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easily explains the perfection of their diction, and that remarkable force found in many of their sentences.41
In view of these facts, the young orator presumes far too much if he expects success short of the constant and laborious industry which was practised by these men, who are rightly regarded as geniuses in the field of eloquence and oratory.
XVII. Hence the ideal orator, by the study of models and constant practice, must become thoroughly familiar with the forms of expression known as Figures of Oratory, or Figures of Emphasis.
Some of the more important of these figures are the following:
This figure is a comparison of things that are very different. Throughout the history of literature, in both poetry and prose, it has been in high favor. It is a figure that greatly contributes to mental activity, and, by enabling one to see a thing upon two sides and in detail, it aids in the power of quick comprehension. It abounds in Hebrew poetry, in classical literature, and was used almost to excess by Thucydides and Tacitus. All strong and popular writers in modern times, likewise, resort for emphasis to this form of speech; in proverbs, dialogues, biographic sketch, and eulogistic discourse, it is especially serviceable.
Examples of antithesis already quoted from Demosthenes need not be here repeated. page 43.
The following are additional standard examples of
"Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man; and therefore if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets witty; the mathematics subtle; natural philosophy deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend."- Bacon.
My hold on the colonies is the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties which, though light as air, yet are strong as links of iron."
"But yesterday, and Britain might have stood against the world; now, none so poor to do her reverence."
"He can bribe, but he cannot seduce. He can buy, but he cannot gain. He can lie, but he cannot deceive. It is the very struggle of the noble Othello. His heart relents, but his hand is firm. He does naught in hate, but all in honor. He kisses the beautiful deceiver before he destroys her." - Macaulay.
"The one led me to see a system in every star; the other leads me to see a world in every atom. The one taught me that this mighty globe, with the whole burden of its people and of its countries, is but a grain of sand in the high field of immensity; the other teaches me that every grain of sand may number within it the tribes and the families of a busy population. The one told me of the insignificance of the world I tread on; the other redeems it from all its insignificance, for it tells me that in the leaves of every forest, and in the flowers of every garden, and in the waves of
every rivulet, there are worlds teeming with life, and numberless as the glories of the firmament.
Chalmers Astronomical Discourses.
"God hath written a law and a gospel; the law to humble us, and the gospel to comfort us; the law to cast us down, and the gospel to raise us up; the law to convince us of our misery, and the gospel to convince us of His mercy; the law to discover sin, and the gospel to discover grace and Christ."- John M. Mason.
See also Prov. iii. 33-35; x. 19-29; xxv. 2: Is. i. 18; ix. 2; lxi. 3: Matt. x. 39; xxv. 46: Mark ii. 27: Luke x. 41, 42; xii. 6, 7: Ro. vi. 18; viii. 5, 6: 1 Cor. xv. 40–43 2 Cor. iv. 8, 9; vi. 10:
1 Tim. v. 6.
2. Rhetorical Repetition. This figure is the frequent recurrence of the vital points of an address, for the purpose of increasing their significance, without interfering with rhetorical or dramatic progress and climax. By this means the auditor has his attention called to the main points until they are clearly apprehended, or until their relative importance is made apparent. The principle underlying rhetorical repetition has been suggested in various maxims. Says the Indian adage: "If a man talk long enough, he can wear a hole in a rock." "" You can pierce any head or heart, if the blows are long enough repeated upon the same spot." We hear of "ploughing a furrow in the soul.' Luke xviii. 1-8.
The tenacity and persistency with which the most eminent lawyers adhere to the main point in the case — holding to it until the dullest of the twelve can see
it- and the skill with which, in different ways, they repeat themselves without seeming to do so, and without weariness to the hearer, sufficiently account for their success before jurors.
Boswell had occasion to speak before the House of Commons, and the following is Johnson's advice to him: "You must say the same thing over and over again, in different words. If you say it but once, they miss it in a moment of inattention."
An old French writer, more remarkable for originality of thought than for grace of style, was once reproached by a friend with the frequent repetitions to be found in his works. "Name them to me," said the author. The critic, with obliging precision, mentioned all the ideas which had most frequently recurred in the book. "I am satisfied," replied the honest author. "You remember my ideas. I repeated them so often on purpose to prevent you from forgetting them. Without my repetitions, I should never have succeeded."
The following advice of Dr. John Hall should be heeded:
"I would almost venture to put among the elements of preparation for preaching some little experience in teaching. A superficial person is apt to suppose that to tell a thing once is sufficient for all purposes. A thoughtful person knows the contrary, knows that in the common affairs of life we often repeat and reiterate the instructions we wish to be remembered and acted upon. So a thoughtful teacher soon finds; and one of the main objects of the preacher is to teach. The teacher varies his phraseology, puts his points variously, asks questions, illustrates, suggests, employs
shifts and expedients to insinuate definite ideas into the mind. A brilliant and successful advocate once told me that it was idle to suppose that one simple didactic statement would reach the understanding of the men on a jury. 'I never assume anything of the sort,' said he; 'I go over the same ground again and again, not always in appearance, varying the language and mode of presenting the idea, until no more can be said about it.' And we must remember that twelve jurymen, on oath to decide justly, may be supposed to have their faculties on a tenser strain, and their intelligence higher than the average of an ordinary mixed congregation. Men find this out practically in teaching; and so, not only because a minister is all the better for having some practical knowledge of teaching, for Sabbath-school and other purposes, but because teaching is
so essential an element in good preaching, a little experience in practical instruction is to a candidate for the ministry a substantial advantage."
After the battle of Austerlitz, Alexander paid a high tribute to the genius of his conqueror, but insisted that the French army was double his own. "Your Majesty is misinformed," replied Savary; "our force was inferior to yours by at least twentyfive thousand men. But we manoeuvred much; and the same division combatted at many different points." Thus Lord Stanhope, in complimenting the style of Fox, says: "By the multitude, one argument stated in five different forms, is, in general, held equal to five different arguments."
De Quincey, criticising the style of Lord Bacon, and showing that it was impossible for him to have been a great popular orator, says: "The popular orator must have the gift of tautology. Can he