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[659a] and the highly educated as about the best, and as quite the best if it pleases the one man who excels all others in virtue and education. And we say that the judges of these matters need virtue for the reason that they need to possess not only wisdom in general, but especially courage. For the true judge should not take his verdicts from the dictation of the audience, nor yield weakly to the uproar of the crowd or his own lack of education; nor again, when he knows the truth, should he give his verdict carelessly through cowardice and lack of spirit, thus swearing falsely out of the same mouth with which he invoked Heaven when he first took his seat as judge.1 [659b] For, rightly speaking, the judge sits not as a pupil, but rather as a teacher of the spectators, being ready to oppose those who offer them pleasure in a way that is unseemly or wrong; and that is what the present law of Sicily and Italy actually does: by entrusting the decision to the spectators, who award the prize by show of hands, not only has it corrupted the poets [659c] (since they adapt their works to the poor standard of pleasure of the judges, which means that the spectators are the teachers of the poets), but it has corrupted also the pleasures of the audience; for whereas they ought to be improving their standard of pleasure by listening to characters superior to their own, what they now do has just the opposite effect. What, then, is the conclusion to be drawn from this survey? Is it this, do you suppose?


This is, I imagine, the third or fourth time that our discourse has described a circle [659d] and come back to this same point—namely, that education is the process of drawing and guiding children towards that principle which is pronounced right by the law and confirmed as truly right by the experience of the oldest and the most just. So in order that the soul of the child may not become habituated to having pains and pleasures in contradiction to the law and those who obey the law, but in conformity thereto, being pleased and pained at the same things as the old man,— [659e] for this reason we have what we call “chants,” which evidently are in reality incantations2 seriously designed to produce in souls that conformity and harmony of which we speak. But inasmuch as the souls of the young are unable to endure serious study, we term these “plays” and “chants,'' and use them as such,—just as, when people suffer from bodily ailments and infirmities, those whose office it is try to administer to them nutriment that is wholesome in meats

1 Judges at musical and gymnastic contests, like all state officials, took an oath to discharge their duties with fidelity. See further, Plat. Laws 6.764.

2 i.e. charms or magic formulae, canted over sick persons (or over snakes, Euthyd. 290A): cp. 664 B.

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