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[835a] or what mode and manner of arranging them the gods may suggest. Then also, one expects, the musical contests will be held in sections, as arranged by the Masters of the Games and the Educator of the youth and the Law-wardens, meeting for this special purpose and acting in person as legislators to determine what persons, and when and with whom, are to frame the contests for all the choruses and choristry. Of what character each of these ought to be in respect of words, songs and tunes, blended with rhythm and dance, [835b] has frequently been stated1 by the original lawgiver; the secondary lawgivers should follow him in their enactments, and they should arrange the contests at convenient times to suit the several sacrifices, and thus appoint festivals for the State to observe. Now as to these and the like matters, it is by no means hard to perceive how they should be given legal regulation, nor indeed would a shifting of their positions cause much [835c] gain or loss to the State. But the things which do make no small difference, and of which it is hard to persuade men—these form a task especially for God (were it possible that orders should come from him): as it is, they are likely to require a bold man who, valuing candor above all else, will declare what he deems best for city and citizens, and in the midst of corrupted souls will enjoin what is fitting and in keeping with all the constitution, and gainsay the mightiest lusts, acting alone by himself with no man to help him save, as his solitary leader, Reason. [835d]

Clinias
What is it we are reasoning about now, Stranger? For we are still in the dark.

Athenian
Naturally: but I will try to explain myself more clearly. When in my discourse I came to the subject of education,2 I saw young men and maidens consorting with one another affectionately; and, naturally, a feeling of alarm came upon me, as I asked myself how one is to manage a State like this in which young men and maidens are well-nourished but exempt from those severe and menial labors which are the surest means of quenching wantonness, [835e] and where the chief occupation of everyone all through life consists in sacrifices, feasts and dances. In a State such as this, how will the young abstain from those desires which frequently plunge many into ruin,—all those desires from which reason, in its endeavor to be law,3 enjoins abstinence? That the laws previously ordained serve to repress the majority of desires is not surprising;

1 In Books VI and VII.

2 Plat. Laws 771e.

3 A play on νόμος=νοῦς; cp. Plat. Laws 836e, Plat. Laws 714a.

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