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[11arg] He gives some amatory verses of Plato, with which the philosopher amused himself when he was a very young man and was contending for the tragic prize.


HERE are two Greek verses that are famous and deemed worthy of remembrance by many learned men because of their charm and graceful terseness. There are in fact not a few ancient writers who declare that they are the work of the philosopher Plato, with which he amused himself in his youth, while at the same time he was beginning his literary career by writing tragedies. 1 My soul, when I kissed Agathon, did pass My lips; as though, poor soul, 'would leap across. This distich a friend of mine, a young man no stranger to the Muses, has paraphrased somewhat boldly and freely in a number of lines. And since they seemed to me not undeserving of remembrance, I have added them here: 2

[p. 393]

When with my parted lips my love I kiss,
And quaff the breath's sweet balm from open mouth,
Smitten with love my soul mounts to my lips,
And through my love's soft mouth its way would take,
Passing the open gateway of the lips.
But if our kiss, delayed, had been prolonged,
By love's fire swayed my soul that way had ta'en,
And left me. Faith, a wondrous thing it were,
If I should die, but live within my love.

1 The writing of tragedies as youthful literary exercises was not uncommon; see Suet. Jul. lvi. 7, and Plin. Epist. vii. 4. 2. The lemma is wrong; cf. note 2, p. 360.

2 p. 375, Bährens.

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