Turgidity seems to be one of the most difficult faults to avoid, for those who aim at greatness try to escape the charge of feeble aridity and are somehow led into turgidity, believing it “a noble error to fail in great things.” As in the body, so in writing, hollow and artificial swellings are bad and somehow turn into their opposite as, they say, nothing is drier than dropsy.
While turgidity attempts to reach beyond greatness, puerility is its direct opposite, altogether a lowly, petty, and ignoble fault. What is puerility? Clearly, it is an artificial notion overelaborated into frigidity. Writers slip into this kind of thing through a desire to be unusual, elaborate, and, above all, pleasing. They run aground on tawdriness and affectation.
In emotional passages we find a third kind of error which borders on puerility. Theodorus used to call it parenthrysos or false enthusiasm. It is a display of passion, hollow and untimely, where none is needed, or immoderate where moderation is required. For writers are frequently carried away by artificial emotions of their own making which have no relation to their subject matter. Like drunkards, they are beside themselves, but their audience is not, and their passion naturally appears unseemly to those who are not moved at all.
(On Great Writing, tr. G.M.A. Grube)