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[539b] one chief safeguard not to suffer them to taste of it while young?1 For I fancy you have not failed to observe that lads, when they first get a taste of disputation, misuse it as a form of sport, always employing it contentiously, and, imitating confuters, they themselves confute others.2 They delight like spies in pulling about and tearing with words all who approach them.” “Exceedingly so,” he said. “And when they have themselves confuted many and been confuted by many,

1 See on 498 A-B. Cf. Richard of Bury, Philobiblon(Morley, A Miscellany, pp. 49-50): “But the contemporaries of our age negligently apply a few years of ardent youth, burning by turns with the fire of vice; and when they have attained the acumen of discerning a doubtful truth, they immediately become involved in extraneous business, retire, and say farewell to the schools of philosophy; they sip the frothy must of juvenile wit over the difficulties of philosophy, and pour out the purified old wine with economical care.”

2 Cf. Apol. 23 C, Phileb. 15 E, Xen.Mem. i. 2. 46, Isoc. xii. 26 and x. 6; also Friedländer, Platon, ii. p. 568.

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