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XVI. INTERROGATION. Of all figures, this is the most overwhelming and rapid ; but it should never be employed in unfolding the principles upon which a discourse is established; for it causes obscurity, and a species of declamation, offensive to persons of good taste. The success of interrogation is infallible, when properly employed. A memorable example of it occurs, when Tully, unable to express the lively indignation of his patriotic zeal, rushes abruptly upon Catiline, and instantly overwhelms him by the vehemence of his interrogations.
“ How long, Oh Catiline, wilt thou abuse our patience? How long shall thy madness elude us? Whither will thy ungovernable audacity impel thee? Could neither the nightly garrison of the citadel, nor the watch of the city, nor the general consternation, nor the congress of all good men, nor this strongly fortified place where the Senate is held, nor the enraged countenances of those senators, deter thee from thy impious designs ? Dost thou not perceive that thy counsels are all discovered? Thinkest thou that there are any of us ignorant of thy transactions the past night, the place of rendezvous, thy collected associates?”
By using such language as this, the orator leaves not a moment's time for false or evasive replication, but paralyzes the accused, by irresistibly showing the extent and enormity of his guilt, thus rendered as apparent to the astonished auditor, as it is overwhelming to the trembling criminal. Dr. Blair says, “ Interrogations are passionate figures. They are, indeed, on so many occasions, the native language of passion, that their use is extremely frequent: and in ordinary conversation, when men are heated, they prevail as much as in the most sublime oratory. The unfigured literal use of interrogation is to ask a question ; but when men are prompted by passion, whatever they would affirm, or deny, with great vehemence, they naturally put in the form of a question ; expressing thereby the strongest confidence of the truth of their own sentiments, and appealing to
their hearers for the impossibility of the contrary. Thus, in scripture :
“God is not a man—that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent. Hath he said ? and shall he not do it ? or hath he spoken ? and shall he not make it good ?"
Demosthenes addressing himself to the Athenians, says,
“ Tell me, will you still go about and ask one another, what news? What can be more astonishing news than this, that the man of Macellon makes war upon the Athenians, and disposes of the affairs of Greece? Is Philip dead? No, but he is sick. What signifies it to you whether he be dead or alive? For if anything happen to this Philip, you will immediately raise up another."
All this, delivered without interrogation, had been faint and ineffectual; but the warmth and eagerness, which this questioning method expresses, awaken the hearers, and strike them with much greater force."
XVII. ITERATION OR REPETITION
BY SOME CALLED ECHO. Iteration serves to strengthen and enforce argument, and in many instances, produces great force and beauty. Iteration should be read or spoken in the same manner as the subject from which the repetition occurs.
Examples " As Cæsar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious, I slew him."
" There are tears for his love; joy for his fortune; honor for his valor; and death for his ambition.”
"There still remains that which is even paramount to the law. That great tribunal which the wisdom of our ancestors raised in this country for the support of the people's rights-- That tribunal which has made the law—That tribunal which has given me you to look at-That tribunal which is surrounded with a hedge as it were set about it-That tribunal which from age to age has been fighting for the liberties of the people, and without the aid of which
it would have been in vain for me to stand up before you, or to think of looking round for assistance.”
ERSKINE FOR TOOK, ON TRIAL BY JURY.
MILTON'S PARADISE LOST.
XVIII. PERSONATION. Personation is the representation by a single reader or speaker of the words, manner and actions of one per. son, or of many individuals, as if he or they were themselves reading or speaking; in effect "giving form to fancy, and embodying thought.” .
This power is capable of producing an effect nearly equal to scenic representation, in which each part is individually performed. Indeed, if the reader or reciter be adequate to the task, he may elicit an approbation far surpassing that received by the many, for he seems to concentrate all their powers within himself. · The person so gifted must be a consummate reader or speaker. This figure is more materially connected with dramatic than any other style of composition, although it is sometimes resorted to in all oratorical subjects. It depends upon a perfect conception of the Author's meaning, a facility of imitation, and a variety of expression in voice and manner, which can only be acquired, even where the capability eminently exists, by much labor and continual practice.
In the exercise of this figure, especial care should be taken not to outrage the rule laid down by the greatest master and depicter of human nature that ever wrote upon its subject: i. e. “not to o'erstep the modesty of nature; for in the very torrent, tempest and, as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness; hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time, his form and pressure."
To Surrey's camp to ride;
And Douglas gave a guide:
Though something I might plain," he said,
While in Tantallon's towers I staid,
And “This to me! he said;
To cleave the Douglas' head!
And first, I tell thee, haughty peer,
E'en in thy pitch of pride,
I tell thee, thou’rt defied !
Lord Angus, thou hast lied!'
The Douglas in his hall?
Let the port cullis fall..
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