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[257a] to be a wanderer upon the earth for nine thousand years and a fool below the earth at last. There, dear Love, thou hast my recantation, which I have offered and paid as beautifully and as well as I could, especially in the poetical expressions which I was forced to employ on account of Phaedrus. Pardon, I pray, my former words and accept these words with favor; be kind and gracious to me; do not in anger take from me the art of love which thou didst give me, and deprive me not of sight, but grant unto me to be even more than now esteemed by the beautiful. [257b] And if in our former discourse Phaedrus and I said anything harsh against thee, blame Lysias, the father of that discourse, make him to cease from such speeches, and turn him, as his brother Polemarchus is turned, toward philosophy, that his lover Phaedrus may no longer hesitate, as he does now, between two ways, but may direct his life with all singleness of purpose toward love and philosophical discourses.

I join in your prayer, Socrates, [257c] and pray that this may come to pass, if this is best for us. But all along I have been wondering at your discourse, you made it so much more beautiful than the first; so that I am afraid Lysias will make a poor showing, if he consents to compete with it. Indeed, lately one of the politicians was abusing him for this very thing, and through all his abusive speech kept calling him a speech-writer; so perhaps out of pride he may refrain from writing. [257d]

That is an absurd idea, young man, and you are greatly mistaken in your friend if you think he is so much afraid of noise. Perhaps, too, you think the man who abused him believed what he was saying.

He seemed to believe, Socrates; and you know yourself that the most influential and important men in our cities are ashamed to write speeches and leave writings behind them, through fear of being called sophists by posterity.

You seem to be unacquainted with the ““sweet elbow,””1 Phaedrus, [257e] and besides the elbow, you seem not to know that the proudest of the statesmen are most fond of writing and of leaving writings behind them, since they care so much for praise that when they write a speech they add at the beginning the names of those who praise them in each instance.

1 This is a proverbial expression, similar in meaning to our “sour grapes.” The explanation given in the Mss., that the sweet elbow gets its name from the long bend, or elbow, in the Nile may be an addition by some commentator; at any rate, it hardly fits our passage.

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