These essays on rhetoric were composed by Cicero when he was about one and twenty years of age, and he mentions them afterwards in his more elaborate treatise De Oratore, (Lib. i. e. 2,) as unworthy of his more mature age, and more extended experiences. Quintilian also (III. c. 63,) mentions them as works which Cicero condemned by subsequent writings. This treatise originally consisted of four books, of which only two have come down to us.