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After this the boy, attuning his lyre to the flute, played and sang, and won the applause of all; and brought from Charmides the remark, “It seems to me, gentlemen, that, as Socrates said of the wine, so this blending of the young people's beauty and of the notes of the music lulls one's griefs to sleep and awakens the goddess of Love.” [2]

Then Socrates resumed the conversation. “These people, gentlemen,” said he, “show their competence to give us pleasure; and yet we, I am sure, think ourselves considerably superior to them. Will it not be to our shame, therefore, if we do not make even an attempt, while here together, to be of some service or to give some pleasure one to another?”

At that many spoke up: “You lead the way, then, and tell us what to begin talking about to realize most fully what you have in mind.” [3]

“For my part,” he answered, “I should like to have Callias redeem his promise; for he said, you remember, that if we would take dinner with him, he would give us an exhibition of his profundity.”

“Yes,” rejoined Callias; “and I will do so, if the rest of you will also lay before us any serviceable knowledge that you severally possess.”

“Well,” answered Socrates, “no one objects to telling what he considers the most valuable knowledge in his possession.” [4]

“Very well, then,” said Callias, “I will now tell you what I take greatest pride in. It is that I believe I have the power to make men better.”

“How?” asked Antisthenes. “By teaching them some manual trade, or by teaching nobility of character?”

“The latter, if righteousness1 is the same thing as nobility.”

“Certainly it is,” replied Antisthenes, “and the least debatable kind, too; for though courage and wisdom appear at times to work injury both to one's friends and to the state, righteousness and unrighteousness never overlap at a single point.” [5]

“Well, then, when every one of you has named the benefit he can confer, I will not begrudge describing the art that gives me the success that I speak of. And so, Niceratus,” he suggested, “it is your turn; tell us what kind of knowledge you take pride in.”

“My father was anxious to see me develop into a good man,” said Niceratus, “and as a means to this end he compelled me to memorize all of Homer; and so even now I can repeat the whole Iliad and the Odyssey by heart.” [6]

“But have you failed to observe,” questioned Antisthenes, “that the rhapsodes,2 too, all know these poems?”

“How could I,” he replied, “when I listen to their recitations nearly every day?”

“Well, do you know any tribe of men,” went on the other, “more stupid than the rhapsodes?”

“No, indeed,” answered Niceratus; “not I, I am sure.”

“No,” said Socrates; “and the reason is clear: they do not know the inner meaning of the poems. But you have paid a good deal of money to Stesimbrotus, Anaximander, and many other Homeric critics, so that nothing of their valuable teaching can have escaped your knowledge. [7] But what about you, Critobulus?” he continued. “What do you take greates pride in?”

“In beauty,” he replied.

“What?” exclaimed Socrates. “Are you too going to be able to maintain that you can make us better, and by means of your beauty?”

“Why, otherwise, it is clear enough that I shall cut but an indifferent figure.”3 [8]

“And you, Antisthenes,” said Socrates, “what do you take pride in?”

“In wealth,” he replied.

Hermogenes asked him whether he had a large amount of money; he swore that he did not have even a penny.

“You own a great deal of land, then?”

“Well, perhaps it might prove big enough,” said he, “for Autolycus here to sand himself in.”4 [9]

“It looks as if we should have to hear from you, too. And how about you, Charmides?” he continued. “What do you take pride in?”

“What pride,” said he, “on the contrary, is in my poverty.”

“A charming thing, upon my word!” exclaimed Socrates. “It seldom causes envy or is a bone of contention; and it is kept safe without the necessity of a guard, and grows sturdier by neglect!” [10]

“But what of you, Socrates?” said Callias. “What are you proud of?”

Socrates drew up his face into a very solemn expression, and answered, “The trade of procurer.”

After the rest had had a laugh at him, “Very well,” said he, “you may laugh, but I know that I could make a lot of money if I cared to follow the trade.” [11]

“As for you,” said Lycon, addressing Philip, “it is obvious that your pride is in your jesting.”

“And my pride is better founded, I think,” replied Philip, “than that of Callippides, the actor,5 who is consumed with vanity because he can fill the seats with audiences that weep.” [12]

“Will you also not tell us, Lycon,” said Antisthenes, “what it is that you take pride in?”

“Don't you all know,” he answered, “that it is in my son here?”

“And as for him,” said one, “it is plain that he is proud at having taken a prize.”

At this Autolycus blushed and said, “No, indeed, not that.” [13]

All looked at him, delighted to hear him speak, and one asked, “What is it, then, Autolycus, that you are proud of?” and he answered, “My father,” and with the words nestled close against him.

When Callias saw this, “Do you realize, Lycon,” said he, “that you are the richest man in the world?”

“No, indeed,” the other replied, “I certainly do not know that.”

“Why, are you blind to the fact that you would not part with your son for the wealth of the Great King?”

“I am caught,” was the answer, “red-handed; it does look as if I were the richest man in the world.” [14]

“What about you, Hermogenes?” said Niceratus. “What do you delight in most?”

“In the goodness and the power of my friends,” he answered, “and in the fact that with all their excellence they have regard for me.”

Thereupon all eyes were turned toward him, and many speaking at once asked him whether he would not discover these friends to them; and he answered that he would not be at all loath to do so.

1 The word δικαιοσύνη, translated here by “righteousness,” is sometimes well represented by justice or honesty. It is the virtue discussed by Plato in the Republic and by Aristotle in the fifth book of his Ethics.

2 These professional reciters of epic poetry are represented as being criticized by Socrates, in much the same way as here, in Xenophon's Memorabilia, IV. ii. 10 and in Plato's Ion.

3 Critobulus seems to imply that beauty is his only resource.

4 The reference is to the handful or so of dry sand that an athlete put on after oiling his skin.

5 Callippides was regarded at this time and afterward as perhaps the most illustrious tragic actor of his time.

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