Oratory

Oratory, like 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.

Oratory may be symbolized by a warrior’s eye, flashing from under a philosopher’s brow. But why a warrior’s eye rather than a poet’s? Because in oratory the will must predominate.

Let us never forget that, to be profited, that is, to be spiritually improved in knowledge, faith, holiness, joy and love, is the end of hearing sermons, and not merely to have our taste gratified by genius, eloquence and oratory.

The object of oratory alone is not truth, but persuasion.

In architecture the pride of man, his triumph over gravitation, his will to power, assume a visible form. Architecture is sort of oratory of power by means of forms.

Every breath you draw, every accelerated beat of your heart in the emotional periods of your oratory depend upon highly elaborated physical and chemical reactions and mechanisms which nature has been building up through a million centuries. If one of these mechanisms, which you owe entirely to your animal ancestry, were to be stopped for a single instant, you would fall lifeless on the stage. Not only this, but some of your highest ideals of human fellowship and comradeship were not created in a moment, but represent the work of ages.

It is a simple truth that the human mind can face better the most oppressive government, the most rigid restrictions, than the awful prospect of a lawless, frontierless world. Freedom is a dangerous intoxicant and very few people can tolerate it in any quantity; it brings out the old raiding, oppressing, murderous instincts; the rage for revenge, for power, the lust for bloodshed. The longing for freedom takes the form of crushing the enemy- there is always the enemy!- into the earth; and where and who is the enemy if there is no visible establishment to attack, to destroy with blood and fire? Remember all that oratory when freedom is threatened again. Freedom, remember, is not the same as liberty.

Only hidden and undetected oratory is really insidious. What reaches the heart without going through the mind is likely to bounce back and put the mind out of business.

It was all love on my side, and all good comradeship and friendship on hers. When we parted she was a free woman, but I could never again be a free man.

On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgment and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.