Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 1.djvu/28

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INTRODUCTION


persuade. Some one, in describing the difference between Cicero and Demosthenes, remarked: "When Cicero spoke people said: 'How well Cicero speaks!' but when Demosthenes spoke they said, 'Let us go against Philip.' " — the difference being that Cicero impressed himself upon the audience, while Demosthenes impressed his subject upon them. Whether or not this comparison be a fair one, it at least presents an important truth. It is a compliment to a public speaker that the audience should discuss what he says rather than his manner of saying it; more complimentary that they should remember his arguments, than that they should praise his rhetoric. The orator should seek to conceal himself behind his subject. If he presents himself in every speech he is sure to become monotonous, if not offensive. If, however, he focuses attention upon his subject, he can find an infinite number of themes and, therefore, give variety to his speech.

In reading great orations one not only learns something of the mental methods and style of

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