But indeed, no one even of the comic poets has said such things as Plato has said about Socrates, neither that he was the son of a very fierce-looking nurse, nor that Xantippe was an ill-tempered woman, who even poured slops over his head; nor that Alcibiades slept with him under the same cloak; and yet this must have been divulged with boisterous laughter by Aristophanes, as he was present at the banquet according to Plato's account; for Aristophanes would never have suppressed such a circumstance as that, which would have given such a colour to the charge that he corrupted the youth. Aspasia, indeed, who was the clever preceptress of Socrates in rhetoric, in these verses which are attributed to her, which Herodicus the Cratetian has quoted, speaks thus—
As. O Socrates, most clearly do I seeThe admirable Socrates then goes a hunting, having the Milesian woman for his tutor in love. But he himself is not hunted, as Plato says, having nets spread for him by Alcibiades. And indeed, he laments without ceasing, being, as I suppose, unsuccessful in his love. For Aspasia, seeing in what a condition he was, says—
How greatly you're inflamed by tender love
For the young son of Clinias and Dinomache;
But if you wish to prosper list to me,
And do not scoff at my advice, but follow it,
And it shall be the better for your suit.
Soc. I when I heard your speech was so o'erjoy'd
That straightway sweat did overflow each limb;
And tears unbidden pour'd forth from my eyes.
As. Restrain yourself, and fill your mind with strains
[p. 349] Such as the Muse who conquers men will teach you,
And you will charm him by your dulcet songs.
They the foundation lay of mutual love.
And thus will you o'ercome him, fettering
His mind with gifts with which his ears are charm'd
Why weep you, my dear Socrates? does loveAnd that he really did love Alcibiades Plato shows plainly in the Protagoras, although he was now little less than thirty years of age; for he speaks in this manner, “'Whence are you come from, O Socrates? It seems to me you are come from your pursuit of Alcibiades's beauty. And, indeed, the man, when I saw him the other day, appeared to me to be a handsome man; a man, indeed, O Socrates, as he may well be called, just as much so as we are; and he has a firmly grown beard.' ' Well, what of that? are not you an admirer of Homer, who said that the most beautiful season of life was that of a young man who began to have a beard? And that is just the age of which Alcibiades is now.'”
For that impracticable boy which dwells
Within thy breast, and shoots from out his eyes,
So far thy heart subdue? Did I in vain
Engage to make him docile to thy suit