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Your belief is correct, Socrates, and your supposition just.

Come now, and do your part in finishing off the answer to my question. Since rhetoric is in fact one of these arts which depend mainly on speech, and there are likewise other arts of the same nature, try if you can tell me with what this rhetoric, which has its effect in speech, is concerned. For instance, suppose some one asked me about one or other of the arts which I was mentioning just now: Socrates, what is the art of numeration? I should tell him, [451b] as you did me a moment ago, that it is one of those which have their effect through speech. And suppose he went on to ask: With what is its speech concerned? I should say: With the odd and even numbers, and the question of how many units there are in each. And if he asked again: What art is it that you call calculation? I should say that this also is one of those which achieve their whole effect by speech. And if he proceeded to ask: With what is it concerned? I should say— [451c] in the manner of those who draft amendments in the Assembly—that in most respects calculation is in the same case as numeration, for both are concerned with the same thing, the odd and the even; but that they differ to this extent, that calculation considers the numerical values of odd and even numbers not merely in themselves but in relation to each other. And suppose, on my saying that astronomy also achieves its whole effect by speech, he were to ask me: And the speech of astronomy, with what is it concerned? I should say: With the courses of the stars and sun and moon, and their relative speeds.

And you would be right, Socrates. [451d]

Come then and do your part, Gorgias: rhetoric is one of those arts, is it not, which carry out their work and achieve their effect by speech.

That is so.

Then tell me what they deal with: what subject is it, of all in the world, that is dealt with by this speech employed by rhetoric?

The greatest of human affairs, Socrates, and the best.

But that also, Gorgias, is ambiguous, [451e] and still by no means clear. I expect you have heard people singing over their cups the old catch, in which the singers enumerate the best things in life,—““first health, then beauty, and thirdly,” as the maker of the catch puts it, “wealth got without guile.””1

Yes, I have heard it; but what is the point of your quotation?

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