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[398a] who was capable by his cunning of assuming every kind of shape and imitating all things should arrive in our city, bringing with himself1 the poems which he wished to exhibit, we should fall down and worship him as a holy and wondrous and delightful creature, but should say to him that there is no man of that kind among us in our city, nor is it lawful for such a man to arise among us, and we should send him away to another city, after pouring myrrh down over his head and crowning him with fillets of wool, but we ourselves, for our souls' good, should continue to employ [398b] the more austere2 and less delightful poet and tale-teller, who would imitate the diction of the good man and would tell his tale in the patterns which we prescribed in the beginning,3 when we set out to educate our soldiers.” “We certainly should do that if it rested with us.” “And now, my friend,” said I, “we may say that we have completely finished the part of music that concerns speeches and tales. For we have set forth what is to be said and how it is to be said.” “I think so too,” he replied. [398c]

“After this, then,” said I, “comes the manner of song and tunes?” “Obviously.” “And having gone thus far, could not everybody discover what we must say of their character in order to conform to what has already been said?” “I am afraid that 'everybody' does not include me,” laughed Glaucon4; “I cannot sufficiently divine off-hand what we ought to say, though I have a suspicion.” “You certainly, I presume,” said I, [398d] “have sufficient a understanding of this—that the song5 is composed of three things, the words, the tune, and the rhythm?” “Yes,” said he, “that much.” “And so far as it is words, it surely in no manner differs from words not sung in the requirement of conformity to the patterns and manner that we have prescribed?” “True,” he said. “And again, the music and the rhythm must follow the speech.6” “Of course.” “But we said we did not require dirges and lamentations in words.” “We do not.” “What, then, [398e] are the dirge-like modes of music? Tell me, for you are a musician.” “The mixed Lydian,7” he said, “and the tense or higher Lydian, and similar modes.” “These, then,” said I, “we must do away with. For they are useless even to women8 who are to make the best of themselves, let alone to men.” “Assuredly.” “But again, drunkenness is a thing most unbefitting guardians, and so is softness and sloth.” “Yes.” “What, then, are the soft and convivial modes?” “There are certain Ionian and also Lydian modes

1 Greek idiom achieves an effect impossible to English here, by the shift from the co-ordination of ποιήματα with αὐτός to the treatmnt of it as the object of ἐπιδείξασθαι and the possible double use of the latter as middle with αὐτός and transitive with ποιήματα. Cf. for a less striking example 427 D, Phaedrus 250 B-C.

2 Cf. from a different point of view Arnold's The Austerity of Poetry.

3 Cf. 379 A ff.

4 He laughs at his own mild joke, which Professor Wilamowitz (Platon ii. p. 192) does not understand. Cf. Laws 859 E, Hippias Major 293 A οὐχ εἷς τῶν ἁπάντων καὶ Ἡρακλῆς ἦν; and in a recent novel, “'I am afraid everybody does not include me,' she smiled.”

5 The complete song includes words, rhythms, and “harmony,” that is, a pitch system of high and low notes. Harmony is also used technically of the peculiar Greek system of scales or modes. Cf. Monro, Modes of Ancient Greek Music.

6 The poets at first composed their own music to fit the words. When, with the further development of music, there arose the practice of distorting the words, as in a mere libretto, it provoked a storm of protest from conservatives in aesthetics and morals.

7 The modes of Greek music are known to the English reader only from Milton's allusions, his “Lap me in soft Lydian airs” and, P.L. i. 549 f., his “Anon they move/ in perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood/ Of flutes and soft recorders; such as rasied/ To highth of noblest temper heroes old.” The adaptation of particualr modes, harmonies, or scales to the expression of particular feelings is something that we are obliged to accept on faith. Plato's statements here were challenged by some later critics, but the majority believed that there was a connection between modes of music and modes of feeling, as Ruskin and many others have in our day. The hard-headed Epicureans and sceptics denied it, as well as the moral significance of music generally.

8 Cf. 387 E.

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