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over, bold mountainous passes, and even districts, recurring more fre. quently than they are to be met with on the Continent. France, the ugliest country in the world in the eyes of every foreigner, will, I am aware, proclaim itself super-eminently beautiful. But, in the mind of a Frenchman, a beautiful country and a rich country are synonymous terms: he has no conception of the beauty of any landscape that does not How with milk and honey. Hence his admiration for his drearily-expanding districts of arable land. With few exceptions, the picturesque scenery of France is restricted to the South of the Garonne and of the Isere, including also Auvergne.
“ Germany offers even less to the admiration of a Dr. Syntax; for, excepting the land included between the Tyrolian Alps and the Danube, we reco!lect little that might not vie with the most monotonous, dreary, and uninteresting corn regions of France; while the immense plain of Bavaria, corresponding with that of Lombardy on the opposite side of the Alps, has not even the rice swamps and the straggling vines of the latter country to arouse the sleepy traveller."
The Netherlands, Holland, Prussia, even Poland, and the Lombard. Venetian territory, are also condemned, when brought into comparison with the aspect, natural, cultivated, and adorned of England. Then as to other attractions, after he had seen, and after he had experienced what his native country contained, and on his second visit to France, he has told us,
" At Dover, I had entered what is known in every English inn as the * traveller's room,' or the coffee-room : I was now in the French salle-àmanger of the Calais hotel; and, comparing it with the room at Duver, I, for the first time, understood the external meaning of the English word comfort, a part from its moral sense. The one room was carpeted, and fitted up like a private sitting-room; while it was evident that chairs and tables were thought to constitute the only furniture that could be requisite in the other. Such had once been my notion; but England had spoilt me.”
This was in January. There was snow three inches thick in France on the morning after his arrival, but he had experienced previously no cold weather in England; and he adds, “ The English climate is far better than is generally supposed.” He continues thus :
“ The snow continued to fall as I entered the coach-yard and seated myself in the coupé of the diligence. Had I entertained the least doubt of the fact, I should now have been convinced that I was no longer in England ; and I watched the scene around as anxiously and attentively as though it had never before been offered to my observation. The whole process, if I may so call it, was amusing ; and I could now understand the feelings of my countrymen who witness it for the first time. When the passengers were safely stowed and the horses put to, the
postillion placed one foot in the stirrup, and cried · Eih !' the near front
wheel gave forth a rusty groan. • Eih !' he again exclaimed, and the wheel behind it was partly moved at the sound. •Eih, Eih ! he cried, more energetically, as he vaulted into the saddle : at the well-known voice the two other wheels of the coach echoed the lamentable sound that had, in succession, proceeded from their unwilling partners. All the four now creaked and groaned in woful harmony, and every part of the vehicle advanced along the snow.covered road.'
There is nothing of novelty in these latter extracts and contrasts ; but coming from Mr. Best who is so competent to judge of the two sides, and who towards the beginning of his comparisons, will probable appear to be exceedingly odious, the picture is doubly wel
Art. IX. La République de Cicéron, d'après le Texte inédit, récemment
découvert et commenté par M. Mai, Bibliothécaire du Vatican. Avec une Traduction Française un Discours Préliminaire, et des Dissertations Historiques. Par M. VILLEMAIN, del 'Académie Française. Paris.
It is a becoming task for every changing state of society to review the past, and to discover as far as possible those treasures of character which have before been unnoticed. And in looking back to the great men of antiquity, we know of no one to whom we feel more strongly attracted, or who seems to be more closely connected with the present, than Cicero. His works are more various, as well as extensive, than those of any other ancient writer, and we feel that we know him through these. We are brought nearer to him than to any one of the ancients. It seems as if we had actually listened to his voice in the Senate-house or the Forum, or conversed with him and his friends in his beautiful Tusculan gardens, and gathered from his own lips his deep and pure philosophy. And more than this ; we are sensible of the power of his mind, of its vast range through the past, present, and future; we perceive his capacity for comprehending all the improvements of society, and we feel that if he were brought to life at present, he would be as one of us. We figure to ourselves the delight with which he would view and understand the advances made since his time; the intuitive readiness with which he would accommodate himself to the laws of society ; the perfect gentleman he would appear, though suddenly placed in a scene so new, so trying, so full of wonders.
We shall speak only of Cicero as an orator. His name is identified with eloquence. His great pursuit ; the object to which his life was devoted; the passion of his youth ; the last and mightiest effort of his old age, was eloquence. The idea of a perfect orator existed in his mind almost from childhood, and was never lost from
his view. He looked to it as to a bright beacon advancing constantly before him; never perhaps fully reached, but attracting him by its brightness, and alluring him ever onward.
The early selection of this leading object to which his best faculties were to be devoted, and his steady pursuit of it through life, may seem rather remarkable in a state where military eminence so far eclipsed all other distinctions, and was the surest, if not the only step, to office and dignity. But Cicero was a remarkable instance of a man who understood himself. He knew his own character thoroughly; he understood wherein his greatest power consisted, and he used every means to cultivate those faculties which he was aware could alone ensure his success. He very early in life formed the conception of that perfect character which he says an orator ought to be; a man who has cultivated every power to the highest degree ; to whom the arts, the ornament of life, nature itself, pays tribute; whose mind is enriched by the knowledge of all sciences, and the thoughts and imaginings of kindred spirits in all ages, and who gathers into himself the results of genius of every period, country, and forin. Upon this model Cicero formed his character. He was aware that his powers were equal to the task. He knew that he could comprehend all that man had known ; that his powers of acquiring and his industry were unsurpassed ; and still more, he felt that knowledge in his mind would not be a dead and useless weight, but that he had power to mould and transform, to bring forth new and fairer forms, and to bequeath to all futurity high and worthy thoughts. From his earliest years, therefore, he devoted himself to literary pursuits. He made himself familiar, not only with the rhetorician's art, but also with the whole science of Roman jurisprudence; two branches which had always been considered as forming distinct professions. After gaining all the knowledge to be found in Rome, he travelled into Greece; be there perfected himself in the language of that country, and became familiar with her rich philosophy and literature. In Asia he was surrounded by the most distinguished philosophers and orators, with whom he daily conversed and reasoned, and from whom he probably obtained much of that knowledge of ancient philosophy which he displays in his writings. His mind was stored with all human knowledge ; the beautiful poetry of Greece was familiar to him; he had walked in the groves of Academus, and the genius of the place had penetrated his soul; he had listened to the various creeds of the schools, and had boldly formed his own opinions, without suffering the shackles of other minds; and he returned to make all his acquirements contribute to one object, the profession of eloquence. Of all the manifestations of human power, Cicero regarded that of the orator as the greatest, and as approaching nearest to the divine nature. To this, he made all knowledge and all talent subservient;
to this, poetry, philosophy, and history were but the ministering attendants.
We gather from his own writings his exalted opinion of the eloquent man:
“Let us trace the qualifications,” says he, “ of the orator such as Antony never saw, nor any other man; whom we can perchance describe as he ought to be, though perhaps we can neither imitate him, nor show any example of such a man, (for Antony used to say that these qualities were hardly granted to a God.)"
The orator must possess the knowledge of many sciences, without which a mere flow of words is vain and ridiculous; his style of speaking must be formed not only by a choice of words, but by a skilful arrangement and construction of sentences; he must be deeply versed in every emotion which nature has given to man; for all skill and power in speaking, consists in soothing or exciting the minds of the audience. In addition to this, he must possess a ready wit and pleasantry, an amount of erudition such as is becoming to a freeman, and a quickness of repartee united with refined elegance and urbanity. He must be familiar with all antiquity, and be provided with a store of examples; nor must he neglect the science of laws and jurisprudence.—And what shall I say of action ? which depends upon the motions of the budy, the gestures, the countenance, the tones and changes of the voice. The great importance of action
be discovered from the actor's frivolous art, and the stage ; for who is ignorant how few can resist the effect even of the moderate skill exbibited there? What shall I say of the memory, that treasury of all learning, without whose aid in preserving the knowledge we have acquired, or the thoughts we have originated, all the most valuable qualities of an orator would be lost? Let us no longer wonder, then, that eluquence is so rare, since it consists of so many accomplishments, each of which would seem to be the work of a life in acquiring."
Such was Cicero's notion of the Perfect Orator, and such he endeavoured to render himself. He was undoubtedly correct, in regarding eloquence as the concentration of human genius, the fullest development of all the powers, and the manifestation of the highest qualities of our nature. There is certainly no display of mortal power so imposing as that of the great orator at the moment of putting forth his energies ; when the highest mental faculties are called into action in concert with those physical powers which are so noble that the Greeks held them divine; when the thoughts that breathe and the words that burn are enforced by the graceful and impressive gesture, the form that seems to tower up and dilate, the beaming eye, the voice, with its thousand tones, embodying thought in the most resistless forms; and the enraptured crowds are ready to cry out," It is the voice of a god and not of a man.”
The union the physical with the mental must always be more dazzling, more overwhelming in its effects, than mere intellectual
effort can ever be. Hence, probably, the glory that must always be attached to great military prowess. The leader of a mighty host, governing all by the force of his siugle intellect, and with majestic presence of mind, amid the scene of carnage and horror, assailed by the dreadful sounds of battle, the deafening shouts, the continued roar, the shrieks of agony, the trumpet's blast, calmly directing the storm, or perhaps himself heading the charge, and rushing foremost in the onset, and inspiring thousands with a heroisin they never felt before, this is a display of energy and power, that must command admiration even from those who turn with loathing and horror from the scene.
This union of physical with intellectual power, however, is more remarkable and magnificent in the orator than in the soldier ; for here, the intellect predominates. It is mind manifesting itself in the brightest form of matter, and simply using it to give a more intense and perceptible expression to thought. In the warrior, the physical seems to prevail ; it is aided by the intellectual, but it makes mind subserviant to matter, and the effect produced is owing more to muscles and sinews, to animal courage and strength, than to intellectual power. The orator occasions, in a degree, the same effect, but in a far more noble manner.
« Before whom,” says Cicero, “do men tremble? on whom do they gaze stupefied? at whose words do they shout? whom do they regard as a God among men ?”
To some it may seem strange that one, whose ambition was so great as Cicero's, should have been content to rest his fame op a distinction so transient as that gained by the orator. True eloquence, as Cicero understood the word, uttered, not written, was to be terminated with the life of the orator. When that voice which invoked the people to their duties, as with a trumpet call, at whose sound the guilty quailed and Aed, which made one tyrant tremble on his judgment-seat, and goaded another to very madness, was hushed in death ; when the speaking eye was closed, and the graceful right band had lost its cunning, where was that eloquence to which a life of industry and careful labour had been devoted ? For a few years the memory of it lingered among his countrymen, who thought with bitter feelings of that name they dared not utter, and that glory which Rome was never again to witness ; but one by one all who had listened to him passed away, and the oratory of Cicero was a forgotten thing, or survived only in vague tradition. Why then, it may be asked, should a man of his genius devote his life to building up a monument, which at his death would melt away and disappear like some gorgeous cloud-pile which the wind scatters?
But, we ask, is eloquence so transient? Though the voice of the orator or the tragedian be hushed in death, do his glory and power pass away entirely? Though we may no longer hear his voice, or