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1 I shall however [p. 155] postpone discussion of tropes and figures till I come to deal with the various ornaments of style. [17] Above all he will impress upon their minds the value of proper arrangement, and of graceful treatment of the matter in hand: he will show what is appropriate to the various characters, what is praiseworthy in the thoughts or words, where copious diction is to be commended and where restraint.

[18] In addition to this he will explain the various stories that occur: this must be done with care, but should not be encumbered with superfluous detail. For it is sufficient to set forth the version which is generally received or at any rate rests upon good authority. But to ferret out everything that has ever been said on the subject even by the most worthless of writers is a sign of tiresome pedantry or empty ostentation, and results in delaying and swamping the mind when it would be better employed on other themes. [19] The man who pores over every page even though it be wholly unworthy of reading, is capable of devoting his attention to the investigation of old wives' tales. And yet the commentaries of teachers of literature are full of such encumbrances to learning and strangely unfamiliar to their own authors. [20] It is, for instance, recorded that Didymus, who was unsurpassed for the number of books which he wrote, on one occasion objected to some story as being absurd, whereupon one of his own books was produced which contained the story in question. [21] Such abuses occur chiefly in connexion with fabulous stories and are sometimes carried to ludicrous or even scandalous extremes: for in such cases the more unscrupulous commentator has such full scope for invention, that he can tell lies [p. 157] to his heart's content about whole books and authors without fear of detection: for what never existed can obviously never be found, whereas if the subject is familiar the careful investigator will often detect the fraud. Consequently I shall count it a merit in a teacher of literature that there should be some things which he does not know.

IX. I have now finished with two of the departments, with which teachers of literature profess to deal, namely the art of speaking correctly and the interpretation of authors; the former they call nethodicē, the latter historiē We must however add to their activities instruction in certain rudiments of oratory for the benefit of those who are not yet ripe for the schools of rhetoric. [2] Their pupils should learn to paraphrase Aesop's fables, the natural successors of the fairy stories of the nursery, in simple and restrained language and subsequently to set down this paraphrase in writing with the same simplicity of style: they should begin by analysing each verse, then give its meaning in different language, and finally proceed to a freer paraphrase in which they will be permitted now to abridge and now to embellish the original, so far as this may be done without losing the poet's meaning. [3] This is no easy task even for the expert instructor, and the pupil who handles it successfully will be capable of learning everything. He should also be set to write aphorisms, moral essays (chriae) and delineations of character (ethologiae),2 of which the teacher will first give the general scheme, since such themes will be drawn from their reading. In all of these exercises the general idea is the same, but the form differs: aphorisms are general propositions, while ethologiae [p. 159] are concerned with persons [4] . Of moral essays there are various forms: some are akin to aphorisms and commence with a simple statement “he said” or “he used to say”: others give the answer to a question and begin “on being asked” or “in answer to this he replied,” while a third and not dissimilar type begins, “when someone has said or done something.” Some hold that a moral essay may take some action as its text; [5] take for example the statement “Crates on seeing an ill-educated boy, beat his paedagogus,” or a very similar example which they do not venture actually to propose as a theme for a moral essay, but content themselves with saying that it is of the nature of such a theme, namely “Milo, having accustomed himself to carrying a calf every day, ended by carrying it when grown to a bull.” All these instances are couched in the same grammatical form3 and deeds no less than sayings may be presented for treatment. [6] Short stories from the poets should in my opinion be handled not with a view to style but as a means of increasing knowledge. Other more serious and ambitious tasks have been also imposed on teachers of literature by the fact that Latin rhetoricians will have nothing to do with them: Greek rhetoricians have a better comprehension of the extent and nature of the tasks placed on their shoulders.

1 9. chaps. i. and ii. A trope is an expression used in a sense which it cannot strictly bear. A figure is a form of speech differing from the ordinary method of expression; see IX i. 4.

2 The meaning of ethologia is doubtful, but probably means a simple character-sketch of some famous man.

3 The sense is not clear: it appears to refer to the stereotyped form in which the chria was couched.

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