the art which employs words either in bare prose or in metres either in one kind of metre or combining several happens up to the present day to have no name. for we can find no common term to apply to the mimes of sophron and xenarchus and to the socratic dialogues. nor again supposing a poet were to make his representation in iambics or elegiacs or any other such metre except that people attache the word poet maker to the name of the metre and speak of elegiac poets and of others as epic poets. thus they do not call them poets in virtue of their representation but apply the name indiscriminately in virtue of the metre.

for if people publish medical or scientific treatises in metre the custom is to call them poets. but homer and empedocles have nothing in common except the metre so that it would be proper to call the one a poet and the other not a poet but a scientist. similarly if a man makes his representation by combining all the metres as chaeremon did when he wrote his rhapsody the centaur a medley of all the metres he too should be given the name of poet. there are certain arts which employ all the means which i have mentioned such as rhythm and tune and metre dithryambic and nomic poetry for example and tragedy too and comedy. the difference here is that some use all these at once others use now one now another. these differences then in the various arts i call means of representation.

we must learn from our masters who came before us. for it is only history that can move us forward. there is nothing new that we will create only a different representation of the same thing. it is important hence to understand the essence of whichever art we have dedicated ourselves to by tracing it from its roots