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But Hegesander the Delphian, in his Commentaries, speaking about the universal ill-nature of Plato towards everybody, writes as follows:—“After the death of Socrates, when a great many of his friends, being present at a banquet, were very much out of spirits, Plato, being present, taking the cup, exhorted them not to despond, as he himself was well able to lead the school; and, so saying, he pledged Apollodorus: and he said, I would rather have taken the cup of poison from Socrates than that pledge of wine from you.' For Plato was considered to be an envious man, and to have a disposition which was far from praiseworthy; for he [p. 812] ridiculed Aristippus when he went to visit Dionysius, though he himself had three times sailed to Sicily,—once for the purpose of investigating the torrents of lava which flow from Mount Aetna, when he lived with the elder Dionysius, and was in danger from his displeasure; and twice he went to visit the younger Dionysius.” And again, though Aeschines was a poor man, and had but one pupil, Xenocrates, he seduced him from him; and he was also detected in instigating the commencement of a prosecution against Phædo, which, if successful, would have reduced him to slavery; and altogether he displayed the feelings of a stepmother towards all the pupils of Socrates. On which account, Socrates, making a not very unreasonable Conjecture respecting him, said in the presence of several persons that he had had a dream, in which he thought he had seen the following vision. “For I thought,” said he, “that Plato had become a crow, and leaped on my head, and began to scratch my bald place, and to take a firm hold, and so to look about him. I think, therefore,” said he, “that you, O Plato, will say a good many things which are false about my head.” And Plato, besides his ill-nature, was very ambitious and vainglorious; and he said, “My last tunic, my desire of glory, I lay aside in death itself—in my will, and in my funeral procession, and in my burial;” as Dioscorides relates in his Memorabilia. And as for his desire of founding cities and making laws, who will not say that these are very ambitious feelings? And this is plain from what he says in the Timæus—“I have the same feelings towards my constitution that a painter would have towards his works; for as he would wish to see them possessed of the power of motion and action, so too do I wish to see the citizens whom I here describe.”
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