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Here is eloquence! here is nature ! It is by his making use of such language, that the Orator dives to the very bottom of the human heart.*
senatûs locus, nihil horum ora vultusque moverunt ? Patere tua consilia non sentis ? quid proximâ nocte egeris, ubi fueris, quos convocaveris, quem nostrûm ignorare arbitraris ? &c.-In Catil. Orat. 1.
† The intelligent reader will perceive that the above translation is from the French of our author, though not exactly corresponding with the Latin of Cicero. The follow. lowing is subjoined as a more full and faithful translation of the Roman Orator :
• How long, O Cataline, wilt thou abuse our patience ? • How long also shall thy madness elude us? Whither will
thy ungovernable audacity impel thee? Could neither the * nightly garrison of the citadel, nor the watch of the city, . nor the general consternation, nor the congress of all good .men, nor this strongly-fortified place where the senate is held, nor the enraged countenances of those Senators, de.
ter thee from thy impious designs ? Dost thou not per«ceive that thy counsels are all discovered? Thinkest thou " that there are any of us ignorant of thy transactions the . past night, the place of rendezvous, thy collected associ.
ates ? &c.
* "INTERROGATIONS,' says Dr. Blair, are passionate figures. They are, indeed, on so many occasions, the naó tive language of passion, that their use is extremely fre
quent; and, in ordinary conversation, when men are heat• ed, they prevail as much as in the most sublime Oratory. • The unfigured, literal use of Interrogation is to ask a ques* tion; but when men are prompted by passion, whatever they • would affirm, or deny, with great vehemence, they natu• rally put in the form of a question ; espressing thereby the
strongest confidence of the truth of their own sentiment,
OF THE ELOQUENCE OF M. BRIDAINE.
ancient and energetic Eloquence, which is nothing else than the original voice of nature, it is
and appealing to their hearers for the impossibility of the . contrary. Thus, in Scripture : "God is not a man that
he should lie, neither the son of man that he should re'pent. Hath he said? And shall he not do it? Or hath he spo* ken ? And shall he not make it good ? ( Numbers xxiii. 19.) -So Demosthenes, addressing himself to the Athenians ; *Tell me, will you still go about and ask one another, what * news? What can be more astonishing news than this, that *the man of Macedon makes war upon the Athenians, and * disposes of the affairs of Greece ?-—Is Philip dead ? No, .but he is sick. What signifies it to you whether he be · dead or alive? For, if any thing happen to this Philip, you 'will immediately raise up another.'-—' All this, delivered * without interrogation, had been faint and ineffectual ; but "the warmth and eagerness which this questioning method
expresses, awaken the hearers, and strike them with much 'greater force.'-BLAIR's Lectures, vol. i. p. 355, 356.
• Much to the same purpose we may add those sublime * interrogations in the book of Job, where the Almighty is • himself the Speaker; and that in the eleventh chapter of “the same poem: Canst thou by searching find out God?
Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is "high as Heaven, wbat canst thou do? deeper than hell, • what canst thou know?-All the energy of this passage • would be lost if once divested of the interrogations; should it be said, Thou canst not by searching find out God,
among the missionaries, and in the country, where we must seek for examples. There, some apostolic men, endowed with a vigorous and bold imagination, know no other success than conversions, no other applauses than tears.* Often devoid of taste, they descend, I confess, to bur
• Thou canst not find out the Almighty unto perfection: it is high as Heaven, and thou canst do nothing; and it is deep as Hell, and thou canst know nothing.'
• Another very happy illustration of the force of this figure may be brought from the speech of St. Paul ; Acts *xxvi. where, with astonishing effect, he transfers his discourse from Augustus to Agrippa. In verse 20 he speaks of him in the third person ; 'The King,' says he knows of those things, before whom also I speak freely. He then turns abruptly upon him : King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? And immediately answers his own
question. • I know that thou believest.' • The smoothest Eloquence,' says Mr. Smith the most insinuating complaisance, could never have made such an impression upon Agrippa as this unexpected and pathetic address.'Smith's LONGINUS, p. 93.
See also upon this head GIBBON's Rhetoric, p. 176, 191.
* The best applause,' says Dr. BLAIR ' which a preacher can receive, arises from the serious and deep impres. o sions, which his discourse leaves on those who hear it. • The finest encomium, perhaps, ever bestowed on a preacher, was given by Louis XIV. to the eloquent Bishop of • Clermont (Massillon).'-BLAIR’s Lectures, vol. ii. p. 125, 126.-See page 33 of this book, note.
• Docente in ecclefiâ te, non clamor populi, sed gemitus * suscitetur ; lachrymæ auditorum laudes tuæ sunt.'--Jerom. ad, Nepot.
lesque details; but they forcibly strike the senses; their threatenings impress terror; the people listen to them with profit: many among them have sublime strokes ; and an Orator doth not hear them without advantage, when he is skila ful in observing the important effects of his art.
M. Bridaine, the man, who, in the present age, is the most justly celebrated in this way, was born with a popular Eloquence, abounding with metaphorical and striking expressions; and no one ever possessed, in a higher degree, the rare talent of arresting the attention of an assembled multitude.
He had so fine a voice, as to render credible all the wonders which history relates of the declamation of the ancients, for he was as easily heard by ten thousand people in the open fields, as if he had spoken under the most resounding arch. In all he said, there were observable unexpected strokes of Oratory, the boldest metaphors, thoughts sudden, new and striking, all the marks of a rich imagination, some passages, sometimes even whole discourses, composed with care, and written with an equal combination of taste and animation.
I remember to have heard him deliver the introduction of the first discourse which he preached in the Church of St. Sulpice, in 1751. The
first company in the capital went out of curiosity, to hear him.
Bridaine perceived among the congregation many Bishops, and persons of the first rank, as well as a vast number of ecclesiastics. This sight, far from intimidating, suggested to him the following exordium, so far at least as my memory remains, of a passage, with which I have been always sensibly affected, and which perhaps, will not appear unworthy of Bossuet, or Demosthenes.
At the sight of an Auditory so new to me, methinks, my brethren, I ought only to open my mouth to solicit your
favour in behalf of a poor missionary, destitute of all those talents which 'you require of those who speak to you about your salvation. Nevertheless, I experience to-day, a feeling very different. And, if I am cast down, suspect me not of being depressed by the wretched uneasiness occasioned by vanity, as if I were accustomed to preach myself. • God forbid that a minister of Heaven should ever suppose
he needed an excuse with you! • for whoever ye may be, ye are all of
sinners like myself. It is before your God and mine, that I feel myself impelled at this moment " to strike
Until now, I have proclaimed the righteous"ness of the Most High in Churches covered