[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail:
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Clicca hic ad Latinam paginam legendam.]
Latine

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]
Italiano

[Link to a series of help pages]
Help
[Link to the next level up]
Up
[Link to my homepage]
Home

[image ALT: link to previous section]
X.2‑4

This webpage reproduces a section of
Institutio Oratoria

by
Quintilian

published in Vol. IV
of the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1920

The text is in the public domain.

This text has not yet been proofread.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
XI.1

(Vol. IV) Quintilian
Institutio Oratoria

Book X

Chapters 5‑7

5 1 My next task is to indicate what those should write whose aim is to acquire facility.116 At this part of my work there is no necessity for me to set forth the subjects which should be selected for writing, or the order in which they should be approached, since I have already done this in the first book,117 where I prescribed the sequence of studies for boys, and in the second book,118 where I did the same for young men. The point which concerns me now is to show from what sources copiousness and facility may most easily be derived.

Our earlier orators thought highly of translation from Greek into Latin. 2 In the de Oratore119 of Cicero, Lucius Crassus says that he practised this continually, while Cicero himself advocates it again and again, nay, he actually published translations of Xenophon and Plato,120 which were the result of this form of exercise. Messala likewise gave it his approval, and we have a number of translations of speeches from his hand; he even succeeded in coping with the delicacy of Hyperides' speech in defence of Phryne, a task of exceeding difficulty for a Roman. 3 The purpose of this form of exercise is obvious. For Greek authors are conspicuous for the variety of their matter, and there is much art in all their eloquence, while, when we translate them, were at liberty to use the best words available, p115since all that we use are our very own.121 As regards figures, too, which are the chief ornament of oratory, it is necessary to think out a great number and variety for ourselves, since in this respect the Roman idiom differs largely from the Greek.

4 But paraphrase from the Latin will also be of much assistance, while I think we shall all agree that this is specially valuable with regard to poetry; indeed, it is said that the paraphrase of poetry was the sole form of exercise employed by Sulpicius. For the lofty inspiration of verse serves to elevate the orator's style and the bold license of poetic language does not preclude122 our attempting to render the same words in the language natural to prose. Nay, we may add the vigour of oratory to the thoughts expressed by the poet, make good his omissions, and prune his diffuseness. 5 But I would not have paraphrase restrict itself to the bare interpretation of the original: its duty is rather to rival and vie with the original in the expression of the same thoughts. Consequently, I disagree with those who forbid the student to paraphrase speeches of our own orators, on the ground that, since all the best expressions have already been appropriated, whatever we express differently must necessarily be a change for the worse. For it is always possible that we may discover expressions which are an improvement on those which have already been used, and nature did not make eloquence such a poor and starveling thing, that there should be only one adequate expression for any one theme. 6 It can hardly be argued that, while the gestures of the actor of capable of imparting a wealth of varied meaning p117to the same words, the power of oratory is restricted to a narrower scope, so that when a thing has once been said, it is impossible to say anything else on the same theme. Why, even if it be granted that no new expression we discover can be better than or even equal to the old, it may, at any rate, be a good second. 7 Do we not often speak twice, or even more frequently, on the same subject, sometimes even to the extent of a number of sentences in succession? It will scarce be asserted that we must not match ourselves against ourselves. For if there were only one way in which anything could be satisfactorily expressed, we should be justified in thinking that the path to success had been sealed to us by our predecessors. But, as a matter of fact, the methods of expression still left us are innumerable, and many roads lead us to the same goal. 8 Brevity and copiousness each have their own peculiar grace, the merits of metaphor are one thing and of literalness another, and while direct expression is most effective in one case, in another the best result is gained by a use of figures. Further, the exercise is valuable in virtue of its difficulty; and again, there is no better way of acquiring a thorough understanding of the greatest authors. For, instead of hurriedly running a careless eye over their writings, we handle each separate phrase and are forced to give it close examination, and we come to realise the greatness of their excellence from the very fact that we cannot imitate them.

9 Nor is it only the paraphrase of the works of others that we shall find of advantage: much may p119be gained from paraphrasing our own words in a number of different way: for instance, we may specially select certain thoughts and recast them in the greatest variety of forms, just as a sculptor will fashion a number of different images from the same piece of wax. 10 But it is the simplest subjects which, in my opinion, will serve us best in our attempt to acquire facility. For our lack of talent may easily shelter itself behind the complicated mass of detail presented by persons, cases, circumstances of time and place, words and deeds, since the subjects which present themselves on all sides are so many that it will always be possible to lay hold of some one or other. 11 True merit is revealed by the power to expand what is naturally compressed, to amplify what is small, to lend variety to sameness, charm to the commonplace, and to say a quantity of good things about a very limited number of subjects.

For this purpose indefinite questions,123 of the kind we call theses, will be found of the utmost service: in fact, Cicero124 still exercised himself upon such themes after he had become the leading man in the state. 12 Akin to these are the proof or refutation of general statements. For such statements are a kind of decree or rule, and whatever problem may arise from the thing, may equally arise from the decision passed upon the thing. Then there are commonplaces,125 which, as we know, have often been written by orators as a form of exercise. The man who has practised himself in giving full treatment to such simple and uncomplicated themes, will assuredly find his fluency increased in those subjects which admit of varied digression, and will be prepared p121to deal with any case that may confront him, since all cases ultimately turn upon general questions. 13 For what difference is there between the special case where Cornelius,126 the tribune of the people, is charged with reading the text of a proposed law, and the general question whether it is lèse-majestéº for a magistrate himself to read the law which he proposes to the people; what does it matter whether we have to decide whether Milo was justified in killing Clodius, or whether it is justifiable to kill a man who has set an ambush for his slayer, or a citizen whose existence is a danger to the state, even though he has set no such ambush? What difference is there between the question whether it was an honourable act on the part of Cato to make over Marcia to Hortensius, or whether such an action is becoming to a virtuous man? It is on the guilt or innocence of specific persons that judgement is given, but it is on general principles that the case ultimately rests. 14 As for declamations of the kind delivered in the schools of the rhetoricians, so long as they are in keeping with actual life and resemble speeches, they are most profitable to the student, not merely while he127 is still immature, for the reason that they simultaneously exercise the powers both of invention and arrangement, but even when he has finished his education and acquired a reputation in the courts. For they provide a richer diet from which eloquence derives nourishment and brilliance of complexion, and at the same time afford a refreshing variety after the continuous fatigues of forensic disputes. 15 For the same reason, the wealth of language that marks the historian should be from time to time imported into portions of our written p123exercises, and we should indulge in the easy freedom of dialogue. Nay, it may even be advantageous to amuse ourselves with the writing of verse, just as athletes occasionally drop the severe régime of diet and exercise to which they are subjected and refresh themselves by taking a rest and indulging in more dainty and agreeable viands. 16 Indeed, in my opinion, one of the reasons why Cicero was enabled to shed such glory upon the art of speaking is to be found in his excursions to such bypaths of study. For if all our material was drawn solely from actions at law, our eloquence must needs lose its gloss, our limbs grow stiff, and the keen edge of the intellect be blunted by its daily combats.

17 But although those who find their practice in the contests of forensic warfare derive fresh strength and repair their forces by means of this rich fare of eloquence, the young should not be kept too long at these false semblances of reality, nor should they allowed to become so familiar with these empty shadows that it is difficult for them to leave them: otherwise there is always the danger that, owing to the seclusion in which they have almost grown old, they will shrink in terror from the real perils of public life, like men dazzle by the unfamiliar sunlight. 18 Indeed it is recorded that this fate actually befell Marcus Porcius Latro, the first professor of rhetoric to make a name for himself; for when, at the height of his fame in the schools, he was called upon to plead a case in the forum, he put forward the most earnest request that the court should be transferred to some public hall. He was so unaccustomed to speak in the open air that all his eloquence seemed to reside within the compass of a p125roof and four walls. 19 For this reason a young man who has acquired a thorough knowledge from his instructors of the methods of invention and style (which is not by any means an endless task, if those instructors have the knowledge and the will to teach), and who has also managed to obtain a reasonable amount of practice in the art, should follow the custom in vogue with our ancestors, and select some one orator to follow and imitate. He should attend as many trials as possible and be a frequent spectator of the conflicts in which he is destined to take part. 20 Next he should write out speeches of his own dealing either with the cases which he has actually heard pleaded or with others, provided always they be actual cases, and should argue them from both sides, training himself with the real weapons of his warfare, just as gladiator do or as Brutus did in that speech in defence of Milo which I have already mentioned.128 This is better than writing replies to old speeches, as Cestius did to Cicero's defence of Milo in spite of the fact that, his knowledge being confined to what was said for the defence, he could not have possessed sufficient acquaintance with the other side of the case.

21 The young man, however, whom his instructor has compelled to be as realistic as possible in declamation, and to deal with every class of subject, instead of merely selecting the easiest and most attractive cases, as is done at present, will thus qualify himself much more rapidly for actual forensic practice. Under existing circumstances the practice of the principle129 which I mentioned second is, as a rule, hampered by the large size of the classes and the practice of allotting certain days for recitation, to which must be added p127the contributory circumstance that the boys' parents are more interested in the number of their sons' recitations than their quality. 22 But, as I think I said in the first book,130 the really good teacher will not burden himself with a larger number of pupils than he can manage, and will prune any tendency to excessive loquacity, limiting their remarks to the actual points involved by the subject of the declamation and forbidding them to range, as some would have them do, over every subject in heaven and earth: further, he will either extend the period within which he insists on their speaking, or will permit them to divide their themes into several portions. 23 The thorough treatment of one theme will be more profitable than the sketchy and superficial treatment of a number of subjects. For the latter practice has the result that nothing is put in its proper place and that the opening of the declamation exceeds all reasonable bounds, since the young orator crams all the flowers of eloquence which belong to all the different portions of the theme into that portion which he has to deliver, and fearing to lose what should naturally come later, introduces wild confusion into the earlier portions of his speech.

6 1 Having dealt with writing, the next point which claims our attention is premeditation, which itself derives force from the practice of writing and forms an intermediate stage between the labours of the pen and the more precarious fortunes of improvisation; indeed I am not sure that it is not more frequently of use than either. For there are places and occasions where writing is impossible, while both are available in abundance for premeditation. For p129but a few hours' thought will suffice to cover all the points even of cases of importance; if we wake at night, the very darkness will assist us, while even in the midst of legal proceedings our mind will find some vacant space for meditation, and will refuse to remain inactive. 2 Again, this practice will not merely secure the proper arrangement of our matter without any recourse to writing, which in itself is no small achievement, but will also set the words which we are going to use in their proper order, and bring the general texture of our speech to such a stage of completion that nothing further is required beyond the finishing touches. And as a rule the memory is more retentive of thoughts when the attention has not been relaxed by the fancied security which results are committing them to writing.

But the concentration which this requires cannot be attained in a moment or even quickly. 3 For, in the first place, we must write much before we can form that ideal of style which must always be present to our minds even when engaged in premeditation. Secondly, we must gradually acquire the habit of thought: to begin with, we shall content ourselves with covering but a few details, which our minds are capable of reproducing with accuracy; then by advances so gradual that our labour is not sensibly increased we must develop our powers and confirm them by frequent practice, a task in which the most important part is played by the memory. 4 For this reason I must postpone some of my remarks to the portion of this work reserved for the treatment of that topic.131 At length, however, our powers will have developed so far that the man who is not hampered by lack of natural ability will by dint of p131persistent study be enabled, when it comes to speaking, to rely no less on what he has thought out than what he has written out and learnt by heart. At any rate, Cicero records that Metrodorus of Scepsis,132 Empylus of Rhodes,133 and our own Hortensius134 were able to reproduce what they had thought out word for word when it came to actual pleading.

5 If, however, some brilliant improvisation should occur to us while speaking, we must not cling superstitiously to our premeditated scheme. For premeditation is not so accurate as to leave no room for happy inspiration: even when writing we often insert thoughts which occur to us on the spur of the moment. Consequently this form of preparation must be conceived on such lines that we shall find no difficulty either in departing from it or returning to it at will. 6 For, although it is essential to bring with us into court a supply of eloquence which has been prepared in advance in the study and on which we can confidently rely, there is no greater folly than the rejection of the gifts of the moment. Therefore our premeditation should be such that fortune may never be able to fool us, but may, on the contrary, be able to assist us. This end will be obtained by developing the power of memory so that our conceptions may flow from us without fear of disaster, and that we may be enabled to look ahead without anxious backward glances or the feeling that we are absolutely dependent on what we can call to mind. Otherwise I prefer the rashness of improvisation to the coherence given by premeditation. 7 For such backward glances place us at a disadvantage, because our search for our premeditated ideas make us miss others, and we draw p133our matter from our memory rather than from the subject on which we are speaking. And even if we are to rely on our memory and our subject alike, there are more things that may be discovered than ever yet have been.

7 1 But the crown of all our study and the highest reward of our long labours is the power of improvisation. The man who fails to acquire this had better, in my opinion, abandon the task of advocacy and devote his powers of writing to other branches of literature. For it is scarcely decent for an honourable man to promise assistance to the public at large which he may be unable to provide in the most serious emergencies, or to attempt to enter a harbour which his ship cannot hope to make save when sailing before a gentle breeze. 2 For there are countless occasions when the sudden necessity may be imposed upon him of speaking without preparation before the magistrates or in a trial which comes on unexpectedly. And if any such sudden emergency befalls, I will not say any innocent citizen, but some one of the orator's friends or connexions, is he to stand tongue-tied and, in answer to those who seek salvation in his eloquence and are doomed, unless they secure assistance, to ask for delay of proceedings and time for silent and secluded study, till such moment as he can piece together the words that fail him, commit them to memory and prepare his voice and lungs for the effort? 3 What theory of the duties of an orator is there which permits him to ignore such sudden issues? What will happen when he has to reply to his opponent? For often the expected arguments to which we have written a reply fail us and the whole aspect of the case undergoes p135a sudden change; consequently the variation to which cases are liable makes it as necessary for us to change our methods as it is for a pilot to change his course before the oncoming storm. 4 Again, what use is much writing, assiduous reading and long years of study, if the difficulty is to remain as great as it was in the beginning? The man who is always faced with the same labour can only confess that his past labour has been spent in vain. I do not ask him to prefer to speak extempore, but merely that he should be able to do so. And this capacity is best acquired by the following method.

5 In the first place, we must note the direction which the argument is likely to take, since we cannot run our race unless we know the goal and the course. It is not enough to know what are the parts135 into which forensic pleadings are divided or the principles determining the order of the various questions, important though these points are. We must realise what should come first, second, and so on, in the several parts; for these points are so closely linked together by the very nature of things that they cannot be separated, nor their order changed, without giving rise to confusion. 6 The orator, who speaks methodically, will above all take the actual sequence of the various points as his guide, and it is for this reason that even but moderately trained speakers find it easiest to keep the natural order in the statement of facts. Secondly, the orator must know what to look for in each portion of his case: he must not beat about the bush or allow himself to be thrown off the track by thoughts which suggest themselves from irrelevant quarters, or produce a speech which is a confused mass of incongruities, p137owing to his habit of leaping this way and that, and never sticking to any one point. 7 Finally, he must confine himself to certain definite bounds, and for this division is absolutely necessary. When to the best of his ability he had dealt fully with all the points which he has advanced, he will know that he has reached his goal.

The precepts just given are dependent on theory. Those to which I now come depend on individual study. We must acquire a store of the best words and phrases on lines that I have already laid down, while our style must be formed by continuous and conscientious practice in writing, so that even our improvisations may reproduce the tone of our writing, and after writing much, we must give ourselves frequent practice in speaking. 8 For facility is mainly the result of habit and exercise and, if it be lost only for a brief time, the result will be not merely that we fall short of the requisite rapidity, but that our lips will become clogged and slow to open. For although we need to possess a certain natural nimbleness of mind to enable us, while we are saying what the instant demands, to build up what is to follow and to secure that there will always be some thought formed and conceived in advance ready to serve our voice, 9 none the less, it is scarcely possible either for natural gifts or for methodic art to enable the mind to grapple simultaneously with such manifold duties, and to be equal at one and the same time to the tasks of invention, arrangement, and style, together with what we are uttering at the moment, what we have got to say next and what we have to look to still further on, not to mention the fact that it p139is necessary all the time to give close attention to voice, deliver and gesture. 10 For our mental activities must range far ahead and pursue the ideas which are still in front, and in proportion as the speaker pays out what he has in hand, he must make advances to himself from his reserve funds, in order that, until we reach our conclusion, our mind's eye may urge its gaze forward, keeping time with our advance: otherwise we shall halt and stumble, and pour forth short and broken phrases, like persons who can only gasp out what they have to say.

11 There is, therefore, a certain mechanical knack, which the Greeks call ἄλογος τριβή, which enables the hand to go on scribbling, while the eye takes in whole lines at once as it reads, observes the intonations and the stops, and sees what is coming before the reader has articulated to himself what precedes. It is a similar knack which makes possible those miraculous tricks which we see jugglers and masters of sleight of hand perform upon the stage, in such a manner that the spectator can scarcely help believing that the objects which they throw into the air come to hand of their own accord, and run where they are bidden. 12 But this knack will only be of real service if it be preceded by the art of which we have spoken,136 so that what is irrational in itself will nevertheless be founded on reason. For unless a man speaks in an orderly, ornate and fluent manner, I refuse to dignity his utterance with the name of speech, but consider it the merest rant. 13 Nor again shall I ever be induced to admit a continuous flow of random talk, such as I note streams in torrents even from the lips of women when they quarrel, although, if a speaker is swept away by p141warmth of feeling and genuine inspiration, it frequently happens that he attains a success from improvisation which would have been beyond the reach of the most careful preparation. 14 When this occurred, the old orators, such as Cicero,137 used to say that some god had inspired the speaker. But the reason is obvious. For profound emotion and vivid imagination sweep on with unbroken force, whereas, if retarded by the slowness of the pen, they are liable to grow cold and, if put off for the moment, may never return. Above all, if we add to these obstacles an unhealthy tendency to quibble over the choice of words, and check our advance at every step, the vehemence of our onset loses its impetus; while even though our choice of individual words may be of the happiest, the style will be a mere patchwork with no regular pattern.

15 Consequently those vivid conceptions of which I spoke138 and which, as I remarked, are called φαντάσιαι, together with everything that we intend to say, the persons and questions involved, and the hopes and fears to which they give rise, must be kept clearly before our eyes and admitted to our hearts: for it is feeling and force of imagination that make us eloquent. It is for this reason that even the uneducated have no difficulty in finding words to express their meaning, if only they are stirred by some strong emotion. 16 Further the attention of the mind must be directed not to some one thing, but simultaneously to a number of things in continuous sequence. The result will be the same as when we cast our eyes along some straight road and see at once all that is on and near it, obtaining a view not merely of its end, but of the whole way there. Dread of the shame of failure is also a powerful stimulant to oratory, p143and it may be regarded as a matter for wonder that, whereas when writing we delight in privacy and shrink from the presence of witnesses, in extempore pleading a large audience has an encouraging effect, like that which the sight of the massed standards has on the soldier. 17 For the sheer necessity of speaking thrusts forward and forces out our labouring thought, and the desire to win approbation kindles and fosters our efforts. So true is it that there is nothing which does not look for some reward, that eloquence, dispute the fact that its activity is in itself productive of a strong feeling of pleasure, is influenced by nothing so much as the immediate acquisition of praise and renown. 18 Nor should any man put such trust in his native ability as to whether that this power will present itself to him at the outset of his career as an orator; for the precepts which I laid down for premeditation139 apply to improvisation also; we must develop it by gradual stages from small beginnings, until we have reached that perfection which can only be produced and maintained by practice.

19 Moreover, the orator should reach such a pitch of excellence that, while premeditation may still be the safer method, it will not necessarily be the better, since many have acquired the gift of improvisation not merely in prose, but in verse as well, as, for example, Antipater of Sidon and Licinius Archias (for whose powers we have the unquestionable authority of Cicero),140 not to mention the fact that there are many, even in our own day, who have done this and are still doing it. I do not, however, regard this accomplishment as being particularly valuable in itself, for it is both unpractical and unnecessary, but mention it as a useful example to encourage students p145training for the bar, in the hope that they may be able to acquire this accomplishment. 20 Still our confidence in our power of speaking extempore should never be so great that we should neglect to devote a few minutes to the consideration of what we are going to say. There will but rarely be occasions when this is impossible, while in the lawsuits of the courts there is always some time allowed for the purpose. For no one can plead a cause with the facts of which he is unacquainted. 21 Some declaimers, it is true, are led by a perverse ambition to attempt to speak the moment their theme has been given them, and even ask for a word with which to start, an affectation which is in the worst and most theatrical taste. But eloquence has, in her turn, nothing but derision for those that insult her thus, and speakers who wish to seem learned to fools are merely regard as fools by the learned. 22 If, however, chance should impose the necessity upon us of pleading a case at such short notice, we shall require to develop special mental agility, to give all our attention to the subject, and to make a temporary sacrifice of our care for the niceties of language, if we find it impossible to secure both. On such occasions a slower delivery and a style of speaking suggestive of a certain indecision and doubt will secure us time to think, but we must be careful to do this in such a way as to give the impression of thought, not of hesitation. 23 This precaution may be employed while we are clearing harbour, if the wind drive us forward before all our tackle is ready. Afterwards, as we proceed upon our course, we shall trim our sails, arrange our ropes, and pray that the breeze may fill our sails. Such a procedure is p147preferable to yielding ourselves to an empty torrent of words, that the storm may sweep us where it will.

24 But it requires no less careful study to maintain than to acquire this facility. Theory once mastered is not forgotten, and the pen loses but little of its speed by disuse: but this promptitude and readiness for action can be maintained by practice only. The best form of exercise is to speak daily before an audience of several persons, who should, as far as possible, be selected from those whose judgement and good opinion we value, since it is rare anyone to be sufficiently critical of himself. It is even better to speak alone than not at all. 25 There is yet another method of exercising this faculty: it consists in going over our subjects in their entirety in silent thought, although we must all the time formulate the words to ourselves: such practice is possible at any moment or place that finds us unoccupied, and is, in some respects, more useful than that which I have just mentioned; 26 for we are more careful about our composition than when we are actually speaking and in momentary fear of interrupting the continuous flow of our language. On the other hand, the first method is more valuable for certain purposes, as it gives strength to our voice, fluency to our tongue and vigour to our gesture; and the latter, as I have already remarked,141 in itself excites the orator and spurs him on, as he waves his hand or stamps his foot: he is, in fact, like the lion, that is said to lash himself to fury with his tail. But we must study always and everywhere. 27 For there is scarce a single day in our lives that is so full of occupations that we may not, at some moment or other, snatch a few precious minutes, as Cicero142 records that Brutus was p149wont to do, either for writing or reading or speaking; Gaius Carbo,143 for example, was in the habit of indulging in such exercises even in his tent. 28 I must also mention the precept (which again has the approval of Cicero)144 that we should never be careless about our language. Whatever we say, under whatever circumstances, should be perfect in its way. As regards writing, this is certainly never more necessary than when we have frequently to speak extempore. For it maintains the solidity of our speech and gives depth to superficial facility. We may compare the practice of husbandmen who cut away the uppermost roots of their vines, which run close to the surface of the soil, that the taproots may strike deeper and gain in strength. 29 Indeed I am not sure that, if we practise both care and assiduity, mutual profit will not result, and writing will give us greater precision of speech, while speaking will make us write with greater facility. We must write, therefore, whenever possible; if we cannot write, we must meditate: if both are out of the question, we must still speak in such a manner that we shall not seem to be taken unawares nor our client to be left in the lurch.

30 It is, however, a common practice with those who have many cases to plead to write out the most necessary portions, more especially the beginnings of their speeches, to cover the remainder of that which they are able to prepare by careful premeditation and to trust to improvisation in emergency, a practice regularly adopted by Cicero, as is clear from his note-books. But the notes of other orators are also in circulation; some have been discovered by chance, just as they were jotted down previous to a speech, while others have been edited in book form, p151as in the case of the speeches delivered in the courts by Servius Sulpicius, of whose works only three speeches survive. These memoranda, however, of which I am speaking are so carefully drawn up that they seem to me to have been composed by himself for the benefit of posterity. 31 But Cicero's notes were originally intended merely to meet the requirements of the moment, and were afterwards collected145 by Tiro. In making this apology I do not mean to imply that I disapprove of them, but merely wish to make them more worthy of admiration. And in this connexion I must state that I admit the use of brief memoranda and note-books, which may even be held in the hand and referred to from time to time. 32 But I disapprove of the advice given by Laenas, that we should set down in our note-books, duly tabulated under the appropriate headings, summaries of what we propose to say, even in cases where we have already written it out in full. For reliance on such notes as these makes us careless in learning what we have written and mutilates and deforms our style. For my own part I think that we should never write out anything which we do not intend to commit to memory. For if we do, out thoughts will run back to what we have elaborated in writing and will not permit us to try the fortune of the moment. 33 Consequently, the mind will waver in doubt between the two alternatives, having forgotten what was committed to writing and being unable to think of anything fresh to say. However, as the topic of memory will be discussed in the next book, I will not introduce it here, as there are other points which require to be dealt with first.


The Translator's Notes:

116 See X.I.1.

117 Ch. ix.

118 Ch. iv.

119 i.155.

120 The Oeconomicus of Xenophon, the Protagorasº and Timaeus of Plato.

121 I.e. we shall not borrow from our models, as we do in paraphrasing Latin.

122 Lit. "forestall the power of using the language of ordinary prose."

123 See III.V.5 sqq.

124 Ad Att. IX.IV.1.

125 See II.I.9‑11 and iv.22.

126 See IV.IV.8; V.XIII.26; VI.V.10; VII.III.3, 35.

127 profectus, lit. "progress," abstract for concrete.

128 See III.VI.93; X.I.23.

129 I.e. "per totas ire materias."

130 I.II.15.

131 XI.II.1 sqq.

132 A philosopher of the Academic school, contemporary with Cicero, cp. de Or. ii.360.

133 Empylus is not mentioned elsewhere.

134 Cp. Brut. 301.

135 See III.IX.1.

136 §§ 5‑7.

137 No such saying is found in Cicero's extant works.

138 VI.II.29.

139 Ch. vi.3.

140 De Or. iii.194; Pro Arch. viii.18.

141 Ch. iii.21.

142 Or. 34.

143 A supporter of Tib. Gracchus, who went over to the senatorial party and was consul 120 B.C. Committed suicide in the following year. Cicero praises his eloquence and industry; cp. Brut. 103‑5, de Or. I § 154.

144 There is no trace of this.

145 Or perhaps "abbreviated." Tiro was Cicero's friend, freedman and secretary.

Page updated: 12 Nov 04