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[800a] so that they, too, perhaps, would not wholly disagree with our present suggestion, but one of them may have divined it vaguely, as in a dream by night or a waking vision: anyhow, let this be the decree on the matter:—In violation of public tunes and sacred songs and the whole choristry of the young, just as in violation of any other “nome” (law), no person shall utter a note or move a limb in the dance. He that obeys shall be free of all penalty; but he that disobeys shall (as we said just now) be punished by the Law-wardens, the priestesses and the priests. [800b] Shall we now lay down these enactments in our statement?

Yes, lay them down.

How shall we enact these rules by law in such a way as to escape ridicule? Let us consider yet another point concerning them. The safest plan is to begin by framing in our discourse some typical cases,1 so to call them; one such case I may describe in this way. Suppose that, when a sacrifice is being performed and the offerings duly burned, some private worshipper—a son or a brother —when standing beside the altar [800c] and the offering, should blaspheme most blasphemously, would not his voice bring upon his father and the rest of the family a feeling of despair and evil forebodings?

It would.

Well, in our part of the world this is what happens, one may almost say, in nearly every one of the States. Whenever a magistrate holds a public sacrifice, the next thing is for a crowd of choirs— not merely one—to advance and take their stand, not at a distance from the altars, [800d] but often quite close to them; and then they let out a flood of blasphemy over the sacred offerings, racking the souls of their audience with words, rhythms and tunes most dolorous, and the man that succeeds at once in drawing most tears from the sacrificing city carries off the palm of victory. Must we not reject2 such a custom as this? For if it is ever really necessary that the citizens should listen to such doleful strains, it would be more fitting that the choirs that attend should be hired from abroad, and that not on holy days but only on fast-days— [800e] just as a corpse is escorted with Carian music by hired mourners. Such music would also form the fitting accompaniment for hymns of this kind; and the garb befitting these funeral hymns would not be any crowns nor gilded ornaments, but just the opposite, for I want to get done with this subject as soon as I can. Only I would have us ask ourselves again3 this single question,—are we satisfied to lay this down as our first typical rule for hymns?

What rule?

That of auspicious speech; and must we have a kind of hymn that is

1 ἐκμαγεῖον(“mold” or “impression”) is here used, much likeεἶδος, of a class or “type” of cases needing legal regulation.

2 Music should he used as an ennobling educational instrument, promoting self-control, not as a means of exciting vulgar sentiment and passion.

3 Cp. Plat. Laws 800b.

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