the former when use is made of a longer vowel than
usual or a syllable inserted, and the latter when part of the word is curtailed.
An example of a lengthened word
; and of a curtailed word κρῖ
, and e.g. μία γίνεται ἀμφοτέρων ὄψ
A word is "altered" when the poet coins part of the word and
leaves the rest unchanged, e.g. δεξιτερὸν κατὰ
instead of δεξιόν
Of the nouns
themselves, some are masculine, some feminine, and some neuter.2
Masculine are all that end in N and P
and in the two compounds of Σ, Ψ
. Feminine are all that end in those of the
vowels that are always long, for instance Η
, and in Α
among vowels that can be lengthened.
The result is that the number of masculine and feminine terminations is the same,
the same as Σ
. No noun ends in a mute or in a short vowel. Only three end in Ι,
, and πέπερι
. Five end
. The neuters end in these letters and in
The merit of diction is to be clear and not commonplace. The
clearest diction is that made up of ordinary words, but it is commonplace.
example is the poetry of Cleophon and of Sthenelus.3
That which employs unfamiliar words is
dignified and outside the common usage. By "unfamiliar" I mean a rare word, a
metaphor, a lengthening,4
and anything beyond the ordinary use. But if a poet writes entirely in such words, the result will
be either a riddle or jargon; if made up of metaphors, a riddle and if of rare
words, jargon. The essence of a riddle
consists in describing a fact by an impossible combination of words. By merely
combining the ordinary names of things this cannot be done, but it is made possible
by combining metaphors. For instance, "I saw a man weld bronze upon a man with
fire," and so on.5
A medley of rare words is jargon.
We need then a sort of mixture of
the two. For the one kind will save the diction from being prosaic and commonplace,
the rare word, for example, and the metaphor and the "ornament," whereas the
ordinary words give clarity.