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meeting of the Saxon into the council of the Greeks, and from parliament and congress he will turn an historic imagination back twenty-seven centuries to the agora and the army by the Dardanian shore of the Hellespont. If, however, he insists that there are timeless tests which he has a right to apply to the oratory of any age, it may be discov ered that the speaking men of the eighth century before our era can abide such tests as creditably as the modern general who is expected to harangue his troops in the field, join in the council of war, or possibly speak in the legislative assembly in later years. For it will be borne in mind that the Greek and Trojan orators were chiefs of the host, and that an upstart speaker from the ranks would not have been in accord with Homer's sense of propriety. The common soldier was always a listener, or at best a critic who used his voice chiefly in shouting approbation or murmuring dissent. At his worst he was Thersites, whose scurrility brought a staff down upon his shoulders. And in his ordinary capacity he was told to "keep still and hear what others say, thy betters far: for thou art good for naught, of small account in council or in fight." Such was the kingly estimate of democratic babblers. It was also Homer's. Accordingly he makes his best oratory a royal thing, going hand in hand with princely achievement. He thus voices a ruling idea of his race and time, that to be good in counsel, as to be valiant in battle, was the prerogative of the kings of men. More than three centuries must elapse before the aristocracy of eloquence should be merged in the popular discussion by all citizens concerning the affairs of the city. But in the heroic age the gift of noble speech belonged to noblemen. The use they made of it corresponds to the patrician character, and also to the personal traits of these first gentlemen of their respective realms, coming from Pylos and Salamis, from Argos and Mycenæ, from Argolis and Crete; and on the
Trojan side from Dardanum and Abydos, Arisba and Lycia, and Ilium itself.
What these knightly men were in battle, Homer recounts with a realism which jars upon the military taste of an age which murders the enemy at a distance made respectful by the inventions of science. But it cannot deny personal courage to warriors who faced each other in handto-hand encounters with spear and sword and stone. Something of the same spirit appears in their speech, and the qualities which made them valiant in war gave effectiveness to their words in the military council and before the larger audience of the assembled host.
Contributing to the exercise of these qualities, to be presently mentioned, is the circumstance that a large proportion of the speeches are spoken in debate, or between man and man, or, less seldom, from a leader to his immediate comrades and followers, as distinguished from the address of one person to an impressive audience. In these debates may be observed the characteristics of the best deliberative oratory. Each speaker contributes to the full discussion of the point at issue. What escapes one is seized by another. Each opposing view is met squarely and without the cheap answer of ridicule. Fallacies are scarce. Rejoinders are numerous but weighty, and, if sometimes bitter, they have sufficient cause. Even across the line of battle, Eneas answers Achilles' lofty speech, saying: "Cease we now like babbling fools to prate; for glibly runs the tongue, and can discourse at will in every vein; wide is the range of language, and such words as one may speak, himself may hear returned. What need that we should insults interchange like women who some paltry quarrel wage, scolding and brawling in the public street." "He said, and hurled his brazen spear.'
A charge which is backed by evident truth is accepted with honorable grace, and wordy war is stopped before it
begins to lose dignity and descend to bickering. In the great controversy of the principals in the Iliad, the side of justice and right prevails at last by cordial agreement. On lesser occasions the wiser counsel commonly triumphs, whether advocated by few or many, and receives the support of all, if not their sympathy. It is only in ungov erned Ithaca that a dissenting party bolt from an assembly which had not been convened for twenty years.
From these heroic men, dealing at first hand with friends and foes, may be expected, as the first note of their speech, an uncompromising plainness and directness. Having definite opinions and beliefs, they make them clear by straightforward expression. No ambiguity is needed, no duplicity or diplomacy requiring double-faced phrases. Even the wily Ulysses' arts do not include dissembling speech with his equals. These peers in the Achæan league against Troy say to each other what they mean, and mean what they say. It is also received in the same spirit. One of Lord Bacon's biographers suggests that this would be a better world if every man should tell his neighbor what he thinks of him. Probably no age has come nearer than the heroic to carrying out the spirit of this recommendation. And yet evidences of friction on this account are few, after the stormy quarrel of the first Iliad, where Achilles' reproaches of Agamemnon show the incompetency of words to voice his righteous indignation for a public and unmerited insult. Later he confesses the folly of perpetuating his resentment. Other Greeks accept personal criticism in a heroic way, as Diomed does in silence, "submissive to the monarch's stern rebuke," or as Paris in his words to Hector, "I own thy censure just." Ulysses alone chafes once, as becomes a prince who is called "master of all tricky arts," and tells the king that his words are empty wind; but Atrides' smile and apology restore him. The Trojan Hector, too, makes no retort when his wisdom is
compared unfavorably with his valor by Polydamas; and when he himself loads Paris with contempt, that squire of dames receives his scoring with his accustomed grace and some humility. Thus in debate and in colloquy everything is free, straightforward, and above-board. Hard blows may be given, but they are taken or returned without abiding resentment and cherished hate. There is the truth and frankness of a race in its childhood, made up of men in their manhood,-the speech of a nobility with which is always present the spirit of noblesse oblige. Diomed considers it his duty and his right to confront the folly of the king; Patroclus charges his best friend, Achilles, with hard-heartedness and stubbornness; Nestor presumes upon his years to tell Diomed that, eminent as he is in war and in council, his youth has not apprehended the end and object of debate, and then with his customary selfcomplacency declares that he will go through the entire subject to the satisfaction of everybody. It may be noticed, however, that Nestor is by no means the only example of a complacent self-esteem. They all estimate themselves highly with a knightly measure of self-respect, and announce this sentiment without reserve. Achilles alone confesses his inequality to others in debate,—as the chief orator of the Iliad could afford to, since no one would agree with him in his generous self-depreciation.
In all the discussions of both epics is exhibited the gift of public speech at its best in what may be termed its natural phase. Nine or ten generations must come and go before an art should be evolved extending this native power to lesser men according to their talents and their diligence in improving them. Demosthenes will toil by lamplight, Isocrates will labor ten years over an artistic oration; but in this age of bronze each chieftain utters the thoughts of his soul in the simplicity of his heart. Not in simpleness, however. If art is an imitation of nature, or
even an improvement upon it, the type will have some features of the copy. These may be idealized but not destroyed. The wilderness must have the hills and the forests, the rocks and the streams, of the cultivated landscape, and natural oratory will contain the elements which are fundamental in cultured eloquence. Primitive expression is not necessarily privative and partial, weak and imperfect. It is oftener defective in manner than wanting in force and efficiency. This has been observed already in the efficacy of straightforward speech between open-hearted men.
To this directness may be added a second cardinal virtue of persuasiveness. According to the later science, persuasion to action is the end of all public speech beyond that which informs or amuses. Included in this is argumentation, but only as a single step toward conviction, and operative chiefly with cultivated minds. Many of these have been logically convinced of obligations who have not been persuaded to fulfill them. With a primitive people, therefore, and even with a cultured, persuasion, by whatever methods accomplished, has been regarded as the triumph of eloquence. Homer was enough of an orator not to need a logician to tell him this. Instead, he gave points to Aristotle. And to his heroes he gave the faculty of persua-. sive speech.
It must suffice within the present limits to illustrate this statement by their efforts in the one instance in which, through no fault of their own, the chief speakers failed. To persuade Achilles to leave his tent and join forces with Agamemnon was a task greater than to win over a majority in council, or to turn back homesick troops from launching their ships. To this doubtful undertaking the best available talent is deputed. Nestor nominates the envoys, having first by his own prudent and authoritative counsel brought the king to terms, adding many a direction to the embassy "how best to soften Peleus' matchless