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[7] Also the practice of Antimachus is useful, that of describing a thing by the qualities it does not possess; thus, in speaking of the hill Teumessus,1 he says, “ There is a little windswept hill;

” for in this way amplification may be carried on ad infinitum. This method may be applied to things good and bad, in whichever way it may be useful. Poets also make use of this in inventing words, as a melody “without strings” or “without the lyre”; for they employ epithets from negations, a course which is approved in proportional metaphors, as for instance, to say that the sound of the trumpet is a melody without the lyre.

1 In Boeotia. The quotation is from the Thebaid of Antimachus of Claros (c. 450 B.C.). The Alexandrians placed him next to Homer among the epic poets. In his eulogy of the little hill, he went on to attribute to it all the good qualities it did not possess, a process which could obviously be carried on ad infinitum.

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