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hesitating, and speak the longest periods without once taking breath. But this was not all, for he used to go to the sea-shore and speak his orations when the weather was most boisterous, in order to prepare himself, by the confused noise of the waves, for the uproar of the people, and the tumultuous cries of assemblies. He had a large mirror, which was his master for action; and before this he used to declaim, before he spoke in public. He was well paid for his trouble, since by this method he carried the art of declaiming to the highest perfection of which it was capable. His application to study, in other respects, was equal to the pains he took to conquer his natural defects. He had a closet made under ground, that he might be remote from noise and disturbance; and this was to be seen in Plutarch's time., There he shut himself up for months together, and had half his head shaved, on purpose that he might be kept from going abroad. It was there he composed by the light of a small lamp, those excellent harangues, which smelt, as his enemies. gave out, of the oil; to insinuate they were too much laboured. "Tis very plain, replied he, yours Idid not cost you so much trouble. He was a very early riser, and used to be under great concern, when any artificer got to work before him. We may judge of his endeavours, to perfect himself in every kind of learning, by the pains he took in copying Thucydides's history no less than eight times, with his own hand, in order to make his style more familiar to him. Rollin.
HOW THE ART OF ELOQUENCE WAS ACQUIRED BY CICERO.
CICERO was born with a very fine genius, and had likewise the best education, in which he was more happy than Demosthenes. His father took particular care of it, and spared nothing to cultivate his talents. It appears that the famous Crassus, whom he so often mentions in his works, was pleased to direct the plan of his studies, and assigned him such preceptors as were capable of assisting him in forming Cicero. The poet Archias implanted in him very early, the elements of taste for polite literature; which Cicero himself tells us, in the eloquent oration he made in defence of his master.
No child ever discovered more ardour for study, than Cicero. Children were at that time taught by none but Greeks; and he performed such things in their language, as deserve to be taken notice of. Plotius was the first who altered that - custom, and taught in Latin. He was a Gaul, and had a very famous school. People sent their > children to it, from all parts, and those of the best taste approved his method very much. Cicero was excessively desirous of hearing such a master; but those who had the chief management of his education and studies, did not think proper to gratify him, because that method of teaching, which was not practised or heard of till then, appeared to the magistrates a dangerous innovation; and the censors, of whom Crassus was one, made a decree to prohibit it, without giving any other reason, but that the custom was contrary to
the practice established by their ancestors. Cras sus, or rather Cicero in his name, endeavours to justify this decree in the best manner he could, which had given offence to people of the best understanding; and he hints, that the new plan itself was not so much condemned as the method the masters took in teaching it. And indeed this plan prevailed at last, and people were sensible of the benefit and advantages which accrued from it, as Suetonius informs us, who has preserved Cicero's epistle, wherein he speaks of Plotius, the censor's order, and the decree of the senate.
In the mean time Cicero made a great progress under his masters. And indeed he had such a genius as Plato wished a pupil; a strong thirst for learning, a mind fit for sciences, and that took in all things. Poetry was one of his first passions, and it is related that he succeeded tolerably well in it. From his infant years he distinguished himself in so remarkable a manner among those of his own age, that the parents of his school-fellows hearing of his extraordinary genius, came on purpose to school to be eye-witnesses of it, and were charmed with what they saw and heard. His merit must have been attended with great modesty, since his companions were the first who proclaimed it, and paid him such honours, as raised the jealousy of some of their parents.
At sixteen, which was the time youth were allowed to wear the toga virilis, or manly gown, Cicero's studies became more serious. It was a custom then at Rome, for the father or next relation of a youth, who had attained the age we are now speaking of, and designed for the bar, to
present him to one of the most celebrated orators, and put him under his protection. After this, the young man devoted himself to his patron in a particular manner; went to hear him plead, consulted him about his studies, and did nothing without his advice. Being thus accustomed betimes, to breathe, as it were, the air of the bar, which is the best school for a young lawyer, and as he was the disciple of the greatest masters, and forming the most finished models, he was soon able to imitate them.
Cicero himself tells us, this was his custom, and that he was a diligent hearer of the ablest orators in Rome. He devoted several hours every day to reading and composition; and it is very probable, that what he makes Crassus say, in his books de Oratore, he himself had practised in his youth; that is, he translated the finest pieces of the Greek orators into Latin, in order to imbibe their style and genius.
He did not confine himself barely to the study of eloquence; for that of the law appeared to him one of the most necessary, and he devoted himself to it with uncommon application. He likewise made himself perfectly master of philosophy in all its branches; and he proves, in several places, that it contributed infinitely more than rhetoric towards making him an orator. He had the best philosophers of the age for his masters.
Cicero did not begin to plead till he was about six and twenty. The troubles of the state prevented him from attempting it sooner. His first essays were so many master-pieces, and they immediately gained him a reputation almost equal
to that of the oldest lawyers. His defence of Sextius Roscius, and especially the part relating to the punishment of parricides, had extraordinary success, and gained him great applause; and so much the more, as none else had courage enough to undertake the cause, on account of the exorbitant credit of Chrysogonus, freed man to Sylla the dictator, whose power in the commonwealth was at that time unlimited.
The sensible pleasure his rising reputation gave him, was allayed by the ill state of his health. His constitution was very tender; the drudgery of the bar, together with his warm and vehement manner of writing and speaking, made people fear he would sink under the weight; and all his friends and the physicians enjoined him silence and retirement. It was a kind of death to him to renounce wholly the pleasing hopes of glory, which the bar seemed to offer.. He thought it would be enough to soften a little the vehemence of his style and pronunciation, and that a voyage might restore his health. And accordingly he set out for Asia. Some indeed imagined a political reason made his absence necessary, in order that he might avoid the consequences of Chrysogonus's resentment.
He took Athens in his way, and continued there about six months. It is easy to judge, how one who was so fond of study, employed that time, in a city which was still looked upon as the seat of the most refined learning, and most solid philosophy. From Athens he went to Asia, where he consulted all the able professors of eloquence he could meet with. And not contented with all