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[960a] is unseemly, but we shall forbid loud mourning and lamentation outside the house, and we shall prohibit the carrying out of the dead on to the open roads and making lamentation while he is borne through the streets, and the funeral party must be outside the city-bounds before day-break. These shall be the legal regulations regarding such matters: he that obeys them shall be free from penalty, but he that disobeys a single one of the Law-wardens shall be penalized by them all [960b] with the penalty adjudged by all in common. All other interments of the dead, or disposal of corpses without interment in the cases of parricides, temple-robbers, and all such criminals,—have been previously1 dealt with and laid down by law, so that our task of legislation has nearly come to an end. But in every case, the full end does not consist in the doing, gaining or founding of an object; rather our view should be that it is only when we have discovered a means of salvation, endless and complete, for our creation, that we are at length justified in believing that we have done all that ought to be done: until then, we must believe, [960c] the whole of our creation is incomplete.

You say well, Stranger; but explain to us yet more clearly the purport of your last observation.

O Clinias, many of the sayings of old time have been nobly uttered, and of these not the least, I may say, are the titles given to the Fates.

What titles, pray?

That the first of them is Lachesis, the second Clotho, and Atropos the savior-third 2—she that bestows on the dooms ratified by Clotho the quality of irreversibility. [960d] She it is that must furnish also to the State and its citizens, not merely health and salvation for their bodies, but also right legality in their souls, or rather the salvation of the laws. And this, as it seems clear to me, is what our laws still lack—namely, a right mode of naturally implanting in them this irreversible quality.

The point you mention is a serious one, if it is really impossible to discover a means whereby everything may acquire some such quality. [960e]

Nay, but it is possible, as I now perceive quite clearly.

Then let us by no means desist until we have secured this very quality for the laws we have stated; for it would be ridiculous for us to have wasted all this labor on an object, and then not base it on any firm foundation.

You are right in your exhortation, and you will find me as ready as yourself to proceed.

Very good. Then what is it you say will prove a means of salvation to our polity and its laws, and how will it do so?

1 Cp. Plat. Laws 854d., Plat. Laws 873c.

2 Cp. Plat. Rep. 620e. Atropos is called “the savior-third” (cp.τὸ τρίτον τῷ Σωτῆρι) because she completes the work of the other Fates by making the thread of life (doom) spun by them irreversible. (ἄ-τροπος="unturnable.”)

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