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[176a] After this, it seems, when Socrates had taken his place and had dined with the rest, they made libation and sang a chant to the god and so forth, as custom bids, till they betook them to drinking. Then Pausanias opened a conversation after this manner: “Well, gentlemen, what mode of drinking will suit us best? For my part, to tell the truth, I am in very poor form as a result of yesterday's bout, and I claim a little relief; it is so, I believe, with most of you, for you were at yesterday's party: so consider what method [176b] of drinking would suit us best.”

On this Aristophanes observed: “Now that, Pausanias, is a good suggestion of yours, that we make a point of consulting our comfort in our cups: for I myself am one of those who got such a soaking yesterday.”

When Eryximachus, son of Acumenus, heard this; “You are quite right, sirs,” he said; “and there is yet one other question on which I request your opinion, as to what sort of condition Agathon finds himself in for drinking.”

“No, no,” said Agathon, “I am not in good condition for it either.” [176c] “It would be a piece of luck for us, I take it,” the other went on, “that is, for me, Aristodemus, Phaedrus, and our friends here, if you who are the stoutest drinkers are now feeling exhausted. We, of course, are known weaklings. Socrates I do not count in the matter: he is fit either way, and will be content with whichever choice we make. Now as it appears that nobody here present is eager for copious draughts, perhaps it will be the less irksome to you if I speak of intoxication, and tell you truly what it is. The practice of medicine, I find, has made this clear to me— [176d] that drunkenness is harmful to mankind; and neither would I myself agree, if I could help it, to an excess of drinking, nor would I recommend it to another, especially when his head is still heavy from a bout of the day before.”

Here Phaedrus of Myrrhinus interrupted him, saying: “Why, you know I always obey you, above all in medical matters; and so now will the rest of us, if they are well advised.” Then all of them, on hearing this, [176e] consented not to make their present meeting a tipsy affair, but to drink just as it might serve their pleasure.

“Since it has been resolved, then,” said Eryximachus, “that we are to drink only so much as each desires, with no constraint on any, I next propose that the flute-girl who came in just now be dismissed: let her pipe to herself or, if she likes, to the women-folk within, but let us seek our entertainment today in conversation. I am ready, if you so desire, to suggest what sort of discussion it should be.”


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