Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Today's Quintilian: 8.6.24-25

XXIV. Quod fit retrorsum durius. Refert autem in quantum hic tropos oratorem sequatur. Nam ut "Vulcanum" pro igne vulgo audimus et "vario Marte pugnatum" eruditus est sermo et "Venerem" quam coitum dixisse magis decet, ita "Liberum et Cererem" pro vino et pane licentius quam ut fori severitas ferat. Sicut ex eo quod continet id quod continetur: usus recipit "bene moratas urbes" et "poculum epotum" et "saeculum felix", at id quod contra est raro audeat nisi poeta: XXV. "iam proximus ardet Vcalegon". Nisi forte hoc potius est a possessore quod possidetur, ut "hominem devorari", cuius patrimonium consumatur: quo modo fiunt innumerabiles species.

The reverse would be offensive.

24. It is of great importance, however, to consider how far the use of the trope is permitted to the orator, for though we daily hear "Vulcan" used for fire, though it is elegant to say vario Marte pugnatum for "the fortune of the battle was various," and though it is more becoming to say "Venus" than coitus, yet to use "Bacchus" and "Ceres" for wine and bread would be more venturesome than the severity of the forum would allow. Thus, too, custom permits us to signify that which is contained from that which contains it, as "well-mannered cities," "a cup was drunk," "a happy age." But the opposite mode of expression scarcely any one would use but a poet, as Proximus ardet Ucalegon, "Ucalegon burns next." 25. It may perhaps be more allowable, however, to signify from the possessor that which is possessed, such as "a man is eaten up" when his estate is squandered. But there are numberless forms of metonymy of this sort.

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