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[420a] exactly like hired mercenaries, with nothing to do but keep guard.” “Yes,” said I, “and what is more, they serve for board-wages and do not even receive pay in addition to their food as others do,1 so that they will not even be able to take a journey2 on their own account, if they wish to, or make presents to their mistresses, or spend money in other directions according to their desires like the men who are thought to be happy. These and many similar counts of the indictment you are omitting.” “Well,” said he, “assume these counts too.3” [420b] “What then will be our apology you ask?” “Yes.” “By following the same path I think we shall find what to reply. For we shall say that while it would not surprise us if these men thus living prove to be the most happy, yet the object on which we fixed our eyes in the establishment of our state was not the exceptional happiness of any one class but the greatest possible happiness of the city as a whole. For we thought4 that in a state so constituted we should be most likely to discover justice as we should injustice [420c] in the worst governed state, and that when we had made these out we could pass judgement on the issue of our long inquiry. Our first task then, we take it, is to mold the model of a happy state—we are not isolating5 a small class in it and postulating their happiness, but that of the city as a whole. But the opposite type of state we will consider presently.6 It is as if we were coloring a statue and someone approached and censured us, saying that we did not apply the most beautiful pigments to the most beautiful parts of the image, since the eyes,7 which are the most beautiful part, have not been painted with purple but with black— [420d] we should think it a reasonable justification to reply, ‘Don't expect us, quaint friend, to paint the eyes so fine that they will not be like eyes at all, nor the other parts. But observe whether by assigning what is proper to each we render the whole beautiful.8’ And so in the present case you must not require us to attach to the guardians a happiness that will make them anything but guardians. [420e] For in like manner we could9 clothe the farmers in robes of state and deck them with gold and bid them cultivate the soil at their pleasure, and we could make the potters recline on couches from left to right10 before the fire drinking toasts and feasting with their wheel alongside to potter with when they are so disposed, and we can make all the others happy in the same fashion, so that thus the entire city may be happy. But urge us not to this,

1 Other men, ordinary men. Cf. 543 Bὧν νῦν οἱ ἄλλοι, which disposes of other interpretations and misunderstandings.

2 This is, for other reasons, one of the deprivations of a tyrant (579 B). The Laws strictly limits travel (949 E). Here Plato is speaking from the point of view of the ordinary citizen.

3 The Platonic Socrates always states the adverse case strongly (Introduction p. xi), and observes the rule: “Would you adopt a strong logical attitude/ Always allow your opponent full latitude.”

4 Cf. 369 A.

5 ἀπολαβόντες, “separating off,” “abstracting,” may be used absolutely as in Gorgias 495 E, or with any object as 392 E.

6 That is 449 A and books VIII. and IX. The degenerate types of state are four, but the extreme opposite of the good state, the tyranny, is one.

7 So Hippias Major 290 B.

8 For this principle of aesthetics Cf. Phaedrus 264 C, Aristotle Poetics 1450 b 1-2.

9 “We know how to.” For the satire of the Socialist millenium which follows cf. Introduction p. xxix, and Ruskin, Fors Clavigera. Plato may have been thinking of the scene on the shield of Achilles, Iliad xviii. 541-560.

10 i.e. so that the guest on the right hand occupied a lower place and the wine circulated in the same direction. Many write ἐπὶ δεξιά, but Aἐπιδέξια. “Forever, 'tis a single word. Our rude forefathers thought it two.”

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