This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
‘There is also a fault (which may be committed) in the (composition of, and the sound thence arising of the) syllables of a word if (i. e. if ever, or when) they are not signs or marks (indications, representations) of sweet or agreeable voice’ (i. e. if, when they are pronounced, or expressed by the voice, they don't produce an agreeable sound; φωνή is the sound of the voice, or the voice as uttered, and forming words) ‘as Dionysius the Brazen calls poetry in his elegies “Calliope's screech,” because they are both voices’—and so far his metaphor was right: both terms fall under the same genus, φωνή, the met. εἶδος πρὸς εἶδος—‘but his metaphor is a bad one by reason of its unsignificant sounds’. κραυγή] a screech, scream, any harsh and dissonant sound. κράζειν, with which it is connected, expresses the harsh voices of certain animals as the ‘croak’ of the raven and the frog, and the ‘bawling’ of a man, all suggestive of disagreeable associations. The ‘badness of the metaphor’ seems to reside in this. ἄσημος φωνή is, it is true, nothing but a non-significant voice or sound,’ applied, Poet. XX §§ 5, 6, 7, to sounds like syllables, and conjunctions, which signify nothing by themselves, but only in combination with other sounds or words; and opposed to σημαντικαί, sounds which do signify something each by itself, as noun and verb §§ 8, 9. But these non-significant sounds, which represent discordant and unmeaning cries, are here to be interpreted as expressing also the associations which they suggest, and so κραυγή, which suggests all these disagreeable cries and screams, is particularly ill applied as a metaphor to the sweetest of all voices, such as that of a Muse. ‘Dionysius the Brazen’, so called from having first suggested the use of bronze money at Athens, Athen. XV 669 D, was a poet and rhetorician, ibid., whose floruit is to be referred to the earlier part of the fifth cent. B. C., judging from a remark in Plut. Nic. c. 5, 526 B, where we are told that there was in Nicias’ household a man called Hiero, who claimed to be the son of Dionysius the Brazen. A further account of him is to be found in Smith's Biographical Dictionary, Dionysius no. 16; and a collection of the fragments of his elegies, amounting to seven, in Bergk, Fragm. Lyr. Gr. p. 432 [p. 468, 2nd ed.]. In fragm. 5 there is a still worse specimen of his metaphors preserved, which beats even the κώπης ἀνάσσει, and in the same kind of fault. καί τινες οἶνον ἄγοντες ἐν εἰρεσίῃ Διονύσου, συμποσίου ναῦται καὶ κυλικῶν ἐρέται. [On the Bronze coinage of Athens, see Beule's Monnaies d'Athènes, pp. 73—77. It seems impossible to say with certainty, either when it first came in, or what is the date of the oldest bronze money extant. Leake supposes it probable that it came in soon after the first unsuccessful attempt to introduce it, while Beule thinks that the early extant bronzes are of the age of Alexander. It is certain they were in circulation in the time of Philemon, the Comic poet. See Leake's Numismata Hellenica (European Greece), p. 22. These details are due to Professor Churchill Babington.] On harshness of sound in composition, see Hermog. περὶ ἰδεῶν Τομ. ά. c. 7, περὶ τραχύτητος, Spengel Rhet. Gr. II 299. Of the second class, the ἀφ᾽ ἑαυτῶν σκληραί, the harshness arising ‘out of themselves’ from the disagreeable combination of the letters, ἀταρπός, ἔμαρπτεν, ἔγναμψε, and such like, are given as examples. In the same treatise Τομ. β᾽ . c. 4, (II 359), there are some remarks upon the connexion of sounds with pleasant associations, which make the sounds themselves pleasant.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.