But also the banquet of Xenophon, although it is much extolled, gives one as many handles to blame it as the other. For Callias assembles a banqueting party because his favourite Autolycus has been crowned at the Panathenæa for a victory gained in the Pancratium. And as soon as they are assembled the guests devote their attention to the boy; and this too while his father is sitting by. “For as when light appears in the night season it attracts the eyes of every one, so does the beauty of Autolycus attract the eyes of everybody to itself. And then there was no one present who did not feel something in his heart because of him; but some were more silent than others, and some betrayed their feelings by their gestures.” But Homer has never ventured to say anything of that sort, not even when he represents Helen as present; concerning whose beauty though one of those who sat opposite to her did speak, all he said, being overcome by the truth, was this—
Sure 'tis no wonder such celestial charms[p. 300] And then he adds—
For nine long years have set the world in arms.
What winning graces, what majestic mien-
She moves a goddess, and she looks a queen!1
Yet hence, O heaven, convey that fatal face;But the young men who had come to Menelaus's court, the son of Nestor and Telemachus, when over their wine, and celebrating a wedding feast, and though Helen was sitting by, kept quite quiet in a decorous manner, being struck dumb by her renowned beauty. But why did Socrates, when to gratify some one or other he had tolerated some female flute-players, and some boy dancing and playing on the harp, and also some women tumbling and posture-making in an unseemly manner, refuse perfumes? For no one would have been able to restrain his laughter at him, recollecting these lines—
And from destruction save the Trojan race.
You speak of those pale-faced and shoeless men,And what followed after was very inconsistent with his austerity. For Critobulus, a very well-bred young man, mocks Socrates, who was aged and his tutor, saying he was much uglier than the Sileni; but he discusses beauty with him, and selecting as judges the boy and the dancing woman, makes the prize to be the kisses of the judges. Now what young man meeting with this writing would not be corrupted rather than excited to virtue?
Such as that wretched Socrates and Chærephon.