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‘And they require all the more diligent attention (φιλοπονεῖν ‘labour con amore,’ fond, affectionate, loving, care and pains), to be bestowed upon them in prose, in proportion as the sources from which prose draws its aids or supplies are fewer than those of verse’: see ante § 3. I have translated τοσούτῳ which seems much more likely than τοσοῦτο. If the latter be retained, it can only mean ‘so much as I have described’, but where? or when? I have no doubt that τοσούτῳ is the right reading. [“οὕτω A (quod Bekkerum fugit) Q, unde iam Victorius τοσούτῳ restituit.” Spengel.]

‘And perspicuity’ (perhaps rather, ‘clearness’ in the sense of vivid, graphic, representation1), ‘and pleasure, and the foreign air, are conveyed by metaphor more than in any other way’, (more than by any other kind of word which can be used to give an extraneous interest to language). ἔστι δὲ μέγα μὲν τὸ ἑκάστῳ τῶν εἰρημένων πρεπόντως χρῆσθαι, καὶ διπλοῖς ὀνόμασι καὶ γλώτταις, πολὺ δὲ μέγιστον τὸ μεταφορικὸν εἶναι. Poet. XXIII. 16. The pleasure derived from metaphors is that we learn something from them; they bring into view hitherto unnoticed resemblances between things the most apparently dissimilar. τὸ εὖ μεταφέρειν τὸ το ὅμοιον θεωρεῖν, Poet. XXII 17. Top. Z 2, 140 a 9. This is the fourth kind of metaphor, that from analogy, and by far the commonest and most attractive. On the pleasure of learning, see I 11. 21 and 23, III 10. 2.

‘And it can't be derived (acquired) from anyone else’. This does not of course mean that one writer or speaker cannot borrow a metaphor from another; but that the invention of metaphors is a mark of original genius, and therefore cannot be taught, derived from another in the way of instruction. Not that metaphors in general are confined to men of genius, πάντες γὰρ μεταφοραῖς διαλέγονται, § 6; but they all shew originality more or less, and are marks of natural (not acquired) ability, or genius, each in proportion to its merit. μόνον γὰρ τοῦτο (τὸ μεταφορικόν) οὔτε παρ᾽ ἄλλου ἔστι λαβεῖν, εὐφυΐας τε σημεῖόν ἐστιν: τὸ γὰρ εὖ μεταφέρειν τὸ τὸ ὅμοιον θεωρεῖν ἐστίν. Poet. XXII 17. And therefore, the more remote the resemblance between the two objects brought together by the metaphor, the more ingenuity and natural ability is required for detecting it.

Harris, Philol. Inq., Part II, ch. 10, takes this view of the meaning; “that metaphor is an effort of genius and cannot be taught is here again (in the present passage) asserted in the words, καὶ λαβεῖν...παρ᾽ ἄλλου.” Whately, on the other hand, denies that this means, “as some interpreters suppose, that this power is entirely a gift of nature, and in no degree to be learnt: on the contrary he expressly affirms that the ‘perception of resemblances’ on which it depends is the fruit of ‘philosophy’: but he means that metaphors are not to be, like other words and phrases, selected from common use and transferred from one composition to another, but must be formed for the occasion” [Rhetoric, chap. III p. 277 ult.]. Whatever Aristotle may have said elsewhere, it is certain that what he says in the Poetics, and therefore in this passage which is repeated from it, is what Harris has described: the close connexion of παρ᾽ ἄλλου λαβεῖν with the following εὐφυΐα shews this unmistakably. Besides this, a remark about borrowing metaphors from other people's speeches or writings is not only trivial in itself, but here altogether out of place: and if it were not, why should metaphors be singled out from all other forms of speech as things that should not be borrowed? Is not purloining your neighbour's thoughts or expressions or bons mots equally reprehensible in all cases? or may γλῶτται and πεποιημένα and the rest, all of them be ‘borrowed’, and metaphors alone excepted? Victorius, according to Schrader, renders it, “non licet semper sumere ipsam ab alio auctore,” which he approves, and interprets, that you musn't be always begging or borrowing your metaphors from others, when you can and ought to invent them yourself. In my copy of Vettori's Commentary [Petri Victorii Commentarii in Opera Aristotelis, 5 vols. folio, published at Florence, 1548—1583], these words do not occur: the passage is there explained, as it should be, of ‘acquiring metaphors’ from any one but oneself: they being due to a natural ingenuity. Victorius also says that this remark, upon the inventive power which they presuppose, is introduced as an additional recommendation of metaphors: and refers to one of the topics of Top. III., the degrees of good, καὶ μὴ ἔστι παρ᾽ ἄλλου πορίσασθαι ἔστι παῤ ἄλλου, what can't be procured from another, any native excellence or advantage, is superior to anything that can. Also c. I, 116 b 10, τὸ φύσει τοῦ μὴ φύσει (αἱρετώτερον) τὸ μὲν γὰρ φύσει, τὸ δ᾽ ἐπίκτητον, the superiority of the natural to the acquired.

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