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that are always long, namely E and O, and- of vowels that admit of

lengthening- those in A. Thus the number of letters in which nouns

masculine and feminine end is the same; for PS and X are equivalent to

endings in S. No noun ends in a mute or a vowel short by nature. Three

only end in I- meli, 'honey'; kommi, 'gum'; peperi, 'pepper'; five end

in U. Neuter nouns end in these two latter vowels; also in N and S.

POETICS|22

XXII




The perfection of style is to be clear without being mean. The

clearest style is that which uses only current or proper words; at the

same time it is mean- witness the poetry of Cleophon and of Sthenelus.

That diction, on the other hand, is lofty and raised above the

commonplace which employs unusual words. By unusual, I mean strange

(or rare) words, metaphorical, lengthened- anything, in short, that

differs from the normal idiom. Yet a style wholly composed of such

words is either a riddle or a jargon; a riddle, if it consists of

metaphors; a jargon, if it consists of strange (or rare) words. For

the essence of a riddle is to express true facts under impossible

combinations. Now this cannot be done by any arrangement of

ordinary words, but by the use of metaphor it can. Such is the riddle:

'A man I saw who on another man had glued the bronze by aid of

fire,' and others of the same kind. A diction that is made up of

strange (or rare) terms is a jargon. A certain infusion, therefore, of

these elements is necessary to style; for the strange (or rare)

word, the metaphorical, the ornamental, and the other kinds above

mentioned, will raise it above the commonplace and mean, while the use

of proper words will make it perspicuous. But nothing contributes more

to produce a cleanness of diction that is remote from commonness

than the lengthening, contraction, and alteration of words. For by

deviating in exceptional cases from the normal idiom, the language

will gain distinction; while, at the same time, the partial conformity

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