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[656a] for whereas they say of a performance that it is pleasant but bad, and feel ashamed to indulge in such bodily motions before men whose wisdom they respect, or to sing such songs (as though they seriously approved of them), they really take a delight in them in private.

Very true.

Does the man who delights in bad postures and tunes suffer any damage thereby, or do those who take pleasure in the opposite gain therefrom any benefit?

Probably. [656b]

Is it not probable or rather inevitable that the result here will be exactly the same as what takes place when a man who is living amongst the bad habits of wicked men, though he does not really abhor but rather accepts and delights in those habits, yet censures them casually, as though dimly aware of his own turpitude? In such a case it is, to be sure, inevitable that the man thus delighted becomes assimilated to those habits, good or bad, in which he delights, even though he is ashamed to praise them. Yet what blessing could we name, or what curse, greater than that of assimilation which befalls us so inevitably?

There is none, I believe. [656c]

Now where laws are, or will be in the future, rightly laid down regarding musical education and recreation, do we imagine that poets will be granted such licence that they may teach whatever form of rhythm or tune they best like themselves to the children of law-abiding citizens and the young men in the choirs, no matter what the result may be in the way of virtue or depravity?

That would be unreasonable, most certainly. [656d]

But at present this licence is allowed in practically every State, with the exception of Egypt.

How, then, does the law stand in Egypt?

It is marvellous, even in the telling. It appears that long ago they determined on the rule of which we are now speaking, that the youth of a State should practise in their rehearsals postures and tunes that are good: these they prescribed in detail and posted up in the temples, [656e] and outside this official list it was, and still is, forbidden to painters and all other producers of postures and representations to introduce any innovation or invention, whether in such productions or in any other branch of music, over and above the traditional forms. And if you look there, you will find that the things depicted or graven there 10,000 years ago (I mean what I say,

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