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[ Also see Acting Actors Argument Conversation Eloquence Language Loquacity Ministers Orators Persuasion Preaching Rhetoric Speech Style Talk Talking Tongue Voice Words ]

Solon wished everybody to be ready to take everybody else's part; but surely Chilo was wiser in holding that public affairs go best when the laws have much attention and the orators none.
      - Rev. John Beacon,
        Letter to Earl Grey on Reform

Whatever we conceive well we express clearly, and words flow with ease.
  [Fr., Ce que l'on concoit bien s'enonce clairement,
    Et les mots pour le dire arrivent aisement.]
      - Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux, L'Art Poetique
         (I, 153)

The language of the heart--the language which "comes from the heart" and "goes to the heart"--is always simple, always graceful, and always full of power, but no art of rhetoric can teach it. It is at once the easiest and most difficult language--difficult, since it needs a heart to speak it; easy, because its periods though rounded and full of harmony, are still unstudied.
      - Christian Nestell Bovee

Hark to that shrill, sudden shout,
  The cry of an applauding multitude,
    Swayed by some loud-voiced orator who wields
      The living mass as if he were its soul!
      - William Cullen Bryant

Oratory, like the drama, abhors lengthiness; like the drama, it must keep doing. It avoids, as frigid, prolonged metaphysical soliloquy. Beauties themselves, if they delay or distract the effect which should be produced on the audience, become blemishes.
      - Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton

His enthusiasm kindles as he advances; and when he arrives at his peroration it is in full blaze.
      - Edmund Burke

Those orators who give us much noise and many words, but little argument and less wit, and who are the loudest when least lucid, should take a lesson from the great volume of nature; she often gives us the lightning without the thunder, but never the thunder without the lightning.
      - Elihu Burritt

For rhetoric, he could not ope
  His mouth, but out there flew a trope.
      - Samuel Butler (1), Hudibras
         (pt. I, canto I, l. 81)

The Orator persuades and carries all with him, he knows not how; the Rhetorician can prove that he ought to have persuaded and carried all with him.
      - Thomas Carlyle, Essays--Characteristics

Eloquence is vehement simplicity.
      - Richard Cecil

Oratory is the power to talk people out of their sober and natural opinions.
      - Paul Chatfield (a/k/a Horace Smith)

Its Constitution--the glittering and sounding generalities of natural right which make up the Declaration of Independence.
      - Rufus Choate,
        Letter to the Maine Whig Committee

He mouths a sentence as curs mouth a bone.
      - Charles Churchill, The Rosciad (l. 322)

Orators are most vehement when they have the weakest cause, as men get on horseback when they cannot walk.
      - Cicero (Marcus Tullius Cicero) (often called "Tully" for short)

There is no power like that of oratory. Caesar controlled men by exciting their fears; Cicero, by captivating their affections and swaying their passions. The influence of the one perished with its author; that of the other continues to this day.
      - Henry Clay

I asked of my dear friend Orator Prig:
  "What's the first part of oratory?" He said, "A great wig."
    "And what is the second?" Then, dancing a jig
      And bowing profoundly, he said, "A great wig."
        "And what is the third?" Then he snored like a pig,
          And puffing his cheeks out, he replied, "A great wig."
      - George Colman ("The Younger"), Orator Prig

If our eloquence be directed above the heads of our hearers, we shall do no execution. By pointing our arguments low, we stand a chance of hitting their hearts as well as their heads. In addressing angels, we could hardly raise our eloquence too high; but we must remember that men are not angels.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

Oratory is the huffing and blustering spoiled child of a semi-barbarous age. The press is the foe of rhetoric, but the friend of reason; and the art of declamation has been sinking in value from the moment that speakers were foolish enough to publish, and readers wise enough to read.
      - Charles Caleb Colton

We fear that the glittering generalities of the speaker have left an impression more delightful than permanent.
      - Franklin J. Dickman,
        Review of Lecture by Rufus Choate--Providence Journal

He lards with flourishes his long harangue.
      - John Dryden

There is no true orator who is not a hero.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson,
        Letters and Social Aims--Eloquence

Glittering generalities! They are blazing ubiquities.
      - Ralph Waldo Emerson,
        Remark on Choate's words

You'd scarce expect one of my age
  To speak in public on the stage;
    And if I chance to fall below
      Demosthenes or Cicero,
        Don't view me with a critic's eye,
          But pass my imperfections by.
            Large streams from little fountains flow,
              Tall oaks from little acorns grow.
      - David Everett,
        Lines for a School Declamation

Every man should study conciseness in speaking; it is a sign of ignorance not to know that long speeches, though they may please the speaker, are the torture of the hearer.
      - Owen Felltham (Feltham)

Yet through delivery orators succeed,
  I feel that I am far behind indeed.
    [Ger., Allein der Vortrag macht des Redners Gluck,
      Ich fuhl es wohl noch bin ich weit zuruck.]
      - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust
         (I, 1, 194)

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