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[531d] of all these studies goes far enough to bring out their community and kinship1 with one another, and to infer their affinities, then to busy ourselves with them contributes to our desired end, and the labor taken is not lost; but otherwise it is vain.” “I too so surmise,” said he; “but it is a huge task of which you speak, Socrates.” “Are you talking about the prelude,2” I said, “or what? Or do we not know that all this is but the preamble of the law itself, the prelude of the strain that we have to apprehend? For you surely do not suppose that experts in these matters are reasoners

1 Cf. on 537 C, Epin. 991 E.

2 Plato is fond of this image. It suggests here also the preamble of a law, as the translation more explicitly indicates. Cf. 532 D, anticipated in 457 C, and Laws 722 D-E, 723 A-B and E, 720 D-E, ;772 E, 870 D, 854 A, 932 A and passim.

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