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[264a] these matters. And I claim that I ought not to be refused what I ask because I am not your lover. For lovers repent of the kindnesses they have done when their passion ceases.

He certainly does not at all seem to do what we demand, for he does not even begin at the beginning, but undertakes to swim on his back up the current of his discourse from its end, and begins with what the lover would say at the end to his beloved. Am I not right, Phaedrus my dear? [264b]

Certainly that of which he speaks is an ending.

And how about the rest? Don't you think the parts of the discourse are thrown out helter-skelter? Or does it seem to you that the second topic had to be put second for any cogent reason, or that any of the other things he says are so placed? It seemed to me, who am wholly ignorant, that the writer uttered boldly whatever occurred to him. Do you know any rhetorical reason why he arranged his topics in this order? [264c]

You flatter me in thinking that I can discern his motives so accurately.

But I do think you will agree to this, that every discourse must be organized, like a living being, with a body of its own, as it were, so as not to be headless or footless, but to have a middle and members, composed in fitting relation to each other and to the whole.


See then whether this is the case with your friend's discourse, or not. You will find [264d] that it is very like the inscription that some say is inscribed on the tomb of Midas the Phrygian.

What sort of inscription is that, and what is the matter with it?

This is it: A bronze maiden am I; and I am placed upon the tomb of Midas. So long as water runs and tall trees put forth leaves, Remaining in this very spot upon a much lamented tomb, I shall declare to passers by that Midas is buried here; [264e] and you perceive, I fancy, that it makes no difference whether any line of it is put first or last.

You are making fun of our discourse, Socrates.

Then, to spare your feelings, let us say no more of this discourse—and yet I think there were many things in it which would be useful examples to consider, though not exactly to imitate—and let us turn to the other discourses; for there was in them, I think,

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