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What do you mean by this, Stranger?Athenian
A man at the point of death, Clinias, is a difficult subject, and overflowing with speech that is most alarming and vexatious to a lawgiver.Clinias
Since he claims to be lord of all he has, he is wont [922d] to speak angrily.Clinias
What will he say?Athenian
“Good heavens!” he cries, “what a monstrous shame it is, if I am not to be allowed at all to give, or not give, my own things to whomsoever I will—and more to one, less to another, according as they have proved themselves good to me or bad, when fully tested in times of sickness, or else in old age and in other happenings of every kind.”Clinias
And do you not think, Stranger, that what they say is right? [922e] Athenian
What I think, Clinias, is this—that the old lawgivers were cowardly, and gave laws with a short view and a slight consideration of human affairs.Clinias
How do you mean?Athenian
It was through fear, my dear sir, of that angry speech that they made the law allowing a man unconditionally to dispose by will of his goods exactly how he pleases.
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