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“But have you failed to observe,” questioned Antisthenes, “that the rhapsodes,1 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.

1 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.

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