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Demosthenes   


his study, and run over everything in order that had passed, and the
reasons that might be alleged for and against it. Any speeches, also,
that he was present at, he would go over again with himself, and reduce
into periods; and whatever others spoke to him, or he to them, he
would correct, transform, and vary several ways. Hence it was that
he was looked upon as a person of no great natural genius, but one
who owed all the power and ability he had in speaking to labour and
industry. Of the truth of which it was thought to be no small sign
that he was very rarely heard to speak upon the occasion, but though
he were by name frequently called upon by the people, as he sat in
the assembly, yet he would not rise unless he had previously considered
the subject, and came prepared for it. So that many of the popular
pleaders used to make it a jest against him; and Pytheas once, scoffing
at him, said that his arguments smelt of the lamp. To which Demosthenes
gave the sharp answer, "It is true, indeed, Pytheas, that your lamp
and mine are not conscious of the same things." To others, however,
he would not much deny it, but would admit frankly enough, that he
neither entirely wrote his speeches beforehand, nor yet spoke wholly
extempore. And he would affirm that it was the more truly popular
act to use premeditation, such preparation being a kind of respect
to the people; whereas, to slight and take no care how what is said
is likely to be received by the audience, shows something of an oligarchical
temper, and is the course of one that intends force rather than persuasion.
Of his want of courage and assurance to speak offhand, they make it
also another argument that, when he was at a loss and discomposed,
Demades would often rise up on the sudden to support him, but he was
never observed to do the same for Demades.
Whence then, may some say, was it, that Aeschines speaks of him as
a person so much to be wondered at for his boldness in speaking? Or,
how could it be, when Python, the Byzantine, with so much confidence
and such a torrent of words inveighed against the Athenians, that
Demosthenes alone stood up to oppose him? Or when Lamarchus, the Myrinaean,
had written a panegyric upon King Philip and Alexander, in which he
uttered many things in reproach of the Thebans and Olynthians, and
at the Olympic Games recited it publicly, how was it that he, rising
up, and recounting historically and demonstratively what benefits
and advantages all Greece had received from the Thebans and Chalcidians,
and, on the contrary, what mischiefs the flatterers of the Macedonians
had brought upon it, so turned the minds of all that were present
that the sophist, in alarm at the outcry against him, secretly made
his way out of the assembly? But Demosthenes, it should seem, regarded
other points in the character of Pericles to be unsuited to him; but
his reserve and his sustained manner, and his forbearing to speak
on the sudden, or upon every occasion, as being the things to which
principally he owed his greatness, these he followed, and endeavoured
to imitate, neither wholly neglecting the glory which present occasion
offered, nor yet willing too often to expose his faculty to the mercy
of chance. For, in fact, the orations which were spoken by him had
much more of boldness and confidence in them than those that he wrote,
if we may believe Eratosthenes, Demetrius the Phalerian, and the Comedians.
Eratosthenes says that often in his speaking he would be transported
into a kind of ecstasy, and Demetrius, that he uttered the famous
metrical adjuration to the people-
"By the earth, the springs, the rivers, and the streams," as a man
inspired and beside himself. One of the comedians calls him a rhopoperperethras,
and another scoffs at him for his use of antithesis:-
"And what he took, took back; a phrase to please,
The very fancy of Demosthenes." Unless, indeed, this also is meant
by Antiphanes for a jest upon the speech on Halonesus, which Demosthenes
advised the Athenians not to take at Philip's hands, but to take back.
All, however, used to consider Demades, in the mere use of his natural
gifts, an orator impossible to surpass, and that in what he spoke
on the sudden, he excelled all the study and preparation of Demosthenes.
And Ariston, the Chian, has recorded a judgment which Theophrastus

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