previous next
[411a] “Certainly.” “And that of the ill adjusted is cowardiy and rude?” “It surely is.”

“Now when a man abandons himself to music to play1 upon him and pour2 into his soul as it were through the funnel of his ears those sweet, soft, and dirge-like airs of which we were just now3 speaking, and gives his entire time to the warblings and blandishments of song, the first result is that the principle of high spirit, if he had it, [411b] is softened like iron4 and is made useful instead of useless and brittle. But when he continues5 the practice without remission and is spellbound, the effect begins to be that he melts and liquefies6 till he completely dissolves away his spirit, cuts out as it were the very sinews of his soul and makes of himself a 'feeble warrior.'7” “Assuredly,” he said. “And if,” said I, “he has to begin with a spiritless8 nature he reaches this result quickly, but if high-spirited, by weakening the spirit he makes it unstable, [411c] quickly irritated by slight stimuli, and as quickly quelled. The outcome is that such men are choleric and irascible instead of high-spirited, and are peevish and discontented.” “Precisely so.” “On the other hand, if a man toils hard at gymnastics and eats right lustily and holds no truck with music and philosophy, does he not at first get very fit and full of pride and high spirit and become more brave and bold than he was?” “He does indeed.” “But what if he does nothing but this and has no contact with the Muse in any way, [411d] is not the result that even if there was some principle of the love of knowledge in his soul, since it tastes of no instruction nor of any inquiry and does not participate in any discussion or any other form of culture, it becomes feeble, deaf, and blind, because it is not aroused or fed nor are its perceptions purified and quickened?” “That is so,” he said. “And so such a man, I take it, becomes a misologist9 and stranger to the Muses. He no longer makes any use of persuasion by speech but achieves all his ends [411e] like a beast by violence and savagery, and in his brute ignorance and ineptitude lives a life of disharmony and gracelessness.” “That is entirely true,” he said. “For these two, then, it seems there are two arts which I would say some god gave to mankind, music and gymnastics for the service of the high-spirited principle and the love of knowledge in them—not for the soul and the body except incidentally, but for the harmonious adjustment of these two principles

1 Cf. 561 C.

2 Demetrius,Περὶ Ἑρμ. 51, quotes this and the following sentence as an example of the more vivid expression following the less vivid. For the image cf. Blaydes on Aristophanes Thesm. 18, Aeschylus Choeph. 451, Shakespeare, CymbelineIII. ii. 59 “Love's counsellor should fill the bores of hearing.”

3 Cf. 398 D-E, where the θρηνώδεις ἁρμονίαι are rejected altogether, while here they are used to illustrate the softening effect of music on a hard temperament. It is misspent ingenuity to harp on such “contradictions.”

4 For images drawn from the tempering of metals cf. Aeschylus Agamemnon 612 and Jebb on Sophocles Ajax 650.

5 Cf. Theaetetus 165 Eἐπέχων καὶ οὐκ ἀνιείς, and Blaydes on Aristophanes Peace 1121.

6 Cf. Tennyson's “Molten down in mere uxoriousness” (Geraint and Enid).

7 A familiar Homeric reminiscence (Iliad xvii. 588) quoted also in Symposium 174 C. Cf. Froissart's “un mol chevalier.”

8 Etymologically ἄθυμος="deficient in θυμός.”

9 A hater of rational discussion, as explained in Laches 188 C, and the beautiful passage in the Phaedo 89 D ff. Cf. Minucius Felix, Octavius 14. 6 “Igitur nobis providendum est ne odio identidem sermonum laboremus.” John Morley describes obscurantists as “sombre hierophants of misology.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (James Adam)
load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Enid (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1121 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: