Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. II. Sixteenth Century to the Restoration
Logic and Rhetoric
By John Selden (15841654)
From the Table-Talk
FIRST in your sermons use your logic, and then your rhetoric. Rhetoric without logic is like a tree with leaves and blossoms, but no root; yet I confess more are taken with rhetoric than logic, because they are catched with a free expression, when they understand not reason. Logic must be natural, or it is worth nothing at all; your rhetoric figures may be learned. That rhetoric is best which is most seasonable and most catching. An instance we have in that old blunt commander at Cadiz, who showed himself a good orator; being to say something to his soldiers, which he was not used to do, he made them a speech to this purpose: What a shame will it be, you Englishmen, that feed upon good beef and brewess,1 to let those rascally Spaniards beat you, that eat nothing but oranges and lemons; and so put more courage into his men than he could have done with a more learned oration. Rhetoric is very good, or stark naught: there is no medium in rhetoric. If I am not fully persuaded I laugh at the orator.