第 1 节
作者:旅游巴士      更新:2024-03-30 10:52      字数:8776
  by Plutarch
  translated by John Dryden
  THESE are the most memorable circumstances recorded in history of
  Demosthenes and Cicero which have come to our knowledge。 But
  omitting an exact comparison of their respective faculties in
  speaking; yet thus much seems fit to be said; that Demosthenes; to
  make himself a master in rhetoric; applied all the faculties he had;
  natural or acquired; wholly that way that he far surpassed in force
  and strength of eloquence all his contemporaries in political and
  judicial speaking; in grandeur and majesty all the panegyrical
  orators; and in accuracy and science all the logicians and
  rhetoricians of his day; that Cicero was highly educated; and by his
  diligent study became a most accomplished general scholar in all these
  branches; having left behind him numerous philosophical treatises of
  his own on Academic principles as; indeed; even in his written
  speeches; both political and judicial; we see him continually trying
  to show his learning by the way。 And one may discover the different
  temper of each of them in their speeches。 For Demosthenes's oratory
  was without all embellishment and jesting; wholly composed for real
  effect and seriousness; not smelling of the lamp; as Pytheas
  scoffingly said; but of the temperance; thoughtfulness; austerity; and
  grave earnestness of his temper。 Whereas Cicero's love of mockery
  often ran him into scurrility; and in his love of laughing away
  serious arguments in judicial cases by jests and facetious remarks;
  with a view to the advantage of his clients; he paid too little regard
  to what was decent: saying; for example; in his defence of Caelius;
  that he had done no absurd thing in such plenty and affluence to
  indulge himself in pleasures; it being a kind of madness not to
  enjoy the things we possess; especially since the most eminent
  philosophers have asserted pleasures to be the chiefest good。 So
  also we are told that when Cicero; being consul; undertook the defence
  of Murena against Cato's prosecution; by way of bantering Cato; he
  made a long series of jokes upon the absurd paradoxes; as they are
  called; of the Stoic set; so that a loud laughter passing from the
  crowd to the judges; Cato; with a quiet smile; said to those that
  sat next him; 〃My friends; what an amusing consul we have。〃
  And; indeed; Cicero was by natural temper very much disposed to
  mirth and pleasantry; and always appeared with a smiling and serene
  countenance。 But Demosthenes had constant care and thoughtfulness in
  his look; and a serious anxiety; which he seldom; if ever; laid aside;
  and therefore; was accounted by his enemies; as he himself
  confessed; morose and ill…mannered。
  Also; it is very evident; out of their several writings; that
  Demosthenes never touched upon his own praises but decently and
  without offence when there was need of it and for some weightier
  end; but upon other occasions modestly and sparingly。 But Cicero's
  immeasurable boasting of himself in his orations argues him guilty
  of an uncontrollable appetite for distinction; his cry being
  evermore that arms should give place to the gown; and the soldier's
  laurel to the tongue。 And at last we find him extolling not only his
  deeds and actions; but his orations also; as well those that were only
  spoken; as those that were published; as if he were engaged in a
  boyish trial of skill; who should speak best; with the rhetoricians;
  Isocrates and Anaximenes; not as one who could claim the task to guide
  and instruct the Roman nation; the…
  〃Soldier full…armed; terrific to the foe。〃
  It is necessary; indeed; for a political leader to be an able
  speaker; but it is an ignoble thing for any man to admire and relish
  the glory of his own eloquence。 And; in this matter; Demosthenes had a
  more than ordinary gravity and magnificence of mind; accounting his
  talent in speaking nothing more than a mere accomplishment and
  matter of practice; the success of which must depend greatly on the
  good…will and candour of his hearers; and regarding those who pride
  themselves on such accounts to be men of a low and petty disposition。
  The power of persuading and governing the people did; indeed;
  equally belong to both; so that those who had armies and camps at
  command stood in need of their assistance; as Charas; Diopithes; and
  Leosthenes of Demosthenes's; Pompey and young Caesar of Cicero's; as
  the latter himself admits in his Memoirs addressed to Agrippa and
  Maecenas。 But what are thought and commonly said most to demonstrate
  and try the tempers of men; namely; authority and place; by moving
  every passion; and discovering every frailty; these are things which
  Demosthenes never received; nor was he ever in a position to give such
  proof of himself; having never obtained any eminent office; nor led
  any of those armies into the field against Philip which he raised by
  his eloquence。 Cicero; on the other hand; was sent quaestor into
  Sicily; and proconsul into Cilicia and Cappadocia; at a time when
  avarice was at the height; and the commanders and governors who were
  employed abroad; as though they thought it a mean thing to steal;
  set themselves to seize by open force; so that it seemed no heinous
  matter to take bribes; but he that did it most moderately was in
  good esteem。 And yet he; at this time; gave the most abundant proofs
  alike of his contempt of riches and of his humanity and good…nature。
  And at Rome; when he was created consul in name; but indeed received
  sovereign and dictatorial authority against Catiline and his
  conspirators; he attested the truth of Plato's prediction; that then
  the miseries of states would be at an end when; by a happy fortune;
  supreme power; wisdom; and justice should be united in one。
  It is said; to the reproach of Demosthenes; that his eloquence was
  mercenary that he privately made orations for Phormion and
  Apollodorus; though adversaries in the same cause; that he was charged
  with moneys received from the King of Persia; and condemned for bribes
  from Harpalus。 And should we grant that all those (and they are not
  few) who have made these statements against him have spoken what is
  untrue; yet that Demosthenes was not the character to look without
  desire on the presents offered him out of respect and gratitude by
  royal persons; and that one who lent money on maritime usury was
  likely to be thus indifferent; is what we cannot assert。 But that
  Cicero refused; from the Sicilians when he was quaestor; from the King
  of Cappadocia when he was proconsul; and from his friends at Rome when
  he was in exile; many presents; though urged to receive them; has been
  said already。
  Moreover; Demosthenes's banishment was infamous; upon conviction for
  bribery; Cicero's very honourable; for ridding his country of a set of
  villains。 Therefore; when Demosthenes fled his country; no man
  regarded it; for Cicero's sake the senate changed their habit; and put
  on mourning; and would not be persuaded to make any act before
  Cicero's return was decreed。 Cicero; however; passed his exile idly in
  Macedonia。 But the very exile of Demosthenes made up a great part of
  the services he did for his country; for he went through the cities of
  Greece; and everywhere; as we have said; joined in the conflict on
  behalf of the Grecians; driving out the Macedonian ambassadors; and
  approving himself a much better citizen than Themistocles and
  Alcibiades did in the like fortune。 And; after his return; he again
  devoted himself to the same public service; and continued firm to
  his opposition to Antipater and the Macedonians。 Whereas Laelius
  reproached Cicero in the senate for sitting silent when Caesar; a
  beardless youth; asked leave to come forward; contrary to the law;
  as a candidate for the consulship; and Brutus; in his epistles;
  charges him with nursing and rearing a greater and more heavy
  tyranny than that they had removed。
  Finally; Cicero's death excites our pity; for an old man to be
  miserably carried up and down by his servants; flying and hiding
  himself from that death which was; in the course of nature; so near at
  hand; and yet at last to be murdered。 Demosthenes; though he seemed at
  first a little to supplicate; yet; by his preparing and keeping the
  poison by him; demands our admiration; and still more admirable was
  his using it。 When the temple of the god no longer afforded him a
  sanctuary; he took refuge; as it were; at a mightier altar; freeing
  himself from arms and soldiers; and laughing to scorn the cruelty of