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action liberally, both in quantity and quality. Not only should there be much of it, but it may be what in a room would be called exaggerated and in bad taste. To the mass of your audience it is like an interpretation of your words ; to the illiterate it is more readily intelligible than words. By attracting the eye it keeps dull minds awake, and secures attention an effort to which the common mind is not easily induced. The expression “beating a speech into them” has a truth in it.
And for the matter of your speech, it should be thorough. A mob cannot understand refined distinctions; it does not relish half-heartedness ; it hates qualifications and hesitations. Go with them or go against them, but you must not halt half
very earnest. Their perceptions are marvellously keen; they can detect hollowness by a sort of instinct, and although they do not express the suspicion by outward gesture, you will see by their manner that you have not carried them with you.
There is at least one satisfactory characteristic of a mob; it is thoroughly honest. If it approves, it is with no half applause ; if it dissents from you, it plainly tells you so. Its cheers and hisses alike mean what they say, and as they are given without reserve, you are left in no doubt as to the effect of your speech. This is very pleasant after the silence of some cold and critical audience, from whose hands or lips you cannot gather whether you have contented or displeased them. The expression of undisguised applause by a crowd is an intoxicating sensation which, however the sober man may despise it, is certainly a pleasure that will not be lightly esteemed by those who have tasted of it.
It is singular that the best specimen of mob oratory
which the world possesses should be the product of the creative genius of a dramatist. But so it is; Shakespeare has given to us, among
many marvellous inspirations, two speeches supposed to be addressed to mobs, each in its way admirable, but one of them having consummate excellence. In Julius Cæsar he has introduced two orations, by men of very different characters, having different aims : one designed to subdue, the other to excite, the passions of the audience; the one all honesty, the other all art. The scene follows immediately upon the death of Cæsar by the daggers of the assassins, of whom Brutus was the chief. The mob are hesitating whether to applaud the patriotism that had killed a tyrant, or to condemn the daggers that had destroyed an admired and honoured emperor. Whether the current of this wavering mood was to be turned to applause or wrath, would depend upon the skilful management of those who might address them. Both were men held in high esteem by the populace, but for different qualities : Brutus for his known honesty, frankness and patriotism ; Antony for his persuasiveness, his flattery, his lavishness and the charm that youth carries with it. Brutus was upon his defence, although no accuser had appeared ; he had killed Cæsar, and he aims to justify the deed to those who had been Cæsar's votaries. They were still hesitating between the man and the act; he sought to satisfy them that he had done the deed unselfishly, for the salvation of their liberties. His case was plain and straightforward, and thus plainly he set it before them. It is perfect for its purpose.
I have, as before, indicated by italics, capitals and dashes, the manner in which it should be read, beginning with a loud firm voice, and pre
serving throughout a tone and manner of unbending dignity. ROMANS—Countrymen--and lovers !
-hear me for my and be silent- that you may hear
-Believe me for mine honour- and have respect to mine honour that you MAY believe -Censure me in your wisdom
-and awake your that you may the better judge- -If there be ANY in this assembly—any DEAR FRIEND of Cæsar's- -to HIM I say that BRUTUS's love to Cæsar was no less than his -If then that friend demand why Brutus rose up against CæsarTHIS is my answer- Not that I loved Cæsar LESS- - but that I loved Rome MORE- -Had you rather Cæsar were living, and die all SLAVES- than that Cæsar were dead to live all FREEMEN ?- -As Cæsar loved me- I weep for him- -as he was fortunate- I rejoice at itwas valiant- -I honour him -but- -as he was AMBITIOUS -I SLEW him- -There is tears for his love
-joy for his fortunes- -honour for his valour- but DEATH for his
Who is here so BASE that would be a BONDMAN?
for him have I offended
-Who is here so rude that would not be a ROMAN?
-for HIM have I offended -Who is here SO VILE that will not love his COUNTRY?
-for HIM have I offended. I pause for a REPLY. Citizens. None, Brutus, none.
Brutus. Then NONE have I OFFENDED- I have done no more to CÆSAR than you should do to BRUTUS- - The question of his death is enrolled in the CAPITOL
-his glory not extenuated wherein he was worthy- -nor his offences enforced for which he suffered death- Here comes his bodymourned by Mark Antony- -who- -though he had no hand in his death shall receive the benefit of his dying
-a place in the commonwealth -as which of You shall not?
-With this I depart -that as I slew my BEST LOVER for the good of Rome
-I have the same dagger for MYSELF -when it shall please my COUNTRY to need my DEATH.
This plain manly speech had the effect designed ; it
turned the tide of popular feeling, which forthwith began to flow in full flood in favour of the orator and his party. The citizens were excited to enthusiasm. They shout
Citizens. LIVE- -Brutus- -live--LIVE!
Cæsar's better parts Shall be crown'd- -BRUTUS!
1st Cit. We'll bring him to his house with shouts and clamours, Brutus. My countrymen2nd Cit.
Peace -silence -Brutus speaks! 1st Cit. PEACE, ho!
Brutus. Good COUNTRYMEN- -let me depart alone ;
-not a man departSave I alone -till Antony have spoke.
[Erit. 1st Cit. Stay, ho! and let us hear Mark Antony !
2nd Cit. Let him go up into the public chairWe'll hear him
-Noble Antony Ant. For Brutus' sake I am beholden to you. 4th Cit. What does he say of Brutus ? 3rd Cit.
-for Brutus' sake He finds himself beholden to us ALL.
4th Cit. 'Twere best he speak no harm of BRUTUS here.
Nay, that's certain ; We are bless'd that Rome is rid of him.
2nd Cit. PEACE- Let us hear what Antony can say.
PEACE, ho! let us hear him. This was the unfriendly and even prejudiced mob which Antony was to address. Observe how artfully he
begins with an endeavour to conciliate them so far as to give him a hearing ; how he falls in with the current of their humour, and goes with it, that he may guide it. Every part of this marvellous address will reward your careful study: its art is unrivalled; there is nothing like it upon record, nor in the whole range of fiction could its equal be found. It is a model of Platform Oratory. He begins in a low voice, with tones expressing profound grief, and a manner showing extreme deference to the assembly around him. He is about to appeal from their love for their country to their love for the man whose bleeding corpse was then lying at his side. Friends
-ROMANS- -COUNTRYMEN- -lend me
-let it be- -with Cæsar -The noble Brutus