previous next


And do you recollect further how we said that the offspring of the good were to be reared, but those of the bad were to be sent privily to various other parts of the State; and as these grew up the rulers should keep constantly on the watch for the deserving amongst them and bring them back again, and into the place of those thus restored transplant the undeserving among themselves?1

So we said.

May we say then that we have now gone through our discourse of yesterday, so far as is requisite in a summary review; or is there any point omitted, my dear, which we should like to see added? [19b]

Certainly not: this is precisely what was said, Socrates.

And now, in the next place, listen to what my feeling is with regard to the polity we have described. I may compare my feeling to something of this kind: suppose, for instance, that on seeing beautiful creatures, whether works of art or actually alive but in repose, a man should be moved with desire to behold them in motion and vigorously engaged in some such exercise as seemed suitable to their physique; [19c] well, that is the very feeling I have regarding the State we have described. Gladly would I listen to anyone who should depict in words our State contending against others in those struggles which States wage; in how proper a spirit it enters upon war, and how in its warring it exhibits qualities such as befit its education and training in its dealings with each several State whether in respect of military actions or in respect of verbal negotiations. And herein, Critias and Hermocrates, [19d] I am conscious of my own inability ever to magnify sufficiently our citizens and our State. Now in this inability of mine there is nothing surprising; but I have formed the same opinion about the poets also, those of the present as well as those of the past; not that I disparage in any way the poetic clan, but it is plain to all that the imitative2 tribe will imitate with most ease and success the things amidst which it has been reared, whereas it is hard for any man to imitate well in action what lies outside the range of his rearing, [19e] and still harder in speech. Again, as to the class of Sophists, although I esteem them highly versed in many fine discourses of other kinds, yet I fear lest haply, seeing they are a class which roams from city to city and has no settled habitations of its own, they may go wide of the mark in regard to men who are at once philosophers and statesmen, and what they would be likely to do and say, in their several dealings with foemen in war and battle, both by word and deed. Thus there remains only that class which is of your complexion—

1 Cf. Rep. 415 B.C., 459 D ff.

2 For poetry as an “imitative” art Cf. Rep. 392 D, 579 E ff.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (1903)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: