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[258a]

Phaedrus
What do you mean? I don't understand.

Socrates
You don't understand that the name of the approver is written first in the writings of statesmen.

Phaedrus
How so?

Socrates
The writer says, “It was voted by the senate (or the people, or both), and so-and-so moved,” mentioning his own name with great dignity and praise, then after that he goes on, displaying his own wisdom to his approvers, and sometimes making a very long [258b] document. Does it seem to you that a thing of that sort is anything else than a written speech?

Phaedrus
No, certainly not.

Socrates
Then if this speech is approved, the writer leaves the theater in great delight; but if it is not recorded and he is not granted the privilege of speech-writing and is not considered worthy to be an author, he is grieved, and his friends with him.

Phaedrus
Decidedly.

Socrates
Evidently not because they despise the profession, but because they admire it.

Phaedrus
To be sure. [258c]

Socrates
Well then, when an orator or a king is able to rival the greatness of Lycurgus or Solon or Darius and attain immortality as a writer in the state, does he not while living think himself equal to the gods, and has not posterity the same opinion of him, when they see his writings?

Phaedrus
Very true.

Socrates
Do you think, then, that any of the statesmen, no matter how ill-disposed toward Lysias, reproaches him for being a writer?

Phaedrus
It is not likely, according to what you say; for he would be casting reproach upon that which he himself desires to be. [258d]

Socrates
Then that is clear to all, that writing speeches is not in itself a disgrace.

Phaedrus
How can it be?

Socrates
But the disgrace, I fancy, consists in speaking or writing not well, but disgracefully and badly.

Phaedrus
Evidently.

Socrates
What, then, is the method of writing well or badly? Do we want to question Lysias about this, and anyone else who ever has written or will write anything, whether a public or private document, in verse or in prose, be he poet or ordinary man? [258e]

Phaedrus
You ask if we want to question them? What else should one live for, so to speak, but for such pleasures? Certainly not for those which cannot be enjoyed without previous pain, which is the case with nearly all bodily pleasures and causes them to be justly called slavish.

Socrates
We have plenty of time, apparently; and besides, the locusts seem to be looking down upon us as they sing and talk with each other in the heat.


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