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‘The members or clauses and the periods themselves should be neither truncated (cut prematurely short), nor too long’. Constat ille ambitus et plena comprehensio ex quattuor fere partibus, quae membra dicimus, ut et aures impleat et ne brevior sit quam satis sit neque longior. Cic. Orat. § 221.

μυούρους] This word is variously written μυ- and μεί-ουρος, and so here the MSS. The Lexicons, including Stephens', regard them as two different words: Stephens only distinguishing the sense, μείουρος, κολόβουρος, bob-tailed, with a stunted tail; μύουρος, sharp-tailed, like a mouse: while Liddell and Scott, and Rost and Palm, deriving μύουρος from a mouse's tail, set the facts of the case at defiance by defining it nevertheless ‘curtailed’, ‘abgestutzt oder abgestumpft’. This at all events is no doubt the meaning of it. It seems to me rather that the word is the same, and the variety only in the spelling. The meaning of it is always the same; bob-tailed, curtailed, originally; and thence blunted, truncated, docked, maimed, cut short where you would naturally expect a prolongation. Comp. Poet. c. XXVI 13, ἐὰν μὲν ἕνα τὸν μῦθον ποιῶσιν ἀνάγκη βραχέα δεικνύμενον μύουρον φαίνεσθαι, unnaturally, unduly, curtailed. See Twining's note, p. 557. He refers to Hephaest. μείουρος στίχος, κατὰ τὸ τέλος ἐλλείπων χρόνῳ, opposed to δολίχουρος, ‘long-tailed’, κατὰ τὸ τέλος πλεονάζων συλλαβῇ. Comp. de part. Anim. III 1. 13, of blunt-nosed, as opposed to sharp-nosed, fishes: οἱ σαρκοφάγοι, fishes of prey, like the shark, are sharp-nosed, οἳ δὲ μὴ σαρκόφαγοι μύουροι (a bulldog's nose is particularly μύουρος). And again IV 13. 22, the same remark is repeated. Pausanias, X 16. 1, describing one of Croesus' offerings at Delphi, σχῆμα δὲ τοῦ ὑποθήματος κατὰ πύργον μάλιστα ἐς μύουρον ἀνιόντα ἀπὸ εὐρυτέρου τοῦ κάτῳ, of a truncated cone or pyramid. Athenaeus (XIV 632 D, E, ter,) of three kinds of defective verses; ἀκέφαλοι, at the beginning, as a verse beginning with ἐπειδή; λαγαροί, prop. spider-shaped, contracted or weak in the flanks; hence of verses, faulty in the middle (claudicant in medio Schweighaüser ad loc.), where a short syllable occurs for a long one in the middle of the verse: illustrated by Il. B [II] 731, and another hexameter which Schweighaüser can't find, and to him is inexplicable; and thirdly μείουροι, οἱ ἐπὶ τῆς ἐκβολῆς, at the end of the verse; of which three specimens are given, Il. M [XII] 208, another which is misquoted from Il. Θ [VIII] 305, and a third from Od. ί [IX] 212. This passage of Athenaeus is quoted at length by Hermann, El. doctr. metr. II 26. 20. Athenaeus writes μείουρος. Ernesti Lex. Techn. Gr. s. v. μείουρος.

‘For that (sc. the κῶλον) which is too short often makes the listener stumble (balks him by bringing him up short and abruptly); because if, whilst he is still hurrying (eager) to get on (forward), and to the (end or completion of the) measure (rhythm), of which he has already a definition (i.e. a definite and preconceived notion) in himself, he be suddenly pulled up (checked, lit. pulled against) by a pause (a premature cessation on the part of the speaker), there must necessarily follow (arise γίγνεσθαι) a sort of stumble by reason of the check’.

προσπταίειν] must be regarded as a subst. in the accusative before γίγνεσθαι, equivalent to τὸ προσπταίειν. The metaphor is from driving: a sudden and unexpected check, or pulling against him, will often cause a horse to stumble, or bring him on his knees. The abrupt cessation of the onward motion, in the listener's mind, as in the horse's career, produces analogous effects—whence the metaphor—in the two cases.

‘Those again which are too long produce a feeling of being left behind, like those who (in a measured walk, as in the colonnade of a gymnasium) turn back only after passing (not till they have passed) the limit; for they too—like the speaker that uses too long periods—leave behind their companions in the walk’.

The notion is that of a party walking backwards and forwards in the portico of a gymnasium, the walk, like the period, being properly limited, though the limit is capable of being passed. If one of the party —suppose Aristotle himself in his daily περίπατοι in the Lyceum— chanced to have thus outstripped his companions, the latter would be left in the lurch, and be no longer able to hear him. Similarly the speaker who makes his periods of undue length, leaves his hearers in the lurch: they stop short, as it were, and lose the thread of his discourse. ἀποκάμπτειν is here not in its usual sense, but ‘to turn away’ in the sense of ‘turning back’, as ἀποδιδόναι, ἀπονέμειν, ἀπαιτεῖν.

On this subject comp. Cic. Orat. LIII 178, itaque et longiora et breviora iudicat et perfecta ac moderata semper expectat; mutila sentit quaedam et quasi decurtata, quibus tanquam debito fraudetur offenditur, productiora alia et quasi immoderatius excurrentia, quae magis etiam aspernantur aures, et seq.

‘And in like manner also the periods that are too long become so many speeches, and like a dithyrambic prelude; that is, rambling and incoherent, without unity or system.

αἱ περίοδοι...λόγος γίνεται] verb attracted from the plural to the singular, as the nearer of the two: so infra, αἵ τε λίαν βραχύκωλοι οὐ περίοδος γίγνεται. For ὅμοιον cf. triste lupus stabulis, et sim. On ἀναβολή, see note 1, Introd. p. 307.

‘And therefore what Democritus of Chios quoted to taunt Melanippides for writing (long, rambling) dithyrambic preludes instead of the (compact and regular) stanzas, is realized (in these overgrown periods). “A man works mischief to himself in working mischief to another, and the long dithyrambic prelude is most mischievous to its composer” (substituted for δὲ κακὴ βουλὴ τῷ βουλεύσαντι κακίστη, of the original, Hesiod. Op. et D. 263): for a taunt of the same kind may also be appropriately applied to the long-membered gentry, (the dealers in long-membered periods)’. The makers of the periods are themselves called here μακρόκωλοι. To scan the second verse of the quotation μακρα_ναβολή must be read as a crasis. “Democritus Chius Musicus, Abderitae aequalis teste Diogene Laertio, IX 49 (γεγόνασι δὲ Δημόκριτοι ἕξ: πρῶτος αὐτὸς οὗτος, δεύτερος Χῖος μουσικὸς κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν χρόνον). Meminerunt eius Suidas s. v. χιάζειν, Pollux, IV 9. 4, Arist. Rhet. III 9. De hoc omnium optime egit Coraes ἐν Χιακῆς Ἀρχαιολογίας Ὑλῃ Ἀτακτ. III p. 192, seq.” Müllach, ad Democr. Fragm. p. 91.

In the note on ἀναβολαί, Introd. p. 307, already referred to, may be found some account of the two kinds of dithyramb here alluded to; the earlier antistrophic form of that of Arion, Stesichorus, Pindar, and the novel, relaxed, often incoherent, extravagances, of Melanippides and his followers. Nevertheless, Melanippides is selected by Aristodemus, in answer to Socrates' question, Xen. Mem. I 4. 3, as the most distinguished representative of dithyrambic poetry, as Homer of epic, Sophocles of tragedy, Polycletus of sculpture, and Zeuxis of painting. This represents the popular judgment, as opposed to that of the critics. On this subject, I have referred to Bode, Gesch. der Hell. Dichtk. Vol. II Pt. II p. 111 seq. and 293 seq. and to Müller, Hist. Gr. Lit. c. XXX. See also Arist. Probl. XIX 15. Of melanippides of Melos, there is a life in Smith's Biogr. Dict. [E. Curtius, Greek Hist. Vol. IV p. 102 of Ward's tr.]

‘Those which have their members too short make no period at all: and so it (i.e. the period made up of these short κῶλα) drags the hearer with it headlong’. The audience is carried away by them, as by a horse, at a headlong, break-neck, pace. Specimens of this style are given in Introd. p. 314, note 1.

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