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Yes, lay them down.Athenian
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?Clinias
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?Clinias
That of auspicious speech; and must we have a kind of hymn that is
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