On Elevated Style (From Oxyrhynchus Papyri 410, 3.26ff. The text is fragmentary in places; the gaps in the translation (“[…]”) refer to actual gaps in the papyrus text, or to passages that are so fragmentary as to be unintelligible.
(I) […] And some others will deem you worthy. And if in the language used in the beginning of the artful exordia [...] [if] one seems to use [proofs?] that are not written down but private, and to know nothing for sure but speaks from personal opinion or after hearing something from the judges or somebody else. In the proems these things are useful toward giving a good impression; as for the exposition of the matter, for one’s character to appear better are more noble in it the following thing will be of use: one ought to impersonate somebody still young. And for starters, I say that one must portray one’s strength as insufficient to commit the wrongs in question. Do not belittle yourself [?] with the judges, if all you want is to speak in a more elevated way.
(II) […] about which he […] speaks. And that which people value highly is magnificent, such as “not even if she rivals in looks golden Aphrodite”, “not as numerous as Apollo’s stone threshold contains”, “not as numerous as in Thebes of Egypt”, and “as numerous as sand and dust”. Examples are things such as “His head touches the sky and he walks on earth”, and Sophocles […].
(III) […] Also, do not speak of anything dishonourable or reckless in a pleasant manner, since such a way of speaking is unseemly and typical of a shameless character; avoiding saying ugly things, on the other hand, is elevated and an ornament to one’s speech. In addition to all these things, whatever you expound, expound it with some honourable premise and intention, either setting something straight or expressing an opinion or asking for […].
(IV) […] but blaming the bad people. For they will assume that you are like the people you elevate and praise or berate or hate or embrace when there is need for it, since most people, in fact, are accepting of those who are like them. About this there is also a famous saying: “I have never asked, knowing that he is like that, what kind of people he enjoys being around.” […] … Appears fairly elevated, and this is common with respect to persuasiveness. For instance, having forgotten is the same as not having premeditated but improvised. Sometimes you will fake such things. Also, nearly all irony is elevated.