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[671a] to enable them to determine what is first, what second in order of nobility; otherwise none of them will ever succeed in attracting the young to virtue by his incantations. The primary intention of our argument, which was to demonstrate that our defence of the Dionysiac chorus was justifiable, has now been carried out to the best of our ability. Let us consider if that is really so. Such a gathering inevitably tends, as the drinking proceeds, to grow ever more and more uproarious; and in the case of the present day gatherings that is, as we said at the outset, [671b] an inevitable result.


Everyone is uplifted above his normal self, and is merry and bubbles over with loquacious audacity himself, while turning a deaf ear to his neighbors, and regards himself as competent to rule both himself and everyone else.

To be sure.

And did we not say that when this takes place, the souls of the drinkers turn softer, like iron, through being heated, and younger too; whence they become ductile, just as when they were young, [671c] in the hands of the man who has the skill and the ability to train and mould them. And now, even as then, the man who is to mould them is the good legislator; he must lay down banqueting laws, able to control that banqueter who becomes confident and bold and unduly shameless, and unwilling to submit to the proper limits of silence and speech, of drinking and of music, making him consent to do in all ways the opposite,— [671d] laws able also, with the aid of justice, to fight against the entrance of such ignoble audacity, by bringing in that most noble fear which we have named “modesty” and “shame.”

That is so.

And as law-wardens of these laws and cooperators therewith, there must be sober and sedate men to act as commanders over the un-sober; for to fight drunkenness without these would be a more formidable task than to fight enemies without sedate leaders. Any man who refuses willingly to obey these men and the officers [671e] of Dionysus (who are over sixty years of age) shall incur as much disgrace as the man who disobeys the officers of Ares, and even more.

Quite right.

If such was the character of the drinking and of the recreation, would not such fellow-drinkers be the better for it, and part from one another better friends than before, instead of enemies, as now? For they would be guided by laws in all their intercourse,

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