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after ficoustic-dows Keny
Immortal eloquence with thee doth mate
Whose voice still thundering o'er lime's flowing
went to hear a famed Redemptorist father there is always the danger of forming an who was preaching a “retreat” in a great exaggerated opinion of men and events of French cathedral. It was at a solemn twenty centuries ago. We realize that pontifical high mass. All the conditions to our neighbor, who is a most ordinary felaffect the senses and lead up to crusadic low to-day, may do something, quite accienthusiasm were there: the stage-settings dentally and without the slightest thought were perfect; a vast concourse of nearly for posterity, that will have him canonten thousand people, a choir of six hun- ized, apotheosized, or otherwise set upon dred male voices, magnificent instru- a pinnacle, a hundred years hence, as one mental music, the altar a blaze of light, of the most thoughtful and far-seeing the celebrant and attending priests in be- benefactors of the human race. But not jeweled vestments of cloth-of-gold, two so with Demosthenes. As we know him hundred boys in crimson cassocks and fine to-day and esteem him, so was he known laces, the sweet-smelling incense, the im- and esteemed at all times back to his own pressive ceremonial, the tremulous into- day. Contemporaneous evidence abounds nation of that age-abiding confession of as to the esteem in which his fellows held faith, Credo in unum Deum, by the very him; and, while we have progressed in old, feeble, but patriarchal-looking arch- many sciences, who is there to-day who is, bishop, the soul-stirring choral outburst in matters of Art or in the qualities Deof the Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, - all prop- mosthenes is to be judged upon, a peer erly forced one up to the fitting climax of of those same old Athenians ? that sermon. The preacher ascended the Had they enthused over him in all pulpit, escorted by six pompous beadles things, turned his vices into virtues and in gorgeous livery. He was in strange sworn by them, as it has been and is comcontrast to all this splendor, severe of mon enough to do with popular idols, we mien and in garb. But what eloquence! might accept their evidence with a pinch True, his hearers were French: soine of salt; but that they appraised him at his wept, others beat their breasts, a few of true value and sought not to conceal his the really fashionable dames most grace- faults nor even his weaknesses, is amply fully fainted. Had he insisted upon our proven in the epitaph (where men are going forth to strange lands and wars I usually only extolled) they inscribed upon verily believe I would have started. Yet the bronze statue they cast in his mema week after I could not recall a sentence ory: that man had uttered. The impression he
« Divine in speech, in judgment, too, divine, made was momentary, superficial, merely Had valor's wreath, Demosthenes, been thine, sensual; verily a Peter the Hermit.
Fair Greece had still her freedom's ensign borne,
And held the scourge of Macedon in scorn.” For years and years I have watched and almost fasted and prayed to get a glimpse Plutarch tells us that Demosthenes took of someone who would give me even a gold from the Persians to stir up strife faint idea of what we are told was the elo- and keep the Macedonians' attention diquence of Demosthenes. I have listened verted from them. We would call it in vain to famed pulpit-orators, to states- bribery, yet, measured by the standard of men, and to advocates of renown; I have the times, I doubt if even Phocion's was a as vainly haunted the halls as well as nobler character, and we may still cail the courts and the churches of many lands. orator the “uncorruptible Greek.” Young men often have given promise of Plutarch further tells us that the great great things, but a few years of contact orator was “vindictive by nature and imwith their fellows has swollen them with placable in his resentments,” but he is conceit or otherwise marred the promised just enough to take Theopompus to task quality of their oratory. Among young or for saying that Demosthenes had no steadold we do not know, nor have we heard iness of purpose, and he then goes on to of, or read in history about, any one orator prove that the latter abode by the faction who has approached his high attainments or party he first cast his lot with, even to in politics, in the forum, or before the ar, the giving of his life rather than forsake or who is even moderately well qualified that early alliance. to wear the mantle of the great Athenian. We have evidence in the praise of the
At this remote time, and knowing that man's own arch-enemy, an orator of no distance lends enchantment, and that sel- mean ability himself. Cicero tells us that, dom do tales lose anything in the telling, Æschines having opposed Ctesiphon, who
proposed to the Athenians that they reward Demosthenes, for his public services, with a crown of gold, and the matter coming to trial, Æschines delivered his famous address belaboring Demosthenes through Ctesiphon, and picking the former's character and services to pieces. This was the occasion upon which Demosthenes replied in his immortal «Oration
the Crown » that drove Æschines, beaten and humbled, into exile. The people of Rhodes, where he abode, besought Æschines to read them his memorable address. He did, and the next day read them Demosthenes' oration with as much fire and vim as he had previously put into his own. The people applauded both, - but,” said he to them, “how much more would you have admired it if you had heard Demosthenes deliver it himself!
Cicero, in his own estimation of Demosthenes, says that he “is the man who approaches the character of a complete orator so nearly that you may apply it to him without hesitation.”
In seeking to place credit where credit is due, however, for the training, the tutelage of so great a genius,- and while «self-made » to a degree we know he must have sat at the knees of Plato or of Isocrates, or was indebted to some other master of his time for precept and example, – one is confronted with the difficulties thrown in the way by that troublesome characteristic so dominant in the writings of Greek historians,— and, alas! not so very uncommon in the writings of to-day either,- the placing of men and events where they best suit the author's taste or his idea of where they ought to have been. In other words Herodotus may have been the “Father of Lies,” but his sons and successors in the field of History have patterned after the old gentleman's example pretty closely, to our great loss.
Greek historians have ever sought, too, to systematize or group their great men; it is so easy to fit in so-and-so as such another's son, or connect them by marriage, or, at the very least, to make one the other's pupil. It gave sequence, was ingenious, and helped out the drama. If they could not bring in their desired actor gracefully and naturally through the wings, they would bob him up through a trap or drop him from the "gridiron.” As at one of our modern «benefits,” they wanted all the stars upon the stage at
Demosthenes was a star par excellence. Then, say the sages, we must have him spring from Isocrates or from Plato; from whose hands else could he come ?”
In his very last work Isocrates bemoans the success of Demosthenes. Is it natural that he would have been jealous of a pupil ? Would he not rather have proudly claimed his success as of his, the master's, making?
Onetor, a known disciple of Isocrates, was a sworn enemy of Demosthenes. Isocrates often mentions the former as his pupil, but not once does he speak of the latter in such connection. The latter's first pleading was against another pupil of Isocrates, Androtion. Most of the pupils of that master were rich and ambitious, and, from Demosthenes' very first appearance they were arrayed as a powerful coterie against him. This was most rarely the spirit found in the pupils of the same school or master. There was usually a most clannish, close fellowship that kept them together, “a solid mass against all other schools and individuals ;) and had so notable an exception existed we would certainly find frequent mention of it.
No; according to Perrot and the best of modern authorities Demosthenes was not a pupil of Isocrates: he may have listened to, and we know he read, that master's principal orations, but he was in no sense his disciple.
And so with Plato,- the claims that make him a master of Demosthenes rest upon no sounder foundation. Hermippus was the first to advance that assertion. Cicero bases his theory of that discipleship upon certain letters of Demosthenes that later authorities agree were not authentic, — mere stage-letters! It has even been claimed that he drew his masterly' addresses from Aristotle's Rhetoric,” — a theory that Dennys quickly disproved by showing that that work was not written until our orator had achieved his greatest
As Perrot says, it is most natural to suppose that a wide-awake young man, as Demosthenes must have been, was benefited and influenced somewhat by his great and senior contemporaries, but no case has ever been made out awarding him, as a pupil, to either.
The eloquence of Demosthenes, severe, aggressive, full of action, a debate sui generis, with all the pros and cons well weighed, a challenge to his opponents, was the very opposite of that of Isocrates,
the man of luxury, who took his time And so was it with our orator. It has about it and assumed that his every state- been most clearly proven that he was not ment was a proof positive per se; who, so absolutely self-made, but was a pupil of far from debating, would have been hor- Isæus — claims to that honor for others rified had anyone the temerity to hint that notwithstanding any of his statements were even debat- Isæus helped him in his first debates and able.
trials, collaborated with him, and was That Demosthenes had read Plato and proud of his success. Already an old man, was somewhat influenced by his writings and seeking to free himself from the cares is conceded. Plato did not affect the of public life, he first entrusted one case to corrupt so-called poetical-prose of the de- his young pupil and then another; helped cadents of his time, yet his writings were him to build up a clientèle from his own elegant, dainty in composition, full of practice; and then, absolutely carried metaphor, brilliant imagery, and poetic away with his enthusiastic admiration of thought, while on the contrary there is no his disciple's brilliancy, he actually went more severe, rugged prose in all Greek forth, and, to use a slangy but most exliterature than that of Demosthenes, who pressive term, “drummed up trade » for never resorted to the slightest poetical or him. merely rhetorical flourish.
When Demosthenes secured a foothold, But there was a vein of similarity in and later actually dominated in the affairs their lofty aspirations; their philosophy of his country, who sang his praises louder was unlike — absolutely unlike — that of and more persistently than did his old their contemporaries, and in that master? Compare the latter's attitude to Demosthenes perhaps influenced by his
that of Isocrates, and, without the wisdom elder,- an influence, or at least a coinci- of Solomon or resorting to his drastic dence, that led Panatius and Quintilianus tests, it will be easy to discover to whom into the supposition that Demosthenes belongs the pupil. must have been a Platonian disciple. Said Nor was Demosthenes ungrateful when they:
he had gotten fame and some fortune.
We find records of the sum of 10,000 «Does not that famous oath, where Demos
drachmas (almost $2,000 of our money) he thenes took to witness those who had died at Marathon and at Salamina, prove clearly enough
paid unto Isæus as a price for his early that Plato was his master?»
lessons and care,” a sum that “sufficed
unto the latter a goodly income for the reDemosthenes cared only for the moral mainder of his days.” value of the acts he counseled, as the just Some of the old writers refuse to acPlato's only desire was to be virtuous, knowledge his pupilage under Isæus becaring not for the punishments or the re- cause, forsooth, he was a greater man than wards men meted out to him.
the inaster. A strange argument for men We know what natural difficulties De- of our times to repeat. It would require mosthenes had to surmount in acquiring his a large volume indeed to record the names mastery over spoken thought, his studious of all who, in the Arts, Letters, or Sciences, qualities, his efforts and partial success in have absorbed all their masters could the prosecution of those who had de- teach and then forged ahead far and befrauded him out of his patrimony. His yond those masters' attainments. And pleadings against Aphobus and against yet, were not those masters instrumental Onetor brought him, early in life, to the in bringing out the very best qualities, attention of the Athenians: he was but sometimes most latent, of those pupils ? twenty-five when he gave his great dis- Aye, and we have records of their actually course against Spudias and Callicles. But forcing those disciples to their high estate. such advancement was not solely self- Should they not then enjoy some of the impelled, and it does not abate one jot reflected glory of the genius they have or tittle from his glory that he received
fostered? help, tangible and practical, in those early Demosthenes early learned to surmount struggles. Who of our brilliant young obstacles, and to meet conditions and men lawyers, diplomats (if we have any), or face to face. His most active years were statesmen has not had kindly advice and not entirely passed in preparing his pleadhelp- perhaps financial assistance— from ings and his writings. He sought by every some older member of his craft?
means in his power to acquire a complete
this voluptuous and ignoble mode of life, found it difficult, to say the least, ever to abandon those early habits.
and general education. But his efforts were directed. To Isæus is due the credit for the pupil's breadth of view, his clear insight into what was in and behind men's intentions. Under Isæus's guidance he attended the tribunals and the assemblies; together they were frequent spectators at the games and at the plays. · Isæus picked out the writings of the great philosophers of Athens, her poets, and chiefly her historians, that would most benefit his young mind.
And in his more mature writings Demosthenes shows the enormous benefits of this guidance among men and places most uncongenial to him, and that, left to himself, he would not have frequented. As a result he exhibits such an abundance of facts and of thoughts, such a variety of knowledge, such exalted views, a certain manner of mastering, of absolutely dominating his subject, as to prove his possession of a culture as wide and remarkable as it is profound.”
In this breadth and information he, our authorities tell us, much surpassed Lysias and even Isæus;" but does not that very fact redound to the greater glory of the master, who, recognizing the possibilities of the pupil, unselfishly bent his every effort to the greater development of the genius that he, we believe, fully realized would pass his master in the race for fame?
Whatever may have been Isæus's faults he was profound philosopher enough to discern what was right and noble, and broad enough to attempt to guide his chosen disciple in the path that he in his own youth may not have followed without wandering into its byways and crossroads.
Athens then was a city of pleasure, as renowned for her cooks as for her writers and her artists,” – the gastronomical as well as the intellectual capital of the world. It was at Athens that was “found the finest fish, as also the most savory and learned sauces to garnish the same;) it was sometimes in Corinth, but “generally in Athens, that were to be found the most celebrated courtesans." The Greeks loved money, and, between their lust for it and for power and pleasure, short shrift was given to virtue and nor. It was not an ennobling atmosphere for a youth to grow in. The Greek youth, thus early tasting
«They accustomed themselves to satisfying their every caprice, all their passions; . . if they grew up as lawyers, and had by birth or acquirement any standing before the people or before the jury, they made traffic of their influence in favor of him who paid them the most.
The profession at all times has had its profits [?] but never to the extent that obtained during the time of Philip, who had at his disposal, to grease the traitors, all the gold of Pangæus. What temptations for a Philocrates, for a Demades, and for an Æschines, who were ever sufferers from an emptied purse!”
That Demosthenes withstood these general temptations and the special ones that, as he grew greater, were entwined about him, impoverished as he was by the hand of those who had sworn to his dying father to protect the boy; that he walked along a different path from that trodden by the overwhelming majority of his contemporaries, who, to fatten their own pockets, neglected every civic duty, and, when forced to war by Philip, hired mercenaries to take their places in the ranks of their country's defenders;' that he was noble and public-spirited - regardless of Droysen's, Grote's, or Duruy's contentions as to the results of that publicspiritedness,— were due to the fact that in the first years of his youth he by nature and force of circumstances was preserved from the dissipations of the times. We must also attribute part – yes, and the greater part, too — of that preservative influence to the tender solicitude, the fatherly care, given him by his master Isæus, a care that bore fruit in afteryears in that not only did Demosthenes remain uncorruptible and lead a dignified and useful a great — life, but that he was preserved so long from even the breath of those vague and calumnious imputations under which he finally succumbed in that unfortunate affair of Harpalus.” Would that that had never happened! The world's history might then have preserved to us at least one statesman's record unclouded by the weakest accusation or even by the slightest suspicion of corruption.
F. W. FITZPATRICK. WASHINGTON, D.C.