“Let us, then, now,” as Plato says in his Philebus, “pray to the gods, and pour libations to them, whether it be Bacchus, or Vulcan, or whoever else of the gods it may be, who has had the honour of having our cups mixed for his sake. For there are two fountains by us, as if we were cupbearers to mix the wine: and a person might compare a fountain of pleasure to honey; but the fountain of wisdom, which is a sober and wine-eschewing spring, to that of some hard but wholesome water, which we must be very earnest to mix as well as possible.” It is, then, time for us now to drink wine; and let some one of the slaves bring us goblets from the sideboard, for I see here a great variety of beautiful and variously-ornamented drinking-cups. Accordingly, when a [p. 667] large cup had been given to him, he said,—But, O boy, draw out and pour into my cup a liquor with not quite so much water in it; not like the man in the comic poet Antiphanes, who, in the Twins, says—
He took and brought me an enormous cup,So do you now, O boy, pour me out something stronger; for I do not prescribe to you the exact number of cyathi.1 But I will show you that the words κύαθος and ἀκρατέστερον (wine with less water in it) are both used: and then, too, I will give you a lecture about cupbearers.
And I pour'd into it unmixed wine,
Not to the honour of a boy, but all
My cups, and they were numberless, I quaff'd
To all the gods and goddesses of heaven.
Then, after them, I drank twice as much more
To the great goddess and the noble king.