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[840a] how, spurred on by ambition and skill, and possessing courage combined with temperance in his soul, during all the period of his training (as the story goes) he never touched a woman, nor yet a boy? And the same story is told about Crison and Astylus and Diopompus and very many others. And yet, Clinias, these men were not only much worse educated in soul then your citizens and mine, [840b] but they also possessed much more sexual vigor of body.

That this really happened in the case of these athletes is indeed, as you say, confidently affirmed by the ancients.

Well then, if those men had the fortitude to abstain from that which most men count bliss for the sake of victory in wrestling, running, and the like, shall our boys be unable to hold out in order to win a much nobler victory—that which is the noblest of all victories, as we shall tell them from their childhood's days, charming them into belief, we hope, by tales [840c] and sentences and songs.

What victory?

Victory over pleasures,—which if they win, they will live a life of bliss, but if they lose, the very opposite. Furthermore, will not the dread that this is a thing utterly unholy give them power to master those impulses which men inferior to themselves have mastered?

It is certainly reasonable to suppose so.

Now that we have reached this point in regard to our regulation, [840d] but have fallen into a strait because of the cowardice of the many, I maintain that our regulation on this head must go forward and proclaim that our citizens must not be worse than fowls and many other animals which are produced in large broods, and which live chaste and celibate lives without sexual intercourse until they arrive at the age for breeding; and when they reach this age they pair off, as instinct moves them, male with female and female with male; and thereafter [840e] they live in a way that is holy and just, remaining constant to their first contracts of love: surely our citizens should at least be better than these animals. If, however, they become corrupted by most of the other Hellenes or barbarians, through seeing and hearing that among them the “lawless Love” (as it is called) is of very great power, and thus become unable to overcome it, then the Law-wardens, acting as lawgivers, must devise for them a second law.

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