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(The speakers in the dialogue are Autobulus,1 Soclarus,2 Optatus, Aristotimus, Phaedimus, and Heracleon.3

Autobulus. When Leonidas was asked what sort of a person he considered Tyrtaeus to be, he replied, ‘A good poet to whet the souls of young men,’ 4 on the ground that by means of verses the poet inspired in young men keenness, accompanied by ardour and ambition whereby they sacrificed themselves freely in battle. And I am very much afraid, my friends, that the Praise of Hunting 5 which was read aloud to us yesterday may so immoderately inflame our young men who like the sport that they will come to consider all other occupations as of minor, or of no, importance and concentrate on this.6 As a matter of fact, I myself caught the old fever all over again [p. 321] in spite of my years and longed, like Euripides'7 Phaedra,

To halloo the hounds and chase the dappled deer;
so moved was I by the discourse as it brought its solid and convincing arguments to bear.

Soclarus. Exactly so, Autobulus. That reader yesterday seems to have roused his rhetoric from its long disuse8 to gratify the young men and share their vernal mood.9 I was particularly pleased with his introduction of gladiators and his argument that it is as good a reason as any to applaud hunting that after diverting to itself most of our natural or acquired pleasure in armed combats between human beings it affords an innocent spectacle of skill and intelligent courage pitted against witless force and violence. It agrees with that passage of Euripides10:

Slight is the strength of men ;
But through his mind's resource
He subdues the dread
Tribes of the deep and races
Bred on earth and in the air.

1 Plutarch's father; on controversial points connected with this identification see Ziegler in Pauly-Wissowa, s.v. ‘Plutarchos,’ 642 ff.

2 A friend of the household who appears in several of the Symposiacs and in the Amatorius also; he is not improbably the L. Mestrius Soclarus of Inscr. Gr. ix. 1. 61.

3 A speaker also in De Defectu Oraculorum (cf. Mor. 412 e). Of the other speakers in this dialogue, nothing definite is known except what may be inferred from the present work.

4 Cf. Mor. 235 f, where it is an anonymous saying; but the Life of Cleomenes, ii (xxiii = 805 d) also attributes it to Leonidas.

5 The authorship of this work has been endlessly disputed, but present opinion (pace Sinko, Eos, xv. pp. 113 ff. and Hubert, Woch. f. klass. Phil. xxviii, pp. 371 ff.) holds that it is Plutarch himself who wrote it (Schuster, op. cit. pp. 8 ff.). Bernardakis (vii, pp. 142-143) included this passage (959 b-d) as a fragment of the lost work.

6 ‘There canot be two passions more nearly resembling each other than hunting and philosophy’ (Huxley, Hume, p. 139), and see Shorey's note on Plato, Republic, 432 b (L.C.L.); cf., however, Rep. 535 d, 549 a. See also Isocrates, Areopagiticus, 43 f.; Xenophon, Cynegetica, i. 18; xii. 1. ff.; Cyr. viii. 1. 34-36; Pollux, preface to book v; the proems of Grattius, Nemesianus, Arrian, etc.

7 Cf. Hippolytus, 218 f. It follows from the fuller quotation in Mor. 52 c that Plutarch's text of Euripides inverted the order of these lines as given in our mss. of the tragedian.

8 Presumably an autobiographical detail.

9 The word is found only here, but may well be right if Plutarch is in a poetical, as well as a playful, humour.

10 Frag. 27 from the Aeolus (so Stobaeus); Nauck, Trag. Graec. Frag. pp. 370 f.; cf. Mor. 98 e. The text is somewhat confused.

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