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ἁπλοῦν. See on I 351 A. For the statement itself cf. Laws 683 E ff. Aristotle, whose standpoint is historical rather than psychological, enumerates many and diverse causes of revolutionary change (Pol. E passim).

κινηθῆναι: an ominous word, used here, as constantly throughout Greek literature, of constitutional changes for the worse.

ὅπως δὴ κτλ. An imitation of Hom. Il. XVI 112 f. ἔσπετε νῦν μοι, μοῦσαιὅππως δὴ πρῶτον πῦρ ἔμπεσε νηυσὶν Ἀχαιῶν. Homer appeals to the Muses at the turning-point of his narrative (see Leaf ad loc.); and Plato, like Milton (“Of man's first disobedience and the fruit Of that forbidden tree, sing heavenly Muse”), fitly invokes them at the commencement of his Epic of the Fall of Man. Cf. Tim. 27 C.

καὶ φῶμεν κτλ.: ‘and shall we say that they speak in the lofty tragic vein, as if it were all earnest, whereas it is only the banter of the Muses playing with us as if we were little children?’ Instead of φῶμεν, I once suggested θῶμεν (cf. Laws 654 A and 677 C), but φῶμεν, which is in all MSS, though less picturesque, may stand. Herwerden's excision of παιζούσας καί obliterates a tender touch; for there is of course a play on παῖδας (cf. VII 536 E note). The remarks of Proclus in Tim. 300 C ff. on the style of this and similar passages deserve to be quoted: δὲ χαρακτὴρ τῶν λόγων ἐστὶν ἐνθουσιαστικός, διαλάμπων ταῖς νοεραῖς ἐπιβολαῖς, καθαρός τε καὶ σεμνόςἐξηλλαγμένος τε καὶ ὑπερέχων τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων ἐννοιῶν, ἁβρός τε ὁμοῦ καὶ καταπληκτικὸς καὶ χαρίτων ἀνάμεστος κάλλους τε πλήρης καὶ σύντομος ἅμα καὶ ἀπηκριβωμένος. ‘The Muses playing’ warns us that there is an element of the mythical and fantastic in what follows, but by no means implies that it is fooling and nothing more. See on 545 C and App. I, Pt ii ad fin.

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