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tione. And in those heavy times he was so careful to know this small point of grammar, that he addeth these words: Si hoc mihi chinua persolveris, magna me molestia liberâris.
If Tully at that age, in that authority, in that care for his country, in that jeopardy for himself, and extreme necessity of his dearest friends, being also the prince of eloquence himself, was not ashamed to descend to these low points of grammar in his own natural tongue; what should scholars do? yea, what should any man do, if he do think well doing better than ill doing, and had rather be perfect than mean; sure than doubtful; to be what he should be indeed, and not seem what he is not in opinion? He that maketh perfectness in the Latin tongue his mark, must come to it by choice and certain knowledge, and not stumble upon it by chance and doubtful ignorance. And the right steps to reach unto it be these, linked thus orderly together, Aptness of nature, love of learning, diligence in right order, constancy with pleasant moderation, and always to learn of them that be best; and so shall you judge, as they that be wisest. And these be those rules which worthy Master Cheke did impart unto me concerning Sallust, and the right judgement of the
Cæsar, for that little of him that is left unto us, * is like the half face of a Venus, the other part of the head being hidden, the body and the rest of the members unbegun; yet so excellently done by Apelles, as all men may stand still to maze and muse upon it; and no man step forth with
any hope to perform the like.
His seven books de Bello Gallico, and three de Bello Civili, be written so wisely for the matter, so eloquently for the tongue, that neither his greatest enemies could ever find the least note of partiality in him, (a marvellous wisdom of a man, namely writing of his own doings,) nor yet the best
* “ Accedit eodem testis locuples Posidonius, qui etiam scribit in quadam epistola, Pub. Rutilium Rufum dicere solere, qui Panætium audierat, ut nemo pictor esset inventus, qui Coæ Veneris eam partem, quam Apelles inchoatam reliquisset, absolveret, (oris enim pulcritudo reliqui corporis imitandi spem auferebat,) sic ea, quæ Panætius prætermisisset, et non perfecisset, propter eorum, quæe perfecisset, præstantiam, neminem esse persecutum.” Cic. de Offic. lib. 3.
judges of the Latin tongue, nor the most envious lookets upon other men's writings, can say any other, but all things be most perfectly done by him.
Brutus, Calvus, and Cálidius, who found fault with Tully's fulness in words and matter, and that rightly; for Tully did both confess it, and mend it: yet in Cæsar they neither did, nor could find the like, or any other fault.
And therefore thus justly I may conclude of Cæsar; that whereas in all others, the best that ever wrote in any time, or in any tongue, in Greek, (I except neither Plato, Demosthenes, nor Tully,) some fault is justly noted : in Cæsar only could never yet fault be found.
Yet nevertheless, for all this perfect excellency in him, yet it is but one member of eloquence, and that but of one side neither; when we must look for that example to follow, which hath a perfect head, a whole body, forward and backward, arms, and legs, and all.
Thus are we come to the end of what is left us on this subject, by this truly learned and ingenious writer; whose excellent judgement and abilities seem little inferior to the ablest masters of antiquity; and had he lived to have perfected what is here but a rough draught at best, an unfinished work, I much question whether any rhetorician, either Greek or Roman, would have been of more use in the study of oratory, or deserved greater esteem of learned men. But here I must add his own similitude, and compare him, as he did Cæsar, to the inimitable face of the Coan Venus, drawn by the hand of Apelles; unhappily left imperfect, and ever so to remain, for want of an able artist of equal skill to give it its just beauty, and to add some little colouring and ornament which seem defective.
In order to make the piece complete, (as I think,) a full and distinct character of Tully, together with a whole chapter about declamation, or the constant exercise and practice of invention, is still wanting. Tully by our author is joined with Varro, Sallust, and Cæsar, as the most unexceptionable writers of the purest age, and best patterns for imitation. And how comes he, whom Mr. Ascham chiefly admires, when the other three are so largely described, to be passed over in silence? And yet this he seems to promise, pag. 309, in these words : “ But of Cicero more fully in fitter place:" unless we say, he reserved this for his Latin work; which doth not seem probable. Again, pag. 258, Mr. Ascham tells us, “ There are six ways appointed for the learning of tongues and increase of eloquence,” which he designs to treat of. Declamation the last ere mentioned, and yet we have not one word about it.
But if any one is not yet satisfied with what I say; Mr. Ascham's Letter to his friend Sturmius of Strasburgh, printed at the end of this treatise, wherein he gives a full account of his Schoolmaster, will sufficiently convince him. In one place, he modestly desires leave of his friend, to make use of the same instance out of Tully, for a further illustration of the argument in hand, as he had done before him. And afterwards, near the end of the same letter, he earnestly entreats Sturmius to send him, with all speed, what he had lately writ on the same subject; that his Schoolmaster, as yet almost naked and unsightly, might thence receive some better dress, before he appeared in public. But these passages being no where to be found in this treatise before us, prove beyond exception, that as excellent as this work is, yet it was designed for further improvements and greater perfection, had the author enjoyed a longer life.
This is what I thought necessary to acquaint the reader with, before I took my leave of him; not doubting in the least of his candour and ingenuity, either towards the author or myself.