Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory
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Book 11 - Chapter 3

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Of delivery; the effect of it, and qualifications necessary to excellence in it, § 1-9. Some have asserted that the study of delivery is useless, 10-13. Of the voice, its natural excellences and defects, 14-18. Care that should be taken of the voice, 19-23. Exercise of it necessary, 24-29. Of pronunciation and delivery; pronunciation should be clear, 30-34. Distinct, 35-39. Graceful and agreeable, 40-42. Of equality and variety in the tone of the voice, 43-52. Of the management of the breath, 53-56. Of falling into a singing tone, 57-60. Of appropriate pronunciation and delivery, 61-64. Of gesture, 65-68. Of decorum, 69-71. Of the countenance, 72-81. Of the management of other parts of the body, 82-87. Of imitation; must not be in excess, 88-91. Of certain common gestures and attitudes of the hands and fingers, 92-116. Of faulty and unbecoming gestures, 117-130. Of habits in which many speakers indulge, 131-136. Of dress, and the management of the toga, 137-149. An orator must adapt his delivery to his subject, and to the characters of those before whom he speaks; various remarks on decorum in speaking, 150-176. But everything cannot be taught, and an orator must consult his own powers and qualifications, 177-184.

1. Delivery is by most writers called action, but it appears to derive the one name from the voice and the other from the gesture, for Cicero calls action sometimes a language, as it were, and sometimes the eloquence of the body. Yet he makes two constituent parts of action, which are the same as those of delivery—voice and motion. We therefore can use either term indiscriminately.

2. As for the thing itself, it has a wonderful power and efficacy in oratory, for it is not so important what sort of thoughts we conceive within ourselves as it is in what manner we express them, since those whom we address are moved only as they hear. Accordingly, there is no proof—that proceeds in any way from a pleader—of such strength that it may not lose its effect unless it is supported by a tone of affirmation in the speaker. All attempts at exciting the feelings must prove ineffectual unless they are enlivened by the voice of the speaker, by his look, and by the action of almost his whole body. 3. For when we have displayed energy in all these respects, we may think ourselves happy if the judge catches a single spark of our fire, and we surely cannot hope to move him if we are languid and supine, or expect that he will not slumber if we yawn. 4. Even actors on the stage give proof of the power of delivery, since they add so much grace even to the best of our poets that the same passages delight us infinitely more when they are heard than when they are read, and they gain a favorable hearing for the most contemptible performances, insomuch that pieces which have no place in our libraries are welcomed time after time at the theater. 5. If delivery can excite in us anger, tears, and concern in matters we know to be fictitious and unreal, how much additional weight must it have when we also believe the subjects on which it is bestowed? For my own part, I should be inclined to say that language of but moderate merit, recommended by a forcible delivery, will make more impression than the very best if it is unattended with that advantage. 6. Accordingly Demosthenes, when he was asked what was the chief excellence in the whole art of oratory, gave the palm to delivery and assigned to it also the second and third place, until he ceased to be questioned, so that he may be thought to have esteemed it not merely the principal, but the only excellence. 7. It was for this reason that he himself studied it under Andronicus the actor, and with such success that Aeschines, when the Rhodians expressed admiration of the written version his speech, appears to have exclaimed with great justice, "What if you had heard him deliver it himself?" 8. Cicero also thinks that delivery has supreme power in oratory. He says that Cneius Lentulus obtained more reputation from his delivery than from any real power of eloquence, that Caius Gracchus excited the whole Roman people to tears by his delivery in deploring his brother's death, and that Antonius and Crassus produced great impression by delivery, but Hortensius more than either of them. A proof of this remark regarding Hortensius is that his writings are so much below the character for which he was long accounted the chief of our orators, then for a time the rival of Cicero, and at last, as long as he lived, second to Cicero. Apparently, there was some charm in his delivery which we do not find in reading him. 9. Indeed, as words have much power of themselves, and the voice adds a particular force to thought, and as gesture and motion are not without meaning, some great excellence must necessarily be the result when all these sources of power are combined.

10. Yet there are some who think that an unstudied mode of delivery, such as the impulse of the individual speaker's mind produces, is more forcible and is indeed the only mode of delivery worthy of men. But those who hold this opinion mostly make it their practice to decry all care, art, and polish in speaking in general, and condemn whatever is acquired by study as affected and unnatural, or pretend to imitate antiquity by an assumed rudeness of style and pronunciation, as Cicero says that Lucius Cotta used to do. 11. Let those who think it enough for men to be born to become orators enjoy their own opinion, but let them be indulgent, at the same time, of the efforts of us who believe that there can be no consummate excellence except when nature is assisted by art. 12. But without the least reluctance, I allow that the chief power rests with nature, for assuredly no one can exhibit proper delivery if he lacks a memory for retaining what he has written or ready facility in uttering what he has to speak extempore, or if he has any incurable defect of utterance. There may even be such extraordinary deformity of body in a person that it cannot be remedied by any effort of art. 13. Nor can a weak voice attain any degree of excellence in delivery, for we may manage a sound and strong voice as we please, but a bad or weak voice prevents us from doing many things that are necessary, as giving emphasis and elevation of tone, and forces us to do many other things that we ought to avoid, as breaking our sentences, adopting an unnatural pitch, and recruiting a hoarse throat and exhausted lungs with an offensive resemblance to singing. But let me now speak of him who is so qualified by nature that rules will not fail to be of use to him.

14. Since delivery in general, as I said, depends upon two things, voice and gesture, of which the one affects the eyes and the other the ears, the two senses through which all impressions find their way into the mind, it is natural to speak first of the voice, to which, also, the gesture is to be adapted.

In regard to it, then, the first thing to be considered is what sort of voice we have, and the next, how we use it. The natural power of the voice is estimated by its quantity and its quality. 15. Of these, the quantity is the more simple consideration, for it may be said in general that it is either much or little. But between the extremes of these quantities there are many diversities and many gradations, from the lowest tone to the highest, and from the highest to the lowest. Quality is more varied, for the voice is either clear or husky, full or weak, smooth or rough, of smaller or larger compass, hard or flexible, sharp or flat. 16. The breath may also be longer or shorter. As to the causes of each of these peculiarities, it is not necessary to the design of my work to consider whether the difference lies in those parts of the body in which the breath is generated or in those through which, as through tubes, it passes; whether it results from the nature of the voice itself or from the impulse which it receives; or whether strength of lungs, or of the chest, or even of the head, affords it most assistance; for there is need of concurrent aid from all these parts, as well as of a clear formation, not only of the mouth, but also of the nostrils, through which the remainder of the breath is expelled. The general tone of the voice, however, ought to be sweet, not grating.

17.In the management of the voice, there are many particulars to be observed, for besides the three main distinctions of acute, grave, and intermediate, there is need of many other kinds of intonation, as the forcible and the gentle, the higher and the lower, and of slower or quicker time. 18. But between these varieties, there are other intermediate varieties, and as the face is infinitely diversified, though it consists of very few features, so the voice has yet a peculiar tone in each individual, though it has very few variations that can be named. The voice of a person is as easily distinguished by the ear as the face by the eye.

19. But the good qualities of the voice, like those of all our other faculties, are improved by attention and deteriorated by neglect. The attention to be paid to the voice by orators, however, is not the same as that which is required from singing teachers, though there are many things equally necessary to both, such as strength of body, for instance, that the voice may not dwindle down to the weak tone of eunuchs, women, and sick persons (bodily strength can be maintained by walking, anointing with oil, continence, and easy digestion of food, which is the result of moderation in eating) 20. Secondly, it is necessary for the throat to be in good condition, that is, soft and flexible, for any defect in it may render the voice broken, husky, rough, or squeaking. Just as flutes, receiving the same breath, gave one sound when the holes are stopped, another when they are open, another when the instruments are not thoroughly clean, and another when they are cracked, so the throat, when swollen, strangles the voice, when not clear, stifles it, when dry, roughens it, and when affected with spasms, gives forth a sound like that of broken pipes. 21. The breath, too, is sometimes broken by some obstruction, as a small stream of water by a pebble, the current of which, though it unites soon after the obstruction, yet leaves something of a void behind it. Too much moisture also impedes the voice and too little weakens it. As to fatigue, it affects the voice as it affects the whole body, not for the present merely, but for some time afterwards.

22. Though exercise is necessary alike for singing teachers and orators, in order that all their faculties may be in full vigor, the same kind of attention to the body is not to be expected from both because regular times for walking cannot be scheduled by a man who is occupied in so many duties of civil life. Nor can he tune his voice at leisure from the lowest to the highest notes, or give it rest when he pleases from the labors of the forum, since he has often to speak on many trials in succession. 23. Nor need he observe the same care in regard to diet. We need not so much a soft and sweet voice as one that is strong and durable, and though singers may soften all sounds, even the highest, by a certain modulation of the voice, we, on the contrary, must often speak with roughness and vehemence. Also, we must frequently watch whole nights, we must imbibe the smoke of the lamp by which we study, and we must remain long, during the day, in garments moistened with perspiration. 24. Let us not, therefore, weaken our voice by delicate treatment of ourselves or bring it to a condition which will not be enduring. Instead, let the exercise we give our voice be similar to the exertion for which it is destined; let it not be relaxed by want of use, but strengthened by practice, by which all difficulties are smoothed.

25. In order to exercise the voice, it is an excellent method to learn passages of authors by heart (for in extempore speaking, the feelings excited by the subject matter prevents the orator from giving due attention to the voice) and to learn passages of as much variety of subject as possible, such as may exercise us in exclamation, in discussion, in the familiar style, and in the softer kind of eloquence, so we may be prepared for every mode of speaking. 26. This will be sufficient exercise, but the delicate voice that is nursed too much will be unequal to any extraordinary exertion, just as athletes accustomed to oil treatments and the gymnasium, though they may appear handsome and strong in their own games, would soon faint with fatigue and long to be anointed and to perspire naked, if we were to order them on a military expedition and require them to carry burdens and pass whole nights on guard. 27. Who, indeed, in a work like this, would recommend that sunshine and wind, cloudy and very dry days, should be objects of dislike to an orator? If, then, we are called upon to speak in the sun or on a windy, moist, or hot day, shall we desert our clients? As to the admonitions of some that an orator should not speak when he is suffering from indigestion, or heavy after a full meal, or intoxicated, or after having just vomited, I suppose that no man who retains possession of his senses would be guilty of such folly.

28. It is not without reason, however, that all writers advise that we should be moderate in the exercise of the voice at the period of transition from boyhood to manhood, because it is then naturally obstructed, not, as I think, from heat, as some have imagined (for there is more heat in the body at other periods of life), but rather from excess of moisture, with which that age abounds. 29. Hence the nostrils, too, and the breast, dilate at that time, and the body germinates, as it were, all over, and consequently every part is tender and liable to injury.

But that I may return to my subject, I consider the best kind of exercise for the voice, when it is well strengthened and developed, to be that which has most resemblance to the orator's business, namely, to speak every day just as we plead in the forum, for by this means, not only the voice and lungs will be strengthened, but a graceful carriage of the body will be acquired, suited to our style of speaking.

30. As to rules for delivery, they are precisely the same as those for language. For as language ought to be correct, clear, elegant, and to the purpose, so delivery should be correct, that is, free from fault, if our pronunciation be easy, clear, agreeable, and polished, that is, of such a kind that nothing of the rustic or the foreign is heard in it. The saying Barbarum Graecumve, that a map is "Barbarian or Greek," is not without good foundation, since we judge men by their tones just as we do money by its clink. 31. Hence will arise the excellence which Ennius admired, when he said "Cethegus was a man of sweetly speaking voice," a quality very different from that which Cicero censures in those who, as he said, "barked rather than pleaded." There are, indeed, many faults in pronunciation, of which I spoke in a part of my first book, when I was giving directions for forming the speech of children, judging it most to the purpose to mention them under that age at which they may be corrected. 32. If the voice, too, is naturally sound, so to speak, it will have none of those defects to which I just now alluded, and moreover, it will not be dull sounding, gross, bawling, hard, stiff, inefficient, thick, or, on the contrary, thin, weak, squeaking, small, soft, or effeminate. At the same time, the breathing should be neither short, nor unsustained, nor difficult to recover.

33. Our pronunciation will be clear, if, in the first place, our words are uttered entire, for by many people, part of them is often swallowed, and part never formed, as they fail to pronounce the last syllables of words while they dwell on the sound of the first. 34. But though the full articulation of words is absolutely necessary, yet to count and number, as it were, every letter, is disagreeable and offensive, for vowels very frequently coalesce, and some consonants are elided when a vowel follows. I have already given an example of both, in

Multum ille et terris.

35. The concurrence of consonants that would produce a harsh sound is also avoided, whence we have pellexit, collegit, and other forms which we have noticed elsewhere. Thus the delicate utterance of his letters was a subject of praise in Catulus.

The second requisite to clearness of pronunciation is that the phrases be distinct, that is, that the speaker begin and stop where he ought. He must observe where his words are to be reined in, as it were, and suspended—what the Greeks call ὑποδιαστολή (hypodiastolē), or ὑποστιγμή (hypostigmē)—and where they are to be altogether brought to a stand.

[NOTE: In 36-38, Quintilian refers to the opening passage of Virgil's Aeneid, which is provided here for better understanding of these three sections; the English translation is that of John Dryden:

Arma virumque cano, Trojae qui primus ab oris
Italiam, fato profugus, Lavinaque venit
Litora: multum ille et terris jactatus et alto,
Vi superum, saevae memorem Junonis ob iram;
Multa qu que et bello passus, dum conderet urbem,
Inferretque deos Latio: genus unde Latinum,
Albanique patres, atque altae maenia Romae

Arms, and the man I sing, who, forc'd by fate,
And haughty Juno's unrelenting hate,
Expell'd and exil'd, left the Trojan shore.
Long labors, both by sea and land, he bore,
And in the doubtful war, before he won
The Latian realm, and built the destin'd town;
His banish'd gods restor'd to rites divine,
And settled sure succession in his line,
From whence the race of Alban fathers come,
And the long glories of majestic Rome. ]

36. After pronouncing the words Arma virumque cano, there is a suspension only because they are connected with what follows, virum Trojae qui primus ab oris, after which there is another suspension. Though there is a difference between whence he came and whither he came, we must not make a full stop, as both are signified by the same word venit. 37. After Italiam we make a third suspension, because the words fato profugus are thrown in and break the connection which exists between Italiam and Lavinaque. For the same reason, there is a fourth suspension after profugus, when there follows Lavinaque litora, after which there will be a full stop, because another sentence commences there. In the more considerable distinctions, however, we must allow sometimes a longer interval of time, and sometimes a shorter, for it makes a difference whether they are at the end of a period or only at that of a phrase. 38. I shall, accordingly, after pausing at Litora, allow myself just to take breath, but, when I come to the words atque altae maenia Romae, I shall break off, make a full stop, and proceed, as it were, to a new commencement. 39. Pauses are also made sometimes in periods without any respiration, as in the passage, In caetu verò populi Romani, negotium publicum gerens, magister equitum, etc. "But in an assembly of the Roman people, holding a public office, being master of the horse," etc. This sentence has many members, for there are several distinct thoughts. But as one period comprehends them all, we must make but short pauses to mark the intervals between them and not interrupt the continuation of the sense. On the other hand, we must sometimes take breath without any perceptible pause in passages where we must steal a respiration, as it were, else, if a respiration is made injudiciously, it may cause as much obscurity in the sense as a wrong distinction. The merit of making proper distinctions may perhaps be little, but without it, all other merit in speaking would be vain.

40. Delivery is considered elegant if it is supported by a voice that is easy, powerful, fine, flexible, firm, sweet, well-sustained, clear, and pure, and that cuts the air and penetrates the ear, for there is a kind of voice naturally qualified to make itself heard, not by its strength, but by a peculiar excellence of tone. It is a voice obedient to the will of the speaker, capable of every variety of sound and inflection that can be required, and possessed, as they say, of all the notes of a musical instrument. To maintain it, there should be a strength of lungs and breath that can be steadily prolonged and not likely to sink under labor. 41. Neither the lowest musical tone, nor the highest, is proper for oratory, for the lowest, which is far from being clear and is too full, can make no impression on the minds of an audience, and the highest, which is very sharp and excessively shrill, rising above the natural pitch of the voice, is neither capable of inflection from pronunciation, nor can it endure being kept long on the stretch. 42. For the voice is like the strings of an instrument—the more relaxed it is, the graver and fuller is its tone; the more it is stretched, the more thin and sharp becomes the sound of it. Thus a voice in the lowest key wants force; in the highest, is in danger of being cracked. We must, therefore, cultivate the middle tones, which may be raised when we speak with vehemence and lowered when we deliver ourselves with gentleness.

43. The first requisite for pronouncing well is maintaining an equality of tone so that our speech may not proceed by starts, with irregular intervals and tones, confounding long syllables with short, grave sounds with acute, high with low, and halting from disorder in all these particulars, as a person halts in walking from having legs of unequal length. The next requisite is variety of tone, in which alone pronunciation consists. 44. Nor let anyone suppose that equality and variety are incompatible, for the fault opposed to equality is inequality, while that which is opposed to variety is what the Greeks call μονοειδές (monoeides), as presenting always one and the same aspect. The art of giving variety to pronunciation, however, not only adds grace to it and pleases the ear, but relieves the hearer by the change that pervades his labor, as alterations in position, standing, walking, sitting, lying, relieve the body, for in no one of those attitudes can we endure to continue long. 45. But what is of the highest importance (and I shall treat of it very soon) is that the tone of our voice must conform to the nature of the subjects on which we speak and to the feelings of our minds, that the sound may not disagree with the sense. Therefore, let us avoid that which is in Greek termed monotony, a uniform exertion of the breath and voice, and let us not only beware of uttering anything in a bawling tone, which is madness, or in the tone of conversation, which wants animation, or in a low murmuring tone, by which all effort is deadened. 46. Let us study that in delivering the same parts of speeches and in expressing the same feelings, there may yet be some distinctions, however moderate, in our tone, such as may be required by the dignity of our language, the nature of our thoughts, the conclusions or commencements of our periods, or our transitions. Painters who use but one color nevertheless make some parts of their pictures appear more prominent and others more retiring, since without this difference they could not even have given due forms to the limbs of their figures.

47. Let us contemplate the commencement of the noble oration of Cicero on behalf of Milo. Do we not see, at almost every division of the phrases, that the tone of the speaker must in some degree be varied, though the same kind of tone is still preserved? Etsi vereor, judices, ne turpe sit, pro fortissimo viro dicere incipientem timere, "Though I am apprehensive that it may be dishonorable in me, judges, in beginning to speak on behalf of the bravest of men, to manifest fear." 48. Notwithstanding, this exordium is, in its whole character, constrained and submissive, not only as an exordium, but as that of a person deeply concerned. Yet the tone of the orator must have been fuller and more elevated when he pronounced the words pro fortissimo viro, "on behalf of the bravest of men," than when he said Etsi vereor, "Though I fear," and ne turpe sit, "lest it be dishonorable," and timere, "to manifest fear." 49. The next member, after the speaker has taken breath, must be still more elevated in tone, rising by a natural effort, because we utter what follows with less timidity and because the magnanimity of Milo is then shown: Minimèque deceat, quum T. Annius ipse magis reipublicae, de salute, quàm de suâ perturbetur, "And lest it should be far from becoming, when Milo himself is more anxious for the safety of the state than for his own." After this, there follows a species of self-reproach: me ad ejus causam parem animi magnitudinem afferre non posse, "for me to be unable to bring equal firmness of mind to his defense." 50. He then casts a reflection on the unusual nature of the praceedings: Tamen haec novi judicii nova forma terret oculos, "Yet this new form of proceedings, attendant on a new mode of trial, fills my eyes with dismay." He delivers what follows with, as they say, the full sound of the flute: Qui, quocunque inciderunt, consuetudinem fori, et pristinum morem judiciorum requirunt, "since, wherever they direct themselves, they seek in vain for the ordinary usages of the forum, and the ancient mode of legal transactions." The next phrase is to be given in a free and unrestrained manner: Non enim corona consessus vester cinctus est, ut solebat, etc. "For your assembly is not encircled with such attendants as it used to be," etc. 51. I have made these remarks to show that not only in the larger divisions of a cause, but even in the phrases of every period, some variety of pronunciation may be adopted, without which, indeed, nothing can be made to appear as either more or less important.

But the voice must not be strained beyond its natural power, for by that means, it is often choked, and it becomes less clear the greater the effort that is used. Sometimes, if urged too far, it breaks out into the sound to which the Greeks have given a name from the crowing of young cocks. 52. Nor is what we say to be expressed confusedly through too great rapidity of utterance, by which all distinction of phrases and all power of touching the feelings are lost, and by which words are even sometimes curtailed of their syllables. A great fault contrary to this is excessive slowness, which arises from a difficulty of finding something to say, renders the hearer drowsy from affording no excitement to his attention, and wastes the time allowed by the hourglass, which may be of some importance. Our pronunciation must be fluent, not precipitate, well regulated, but not slow.

53. The breath, also, must not be drawn too frequently so as to break our sentences to pieces, nor must it be prolonged until it is spent, for the sound of the voice, when the breath is just lost, is disagreeable. The breathing of the speaker is like that of a man held long under water, and the recovery of the breath is long and unseasonable, as being made, not when we please, but when it is compulsory. When we are about to pronounce a long period, therefore, we must collect our breath, but in such a way as not to take much time about it, or to do it with a noise, or to render it at all observable; in other parts, the breath may be freely drawn between the divisions of the matter. 54. But we ought to exercise the breath that it may hold out as long as possible. Demosthenes, in order to strengthen his, used to repeat as many verses as he could in succession, climbing up a hill, and he was accustomed, when he spoke at home, to roll pebbles under his tongue that he might pronounce his words more freely when his mouth was unencumbered. 55. Sometimes the breath can hold out long and is sufficiently full and clear, but is yet incapable of being firmly sustained and is consequently tremulous, resembling some bodies, which though strong in appearance, are nevertheless weak in the nerves. This imperfection in the breath the Greeks call βράγχος (bragchos).

There are some speakers who do not draw their breath in the ordinary way, but suck it in with a hissing through the interstices of their teeth. There are others who, by incessant panting that can be plainly heard within their mouth, resemble beasts laboring under burdens or in the yoke. 56. Some even affect this manner, as if they were oppressed with the redundancy of matter in their minds and as if a greater force of eloquence were rising within them than could well find a passage through their throats. Others, again, have a tightness of the mouth and seem to struggle with their words to force them out. Coughing, making frequent expectorations, hoisting up phlegm from the bottom of the chest as it were with a windlass, sprinkling bystanders with moisture from the mouth, and emiting the greater part of the breath through the nostrils while speaking—though they are not properly faults of the voice, they may nevertheless be reasonably noticed here as they display themselves in the use of the voice.

57. But I would endure any one of these faults sooner than one with which we are annoyed in all pleadings and in every school: that of speaking in a singing tone. I do not know whether it should be condemned more for its absurdity or for its offensiveness, for what is less becoming to an orator than such theatrical modulation that at times resembles the loose singing of persons intoxicated or engaged in revelry? 58. What can be more adverse to moving the feelings than, when we should express grief, anger, indignation, or pity, we not only hold back from those affections to which the judge ought to be led, but violate the sanctity of the forum with a song and dance routine? For Cicero said that the orators from Lycia and Caria almost sang in their perorations. As for us, we have even somewhat exceeded the more severe modes of singing. 59. Does anyone, let me ask, sing in defending himself (I do not say on a charge of murder, sacrilege, or parricide, but even in disputes about money transactions or the settlement of accounts, or, in a word, in any kind of lawsuit)? If singing is at all to be admitted, there is no reason why we should not assist the modulation of the voice with the lyre or the flute, or even, please heaven, with cymbals, instruments which would be more in conformity with such an offensive practice. 60. Yet we fall into the absurdity with willingness, for everyone is charmed with what he himself sings, and there is less labor in chanting than in pronouncing with propriety. There are some auditors, too, who, in accordance with their other depraved indulgences, are attracted on all occasions by the expectation of pleasure in listening to something that may soothe their ears. What, then, it may be objected, does not Cicero say that there is a sort of scarcely perceptible chanting in oratorical language? And does not this proceed from an impulse of nature? In answer to this objection, I shall show, a little further on, when and how far this inflection of the voice, or even chanting (but chanting scarcely perceptible, a term which most of our speakers do not choose to understand) is admissible.

61. It is now, indeed, time for me to say to what purpose delivery is, and it is certainly adapted to the subjects on which we speak. The thoughts and feelings contribute most to produce this quality, and the voice sounds as it is struck, but as feelings are in some cases sincere and in others assumed and fictitious, those which are sincere burst forth naturally, as those of persons in grief, in anger, or in indignation; yet their expression is void of art and consequently requires to be formed by precept and method. 62. Feelings, on the contrary, which are assumed by imitation, depend wholly on art and do not proceed from nature. Therefore, in representing such feelings, the first requisite is to impress ourselves as much as possible, to conceive lively ideas of things, and to allow ourselves to be moved by them as if they were real. Then the voice, as an intermediate organ, will convey to the minds of the judges that impression which it receives from our own, for the voice is the index of the mind and has as many variations as the mind itself. 63. Hence, in speaking on cheerful subjects, it flows in a full and clear tone and is itself cheerful, as it were. In argument, it rouses itself with its whole force and strains, so to speak, every nerve. In anger, it is fierce, rough, thick, and interrupted with frequent respirations, for the breath cannot hold long when it is expelled in extraordinary quantities. In throwing odium on persons or things, it is slower because it is in general only those on the weaker side that have recourse to such attempts, but in flattering, confessing, apologizing, or supplicating, it is gentle and submissive. 64. Grave is the tone of those who persuade, advise, promise, or console. In expressing fear and shame, the tone is staid; in exhortation, it is strong; in dispute, it is voluble; in expressing pity, it is tender and mournful, and purposely somewhat weakened. In oratorical digressions, the voice is flowing and of a tranquil clearness; in statements of facts, as well as in familiar conversation, it is of an even tone, intermediate between the acute and the grave. 65. In expressing the more vehement feelings, it rises, and in uttering those of a calmer nature, it falls and pitches itself, in either case, higher or lower according to the degree of intensity.

I shall omit to consider at present what tones of voice the several parts of speech require so I may first make some remarks on gesture, which must be in concert with the voice and must, as well as the voice, obey the mind. How much power gesture has in a speaker is sufficiently evident from the consideration that it can signify most things even without the aid of words. 66. Not only a movement of the hand, but even a nod, may express our meaning, and such gestures are to the dumb instead of speech. Dancing, too, unaccompanied by the voice, often conveys a meaning and touches the feelings. The state of a person's mind is seen in his looks and walk, and in the inferior animals, which are destitute of speech, anger, joy, fondness, are discoverable from the glances of their eyes and other indications from the movements of the body. 67. Nor is it surprising that such signs, which must at any rate depend on motion, make such impression on the mind, when even painting, a voiceless production that always keeps the same form, penetrates into our innermost feelings with such force that it seems at times to surpass the power of words. On the contrary, if our gesture and looks are at variance with our speech, if we utter anything mournful with an air of cheerfulness or assert anything with an air of denial, not only is impressiveness wanting to our words, but even credibility.

68.Gracefulness also lies in gesture and motion, and hence Demosthenes used to study action while looking into a large mirror, and though the polished surface made the right side of the body appear the left, he could notwithstanding trust his eyes for the effect which he would be enabled to produce.

In action, as in the whole body, the head holds the chief place, as contributing to produce both the gracefulness which I have just mentioned and expressiveness. 69. What contributes to gracefulness is, first of all, that the head is held in a proper and natural position, for by casting down the head, humility is signified; by throwing it back, haughtiness; by leaning it on one side, languor; and by keeping it rigid and unmoved, a certain degree of rudeness. 70. In the next place, it must receive appropriate motions from the nature of the subject on which we speak, so it may agree with the gesture and act in conformity with the hands and oscillations of the body. For the face must always be turned in the same direction as the gesture, except in speaking of things which we disapprove, or are unwilling to allow, or regard with aversion, so that we may appear at the same time to express dislike of an object with the look and to repel it with the hand, as in pronouncing such words as these:

Dî, talem avertite pestem!
Ye gods, such plague avert!

Haud equidem tali me dignor honore,
I think myself not worthy of such honor.

71. But the head expresses meaning in various ways, for besides its motions of assenting, refusing, and affirming, it has those of bashfulness, hesitation, admiration, indignation, which are alike known and common to all persons. Yet gesticulating with the head alone is regarded as a fault by the masters of theatrical attitude. Even frequent nodding with it is thought ungraceful, and to toss it to and fro, and shake and whirl about the hair, are gestures of frenzied inspiration.

72. But the chief part of the head is the face. With the face, we show ourselves suppliant, menacing, soothing, sad, cheerful, proud, and humble. Men hang on the face and fix their gaze and entire attention on it. Even before we begin to speak, by the face we express love and hate; from the face we understand a number of things, and its expression is often equivalent to all the words that we could use. 73. Accordingly, from the pieces composed for the stage, the masters in the art of delivery borrow aid for exciting the feelings even from their masks, so that in tragedy, the mask for the character of Aerope looks mournful; that for Medea, fierce; that for Ajax, indicates disorder of mind; and that for Hercules, boldness. 74. In comedy, besides other designations by which slaves, procurers, parasites, countrymen, soldiers, courtesans, maidservants, morose or good-natured old men, and careful or extravagant youths are distinguished one from another, the father, who plays the principal part and sometimes is in a passion and sometimes calm, has a mask with one of the eyebrows raised and the other lowered. It is the practice of the actors to turn that side more frequently to the audience which is more in accordance with the part of the character which they are playing.

75. But what is most expressive in the face is the eye, through which the mind chiefly manifests itself, insomuch that the eyes, even while they remain motionless, can sparkle with joy or contract a gloomy look under sadness. To the eyes, also, nature has given tears, which are the interpreters of our feelings and which burst forth in grief or trickle gently down in joy. But when the eyes are in motion, they assume an appearance of eagerness, disregard, pride, sternness, mildness, or threatening, all of which feelings will be manifested in the eyes of an orator as his subject shall require. 76. But they should never be rigid and distended, languid or torpid, wanton or rolling, nor should they ever seem to swim or look watery with pleasure, or glance sideways, or appear, as it were, amorous, or as if they were asking or promising something. And who would keep them shut or compressed in speaking but a person utterly ignorant or silly? 77. To aid in producing all these expressions, there is a kind of ministering power situated in the upper and lower eyelids. 78. Much effect is also produced by the eyebrows, for they in some degree form the look of the eyes and exercise a command over the forehead, which, by their influence, is contracted, raised, or lowered. The only thing which has more power over it is the blood, which is moved according to the state of the mind. When blood acts under a skin easily affected by shame, it mantles into a blush, and when it shrinks back through fear, wholly disappears and leaves the skin cold and pale. But when it is in a calm condition, it spreads over the face that serene hue which holds a middle place between blushing and paleness. 79. It is a fault in the eyebrows when they are either motionless or too full of motion, or when they rise and fall unequally, as I observed just now with respect to those of the comic mask, or when their configuration is at variance with what we are saying, for anger is indicated by the contraction, sadness by the lowering, and cheerfulness by the expansion of them.

80. With the nose and the lips we can scarcely signify anything becomingly (though derision, contempt, and disdain are often expressed by them), for to wrinkle the nose, as Horace says, to distend it, to move it about, to rub it incessantly with the finger, to expel the air with a sudden snort, to stretch open the nostrils frequently, or to push them up with the palm of the hand, is extremely offensive, and even to blow or wipe the nose very often is not unjustly blamed. 81. As to the lips, there is something unbecoming when they are thrust out, held in, strongly pressed together, widely parted to expose the teeth, drawn back towards each side and almost to each ear, screwed up with an air of disdain, made to hang down, or allowed to emit the voice only on one side. To lick and bite them is also unbecoming, and their movement, even in the formation of our words, should be moderate, for words ought to be formed rather in the mouth than with the lips.

82. The neck ought to be straight, not stiff or thrown back. The throat cannot be drawn down or stretched up without equal ungracefulness, though of different kinds, but uneasiness is attendant on the tension of it, and the voice is weakened and exhausted by it. To sink the chin on the breast renders the voice less distinct and, as it were, grosser, from the throat being compressed.

83. To shrug or contract the shoulders is very seldom becoming, for the neck is shortened by it, and it begets a mean, servile, and knavish sort of gesture, particularly when men put themselves into postures of adulation, admiration, or fear.

84. A moderate extension of the arm, with the shoulders thrown back and the fingers opening as the hand advances, is a kind of gesture excellently adapted to continuous and smoothly-flowing passages. But when anything finer or fuller than ordinary is to be expressed, as, "Rocks and deserts respond to the voice of the poet," it moves towards the side, and the words and the gesture expand themselves together.

85. As to the hands, without the aid of which all delivery would be deficient and weak, it can scarcely be told of what a variety of motions they are susceptible, since they almost equal in expression the powers of language itself, for other parts of the body assist the speaker, but these, I may almost say, speak themselves. 86. With our hands we ask, promise, call persons to us and send them away, threaten, supplicate, intimate dislike or fear; with our hands we signify joy, grief, doubt, acknowledgment, penitence, and indicate measure, quantity, number, and time. 87. Have not our hands the power of inciting, of restraining, of beseeching, of testifying approbation, admiration, and shame? Do they not, in pointing out places and persons, discharge the duty of adverbs and pronouns? Amidst the great diversity of tongues pervading all nations and people, the language of the hands appears to be a language common to all men.

88. The gestures of which I have hitherto spoken naturally proceed from us with our words, but there are others that signify things by imitation, as when, for example, we intimate that a person is sick by imitating the action of a physician feeling the pulse, or that a person is a musician by putting our hands into the position of those of one playing the lyre. This is a species of imitation which ought to be carefully avoided in oratory, 89. for an orator ought to be a very different character from an actor in pantomime, as his gesture should be suited rather to his sense than to his words, a principle which was observed even by the more respectable class of actors. Though I would allow a speaker, therefore, to direct his hand towards his body when he is speaking of himself, or to stretch it towards a person to point him out and to use some other gestures of this sort, I would not permit him to represent attitudes and to exemplify whatever he says by action. 90. Nor is this to be observed in reference to the hands alone, but to every kind of gesture and even to the tone of the voice, for neither in pronouncing the period Stetit soleatus praetor populi Romani, "The praetor of the Roman people, with sandals, stood," etc., must the stooping of Verres, as he leaned on the woman, be imitated, nor in delivering the words Caedebatur in medio foro Messanae, "He was scourged in the middle of the market-place of Messana," is a tortuous motion of the body, like that of a man under the lash, to be assumed or the voice to be forced out like that of a man compelled to cry with pain. 91. Even players seem to me to act very injudiciously when, though representing the part of a young man, they have, in a narrative, used a tremulous or effeminate tone of voice to repeat the speech of an old man, as in the prologue to the Hydria, or that of a woman, as in the Georgus. Thus there may even be objectionable imitation in those whose whole art consists in imitation.

92. But, with regard to the hand, the gesture most common is that in which the middle finger is drawn in towards the thumb, the other three fingers being open. It is suitable for exordia, if moderately exerted with a gentle movement of the hand in either direction, while the head and shoulders should bend almost imperceptibly towards that quarter to which the hand is stretched. In statements of facts, it adds confirmation, but must then be somewhat more decided; in invective and refutation, it must be spirited and impressive, for it may be exerted in such parts with more freedom and boldness. 93. But the middle finger is very often improperly directed towards the side, as if aiming at the left shoulder, and some speakers, with even still worse effect, extend the arm across their chest and speak over their elbow. The two middle fingers are also sometimes brought under the thumb, and this gesture is still more earnest than the former and is accordingly unsuitable for exordium or narrative. 94. But when three fingers are compressed under the thumb, the finger which Cicero says Crassus used with such excellent effect is then fully extended. This finger has great effect in invective and demonstration, whence it has its name, and it affirms when a little brought down after the hand has been raised towards the shoulder, and insists when directed towards the ground and lowered at the point; sometimes it indicates number. 95. The same finger, when its lowest joint is lightly pressed on each side, with the two next fingers moderately bent and the little one the less bent of the two, forms a gesture adapted for discussion. Yet those who hold rather the middle joint, the two outside fingers being contracted in proportion as the others fall lower, appear to argue more spiritedly. 96. It is a gesture also very suitable for modest language, when the hand, its first four fingers being slightly curved at the extremity, is drawn in towards the body, not far from the chin or the breast, and then descending, and gradually moved back from the body, is spread open. 97. I conceive that with this gesture, Demosthenes commenced his modest and submissive exordium in the speech for Ctesiphon, and I imagine that Cicero's hand was in this attitude when he uttered the words, "If there be any ability in me, judges, and I am sensible how little there is," etc. The hand is also sometimes drawn back towards us somewhat more quickly, with the fingers inclining downwards, and is expanded more freely as it is moved in the opposite direction, so that it seems itself, in a manner, to utter words. 98. Sometimes we hold the two first fingers apart, without, however, inserting the thumb between them, but with the two lower fingers slightly curved inwards, and the two upper ones not quite straightened. 99. Sometimes the two outside fingers press the palm of the hand near the root of the thumb, which it unites with the two first fingers at the middle joint. Sometimes the little finger is suffered to bend down obliquely, and sometimes, by relaxing rather than stretching the other four and inclining the thumb inwards, we put the hand into a form suited for waving expressively from side to side or marking distinctly what we say, it being moved upwards toward the left side and downwards toward the right. 100. There are also gestures of the hand taking less compass, as when, being gently curved, like that of persons protesting, it is moved backwards and forwards at short intervals, the shoulders moving slightly in concert with it, a gesture admirably adapted to those who speak with reserve and timidity. A gesture suited to express admiration is that in which the hand, moderately raised and with each of the fingers curved, is opened and slightly shut alternately. 101. In asking questions, we use gestures of more kinds than one; generally, however, we turn the hand towards the person addressed, whatever the form into which it is put. When the finger next to the thumb touches with its own tip the middle of the thumbnail, a part where they readily meet, the other fingers being at the same time unbent, it is a gesture becoming to speakers alike when expressing approbation, narrating, or making distinctions. 102. Not unlike this is the gesture which the Greeks frequently use, even with both hands, but with the three outside fingers compressed, whenever they round, as it were, their enthymemes with action. The hand thrown out gently promises and declares assent; moved more quickly, it is a gesture of exhortation or sometimes of praise. There is also the gesture, rather natural than artificial, used by a person enforcing his words, when he shuts and opens his hand alternately and rapidly. 103. There is the gesture, too, of exhortation, as it were, when the hand is presented in a hollow form, with the fingers apart, and raised, with some spirit, above the top of the shoulder. But the tremulous movement of the hand in this position, which has been almost generally adopted in foreign schools, is too theatrical. Why some should be displeased with the turning of the fingers, with the tips of them close together, towards our body, I do not know, for it is a gesture we use when we manifest a slight degree of wonder, or sometimes in sudden indignation when we express fear or deprecation. 104. We also, in repentance or anger, press the hand tightly on the breast, when a few words expressed between the teeth are not unbecoming, as "what shall I now do? What would you do?" I regard pointing to a person with the thumb turned back as a gesture more common than becoming in speakers.

105. But as all motion is considered to be of six kinds, and the circular motion, which returns on itself, may be regarded as a seventh, the last alone, in respect to gesture, is objectionable. Five of the others are very fitly used in pointing out what is before us, on the right or left hand, or above or below. To what is behind us, indeed, our gesture is never properly directed, though it sometimes has, as it were, a backward movement.

106. As to the motion of the hand, it commences, with very good effect, on the left, and stops on the right, but the hand ought to stop so that it may appear to be laid down, not to strike against anything, though at the end of a phrase, the hand may sometimes sink, but so as to raise itself again soon, and it sometimes even rebounds, as it were, when we enforce a denial or express wonder. In regard to this point, the old masters of delivery have very properly added a direction that the movement of the hand should begin and end with the sense; otherwise, the gesture will either precede the sense or will fall behind it, and propriety is violated in either case. 107. But they fell into too much nicety when they made it a rule that there should be an interval of three words between each movement of the hand, a rule which is neither observed nor can be observed. It appears they meant there should be some sort of standard for slowness or quickness, justly desiring that the hand should neither be too long inactive, nor disturb the speech (as is the practice of many orators) by perpetual motion. 108. There is, however, another fault committed more frequently and more likely to become imperceptibly habitual. There are certain slight percussions in our language, certain feet, I might almost say, in conformity with which the gesture of very many of our speakers is regulated. Thus, in the following period, Novum crimen, C. Caesar, et ante hanc diem non auditum, propinquus meus ad te Quintus Tubero detulit, they make one gesture at novum crimen, a second at C. Caesar, a third at ante hanc diem, a fourth at non auditum, a fifth at propinquus meus, another at ad te, another at Q. Tubero, and another at detulit. 109. From this practice originates a bad habit among young men that when they write, they meditate all their gestures beforehand and settle in their minds how their hand shall wave when they speak. Hence arises, too, another inconvenience: that the movement of the hand, which ought to terminate on the right, will often come to a stop on the left. 110. It is therefore a better method, as there are in every period short phrases, at the close of each of which we may, if we please, take breath, to regulate our gesture in conformity with them. For example, the words Novum crimen, C. Caesar, have a kind of complete sense in themselves, as a conjunction follows, and the succeeding phrase, et ante hanc diem non auditum, is sufficiently complete, and to these phrases the movement of the hand should conform, especially at the commencement, when the manner is calm. 111. But when increasing warmth has given it animation, the gesture will become more spirited in proportion to the ardor of the language. But though in some passages a rapid pronunciation will be proper, in others a staid manner will be preferable. On some parts, we touch but slightly, throw together our remarks upon them, and hasten forward; in others we insist, inculcate, impress. But slowness in delivery is better suited to the pathetic, and hence it was that Roscius was inclined to quickness of manner, Aesopus to gravity, the one acting in comedy and the other in tragedy. 112. The same observation is to be made with regard to the motion of the body. Accordingly, on the stage, the walk of men in the prime of life, of old men, of military characters, and of matrons, is slow, while male or female slaves, parasites, and fishermen move with greater agility.

But the masters of the art of gesture will not allow the hand to be raised above the eyes or to fall lower than the breast. Consequently, it must be thought in the highest degree objectionable to lift it to the crown of the head or to bring it down to the bottom of the belly. 113. It may be advanced as far as the left shoulder, but should never go beyond it. But when, in expressing aversion, we drive as it were our hand to the left, the left shoulder should, at the same time, be advanced, that it may move in concert with the head as it inclines to the right.

114. The left hand never properly performs a gesture alone, but it frequently acts in agreement with the right, either when we enumerate our arguments on our fingers, or when we express detestation by turning our palms towards the left, presenting them straight before us, or spreading them out on either side. 115. But such gestures are all of different import, as we lower the hands in an attitude of apology or supplication, we raise them in adoration, and we stretch them out in any apostrophe or invocation, a gesture which we should adopt in pronouncing, "Ye Alban hills and groves," etc., or the exclamation of Gracchus, "Whither, wretched that I am, shall I flee? To the Capitol, to see my brother's blood? Or to my home," etc. 116. In such cases, the hands acting in concert express most feeling, stretched out but a short distance when we speak on inconsiderable, grave, or tranquil subjects, but extended to a greater distance when we treat of matters that are important, exhilarating, or awful.

117. Some remarks or faults in the management of the hands must be added, at least on such faults as are incident to experienced speakers. As for the gestures of asking for a cup, or threatening to use a scourge, or forming the number five hundred by bending the thumb, though they are noticed by some writers, I have never seen them even in uneducated speakers. 118. But I know the following faults to occur frequently: the exposure of the side by the extension of the arm; the practice that one speaker has of forbearing to move his arm from his bosom; that which another has of stretching it out to its utmost length or of raising it to the roof, or of continuing the movement of it beyond his left shoulder and striking out towards his back in such a way that it is dangerous to stand behind him; or of making a large sweep with the left hand; or of throwing the hands about at random so as to strike the persons nearest; or of thumping the elbows against the sides, . 119. The hand of some speakers is indolent, or moves with tremor, or appears to be sawing the air, or is pressed on the head with the fingers bent, or turned up and tossed on high. Some also affect the gesture in which the Pacificator is represented by statuaries, who, with his head inclined over his right shoulder and his arm stretched out on a level with his ear, spreads forth his hand with the thumb bent down, a gesture which is in great favor with those who boast that they speak sublata manu, "with uplifted hand." 120. We may notice also those who dart forth smart thoughts with a wave of their fingers or make denunciations with the hand raised, or who, whenever they are pleased with what they say, elevate themselves on tiptoe, a gesture which is sometimes allowable, but they make it reprehensible by pointing their finger, or two fingers, as high as they can into the air, or putting both their hands into the position of a person carrying a weight on his head.

121. To these faults may be added those that arise, not from nature, but from trepidation of mind, such as feeling discontented with ourselves at a difficulty in pronunciation; making a sound, if our memory fails, or if thought refuses to assist us, as if something were sticking in the throat; rubbing the point of the nose; walking about before bringing a passage to a conclusion; and making a sudden stop to court applause by silence. But to specify all such faults would be an infinite task, for every speaker has his own.

122. We must take care, especially, that the breast and stomach are not too much protruded, for such an attitude bends the back inwards, and besides, all bending backwards is offensive. The sides must conform to the gesture of the rest of the body, for the movements of the whole body are of great importance, insomuch that Cicero thinks more effect is produced by them than even by the motion of the hands, for he says in his Orator, "There will be," in a consummate speaker, "no affected motions of the fingers, no fall of the fingers to suit the cadences of the language, but he will rather produce gestures by the movements of his whole body, and a manly inclination of his side."

123. To strike the thigh, a gesture which Cleon is supposed to have first practiced at Athens, is not only common, but suits the expression of indignant feeling and excites the attention of the audience. Cicero complained of its absence in Calidius; there was no striking of his forehead, he says, nor his thigh. With regard to the forehead, however, I would, if it is allowed, dissent from Cicero, since to strike even the hands together, or to beat the breast, is suitable only to the stage.

124. To touch the breast with the tips of the fingers bent inwards is a gesture that becomes us, but seldom as when we express ourselves in a tone of exhortation, reproach, or commiseration, and whenever we adopt such a gesture, it will not be improper to draw back the toga from the breast.

In regard to the feet, we must observe how we place and move them. It is ungraceful to stand with the right foot advanced and to advance at the same time the hand and foot on the same side. 125. It is sometimes allowable to rest on the right foot, but this must be done without any inclination of the rest of the body, and the attitude is rather that of an actor than of an orator. When speakers stand on the left foot, the right can neither be becomingly lifted up nor rested on tiptoe. To stretch the legs very widely apart is unbecoming, even if we but stand in that position, and to walk in it is highly indecent. 126. To step forwards is not improper, if the movement be brief, moderate in quickness, and not too frequent. To walk a few steps will not be unsuitable at times, on account of the extraordinary time occupied in applauding, but Cicero approves only of such walking as is very rare and very short. But it is most absurd to run hither and thither, and, as Domitius Afer said of Mallius Sura, to overdo our business, and Flavius Virginius wittily asked a rival professor, who had this habit, how many miles he had declaimed.

127. It is also a general rule, I know, that we should not, as we walk, turn our backs on the judges, but that the inside part of our foot should be constantly presented to the tribunal as we look towards it. This rule cannot always be observed on private trials, but there the space is more confined, and we cannot turn our backs on the judges long. We may at times, however, draw back by degrees. Some speakers even leap back, an act in the highest degree ridiculous.

128. Though not improper occasionally, and especially, as Cicero says, at the beginning or end of a spirited argument, stamping with the foot is a proof of silliness in the speaker if practiced too often and ceases to attract the judge's attention. Swaying from right to left, too, in speakers who balance themselves alternately on either foot, is unbecoming. But what is most of all to be avoided is an effeminate kind of gesture, such as Cicero says was used by Titius, from whom also a kind of dance was called Titius. 129. Frequent and rapid oscillation, also, from one side to the other, is objectionable, a habit at which Julius laughed in Curio the father, by asking who it was that was speaking in the boat. Sicinius made a similar jest upon him, for when Curio had been violently tossing himself about, according to his custom, while Octavius, his colleague in the cousulship, was sitting by in ill health, bandaged and covered with a vast quantity of medicated plasters, Sicinius said, "You can never, Octavius, feel sufficiently grateful to your colleague, for if he had not been near you, the flies would have devoured you today where you sat."

130. The shoulders are sometimes disagreeably shrugged up, a fault which Demosthenes is said to have corrected in himself by standing, while he spoke, in a narrow kind of pulpit, with a spear hanging down over his shoulder, so that if, in the warmth of speaking, that gesture escaped him, he might be reminded of it by a puncture from the weapon.

It is allowable to walk about while speaking, only when in public causes where there are several judges, we wish to impress what we say on each individually. 131. But there is an intolerable practice in which some speakers indulge, who, having thrown back their gown over the shoulder and drawn up the lower part of it in a fold to their loins with their right hand, walk about and harangue while gesticulating with the left hand, when it is offensive even to draw the gown up on the left side and stretch out the right hand far. Hence I am reminded not to omit remarking that it is a very foolish practice when speakers, during the time occupied by applauses, whisper in a neighbor's ear, jest with their associates, or sometimes look back to their clerks, as if telling them to note down some gratuity for those who were loudest in their approbation.

132. It is permissible to incline a little towards the judge when you are stating a case to him, if the matter on which you are speaking be somewhat obscure. But to bend far forward towards the advocate on the opposite benches is ill-mannered, and for a speaker to fall back among his friends and to be supported in their arms, unless from real and evident fatigue, is foppish, just as it is also to be prompted, or to read, as if he were forgetful. For by all such practices, the force of eloquence is relaxed, and the ardor cooled, while the judge will think that too little respect is paid him.

133. To cross over to the opposite seats is by no means becoming, and Cassius Severus facetiously proposed that barriers should be erected to restrain a speaker who was guilty of this habit. If, indeed, an orator sometimes starts forward with a spirited effort, he is always sure to return with very poor effect.

134. But many of the directions which I am giving must be modified by those who plead before tribunals, for there the countenance must be more elevated that it may be fixed on him who is addressed. The gesture directed towards him must also be more erect, and there are other particulars to be observed that will occur to all without any mention of them on my part. Modifications must also be made by those who plead sitting, as is generally the case in unimportant causes when there cannot be the same energy of manner. 135. Some offenses against gracefulness must also be committed through necessity, for as the speaker sits on the left hand of the judge, he will be obliged to advance his right foot, and much of his action must be transferred, as it were, from the right side to the left, that it may be directed towards the judge. Some sitters, however, I see start up at the conclusion of every period or division of their speech, and some occasionally take even a little walk. They may consider whether such practices are becoming, but when they indulge in them, they do not plead sitting. 136. Eating or drinking, as was formerly the custom with many and is now with some, must be abjured by the orator whom I am desirous to form, for if a speaker cannot support the fatigue of pleading without having recourse to such aid, it will be no great loss if he does not plead at all, and it will be much better for him than to show such contempt for his profession and his audience.

137. As to dress, the orator has no peculiar habit, but what he wears is more observed than that of other men, and like that of all other persons of note, it should therefore be elegant and manly, for the fashion of the gown, the shoes, and the hair is as reprehensible for too much care as for too great negligence. Some importance, indeed, is attached to dress, and it undergoes considerable changes under the influence of time, for the ancients had no folds to the toga, and for some time after they were introduced, they were but very small. 138. Accordingly, they must have used, at the commencement of their speeches, a kind of gesture different from ours, as their arm, like that of the Greeks, was confined within the garment. But I am speaking of the present mode. A speaker who has not the right of wearing the latus clavus should be apparelled in such a way that his tunic may fall, with its front skirts, a little below the knee, and with those behind, to the middle of the thigh, for to drop them lower belongs to women and to draw them up higher to soldiers. 139. To see that the purple falls properly is but a minor object of care, but negligence in that respect is sometimes censured. Of those who wear the latus clavus, the fashion is to let it descend a little lower than those which are girt. The gown itself I should wish to be round and cut so as to fit well, for if not, it will be out of shape in various ways. The forepart of it falls only, in the best fashion, to the middle of the leg; the hinder part should be as much above the hem of the tunic as the front falls below it. 140. The fold is most graceful when it falls somewhat above the bottom of the toga; certainly it should never fall below it. That fold which is passed under the right shoulder across to the left, like a belt, should neither be tight round the body nor hang very loose, and that part of the toga which is put on last should fall something lower, for thus it will sit better and be kept in its place. Some portion of the tunic should also be drawn up, that it may not fall on the arm of the orator while he is speaking, and a fold should be thrown over the shoulder, the outer edge of which it will not be unbecoming to throw back. 141. But the shoulder and the whole of the throat ought not to be covered, else the dress will become too narrow and lose the dignity which consists in width of chest. The left arm should be only so far raised as to form a right angle, over which the edge of the toga should fall equally low on each side. 142. The hand is not to be loaded with rings, especially such as do not pass the middle joint, and the best attitude for the hand will be when the thumb is raised and the fingers slightly bent, unless it hold a memorandum book, a practice which should not be much affected, for it seems to imply a distrust of the memory and is an impediment to much of the gesture.

143. Our forefathers allowed the toga to fall, as the Greeks allow their pallium, down to the feet, and Plotius and Nigidius, who wrote of gesture in those days, recommended that fashion of wearing it. I am, therefore, the more surprised at the opinion of so learned a man as Plinius Secundus, who even in a book in which he has been almost too scrupulous in his researches, states that Cicero used to let his toga fall so low in order to conceal the varicose veins in his legs, notwithstanding this fashion of wearing the toga is seen in the statues of persons who lived after Cicero's time. 144. Nothing but ill health can excuse the use of the short cloak, of bandages in which the legs are wrapped, of mufflers for the throat, and of coverings for the ears.

But this strict regard to dress can be paid only at the beginning of a speech, for as we proceed and almost at the very commencement of the statement of the case, the fold of the robe very properly falls, as of itself, from the shoulder, and when we come to argument and moral considerations, it will not be amiss to throw back the toga from the left shoulder and to pull down the fold if it happens to hang. 145. The left side we may also draw down from the throat and the upper part of the breast, for we are then all ardor, and as the voice grows more energetic and varied in tone, the dress may also assume an air of combativeness. 146. Though to wrap the toga round the left hand or to make a girdle of it makes an orator look like a madman, and though to throw back the fold of the robe from the bottom over the right shoulder indicates effeminacy and delicacy (and even grosser faults than these are committed), why may we not draw up the looser part of the dress under the left arm, for it is an attitude that has something of spirit and vivacity not unsuited to warm and animated pleading? 147. But when the greater part of our speech has been delivered and success seems to attend us, scarcely any sort of gesture is unbecoming; perspiration and weariness, and disorder of dress, with the toga loose and falling off, as it were, on every side, are regarded without censure. 148. Therefore, I cannot but wonder the more that it should have entered the mind of Pliny to direct that the forehead should be wiped with the handkerchief in such a manner that the hair should not be discomposed, when, a little afterwards, he forbids earnestly and severely, as became him, that any pains should be taken in arranging the hair. To me disordered hair seems to indicate strong feeling, and the appearance of the speaker seems to be set off by his very inattention to the condition of it. 149. But if the toga falls from a speaker when he is only beginning or has made but little progress in his oration, neglect to readjust it would be a proof either of extreme carelessness, or of laziness, or of ignorance how an orator ought to be dressed.

Such are the excellences and such the faults that may be shown in delivery, and the orator, after these have been set before him, has many other things to consider.

150. In the first place, he has to reflect in what character he himself appears, and to whom, and in whose presence, he is going to speak, for it is more allowable to say or do some things than others in addressing certain persons, or before certain audiences. The same peculiarities in tone, gesture, and walk are not equally becoming before a sovereign, before the senate, before the people, or before magistrates, or on a private as on a public trial, in a simple representation as in a formal pleading. Everyone who directs his attention to the subject can conceive such distinctions for himself.

151. He has then to consider on what subject he is to speak and what object he desires to effect. As to the subject, four points are to be regarded:

  1. With reference to the whole cause, for causes may be either of a mournful or an amusing nature, dangerous or safe, important or inconsiderable, so that we should never be so occupied with particular portions of a cause as to forget the general character of it. 152.
  2. With respect to the different divisions of a cause, as the exordium, the statement of facts, the arguments, and the peroration.
  3. With regard to the thoughts, where everything is varied in conformity with the matter and the addresses to the feelings.
  4. With reference to the words, in which, though imitation, if we try to make the sound everywhere correspond to the sense, is reprehensible, yet unless the proper force is given to some words, the sense of the whole would be destroyed.

153. In panegyrics, then, unless they are funeral orations, in giving thanks, in exhortations, and in subjects of a similar nature, our action should be animated, grand, or sublime. In funeral orations, speeches of consolation, and the greater part of criminal causes, the gesture should be grave and staid. In addressing the senate, gravity should be observed; in speaking to the people, dignity; and in pleading private causes, moderation. Of the several divisions of a cause, and of the thoughts and language, which are of varied character, I must speak at greater length.

154. Delivery ought to exhibit three qualities: it should conciliate, persuade, and move, and to please will be a quality that naturally combines itself with these. Conciliation is produced either by fairness of moral character, which manifests itself, I know not how, even in the tone and in the gesture, or by agreeableness of language. Persuasion depends greatly on assertion, which sometimes has more effect than even proof itself. 155. "Would those statements," says Cicero to Calidius, "have been delivered by you in such a way if they had been true?" and, "So far were you from inflaming our passion that we could scarcely abstain from sleep in that passage." Let confidence, therefore, and firmness be apparent in an orator's manner, at least if he has authority to support it. 156. The art of moving lies either in the manifestation of our own feelings or imitation of those others.

When the judge, therefore, in a private cause, or the herald in a public one, calls upon us to speak, we must rise with calmness, and we may then delay a little to settle our toga or, if necessary, to throw it on afresh, in order that our dress may be more becoming, and that we may have some moments for reflection, though this can be done only on ordinary trials, for before the emperor, the magistrates, or the supreme tribunals, it will not be possible. 157. Even when we have turned towards the judge, and the praetor, being consulted, has granted us leave to speak, we must not burst forth suddenly, but allow a short space for recollection, for preparation on the part of him who is going to speak is extremely pleasing to him who is going to hear, and the judge naturally composes himself for attention. 158. Homer gives us this instruction in the example of Ulysses, whom he represents as standing with his eyes fixed on the ground and his scepter unmoved, before he poured forth that storm of eloquence. In such a pause, there may be, as the players observe, certain not unbecoming pretexts for delay, such as to stroke the head, to look down at the hand, to crack the joints of the fingers, to pretend to make an effort, to betray anxiety by a sigh, or whatever other gesture may suit the speaker, and we may continue such actions if the judge is still unprepared to give us his attention. 159. As to the attitude, it should be erect, the feet a little apart, in similar positions, or the left a slight degree in advance; the knees straight, but not so as to seem stiff; the shoulders kept down; the countenance grave, not anxious, or stolid, or languid; the arms at a moderate distance from the side; the left hand in the position which I have before prescribed; and the right, when we are going to commence, a little extended beyond the bosom of the toga, with the most modest possible gesture, as if waiting for the moment to begin. 160. For there are many offensive gestures practiced, such as looking up at the ceiling, rubbing the face and making it bold as it were, stretching forward the face with a confident kind of air or knitting the brows to make it appear more stern, brushing the hair unnaturally back from the forehead that its roughness may look terrible, pretending, by a constant motion of the lips and fingers, as is a frequent practice with the Greeks, to be studying what we are going to say, hawking with a great noise, extending one foot far before the other, holding up a part of the toga with the left hand, standing with the legs wide apart, or with the body stiff, or thrown back, or bent forwards, or with the shoulders drawn up to the hinder part of the head, like those of men about to wrestle.

161. For the exordium, a calm delivery is generally suitable, for nothing is more attractive than modesty to gain us a favorable hearing. Yet this is not always to be the case, for exordia, as I have shown, are not all to be pronounced in the same manner. In general, however, the tone at the commencement should be calm, the gesture modest, the toga well settled on the shoulder, the motion of the body to either side gentle, and the eyes looking in the same direction as the body.

162. The statement of the case will commonly require the hand to be more extended, the toga thrown back, and the gesture more decided, with a tone of voice similar to that of ordinary conversation, only more spirited, yet of uniform sound, at least in such passages as these, "For Quintus Ligarius, when there was no suspicion of war in Africa," etc., and "Aulus Cluentius Habitus, the father of him who is before you," etc. But other passages in a statement may call for a different tone, as, "The mother-in-law is married to her son-in-law," etc., and, "A spectacle grievous and afflicting to the whole province of Asia is exhibited in the marketplace of Laodicea," etc.

163. In advancing proofs the action may be various and diversified, for although stating, distinguishing particulars, asking questions, and anticipating objections (another kind of statement) may be confined to a tone bordering on the conversational, we may sometimes offer our demonstrations in a strain of raillery or mimicry.

164. Argumentation, being generally more spirited, lively, and energetic, requires gesture suited to the subject, that is, impressive and animated. We must insist strongly in certain passages, and our words must appear as it were in close array.

Digressions should mostly be delivered in a gentle, agreeable, and calm tone, as those of the rape of Proserpine, the description of Sicily, and the eulogy of Pompey, for it is natural that what is unconnected with the main question should require less urgency of manner.

165. A representation of the manners of the opposite party, accompanied with censure, may sometimes be given in a gentle tone, as, "I seemed to myself to see some entering, others going out, some tottering from the effects of wine, some yawning from yesterday's carousal," when gesture, such as is not unsuitable to the tone, is admissible, for example, a gentle movement to either side, but a movement confined to the hand, without any change in the position of the body.

166. Many varieties of tone may be adopted for exciting the judge. The highest and loudest tone that a speaker can possibly adopt is proper for uttering the following words, "When the war was begun, Caesar, and, even in a great degree advanced," etc., for he had previously said, "I will exert my voice as loudly as possible, that the people of Rome may hear," etc. A tone somewhat lower and having something pleasing in it is suitable for the question, "What was that sword of yours doing, Tubero, in the field of Pharsalia?" A tone still fuller and slower, and consequently more agreeable, will suit the words, "But in an assembly of the people of Rome, and when holding a public office," etc. 167. Here every sound should be prolonged; the vowels should be extended, and the mouth well opened. Yet the words, "Ye Alban hills and groves," etc., should flow in a still stronger stream, and, "Rocks and deserts respond to the voice of the poet," etc., should be pronounced in a sort of chanting tone and fall gradually in a musical cadence. 168. It was with such variations of tone that Demosthenes and Aeschines upbraided each other, but they are not to be condemned on that account, for as each reproached the other with them, it is evident that both used them, since it was not, assuredly, in an ordinary tone of voice that Demosthenes swore by the defenders of Marathon and Plataea and Salamis, nor was it in the tone of daily conversation that Aeschines bewailed the fate of Thebes. 169. There is also a tone different from all those that have been mentioned, raised almost above any key in which we speak, a tone on which the Greeks have bestowed the term "bitter," and which is shrill beyond measure and almost beyond the natural power of the human voice. Thus are uttered the words, Quin compescitis vocem istam, indicem stultitiae, testem paucitatis, "Will you not restrain those cries, the indications of your folly, the proofs of your fewness?" But the extravagant tone of which I spoke is required only at the commencement, Quin compescitis.

170. As to the peroration, if it consists of a recapitulation of the case, it requires a continuous enumeration of particulars in a uniform tone; if it is intended to excite the judges, it must he delivered in one of the tones which I have mentioned above; if it is designed to soothe them, it calls for smoothness and gentleness; if to move them to pity, a kind of musical cadence and plaintive sweetness of the voice, by which the mind is strongly affected and which is extremely natural, for at a funeral we may hear widows and orphans lamenting in a mournful kind of melody. 171. In such a case, that muffled sort of voice which Cicero says that Antonius had will be of great effect, for it has from nature the tone which we should wish to assume. There are, however, two species of pity: one mixed with indignation, such as was mentioned above in reference to the condemnation of Philodamus, the other in a lower tone accompanied with deprecation. 172. Though there may be something of scarcely perceptible music in the delivery of the words, "But in the assembly of the people of Rome," etc. (for Cicero did not utter them in a tone of invective) and in that of the exclamation, "Ye Alban hills," etc. (for he did not speak as if he were invoking or calling them to witness), the following passages must have been spoken in a manner infinitely more modulated and harmonious, "Miserable, unhappy man that I am," etc., and, "What answer shall I give to my children?" etc., and, "Could you, Milo, by the means of these judges, recall me to my country, and shall I be unable, by means of the same judges, to retain you in yours?" He must have adopted a similar tone when he values the property of Caius Rabirius at one sesterce, and exclaimed, "O miserable and afflicting duty of my voice!" 173. A profession, too, on the part of the orator that he is sinking from distress and fatigue has an extraordinary effect in a peroration, as in the same speech for Milo, "But there must be an end, for I am no longer able to speak for tears," etc., and such passages must have the delivery conformable to the language. 174. Other particulars may seem to require notice as belonging to this portion and department of a speech, as to produce accused persons, to take up children in the arms, to bring forward relatives, and to rend garments, but they have been mentioned in the proper place.

Since, then, there is such variety in the different parts of a cause, it is sufficiently apparent that the delivery, as I have endeavored to show, must correspond to the matter. But the pronunciation must also be adapted to the words, as I observed a little above, not indeed always, but at times. 175. For example, must not the words "unhappy man, poor creature," be uttered in a low and subdued tone, and must not "courageous, vehement, robber," be spoken in a more elevated and energetic tone? By such conformity, a force and propriety of meaning is given to our thoughts, and without it, the tone would indicate one thing and the thought another. 176. Do not, indeed, the same words, by a change in the mode of pronouncing them, express demonstration, assertion, reproach, denial, admiration, indignation, interrogation, derision, contempt? The syllable tu is uttered in a very different tone in each of the following passages of Virgil:

Tu mihi quodcunque hoc regni.


Cantando tu illum?


Tune ille aeneas?


Meque timoris Argue tu, Drance.

Not to dwell too long on this head, let me observe only that if the reader will conceive in his own mind this, or any other word that he pleases, pronounced in conformity with every variation of feeling, he will then be assured that what I say is true.

177. One remark must, however, be added, namely that as the great object to be regarded in speaking is decorum, different manners often become different speakers, and for such variety there is a secret and inexplicable cause. Though it is truly said that our great triumph is that what we do should be becoming, this, as it cannot be accomplished without art, can still not be wholly communicated by art. 178. In some, excellences have no charm, while in others, even faults are pleasing. We have seen the most eminent actors in comedy, Demetrius and Stratocles, delight their audiences by qualities of a very different nature. It is not, however, surprising that the one acted gods, young men, good fathers, domestics, matrons, and staid old women, with happy effect, or that the other was more successful in representing passionate old men, cunning slaves, parasites, procurers, and other bustling characters, for their natural endowments were very different, as even the voice of Demetrius was more pleasing and that of Stratocles more powerful. 179. But what was more observable was their peculiarity of action, which could not have been transferred from one to the other. To wave the hand in a particular way, to prolong exclamations in an agreeable tone to please the audience, to puff out the robe with the air on entering the stage, and sometimes to gesticulate with the right side could have been becoming in no actor but Demetrius, for in all these respects he was aided by a good stature and comely person. 180. On the contrary, hurry, perpetual motion, a laugh not altogether in unison with his mask (a laugh which he uttered to please the people, and with perfect consciousness of what he was doing), and a depression of the head between the shoulders, were extremely agreeable in Stratocles. But whatever excellence in either had been attempted by the other, the attempt would have proved an offensive failure. Let every speaker, therefore, know himself, and in order to form his delivery, he should consult not only the ordinary rules of art, but his own abilities. 181. Yet it is not absolutely impossible that all styles, or at least a great number, may suit the same person.

The conclusion to this head must be similar to that which I have made to others, an admonition that moderation must have the utmost influence in regard to it, for I do not wish any pupil of mine to be an actor, but an orator. Therefore, we need not study all the niceties of gesture, nor observe, in speaking, all the troublesome varieties of stops, intervals, and inflections of tone for moving the feelings. 182. Thus, if an actor on the stage had to pronounce the following verses,

Quid igitur faciam? non eam, ne nunc quidem,
Quum arcessor ultro? an potius ita me comparem,
Non perpeti meretricum contumelias?

What, therefore, shall I do? not go? not now,
When I'm invited by herself? Or rather
Shall I resolve no longer to endure
These harlots' impudence?

he would display all the pauses of doubt and adopt various inflections of the voice and gestures of the hand. But oratory is of another nature and will not allow itself to be too much seasoned, for it consists in serious pleading, not in mimicry. 183. Accordingly, delivery that is accompanied with perpetual movement of the features, that fatigues the audience with gesticulation, and that fluctuates with constant changes of tone is deservedly condemned. Our old rhetoricians, therefore, wisely adopted a saying from the Greeks, which Popilius Laenas inserted in his writings as borrowed from our orators, that this is "restless pleading." 184. Cicero, in consequence, who has given excellent precepts with regard to other matters, affords us similar directions with respect to this, directions which I have already quoted from his Orator, and he makes observations of a like nature, in reference to Antonius, in his Brutus. Yet a mode of speaking somewhat more vivacious than that of old has now become prevalent and is even required, and to some portions of a speech, it is very well adapted. But it must be kept so far under control that the orator, while he aims at the elegance of the player, may not lose the character of a good and judicious man.

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Lee Honeycutt (honeycuttlee@gmail.com) Last modified:1/15/07
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