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It was not long before many men of high birth clustered about him and paid him their attentions. Most of them were plainly smitten with his brilliant youthful beauty and fondly courted him. But it was the love which Socrates had for him that bore strong testimony to the boy's native excellence and good parts. These Socrates saw radiantly manifest in his outward person, and, fearful of the influence upon him of wealth and rank and the throng of citizens, foreigners and allies who sought to preempt his affections by flattery and favour, he was fain to protect him, and not suffer such a fair flowering plant to cast its native fruit to perdition. [2] For there is no man whom Fortune so envelops and compasses about with the so-called good things of life that he cannot be reached by the bold and caustic reasonings of philosophy, and pierced to the heart. And so it was that Alcibiades, although he was pampered from the very first, and was prevented by the companions who sought only to please him from giving ear to one who would instruct and train him, nevertheless, through the goodness of his parts, at last saw all that was in Socrates, and clave to him, putting away his rich and famous lovers. [3] And speedily, from choosing such an associate, and giving ear to the words of a lover who was in the chase for no unmanly pleasures, and begged no kisses and embraces, but sought to expose the weakness of his soul and rebuke his vain and foolish pride,

‘He crouched, though warrior bird, like slave, with drooping wings.’
1 And he came to think that the work of Socrates was really a kind of provision of the gods for the care and salvation of youth. [4] Thus, by despising himself, admiring his friend, loving that friend's kindly solicitude and revering his excellence, he insensibly acquired an ‘image of love,’ as Plato says,2 ‘to match love,’ and all were amazed to see him eating, exercising, and tenting with Socrates,3 while he was harsh and stubborn with the rest of his lovers. Some of these he actually treated with the greatest insolence, as, for example, Anytus, the son of Anthemion. [5]

This man was a lover of his, who, entertaining some friends, asked Alcibiades also to the dinner. Alcibiades declined the invitation, but after having drunk deep at home with some friends, went in revel rout to the house of Anytus, took his stand at the door of the men's chamber, and, observing the tables full of gold and silver beakers, ordered his slaves to take half of them and carry them home for him. He did not deign to go in, but played this prank and was off. The guests were naturally indignant, and declared that Alcibiades had treated Anytus with gross and overweening insolence. ‘Not so,’ said Anytus, ‘but with moderation and kindness; he might have taken all there were: he has left us half.’

1 The iamibc trimeter is of unknown authorship.

2 Plat. Phaedrus 255

3 Cf. Plat. Sym. 219e

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