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Bathos

[Greek, bathos, depth]. A ludicrous descent from grandiloquence to commonplace. A literary mermaid.

Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam
Jungere si velit ... ut turpiter atrum
Desinat in piscem mulier formosa superne.

“Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.”

Horace: De Arte Poetica, line 139.

A good example is the well-known couplet:

And thou, Dalhousie, the great god of war,
Lieutenant-general to the earl of Mar.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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