« السابقةمتابعة »
interesting subjects of discussion, must be considered the principal theatre for oratory in modern times. In that assembly, then, can any Member, judging from experience and observation, reasonably hope to produce that effect, which Cicero justly considers so honourable and so gratifying.--" mentės impel
lere quò velit, unde autem velit, deducere??-May not the Division usually be predicted before the commencement of the debate ?- Are not the opinions of honourable Members securely deposited in their heads, or in their pockets, or in some place of security into which Eloquence cannot penetrate ?-Is it not a fact, of obvious and indisputable notoriety, that the greatest speakers on both sides of the question and they cannot both be right) do frequently exhibit their powers without obtaining a single convert—without procuring a single vote?-And can the same animation,--the same energy,--and, in one word, the same eloquence be expected, where there is no possible chance of producing (that which is the primary object--the obvious use-the legitimate end of all speaking)-conviction, and conviction manifested by the overt act of adopting or rejecting the measure which the orator recommends, or from which he dissuades? If it be said that, as to the effect within doors, this may be true; The speaker may no doubt, in one sense, consider himself
, by a sort of reflex operation, as convincing the distant inhabitants of Cumberland or Cornwall.—But so may a writer composing in his closet: And surely it cannot be said, (as assuredly it has never yet been supposed), that such an obscure and remote anti-. cipation of we know not what success, can be compared to the spirit-stirring effect-the electrical excitement of a numerous, attentive, and, above all, a convertible audience.
In many respects, the Trial by Jury, as practised in this country, seems much better calculated to elicit and encourage this admirable talent. Their integrity—their impartialitytheir openness, approaching to facility, to impression, are all strong excitements to exertion, and calculated to lead to success. The nature of the subjects, indeed, which come before them, so generally incapable of ornament, and devoid of interest, and the peculiar study of those who address them,--a study, which, though Burke savs (we know not how truly) it does more to quicken and invigorate the understanding than all other sciences put together, is an enemy to good taste and composition, and often seems to thrive best without them,—these, undoubtedly, are serious objections. Yet we have seen, from the Speeches of Lord Erskine, both public and private, and since, from a defence of an alleged libel upon the subject of military punishments by Mr Brougham, what might be expected if subjects of general interest and discussion could be constantly submitted to a tribunal so impartial and assailable. Upon the merits of Lord Erskine's Speeches, we have delivered our deliberate opinion, and shall not proceed again over the same ground. In those of a particular description, in which feeling and passion are more immediately concerned, nothing can exceed the delicacy and tenderness with which he sometimes describes scenes of domestic endearment and felicity, or the lofty tone of indignation with which he lashes and scourges their invaders. On other occasions, he brings forward circumstances of an opposite description with equal effect and energy. In one particular case, where he represents his client the defendant, by every previous understanding between themselves,-by plighted faith, --by every virtuous and honourable attachment and implied engagement, as the husband of the plaintiff's wife, whatever forms or ceremonies might have been employed to give an appearance to the contrary, and then brings the plaintiff forward as the violator, and makes him the defendant,--the whole conception is in a strain of boldness, and executed with a degree of vigour, worthy of Demosthenes himself. But we have adverted again to these admirable Speeches, chiefly for the sake of an observation connected with our present subject, which arises very forcibly from a perusal of his last and highest effort, the defence of Stockdale. We are persuaded, that if Lord Erskine's exertions had been confined to the two Houses of Parliament, he never would have produced any thing half so excellent as his Speeches generally ;-nor, if our Indian policy had been discussed before Lords or Commons, could he have produced that. Nobody required more, nor benefited more largely, from the accompanying sensations of his audience, which are, in truth, the support and food of an orator. * his ground inch by inch. Never could he have been elevated to the pitch of that most extraordinary, most poetical and sublime passage, so entirely in the tone of Antiquity (we mean the introduction of the Savage in his Speech), by the cold, and, comparatively, unmeaning, Hear-hims' of an assembly which 'would not be convinced (so far as conviction is manifested by conduct) • though one rose from the dead." He loved to domineer over the wills and affections of men, not for mere purposes of empty admiration, but to gain them over to his side -to gain his cause. This, when he was addressing the Jury, he
* Cicero remarks this, in the conduct of Demosthenes in his Oration for the Crown. VOL. XXXIII. NO. 65.
did; and, what is beyond comparison the highest of all possible stimulants, he saw and felt that he was doing at the time. He tells us so, or rather he told them so at the moment. Secure of this poing, but not satisfied, and not permitting the advantage gained to be even a stage and resting-place in his lofty career ;-animated by success, and conscious of his strength, in the midst of universal inflammation--of his audience and of himself, he proceeded to deliver that victorious and triumphant passage, which contributed, doubtless, largely to the deliverance of his client, and will remain an everlasting monument of his own glory, whilst the name of England and its language shall endure.
What' we can only add with Æschines, what if we had heard him?'
Large, however, and ample as have been our commendations of this celebrated oration, we cannot conclude (though at the utmost verge of our limits) without observing that no speaker has approached so nearly, in general resemblance and manner, to Demosthenes, as Mr Fox. No politician, we believe, and few scholars, understood and admired the old master more perfectly. Many striking properties and qualities were the same in both. -A certain sincerity and open-heartedness of manner,-an apparently entire and thorough conviction of being in the right, an everlasting pursuit of, and entire devotion to the subject, to the seeming neglect and forgetfulness of every thing else,-an abrupt tone of vehemence and indignation,-a steadfast love of freedom, and corresponding hatred of oppression in all its forms,-a natural and idiomatic style,--vigour, argument, power --these were characteristics equally of the Greek and English orator. Even in the details, in their hurried and hasty transitions--in their use of parentheses to get rid of minor topics as they proceed, and in the general structure of sentences, it would not be difficult to point out frequent similarity.--But we must have done.-Possibly, when M. Planche shall have published his Translation of the Oration for the Crown (which we collect, from his Preface, is ready), we may resume the subject ;-and possibly, though it would be with the utmost diffidence, and without professing to do one-twentieth part of what M. Planche seems to think he has performed, we may attempt to give our readers an English specimen of the orator himself.
We must, of necessity, confine ourselves to a hasty and rapid notice of the performance of M. Planche, and we shall begin with that part of it, which we can speak of with approba
He tells us, in the Preface, that great exertions have been made to give the text faithfully and correctly; and we bekjeve him. It, certainly, does appear to be given, with great accuracy, from the best editions, and with minute attention to the printing. We have discovered no blunder; and the punctuation, moreover, is made with some reference to the
sense, which, in many common editions, is so far from being the case, that, if the stops were regarded, there would, frequently, be no making any thing of many passages. When we come to the next part of M. Planche's execution, however, our praises must stop. We had to notice, in our last Number, that the French plume themselves, not a little, upon the science of Book-making; and here we have it upon the most improved recipe. Three-fourths of the first volume are consumed, before we get to the work. We have Treatises on Oratory--(of which the world was full already)-Oratory in general, Oratory in particular,-_Greek Oratory,-Latin Oratory,—(of course) French Oratory,--and how to acquire it, “ Moyens d'acquérir la veritable Eloquence;'- Portrait des Atheniens,' - Portrait des Romains,' --(we don't stop to inquire wherefore) - Tableau précis de toute la Grece;- Treatises on Laws,-Treatises on Customs, ---- Treatises on War—and God knows what not,-each, in itself, too small to give the slightest useful information, but capable, by their countless number, of filling up 369 mortal pages. Then we have again, Reflections on Translation in general, and Translation in particular,— Reflexions sur la Traduction en general,' and Reflexions sur la Traduction des Orateurs.' Upon the general subject, he has fallen, unwittingly, we must presume, into much the same course of remark as we adopted in our Review of a Translation of Cicero, Vol. 22. Some of the difficulties, which we there enumerated, are adverted to, not so much to show an apprehension of them, as a confident expectation of mastering them. His acquaintance with the Greek he does not put his readers to the trouble of finding out. He has, it seems also, an enthusiastic admiration of his author, and some opinion of himself. But the French !--the language of modern Athens !-Upon this he places no small reliance. Always is it equal to his purpose ;-never has it failed him.• Aussi je declare, que si je ne pas rendu toutes les beautés de mes originaux, il faut l'imputer à l'incapacité du Tradacteur, et non à la pauvreté de la langue.'-Then we learn that it is soft, vin gorous, precise, harmonious, — douce, forte, precise, harmonieuse,'' (Pref. p. 27.); and again that it possesses clearness, neatness, a lively turn of expression, force, delicacy, simplicity, nobleness, softness, precision, harinony, and imitative harmony;' and moreover (what was reserved for the discovery of M. Planche) an astonishing resemblance to the Greek !--- En lisant, et, surtout, en traduisant j'ai aperçu moi-même, entre
l'un et l'autre, une ressemblance qui m'a etonné.” (p. 106)—A well it might ! Now, after noticing
the sanguine expectations, not to say confident tone of. M. Planche, we will not assert that he i entirely failed in his undertaking, or that he is not master of orator's language. But we must observe, that if the Frer approve of Demosthenes in the dress of M. Planche, they satisfied with something very different from Demosthenes hi self;—and that there are, either from inadvertence, or because own language did not support him, (a supposition, we have se most zealously rejected by M. Planche), appearances wh would justify a suspicion that he is not quite at home in his thor.-He tells us himself, that he gives a preference to his la exertions: And, accordingly, we took up the 9th Philippic, v a view to a more minute examination; and we have noted do no less than 20 passages, in which there is either a suppressio some part of the sentence, an interpolation of something fore or (what is worst of all) an absolute mistake and perversion the meaning.– An instance of the latter, which occurs earl the oration, and in which he seem's strikingly to have altered sense, we cannot pass over. Demosthenes is observing th their affairs had been in their then situation, and the Athen had done their duty throughout, the case would have been he less. The chance of amendment consisted in their having d literally nothing. Then comes the sentence, which is quit his manner. Νύν δε της μέν ραθυμίας της υμετέφας και της αμελέας ράτηκε φίλλιππος, της πόλεως και 8 κεκράτηκεν -εδ ηττηθε υμείς, αλ. xsxivnote. (p. 148). Which is thus translated.
Jusqu'à present, Philippe n' a triomphé que de votre paresse votre negligence; il n' a triomphe de la republique. Vous n pas été vaincus, puisque vous n'avez pas même recubé d'un seul p
The first part is right enough; but the conclusion ut perverts the meaning. Their never having given way one obviously implies, that they had been at least keeping good fight with Philip; whereas advantages are admi from their inattention, throughout and in the beginnin the sentence itself. The sense is manifestly this. As
Philip has conquered your Indolence and Negligence the Country he has not conquered :-- You have not
beaten ;=far enough from it;-you have never been in * tion. That is, so far from having been beaten,-the never got to action, they had never stirred a finger! i same Oration, and the very first sentence, the word agosur strong expression of the Athenian negligence, and thri away their fortune, is omitted altogether, as is Brdonner