Dusekphorōtata

800px-odysseus_and_nausicaa

Part 2 of 3. Part 1 is here. Part 3 is here.

ὅταν δ’ οἰκτρὰν ἢ φοβερὰν ἢ ἀγέρωχον ὄψιν εἰσάγῃ, τῶν τε φωνηέντων οὐ τὰ κράτιστα θήσει ἀλλὰ <τὰ δυσηχέστατα, καὶ> τῶν ψοφοειδῶν ἢ ἀφώνων τὰ δυσεκφορώτατα λήψεται καὶ καταπυκνώσει τούτοις τὰς συλλαβάς, οἷά ἐστι ταυτί

σμερδαλέος δ’ αὐτῇσι φάνη κεκακωμένος ἅλμῃ. [Od. 6.137]

τῇ δ’ ἐπὶ μὲν Γοργῲ βλοσυρῶπις ἐστεφάνωτο
δεινὸν δερκομένη, περὶ δὲ Δεῖμός τε Φόβος τε. [Il. 11.36s.]

ποταμῶν δέ γε σύρρυσιν εἰς χωρίον ἓν καὶ πάταγον ὑδάτων ἀναμισγομένων ἐκμιμήσασθαι τῇ λέξει βουλόμενος οὐκ ἐργάσεται λείας συλλαβὰς ἀλλ’ ἰσχυρὰς καὶ ἀντιτύπους

ὡς δ’ ὅτε χείμαρροι ποταμοὶ κατ’ ὄρεσφι ῥέοντες
ἐς μισγάγκειαν συμβάλλετον ὄβριμον ὕδωρ. [Il. 4.452s.]

(Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Peri Suntheseōs Onomatōn 16.98-99)

But when he is introducing a scene that is pitiable, frightening or august, he will not employ the finest of the vowels, but will take <the most unpleasant-sounding and> those of the fricatives and the voiceless consonants that are the most difficult to pronounce and crowd his syllables with these, as in these lines:

He burst on them, a fearsome sight, all uglified with brine.

A Gorgon’s head of baleful mien embossed the centre orb
With Fear and Panic ranged around her terrifying glare.

When he wishes to represent in words the flowing together of rivers into one place and the noisy splash of mingling torrents, he will not render this with smooth syllables, but with strong and resounding ones:

E’en as the winter-swollen rivers rush from hillsides steep,
They hurl their torrents wild into the watersmeet below.

(tr. Stephen Usher)

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