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[175a] “He was coming in just now behind me: I am wondering myself where he can be.”

“Go at once,” said Agathon to the servant, “and see if you can fetch in Socrates. You, Aristodemus, take a place by Eryximachus.”

So the attendant washed him and made him ready for reclining, when another of the servants came in with the news that our good Socrates had retreated into their neighbors' porch; there he was standing, and when bidden to come in, he refused.

“How strange!” said Agathon, “you must go on bidding him, and by no means let him go.” [175b] But this Aristodemus forbade: “No,” said he, “let him alone; it is a habit he has. Occasionally he turns aside, anywhere at random, and there he stands. He will be here presently, I expect. So do not disturb him; let him be.”

“Very well then,” said Agathon, “as you judge best. Come, boys,” he called to the servants, “serve the feast for the rest of us. You are to set on just whatever you please, now that you have no one to direct you (a method I have never tried before).1 Today you are to imagine that I and all the company here have come on your invitation so look after us, and earn our compliments.” [175c] Thereupon, he said, they all began dinner, but Socrates did not arrive; and though Agathon ever and anon gave orders that they should go and fetch him, my friend would not allow it. When he did come, it was after what, for him, was no great delay, as they were only about halfway through dinner. Then Agathon, who happened to be sitting alone in the lowest place, said: “Here, Socrates, come sit by me, so that by contact with you [175d] I may have some benefit from that piece of wisdom that occurred to you there in the porch. Clearly you have made the discovery and got hold of it for you would not have come away before.”

Then Socrates sat down, and “How fine it would be, Agathon,” he said, “if wisdom were a sort of thing that could flow out of the one of us who is fuller into him who is emptier, by our mere contact with each other, as water will flow through wool from the fuller cup into the emptier. If such is indeed the case with wisdom, I set a great value on my sitting next to you: [175e] I look to be filled with excellent wisdom drawn in abundance out of you. My own is but meagre, as disputable as a dream; but yours is bright and expansive, as the other day we saw it shining forth from your youth, strong and splendid, in the eyes of more than thirty thousand Greeks.”

“You rude mocker, Socrates!” said Agathon. “A little later on you and I shall go to law on this matter of our wisdom, and Dionysus shall be our judge. For the present, let the dinner be your first concern.”

1 This clause is probably an “aside” to his guests.

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