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“Well, Socrates, I think you are right when you bid me try to begin every undertaking with the gods' help, since the gods control the works of peace no less than of war. We will try, then, to do so. But now go back to the point where you broke off in your talk about estate management, and try to expound the subject completely step by step, since after hearing what you have said so far, I seem even now to discern rather more clearly than before what I must do to earn my living.” [2]

“I suggest then,” resumed Socrates, “that we should first recapitulate those points of our discussion on which we have already reached agreement, in order that we may try to agree as thoroughly, if possible, when we go through the remaining steps.” [3]

“O yes; when several are jointly interested in money, it is pleasant to have no disagreement in going over the accounts; and it is equally pleasant for us, as the interested parties in a discussion, to agree as we go over the several steps.” [4]

“Well now, we thought that estate management is the name of a branch of knowledge, and this knowledge appeared to be that by which men can increase estates, and an estate appeared to be identical with the total of one's property, and we said that property is that which is useful for supplying a livelihood, and useful things turned out to be all those things that one knows how to use. [5] Now we thought that it is impossible to learn all the sciences, and we agreed with our states in rejecting the so-called illiberal arts, because they seem to spoil the body and unnerve the mind. [6] We said1 that the clearest proof of this would be forthcoming, if in the course of a hostile invasion the husbandmen and craftsmen were made to sit apart, and each group were asked whether they voted for defending the country or withdrawing from the open and guarding the fortresses. [7] We thought that in these circumstances the men who have to do with the land would give their vote for defending it, the craftsmen for not fighting, but sitting still, as they have been brought up to do, aloof from toil and danger. [8] We came to the conclusion that for a gentleman the best occupation and the best science is husbandry, from which men obtain what is necessary to them. [9] For this occupation seemed to be the easiest to learn and the pleasantest to work at, to give to the body the greatest measure of strength and beauty, and to leave to the mind the greatest amount of spare time for attending to the interests of one's friends and city. [10] Moreover, since the crops grow and the cattle on a farm graze outside the walls, husbandry seemed to us to help in some measure to make the workers valiant. And so this way of making a living appeared to be held in the highest estimation by our states, because it seems to turn out the best citizens and most loyal to the community.” [11]

“I have already heard enough, I think, Socrates, to convince me that it is in the highest degree honourable, good and pleasant to get a living by husbandry. But you told me that you have discovered the reasons why some farmers are so successful that husbandry yields them all they need in abundance, and others are so inefficient that they find farming unprofitable. I should like to hear the reasons in each case, in order that we may do what is good and avoid what is harmful.” [12]

“Well then, Critobulus, I propose to give you a complete account of an interview I once had with a man whom I took to be really one of those who are justly styled ‘gentlemen.’”

“I should greatly like to hear it, Socrates, for I long to deserve that title myself.” [13]

“Then I will tell you how I came to take note of him. For it took me a very little time to visit our good builders, good smiths, good painters, good sculptors, and other people of the kind, and to inspect those of their works that are declared to be beautiful; [14] but I felt a desire to meet one of those who are called by that grand name ‘gentleman,’ which implies ‘beautiful' as well as ‘good,’ in order to consider what they did to deserve it. [15] And, first, because the epithet ‘beautiful’ is added to ‘good,’ I went up to every person I noticed, and tried to discover whether I could anywhere see goodness in combination with beauty. [16] But after all, it was not so: I thought I discovered that some who were beautiful to look at were thoroughly depraved in their minds. So I decided to let good looks alone, and to seek out someone known as ‘a gentleman.’ [17] Accordingly, since I heard the name applied to Ischomachus by men, women, citizens and strangers alike, I decided to meet him, if I could.

1 Nothing to this effect occurs in c. iv.

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