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[131] But even as it is, he deserves to be read by those whose powers have been formed and firmly moulded on the standards of a severer taste, if only because he will exercise their critical faculties in distinguishing between his merits and his defects. For, as I have said, there is much in him which we may approve, much even that we may admire. Only we must be careful in our selection: would he had been as careful himself. For his genius deserved to be devoted to better aims, since what it does actually aim at, it succeeds in achieving.

II. It is from these and other authors worthy of our study that we must draw our stock of words, the variety of our figures and our methods of composition, while we must form our minds on the model of every excellence. For there can be no doubt that in art no small portion of our task lies in imitation, since, although invention came first and is all-important, it is expedient to imitate whatever has been invented with success.

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