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Then some among the rest of the banqueters kept urging Philip to go on with his comparisons, while others opposed. As the clamour rose to some height, Socrates once more interposed, saying: “Since we all want to talk, would this not be a fine time to join in singing?” And with the words he began a song. [2] When they had finished, a potter's wheel was brought in for the dancing girl on which she intended performing some feats of jugglery.

This prompted Socrates to observe to the Syracusan: “Sir, it is quite probable that, to use your words, I am indeed a ‘thinker’; at any rate, I am now considering how it might be possible for this lad of yours and this maid to exert as little effort as may be, and at the same time give us the greatest possible amount of pleasure in watching them,—this being your purpose, also, I am sure. [3] Now, turning somersaults in among knives seems to me to be a dangerous exhibition, which is utterly out of place at a banquet. Also, to write or read aloud on a whirling potter's wheel may perhaps be something of a feat; yet I cannot conceive what pleasure even this can afford. Nor is it any more diverting to watch the young and beautiful going through bodily contortions and imitating hoops than to contemplate them in repose. [4] For it is of course no rare event to meet with marvels, if that is what one's mind is set on. He may marvel at what he finds immediately at hand,—for instance, why the lamp gives light owing to its having a bright flame, while a bronze mirror, likewise bright, does not produce light but instead reflects other things that appear in it; or how it comes about that olive oil, though wet, makes the flame higher, while water, because it is wet, puts the fire out. [5] However, these questions also fail to promote the same object that wine does; but if the young people were to have a flute accompaniment and dance figures depicting the Graces, the Horae,1 and the Nymphs, I believe that they would be far less wearied themselves and that the charms of the banquet would be greatly enhanced.”

“Upon my word, Socrates,” replied the Syracusan, “you are quite right; and I will bring in a spectacle that will delight you.”

1 Or, the Seasons. Or it may be used here in the Homeric sense of the maidens who kept the cloud gate of Heaven.

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