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1 The rule is, as appears from the reason of the thing, and from Aristotle, "Let a uniformity of character be preserved, or at least a consistency": i. e. either let the manners be exactly the same from the beginning to the end of the play, as those of Medea, for instance, and Orestes; or, if any change be necessary, let it be such as may consist with, and be easily reconciled to, the manners formerly attributed, as is seen in the case of Electra and Iphigenia.
2 “Difficile est proprie communia dicere.” Hor. Ars 128 Lambin's comment is, “Communia hoc loco appellat Horatius argumenta fabularum a nullo adhuc tractata: et ita, quae cuivis exposita sunt et in medio quadammodo posit, quasi vacua et a nemino occupata.” And that this is the true meaning of communia is evidently fixed by the words ignota indictaque, which are explanatory of it.
3 “Publica materies” Hor. Ars 131 is just the reverse of what the poet had before styled communia: the latter meaning such subjects or characters as, though by their nature left in common to all, had yet, in fact, not been occupied by any writer; the former, those which had already been made public by occupation. In order to acquire a property in subjects of this sort, the poet directs us to observe the three following cautions: 1. Not to follow the trite, obvious round of the original work; i. e. not servilely and scrupulously to adhere to its plan of method. 2. Not to be translators, instead of imitators, i. e. if it shall be thought fit to imitate more expressly any part of the original, to do it with freedom and spirit, and without a slavish attachment to the mode of expression. 3. Not to adopt any particular incident that may occur in the proposed model, which either decency or the nature of the work would reject.
4 “Scriptor cyclicus.” Hor. Ars 136 Some author of the cyclus, described above, 1, 132. The chief Cyclic poems are the following: 1. τὰ Κύπρια, of Stasinus or Hegesinus. 2. The Αἰθιοπίς of Arctinus. 3. The Ἰλιὰς μικρά, by Lesches. 4. The Ἰλίου πέρσις of Arctinus. 5. The Νόστοι attributed to Agias. 6. The Τηλεγονία of Eugammon. These were collected, more for the sake of philology than poetry, by the Alexandrine grammarians.
6 He returns to his first division of human life into two parts. “"Anni venientes,"” the years preceding manhood; “"anni recedentes,"” the years going back toward old age and death. The ancients reckoned the former by addition: the latter by subtraction. The French have an expression like this of “"recedentes anni."” They say, "il est sur son retour," "he is upon his return," when a person is declining in years.
8 “Facundia praesens.” Hor. Ars 184 The recital of an actor present, which ought to be made with all the pathetic; facundia; or a recital instead of the action, facundia facti vicaria, quae rem quasi oculis praesentem sistit.
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