοτ' αλλοιως εν αυτω, και καλα διαδοχας ανατ εφομενον.-LoNGIN, de sublimitate, S. 12.
not wrested from him the sceptre of Eloquence. He himself regarded Demosthenes as his master.
of the republic, he does not forget that he is an Orator, nor does he let others forget it.'
• Demosthenes seems transported, and to have nothing • in view but his country.' He does not study what is beau"tiful, but naturally falls into it without reflecting. He is above admiration. He uses speech, as a modest man
does his clothes, only to cover himself. He thunders ; he "lightens : he is like a torrent that hurries every thing along (with it. We cannot criticize him, for he is master of our passions. We consider the things he says, and not his words. We lose sight of him: we think of Philip only
who usurps every thing. I am charmed with these two • Orators ; but I confess that Tully's prodigious art, and ! magnificent Eloquence affect me less than the vehement
simplicity of Demosthenes.”-FENELON's Letter to the French Academy, S iv. p. 182.-See also the parellel which this author draws between the two Orators, in his Dialogues of the Dead, i. and ü.
M. ROLLIN, remarking on this passage, says, ' These reflections of the Abp. are extremely rational and judi
and the closer we examine his opinion, the more we find it conformable to good sense, right reason, and the most exact rules of true rhetoric. But whoever would
take upon him to prefer Demosthenes' Orations to those of Cicero, ought, in my opinion, to possess pretty near
as much solidity, force, and elevation of mind, as. Demos• thenes must have had to compose them. Whether it be
owing to an old prepossession in favour of an author we. • have constantly read from our tender years ; or that we are accustomed to a style which agrees more with our manners, and is more adapted to our capacities, we can. not be persuaded to prefer the severe austerity of Demosthenes to the insinuating softness of Cicero; and we chuse to follow our own inclination and taste for an author
He praised him with all the enthusiasm of the liveliest imagination. He translated his works ;
who is, in some measure, our friend and acquaintance, ra. ther than to declare, upon the credit of another, in favour • of one that is almost a stranger to us.”-ROLLIN's Belles Lettres, vol. ii. ch. iii. & 3, p. 261.
Mr. Hume joins with those critics who give the preference to Demosthenes. Speaking of the charms of Cicero's Eloquence, he says, Some objections I own, notwithstand.
ing his vast success, may lie against some passages of the « Roman Orator. He is too florid and rhetorical ; his figures are too striking and palpable : the divisions of his discourse are drawn chiefly from the rules of the schools ; and his wit disdains not always the artifice even of pun, a rhyme, or jingle of words. The Grecian addressed himself to an • Audience much less refined than the Roman Senate or
Judges. The lowest vulgar of Athens were his sovereigns; • and the arbiters of his Eloquence. Yet is his manner
more chaste and austere than that of the other. Could it • be copied, its success would be infallible over a modern assembly. It is rapid harmony, exactly adjusted to the sense; it is vehement reasoning, without any appearance of art: it is disdain, anger, boldness, freedom, involved in a continued stream of argument.
And of all human pro• ductions the Orations of Demosthenes present to us the . models which approach the nearest to perfection.'
HUME's Essays, xii. vol. i. p. 120, 121. Mr. Knox observes, that • Many critics have employed their talents in making comparisons between Demosthenes • and Tully. All of them agree in attributing to the former
conciseness, and to the latter diffusion ; and according to * this judgment, they have not hesitated to give the prefer.
ence to the Athenian. The concise vehemence of Demost. • henes carried all before it by violencc ; the prolixity of Ci'cero gained ground by the soft arts of insinuation. The ef
and, if his translations had reached us, it is probable that Cicero would have placed himself forever below Demosthenes.
It is the irrefragable force of the reasoning; it is the irresistible rapidity of the rhetorical movements, which characterize the Eloquence of the Athenian Orator. When he writes, it is to give strength, energy, and vehemence to his thoughts. He speaks, not as an elegant writer who wishes to be admired, but as a passionate man tormented by truth ; as a citizen menaced with the greatest misfortunes, and who can no longer contain the transports of his indignation against the enemies of his country
He is the champion of reason. He defends her with all the strength of his genius; and the rostrum where he speaks becomes the place of combat. He at once conquers his auditors, his
*fect of the former was sudden and irresistible ; that of the • latter, comparatively weak and dilatory.'
Knox's Essays, vol. i. No. 44. p. 204.
Dr. BLAIR shall bring up the rear in the list of those critics who have compared Cicero and Demosthenes ; (The * character of the latter is vigour and austerity ; that of Cicero is gentleness and insinuation. In the one, you find more manliness; in the other, more ornament. The one is more harsh, but more spirited and cogent; the other ' more agreeable, but withal, looser and weaker.'
BLAIR's Lectures, vol. ii. p. 30.
adversaries, his judges. He does not seem to endeavour to move you: hear him however, and he shall cause you to weep upon reflection. He overwhelms his fellow-citizens with reproaches ; but, then, these are only the interpreters of their
Doth he refute an argument? He does not discuss it. He proposes a single question for the whole answer, and the objection no longer appears.
Doth he wish to stir up the Atheniens against Philip? It is no more an Orator who speaks ; it is a General ; it is a King; it is a Prophet; it is the Tutelar Angel of his country. And when he threatens his fellow citizens with slavery, we think that we hear from a distance the noise approaching of the rattling chains which the tyrant is bringing them.
The Phillippics of Demosthenes, and his famous Oration,“ pro corona,” in favour of Ctesiphon, are justly admired; but I apprehend that the learned, and Christian Orators, read but little of his other works ; his discourse the
peace, his first and second Olynthiac, his Oration of Chersonesus, and many other masterly productions truly worthy of his genius. In these too much forgotten writings, and which seem to be of no service to the reputation of Demosthenes,