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[425a] it is impossible that they should grow up to be men of serious temper and lawful spirit.” “Of course,” he said. “And so we may reason that when children in their earliest play are imbued with the spirit of law and order through their music, the opposite of the former supposition happens—this spirit waits upon them in all things and fosters their growth, and restores and sets up again whatever was overthrown in the other1 type of state.” “True, indeed,” he said. “Then such men rediscover for themselves those seemingly trifling conventions which their predecessors abolished altogether.” “Of what sort?” “Such things as [425b] the becoming silence2 of the young in the presence of their elders; the giving place to them and rising up before them, and dutiful service of parents, and the cut of the hair3 and the garments and the fashion of the foot-gear, and in general the deportment of the body and everything of the kind. Don't you think so?” “I do.” “Yet to enact them into laws would, I think, be silly.4 For such laws are not obeyed nor would they last, being enacted only in words and on paper.” “How could they?” “At any rate, Adeimantus,” I said, “the direction of the education from whence one starts is likely to determine [425c] the quality of what follows. Does not like ever summon like?” “Surely.” “And the final5 outcome, I presume, we would say is one complete and vigorous product of good or the reverse.” “Of course,” said he. “For my part, then,” I said, “for these reasons I would not go on to try to legislate on such matters.6” “With good reason,” said he. “But what, in heaven's name,” said I, “about business matters, the deals7 that men make with one another in the agora— [425d] and, if you please, contracts with workmen8 and actions for foul language9 and assault, the filing of declarations,10 the impanelling of juries, the payment and exaction of any dues that may be needful in markets or harbors and in general market, police or harbor regulations and the like, can we bring11 ourselves to legislate about these?” “Nay, ‘twould not be fitting,” he said, “to dictate to good and honorable men.12 For most of the enactments that are needed about these things [425e] they will easily, I presume, discover.” “Yes, my friend, provided God grants them the preservation of the principles of law that we have already discussed.” “Failing that,” said he, “they will pass their lives multiplying such petty laws and amending them in the expectation of attaining what is best.” “You mean,” said I, “that the life of such citizens will resemble that of men who are sick, yet from intemperance are unwilling to abandon13 their unwholesome regimen.”

1 πρότερον is an unconscious lapse from the construction of an ideal state to the reformation of a degenerate Athens. Cf. Isocrates Areopagiticus 41 ff., and Laws 876 B-C, 948 C-D.

2 For these traits of old-fashioned decorum and modesty cf. Aristophanes Clouds 961-1023, Blaydes on 991, Herodotus ii. 80, Isocrates Areopagiticus 48-49.

3 Cf. Starkie on Aristophanes Wasps 1069.

4 Cf. on 412 B, Isocrates Areopagiticus 41, and Laws 788 B, where the further, still pertinent consideration is added that the multiplication of minor enactments tends to bring fundamental laws into contempt. Cf. “Plato's Laws and the Unity of Plato's Thought,” p. 353, n. 2.

5 Cf. 401 C, Demosthenes Olynth. iii. 33τέλειόν τι καὶ μέγα.

6 τὰ τοιαῦτα is slightly contemptuous. Specific commercial, industrial and criminal legislation was not compatible with the plan of the Republic, and so Plato omits it here. Much of it is given in the Laws, but even there details are left to the citizens and their rulers. Cf. on 412 B.

7 Cf. Laws 922 A, Aristotle Politics 1263 b 21. All legal relations of contract, impied contract and tort.

8 In Laws 920 D Plato allows a δίκη ἀτελοῦς ὁμολογίας against workmen or contractors who break or fail to complete contracts.

9 Cf. Laws 935 C. There was no λοιδορίας δίκη under that name at Athens, but certain words were actionable,ἀπόρρητα and there was a δίκη κακηγορίας.

10 Plato shows his contempt for the subject by this confused enumeration, passing without warning from contracts and torts to procedure and then to taxes, market, harbor and police regulations.

11 τολμήσομεν is both “venture” and “deign.”

12 Cf. Isocrates Panegyr. 78ὅτι τοῖς καλοῖς κἀγαθοῖς τῶν ἀνθρώπων οὐδὲν δεήσει πολλῶν γραμμάτων.

13 Cf. Emerson, “Experience”: “They wish to be saved from the mischiefs of their vices but not from their vices. Charity would be wasted on this poor waiting on the symptoms. A wise and hardy physician will say, 'Come out of that' as the first condition of advice.”

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