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[488a] so that you may still better see how I strain after1 imagery. For so cruel is the condition of the better sort in relation to the state that there is no single thing2 like it in nature. But to find a likeness for it and a defence for them one must bring together many things in such a combination as painters mix when they portray goat-stags3 and similar creatures.4 Conceive this sort of thing happening either on many ships or on one: Picture a shipmaster5 in height and strength surpassing all others on the ship, [488b] but who is slightly deaf6 and of similarly impaired vision, and whose knowledge of navigation is on a par with7 his sight and hearing. Conceive the sailors to be wrangling with one another for control of the helm, each claiming that it is his right to steer though he has never learned the art and cannot point out his teacher8 or any time when he studied it. And what is more, they affirm that it cannot be taught at all,9 but they are ready to make mincemeat of anyone10 who says that it can be taught, [488c] and meanwhile they are always clustered about11 the shipmaster importuning him and sticking at nothing12 to induce him to turn over the helm to them. And sometimes, if they fail and others get his ear, they put the others to death or cast them out13 from the ship, and then, after binding14 and stupefying the worthy shipmaster15 with mandragora or intoxication or otherwise, they take command of the ship, consume its stores and, drinking and feasting, make such a voyage16 of it as is to be expected17 from such, and as if that were not enough, they praise and celebrate as a navigator, [488d] a pilot, a master of shipcraft, the man who is most cunning to lend a hand18 in persuading or constraining the shipmaster to let them rule,19 while the man who lacks this craft20 they censure as useless. They have no suspicions21 that the true pilot must give his attention22 to the time of the year, the seasons, the sky, the winds, the stars, and all that pertains to his art if he is to be a true ruler of a ship, and that he does not believe that there is any art or science of seizing the helm23 [488e] with or without the consent of others, or any possibility of mastering this alleged art24 and the practice of it at the same time with the science of navigation. With such goings-on aboard ship do you not think that the real pilot would in very deed25 be called a star-gazer, an idle babbler,

1 The word γλίσχρως is untranslatable, and often misunderstood. In 553 C it means “stingily”; in Cratyl. 414 C it is used of a strained etymology, and so in 435 C, usually misunderstood; in Crito 53 E of clinging to life; Cf. Phaedo 117 A; in Plutarch, De Is. et Osir. 28 of a strained allegory and ibid. 75 of a strained resemblance; in Aristoph.Peace 482 of a dog.

2 Cf. Laws 747 B.

3 Cf. Horace, Ars Poetica, init.; What Plato Said, p. 550 on Phaedr. 229 D-E, and 588 c f. The expression is still used, or revived, in Modern Greek newspapers.

4 The syntax of this famous allegory is anacoluthic and perhaps uncertain: but there need be no doubt about the meaning. Cf. my article in the Classical Review, xx. (1906) p. 247. Huxley commends the Allegory, Methods and Results, p. 313. Cf. also Carlyle's famous metaphor of the ship doubling Cape Horn by ballot. Cf. Class. Phil. ix. (1914) p. 362.

5 The Athenian demos, as portrayed e.g. in Aristophanes’Knights 40 ff. and passim. Cf. Aristot.Rhet. 1406 b 35καὶ εἰς τὸν δῆμον, ὅτι ὅμοιος ναυκλήρῳ ἰσχυρῷ μὲν ὑποκώφῳ δέ, 44ἀεὶ γάρ ποτε τὸν τῶν Ἀθηναίων δῆμον παραπλήσιον εἶναι τοῖς ἀδεσπότοις σκάφεσι, etc. Cf. the old sailor in Joseph Conrad's Chance, chi i. “No ship navigated . . . in the happy-go-lucky manner . . . would ever arrive into port.” For the figure of the ship of state Cf. Polit. 302 A ff., 299 B, Euthydem. 291 D, Aesch.Seven against Thebes 2-3, Theognis 670-685, Horace, Odes i. 15 with my note, Urwick, The Message of Plato, pp. 110-111, Ruskin, Time and Tide, xiii: “That the governing authority should be in the hands of a true and trained pilot is as clear and as constant. In none of these conditions is there any difference between a nation and a boat's company.” Cf. Longfellow's The Building of the Ship, in fine. Cf. Laws 758 A, 945 C. For the criticism of democracy by a figure cf. also Polit. 297 E ff.

6 Cf. Aristoph.Knights 42-44.

7 Cf. 390 C, 426 D, 498 B, Theaetet. 167 B, and Milton's “unknown and like esteemed,” Comus 630.

8 For this and similar checks on pretenders to knowledge Cf. Laches 185 E, 186 A and C, Alc. I. 109 D and Gorg. 514 B-C.

9 Plato of course believed that virtue or the political art can be taught in a reformed state, but practically was not taught at Athens. Cf. Unity of Plato's Thought, p. 14, on 518 D, What Plato Said, pp. 70 and 511, Newman, Introd. Aristot.Pol. p. 397, Thompson on Meno 70 A.

10 A hint of the fate of Socrates. Cf. 517 A, 494 E and Euthyphro 3 E.

11 The participle περικεχυμένους occurs in Polit. 268 C, but is avoided here by anacoluthon.

12 For the idiom πάντα ποιεῖν Cf. Euthyph. 8 C, 504 D-E, 471 C, 575 E, 494 E, Gorg. 479 C, Phaedr. 252 E, Apol. 39 A, and, slightly varied, Eurip.Heracleidae 841.

13 The word ἐκβάλλοντας helps the obvious allegory, for it also means banish.

14 Here figurative. Cf. Gorg. 482 E, Theaet. 165 E. Infra 615 E it is used literally.

15 Cf. Polit. 297 E. The expression is slightly ironical. Such is frequently the tone of γενναῖος in Plato. Cf. Rep. 454 A, 363 A, 544 C, 348 CHipp. Min. 370 D, Soph. 231 B, Hipp. Maj. 290 , Polit. 274 E.

16 Cf. Polit. 302 A, Laws 906 E, Jebb on Soph.Antig. 189-190.

17 Cf. 407 D with Thucyd. iv. 26, vi 69, vii. 25.

18 Cf. 427 E, Laws 905 C, Eryx. 396 E, Aristoph.Knights 229.

19 Neither here nor in D-E can ὅπως with the future mean “in what way,” and all interpretations based on that refers to getting control. Cf. 338 E, Laws 757 D, 714 C, 962 D-E, Xen.Rep. Lac. 14. 5. Cf. Class. Phil. ix.(1914) pp. 358 and 362.

20 For τὸν δὲ μὴ τοιοῦτον Cf. Alc.II. 145 C.

21 The ppl. must refer to the sailors; hence the acc. (see crit. note). Whatever the text and the amount of probable anacoluthon in this sentence, the meaning is that the unruly sailors (the mob) have no true conception of the state of mind of the real pilot (the philosophic statesman), and that it is he (adopting Sidgwick's οἰομένῳ for the MS.οἰόμενοι in E) who does not believe that the trick of getting possession of the helm is an art, or that, if it were, he could afford time to practise it. Those who read οἰόμενοι attribute the idea of the incompatibility of the two things to the sailors. But that overlooks the points I have already made about ὅπως, and τέχνη and is in any case improbable, because the sentence as a whole is concerned with the attitude of the true pilot (statesman), which may be represented by the words of Burke to his constituents, “I could hardly serve you as I have done and court you too.” Cf. Sidgwick, “On a Passage in Plato's Republic,Journal of Philology, v. pp. 274-276, and my notes in A.J.P. xiii. p. 364 and xvi. p. 234.

22 For the force of the article cf. Thucyd. ii. 65τὸ ἐπίφθονον λαμβάνει, and my article in T.A.P.A. 1893, p. 81, n. 6. Cf. also Charm. 156 E and Rep. 496 E.

23 ὅπως . . . κυβερνήσει. Cf. p. 20, note h.

24 The translation gives the right meaning. Cf. 518 D, and the examples collected in my emendation of Gorgias 503 D in Class. Phil. x. (1915) 325-326. The contrast between subjects which do and those which do not admit of constitution as an art and science is ever present to Plato's mind, as appears from the Sophist, Politicus, Gorgias, and Phaedrus. And he would normally express the idea by a genitive with τέχνη. Cf. Protag. 357 A, Phaedrus 260 E, also Class. Rev. xx. (1906) p. 247. See too Cic.De or.I. 4 “neque aliquod praeceptum artis esse arbitrarentur,” and 518 D.

25 τῷ ὄντι verifies the allusion to the charge that Socrates was a babbler and a star-gazer or weather-prophet. Cf. Soph. 225 D, Polit. 299 B, and What Plato Said, p. 527 on Phaedo 70 C; Blaydes on Aristoph.Clouds 1480.

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