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NIHIL NOVUM SUB SOLE

1001 deeds, sayings, curiosities and anecdotes of the ancient world

May your life be like your speech (talis oratio qualis vita) (I)

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"The face is the mirror of the soul", "By the way of expressing yourself, we know the way of being yourself", "May your life be like your speech" or "think that you say and say that you think" are expressions and ideas that we have been using it since Greco-Roman antiquity in which Stoic thinkers generalized them.

In a similar way, we believe that the general appearance and especially the dress of a person reveals his inner form of being and thinking. Thus a disheveled aspect is evidence of an unorganized life
Lucius Annaeus Seneca uses in the letter number 114, addressed to his friend Lucilius, the expression "talis hominibus fuit oratio qualis vita" (for these men his speech was like his life), warning us that this sentence is already a sentence or phrase made coined by the Greeks.

The meaning that this expression has for the Stoics,  Seneca is one of them, is that there is a close relationship between what is said in speech, oral or written, and life; In other words, that the writer or speaker writes or speaks according to his life. Moreover, the convenience of the agreement between "what is said and what is thought" as an essential element of honest and moral life. Then I will go a little deeper in the sense of these sentences.

The truth is that the idea that there is a perfect relationship between a person's way of being and the way of expressing himself is very ancient and widespread in the Greek world. We find it, for example, in Plato, in his dialogue on the Republic, III, 11. 399e et seq. where  he talks us about the importance of music  and of the various rhythms in education, according to the expression of the various themes and in line with the way people are; it can be a little long, but it introduces perfectly the question:

“For upon harmonies would follow the consideration of rhythms: we must not pursue complexity nor great variety in the basic movements, but must observe what are the rhythms of a life that is orderly and brave,…
…For that there are some three forms from which the feet are combined, just as there are four in the notes of the voice whence come all harmonies,... But which are imitations of which sort of life, I am unable to say.”
“Well,” said I, “on this point we will take counsel with Damon, too, as to which are the feet appropriate to illiberality, and insolence or madness or other evils, and what rhythms we must leave for their opposites;

And, further, that good rhythm and bad rhythm accompany, the one fair diction, assimilating itself thereto, and the other the opposite, and so of the apt and the unapt, if, as we were just now saying, the rhythm and harmony follow the words and not the words these.” “They certainly must follow the speech,” he said. “And what of the manner of the diction, and the speech?” said I. “Do they not follow and conform to the disposition of the soul?” “Of course.” “And all the rest to the diction?” “Yes.” “Good speech, then, good accord, and good grace,
-
and good rhythm wait upon good disposition, not that weakness of head which we euphemistically style goodness of heart, but the truly good and fair disposition of the character and the mind.” “By all means,” he said. “And must not our youth pursue these everywhere if they are to do what it is truly theirs to do?” “They must indeed.”
……
…And gracelessness and evil rhythm and disharmony are akin to evil speaking and the evil temper but the opposites are the symbols and the kin of the opposites, the sober and good disposition.” “Entirely so,” he said.
“Is it, then, only the poets that we must supervise and compel to embody in their poems the semblance of the good character or else not write poetry among us, or must we keep watch over the other craftsmen, and forbid them to represent the evil disposition, the licentious, the illiberal, the graceless, either in the likeness of living creatures or in buildings or in any other product of their art,…..
(Translated by Paul Shorey. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1969.)

In fact, this is the idea used by Virgil when in his Eclogue  VI he indicates the need to adapt the poetic form of bucolic poetry to the themes that are its own:

Viril Eclogues VI 1-12:

first my Thalia stooped in sportive mood
to Syracusan strains, nor blushed within
the woods to house her. When I sought to tell
of battles and of kings, the Cynthian god
plucked at mine ear and warned me: “Tityrus,
beseems a shepherd-wight to feed fat sheep,
but sing a slender song.” Now, Varus, I—
for lack there will not who would laud thy deeds,
and treat of dolorous wars—will rather tune
to the slim oaten reed my silvan lay.
I sing but as vouchsafed me; yet even this
if, if but one with ravished eyes should read,
of thee, O Varus, shall our tamarisks
and all the woodland ring; nor can there be
a page more dear to Phoebus, than the page
where, foremost writ, the name of Varus stands
.
(Translated by J. B. Greenough. Boston. Ginn & Co. 1895.)

Prima Syracosio dignata est ludere versu,
nostra nec erubuit silvas habitare Thalia.
Cum canerem reges et proelia, Cynthius aurem
vellit, et admonuit: “Pastorem, Tityre, pinguis
pascere oportet ovis, deductum dicere carmen.”
Nunc ego—namque super tibi erunt, qui dicere laudes,
Vare, tuas cupiant, et tristia condere bella—
agrestem tenui meditabor arundine Musam.
Non iniussa cano: si quis tamen haec quoque, si quis
captus amore leget, te nostrae, Vare, myricae,
te nemus omne canet; nec Phoebo gratior ulla est,
quam sibi quae Vari praescripsit pagina nomen.

So there is and must be a perfect relationship between what is said, how it is said and the real life whom says it. It is also perfectly expressed by the very repeated French phrase "Le style, c'est l'homme même". The phrase is taken from the Address of entrance of Buffon in l'Académie française in 1753 in which it tries to justify and to praise the originality of the great writers. The phrase turned against Buffon himself who is criticized for his pompous and bombastic style.

Another testimony, this shorter because it is a fragment, is found in the Greek playwrighter   Menander, Fragment 143K, that is  identified as belonging to the Comedy "The self-tormentor", name that it receives also the adaptation to the Latin that soon Terence did with his Heautontimourumenos:

A man's character discovers itself in his speech.

Terence, a Latin author who uses Menander's theater to write his comedies in Latin, employs, as I said, a similar expression in a work on the same theme which he also calls Heautontimourumenos; this is in II, 4,4 (384 / in others Editions 392):

BACCHIS.
Upon my word, my dear Antiphila, I commend you, and think you fortunate in having made it your study that your manners should be conformable to those good looks of yours: and so may the Gods bless me, I do not at all wonder if every man is in love with you. For your discourse has been a proof to me what kind of disposition you possess.
(Translated by Henry Thomas Riley. Ney York. Harper and Brothers. 1874.

Bacchides.

Edepol te, mea Antiphila, laudo et fortunatam iudico,
Id quum studuisti, isti formae ut mores consimiles forent:
Minimeque, ita me Di ament, miror, si te sibi quisque expetit.
Nam mihi quale ingenium haberes fuit indicio oratio.

The idea is also taken up by Cicero in his Brutus, 117:

As I have mentioned the Stoics, I must take some notice of Q. Aelius Tubero, the grandson of L. Paullus, who made his appearance at the time we are speaking of. He was never esteemed an orator, but was a man of the most rigid virtue, and strictly conformable to the doctrine he professed: but, in truth, he was rather too crabbed. When he was triumvir, he declared, contrary to the opinion of P. Africanus his uncle, that the augurs had no right of exemption from sitting in the courts of justice: and as in his temper, so in his manner of speaking, he was harsh, unpolished, and austere; on which account, he could never raise himself to the honourable ports which were enjoyed by his ancestors. But he was a brave and steady citizen, and a warm opposer of Gracchus, as appears from an oration of Gracchus against him: we have likewise some of Tubero's speeches against Gracchus. He was not indeed a shining orator: but he was a learned, and a very skilful disputant." Translated by E.Jones (1776)

Et quoniam Stoicorum est facta mentio, Q. Aelius Tubero fuit illo tempore, L. Pauli nepos; nullo in oratorum numero sed vita severus et congruens cum ea disciplina quam colebat, paulo etiam durior; qui quidem in triumviratu iudicaverit contra P. Africani avunculi sui testimonium vacationem augures quo minus iudiciis operam darent non habere; sed ut vita sic oratione durus incultus horridus; itaque honoribus maiorum respondere non potuit. fuit autem constans civis et fortis et in primis Graccho molestus, quod indicat Gracchi in eum oratio; sunt etiam in Gracchum Tuberonis. is fuit mediocris in dicendo, doctissumus in disputando.

And the same Cicero in Tusculanae Disputationes, V, 47

The Stoics give the name of excellent and choice to what the others call good: They call them so, indeed ; but they do not allow them to complete a happy life. But these others think that there is no life happy without them ;or, admitting it to be happy, they deny it to be the most happy. But our opinión is, that it is the most happy; and we prove it from that conclusión of Socrates. For thus that autor of philosophy argued that as the disposition of a man's mind is, so is the man; such as the man is, such will be his discourse; his actions will correspond with his discourse, and his life with his actions. But the disposition of a good man's mind is laudable ; the life, therefore, of a good Man is laudable ; it is honorable, therefore, because laudable ; the unavoidable conclusión from which is that the life of good men is happy. (Translated by C.D. Yonge)

At enim eadem Stoici1 “praecipua” vel “producta” dicunt, quae “bona” isti. dicunt illi quidem, sed is vitam beatam compleri negant; hi autem sine is esse nullam putant aut, si sit beata, beatissimam certe negant. nos autem volumus beatissimam, idque nobis Socratica illa conclusione confirmatur. sic enim princeps ille philosophiae disserebat: qualis cuiusque animi adfectus esset, talem esse hominem; qualis autem homo ipse esset, talem eius esse orationem; orationi autem facta similia, factis vitam. adfectus autem animi in bono [p. 426] viro laudabilis; et vita igitur laudabilis boni viri; et honesta ergo, quoniam laudabilis. ex quibus bonorum beatam vitam esse concluditur.

And again Cicero, referring to Cato the Elder, tells us in Republic, II, 1:

[When, therefore, he observed all his friends kindled with the de]sire of hearing him, Scipio thus opened the discussion. I will commence, said Scipio, with a sentiment of old Cato, whom, as you know,I singularly loved and exceedingly admired, and to whom, in compliance with the judgment of both my parents, and also by my own desire, I was entirely devoted during my youth; of whose discourse, indeed, I could never have enough, so much experience did he possess as a statesman respecting the republic which he had so long governed, both in peace and war, with so much success. There was also an admirable propriety in his style of conversation, in which wit was tempered with gravity; a wonderful aptitude for acquiring, and at the same time communicating,information; and his life was in perfect correspondence and unison with his language. (Translated by C.C. Yonge)

Cum omnes flagrarent cupiditate audiendi, ingressus est sic loqui Scipio: Catonis hoc senis est, quem, ut scitis, unice dilexi maximeque sum admiratus cuique vel patris utriusque iudicio vel etiam meo studio me totum ab adulescentia dedidi; cuius me numquam satiare potuit oratio; tantus erat in homine usus rei publicae, quam et domi et militiae cum optime, tum etiam diutissime gesserat, et modus in dicendo et gravitate mixtus lepos et summum vel discendi studium vel docendi et orationi vita admodum congruens.

Plutarch also uses the idea when he speaks also about Cato the Elder 7,1 and 2

Much the same traits are revealed in the man's oratory. It was at once graceful and powerful, pleasant and compelling, facetious and severe, sententious and belligerent. So Plato says of Socrates that from the outside he impressed his associates as rude, uncouth, and wanton; but within he was full of earnestness, and of matters that moved his hearers to tears and wrung their hearts.

Wherefore I know not what they can mean who say that Cato's oratory most resembled that of Lysias. However, such questions must be decided by those who are more capable than I am of discerning the traits of Roman oratory, and I shall now record a few of his famous sayings, believing that men's characters are revealed much more by their speech than, as some think, by their looks. (Translation by Bernadotte Perrin. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press. London. William Heinemann Ltd. 1914.)

And the same Plutarch in his Lives, in the comparison between Demosthenes and Cicero, 1, says:

These, then, are the memorable incidents in the recorded careers of Demosthenes and Cicero which have come to our knowledge. And though I have renounced the comparison of their oratorical styles, yet this, I think, ought not to be left unsaid, namely, that Demosthenes devoted to the rhetorical art all the powers of speech which he possessed by nature or acquired by practice, surpassing in force and effectiveness his rivals in forensic and judicial pleading, in pomp and majesty of utterance the professional declaimers, and in precision and skill the sophists; Cicero, on the other hand, became widely learned and had a variety of interest in the pursuit of letters, and left behind him not a few philosophical treatises of his own conforming to the fashion of the Academy; indeed, even in the speeches which he wrote for the forum and the courts he clearly desires to display by the way a considerable acquaintance with letters.

It is possible, too, to get a glimpse of the character of each in his style of speaking. For that of Demosthenes, which had no prettiness or pleasantry, and was condensed with a view to power and earnestness, did not smell of lamp-wicks, as Pytheas scoffingly said, but of water-drinking and anxious thought, and of what men called the bitterness and sullenness of his disposition; whereas Cicero was often carried away by his love of jesting into scurrility, and when, to gain his ends in his cases, he treated matters worthy of serious attention with ironical mirth and pleasantry, he was careless of propriety. Thus, in his defence of Caelius, he said that his client, surrounded as he was by great luxury and extravagance, did nothing out of the way when indulging in pleasures; for not to enjoy what is in one's possession was madness, he said, particularly when the most eminent philosophers assert that true happiness consists in pleasure.

And we are told that when Cato prosecuted Murena, Cicero, who was then consul, defended him, and because of Cato's beliefs made much fun of the Stoic sect, in view of the absurdities of their so-called paradoxes; and when loud laughter spread from the audience to the jurors, Cato, with a quiet smile, said to those who sat by: ‘What a funny man we have, my friends, for consul!’

And it would seem that Cicero was naturally prone to laughter and fond of jesting; his face, too, was smiling and peaceful. But in that of Demosthenes there was always a certain intense seriousness, and this look of thoughtfulness and anxiety he did not easily lay aside. For this reason his enemies, as he himself says, called him morose and ill-mannered. (Translated by Bernadotte Perrin, 1919)

Seneca is probably the author who more often uses this idea. As I said at the beginning he is the author of the letter in which the initial quoted sentence appears. In that letter he merely establishes in an eloquent way an absolute relation of identity between the form of life of the author and the type of expression and linguistic construction that he uses. And he exemplifies his thesis with the example of Maecenas. I now reproduce the first paragraphs of the letter, in which the phrase quoted appears, and I leave till the end the whole reproduction of the letter 114, worthy of being read, although somewhat long.

On Style as a Mirror of Character
You have been asking me why, during certain periods, a degenerate style of speech comes to the fore, and how it is that men's wits have gone downhill into certain vices – in such a way that exposition at one time has taken on a kind of puffed-up strength, and at another has become mincing and modulated like the music of a concert piece. You wonder why sometimes bold ideas – bolder than one could believe – have been held in favour, and why at other times one meets with phrases that are disconnected and full of innuendo, into which one must read more meaning than was intended to meet the ear. Or why there have been epochs which maintained the right to a shameless use of metaphor. For answer, here is a phrase which you are wont to notice in the popular speech – one which the Greeks have made into a proverb: "Man's speech is just like his life." Exactly as each individual man's actions seem to speak, so people's style of speaking often reproduces the general character of the time, if the morale of the public has relaxed and has given itself over to effeminacy. Wantonness in speech is proof of public luxury, if it is popular and fashionable, and not confined to one or two individual instances.  A man's ability cannot possibly be of one sort and his soul of another. If his soul be wholesome, well-ordered, serious, and restrained, his ability also is sound and sober. Conversely, when the one degenerates, the other is also contaminated. Do you not see that if a man's soul has become sluggish, his limbs drag and his feet move indolently? If it is womanish, that one can detect the effeminacy by his very gait? That a keen and confident soul quickens the step? That madness in the soul, or anger (which resembles madness), hastens our bodily movements from walking to rushing?

And how much more do you think that this affects one's ability, which is entirely interwoven with the soul, – being moulded thereby, obeying its commands, and deriving therefrom its laws! 4. How Maecenas lived is too well-known for present comment. We know how he walked, how effeminate he was, and how he desired to display himself; also, how unwilling he was that his vices should escape notice. What, then? Does not the looseness of his speech match his ungirt attire? Are his habits, his attendants, his house, his wife, any less clearly marked than his words? He would have been a man of great powers, had he set himself to his task by a straight path, had he not shrunk from making himself understood, had he not been so loose in his style of speech also. You will therefore see that his eloquence was that of an intoxicated man – twisting, turning, unlimited in its slackness. (translated by Richard Mott Gummere)

Quare quibusdam temporibus provenerit corrupti generis oratio quaeris, et quomodo in quaedam vitia inclinatio ingeniorum facta sit, ut aliquando inflata explicatio vigeret, aliquando infracta et in morem cantici ducta ? Quare alias sensus audaces et fidem egressi placuerint, alias abruptae sententiae et suspiciosae, in quibus plus intellegendum esset quam audiendum ? Quare aliqua aetas fuerit, quae translationis iure uteretur inverecunde ? Hoc quod audire vulgo soles, quod apud Graecos in proverbium cessit: talis hominibus fuit oratio qualis vita.

Quemadmodum autem uniuscuiusque actio dicenti similis est, sic genus dicendi aliquando imitatur publicos mores, si 1 disciplina civitatis laboravit et se in delicias dedit. Argumentum est luxuriae publicae orationis lascivia, si modo non in uno aut in altero fuit, sed adprobata est et recepta.

Non potest alius esse ingenio, alius animo color. Si ille sanus est, si compositus, gravis, temperans, ingenium quoque siccum ac sobrium est; illo vitiato hoc quoque adflatur. Non vides, si animus elanguit, trahi membra et pigre moveri pedes ? Si ille effeminatus est, in  ipso incessu adparere mollitiam ? Si ille acer est et ferox, concitari gradum ? Si furit aut, quod furori simile est, irascitur, turbatum esse corporis motum nec ire, sed ferri ?

Quanto hoc magis accidere ingenio putas, quod totum animo permixtum est; ab illo fingitur, illi paret, inde legem petit.

Quomodo Maecenas vixerit notius est, quam ut narrari nunc debeat, quomodo ambulaverit, quam delicatus fuerit, quam cupierit videri, quam vitia sua latere noluerit. Quid ergo ? Non oratio eius aeque soluta est quam ipse discinctus ? Non tam insignita illius verba sunt quam cultus, quam comitatus, quam domus, quam uxor ? Magni vir ingenii fuerat, si illud egisset via rectiore, si non vitasset intellegi, si non etiam in oratione difflueret. videbis itaque eloquentiam ebrii hominis involutam et errantem et licentiae plenam.

Then he uses it, as I said, on numerous occasions. Thus in Letters, 40, 2:

You write me that you heard a lecture by the philosopher Serapio, when he landed at your present place of residence. "He is wont," you say, "to wrench up his words with a mighty rush, and he does not let them flow forth one by one, but makes them crowd and dash upon each other. For the words come in such quantity that a single voice is inadequate to utter them." I do not approve of this in a philosopher; his speech, like his life, should be composed; and nothing that rushes headlong and is hurried is well ordered. That is why, in Homer, the rapid style, which sweeps down without a break like a snow-squall, is assigned to the younger speaker; from the old man eloquence flows gently, sweeter than honey.(Translated by Richard Mott Gummere)

Audisse te scribis Serapionem philosophum, cum istuc adplicuisset: " Solet magno cursu verba convellere, quae non effundit una, sed premit et urguet. Plura enim veniunt quam quibus vox una sufficiat." Hoc non probo in philosopho, cuius pronuntiatio quoque, sicut vita, debet esse conposita; nihil autem ordinatum est, quod praecipitatur et properat. Itaque oratio illa apud Homerum concitata et sine intermissione in morem nivis superveniens iuveniori  oratori data est, lenis et melle dulcior seni profluit.

And also in Letters, 40, 6

No; but just as you are well satisfied, in the majority of cases, to have seen through tricks which you did not think could possibly be done, so in the case of these Word-gymnasts, -to have Heard them once in amply sufficient. For what can a man desire to learn or to imitate in them? What is he to think of their souls, when their seech is sent into charge in utter disorder, and cannot be kept in hand? ( translated by Richard Mott Gummere

Sed ut pleraque, quae fieri posse non crederes, cognovisse satis est, ita istos, qui verba exercuerunt, abunde est semel audisse. Quid enim quis discere, quid imitari velit ? Quid de eorum animo iudicet, quorum oratio perturbata et inmissa est nec potest reprimi ?

And in 75, 4:

Let this be the kernel of my idea: let us say what we feel, and feel what we say; let speech harmonize with life. That man has fulfilled his promise who is the same person both when you see him and when you hear him. (Translated by Richard Mott Gummere)

Haec sit propositi nostri summa: quod sentimus loquamur, quod loquimur sentiamus; concordet sermo cum vita. Ille promissum suum inplevit, qui, et cum videas illum et cum audias, idem est.

And in 107, 12:

Le tus live thus, and speak thus; let Fate find us ready and alert. Here is your great soul –the man who has given himself over to Fate; on the other hand, that man is a weakling and a degenerate who struggles and maligns the order of the universo and would rather reform the gods tan reform himself. Farewell. (translated by Richard Mott Gummere).

Sic vivamus, sic loquamur; paratos nos inveniat atque inpigros fatum. Hic est magnus animus, qui se ei tradidit; at contra ille pusillus et degener, qui obluctatur et de ordine mundi male existimat et emendare mavult deos quam se. Vale.

And in 115, 1-2:

I wish, my dear Lucilius, that you would not be too particular with revard to words and their arrangemente; I have greater matters tan these to commend to your care. You should seek what to write, rather tan how to write it –and even that not for the purpose of writing but of feeling it, that you may thus make what you have felt more your own and, as it were, set a seal on it. Whenever you notice a style that is too careful and too polished, you may be sure that the mind also is no less absorbed in petty thingss. The really great man speaks informally and easily; whatever he says,  he speaks with assurance rather tan with pains.

You are familiar with the Young dandies, natty as to their beards and locks, fresh from the bandbox; you can never expect from them any strength or any soundness. Style is the garb of thought: if it be trimmed, or dyed, or treagted, it shows that there are defects and a certain amount of flaws in the mind. Elaborate elegance is not a manly garb. (translated by Richard Mott Gummere)

Nimis anxium esse te circa verba et compositionem, mi Lucili, nolo; habeo maiora, quae cures. Quaere, quid scribas, non quemadmodum; et hoc ipsum, non ut scribas, sed ut sentias, ut illa, quae senseris, magis adplices tibi et velut signes. Cuiuscumque orationem videris sollicitam et politam, scito animum quoque non minus esse pusillis occupatum.

Magnus ille remissius loquitur et securius; quaecumque dicit, plus habent fiduciae quam curae.
Nosti comptulos  iuvenes, barba et coma nitidos, de capsula totos; nihil ab illis speraveris forte, nihil solidum. Oratio cultus animi est: si circumtonsa est et  fucata et manu facta, ostendit illum quoque non esse sincerum et habere aliquid fracti. Non est ornamentum virile concinnitas.

This idea and expression is of great usefulness  for the satirical poets who, like Horace, Persius or Juvenal, strongly criticize the vices of Roman society of their time and establish a relation between the decadence of Roman society and its new vices and Decadence of literature; that is why their language is renewing, because they feel responsible Romans who have to recover the old morality, the mos maiorum.

Juvenal in his Satire IV, 81 et seq. speaks about Crispus, and he says that he is "a nice old man whose customs were at the level of his eloquence." I transcribe the full text referred to him:

Next to come in was the aged, genial Crispus, 9 whose gentle soul well matched his style of eloquence. No better adviser than he for the ruler of lands and seas and nations had he been free, under that scourge and plague, to denounce cruelties and proffer honest counsels. But what can be more dangerous than the ear of a tyrant on whose caprice hangs the life of a friend who has come to talk of the rain or the heat or the showery spring weather? So Crispus never struck out against the torrent, nor was he one to speak freely the thoughts of his heart, and stake his life upon the truth. Thus was it that he lived through many winters and saw his eightieth solstice, protected, even in that Court, by weapons such as these. [Translated by G. G. Ramsay].

uenit et Crispi iucunda senectus,
cuius erant mores qualis facundia, mite
ingenium. maria ac terras populosque regenti
quis comes utilior, si clade et peste sub illa
saeuitiam damnare et honestum adferre liceret            
consilium? sed quid uiolentius aure tyranni,
cum quo de pluuiis aut aestibus aut nimboso
uere locuturi fatum pendebat amici?
ille igitur numquam derexit bracchia contra
torrentem, nec ciuis erat qui libera posset          
uerba animi proferre et uitam inpendere uero.
sic multas hiemes atque octogensima uidit
solstitia, his armis illa quoque tutus in aula.

Seneca the Elder insists on these ideas on the decadence of eloquence. The text I offer, perhaps too long, also serves to document the existence, in ancient times, of the so-called "generational struggle".

Seneca, the Elder, Declamations (Controversiae), I, Praefatio, 6 et s.

Then you will be able to think how the good talents  diminishe every day, and, by some sort of disfavour of nature, eloquence has retrogressed: all that Roman eloquence can put beside or above the proud Greece, flourished towards in Cicero’s time; Then all the talents, which brought brilliance to our studies,  were born then. Then things have got worse every day. Perhaps it is due to the excesses of our time, - nothing is as lethal for talent as luxury-; perhaps because, when this noble occupation is less esteemed, every opportunity to compete has become a sordid activity that seeks great prestige and benefits; or perhaps, finally, by a certain fatality whose law, evil, eternal and universal, requires that all that has reached the summit, falls to the bottom, and it falls faster than it had ascended.

Behold, the spirits of this lazy youth become stupid in indleness by not devoting their efforts to the cultivation of the only honorable activity, eloquence. Sleep, indolence, and, that is more shameful than sleep and indolence, a constant depravity has invaded their spirit and indecent passion for singing and dancing has filled the soul of these effeminate young persons. To curl their hair, to speak with a little voice to imitate feminine charm, to compete with women in body graciousness and to dress in the most indecent manner, this is the ideal model that our young people follow.
What young man of your generation can I quote who  is not intelligent enough or hard enough, but man enough? Endurable and annoyed from birth, they continue being it all their lives, corrupt the innocence and modesty of others and they spoil theirs.

May the gods not allow the terrible misfortune, that eloquence falls into the hands of these people; I would not have the eloquence in such high regard, if she did not select the people to whom she is surrendered. You are mistaken, dear boys, if you believe that the famous saying is of M. Cato and not of an oracle.

What is, in fact, an oracle? It is, undoubtedly, the  will of a God spoken by the mouth of a man. And could the divinity, not to advise the human race, but to rebuke him, to choose a priest more respectable than Marcus Cato? What, then, is this great man saying? "The orator, my son Marcus, is a good man, an expert in the art of speaking". *

Go now and look for speakers among those polished men with shaved hair, who are  men only  for their vices. It is natural that they follow some models according to their intelligence.
Is there anyone who is worried about the memory he will leave? Is there anyone who is appreciated, I say not by great qualities, but simply by the qualities which he possesses? In the midst of this generalized neglect, they can easily appropriate the sentences pronounced by the most eloquent orators and, thus, they are continually defiling the divine art of an eloquence which they can not acquire.

* This is the famous definition of Cato the Censor, also quoted by Quintilian, Institution oratory XII 1, 1 and repeated later again and again.

Deinde ut possitis aestimare, in quantum cotidie ingenia decrescant et nescio qua iniquitate naturae eloquentia se retro tulerit: quidquid Romana facundia habet quod insolenti Graeciae aut opponat aut praeferat circa Ciceronem effloruit; omnia ingenia quae lucem studiis nostris adtulerunt tunc nata sunt. In deterius deinde cotidie data res est, siue luxu temporum — nihil enim tam mortiferum ingeniis quam luxuria est — siue, cum praemium pulcherrimae rei cecidisset, translatum est omne certamen ad turpia multo honore quaestuque uigentia, siue fato quodam cuius maligna perpetuaque in rebus omnibus lex est, ut ad summum perducta rursus ad infimum, uelocius quidem quam ascenderant, relabantur. Torpent ecce ingenia desidiosae iuuentutis nec in unius honestae rei labore uigilatur: somnus languorque ac somno et languore turpior malarum rerum industria inuasit animos, cantandi saltandique obscena studia effeminatos tenent, et capillum frangere et ad muliebres blanditias extenuare uocem, mollitia corporis certare cum feminis et immundissimis se expolire munditiis nostrorum adolescentium specimen est. Quis aequalium uestrorum, quid dicam satis ingeniosus, satis studiosus, immo quis satis uir est? emolliti eneruesque quod nati sunt inuiti manent, expugnatores alienae pudicitiae, neglegentes suae. In hos ne dii tantum mali ut cadat eloquentia: quam non mirarer, nisi animos in quos se conferret eligeret. erratis, optimi iuuenes, nisi illam uocem non M. Catonis, sed oraculi creditis. Quid enim est oraculum? nempe uoluntas diuina hominis ore enuntiata; et quem tandem antistitem sanctiorem sibi inuenire diuinitas potuit quam M. Catonem, per quem humano generi non praeciperet, sed conuitium faceret? ille ergo uir quid ait? ‘orator est, Marce fili, uir bonus dicendi peritus.’  Ite nunc et in istis uulsis atque expolitis et nusquam nisi in libidine uiris quaerite oratores. Merito talia habent exempla qualia ingenia. Quis est qui memoriae studeat? quis qui, non dico magnis uirtutibus, sed suis placeat? sententias a disertissimis uiris iactatas facile in tanta hominum desidia pro suis dicunt et sic sacerrimam eloquentiam quam praestare non possunt, uiolare non desinunt

Persius, in his Satire I criticizes the lack of literary taste of the poets of his time, which according to him is but a reflection of his moral degradation. Style is a reflection of life. The Satire is worth reading, especially for those who feel the strength to try the literary creation. Its excessive length prevents me from reproducing it at this time.

Quintilian, as it could not be otherwise, repeats several times the idea in his Institutiones Oratoriae; so in XI, 1,30

For a man's character is generally revealed and the secrets of his heart are laid bare by his manner of speaking, and there is good ground for the Greek aphorism that, “as a man lives, so will he speak.” The following vices are of a meaner type: grovelling flattery, affected buffoonery, immodesty in dealing with things or words which are unseemly or obscene, and disregard of authority on all and every occasion. They are faults which, as a rule, are found in those who are over-anxious either to please or amuse. ((Translation by Harold Edgeworth Butler. Cambridge. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1922).)

profert enim mores plerumque oratio et animi secret detegit. nec sine causa Graeci prodiderunt, ut vivat, quemque etiam dicere. humiliora illa vitia: summissa adulatio, adfectata scurrilitas, in rebus ac verbis parum modestis ac pudicis vilis pudor, in omni negotio neglecta auctoritas; quae fere accidunt iis, qui nimium aut blandi esse aut ridiculi volunt.

The dresses can represent a mental state, as we see in Quintilian VIII, Proem, 20:

Again, a tasteful and magnificent dress, as the Greek poet tells us, lends added dignity to its wearer: but effeminate and luxurious apparel fails to adorn the body and merely reveals the foulness of the mind. Similarly, a translucent and iridescent style merely serves to emasculate the subject which it arrays with such pomp of words. Therefore I would have the orator, while careful in his choice of words, be even more concerned about his subject matter. (Translation by Harold Edgeworth Butler. Cambridge. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd. 1922).

 Et cultus concessus atque magnificus addit hominibus, ut Graeco versu testatum est, auctoritatem; at muliebris et luxuriosus non corpus exornat, sed detegit mentem. similiter illa translucida et versicolor quorundam elocutio res ipsas effeminat, quae illo verborum habitu vestiantur. curam ergo verborum, rerum volo esse sollicitudinem.

In the same way like the face is the reflection of the thoughts, a phrase already converted into a proverb under the formula "the face is the mirror of the soul", which reminds us, for example, Cicero in his In Pisonem 1:

Do you not see now, do you not feel, O you beast, what complaints men make of your impudence? No one complains that a Syrian, that a man whom nobody knows, that some one of that body of lately emancipated slaves, was made consul. For that complexion, like that of slaves, and those hairy cheeks and discoloured teeth, did not deceive us: your eyes, your eyebrows, your brow, in short your whole countenance, which is, as it were, a sort of silent language of the mind, led men into error, this it was which led those to whom this man was unknown into mistake and error, and blunders. There were but few of us who were acquainted with those foul vices of yours; few of us who knew the deficiency of your abilities, your stolid manner, and your embarrassed way of speaking. Your voice had never been heard in the forum; no one had had any experience of your wisdom in counsel: you had not only never performed any, I will not say illustrious exploit, but any action at all that was known of either in war or at home. You crept into honours through men's blunders, by the recommendation of some old smoke-dried images, though there is nothing in you at all resembling them except your colour. (Translated by. D. Yonge, 1891)

iamne vides, belua, iamne sentis quae sit hominum querela frontis tuae? nemo queritur Syrum nescio quem de grege noviciorum factum esse consulem. non enim nos color iste servilis, non pilosae genae, non dentes putridi deceperunt; oculi, supercilia, frons, voltus denique totus, qui sermo quidam tacitus mentis est, hic in fraudem homines impulit, hic eos quibus erat ignotus decepit, fefellit, induxit. pauci ista tua lutulenta vitia noramus, pauci tarditatem ingeni, stuporem debilitatemque linguae. numquam erat audita vox in foro, numquam periculum factum consili, nullum non modo inlustre sed ne notum quidem factum aut militiae aut domi. obrepsisti ad honores errore hominum, commendatione fumosarum imaginum, quarum simile habes nihil praeter colorem.

Now, having carried these principles to its ultimate consequences, does this mean that the literary work, every literary work, is a reflection of the thought and soul of the writer?

  This also requires us to delve a little into it; but this seems already the subject of another article.
……….
Seneca, Epistulae, 114

On Style as a Mirror of Character

You have been asking me why, during certain periods, a degenerate style of speech comes to the fore, and how it is that men's wits have gone downhill into certain vices – in such a way that exposition at one time has taken on a kind of puffed-up strength, and at another has become mincing and modulated like the music of a concert piece. You wonder why sometimes bold ideas – bolder than one could believe – have been held in favour, and why at other times one meets with phrases that are disconnected and full of innuendo, into which one must read more meaning than was intended to meet the ear. Or why there have been epochs which maintained the right to a shameless use of metaphor. For answer, here is a phrase which you are wont to notice in the popular speech – one which the Greeks have made into a proverb: "Man's speech is just like his life."  Exactly as each individual man's actions seem to speak, so people's style of speaking often reproduces the general character of the time, if the morale of the public has relaxed and has given itself over to effeminacy. Wantonness in speech is proof of public luxury, if it is popular and fashionable, and not confined to one or two individual instances.  A man's ability cannot possibly be of one sort and his soul of another. If his soul be wholesome, well-ordered, serious, and restrained, his ability also is sound and sober. Conversely, when the one degenerates, the other is also contaminated. Do you not see that if a man's soul has become sluggish, his limbs drag and his feet move indolently? If it is womanish, that one can detect the effeminacy by his very gait? That a keen and confident soul quickens the step? That madness in the soul, or anger (which resembles madness), hastens our bodily movements from walking to rushing?

And how much more do you think that this affects one's ability, which is entirely interwoven with the soul, – being moulded thereby, obeying its commands, and deriving therefrom its laws!  How Maecenas lived is too well-known for present comment. We know how he walked, how effeminate he was, and how he desired to display himself; also, how unwilling he was that his vices should escape notice. What, then? Does not the looseness of his speech match his ungirt attire? Are his habits, his attendants, his house, his wife, any less clearly marked than his words? He would have been a man of great powers, had he set himself to his task by a straight path, had he not shrunk from making himself understood, had he not been so loose in his style of speech also. You will therefore see that his eloquence was that of an intoxicated man – twisting, turning, unlimited in its slackness.
What is more unbecoming than the words: "A stream and a bank covered with long-tressed woods"? And see how "men plough the channel with boats and, turning up the shallows, leave gardens behind them." Or, "He curls his lady-locks, and bills and coos, and starts a-sighing, like a forest lord who offers prayers with down-bent neck." Or, "An unregenerate crew, they search out people at feasts, and assail households with the wine-cup, and, by hope, exact death." Or, "A Genius could hardly bear witness to his own festival"; or "threads of tiny tapers and crackling meal"; "mothers or wives clothing the hearth."

Can you not at once imagine, on reading through these words, that this was the man who always paraded through the city with a flowing tunic? For even if he was discharging the absent emperor's duties, he was always in undress when they asked him for the countersign. Or that this was the man who, as judge on the bench, or as an orator, or at any public function, appeared with his cloak wrapped about his head, leaving only the ears exposed,  like the millionaire's runaway slaves in the farce? Or that this was the man who, at the very time when the state was embroiled in civil strife, when the city was in difficulties and under martial law, was attended in public by two eunuchs – both of them more men than himself? Or that this was the man who had but one wife, and yet was married countless times? These words of his, put together so faultily, thrown off so carelessly, and arranged in such marked contrast to the usual practice, declare that the character of their writer was equally unusual, unsound, and eccentric. To be sure, we bestow upon him the highest praise for his humanity; he was sparing with the sword and refrained from bloodshed; and he made a show of his power only in the course of his loose living; but he spoiled, by such preposterous finickiness of style, this genuine praise, which was his due.  For it is evident that he was not really gentle, but effeminate, as is proved by his misleading word-order, his inverted expressions, and the surprising thoughts which frequently contain something great, but in finding expression have become nerveless. One would say that his head was turned by too great success.

This fault is due sometimes to the man, and sometimes to his epoch.  When prosperity has spread luxury far and wide, men begin by paying closer attention to their personal appearance. Then they go crazy over furniture. Next, they devote attention to their houses – how to take up more space with them, as if they were country-houses, how to make the walls glitter with marble that has been imported over seas, how to adorn a roof with gold, so that it may match the brightness of the inlaid floors. After that, they transfer their exquisite taste to the dinner-table, attempting to court approval by novelty and by departures from the customary order of dishes, so that the courses which we are accustomed to serve at the end of the meal may be served first, and so that the departing guests may partake of the kind of food which in former days was set before them on their arrival.
When the mind has acquired the habit of scorning the usual things of life, and regarding as mean that which was once customary, it begins to hunt for novelties in speech also; now it summons and displays obsolete and old-fashioned words; now it coins even unknown words or misshapes them; and now a bold and frequent metaphorical usage is made a special feature of style, according to the fashion which has just become prevalent.  Some cut the thoughts short, hoping to make a good impression by leaving the meaning in doubt and causing the hearer to suspect his own lack of wit. Some dwell upon them and lengthen them out. Others, too, approach just short of a fault – for a man must really do this if he hopes to attain an imposing effect – but actually love the fault for its own sake. In short, whenever you notice that a degenerate style pleases the critics, you may be sure that character also has deviated from the right standard.

Just as luxurious banquets and elaborate dress are indications of disease in the state, similarly a lax style, if it be popular, shows that the mind (which is the source of the word) has lost its balance. Indeed you ought not to wonder that corrupt speech is welcomed not merely by the more squalid mob but also by our more cultured throng; for it is only in their dress and not in their judgments that they differ.  You may rather wonder that not only the effects of vices, but even vices themselves, meet with approval. For it has ever been thus: no man's ability has ever been approved without something being pardoned. Show me any man, however famous; I can tell you what it was that his age forgave in him, and what it was that his age purposely overlooked. I can show you many men whose vices have caused them no harm, and not a few who have been even helped by these vices. Yes, I will show you persons of the highest reputation, set up as models for our admiration; and yet if you seek to correct their errors, you destroy them; for vices are so intertwined with virtues that they drag the virtues along with them.  Moreover, style has no fixed laws; it is changed by the usage of the people, never the same for any length of time. Many orators hark back to earlier epochs for their vocabulary, speaking in the language of the Twelve Tables. Gracchus, Crassus, and Curio, in their eyes, are too refined and too modern; so back to Appius and Coruncanius! Conversely, certain men, in their endeavour to maintain nothing but well-worn and common usages, fall into a humdrum style.  These two classes, each in its own way, are degenerate; and it is no less degenerate to use no words except those which are conspicuous, high-sounding, and poetical, avoiding what is familiar and in ordinary usage. One is, I believe, as faulty as the other: the one class are unreasonably elaborate, the other are unreasonably negligent; the former depilate the leg, the latter not even the armpit.

Let us now turn to the arrangement of words. In this department, what countless varieties of fault I can show you! Some are all for abruptness and unevenness of style, purposely disarranging anything which seems to have a smooth flow of language. They would have jolts in all their transitions; they regard as strong and manly whatever makes an uneven impression on the ear. With some others it is not so much an "arrangement" of words as it is a setting to music; so wheedling and soft is their gliding style.  And what shall I say of that arrangement in which words are put off and, after being long waited for, just manage to come in at the end of a period? Or again of that softly-concluding style, Cicero-fashion, with a gradual and gently poised descent always the same and always with the customary arrangement of the rhythm! Nor is the fault only in the style of the sentences, if they are either petty and childish, or debasing, with more daring than modesty should allow, or if they are flowery and cloying, or if they end in emptiness, accomplishing mere sound and nothing more.
Some individual makes these vices fashionable – some person who controls the eloquence of the day; the rest follow his lead and communicate the habit to each other. Thus when Sallust was in his glory, phrases were lopped off, words came to a close unexpectedly, and obscure conciseness was equivalent to elegance. L. Arruntius, a man of rare simplicity, author of a historical work on the Punic War, was a member and a strong supporter of the Sallust school. There is a phrase in Sallust: exercitum argento fecit, meaning thereby that he recruited an army by means of money. Arruntius began to like this idea; he therefore inserted the verb facio all through his book. Hence, in one passage, fugam nostris fecere; in another, Hiero, rex Syracusanorum, bellum fecit; and in another, quae audita Panhormitanos dedere Romanis fecere.  I merely desired to give you a taste; his whole book is interwoven with such stuff as this. What Sallust reserved for occasional use, Arruntius makes into a frequent and almost continual habit – and there was a reason: for Sallust used the words as they occurred to his mind, while the other writer went afield in search of them. So you see the results of copying another man's vices.  Again, Sallust said: aquis hiemantibus. Arruntius, in his first book on the Punic War, uses the words: repente hiemavit tempestas. And elsewhere, wishing to describe an exceptionally cold year, he says: totus hiemavit annus. And in another passage: inde sexaginta onerarias leves praeter militem et necessarios nautarum hiemante aquilone misit; and he continues to bolster many passages with this metaphor. In a certain place, Sallust gives the words: inter arma civilia aequi bonique famas petit; and Arruntius cannot restrain himself from mentioning at once, in the first book, that there were extensive "reminders" concerning Regulus.

These and similar faults, which imitation stamps upon one's style, are not necessarily indications of loose standards or of debased mind; for they are bound to be personal and peculiar to the writer, enabling one to judge thereby of a particular author's temperament; just as an angry man will talk in an angry way, an excitable man in a flurried way, and an effeminate man in a style that is soft and unresisting.  You note this tendency in those who pluck out, or thin out, their beards, or who closely shear and shave the upper lip while preserving the rest of the hair and allowing it to grow, or in those who wear cloaks of outlandish colours, who wear transparent togas, and who never deign to do anything which will escape general notice; they endeavour to excite and attract men's attention, and they put up even with censure, provided that they can advertise themselves. That is the style of Maecenas and all the others who stray from the path, not by hazard, but consciously and voluntarily.  This is the result of great evil in the soul. As in the case of drink, the tongue does not trip until the mind is overcome beneath its load and gives way or betrays itself; so that intoxication of style – for what else than this can I call it? – never gives trouble to anyone unless the soul begins to totter. Therefore, I say, take care of the soul; for from the soul issue our thoughts, from the soul our words, from the soul our dispositions, our expressions, and our very gait. When the soul is sound and strong, the style too is vigorous, energetic, manly; but if the soul lose its balance, down comes all the rest in ruins.

If but the king be safe, your swarm will live Harmonious; if he die, the bees revolt. The soul is our king. If it be safe, the other functions remain on duty and serve with obedience; but the slightest lack of equilibrium in the soul causes them to waver along with it. And when the soul has yielded to pleasure, its functions and actions grow weak, and any undertaking comes from a nerveless and unsteady source.  To persist in my use of this simile – our soul is at one time a king, at another a tyrant. The king, in that he respects things honourable, watches over the welfare of the body which is entrusted to his charge, and gives that body no base, no ignoble commands. But an uncontrolled, passionate, and effeminate soul changes kingship into that most dread and detestable quality – tyranny; then it becomes a prey to the uncontrolled emotions, which dog its steps, elated at first, to be sure, like a populace idly sated with a largess which will ultimately be its undoing, and spoiling what it cannot consume.  But when the disease has gradually eaten away the strength, and luxurious habits have penetrated the marrow and the sinews, such a soul exults at the sight of limbs which, through its overindulgence, it has made useless; instead of its own pleasures, it views those of others; it becomes the go-between and witness of the passions which, as the result of self-gratification, it can no longer feel. Abundance of delights is not so pleasing a thing to that soul as it is bitter, because it cannot send all the dainties of yore down through the over-worked throat and stomach, because it can no longer whirl in the maze of eunuchs and mistresses, and it is melancholy because a great part of its happiness is shut off, through the limitations of the body.

Now is it not madness, Lucilius, for none of us to reflect that he is mortal? Or frail? Or again that he is but one individual? Look at our kitchens, and the cooks, who bustle about over so many fires; is it, think you, for a single belly that all this bustle and preparation of food takes place? Look at the old brands of wine and store-houses filled with the vintages of many ages; is it, think you, a single belly that is to receive the stored wine, sealed with the names of so many consuls, and gathered from so many vineyards? Look, and mark in how many regions men plough the earth, and how many thousands of farmers are tilling and digging; is it, think you, for a single belly that crops are planted in Sicily and Africa?  We should be sensible, and our wants more reasonable, if each of us were to take stock of himself, and to measure his bodily needs also, and understand how little he can consume, and for how short a time! But nothing will give you so much help toward moderation as the frequent thought that life is short and uncertain here below; whatever you are doing, have regard to death. Farewell. (translated by Richard Mott Gummere)

Quare quibusdam temporibus provenerit corrupti generis oratio quaeris, et quomodo in quaedam vitia inclinatio ingeniorum facta sit, ut aliquando inflata explicatio vigeret, aliquando infracta et in morem cantici ducta ? Quare alias sensus audaces et fidem egressi placuerint, alias abruptae sententiae et suspiciosae, in quibus plus intellegendum esset quam audiendum ? Quare aliqua aetas fuerit, quae translationis iure uteretur inverecunde ? Hoc quod audire vulgo soles, quod apud Graecos in proverbium cessit: talis hominibus fuit oratio qualis vita.

Quemadmodum autem uniuscuiusque actio dicenti similis est, sic genus dicendi aliquando imitatur publicos mores, si  disciplina civitatis laboravit et se in delicias dedit. Argumentum est luxuriae publicae orationis lascivia, si modo non in uno aut in altero fuit, sed adprobata est et recepta.

Non potest alius esse ingenio, alius animo color. Si ille sanus est, si compositus, gravis, temperans, ingenium quoque siccum ac sobrium est; illo vitiato hoc quoque adflatur. Non vides, si animus elanguit, trahi membra et pigre moveri pedes ? Si ille effeminatus est, in  ipso incessu adparere mollitiam ? Si ille acer est et ferox, concitari gradum ? Si furit aut, quod furori simile est, irascitur, turbatum esse corporis motum nec ire, sed ferri ? Quanto hoc magis accidere ingenio putas, quod totum animo permixtum est; ab illo fingitur, illi paret, inde legem petit.

Quomodo Maecenas vixerit notius est, quam ut narrari nunc debeat, quomodo ambulaverit, quam delicatus fuerit, quam cupierit videri, quam vitia sua latere noluerit. Quid ergo ? Non oratio eius aeque soluta est quam ipse discinctus ? Non tam insignita illius verba sunt quam cultus, quam comitatus, quam domus, quam uxor ? Magni vir ingenii fuerat, si illud egisset via rectiore, si non vitasset intellegi, si non etiam in oratione difflueret. videbis itaque eloquentiam ebrii hominis involutam et errantem et licentiae plenam.
Quid turpius " amne silvisque ripa comantibus ? " vide ut " alveum lintribus arent versoque vado  remittant hortos." Quid ? Si quis " feminae cinno crispat et labris columbatur incipitque suspirans, ut cervice lassa fanantur nemoris tyranni." " Inremediabilis factio rimantur epulis lagonaque temptant domos et spe mortem exigunt." " Genium festo vix suo testem. Tenuisve cerei fila et crepacem molam Focum mater aut uxor investiunt."

Non statim, cum haec legeris, hoc tibi occurret, hunc esse, qui solutis tunicis in urbe semper incesserit ? Nam etiam cum absentis Caesaris partibus fungeretur, signum a discincto petebatur. Hunc esse qui in  tribunali, in rostris, in omni publico coetu sic apparuerit, ut pallio velaretur caput exclusis utrimque auribus, non aliter quam in mimo fugitivi divitis solent ? Hunc esse, cui tunc maxime civilibus bellis strepentibus et sollicita urbe et armata comitatus hic fuerit in publico spadones duo, magis tamen viri quam ipse ? Hunc esse, qui uxorem milliens duxi, cum unam habuerit ? Haec verba tam improbe structa, tam neglegenter abiecta, tam contra consuetudinem omnium posita ostendunt mores quoque non minus novos et pravos et singulares fuisse.

Maxima laus illi tribuitur mansuetudinis, pepercit gladio, sanguine abstinuit nec ulla alia re, quid posset, quam licentia ostendit; hanc ipsam laudem suam corrupit istis orationis portentosissimae deliciis.
Apparet enim mollem fuisse, non mitem. Hoc istae ambages compositionis, hoc verba transversa, hoc sensus miri,  magni quidem saepe, sed enervati dum  exeunt, cuivis manifestum facient. Motum illi felicitate nimia caput.

Quod vitium hominis esse interdum, interdum temporis solet. Ubi luxuriam late felicitas fudit, cultus  primum corporum esse diligentior incipit. Deinde supellectili laboratur. Deinde in ipsas domos" inpenditur cura, ut in laxitatem ruris excurrant, ut parietes advectis trans maria marmoribus fulgeant, ut tecta varientur auro, ut lacunaribus pavimentorum respondeat nitor. Deinde ad cenas lautitia transfertur, et illic commendatio ex novitate et soliti ordinis commutatione captatur, ut ea, quae includere solent cenam, prima ponantur, ut quae advenientibus dabantur, exeuntibus dentur.

Cum adsuevit animus fastidire, quae ex more sunt, et illi pro sordidis solita sunt, etiam in oratione, quod novum est, quaerit et modo antiqua verba atque exsoleta revocat ac profert, modo fingit et ignota ac deflectit, modo, id quod nuper increbruit, pro cultu habetur audax translatio ac frequens.
Sunt qui sensus praecidant et hoc gratiam sperent, si sententia pependerit et audienti suspicionem sui fecerit. Sunt qui illos  detineant et porrigant. Sunt qui non usque ad vitium accedant, necesse est enim hoc  facere aliquid grande temptanti, sed qui ipsum vitium ament. Itaque ubicumque videris orationem corruptam placere, ibi mores quoque a recto descivisse non erit dubium.

Quomodo conviviorum luxuria, quomodo vestium aegrae civitatis indicia sunt, sic orationis licentia, si modo frequens est, ostendit animos quoque, a quibus verba exeunt, procidisse. Mirari quidem non debes corrupta excipi non tantum a  corona sordidiore, sed ab hac quoque turba cultiore, togis enim inter se isti, non iudiciis distant. Hoc magis mirari potes, quod non tantum vitiosa, sed vitia laudentur. Nam illud semper factum est: nullum sine venia placuit ingenium. Da mihi quemcumque vis, magni nominis virum  ; dicam, quid illi aetas sua ignoverit, quid in illo sciens dissimulaverit. Multos tibi dabo, quibus vitia non nocuerint, quosdam, quibus profuerint. Dabo, inquam, maximae famae et inter admiranda propositos, quos si quis corrigit, delet; sic enim vitia virtutibus inmissa sunt, ut illas secum fractura sint.

Adice nunc, quod oratio certam regulam non habet; consuetudo illam civitatis, quae numquam in eodem diu stetit, versat. Multi ex alieno saeculo petunt verba, duodecim tabulas loquuntur. Gracchus illis et Crassus et Curio nimis culti et recentes sunt, ad Appium usque et Coruncanium redeunt. Quidam contra, dum nihil nisi tritum et usitatum volunt, in sordes incidunt.

Utrumque diverso genere corruptum est, tam mehercules quam nolle nisi splendidis uti ac sonantibus et poeticis, necessaria atque in usu

   
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