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[536a] “By all means,” he said. “And with reference to sobriety,” said I, “and bravery and loftiness of soul1 and all the parts of virtue,2 we must especially be on our guard to distinguish the base-born from the true-born. For when the knowledge necessary to make such discriminations is lacking in individual or state, they unawares employ at random3 for any of these purposes the crippled and base-born natures, as their friends or rulers.” “It is so indeed,” he said. “But we,” I said, “must be on our guard in all such cases, [536b] since, if we bring men sound of limb and mind to so great a study and so severe a training, justice herself will have no fault to find4 with us, and we shall preserve the state and our polity. But, if we introduce into it the other sort, the outcome will be just the opposite, and we shall pour a still greater flood5 of ridicule upon philosophy.” “That would indeed be shameful,” he said. “Most certainly,” said I: “but here again I am making myself a little ridiculous.” “In what way?” [536c] “I forgot,” said I, “that we were jesting,6 and I spoke with too great intensity.7 For, while speaking, I turned my eyes upon philosophy,8 and when I saw how she is undeservedly reviled, I was revolted, and, as if in anger, spoke too earnestly to those who are in fault.” “No, by Zeus, not too earnestly for me9 as a hearer.” “But too much so for me as a speaker,” I said. “But this we must not forget, that in our former selection we chose old men, but in this one that will not do. For we must not take Solon's10 word for it [536d] that growing old a man is able to learn many things. He is less able to do that than to run a race. To the young11 belong all heavy and frequent labors.” “Necessarily,” he said.

“Now, all this study of reckoning and geometry and all the preliminary studies that are indispensable preparation for dialectics must be presented to them while still young, not in the form of compulsory instruction.12” “Why so?” “Because,” said I, [536e] “a free soul ought not to pursue any study slavishly; for while bodily labors13 performed under constraint do not harm the body, nothing that is learned under compulsion stays with the mind.” “True,” he said. “Do not, then, my friend, keep children to their studies by compulsion

1 Cf. 487 A and vol. I. p. 261, note c on 402 C. The cardinal virtues are not rigidly fixed in Plato. Cf. on 427 E, vol. I. p. 346.

2 Plato is using ordinary language and not troubling himself with the problem of Protag. 329 D (What Plato Said, p. 497) and Laws 633 A (What Plato Said, p. 624). Cf. also on 533 D.

3 πρὸς τι ἂν τύχωσι lit. “for whatsoever they happen to of these (services).” Cf. Symp. 181 B, Prot. 353 A, Crito 44 D and 45 D, Gorg. 522 C, Laws 656 C, Rep. 332 B, 561 D, Dem. iv. 46, Isoc.Panath. 25, 74, 239, Aristot.Mat. 1013 a 6.

4 Cf. 487 A. For δίκη cf. Hirzel, Dike, Themis und Verwandtes, p.116.

5 καταντλήσομεν: cf. 344 d.

6 Jest and earnest are never far apart in Plato. Fabling about justice is an old man's game, Laws 685 A, 769 A. Life itself is best treated as play, Laws 803 C. Science in Tim. 59 D is παιδιά, like literature in the Phaedrus 276 D-E, ibid. 278 B. Cf. Friedländer, Platon, i. pp. 38 and 160, and What Plato Said, pp. 553 and 601.

7 For similar self-checks Cf. Laws 804 B, 832 B, 907 B-C, Phaedr. 260 D, 279 B. For ἐντεινάμενος cf. Blaydes on Aristoph.Clouds 969.

8 Cf. Isoc.Busiris 49. Whatever the difficulties of the chronology it is hard to believe that this is not one of Isocrates' many endeavors to imitate Platonic effects.

9 Cf. Soph. 226 C, Sophocles, Ajax 397.

10 γηράσκω δ᾽ ἀεὶ πολλὰ διδασκόμενος, “I grow old ever learning many things.” Cf. Laches 188 A-B; Otto, p. 317.

11 Cf. Theaet. 146 B. This has been misquoted to the effect that Plato said the young are the best philosophers.

12 This and παίζοντας below (537 A) anticipate much modern Kindergarten rhetoric.

13 Newman, Introd. Aristot.Pol. 358, says Aristotle rejects this distinction, Pol. 1338 b 40μέχρι μὲν γὰρ ἥβης κουφότερα γυμνάσια προσοιστέον, τὴν βίαιον τροφὴν καὶ τοὺς πρὸς ἀνάγκην πόνους ἀπείργοντας, ἵνα μηδὲν ἐμπόδιον πρὸς τὴν αὔξησιν.

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