unchanging style; unbroken discourse

“…And now, if you would know it, among my most familiar friends I will publish in simple language what I think, on which I have always kept silence and deemed silence fitting. In my view, even the best orators, those who can speak with the utmost ease and elegance, unless they are diffident in approaching a discourse and diffident in beginning it, seem to border on the shameless, although that can never come to pass. For the better the orator, the more profoundly is he frightened of the difficulty of speaking, and of the doubtful fate of a speech, and of the anticipations of an audience. On the other hand, the man who can do nothing in composition and delivery that is worthy of the occasion, worthy of the name of an orator, or of the ear of the listener, still seems to me to be with shame, be he never so agitated in his speaking; for it is not by feeling shame at what is unbecoming, but in not doing it, that we must escape the reproach of shamelessness. While as for him who is unashamed–as I see is the case with most speakers–I hold him deserving not merely of reprimand, but of punishment as well. Assuredly, just as I generally perceive it to happen to yourselves, so I very often prove it in my own experience, that I turn pale at the outset of a speech, and quake in every limb and in all my soul; in fact, as a very young man, I once so utterly lost heart in opening an indictment, that I had to thank Quintus Maximus for doing me the supreme service of promptly adjourning the hearing, the moment he saw that I was broken-down and unnerved by fear.”

-Crassus at I. xxvi. 118


“…These are the things which in good orators produce applause and admiration; and no man will attain these except by long and large practice in writing, however ardently he may have trained himself in those off-hand declamations; he too who approaches oratory by way of long practice in writing, brings this advantage to his task, that even if he is extemporizing, whatever he may say bears a likeness to the written word; and moreover if ever, during a speech, he has introduced a written note, the rest of his discourse, when he turns away form the writing, will proceed in unchanging style. Just as when a boat is moving at high speed, if the crew rest upon their oars, the craft herself still keeps her way and her run, though the driving force of the oars has ceased, so in an unbroken discourse, when written notes are exhausted, the rest of the speech still maintains a like progress, under the impulse given by the similarity and energy of the written word.”

-Crassus at I. xxxiii. 152


“…Then at last must our Oratory be conducted out of this sheltered training-ground at home, right into action, into the dust and uproar; into the camp and the fighting-line of public debate; she must face putting everything to the proof and and test the strength of her talent, and her secluded preparation must be brought forth into the daylight of reality.”

-Crassus at I. xxxiv. 157


(De oratore)