that an orator should be a good man

It is to be further considered that the mind cannot be in a condition for pursuing the most noble of studies unless it is entirely free from vice, not only because there can be no communion of good and evil in the same breast, and to meditate at once on the best things and the worst is no more in the power of the same mind than it is possible for the same man to be at once virtuous and vicious, 5. but also because a mind intent on so arduous a study should be exempt from all other cares, even such as are unconnected with vice. For then, and then only, when it is free and master of itself, and when no other object harasses and distracts its attention, will it be able to keep in view the end to which it is devoted. 6. But if an inordinate attention to an estate, a too anxious pursuit of wealth, indulgence in the pleasures of hunting, and the devotion of our days to public spectacles rob our studies of much of our time (for whatever time is given to one thing is lost to another), what effect must we suppose that ambition, avarice, and envy will produce, whose excitements are so violent as even to disturb our sleep and our dreams? 7. Nothing indeed is so preoccupied, so unsettled, so torn and lacerated with such numerous and various passions as a bad mind, for when it intends evil, it is agitated with hope, care, and anxiety, and when it has attained the object of its wickedness, it is tormented with uneasiness, repentance, and the dread of every kind of punishment. Among such disquietudes, what place is there for study or any rational pursuit? No more certainly than there is for corn in a field overrun with thorns and brambles.

via Book 12 – Chapter 1: Quintilian’s Institutes of Oratory.

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