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[4] The fourth cause of frigidity of style is to be found in metaphors; for metaphors also are inappropriate, some because they are ridiculous—for the comic poets also employ them—others because they are too dignified and somewhat tragic; and if they are farfetched, they are obscure, as when Gorgias says: “Affairs pale and bloodless”1; “you have sown shame and reaped misfortune”; for this is too much like poetry. And as Alcidamas calls philosophy “a bulwark of the laws,”2 and the Odyssey “a beautiful mirror of human life,” and “introducing no such plaything in poetry.” All these expressions fail to produce persuasion, for the reasons stated. As for what Gorgias said to the swallow which, flying over his head, let fall her droppings upon him, it was in the best tragic style. He exclaimed, “Fie, for shame, Philomela!”; for there would have been nothing in this act disgraceful for a bird, whereas it would have been for a young lady. The reproach therefore was appropriate, addressing her as she was, not as she is.

1 On this passage Thompson (Gorgias, p. 179) says: “The metaphor of reaping and sowing is a mere commonplace . . . but ‘pallid and bloodless affairs’ is a phrase which would need apology even from a modern.” On the other hand, it is difficult to see what objection there is to calling the Odyssey “a beautiful mirror of human life.” Another reading is ἔναιμα, which Cope translates “events fresh with the blood in them.” If the two extracts are taken together, it is suggested (apparently by the editor of Cope's notes) that the sense may be: “things green and unripe (flushed with sap), and this was the crop which you . . .,” the adjectives referring to green and unripe stalks of corn.

2 Or, “a barrier against the laws.” This is the general meaning of ἐπιτείχισμα, a border fortress commanding an enemy's country.

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