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[718a] and assigning to the deceased a due share of the means which fortune Provides for expenditure. Every one of us, if we acted thus and observed these rules of life, would win always a due reward from the gods and from all that are mightier than ourselves, and would pass the greatest part of our lives in the enjoyment of hopes of happiness. As regards duties to children, relations, friends and citizens, and those of service done to strangers for Heaven's sake, and of social intercourse with all those classes,—by fulfilling which a man should brighten his own life and order it as the law enjoins,— [718b] the sequel of the laws themselves, partly by persuasion and partly (when men's habits defy persuasion) by forcible and just chastisement, will render our State, with the concurrence of the gods, a blessed State and a prosperous. There are also matters which a lawgiver, if he shares my view, must necessarily regulate, though they are ill-suited for statement in the form of a law; in dealing with these he ought, in my opinion, to produce a sample for his own use and that of those [718c] for whom he is legislating, and, after expounding all other matters as best he can, pass on next to commencing the task of legislation.

What is the special form in which such matters are laid down?

It is by no means easy to embrace them all in a single model of statement (so to speak) but let us conceive of them in some such way as this, in case we may succeed in affirming something definite about them.

Tell us what that “something” is.

I should desire the people to be as docile as possible in the matter of virtue; and this evidently is what the legislator will endeavor to effect in all his legislation. [718d]


I thought the address we have made might prove of some help in making them listen to its monitions with souls not utterly savage, but in a more civil and less hostile mood. So that we may be well content if as I say, it renders the hearer even but a little more docile, because a little less hostile. For there is no great plenty or abundance of persons anxious to become with all speed as good as possible; [718e] the majority, indeed, serve to show how wise Hesiod was when he said, ““smooth is the way that leadeth unto wickedness,” and that “no sweat is needed to traverse it,” since it is “passing short,””Hes. WD 287ff. but (he says)—“In front of goodness the immortal gods
Have set the sweat of toil, and thereunto
Long is the road and steep, and rough withal

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