This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Is not that a right conviction? Or what is your view?Athenian
Just consider what one ought to have in view in every instance, in order to justify the bestowal of such praise. And first, with regard to the matter now under discussion,—if the men who were then marshalling the army knew how to organize it properly, how would they have achieved success? Must it not have been by consolidating it firmly and by maintaining it perpetually, so that they should be both free themselves and masters over all others whom they chose, and so that both they and their children should do [687b] in general just what they pleased throughout the world of Greeks and barbarians alike? Are not these the reasons why they would be praised?Megillus
And in every case where a man uses the language of eulogy on seeing great wealth or eminent family distinctions or anything else of the kind, would it not be true to say that, in using it, he has this fact specially in mind,—that the possessor of such things is likely, just because of this, to realize all, or at least the most and greatest, of his desires.Megillus
That is certainly probable. [687c] Athenian
Come now, is there one object of desire—that now indicated by our argument—which is common to all men?Megillus
What is that?Athenian
The desire that, if possible, everything,—or failing that, all that is humanly possible—should happen in accordance with the demands of one's own heart.Megillus
To he sure.Athenian
Since this, then, is what we all wish always, alike in childhood and manhood and old age, it is for this, necessarily, that we should pray continually.Megillus
Of course. [687d] Athenian
Moreover, on behalf of our friends we will join in making the same prayer which they make on their own behalf.Megillus
To be sure.Athenian
And a son is a friend to his father, the boy to the man.Megillus
Yet the father will often pray the gods that the things which the son prays to obtain may in no wise he granted according to the son's prayers.Megillus
Do you mean, when the son who is praying is still young and foolish?Athenian
Yes, and also when the father, either through age or through the hot temper of youth, [687e] being devoid of all sense of right and justice, indulges in the vehement prayers of passion (like those of Theseus against Hippolytus1, when he met his luckless end), while the son, on the contrary, has a sense of justice,—in this case do you suppose that the son will echo his father's prayers?Megillus
I grasp your meaning. You mean, as I suppose, that what a man ought to pray and press for is not that everything should follow his own desire, while his desire in no way follows his own reason; but it is the winning of wisdom that everyone of us, States and individuals alike, ought to pray for and strive after.
1 Hippolytus was accused by his stepmother, Phaedra, of attempting to dishonor her: therefore his father (Theseus) invoked a curse upon him, and Poseidon (father of Theseus) sent a bull which scared the horses of H.'s chariot so that they upset the chariot and dragged him till he was dead.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.