XIX[19arg] That Plato attributes a line of Sophocles to Euripides; and some other matters of the same kind.
THERE is an iambic trimeter verse of notorious antiquity:
By converse with the wise wax tyrants wise.This verse Plato in his Theaetetus 1 attributes to Euripides. I am very much surprised at this; for I have met it in the tragedy of Sophocles entitled Ajax the Locrian 2 and Sophocles was born before Euripides. But the following line is equally well known:
I who am old shall lead you, also old.And this is found both in a tragedy of Sophocles, of which the title is Phthiotides, 3 and in the Bacchae of Euripides. 4 I have further observed that in the Fire-bringing Prometheus of Aeschylus and in the tragedy of Euripides entitled Ino an identical verse occurs, except for a few syllables. In Aeschylus it runs thus: 5
When proper, keeping silent, and saying what is fit.In Euripides thus: 6
When proper, keeping silent, speaking when 'tis safe.But Aeschylus was considerably the earlier writer. 7 [p. 463]