Page:Aristotle s Poetics Butcher.djvu/117

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"Ἐπιχάρην εἶδον Μαραθῶνάδε βαδίζοντα (Epicharen eidon Marathonade badizonta),

"I saw Epichares walking to Marathon, "

or,

"οὐκ ἂν γεράμενος τὸν ἐκείνου ἐλλέβορον (ouk an g'eramenos ton ekeinou elleboron.)

"Not if you desire his hellebore. "

To employ such license at all obtrusively is, no doubt, grotesque; but in any mode of poetic diction there must be moderation. Even metaphors, strange (or rare) words, or any similar forms of speech, would produce the like effect if used without propriety and with the express purpose of being ludicrous. How great a difference is made by the appropriate use of lengthening, may be seen in Epic poetry by the insertion of ordinary forms in the verse. So, again, if we take a strange (or rare) word, a metaphor, or any similar mode of expression, and replace it by the current or proper term, the truth of our observation will be manifest. For example, Aeschylus and Euripides each composed the same iambic line. But the alteration of a single word by Euripides, who employed the rarer term instead of the ordinary one, makes one verse appear beautiful and the other trivial. Aeschylus in his Philoctetes says:

"φαγέδαιναν <δ'>ἥ μου σάρκας ἐσθίει ποδός (phagedaina d'he mou sarkas esthiei podos.)

"The tumor which is eating the flesh of my foot. "

Euripides substitutes ‘θοινᾶται’ (thoinatai), 'feasts on,' for ‘ἐσθίει’ (esthiei), 'feeds on.' Again, in the line,

"νῦν δέ μ᾽ ἐὼν ὀλίγος τε καὶ οὐτιδανὸς καὶ ἀεικής (nun de m'eon oligos te kai outidanos kai aeikes),

"Yet a small man, worthless and unseemly, "

the difference will be felt if we substitute the common words,

"νῦν δέ μ᾽ ἐὼν μικρός τε καὶ ἀσθενικὸς καὶ ἀειδής (nun de m'eon mikros te kai asthenikos kai aeides.)

"Yet a little fellow, weak and ugly. "