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This webpage reproduces a section of
Institutio Oratoria


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

The text is in the public domain.

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(Vol. III) Quintilian
Institutio Oratoria

 p507  Book IX

Chapter 4

4 1 I should not venture to speak of artistic structure296 after what Cicero has said upon the subject (for there is I think no topic to which he has devoted such elaborate discussion) but for the fact that his own contemporaries ventured to traverse his theories on this subject even in letters which they addressed to him, while a number of later writers have left on record numerous observations on the same topic. 2 Accordingly on a large number of questions I shall be found in agreement with Cicero and shall deal more briefly with those points which admit of no dispute, while there will be certain subjects on which I shall express a certain amount of disagreement. For, though I intend to make my own views clear, I shall leave my readers free to hold their own opinion.

3 I am well aware that there are certain writers who would absolutely bar all study of artistic structure and contend that language as it chances to present itself in the rough is more natural and even more manly. If by this they mean that only that is natural which originated with nature and has never received any subsequent cultivation, there is an end to the whole art of oratory. 4 For the first men did not speak with the care demanded by that art nor in accordance with the rules that it lays  p509 down. They knew nothing of introducing their case by means of an exordium, of instructing the jury by a statement of facts, of proving by argument or of arousing the emotions. They lacked all these qualifications as completely as they lacked all knowledge of the theory of artistic structure. But if they were to be forbidden all progress in this respect, they ought equally to have been forbidden to exchange their huts for houses, their cloaks of skin for civilised raiment and their mountains and forests for cities. 5 What art does not ripen with cultivation? Why do we train the vine? Why dig it? We clear the fields of brambles, and they too are natural products of the soil. We tame animals, and yet they are born wild. No, that which is most natural is that which nature permits to be done to the greatest perfection. 6 How can a style which lacks orderly structure be stronger than one that is welded together and artistically arranged? It must not be regarded as the fault of the study of structure that the employment of feet consisting of short syllables such as characterise the Sotadean and Galliambic metres and certain prose rhythms closely resembling them in wildness, weakens the force of our matter. 7 Just as river-currents are more violent when they run along a sloping bed, that presents no obstacles to check their course, than when their waters are broken and baffled by rocks that obstruct the channel, so a style which flows in a continuous stream with all the full development of its force is better than one which is rough and broken. Why then should it be thought that polish is inevitably prejudicial to vigour, when the truth is that nothing can attain its full strength  p511 without the assistance of art, and that art is always productive of beauty? 8 Is it not the fact that grace always goes with the highest skill in throwing the spear, and that the truer the archer's aim, the more comely is his attitude? Again in fencing and all the contests of the wrestling school, what one of all the tricks of attack and defence is there, that does not require movements and firmness of foot such as can only be acquired by art? 9 Consequently in my opinion artistic structure gives force and direction to our thoughts just as the throwing-thong and the bowstring do to the spear and the arrow. And for this reason all the best scholars are convinced that the study of structure is of the utmost value, not merely for charm you the ear, but for stirring the soul. 10 For in the first place nothing can penetrate to the emotions that stumbles at the portals of the ear, and secondly man is naturally attracted by harmonious sounds. Otherwise it would not be the case that musical instruments, in spite of the fact that their sounds are inarticulate, still succeed in exciting a variety of different emotions in the hearer. 11 In the sacred games different methods are employed to excite and calm the soul, different melodies are required for the war-song and the entreaty sung by the suppliant on bended knee, while the war-note of the trumpet that leads the army forth to battle has no resemblance to the call that sounds the retreat. 12 It was the undoubted custom of the Pythagoreans, when they woke from slumber, to rouse their souls with the music of the lyre, that they might be more alert for action, and before they retired to rest, to soothe their minds by melodies from the same instrument, in order that all restlessness  p513 of thought might be lulled to orderly repose. 13 But if there is such secret power in rhythm and melody alone, this power is found at its strong est in eloquence, and, however important the selection of words for the expression of our thoughts, the structural art which welds them together in the body of a period or rounds them off at the close, has at least an equal claim to importance. For there are some things which, despite triviality of thought and mediocrity of language, may achieve distinction in virtue of this excellence alone. 14 In fact, if we break up and disarrange any sentence that may have struck us as vigorous, charming or elegant, we shall find that all its force, attraction and grace have disappeared. Cicero in his Orator breaks up some of his own utterances in this way: "Neque me divitiae movent, quibus omnes Africanos et Laelios multi venalicii mercatoresque superarunt. Change the order but a little so that it will run multi superarunt mercatores venaliciique",297 and so on. Disarrange these periods in such a manner, and you will find that the shafts you have hurled are broken or wide of the mark. 15 Cicero also corrects passages in the speeches of Gracchus where the structure appears to him to be harsh. For Cicero this is becoming enough, but we may content ourselves with testing our own power of welding together in artistic form the disconnected words and phrases which present themselves to us. For why should we seek elsewhere for examples of faults which we may all of us find in our own work? One point, however, it is enough simply to notice — that the more beautiful in thought and language the sentence which you deprive of such structural cohesion, the more hideous will  p515 be the effect upon the style, for the very brilliance of the words at once exposes the carelessness of their arrangement. 16 Accordingly, although I admit that artistic structure, at any rate in perfection, was the last accomplishment to be attained by oratory, I still hold that even primitive orders regarded it as one of the objects of their study, as far as at least as the rudeness of their attainments permitted. For even Cicero for his great ess will never persuade me that Lysias, Herodotus and Thucydides were careless in this respect. 17 They may not perhaps have pursued the same ideals as Demosthenes and Plato, and even these latter differed in their methods. For it would never have done to spoil the fine and delicate texture of Lysias by the introduction of richer rhythms, since he would thus have lost all that surpassing grace which he derives from his simple and unaffected tone, while he would also have sacrificed the impression of sincerity which he now creates. For it must be remembered that he wrote his speeches for others to deliver, so that it was right that they should suggest a lack of form and artistic structure: indeed his success in producing this effect actually shows his mastery of structure. 18 Again history, which should move with speed and impetuosity, would have been ill-suited by the halts imposed by the rounding off of the period, by the pauses for breath inevitable in oratory, and the elaborate methods of opening sentences and bringing them to a close. It is however true that in the speeches inserted by historians we may note something in the way of balanced cadences and antitheses. As regards Herodotus, while his flow, in my opinion, is always gentle, his  p517 dialect has such a sweetness of its own that it even seems to contain a certain rhythmical power hidden within itself. 19 However I shall speak of the different ideals a little later: my immediate task is to teach the student elementary rules which are essential if correctness of structure is to be attained.

There are then in the first place two kinds of style: the one is closely welded and woven together, while the other is of a looser texture such as is found in dialogues and letters, except when they deal with some subject above their natural level, such as philosophy, politics or the like. 20 In saying this, I do not mean to deny that even this looser texture has its own peculiar rhythms which are perhaps the most difficult of all to analyse. For dialogues and letters do not demand continual hiatus between vowels or absence of rhythm, but on the other hand they have not the flow or the compactness of other styles, nor does one word lead up so inexorably to another, the structural cohesion being loose rather than non-existent. 21 Again in legal cases of minor importance a similar simplicity will be found to be most becoming, a simplicity, that is to say, that does not dispense with rhythm altogether, but uses rhythms of a different kind, conceals them and employs a certain secrecy in their construction.

22 But the more closely welded style is composed of three elements: the comma, or as we call it incisum, the colon, or in Latin membrum, and the period,298 which Roman writers call ambitus, circumductum, continuatio or conclusio. Further, in all artistic structure there are three necessary qualities, order, connexion and rhythm.

 p519  23 Of these within will first discuss order, which must be considered in connexion with words taken both singly and in conjunction. Words taken singly are known as asyndeta (unconnected). In dealing with them we must take care that our style does not diminish in force through the fact that a weaker word is made to follow a stronger: as, for example, if after calling a man a despoiler of temples we were to speak of him as a thief, or after styling him a highwayman were to dub him an insolent fellow. For sentences rise and grow in force: of this an excellent example is provided by Cicero,299 where he says, "You, with that throat, those lungs, that strength, that would do credit to a prizefighter, in every limb of your body"; for there a phrase is followed by one stronger than the last, whereas, if he had begun by referring to whole body, he could have gone on to speak of his lungs and throat without an anticlimax. There is also another species of order which may be entitled natural, as for example when we speak of "men and women," "day and night," "rising and setting," in preference to the reverse order. 24 In some cases a change in the order will make a word superfluous: for example, we write fratres gemini rather than gemini fratres (twin-brothers), since if gemini came first, there would be no necessity to add fratres. The rule which some have sought to enforce that nouns should precede verbs, and verbs adverbs, while epithets and pronouns should follow their substantives, is a mere extravagance, since the revers order is often adopted with excellent effect. 25 Another piece of extravagant pedantry is to insist that the first place should always be occupied by what is first  p521 in order of time: such an order is no doubt often the best, but merely because previous events are often the most important and should consequently be placed before matters of more trivial import. 26 If the demands of artistic structure permit, it is far best to end the sentence with a verb: for it is in verbs that the real strength of language resides. But if it results in harshness of sound, this principle must give way before the demands of rhythm, as is frequently the case in the best authors of Rome and Greece. Of course, in every case where a verb does not end the send, we shall have an hyperbaton,300 but hyperbaton is an admitted trope or figure, and therefore is to be regarded as an adornment. 27 For words are not cut to suit metrical feet, and are therefore transferred from place to place to form the most suitable combinations, just as in the case of unhewn stones their very irregularity is the means of suggesting what other stones they will best fit and what will supply them with the surest resting-place. On the other hand, the happiest effects of language are produced when it is found possible to employ the natural order, apt connexion and appropriate rhythm. 28 Some transpositions are too long, as I have pointed out in previous books,301 while at times they involve faulty structure, although some writers actually aim at this vicious type of transposition, in order to create an appearance of freedom and license, as in the following phrases from Maecenas, sole et aurora rubent plurima;302 inter se sacra movit aqua fraxinos;303 ne exequias quidem unus inter miserrimos viderem meas.304 The worst feature in these examples, is that he plays pranks  p523 with his structure while dealing with a sad theme. 29 It is, however, not infrequently possible to give special significance to a word by placing it at the close of the sentence and thereby stamping and impressing it on the mind of the hearer, whereas if it were placed in the middle of the sentence, it would remain unnoticed, escape the attention and be obscured by its surroundings; the following passage from Cicero will illustrate what I mean: ut tibi necesse esset in conspectu populi Romani vomere postridie.305 30 Transfer the last word to some other position and the effect will be decreased. For the whole passage is made to converge to a point at the end; the disgraceful circumstance of his being forced to vomit has been mentioned and the audience expect nothing more, when the orator adds yet a further revolting feature of the case, namely that he was still unable to retain his food the day after the carouse. 31 Domitius Afer was in the habit of transferring words at the cadence of his sentence solely for the purpose of harshening his rhythm, more especially in his exordia, as, for example, in his defence of Cloatilla, where he says gratias agam continuo,306 and in his defence of Laelia, where he says, eis utrumque apud te iudicem periclitatur Laelia.307 To such an extent did he avoid the voluptuous effect of soft and delicate rhythm, that he actually interposed obstacles to break the natural harmonies of his language. 32 There is a further drawback resulting from the faulty arrangement of words, with which we are all familiar, namely, that it leads to ambiguity. The above remarks will, I think, suffice as a brief summary of the points which require notice in connexion with order. If the order is  p525 faulty, our language will be deservedly liable to the charge of lacking artistic construction, however compact and rhythmical it may be.

The next point for consideration is connexion, that is to say connexion between words, commata, cola and periods.308 For all these have merits and defects which turn on the way in which they are linked together. 33 I will follow the natural order and will begin by pointing out that there are some blemishes so obvious that even the uneducated regard them as worthy of censure; I refer to occasions when two consecutive words form some unseemly expression by the coalescence of the last syllable of the first word and the first of the second.309 Again, there are occasions when vowels clash. When this happens, the language is broken by gaps and interstices and seems to labour. The most unpleasing effects of sound will be produced by the juxtaposition of the same long vowels, while the worst hiatus occurs between vowels which are pronounced hollow- or open-mouthed.310 34 E has a flatter, i a narrower sound, and consequently such blemishes are less noticeable where they are concerned. It is a less serious fault to place short vowels after long, a statement which applies even more strongly to placing short vowels before long. But the least unsatisfactory combination is that of two short vowels. And in all conjunctions of vowels, the resulting sound will be proportionately soft or harsh according as they resemble or differ from each other in the method of utterance. 35 On the other hand, hiatus is not to be regarded as so very terrible a crime: in fact I do not know which is the worse fault in this connexion, carelessness or a pedantic  p527 solicitude for correctness. For anxiety on this score is bound to check the flow of our language and to divert us from more important considerations. Therefore while it is a sign of carelessness to admit hiatus here, there and everywhere, it is a symptom of grovelling timidity to be continually in terror of it, and there is good reason for the view that all the followers of Isocrates and more especially Theopompus pay excessiveº attention to the avoidance of this defect. 36 On the other hand Demosthenes and Cicero show a sense of proportion in the way in which they face the problem. For the coalescence of two letters, known as συναλοιφή, may make our language run more smoothly than if every word closed with its own vowel, while sometimes hiatus may even prove becoming and create an impression of grandeur, as in the following case, pulchra oratione ista iacta te.311 For syllables which are naturally long and rich in sound gain something from the time which intervenes between two vowels, as though there were a perceptible pause. 37 I cannot do better than quote the words of Cicero312 on this subject. Hiatus, he says, and the meeting of vowels produce a certain softness of effect, such as to suggest a not unpleasing carelessness on the part of the orator, as though he were more anxious about his matter than his words.

But consonants also are liable to conflict at the juncture of words, more especially those letters which are comparatively harsh in sound; as for instance when the final s of one word clashes with x at the opening of the next. Sit more unpleasing is the hissing sound produced by the collision between a pair of these consonants, as in the phrase ars studiorum. 38 This was the reason why Servius, as he  p529 himself has observed, dropped the final s, whenever the next word began with a consonant, a practice for which Luranius takes him to task, while Messala defends him. For he thinks that Lucilius313 did not pronounce the final s in phrases such as, Aeserninus fuit and dignus locoque, while Cicero in his Orator314 records that this was the practice with many of the ancients. 39 Hence we get forms such as belligerare and pomeridiem, to which the diee hanc315 of Cato the Censor, where the final m is softened into an e, presents an analogy. Unlearned readers are apt to alter such forms when they come across them in old books, and in their desire to decry the ignorance of the scribes convict themselves of the same fault. 40 On the other hand, wherever this same letter m comes at the end of a word and is brought into contact with the opening vowel of the next word in such a manner as to render coalescence possible, it is, although written, so faintly pronounced (e.g. in phrases such as multum ille and quantum erat) that it may almost be regarded as producing the sound of a new letter.316 For it is not elided, but merely obscured, and may be considered as a symbol occurring between two vowels simply to prevent their coalescence. 41 Care must also be taken that the last syllables of one word are not identical with the opening syllables of the next. In case any of my readers should wonder that I think it worth while to lay down such a rule, I may point out that Cicero makes such a slip in his Letters, in  p531 the sentence res mihi invisae visae sunt, Brute,317 and in the following line of verse,

O fortunatam natam me consule Romam.318

42 Again it is a blemish to have too many monosyllables in succession, since the inevitable result is that, owing to the frequency of the pauses, the rhythm degenerates into a series of jerks. For the same reason we must avoid placing a number of short verbs and nouns in succession; the converse is also true as regards long syllables, since their accumulation makes our rhythm drag. It is a fault of the same class to end a number of successive sentences with similar cadences, terminations and inflexions. 43 It is likewise inartistic to accumulate long series of verbs, nouns or other parts of speech, since even merits produce tedium unless they have the saving grace of variety.

44 The principles by which the connexion of words is guided are not sufficient in the case of commata and cola, though even here beginnings and ends should harmonise; but our structural effect will very largely depend on the relative order of these two types of clause. For in the following instance319 vomens frustis esculentis gremium suum et totum tribunal implevit the order is satisfactory, since the fact of his having filled the whole judgement seat with vomiting is the more important of the two. On the other hand (for I shall repeat the same illustrations for different purposes to make them more familiar) in the following passage,320 saxa atque solitudines voci respondent, bestiae  p533 saepe immanes cantu flectuntur atque consistunt, the gradation would be improved, if it were reversed: for it is a greater miracle to move rocks than wild beasts: but the claims of structural grace have carried the day. However, let us pass to the consideration of rhythm.

45 All combination, arrangement and connexion of words involves either rhythms (which we call numeri), or metres, that is, a certain measure. Now though both rhythm and metre consist of feet, they differ in more than one respect. 46 For in the first place rhythm consists of certain lengths of time, while metre is determined by the order in which these lengths are arranged. Consequently the one seems to be concerned with quantity and the other with quality. 47 Rhythm may depend on equal balance, as in the case of dactylic rhythm, where one long syllable balances two short, (there are it is true other feet of which this statement is equally true, but the title of dactylic has been currently applied to all,321 while even boys are well aware that a long syllable is equivalent to two beats and a short to one) or it may consist of the feet in which one portion is half as long again as the other, as is the case with paeanic rhythm (a paean being composed of one long followed by three shorts, three shorts followed by one long or with any other arrangement preserving the proportion of three beats to two) or finally one part of the foot may be twice the length of the other, as in the case of the iambus, which is composed of a short followed by a long, or of the choreus consisting of a long followed by a short. 48 These feet are also employed by metre, but with this difference, that in rhythm it does not matter whether the two shorts of the dactyl precede or  p535 follow the long; for rhythm merely takes into account the measurement of the time, that is to say, it insists on the time taken from its rise to its fall being the same. The measure of verse on the other hand is quite different; the anapaest (A breveA breveA macron) or spondee (A macronA macron) cannot be substituted at will for the dactyl, nor is it a matter of indifference whether the paean begins or ends with short syllables. 49 Further, the laws of metre not merely refuse the substitution of one foot for another, but will not even admit the arbitrary substitution of any dactyl or spondee for any other dactyl or spondee. For example, in the line

Panditur interea domus omnipotentis Olympi322

the alteration of the order of the dactyls would destroy the verse. 50 There are also the following differences, that rhythm has unlimited space over which it may range, whereas the spaces of metre are confined, and that, whereas metre has certain definite cadences, rhythm may run on as it commenced until it reaches the point of μεταβολή, or transition to another type of rhythm: further, metre is concerned with words alone, while rhythm extends also to the motion of the body. 51 Again rhythm more readily admits of rests323 although they are found in metre as well. Greater license is, however, admitted when the time is measured by the beat of the feet or fingers,324 and the intervals are distinguished by certain symbols indicating the number of shorts contained within a given space: hence we speak of four or five time (τετράσημοι or πεντάσημοι) and others longer still, the Greek σημεῖον indicating a single beat.

52 In prose the rhythm should be more definite and  p537 obvious to all. Consequently, it depends on feet, by which I mean metrical feet, which occur in oratory to such an extent that we often let slip verses of every kind without being conscious of the fact, while everything written in prose can be shown by analysis to consist of short lines of verse of certain kinds or sections of the same. 53 For example, I have come across tiresome grammarians who attempted to force prose into definite metres, as though it were a species of lyric poetry. Cicero325 indeed, frequently asserts that the whole art of prose-structure consists in rhythm and is consequently censured by some critics on the ground that he would fetter our style by the laws of rhythm. 54 For these numeri, as he himself expressly asserts, are identical with rhythm, and he is followed in this by Virgil, who writes,

Numeros memini, si verba tenerem326

and Horace, who says,

Numerisque fertur

Lege solutis.327

55 Among others they attack Cicero's328 statement that the thunderbolts of Demosthenes would not have such force but for the rhythm with which they are whirled and sped upon their way. If by rhythmis contorta he really means what his critics assert, I do not agree with him. For rhythms have, as I have said, no fixed limit or variety of structure, but run on with the  p539 same rise and fall till they reach their end, and the style of oratory will not stoop to be measured by the beat of the foot or the fingers. 56 This fact is clearly understood by Cicero, who frequently shows that the sense in which he desires that prose should be rhythmical is rather that it should not lack rhythm, a deficiency which would stamp the author as a man of no taste of the refinement, than that it should be tied by definite rhythmical laws, like poetry; just as, although we may not wish certain persons to be professional gymnasts, we still do not wish them to be absolutely ignorant of the art of gymnastics. 57 But the rounding of the period to an appropriate close which is produced by the combination of feet requires some name; and what name is there more suitable than rhythm, that is to say, the rhythm of oratory, just as the enthymeme329 is the syllogism of oratory? For my own part, to avoid incurring the calumny, from which even Cicero was not free, I ask my reader, whenever I speak of the rhythm of artistic structure (as I have done on every occasion), to understand that I refer to the rhythm of oratory, not of verse.

58 It is the task of collocation to link together the words which have been selected, approved and handed over to its custody. For even harsh connexions are better than those which are absolutely valueless. None the less I should allow the orator to select certain words for their euphony, provided always that their force and meaning are the same as those of the alternative words. He may also be permitted to add words, provided they are not superfluous, and to omit them, provided they are not essential to the sense, while he may employ figures to alter case and number, since such variety is attractive in itself,  p541 quite apart from the fact that it is frequently adopted for the sake of the rhythm. 59 Again if reason demand one form and usage another, the claims of rhythm will decide our choice between the two, e.g. between vitavisse and vitasse or between deprehendere and deprendere. Further I do not object to the coalescence of syllables or anything that does no injury either to sense or style. 60 The most important task, however, is to know what word is best fitted to any given place. And the most accomplished artist will be the man who does not arrange his words solely with a view to rhythmic effect.

On the other hand the management of feet is far more difficult in prose than in verse, first because there are but few feet in a single line of verse which is far shorter than the lengthy periods of prose; secondly because each line of verse is always uniform and its movement is determined by a single definite scheme, whereas the structure of prose must be varied if it is to avoid giving offence by its monotony and standing convicted of affectation. 61 Rhythm pervades the whole body of prose through all its extent. For we cannot speak without employing the long and short syllables of which feet are composed. Its presence is, however, most necessary and most apparent at the conclusion of the period, firstly because every group of connected thoughts has its natural limit and demands reasonable interval to divide it from the commencement of what is to follow: secondly because the ear, after following the unbroken flow of the voice and being carried down the stream of oratory, finds its best opportunity of forming a sound judgement on what it has heard, when the rush of words comes to a halt and gives it  p543 time for consideration. 62 Consequently all harshness and abruptness must be avoided at this point, where the mind takes breath and recovers its energy. It is there that style has its citadel, it is this point that excites the eager expectation of the audience, it is from this that the declaimer wins all his glory. Next to the conclusion of the period, it is the beginning which claims the most care: for the audience have their attention fixed on this as well. 63 But the opening of the sentence presents less difficulty, since it is independent and is not the slave of what has preceded. It merely takes what has preceded as a starting point, whereas the conclusion coheres with what has preceded, and however carefully constructed, its elegance will be wasted, if the path which leads up to it be interrupted. Hence it is that although the rhythmical structure adopted by Demosthenes in the passage τοῖς θεοῖς εὔχομαι πᾶσι καὶ πάσαις330 and again in another passage (approved by all, I think, except Brutus) κἂν μήπω βάλλῃ μηδὲ τοξεύῃ331 is regarded as severely correct, 64 Cicero is criticised for passages such as familiaris coeperat esse balneatori332 and for the not less unpleasing archipiratae.333 For although balneatori and archipiratae give exactly the same cadence as πᾶσι καὶ πάσαις and μηδὲ τοξεύῃ, the former are more severely correct. 65 There is also something in the fact that in the passages from Cicero two feet are contained in one word, a practice which even in verse produces an unduly effeminate effect, and that not merely when the line ends with a five-syllable word as in fortissima Tyndaridarum,334 but also in four-syllable endings such  p545 as Appennino,335 armamentis336 and Oreione.337 66 Consequently we must also avoid ending our periods with words containing too many syllables.

With regard to the middle portions of our periods we must take care than merely that they possess internal cohesion, but also that the rhythm is neither sluggish nor long, and above all that we do not fall into the now fashionable fault of placing a number of short syllables together with the result that we produce an effect not unlike the sound of a child's rattle. 67 For while the beginnings and conclusions of periods, where the sense begins or ends, are the most important, it is none the less the fact that the middle portion may involve some special efforts which necessitate slight pauses. Remember that the feet of a runner, even though they do not linger where they fall, still leave a footprint. Consequently not only must commata and cola begin and end becomingly, but even in parts which are absolutely continuous without a breathing space, there must be such almost imperceptible pauses. 68 Who, for example, can doubt that there is but one thought in the following passage and that it should be pronounced without a halt for breath? Animadverti, iudices, omnem accusatoris orationem in duas divisam esse partes.338 Still the groups formed by the first two words, the next three, and then again by the next two and three, have each their own special rhythms and cause a slight check in our breathing: at least such is the opinion of specialists in rhythm. 69 And just in proportion as these small segments of the period are grave or vigorous, slow or rapid, languid or the reverse, so will the periods which they go to form be severe or luxuriant, compact or loose. 70 Again, the conclusions  p547 of clauses sometimes seem to halt or hang, if they are regarded apart from their context, but are usually caught up and supported by what follows, so that what seemed a faulty cadence is corrected by the continuation. Non vult populus Romanus obsoletive criminibus accusari Verrem would be harsh in rhythm, if the sentence ended there; but when it is continued with what follows, nova postulat, inaudita desiderat,339 although the words are separate in meaning, the rhythmical effect is preserved. 71 Ut adeas tantum dabis would be a bad conclusion, for it form the last portion of an iambic trimeter: but it is followed by ut cibum vestitumque introferre liceat, tantum:340 the rhythm is still abrupt but is strengthened and supported by the last phrase of all, nemo recusabat.

72 The appearance of a complete verse in prose has a most uncouth effect, but even a portion of a verse is ugly, especially if the last half of a verse occurs in the cadence of a period or the first half at the beginning. The reverse order may on the other hand often be positively pleasing, since at times the first half of a verse will make an excellent conclusion, provided that it does not cover more than a few syllables. 73 This is especially the case with the senarius or octonarius.341 In Africa fuisse is the opening of a senarius and closes the first clause of the pro Ligario: esse videatur, with which we are now only too familiar as a conclusion, is the beginning of an octonarius. Similar effects are to be found in Demosthenes, as for example πᾶσι καὶ πάσαις and πᾶσιν ὑμῖν and throughout almost the whole exordium of that speech.342 The ends of verses are also excellently suited to the beginning of a period: 74 etsi vereor,  p549 iudices,343 for example and animadverti, iudices.344 But the opening feet of a verse are not suited to the opening phrases of prose: Livy provides an example of this in his preface, which begins with first half of a hexameter, 'Facturusne operae pretium sim:' for these are the words as he wrote them, and they are better so than as they have been corrected.345 75 Again, the cadence of a verse is not suitable to the cadence of a period: compare the phrase of Cicero, Quo me vertam, nescio,346 which is the end of a trimeter. It matters not whether we speak of a trimeter or of a senarius, since the line has six feet and three beats. The end of a hexameter forms a yet worse conclusion; compare the following passage from the letters of Brutus: neque illi malunt habere tutores aut defensores, quoniam causam sciunt placuisse Catoni.347 76 Iambic endings are less noticeable, because that metre is near akin to prose. Consequently such lines often slip from us unawares: they are specially common in Brutus as a result of his passion for severity of style; they are not infrequent in Asinius, and are sometimes even found in Cicero, as frieze at the very beginning of his speech against Lucius Piso: Pro di immortales, qui hic nunc illuxit dies?348 77 Equal care must however be taken to avoid any phrase of a definitely metrical character, such as the following passage from Sallust: Falso queritur de natura sua349 For although the language of prose is bound by certain laws, it should appear to be free. None the less Plato, despite the care which he devotes to his rhythm, has not succeeded in avoiding this fault at  p551 the very opening of the Timaeus,350 78 where we are met at the very outset with the opening of a hexameter, which is followed by a colon which can be scanned as an Anacreontic, or if you like, as a trimeter, while it is also possible to form what the Greeks call a πενθημιμερὲς (that is a portion of the hexameter composed of two feet and a part of a third): and all these instances occur within the space of three lines. Again Thucydides has allowed to slip from his pen a phrase of the most effeminate rhythm in ὑπὲρ ἥμισυ Κᾶρες ἐφάνησαν.351

79 But, having stated that all prose rhythm consists of feet, I must say something on these as well. Different names are given to these feet, and it is necessary to determine what we shall call each of them. For my part I propose to follow Cicero352 (for he himself followed the most eminent Greek authorities), with this exception, that in my opinion a foot is never more than three syllables long, whereas Cicero includes the paean353 and the dochmiac (A breveA macronA macronA breveA macron), of which the former has four and the latter as many as five syllables. 80 He does not, however, conceal the fact that some regard these as rhythms rather than feet: and they are right in so doing, since whatever is longer than three syllables involves more than one foot. Since then there are four feet which consist of two syllables, and eight composed of three, I shall call them by the following names: two long syllables make a spondee; the pyrrhic or pariambus, as some call it, is composed of two short; the iambus of a short followed by a long; its opposite, that is a long followed by a short, is a choreus, for I prefer that term to the name of trochee which is given it by others. 81 Of  p553 trisyllabic feet the dactyl consists of a long followed by two shorts, while its opposite, which has the same time-length, is called an anapaest. A short between two longs makes an amphimacer, although it is more often called a cretic, while a long between two shorts produces its opposite, the amphibrachys. 82 Two long syllables following a short make a bacchius, whereas, if the long syllables come first the foot is called a palimbacchius. Three shorts make a trochee, although those who give that name to the choreus call it a tribrach: three longs make a molossus. 83 Every one of these feet is employed in prose, but those which take a greater time to utter and derive a certain stability from the length of their syllables produce a weightier style, short syllables being best adapted for a nimble and rapid style. Both types are useful in their proper place: for weight and slowness are rightly condemned in passages where speed is required, as are jerkiness and excessive speed in passages which call for weight. 84 It may also be important to remark that there are degrees of length in long syllables and of shortness in short. Consequently, although syllables may be thought never to involve more than two time-beats or less than one, and although for that reason in metre all shorts and all longs are regarded as equal to other shorts and longs, they none the less possess some undefinable and secret quality, which makes some seem longer and others shorter than the normal. Verse, on the other hand, has its own peculiar features, and consequently some syllables may be either long or short. 85 Indeed, since strict law allows a vowel to be long or short, as the case may be, when it stands alone, no less than when one or  p555 mor consonants precede it, there can be no doubt, when it comes to the measuring of feet, that a short syllable, followed by another which is either long or short, but is preceded by two consonants, is lengthened, as for example in the phrase agrestem tenui musam.354 86 For both a and gres are short, but the latter lengthens the former, thereby transferring to it something of its own time-length. But how can it do this, unless it possesses greater length than is the portion of the shortest syllables, to which it would itself belong if the consonants st were removed? As it is, it lends one time-length to the preceding syllable, and subtracts one from that which follows.355 Thus two syllables which are naturally short have their time-value doubled by position.

87 I am, however, surprised that scholars of the highest learning should have held the view that some feet should be specially selected and others condemned for the purposes of prose, as if there were any foot which must not inevitably be found in prose. Ephorus may express a preference for the paean (which was discovered by Thrasymachusa and approved by Aristotle) and for the dactyl also, on the ground that both these feet provide a happy mixture of long and short; and may avoid the spondee and the trochee, 88 condemning the one as too slow and the other as too rapid; Aristotle356 may regard the heroic foot, which is another name for the dactyl, as too dignified and the iambus as too commonplace, and may damn the trochee as too  p557 hasty and dub it the cancan; Theodectes and Theophrastus may agree with him, and a later critic, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, may adopt a similar view; 89 but for all they say, these feet will force themselves upon them against their will, and it will not always be possible for them to employ the dactyl or their beloved paean, which they select for special praise because it so rarely forms part of a verse-rhythm. It is not, however, the words which cause some feet to be of more common occurrence than others; for the words cannot be increased or diminished in bulk, nor yet can they, like the notes in music, be made short or long at will; everything depends on transposition and arrangement. 90 For a large proportion of feet are formed by the connexion or separation of words, which is the reason why several different verses can be made out of the same words: for example, I remember thatº a poet of no small distinction writing the following line:

Astra tenet caelum, mare classes, area messem,357

a line which, if the order of the words be reversed, becomes a Sotadean; again, the following Sotadean, if reversed, reads asº an iambic trimeter:

caput exeruit mobile pinus repetita.358

91 Feet therefore should be mixed, while care must be taken that the majority are of a pleasing character, and that the inferior feet are lost in the surrounding crowd of their superior kindred. The nature of letters and syllables cannot be changed, but their adaptability to each other is a consideration of no small importance. Long syllables, as I have said,  p559 carry the greater dignity and weight, while short syllables create an impression of speed: if the latter are intermixed with a few long syllables, their gait will be a run, but a gallop if they are continuous. 92 When a short syllable is followed by a long the effect is one of vigorous ascent, while a long followed by a short produces a gentler impression and suggests descent. It is therefore best to begin with long syllables, though at times it may be correct to begin with short, as in the phrase novum crimen:359 a gentler effect is created, if we commence with two shorts, as in the phrase animadverti iudices: but this opening, which comes from the pro Cluentio, is perfectly correct, since that speech begins with something similar to partition, which requires speed.360 93 Similarly the conclusion of a sentence is stronger when long syllables preponderate, but it may also be formed of short syllables, although the quantity of the final syllable is regarded as indifferent. I am aware that a concluding short syllable is usually regarded as equivalent to a long, because the time-length which it lacks appears to be supplied from that which follows. But when I consult my own ears I find that it makes a great difference whether the final syllable is really long or only treated as the equivalent of a long. For there is not the same fullness or rhythm in dicere incipientem timere361 as there is in ausus est confiteri.359 94 But if it makes no difference whether the final syllable be long or short, the concluding feet in these two instances must be identical: and yet somehow or other one gives the impression of sitting down and the other of a simple halt. This fact has led some critics to allow three time-beats for a final long syllable, adding the extra  p561 time-length which a short syllable derives from its position at the end of a sentence to the long syllable as well. And it not merely makes a difference with what foot a sentence ends, but the penultimate foot is also of importance. 95 It is not, however, necessary to go back further than three feet, and only that if the feet contain less than three syllables, for we must avoid the exactitude of verse: on the other hand, we must not go back less than two: otherwise we shall be deal with a foot and not with rhythm. But in this connexion the dichoreus may be regarded as one foot, if indeed a foot consisting of two chorei can be considered as a single foot. 96 The same is true of the paean composed of the choreus and a pyrrhic, a foot which is regard as psly suitable to the beginning of a sentence, or of the other paean, formed of three shorts followed by a long, to which the conclusion is specially dedicated. It is of these two forms that writers on rhythm generally speak. Some, however, call all feet containing three short syllables and a long by the name of paean, irrespective of the position of the long syllable, and merely taking into account the total number of time-lengths that it contains. 97 The dochmiac, again, which consist of a bacchius and an iambus, or of an iambus and a cretic, forms a soldi and severe conclusion. The spondee, so frequently employed in this position by Demosthenes, is used with varying effect. It is most impressive when preceded by a cretic, as in the following instance: De qua ego nihil dicam, nisi depellendi criminis causa.362 Again there is a point, of the importance of which I spoke should be, namely that it makes a considerable difference whether two feet are contained in a single word  p563 or whether they are both detached. Thus criminis causa makes a strong and archipiratae363 a weak ending, while the weakness is still further increased if the first foot be a tribrach, as for instance in words like facilitates or temeritates. 98 For the mere fact that words are separated from each other involves an imperceptible length of time: for instance, the spondee forming the middle foot of a pentameter must consist of the last syllable of one word and the first of another, otherwise the verse is no verse at all. It is permissible, though less satisfactory, for the spondee to be preceded by an anapaest: e.g. muliere non solum nobili, verum etiam nota.364 99 And it may also, in addition to the anapaest and cretic, be preceded by the iambus, which is a syllable less in length than both of them, thus making one short syllable precede three long. But it is also perfectly correct to place a spondee before an iambus, as in armis fui, or it may be preceded by a bacchius instead of a spondee, e.g. in armis fui,365 thereby making the last foot a dochmiac. 100 From this it follows that the molossus also is adapted for use in the conclusion provided that it be preceded by a short syllable, though it does not matter to what foot the latter belongs: e.g. illud scimus, ubicunque sunt, esse pro nobis. 101 The effect of the spondee is less weighty, if it be preceded by a palimbacchius and pyrrhic, as in iudicii Iuniani.366 Still worse is the thy when the spondee is preceded by a paean, as in Brute, dubitavi,367 although this phrase may, if we prefer, be regarded as consisting  p565 of a dactyl and a bacchius. As a rule, endings composed of two spondees, a termination which causes comment even in a verse, are to be deprecated, unless the phrase is composed of three separate members, as in cur de perfugis nostris copias comparat is contra nos?368 where we have a word of two syllables preceded and followed by a monosyllable. 102 Even the dactyl ought not to precede a final spondee, since we condemn verse-endings at the period's close. The bacchius is employed at the conclusion, sometimes in conjunction with itself as in venenum timeres,369 while it is also effective when a choreus and spondee are placed before it as in ut venenum timeres. Its opposite, the palimbacchius, is also employed as a conclusion (unless, of course, we insist that the last syllable of a sentence is always long), and is best preceded by a molossus, as in civis Romanus sum,370 or by a bacchius, as in quod hic potest, nos possemus.371 103 It would, however, be truer to say that in such cases the conclusion consists of a choreus preceded by a spondee, for the rhythm is concentrated in nos possemus and Romanus sum. The dichoreus, which is the repetition of one and the same foot, may also form the conclusion, and was much beloved by the Asiatic school: Cicero illustrates it by Patris dictum sapiens temeritas filii comprobavit.372 104 The choreus may also be preceded by a pyrrhic, as in omnes prope cives virtute, gloria, dignitate superabat.373 The dactyl also may come at the close, unless indeed it be held that, when it forms the final foot, it is transformed into a cretic: e.g. muliercula nixus in litore.374 The effect will be good if it is preceded by a cretic or an iambus, but unsatisfactory if it is preceded by a  p567 spondee, and worse still if by a choreus. 105 The amphibrachys may close the cadence, as in Q. Ligarium in Africa fuisse,375 although in that case some will prefer to call it a bacchius. The trochee376 is one of the less good endings, if any final syllable is to be regarded as short, as it undoubtedly must be. Otherwise how can we end with the dichoreus, so dear to many orators? Of course, if it be insisted that the final syllable is long, the trochee becomes an anapaest. 106 If preceded by a long syllable, the trochee becomes a paean, as is the case with phrases such as si potero, or dixit hoc Cicero, or obstat invidia. But this form of paean is specially allotted to the beginnings of sentences. The pyrrhic may close a sentence if preceded by a choreus, thereby forming a paean.377 But all these feet which end in short syllables will lack the stability required for the cadence, and should as a rule only be employed in cases where speed is required and there is no marked pause at the ends of the sentences. 107 The cretic is excellent, but at the beginning (e.g. quod precatus a diis immortalibus sum)378 and at the close (e.g. in conspectu populi Romani vomere postridie).379 The last example makes it clear what a good effect is produced when it is preceded by an anapaest or by that form of paean which is regarded as best suited to the end of a sentence. But the cretic may be preceded by a cretic, as in servare quam plurimos.380 It is better thus than when it is preceded by a choreus, as in quis non turpe duceret?381 assuming that we treat the final short syllable as long. However, for the sake of argument, let us substitute duceres for duceret. 108 Here, however,  p569 we get the rest of which I spoke:382 for we make a short pause between the last word and the last but one, thus slightly lengthening the final syllable of turpe; otherwise quis non turpe duceret? will give us a jerky rhythm resembling the end of an iambic trimeter. So, too, if you pronounce ore excipere liceret383 without a pause, you will reproduce the rhythm of a licentious metre, whereas if triply punctuated and thus provided with what are practically three separate beginnings, the phrase is full of dignity. 109 In specifying the feet above-mentioned, I do not mean to lay it down as an absolute law that and others can be used, but merely wish to indicate the usual practice and the principles that are best suited for present needs. I may add that two consecutive anapaests should be avoided, since they form the conclusion of a pentameter or reproduce the rhythm of the anapaestic metre, as in the passage, nam ubi libido dominatur, innocentiae leve praesidium est,384 where elision makes the last two syllables sound as one. 110 The anapaest should preferably be preceded by a spondee or a bacchius, as, for instance, if you alter the order of words in the passage just quoted to leve innocentiae praesidium est. Personally, although I know that in this I am in disagreement with great writers, I am not attracted by the paean consisting of three shorts followed by a long: for it is no more than an anapaest with the addition of another short syllable (e.g. facilitas, agilitas). Why it should have been so popular, I cannot see, unless it be that those who gave it their approval were students of the language of common life rather than of oratory. 111 It is preferably preceded by short syllables, such as are provided by the pyrrhic or the choreus (e.g. mea facilitas, nostra facilitas); on the other hand, if it be preceded by a spondee, we have the conclusion of an iambic trimeter, as indeed we have in the paean considered alone. The opposite form of paean is deservedly commended as an opening: for the first syllable gives it stability and the next three speed. None the less I think that there are other feet which are better suited for this purpose than even this paean.

112 My purpose in discussing this topic at length is not to lead the orator to enfeeble his style by pedantic measurement of feet and weighing of syllables: for oratory should possess a vigorous flow, and such solicitude is worthy only of a wretched pedant, absorbed in trivial detail: 113 since the man who exhaust himself by such painful diligence will have no time for more important considerations; for he will disregard the weight of his subject matter, despise true beauty of style and, as Lucilius says, will construct a tesselated pavement of phrases nicely dovetailed together in intricate patterns.385 The inevitable result will be that his passions will cool and his energy be wasted, just as our dandies destroy their horses' capacity for speed by training them to shorten their paces. 114 Pros-structure, of course, existed before rhythms were discovered in it, just as poetry was originally the outcome of a natural impulse and was created by the instinctive feeling of the ear for quantity and the observation of time and rhythm, while the discovery of feet came later. Consequently assiduous practice in writing will be sufficient to enable us to produce similar rhythmical effects when speaking extempore. 115 Further it is not so important for us to consider the actual feet as the  p573 general rhythmical effect of the period, just as the poet in writing a verse considers the metre as a whole, and does not concentrate his attention on the six or five individual feet that constitute the verse. For poetry originated before the laws which govern it, a fact which explains Ennius' statement386 that Fauns and prophets sang. 116 Therefore rhythmical structure will hold the same place in prose that is held by versification in poetry.

The best judge as to rhythm is the ear, which appreciates fullness of rhythm or feels the lack of it, is offended by harshness, soothed by smooth and excited by impetuous movement, and approves stability, while it detects limping measures and rejects those that are excessive and extravagant. It is for this reason that those who have received a thorough training understand the theory of artistic structure, while even the untrained derive pleasure from it. 117 There are some points, it is true, which are beyond the power of art to inculcate. Frieze if the case, tense or mood with which we have begun, produces a harsh rhythm, it must be changed. But is it possible to lay down any definite rule as to what the change of case, tense or mood should be? A figure of speech or a figure of thought? Can we give any general ruling on the subject? In such cases opportunism is our only salvation, and we must be guided by consideration of the special circumstances. 118 Further with regard to the time-lengths, which are of such importance where rhythm is concerned, what standard is there by which they can be  p575 regulated save that of the ear? Why do some sentences produce a full rhythmical effect, although the words which they contain are few, whereas others containing a greater number are abrupt and short in rhythm? Why again in periods do we get an impression of incompleteness, despite the fact that the sense is complete? 119 Consider the following example: neminem vestrum ignorare abritror, iudices, hoc per hosce dies sermonem vulgi atque hanc opinionem populi Romani fuisse.387 Why is hosce preferable to hos, although the latter presents no harshness? I am not sure that I can give the reason, but none the less I feel that hosce is better. Why is it not enough to say sermonem vulgi fuisse, which would have satisfied the bare demands of rhythm? I cannot tell, and yet my ear tells me that the rhythm would have lacked fullness without the reduplication of the phrase. 120 The answer is that in such cases we must rely on feeling. It is possible to have an inadequate understanding of what it is precisely that makes for severity or charm, but yet to produce the required effect better by taking nature for our guide in place of art: none the less there will always be some principle of art underlying the promptings of nature.

121 It is, however, the special duty of the orator to realise when to employ the different kinds of rhythm. There are two points which call for consideration if he is to do this with success. The one is concerned with feet, the other with the general rhythm of the period which is produced by their combination. I will deal with the latter first. 122 We speak of commata, cola and periods. A comma, in my opinion, may be defined as the expression of a thought lacking rhythmical completeness;  p577 on the other hand, most writers regard it merely as a portion of the colon. As an example I may cite the following from Cicero: Domus tibi deerat? at habebas: pecunia superabat? at egebas.388 But a comma may also consist of a single word, as in the following instance where diximus is a comma: Diximus, teste dare volumus. 123 A colon, on the other hand, is the expression of a thought which is rhythmically complete, but is meaningless if detached from the whole body of the sentence. For example O callidos homines389 is complete in itself, but is useless if removed from the rest of the sentence, as is the hand, foot or head if separated from that body. He goes on, O rem excogitatam. At what point do the members begin to form a body? Only when the conclusion is added: quem, quaeso, nostrum fefellit, id vos ita esse facturos? a sentence which Cicero regards as unusually concise. Thus as a rule commata and cola are fragmentary and require a conclusion. 124 The period is given a number of different names by Cicero,390 who calls it ambitus, circuitus, comprehension, continuatio and circumscriptio. It has two forms. The one is simple, and consists of one thought expressed in a number of words, duly rounded to a close. The other consists of commata and cola, comprising a number of different thoughts: for example, aderat ianitor carceris, carnifex praetoris391 and the rest. 125 The period must have at least two cola. The average number would appear to be four, but it often contains even more. According to Cicero,392 its length should be restricted to the equivalent of four senarii or to the compass of a single breath. It is further essential that it should complete the thought which it expresses. It must be clear and intelligible and must  p579 not be too long to be carried in the memory. A colon, if too long, makes the sentence drag, while on the other hand, if it be too short it gives an impression of instability. 126 Wherever it is essential to speak with force, energy and pugnacity, we shall make free use of commata and cola, since this is most effective, and our rhythmical structure must be so closely conformed to our matter, that violent themes should be expressed in violent rhythms to enable the audience to share the horror felt by the speaker. 127 On the other hand we shall employ cola by preference when narrating facts, or relax the texture of our periods by considerable pauses and looser connexions, always excepting those passages in which narration is designed for decorative effect and not merely for the instruction of the audience, as for example the passage in the Verrines where Cicero393 tells the story of the Rape of Proserpine: for in such cases a smooth and flowing texture is required. 128 The full periodic style is well adapted to the exordium of important cases, where the theme requires the orator to express anxiety, admiration or pity: the same is true of commonplaces and all kinds of amplification. But it should be severe when we are prosecuting and expansive in panegyric. It is also most effective in the peroration. 129 But we must only employ this form of rhythmical structure in its full development, when the judge has not merely got a grasp of the matter, but has been charmed by our style, surrendered himself to the pleader and is ready to be led whither we will, by the delight which he experiences. History does not so much demand full, rounded rhythms as a certain continuity of motion and connexion of style. For all its cola are closely linked  p581 together, while the fluidity of its style gives it great variety of movement; we may compare its motion to that of men, who link hands to steady their steps, and lend each other mutual support. 130 The demonstrative type of oratory requires freer and more expansive rhythms, while forensic and deliberative oratory will vary the arrangement of their words in conformity with the variety of their themes.

I must now turn to discuss the first of the two points which I mentioned above.394 No one will deny that some portions of our speech require a gentle flow of language, while others demand speed, sublimity, pugnacity, ornateness or simplicity, as the case may be, 131 or that long syllables are best adapted to express dignity, sublimity and ornateness. That is to say, while the gentler form of utterance requires light of vowel sounds, sublime and ornate language demands sonority as well. On the other hand, passages of an opposite character, such as those in which we argue, distinguish, jest or use language approximating to colloquial speech, are better served by short syllables. 132 Consequently in the exordium we shall vary our structure to suit the thought. For I cannot agree with Celsus, when he would impose a single stereotyped form upon the exordium and asserts that the best example of the structure required for this purpose is to be found in Asinius: e.g.si, Caesar, ex omnibus mortalibus, qui sunt ac fuerunt, posset huic causae disceptator legi, non quisquam te potius optandus nobis fuit.395 133 I do not for a moment deny that the substructure of this passage is excellent, but I refuse to admit that the form of rhythmical structure which it exemplifies should be forced on all exordia. For there are various ways in which the  p583 judge's mind may be prepared for what is to come: at times we appeal for pity, at others take up a modest attitude, while we may assume an air of energy or dignity, flatter our audience, attempt to alter their opinions and exhort them to give us their best attention, according as the situation may demand. And as all these methods are different by nature, so each requires a different rhythmical treatment. Did Cicero employ similar rhythms in his exordia to the pro Milone, the pro Cluentio and the pro Ligario? 134 The statement of facts as a rule requires slower and what I may be allowed to call more modest feet and the different kinds of feet should, as far as possible, be intermixed. For while the style of this portion of our speech is generally marked by restraint of language, there are occasions when it is called upon to soar to greater heights, although on the other hand its aim will at all times be to instruct the audience and impress the facts upon their minds, a task which must not be carried out in a hurry. Indeed my personal opinion is that the statement of facts should be composed of long cola and short periods. 135 Arguments, inasmuch as they are characterised by energy and speed, will employ the feet best adapted to these qualities. They will not however acquire rapidity at the expense of force by employing trochees,396 but will rather make use of those feet which consist of a mixture of long and short syllables, though the long should not outnumber the short. 136 Lofty passages, which employ long and sonorous vowels, are specially well served by the amplitude of the dactyl and the paean, feet which, although they contain a majority of short syllables, are yet not deficient in time-length. On the other hand, where  p585 violence is required, the requisite energy will be best secured by the employment of the iambus, not merely because that foot contains but two syllables, with the result that its beat is more frequent, making it unsuited to gentle language, but also because every foot gives the effect of an ascent, as they climb and swell from short to long, a fact which renders them superior to the choreus, which sinks from long to short. 137 Subdued passages, such as occur in the peroration, also require slow syllables, which must, however, be less sonorous.

Celsus insists that there is a special form of rhythmical structure which produces a particularly stately effect: I do not know to what he refers and, if I did, should not teach it, since it must inevitably be slow and flat, that is to say unless this quality is derived from the words and thoughts expressed. If it is to be sought for its own sake, independent of such considerations, I cannot sufficiently condemn it.

138 But, to bring this discussion to a close, I would remark that our rhythm must be designed to suit our delivery. Is not our tone subdued as a rule in the exordium, except of course in cases of accusation where we have to rouse the judge or fill him with indignation, full and clear in the statement of facts, in argument impetuous and rapid not merely in our language, but in our motions as well, expansive and fluent in commonplaces and descriptions and, as a rule, submissive and downcast in the peroration? 139 But the motions of the body also have their own appropriate rhythms, while the musical theory of rhythm determines the value of metrical feet no less for dancing than for tunes. Again, do we not adapt our voice and gesture to the nature of the themes on which  p587 we are speaking? There is, therefore, all the less reason for wonder that the same is true of the feet employed in prose, since it is natural that what is sublime should have a stately stride, that what is gentle should seem to be led along, that what is violent should seem to run and what is tender to flow. 140 Consequently, where necessary, we must borrow the pompous effect produced by the spondees and iambi which compose the greater portion of the rhythms of tragedy, as in the line,

En, impero Argis, sceptra mi liquit Pelops.397

But the coming senarius, styled trochaic, contains a number of pyrrhics and trochees, which others call tribrachs, 141 but loses in dignity what it gains in speed, as for example in the line,

quid igitur faciam? non eam, ne nunc quidem?398

Violent and abusive language, on the other hand, even in verse, as I have said, employs the iambic for its attack e.g.,

Quis hoc potest videre, quis potest pati,

nisi impudicus et vorax et aleo?399

142 As a general rule, however, if the choice were forced upon me, I should prefer my rhythm to be harsh and violent rather than nerveless and effeminate, as it is in so many writers, more especially in our own day, when it trips along in wanton measures that suggest the accompaniment of castanets. Nor will any rhythm ever be so admirable that it ought to be  p589 continued with the same recurrence of feet. 143 For we shall really be indulging in a species of versification if we seek to lay down one law for all varieties of speech: further, to do so would lay us open to the charge of the most obvious affectation, a fault of which we should avoid even the smallest suspicion, while we should also weary and cloy our audience by the resulting monotony; the sweeter the rhythm, the sooner the orator who is detected in a studied adherence to its employment, will cease to carry conviction or to stir the passions and emotions. The judge will refuse to believe him or to allow him to excite his compassion or his anger, if he thinks that he has leisure for this species of refinement. 144 It will therefore be desirable from time to time that in certain passages the rhythm should be deliberately dissolved: this is a task of no small difficulty, if the appearance of effort is to be avoided. In so doing we must not come to the assistance of the rhythm by introducing hyperbata400 of extravagant length, for fear that we should betray the purpose of our action: and we should certainly never in our search for smoothness abandon for another any word that is apt and appropriate to our theme. 145 As a matter of fact no word will be so intractable as to baffle all our attempts to find it a suitable position; but it must be remembered that when we avoid such words, we do so not to enhance the charm of our rhythm, but to evade a difficulty. I am not, however, surprised that Latin writers have paid more attention to rhythmical structure than the Athenians, since Latin words possess less correctness and charm. 146 Nor again do I account it a fault in Cicero that, in this respect, he diverged to some extent from the practice of  p591 Demosthenes. However, my final book will explain the nature of the difference between our language and that of Greece.

But I must bring this book to a conclusion without more delay, since it has already exceeded the limits designed for it. To sum up then, artistic structure must be decorous, pleasing and varied. 147 It consists of three parts, order, connexion and rhythm. The method of its achievement lies in addition, subtraction and alteration of words. Its practice will depend upon the nature of our theme. The care which it demands is great, but, still, less than that demanded by expression and thought. Above all it is necessary to conceal the care expended upon it so that our rhythms may seem to possess a spontaneous flow, not to have been the result of elaborate search or compulsion.

The Translator's Notes:

296 Compositioº in its widest sense means "artistic structure." But in much of what follows it virtually = "rhythm."

297 Or. 70, 232. "Nor do riches move me, in which many a merchant and slave-dealer has surpassed all such great men as Africanus and Laelius."

298 See § 122; comma, colon, period, now applied to stops, originally referred to varying lengths of clauses or sentences.

299 Phil. II.XXV.63.

300 See VIII.VI.62 sqq.

301 Only, apparently, in VIII.II.14.

302 "They grow red in the sunlight and the fullness of dawn." The meaning is uncertain, plurima might be neut. nom. plural.

303 "The sacred stream ran through the ash-grove."

304 "May I never, alone amidst the most miserable of men, behold my own funeral rites."

305 Phil. II.XXV.63. "That you were compelled to vomit the next day in the presence of the Roman people."

306 "I will thank you at once."

307 "Owing to both of these circumstances Laelia runs the risk of being condemned with you for judge."

308 See § 22.

309 cp. VIII.III.45.

310 i.e. A, O, U.

311 "Boast yourself of that fine speech of yours."

312 Or. xxiii.77.

313 From the Fourth Book of the Satires. Servius and Luranius cannot be identified.

314 Or. xlviii.161.

315 i.e. for belligerares, postmeridiem and diem hanc.

316 "A very probable account is that -m was reduced through the lips not being closed to pronounce it. If, instead of closing the lips all that were done were to drop the uvula, (p529)a nasal sound would be given to the following initial vowel, so that finem onerat would be pronounced finewonerat with a nasalized o." Lindsay, Lat. Langu. p62. It is this sound which Quintilian describes as almost the sound of a new letter.

317 The letter is lost. "The situation seemed hateful to me, Brutus."

318 See XI.I.24. "O happy Rome, born in my consulship."

319 Phil. II.XXV.63. "By his vomiting he filled his lap and the whole judgement seat with fragments of undigested food."

320 pro Arch. viii.19. "Rocks and solitude answer to the human voice and wild beasts are often pacified and brought to a halt by the influence of music."

321 For purely rhythmical purposes the term dactyl is arbitrarily used by the rhetoricians to include anapaests as well. See below.

322 Aen. X.1.

"Meanwhile Olympus' halls omnipotent

Are wide unbarred."

323 i.e. in the musical sense.

324 i.e. in music.

325 See Or. xx.67, sqq.

326 Ecl. ix.45. "I have the numbers, could I but find the words." In this case the nearest translation of numeri would be "tune." But, strictly speaking, it refers to the rhythm of the tune.

327 OdesIV.II.11. "And sweeps along in numbers far from laws."

328 Or. lxx.234.

329 See V.XIV.24.

330 De Cor. 1. "I pray to all gods and goddesses."

331 Phil. iii.17. Even though he neither shoots at me nor strikes me as yet."

332 Pro Cael. xxvi.62. "He had begun to be intimate with the bathkeeper."

333 Verr. V.XXVII.70.

334 Hor. Sat. I.I.100.

335 Pers. i.95.

336 Ov. Met. xi.456.

337 Aen. III.517.

338 pro Cluent. i.1. "I note, gentlemen, that the speech for the prosecution falls sharply into two divisions."

339 Verr. V.XLIV.117. "The Roman people does not wish Verres to be accused of obsolete crimes: no, it is new and unheard-of crimes that it demands and desires."

340 Verr. V.XLIV.118. "To see him, you will pay so much, and so much to bring in food and clothing. No one refused."

341 senarius = iambic trimeter. octonarius here = trochaic tetrameter, not iambic tetrameter.

342 De Cor. I.


343 pro Mil. i.1.

Both quotations give the end of an iambic trimeter.

343 pro Cluent. i.1.

345 MSS. of Livy read sim operae pretium: there is evidence to show that this may be due to corruption rather than to correction such as Quintilian describes.

346 pro Lig. i.1, pro Cluent. i.4.

347 "They ask for no guardians or defenders since they know that the cause has won the approval of Cato."

348 An iambic trimeter. "Immortal gods, what day is this has dawned?"

349 Jug. 1. "The human race complains of its own nature without reason." Last five feet of iambic trimeter!

350 The phrase is εἱς, δυό, τρεῖς, ὁ δὲ δὴ τέταρτος ἡμῶν, ὦ φίλε. εἱς, δυό, τρεῖς give the opening of a hexameter, ὁ δὲ δὴ τέταρτος ἡμῶν the Anacreontic, δυό . . . φίλε the Iambic trimeter and εἱς . . . δὴ the πενθημιμερές.

351 I, 8. Quintilian probably treats this as Sotadean or reminiscent of Sotadean rhythm.

352 Or. ch. lxiv.7.

353 For paean see § 96. The two varieties with which Quintilian is concerned are A macronA breveA breveA breve and A breveA breveA breveA macron.

354 Ecl. 1.2. But Virgil wrote silvestrem.

355 This theory involves the allotment of a time-value to consonants: gres gives the time-value of gr to a, and itself borrows an equivalent time-value from st. This view is more explicitly expressed by the fifth-century grammarian Pompeius (112, 26K), who allots the value of half a time-length (p555)to each consonant. Therefore to ă (= one time-length) are added the two time-lengths represented by gr (see Lindsay, Lat. Language, p129).

356 Rhet. iii.8.

357 "The heaven holds the stars, the sea the fleets, and the threshing-floor the harvest." messem area, classes mare, caelum tenet astra is identical in scansion with the Sotadean which follows, save that it opens with a spondee instead of an anapaest.

358 The sense is uncertain. It appears to refer to a pine beam or trunk floating half-submerged. "The pine-beam caught afresh put forth its nimble head."

359 pro Lig. i.1.

360 pro Cluent. i.1. The speech begins: "I note, gentlemen of the jury, that the whole speech of the accuser falls into two parts, of which one," etc. It is this which is described as "similar to partition." lenius a duabus Capperonnier for levibus (AG).

361 pro Mil. i.1. "To show fear when beginning to speak."

362 pro Cael. xiii.31. "Concerning which I will say nothing except for the purpose of refuting the charge."

363 See § 64.

364 pro Cael. xiii.31. "A woman, not only of noble birth, but even notorious."

365 pro Lig. iii.9. "I was in arms."

366 The text is clearly corrupt as it stands, since the first syllable of Iuniani is long. Further, if iudici be read with the best texts of Cicero, there is no pyrrhic (A breveA breve) in the phrase, which is identical in rhythm with ausus est confiteri, praised just above. If iudicii is read the final spondee might be said to be preceded by a pyrrhic and a palimbacchius (i.e. iud/ĭcĭ/ī Iūnĭ/ānī). The fact that the termination of both words is the same would account for the disappearance of (p563)one of them. The corruption may easily lie deeper still. But as the words quoted come from an actual speech of Cicero, the error is not likely to lie in the quotation. pro Cluent. i.1.

367 Or. i.1. "I hesitated, Brutus."

368 "Why does he collect forces against us from our deserters?" L. Crassus quoted in Or. lxvi.223.

369 pro Cael. xiv.33. "That you should fear poison."

370 Verr. V.LXII.162.

371 pro Lig. iv.10.

372 Orat. lxiii.214. "The wise temerity of the son confirmed the statement of the father."

373 pro Cael. xiv.34. "He surpassed almost all other citizens in virtue, glory and honour."

374 Verr. V.XXXIII.86. "Leaning on a worthless woman on the shore."

375 pro Lig. i.1.

376 It must be remembered that for Quintilian a trochee is the same as a tribrach (A breveA breveA breve). See § 82.

377 As he has in the preceding clause stated that this form of paean is regarded as specially adapted to the opening of a sentence, it cannot be supposed that he commends this employment of the pyrrhic. He mentions it only to illustrate another method of forming the paean (e.g. multa bene) by two words, the first a choreus, the second a pyrrhic. His view about the employment of this form of paean is that it is sometimes used at the end, but that such a position is not advisable.

378 pro Muren. i.1.

379 Phil. II.XXV.63.

380 pro Lig. xii.38.

381 Phil. II.XXV.63.

382 § 51.

383 Verr. V.XLV.118. The licentious metre is Sotadean.

384 Crassus in Cic. Or. lxv.219end "For where lust holds sway, there is but small protection for innocence."

385 In Or. xliv.149, the lines are actually quoted

"quam lepide lexeis compostae ut tesserulae omnes

arte pavimento atque emblemate vermiculato."

"How neatly his phrases are put together, like a cunningly tesselated pavement with intricate inlay."

386 Enn. Ann. 213.

387 Verr. I.I.1. "I think that none of you, gentlemen, are ignorant that during these days such has been the talk of the common folk and such the opinion of the Roman people."

388 Or. lxvii.223. See IX.II.15.

389 From the lost pro Cornelio. "O the cunning of those men! O what careful forethought! I ask you did one of us fail to note that such would be your action?"

390 Orat. lxi.204.

391 Verr. V.XLV.118. "There stood the jailer, the praetor's executioner."

392 Or. lxvi.222. Cicero says hexameters, not senarii.

393 Verr. IV.XLVIII.106.

394 Sect. 121.

395 "If, Caesar, one man of all that are or have ever been could be chosen to try this case, there is none whom we could have preferred to you."

396 Trochee (A breveA breveA breve).

397 From an unknown tragedian.

"Lo, I am lord at Argos, where to me

Pelops the sceptre left."

398 Ter. Eun. I.I.1. "What shall I do then? Not go even now?" The pyrrhic never forms a separate foot, but does form part of the anapaest, tribrach and dactyl and it is in this connexion that it is mentioned by Quintilian.

399 Cat. xxix.1. "Who save a lecherous gambling glutton can endure to gaze on sca sight as this?"

400 Transpositions. See VIII.VI.62.

Thayer's Note:

a The life and works of Thrasymachus are detailed in Dobson's Greek Orators, chapter III.

Page updated: 4 Oct 12