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Something is here lost. ‘But as it is, it is absurd to say’ (as the writers on Rhetoric do in their treatises; and especially Isocrates) ‘that the narration ought to be rapid’. This precept is suggested in Rhet. ad Alex. 6 (7). 3, in the word βραχυλογία; and 30 (31). 4, it is further recommended that the narrative of a δημηγορία should be βραχεῖα and σύντομος. See Spengel's note on ed. of Anaximenes' Ars Rhet., pp. 214, 5: and 219. Cic. de Orat. II 80. 326. Quint. IV 2. 31, 32, (Narrationem) plerique scriptores, maxime qui sunt ab Isocrate, uolunt esse lucidam, brevem, verisimilem....Eadem nobis placet divisio; quanquam et Aristoteles ab Isocrate in parte una discesserit, praeccptum brevitatis irridens, tanquam necesse sit longam aut brevem esse expositionem, nec liceat ire per medium. From Plato Phaedr. 267 A, it appears that this precept appeared in rhetorical treatises as early as those of Tisias and Gorgias; and a remark of Prodicus, to precisely the same effect as that of the customer to the baker here, is quoted, 267 B. The precept, that it should be σύντομον, is found also in Dionysius de Lys. Iud. c. 18, (p. 492 R): probably taken from Isocrates. (Spengel's Artium Seriptores, p. 158). The extract from Isocrates, on this quality of the διήγησις, is quoted at the commencement of this chapter. This is one of Vettori's evidences (perhaps the best) of Aristotle's dislike of Isocrates. This subject is discussed in Introd. pp. 41 45, and the probability of the hypothesis reduced to a minimum. If they ever were enemies as is likely enough in Ar.'s early life—after the death of Isocrates, by the time that this work was completed and published, all trace of hostility (γελοίως φασίν can at the worst hardly imply hostility) must have long vanished from Aristotle's mind. ‘And yet—just as the man replied to the baker when he asked him whether he should knead his dough (τὴν μάζαν) hard or soft1, “what”, said he, “is it impossible to do it well?”—so here in like manner: that is to say (γάρ), the narration should be no more over long2 than the prooc- mium should be over-long, or the proofs: for neither in these two cases does the excellence consist in the rapidity or conciseness, but in the observation of the due mean: and that is, to say just so much—and no more—as will clearly explain the facts of the case, or will (make the judge suppose) establish in the judge's mind the conviction of their having occurred, (the question of fact, τὸ ὅτι), or that by them injury has been done (harm and loss) or wrong (according to the status or issue which you wish to raise): or (as will produce on him the impression, make him suppose them,) of any amount or magnitude that you please (to estimate them at): or the opposites of these, for the opponent’, if he be the pleader.
1 Spengel, Art. Script. 169 note, has discovered here some fragments of a comic verse: which he thus restores: σκληρὰν δὲ ... ἢ μαλακὴν μάξω; τί δέ; ἀδύνατον εὖ <μάττειν σε>. [The addition of πότερον would fill the blank left in the first line.]
2 It would be difficult to assign any sufficient reason (in point of the sense) for making the distinction of μή and οὐδέ here; though we may say, grammatically, of course, that the μή is joined immediately with the inf. mood, whereas the two οὐδέ-s following require δεῖ to be supplied after them in each case.
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