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[607a] we must love1 and salute them as doing the best they can,2 and concede to them that Homer is the most poetic3 of poets and the first of tragedians,4 but we must know the truth, that we can admit no poetry into our city save only hymns to the gods and the praises of good men.5 For if you grant admission to the honeyed muse6 in lyric or epic, pleasure and pain will be lords of your city instead of law and that which shall from time to time have approved itself to the general reason as the best.” “Most true,” he said. [607b]

“Let us, then, conclude our return to the topic of poetry and our apology, and affirm that we really had good grounds then for dismissing her from our city, since such was her character. For reason constrained us.7 And let us further say to her, lest she condemn us for harshness and rusticity, that there is from of old a quarrel8 between philosophy and poetry. For such expressions as “‘the yelping hound barking at her master and mighty in the idle babble”Unknown [607c] “of fools,’”9 and “‘the mob that masters those who are too wise for their own good,’” Unknown and the subtle thinkers who reason that after all they are poor, and countless others are tokens of this ancient enmity. But nevertheless let it be declared that, if the mimetic and dulcet poetry can show any reason for her existence in a well-governed state, we would gladly admit her, since we ourselves are very conscious of her spell. But all the same it would be impious to betray what we believe to be the truth.10 [607d] Is not that so, friend? Do not you yourself feel her magic11 and especially when Homer12 is her interpreter?” “Greatly.” “Then may she not justly return from this exile after she has pleaded her defence, whether in lyric or other measure?” “By all means.” “And we would allow her advocates who are not poets but lovers of poetry to plead her cause13 in prose without metre, and show that she is not only delightful but beneficial to orderly government and all the life of man. And we shall listen benevolently, [607e] for it will be clear gain for us if it can be shown that she bestows not only pleasure but benefit.” “How could we help being the gainers?” said he. “But if not, my friend, even as men who have fallen in love, if they think that the love is not good for them, hard though it be,14 nevertheless refrain, so we, owing to the love of this kind of poetry inbred in us by our education in these fine15 polities of ours,

1 For the μέν Cf. Symp. 180 E, Herod. vii. 102.

2 The condescending tone is that of Euthydem. 306 C-D.

3 Aristotle, Poet. 1453 a 29, says that Euripides is τραγικώτατος of poets.

4 Cf. 605 C, 595 B-C.

5 Cf. Laws 801 D-E, 829 C-D, 397 C-D, 459 E, 468 D, Friedländer, Platon, i. p. 142, and my review of Pater, Plato and Platonism, in The Dial, 14 (1893) p. 211.

6 Cf. Laws 802 Cτῆς γλυκείας Μούσης. See Finsler, Platon u. d. aristot. Poetik, pp. 61-62.

7 See on 604 C, p. 455, note h.

8 For the quarrel between philosophy and poetry Cf. Laws 967 C-D, Friedländer, Platon, ii. p. 136. It still goes on in modern times.

9 Wilamowitz, Platon, i. p. 252, conjectures that these quotations are from Sophron; cf. also ibid. ii. pp. 386-387.

10 Cf. p. 420, note b, on 595 C.

11 Cf. supra,Introd. p. lxiii.

12 In Laws 658 D Plato says that old men would prefer Homer and epic to any other literary entertainment.

13 This was taken up by Aristotle (Poetics), Plutarch (Quomodo adolescens), Sidney (Defense of Poesie), and many others.

14 βίᾳ μέν, ὅμως δέ: Cf. Epist. iii. 316 E, and vii. 325 A, and Raeder, Rhein. Mus. lxi. p. 470, Aristoph.Clouds 1363μόλις μὲν ἀλλ᾽ ὅμως, Eurip.Phoen. 1421μόλις μέν, ἐξέτεινε δ᾽, and also Soph.Antig. 1105, O.T. 998, Eurip.Bacch. 1027, Hec. 843, Or. 1023, El. 753, Phoen. 1069, I.A. 688, 904.

15 Ironical, as καλλίστη in 562 A.

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