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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,

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.

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