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[497a] to have achieved before taking his departure.” “He would not have accomplished any very great thing either,1” I replied, “if it were not his fortune to live in a state adapted to his nature. In such a state only will he himself rather attain his full stature2 and together with his own preserve the common weal.

“The causes and the injustice of the calumniation of philosophy, I think, have been fairly set forth, unless you have something to add.3” “No,” he said, “I have nothing further to offer on that point. But which of our present governments do you think is suitable for philosophy?” [497b] “None whatever,” I said; “but the very ground of my complaint is that no polity4 of today is worthy of the philosophic nature. This is just the cause of its perversion and alteration; as a foreign seed sown in an alien soil is wont to be overcome and die out5 into the native growth,6 so this kind does not preserve its own quality but falls away and degenerates into an alien type. But if ever [497c] it finds the best polity as it itself is the best, then will it be apparent7 that this was in truth divine and all the others human in their natures and practices. Obviously then you are next, going to ask what is this best form of government.” “Wrong,” he said8 “I was going to ask not that but whether it is this one that we have described in our establishment of a state or another.” “In other respects it is this one,” said I; “but there is one special further point that we mentioned even then, namely that there would always have to be resident in such a state an element [497d] having the same conception of its constitution that you the lawgiver had in framing its laws.9” “That was said,” he replied. “But it was not sufficiently explained,” I said, “from fear of those objections on your part which have shown that the demonstration of it is long and difficult. And apart from that the remainder of the exposition is by no means easy.10” “Just what do you mean?” “The manner in which a state that occupies itself with philosophy can escape destruction. For all great things are precarious and, as the proverb truly says, fine things are hard.11” “All the same,” [497e] he said, “our exposition must be completed by making this plain.” “It will be no lack of will,” I said, “but if anything,12 a lack of ability, that would prevent that. But you shall observe for yourself my zeal. And note again how zealously and recklessly I am prepared to say that the state ought to take up this pursuit in just the reverse of our present fashion.13” “In what way?” “At present,”

1 Cf. Aristot.Eth. Nic. 1094 b 9μεῖζόν γε καὶ τελεώτερον τὸ τῆς πόλεως φαίνεται καὶ λαβεῖν καὶ σώζειν, “yet the good of the state seems a grander and more perfect thing both to attain and to secure” (tr. F. H. Peters).

2 For αὐξήσεται Cf. Theaet. 163 Cἵνα καὶ αὐξάνῃ and Newman, Aristot.Pol. i. p. 68 “As the Christian is said to be complete in Christ so the individual is said by Aristotle to be complete in the πόλιςSpencer, Data of Ethics, xv. “Hence it is manifest that we must consider the ideal man as existing in the ideal social state.” Cf. also 592 A-B, 520 A-C and Introd. Vol. I. p. xxvii.

3 An instance of Socrates' Attic courtesy. Cf 430 B, Cratyl. 427 D, Theaet. 183 C, Gorg. 513 C, Phaedr. 235 A. But in Gorg. 462 C it is ironical and perhaps in Hipp. Maj. 291 A.

4 κατάστασις=constitution in both senses. Cf. 414 A, 425 C, 464 A, 493 A, 426 C, 547 B. So also in the Laws. The word is rare elsewhere in Plato.

5 For ἐξίτηλον Cf. Critias 121 A.

6 This need not be a botanical error. in any case the meaning is plain. Cf. Tim. 57 B with my emendation.

7 For the idiom cf.αὐτὸ δείξειPhileb. 20 C, with Stallbaum's note, Theaet. 200 E, Hipp. Maj. 288 B, Aristoph.Wasps 994, Frogs 1261, etc., Pearson on Soph. fr. 388. Cf.αὐτὸ σημανεῖ, Eurip.Bacch. 476, etc.

8 Plato similarly plays in dramatic fashion with the order of the dialogue in 523 B, 528 A, 451 B-C, 458 B.

9 Cf. on 412 A and What Plato Said, p. 647 on Laws 962; 502 D.

10 Cf. Soph. 224 C. See critical note.

11 So Adam. Others take τῷ ὄντι with χαλεπά as part of the proverb. Cf. 435 C, Crat. 384 A-B with schol.

12 For the idiomatic ἀλλ᾽ εἴπερ Cf. Parmen. 150 B, Euthydem. 296 B, Thompson on Meno,Excursus 2, pp. 258-264, Aristot.An. Post. 91 b 33, Eth. Nic. 1101 a 12, 1136 b 25, 1155 b 30, 1168 a 12, 1174 a 27, 1180 b 27, Met. 1028 a 24, 1044 a 11, Rhet. 1371 a 16.

13 What Plato here deprecates Callicles in the Gorgias recommends, 484 C-D. For the danger of premature study of dialectic cf. 537 D-E ff. Cf. my Idea of Education in Plato's Republic, p. 11. Milton develops the thought with characteristic exuberance, Of Education: “They present their young unmatriculated novices at first coming with the most intellective abstractions of logic and metaphysics . . . to be tossed an turmoiled with their unballasted wits in fathomless and unquiet deeds of controversy,” etc.

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