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What was that?Athenian
The consequence of our incurring ridicule in abundance, in addition to meeting with a blank refusal to obey on the part of the nurses, with their womanish and servile minds.Clinias
What reason, then, had we for saying that these rules ought to be stated?Athenian
The reason was this: the minds of the masters and of the freemen [790b] in the States may perhaps listen, and so come to the right conclusion that, unless private affairs in a State are rightly managed, it is vain to suppose that any stable code of laws can exist for public affairs; and when he perceives this, the individual citizen may of himself adopt as laws the rules we have now stated, and, by so doing and thus ordering aright both his household and his State, may achieve happiness.Clinias
Such a result seems quite probable.Athenian
Consequently we must not desist from this kind of legislation until we have described in detail the treatment suited for the souls [790c] of young children in the same manner as we commenced our advice regarding their bodies.Clinias
You are quite right.Athenian
Let us take this, then, as a fundamental assumption in both cases,—that for both body and soul of the very young a process of nursing and moving, that is as continuous as possible both by day and by night, is in all cases salutary, and especially in the case of the youngest: it is like having them always rocked— [790d] if that were possible—on the sea. As it is, with new-born infants one should reproduce this condition as nearly as possible. Further evidence of this may be seen in the fact that this course is adopted and its usefulness recognized both by those who nurse small children and by those who administer remedies in cases of Corybantism.1 Thus when mothers have children suffering from sleeplessness, and want to lull them to rest, the treatment they apply is to give them, not quiet, but motion, for they rock them constantly in their arms; and instead of silence, [790e] they use a kind of crooning noise; and thus they literally cast a spell upon the children (like the victims of Bacchic frenzy) by employing the combined movements of dance and song as a remedy.Clinias
And what, Stranger, are we to suppose is the main cause of this?Athenian
It is easy enough to see.Clinias
Both these affections are forms of fright; and frights are due to a poor condition of soul. So whenever one applies an external shaking
1 “Corybantism” is a technical term for a state of morbid mental excitement (cp. “tarantism”) derived from “Corybantes,” the name given to the frenzied worshippers of Bacchus.
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