And Democritus replied—But that I may quote some of the verses of this Brazen poet and orator Dionysius, (and he was called Brazen because he advised the Athe- nians to adopt a brazen coinage; and Callimachus mentions the oration in his list of Oratorical Performances,) I myself will cite some lines out of his Elegies. And do you, O Theodorus, for this is your proper name—
Receive these first-fruits of my poetry,You ask, then, why, if the garlands of men who have been crowned are pulled to pieces, they are said to be in love." Is it, since love takes away the strict regularity of manners in the case of lovers, that on this account they think the loss of a conspicuous ornament, a sort of beacon (as Clearchus says, in the first book of his Art of Love) and signal, that they to whom this has happened have lost the strict decorum of their manners? Or do men interpret this circumstance also by divination, as they do many other things? For the ornament of a crown, as there is nothing lasting in it, is a sort of emblem of a passion which does not endure, but assumes a specious appearance for a while: and such a passion is love. For no people are more careful to study appearance than those who are in love. Unless, perhaps, nature, as a sort of god, administering everything with justice and equity, thinks that lovers ought not to be crowned till they have subdued their love; that is to say, till, having prevailed upon the object of their love, they are released from their desire. And accordingly, the loss of their crown we make the token of their being still occupied in the fields of love. Or perhaps Love himself, not permitting any one to be crowned in opposition to, or to be proclaimed as victor over himself, takes their crowns from these men, and gives the perception of this to others, indicating that these men are subdued by him: on which account all the rest say that these men are in love. Or is it because that cannot be loosed which has never been bound, but love is the chain of [p. 1070] some who wear crowns, (for no one else who is bound is more anxious about being crowned than a lover,) that men consider that the loosing of the garland is a sign of love, and therefore say that these men are in love? Or is it because very often lovers, when they have been crowned, often out of agitation as it should seem, allow their crowns to fall to pieces, and so we argue backwards, and attribute this passion to all whom we see in this predicament; thinking that their crown never would have come to pieces, if they had not been in love? Or is it because these loosings happen only in the case of men bound or men in love; and so, men thinking that the loosing of the garland is the loosing also of those who are bound, con- sider that such men are in love? For those in love are bound, unless you would rather say that, because those who are in love are crowned with love, therefore their crown is not of a lasting kind; for it is difficult to put a small and ordinary kind of crown on a large and divine one. Men also crown the doors of the houses of the objects of their love, either with a view to do them honour, as they adorn with crowns the vestibule of some god to do him honour: or perhaps the offering of the crowns is made, not to the beloved objects, but to the god Love. For thinking the beloved object the statue, as it were, of Love, and his house the temple of Love, they, under this idea, adorn with crowns the vestibules of those whom they love. And for the same reason some people even sacri- fice at the doors of those whom they love. Or shall we rather say that people who fancy that they are deprived, or who really have been deprived of the ornament of their soul, consecrate to those who have deprived them of it, the orna- ment also of their body, being bewildered by their passion, and despoiling themselves in order to do so? And every one who is in love does this when the object of his love is present, but when he is not present, then he makes this offering in the public roads. On which account Lycophronides has re- presented that goatherd in love, as saying—
Given you as a pledge; and as an omen
Of happy fortune I send first to you
This offering of the Graces, deeply studied,—
Take it, requiting me with tuneful verse,
Fit ornament of feasts, and emblem of your happiness.
I consecrate this rose to you,[p. 1071]
A beautiful idea;
This cap, and eke these sandals too,
And this good hunting-spear:
For now my mind is gone astray,
Wandering another way,
Towards that girl of lovely face,
Favourite of ev'ry Grace."