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There is pleasure again in ‘dwelling upon’, lingering in (passing one's time in, διατρίβειν) any pursuit or occupation in which one is ‘at one's very best’. διατρίβειν is by a similar metaphor applied to dwelling on, brooding over, nursing, the prospect of vengeance, II 2. 2. This same topic is also applied to ‘good’, I 6. 29; the difference being in the ‘ends’ or motives severally proposed, which stimulate the action in each; in the one it is success, a form of good; in the other, pleasure; the skill or degree of excellence shewn in the exercise of any faculty, bodily or mental, is the same in both. To dwell on that in which our superiority is shewn is of course pleasant, by the preceding rule. Problem XVIII 6, quoted by Gaisford, raises the question suggested by this topic. The solution which corresponds to the explanation here given, is the second: ἢ ὅτι ἐν οἷς οἴεται ἕκαστος κρατιστεύειν ταῦτα προαιρεῖται, ὃ δὲ αἱρεῖται καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦτ᾽ ἐπείξεται (here follows the quotation from Euripides; and it is added,) ὅτι δ᾽ ἄν τινες ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἕλωνται, κἀν οἷς ἂν συνεθισθῶσιν, οὐδὲ κρίνειν δύνανται τὰ βελτίω: διέφθαρται γὰρ ἡ διάνοια διὰ φαύλας προαιρέσεις: that is, men in these cases choose a lower kind of pursuit instead of a higher, in consequence of a depravation of judgment arising from the familiarity created by constant exercise of those practices in which their special skill lies. αὐτὸς αὑτοῦ βέλτιστος] Matth. Gr. Gr. § 460. The superlative in these phrases seems to be substituted for the comparative, and to belong to the rather large family of misuses of the former, which are found in our own language no less than in the Greek. This fragment of Euripides' Antiope (Fr. XX Dind., XXVII Wagner) is quoted also in Plato's Gorgias 484 E, &c., with one or two trifling variations. The second line there runs thus, νέμων τὸ πλεῖστον ἡμέρας τούτῳ μέρος; which, with αὐτῷ instead of τούτῳ, is also the reading of the Problem. The third line is quoted in Alcib. II 146 A, with κράτιστος. In the Problem also, κράτιστος stands for βέλτιστος. In the two following pages of the Gorgias a good deal more of the same passage has been incorporated in Callicles' speech as prose. Of the attempted restorations of this I have given an account in Note A, Appendix to Translation of Gorgias, p. 134. [On p. 64 the lines here quoted are translated as follows: ‘Each shines in that, to that end presses forward, Devotes to that the better part o' the day, Wherein he chances to surpass himself.’]
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