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[498a] said I, “those who do take it up are youths, just out of boyhood,1 who in the interval2 before they engage in business and money-making approach the most difficult part of it, and then drop it—and these are regarded forsooth as the best exemplars of philosophy. By the most difficult part I mean discussion. In later life they think they have done much if, when invited, they deign to listen3 to the philosophic discussions of others. That sort of thing they think should be by-work. And towards old age,4 with few exceptions, their light is quenched more completely [498b] than the sun of Heracleitus,5 inasmuch as it is never rekindled.” “And what should they do?” he said. “Just the reverse. While they are lads and boys they should occupy themselves with an education and a culture suitable to youth, and while their bodies are growing to manhood take right good care of them, thus securing a basis and a support6 for the intellectual life. But with the advance of age, when the soul begins to attain its maturity, they should make its exercises more severe, and when [498c] the bodily strength declines and they are past the age of political and military service, then at last they should be given free range of the pasture7 and do nothing but philosophize,8 except incidentally, if they are to live happily, and, when the end has come, crown the life they have lived with a consonant destiny in that other world.”

“You really seem to be very much in earnest, Socrates,” he said; yet I think most of your hearers are even more earnest in their opposition and will not be in the least convinced, beginning with Thrasymachus.” “Do not try to breed a quarrel between me and Thrasymachus, [498d] who have just become friends and were not enemies before either. For we will spare no effort until we either convince him and the rest or achieve something that will profit them when they come to that life in which they will be born gain9 and meet with such discussions as these.” “A brief time10 your forecast contemplates,” he said. “Nay, nothing at all,” I replied, “as compared with eternity.11 However, the unwillingness of the multitude to believe what you say is nothing surprising. For of the thing here spoken they have never beheld a token,12 [498e] but only the forced and artificial chiming of word and phrase, not spontaneous and accidental as has happened here. But the figure of a man ‘equilibrated’ and ‘assimilated’ to virtue's self perfectly, so far as may be, in word and deed, and holding rule in a city of like quality, that is a thing they have never seen

1 Cf. 386 A, 395 C, 413 C, 485 D, 519 A, Demosth. xxi. 154, Xen.Ages. 10.4, Aristot.Eth. Nic. 1103 b 24, 1104 b 11, Isoc. xv. 289.

2 Cf. 450 C.

3 Cf. 475 D, Isoc. xii. 270ἀλλ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ἄλλου δεικνύοντος καὶ πονήσαντος ἠθέλησεν ἀκροατὴς γενέσθαι“would not even be willing to listen to one worked out and submitted by another” (tr. Norlin in L.C.L.).

4 Cf. Antiphon's devotion to horsemanship in the Parmenides, 126 C. For πρὸς τὸ γῆρας cf. 552 D, Laws 653 A.

5 Diels i. 3 p. 78, fr. 6. Cf. Aristot.Meteor. ii. 2. 90, Lucretius v. 662.

6 Cf. 410 C and What Plato Said, p. 496 on Protag. 326 B-C.

7 Like cattle destined for the sacrifice. A favorite figure with Plato. Cf. Laws 635 A, Protag. 320 A. It is used literally in Critias 119 D.

8 Cf. 540 A-B, Newman, Aristot.Pol. i. pp. 329-330. Wilamowitz, Platon, ii. 207-208, fancies that 498 C to 502 A is a digression expressing Plato's personal desire to be the philosopher in Athenian politics.

9 A half-playful anticipation of the doctrine of immortality reserved for Bk. x. 608 D ff. It involves no contradiction and justifies no inferences as to the date and composition of the Republic. Cf. Gomprez iii. 335. Cf. Emerson, Experience, in fine,“which in his passage into new worlds he will carry with him.” Bayard Taylor (American Men of Letters, p. 113), who began to study Greek late in life, remarked, Oh, but I expect to use it in the other world.” Even the sober positivist Mill says (Theism, pp. 249-250) “The truth that life is short and art is long is from of old one of the most discouraging facts of our condition: this hope admits the possibility that the art employed in improving and beautifying the soul itself may avail for good in some other life even when seemingly useless in this.”

10 For εἰς here cf. Blaydes on Clouds 1180, Herod. vii. 46, Eurip.Heracleidae 270.

11 Cf. on 486 A. see too Plut.Cons. Apol. 17. 111 C “a thousand, yes, ten thousand years are only an ἀόριστος point, nay, the smallest part of a point, as Simonides says.” Cf. also Lyra Graeca(L. C. L.), ii. p. 338, Anth. Pal. x. 78.

12 γενόμενον . . . λεγόμενον. It is not translating to make no attempt to reproduce Plato's parody of “polyphonic prose.” The allusion here to Isocrates and the Gorgian figure of παρίσωσις and παρομοίωσις is unmistakable. The subtlety of Plato's style treats the “accidental” occurrence of a Gorgian between the artificial style and insincerity of the sophists and the serious truth of his own ideals. Cf. Isoc. x. 18λεγόμενος . . . γενόμενοςWhat Plato Said, p. 544 on Symp. 185 C, F. Reinhardt, De Isocratis aemulis, p. 39, Lucilius, bk. v. init. “hoc ‘nolueris et debueris’ te si minu' delectat, quod τεχνίονIsocrateium est,” etc.

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