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[2] Authority as a rule we derive from orators and historians. For poets, owing to the necessities of metre, are allowed a certain licence except in cases where they deliberately choose one of two expressions, when both are metrically possible, as for instance in imo de stirpe recisum and aeriae quo congessere palumbes or silice in nuda1 and the like. The judgment of a supreme orator is placed on the same level as reason, and even error brings no disgrace, if it result from treading in the footsteps of such distinguished guides.

1 Aen. xii. 208: “cutaway from the lowest root.” Ecl. iii. 69: “where airy doves have made their nest.” Ecl. i. 15: “on the naked rock.” Stirps, palumbes and silex are usually masculine.

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