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[144a] You see I speak fearlessly. But I assure you that among all the young men I have ever met—and I have had to do with a great many—I never yet found one of such marvelously fine qualities. He is quick to learn, beyond almost anyone else, yet exceptionally gentle, and moreover brave beyond any other; I should not have supposed such a combination existed, and I do not see it elsewhere. On the contrary, those who, like him, have quick, sharp minds and good memories, have usually also quick tempers; they dart off and are swept away, [144b] like ships without ballast; they are excitable rather than courageous; those, on the other hand, who are steadier are somewhat dull when brought face to face with learning, and are very forgetful. But this boy advances toward learning and investigation smoothly and surely and successfully, with perfect gentleness, like a stream of oil that flows without a sound, so that one marvels how he accomplishes all this at his age.

That is good news; but which of our citizens is his father?

I have heard the name, but do not remember it. [144c] However, it does not matter, for the youth is the middle one of those who are now coming toward us. He and those friends of his were anointing themselves in the outer course,1 and now they seem to have finished and to be coming here. See if you recognize him.

Yes, I do. He is the son of Euphronius of Sunium, who is a man of just the sort you describe, and of good repute in other respects; moreover he left a very large property. But the youth's name I do not know. [144d]

Theaetetus is his name, Socrates; but I believe the property was squandered by trustees. Nevertheless, Socrates, he is remarkably liberal with his money, too.

It is a noble man that you describe. Now please tell him to come here and sit by us.

I will. Theaetetus, come here to Socrates.

Yes, do so, Theaetetus, that I may look at myself and see what sort of a face I have; [144e] for Theodorus says it is like yours. Now if we each had a lyre, and he said we had tuned them to the same key, should we take his word for it without more ado, or should we inquire first whether he who said it was a musician?

We should inquire.

Then if we found that he was a musician, we should believe him, but if not, we should refuse to take his word?


But now, if we are concerned about the likeness of our faces,

1 The scene is evidently laid in a gymnasium; the young men have been exercising.

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    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek, The Article
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