Imágenes de páginas

say the same thing three times over in direct sequence? for, without this talent of iteration,- of repeating the same thought in diversified forms, -a man may utter good heads of an oration, but not an oration.'

We have already seen to what extent this figure was employed by Demosthenes. Cicero, too, understood and recommended its use. Dr. Chalmers, likewise, used this form of emphasis, with great skill. In all his master-pieces one can easily discern that he seizes upon the chief idea involved, and then revolves it, and revolves all he says about it until the dullest hearer sees and feels its force. He was once criticised for this characteristic, but Bethune thus replied to the critics: "The one idea of Chalmers is worth a month's preaching from the critics who cavil at him."

Vinet thinks that Bossuet excels not only Chalmers, but, indeed, all other preachers, in the skilful and apparently artless use of repetition.

A moment's thought will show any one that the correct employment of this figure requires excellent judgment; judgment first in the selection of the ideas to be repeated. They must be vital. And, then, judgment as to the amount of repetition required or allowed. To continue the repetition after the intended impression has been made, would show that the speaker is not an artist, but a blundering bore; his cause thereby would be damaged.

Thus, also, repetition, to be unobjectionable, cannot be used to kill time, but must come to the lips

without effort, and because the speaker is profoundly impressed with the vital importance of the thought repeated.

In British secular oratory, no one, as noted above, has been more successful in rhetorical repetition than Charles James Fox. Erskine regarded this ability of Fox to pass and repass the same points "in the most unforeseen and fascinating review," as one of his chief merits. Fox advised Romilly, in an important trial, not to fear, when summing up the evidence, to repeat the material matters. "It is better," he says, "that some in the audience should observe it, than that any should not understand."

Lord Brougham also, highly prized this figure, and often employed it. Too much space would be required to introduce examples at length; we therefore give the student the following references: Quotations already used, see pp. 48-56; Clodius' hatred of Milo, see Cicero's Oration for Milo; Seneca, Nat. quæst., lib. vi. cap. xxiii.; Matthew Arnold's play upon "Cogitavi vias meas" in God and the Bible, pp. 137-8. See also, Ps. ciii. 1, 2; cl.: Eccl. xi. 1-6; xii. 1-6: Is. ii. 11-17: Amos iv. 6-12: Matt. v. 3-11; vi. 19, 20: Luke xi. 42-44: John xv. 4, 5: Acts xiii. 30-33: Gal. i. 8, 9.

3. Recapitulation. The same general principles are involved in recapitulation as in rhetorical repetition. The repetition of the vital points in this figure is near the close of the address. Cicero's rule was to so manage the recapitulation as to revive

the thoughts of the discourse in a clear, concise, and rapid style, without repeating the phraseology.

4. Climax. This figure seeks, by the skilful arrangement of thoughts and sentences, to increase the emphasis, and heighten the impression. It contributes largely to the dignity and grandeur of style. It is, as the Greek word implies, the climbing at ladder, or the building of a pyramid. Ancient rhetoricians taught that in pure climax each successive clause of a sentence is in some way contingent upon what precedes. Quintilian states the principle thus: "Climax recurs to what has been said, and takes a rest, as it were, on something that precedes, before it passes on to anything else. The following from Cicero illustrates this ancient idea of climax :

"What hope is there for liberty, if what these men wish to do, the law permits them to do; if what the law permits them to do, they are able to do; if what they are able to do, they dare do; and if what they dare do gives you no offence."

See also 2 Peter i. 5–7.

But in modern times, climax is not restricted to the form of a sentence, but includes gradation in thought, the most important thought being reserved for the last. The following are examples:

"I not only did not say this, but did not even write it; I not only did not write it, but took no part in the embassy; I not only took no part in the embassy, but used no persuasion with the Thebans." - Demosthenes.

See also pp. 41, 45.

"It is coming fast upon you; already it is near at hand - yet in a few short weeks, and we may be in the midst of

those unspeakable miseries the recollection of which now rends your souls asunder.”—– Brougham.

"We have petitioned, we have remonstrated, we have supplicated, we have prostrated ourselves at the foot of the throne."- Patrick Henry.

"If we rise yet higher, and consider the fixed stars as so many oceans of flame, that are each of them attended with a different set of planets, and still discover new firmaments and new lights that are sunk farther in these unfathomable depths of ether, we are lost in such a labyrinth of suns and worlds, and confounded by the magnificence and immensity of nature."— Chalmers.

See, also, Ps. ix. 1: Hosea ii. 21, 22: Joel i. 34; Habak. iii. 17, 18: Matt. x. 40, 41; Rom. iv. 11– 13; v. 3-5; viii. 38; xiii. 4-8: 1 Cor. ii. 21-23; iii. 21-23; xv. 54, 55: Eph. iii. 20: 2 Tim. iv. 6– 8: 2 Peter i. 5-7: Rev. xxii. 17.

4. Accumulation. This form of speech belongs to the family of climax, so far as the object in view is concerned, but consists in amplifying the subject by a specification of details belonging to it. The following examples will illustrate the different varieties of this figure:

"Do not entertain so weak an imagination as that your registers and your bonds, your affidavits and your sufferances, your cockets and your clearances, form the great securities of your commerce.” — Burke.

"Observing the wide and general devastation, and all the horrors of the scene of plains unclothed and brown; of vegetables burned up and extinguished; of villages depopulated and in ruins; of temples unroofed and perishing; of reservoirs broken down and dry-he would

naturally inquire, what war has thus laid waste the fertile fields of this once beautiful and opulent country?"


"I stigmatize it as a revolutionary tribunal. What in the name of heaven is it, if it is not a revolutionary tribunal? It annihilates the trial by jury; it drives the judge from his bench- the man who from experience could weigh the nice and delicate points of a case, who could discriminate between the straightforward testimony and the suborned evidence; who could see plainly and readily the justice or the injustice of the accusation. It turns out this man, who is free, instructed, unprejudiced, who has no previous opinions to control the free exercise of duty."


"It is not enough to say that he must be an engineer, a geographer, learned in human nature, adroit in managing mankind; that he must be able to perform the highest duties of a minister of state, and sink to the humblest offices of a commissary or clerk; but he has also to display all this knowledge, and he must do all these things at the same time, and under extraordinary circumstances."


"A fall of ten per cent. in the funds is nearly eighty millions sterling of value; and railway stock having gone down twenty per cent., makes a difference of sixty millions in the value of the railway property of this country. Add the two-one hundred and forty millions- and take the diminished prosperity and value of manufactures of all kinds during the last few months, and you will understate the actual loss to the country now if you put it down at two hundred millions sterling." - John Bright.

6. Interrogation. A question introduced for the purpose of emphasis, ordinarily without the expectation of an oral answer, is classed among the figures

« AnteriorContinuar »