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[606a] “O yes,1” said I, “if you would consider it in this way.” “In what way?” “If you would reflect that the part of the soul that in the former case, in our own misfortunes,2 was forcibly restrained, and that has hungered for tears and a good cry3 and satisfaction, because it is its nature to desire these things, is the element in us that the poets satisfy and delight, and that the best element in our nature, since it has never been properly educated by reason or even by habit, then relaxes its guard4 over the plaintive part,

1 Cf. Vol. I. p. 509, note b, on 473 E.

2 Cf. Isoc.Panegyr. 168 for a different application.

3 This contains a hint of one possible meaning of the Aristotelian doctrine of κάθαρσις, Poet. 1449 b 27-28. Cf.κουφίζεσθαι μεθ᾽ ἡδονῆςPol. 1342 a 14, and my review of Finsler, “Platon u. d. Aristot. Poetik,”Class. Phil. iii. p. 462. But the tone of the Platonic passage is more like that of Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies:“And the human nature of us imperatively requiring awe and sorrow of some kind, for the noble grief we should have borne with our fellows, and the pure tears we should have wept with them, we gloat over the pathos of the police court and gather the night dew of the grave.”

4 This anticipates the idea of the “censor” in modern psychology.

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