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know of making men believe in the justice of their gods. And if they never were to believe in it at all, it is right that they should confide in the equity of their fellow-men. Even this were imperfect for every despot and conqueror inflicts much greater misery than any human body can suffer. Now then plainly thou seest the extent of what thou wouldst call my cruelty. We who have ragged beards are cruel by prescription and acclamation; while they who have pumiced faces and perfumed hair, are called cruel only in the moments of tenderness, and in the pauses of irritation. Thy friend Alcibiades was extremely good-natured yet, because the people of Melos, descendants from the Lacedæmonians, stood neutral in the Peloponesian war, and refused to fight against their fathers, the good-natured man, when he had vanquished and led them captive, induced the Athenians to slaughter all among them who were able to bear arms and we know that the survivors were kept in irons until the victorious Spartans set them free.

Plato. I did not approve of this severity. Diogenes. Nor didst thou at any time disapprove of it. Of what value are all thy philosophy and all thy eloquence, if they fail to humanise a bosom-friend, or fear to encounter a misguided populace?

Plato. I thought I heard Diogenes say he had no sympathy with the mass of mankind. What could excite it so suddenly in behalf of an enemy? Diogenes. Whoever is wronged is thereby my fellow-creature, although he were never so before. Scorn, contumely, chains, unite us.

Plato. Take heed, O Diogenes! lest the people of Athens hear you.

Diogenes. Is Diogenes no greater than the people of Athens? Friend Plato! I take no heed about them. Somebody or something will demolish me sooner or later. An Athenian can but begin what an ant, or a beetle, or a worm will finish. Any one of the three would have the best of it. While I retain the use of my tongue, I will exercise it at my leisure and my option. I would not bite it off, even for the pleasure of spitting it in a tyrant's face, as that brave girl Egina did. But I would recommend that, in his wisdom, he should deign to take thine preferably, which, having always honey upon it, must suit his taste better.

Plato. Diogenes! if you must argue or discourse with me, I will endure your asperity for the sake of your acuteness: but it appears to me a more philosophical thing to avoid what is insulting and vexatious, than to breast and brave it.

Diogenes. Thou hast spoken well. Plato. It belongs to the vulgar, not to us, to fly from a man's opinions to his actions, and to stab him in his own house for having received no wound in the school. One merit you will allow me: I always keep my temper; which you seldom do. Diogenes. Is mine a good or a bad one? Plato. Now must I speak sincerely? Diogenes. Dost thou, a philosopher, ask such a

question of me, a philosopher? Ay, sincerely or not at all.

Plato. Sincerely as you could wish, I must declare then your temper is the worst in the world.

Diogenes. I am much in the right, therefore, not to keep it. Embrace me: I have spoken now in thy own manner. Because thou sayest the most malicious things the most placidly, thou thinkest or pretendest thou art sincere.

Plato. Certainly those who are most the mastere of their resentments, are likely to speak less erroneously than the passionate and morose.

Diogenes. If they would, they might: but the moderate are not usually the most sincere: for the same circumspection which makes them moderate, makes them likewise retentive of what could give offence: they are also timid in regard to fortune and favour, and hazard little. There is no mass of sincerity in any place. What there is must be picked up patiently, a grain or two at a time; and the season for it is after a storm, after the overflowing of banks, and bursting of mounds, and sweeping away of landmarks. Men will always hold something back: they must be shaken and loosened a little, to make them let go what is deepest in them, and weightiest and purest.

Plato. Shaking and loosening as much about you as was requisite for the occasion, it became you to demonstrate where, and in what manner, I had made Socrates appear less sagacious and less eloquent than he was: it became you likewise to consider the great difficulty of finding new thoughts and new expressions for those who had more of them than any other men, and to represent them in all the brilliancy of their wit and in all the majesty of their genius. I do not assert that I have done it; but if I have not, what man has? what man has come so nigh to it? He who could bring Socrates, or Solon, or Diogenes, through a dialogue, without disparagement, is much nearer in his intellectual powers to them, than any other is near to him.

Diogenes. Let Diogenes alone, and Socrates, and Solon. None of the three ever occupied his hours in tinging and curling the tarnished plumes of prostitute Philosophy, or deemed anything worth his attention, care, or notice, that did not make men brave and independent. As thou callest on me to show thee where and in what manner thou hast misrepresented thy teacher, and as thou seemest to set an equal value on eloquence and on reasoning, I shall attend to thee awhile on each of these matters, first inquiring of thee whether the axiom is Socratic, that it is never becoming to get drunk *, unless in the solemnities of Bacchus ?

Plato. This god was the discoverer of the vine and of its uses.

Diogenes. Is drunkenness one of its uses, or the discovery of a god? If Pallas or Jupiter hath given us reason, we should sacrifice our reason

* Dialogue VI on The Laws.

with more propriety to Jupiter or Pallas. To Bacchus is due a libation of wine; the same being his gift, as thou preachest.

Another and a graver question.

Did Socrates teach thee that "slaves are to be scourged, and by no means admonished as though they were the children of the master?"

Plato. He did not argue upon government. Diogenes. He argued upon humanity, whereon all government is founded: whatever is beside it is usurpation.

Plato. Are slaves then never to be scourged, whatever be their transgressions and enormities? Diogenes. Whatever they be, they are less than his who reduced them to their condition. Plato. What! though they murder his whole family?

Diogenes. Ay, and poison the public fountain of the city. What am I saying? and to whom? Horrible as is this crime, and next in atrocity to parricide, thou deemest it a lighter one than stealing a fig or grape. The stealer of these is scourged by thee; the sentence on the poisoner is to cleanse out the receptacle *. There is however a kind of poisoning, which, to do thee justice, comes before thee with all its horrors, and which thou wouldst punish capitally, even in such a sacred personage as an aruspex or diviner: I mean the poisoning by incantation. I, my whole family, my whole race, my whole city, may bite the dust in agony from a truss of henbane in the well; and little harm done forsooth! Let an idle fool set an image of me in wax before the fire, and whistle and caper to it, and purr and pray, and chant a hymn to Hecate while it melts, intreating and imploring her that I may melt as easily; and thou wouldst, in thy equity and holiness, strangle him at the first stave of his psalmody.

Plato. If this is an absurdity, can you find another?

Diogenes. Truly, in reading thy book, I doubted at first, and for a long continuance, whether thou couldst have been serious; and whether it were not rather a satire on those busy-bodies who are incessantly intermeddling in other people's affairs. It was only on the protestation of thy intimate friends that I believed thee to have written it in earnest. As for thy question, it is idle to stoop and pick out absurdities from a mass of inconsistency and injustice: but another and another I could throw in, and another and another afterward, from any page in the volume. Two bare staring falsehoods lift their beaks one upon the other, like spring frogs. Thou sayest that no punishment, decreed by the laws, tendeth to evil. What! not if immoderate? not if partial? Why then repeal any penal statute while the subject of its animadversion exists? In prisons the less criminal are placed among the more criminal, the inexperienced in vice together with the hardened in it. This is part of the punishment, though it precedes the sentence: nay, it is often inflicted on

* Dialogue VIII.

those whom the judges acquit: the law, by allowing it, does it.

The next is, that he who is punished by the laws is the better for it, or, however, the less depraved. What if anteriorly to the sentence he lives and converses with worse men, some of whom console him by deadening the sense of shame, others by removing the apprehension of punishment? Many laws as certainly make men bad, as bad men make many laws yet under thy regimen they take us from the bosom of the nurse, turn the meat about upon the platter, pull the bed-clothes off, make us sleep when we would wake, and wake when we would sleep, and never cease to rummage and twitch us, until they see us safe landed at the grave. We can do nothing (but be poisoned) with impunity. What is worst of all, we must marry certain relatives and connections, be they distorted, blear-eyed, toothless, carbuncled, with hair (if any) eclipsing the reddest torch of Hymen, and with a hide outrivalling in colour and plaits his trimmest saffron robe. At the mention of this indeed, friend Plato! even thou, although resolved to stand out of harms' way, beginnest to make awry mouth, and findest it difficult to pucker and purse it up again, without an astringent store of moral sentences. Hymen is indeed no acquaintance of thine. We know the delicacies of love which thou wouldst reserve for the gluttony of heroes and the fastidiousness of philosophers. Heroes, like gods, must have their own way; but against thee and thy confraternity of elders I would turn the closet-key, and your mouths might water over, but your tongues should never enter, those little pots of comfiture. Seriously, you who wear embroidered slippers ought to be very cautious of treading in the mire. Philosophers should not only live the simplest lives, but should also use the plainest language. Poets, in employing magnificent and sonorous words, teach philosophy the better by thus disarming suspicion, that the finest poetry contains and conveys the finest philosophy. You will never let any man hold his right station: you would rank Solon with Homer for poetry. This is absurd. The only resemblance is, in both being eminently wise. Pindar too makes even the cadences of his dithyrambics keep time to the flute of Reason. My tub, which holds fiftyfold thy wisdom, would crack at the reverberation of thy voice. Plato. Farewell.

Diogenes. Not quite yet. I must physic thee a little with law again before we part; answer me one more question. In punishing a robbery, wouldst thou punish him who steals everything from one who wants everything, less severely than him who steals little from one who wants nothing?

Pluto. No: in this place the iniquity is manifest: not a problem in geometry is plainer.

Diogenes. Thou liedst then.. in thy sleep perhaps. but thou liedst. Differing in one page from what was laid down by thee in another,*

* Books IX. and X.

thou wouldst punish what is called sacrilege with death. The magistrates ought to provide that the temples be watched so well, and guarded so effectually, as never to be liable to thefts. The gods, we must suppose, can not do it by themselves; for, to admit the contrary, we must admit their indifference to the possession of goods and chattels : an impiety so great, that sacrilege itself drops into atoms under it. He however who robs from the gods, be the amount what it may, robs from the rich; robs from those who can want nothing, although, like the other rich, they are mightily vindictive against petty plunderers. But he who steals from a poor widow a loaf of bread, may deprive her of everything she has in the world; perhaps, if she be bedridden or paralytic, of life itself.

I am weary of this digression on the inequality of punishments; let us come up to the object of them. It is not, O Plato! an absurdity of thine alone, but of all who write and of all who converse on them, to assert that they both are and ought to be inflicted publicly, for the sake of deterring from offence. The only effect of public punishment, is, to show the rabble how bravely it can be borne; and that everyone who hath lost a toenail hath suffered worse. The virtuous man, as a reward and a privilege, should be permitted to see how calm and satisfied a virtuous man departs. The criminal should be kept in the dark about the departure of his fellows, which is oftentimes as unreluctant: for to him, if indeed no reward or privilege, it would be a corroborative and a cordial. Such things ought to be taken from him, no less carefully than the instruments of destruction or evasion. Secrecy and mystery should be the attendants of punishment, and the sole persons present should be the injured, or two of his relatives, and a functionary delegated by each tribe, to witness and register the execution of justice.

Trials, on the contrary, should be public in every case. It being presumable that the sense of shame and honour is not hitherto quite extinguished in the defendant, this, if he be guilty, is the worst part of his punishment; if innocent, the best of his release. From the hour of trial until the hour of return to society (or the dust) there should be privacy, there should be solitude.

Plato. It occurs to me, O Diogenes! that you agree with Aristoteles on the doctrine of necessity. Diogenes. I do.

Plato. How then can you punish, by any heavier chastisement than coercion, the heaviest offences? Everything being brought about, as you hold, by fate and predestination . .

Diogenes. Stay! Those terms are puerile, and imply a petition of a principle: keep to the term necessity. Thou art silent. Here then, O Plato! will I acknowledge to thee, I wonder it should have escaped thy perspicacity that free-will itself is nothing else than a part and effluence of necessity. If everything proceeds from some other thing, every impulse from some other impulse,

that which impels to choice or will must act among the rest.

Plato. Every impulse from some other (I must so take it) under God, or the first cause.

Diogenes. Be it so: I meddle not at present with infinity or eternity: when I can comprehend them I will talk about them. You metaphysicians kill the flower-bearing and fruit-bearing glebe with delving and turning over and sifting, and never bring up any solid and malleable mass from the dark profundity in which you labour. The intellectual world, like the physical, is inapplicable to profit and incapable of cultivation a little way below the surface. . of which there is more to manage, and more to know, than any of you will undertake.

Plato. It happens that we do not see the stars at even-tide, sometimes because there are clouds intervening, but oftener because there are glimmerings of light: thus many truths escape us from the obscurity we stand in; and many more from that crepuscular state of mind, which induceth us to sit down satisfied with our imagina tions and unsuspicious of our knowledge.

Diogenes. Keep always to the point, or with an eye upon it, and instead of saying things to make people stare and wonder, say what will withhold them hereafter from wondering and staring. This is philosophy; to make remote things tangible, common things extensively useful, useful things extensively common, and to leave the least neces sary for the last. I have always a suspicion of sonorous sentences. The full shell sounds little, but shows by that little what is within. A bladder swells out more with wind than with oil.

Plato. I would not neglect politics nor morals, nor indeed even manners: these however are mutable and evanescent: the human understanding is immovable and for ever the same in its principles and its constitution, and no study is so important or so inviting.

Diogenes. Your sect hath done little in it. You are singularly fond of those disquisitions in which few can detect your failures and your fallacies, and in which, if you stumble or err, you may find some countenance in those who lost their way before you.

Is not this school-room of mine, which holdeth but one scholar, preferable to that out of which have proceeded so many impetuous in passion, refractory in discipline, unprincipled in adventure, and (worst of all) proud in slavery? Poor creatures who run after a jaded mule or palfrey, to pick up what he drops along the road, may be certain of a cabbage the larger and the sooner for it; while those who are equally assiduous at the heel of kings and princes, hunger and thirst for more, and usually gather less. Their attendance is neither so certain of reward nor so honest; their patience is scantier, their industry weaker, their complaints louder. What shall we say of their philosophy? what of their virtue? What shall we say of the greatness whereon their feeders plume themselves? not caring they indeed for the

him, what even the reptiles and insects, what even the bushes and brambles of the roadside, enjoy!

humbler character of virtue or philosophy. We thrusts away the living load that intercepts from never call children the greater or the better for wanting others to support them: why then do we call men so for it? I would be servant of any helpless man for hours together: but sooner shall a king be the slave of Diogenes than Diogenes a king's.

Plato. Companionship, O Sinopean, is not slavery.

Diogenes. Are the best of them worthy to be my companions? Have they ever made you wiser? have you ever made them so? Prythee, what is companionship where nothing that improves the intellect is communicated, and where the larger heart contracts itself to the model and dimension of the smaller? 'Tis a dire calamity to have a slave; 'tis an inexpiable curse to be one. When it befalls a man through violence he must be pitied but where is pity, where is pardon, for the wretch who solicits it, or bends his head under it through invitation? Thy hardness of heart toward slaves, O Plato, is just as unnatural as hardness of heart toward dogs would be in me. Plato. You would have none perhaps in that condition.

Plato. We began with definitions: I rejoice, O Diogenes, that you are warmed into rhetoric, in which you will find me a most willing auditor: for I am curious to collect a specimen of your prowess, where you have not yet established any part of your celebrity.

Diogenes. am idle enough for it: but I have other things yet for thy curiosity, other things yet for thy castigation.

Thou wouldst separate the military from the citizens; from artisans and from agriculturists. A small body of soldiers, who never could be anything else, would in a short time subdue and subjugate the industrious and the wealthy. They would begin by demanding an increase of pay; then they would insist on admission to magistracies; and presently their general would assume the sovereignty, and create new offices of trust and profit for the strength and security of his usurpation. Soldiers, in a free state, should be enrolled from those principally who are most interested in the conservation of order and pro

Diogenes. None should be made slaves, except-perty; chiefly the sons of tradesmen in towns: ing those who have attempted to make others so, or who spontaneously have become the instruments of unjust and unruly men. · Even these ought not to be scourged every day perhaps for their skin is the only sensitive part of them, and such castigation might shorten their lives.


Plato. Which, in your tenderness and mercy, you would not do.

Diogenes. Longevity is desirable in them; that they may be exposed in coops to the derision of the populace on holidays; and that few may serve the purpose.

Plato. We will pass over this wild and thorny theory, into the field of civilisation in which we live; and here I must remark the evil consequences that would ensue, if our domestics could listen to you about the hardships they are enduring.

Diogenes. And is it no evil that truth and beneficence should be shut out at once from so large a portion of mankind? Is it none when things are so perverted, that an act of beneficence might lead to a thousand acts of cruelty, and that one accent of truth should be more pernicious than all the falsehoods that have been accumulated, since the formation of language, since the gift of speech! I have taken thy view of the matter; take thou mine. Hercules was called just and glorious, and worshipped as a deity, because he redressed the grievances of others: is it unjust, is it inglorious, to redress one's own? If that man rises high in the favour of the people, high in the estimation of the valiant and the wise, high before God, by the assertion and vindication of his holiest law, who punishes with death such as would reduce him or his fellow citizens to slavery, how much higher rises he, who, being a slave, springs up indignantly from his low estate, and

first, because there is the less detriment done to agriculture; the main thing to be considered in all countries: secondly, because such people are pronest to sedition, from the two opposite sides of enrichment and poverty: and lastly, because their families are always at hand, responsible for their fidelity, and where shame would befall them thickly in case of cowardice, or any misconduct. Those governments are the most flourishing and stabile, which have the fewest idle youths about the streets and theatres: it is only with the sword that they can cut the halter.

Thy faults arise from two causes principally: first, a fondness for playing tricks with argument and with fancy: secondly, swallowing from others what thou hast not taken time enough nor exercise enough to digest.

Plato. Lay before me the particular things you accuse me of drawing from others.

Diogenes. Thy opinions on numbers are distorted from those of the Chaldeans, Babylonians, and Syrians; who believe that numbers, and letters too, have peculiar powers, independent of what is represented by them on the surface.

Plato. I have said more, and often differently. Diogenes. Thou hast indeed. Neither they nor Pythagoras ever taught, as thou hast done, that the basis of the earth is an equilateral triangle, and the basis of water a rectangular. We are then informed by thy sagacity, that "the world has no need of eyes, because nothing is left to be looked at out of it; nor of ears, because nothing can be heard beyond it; nor of any parts for the reception, concoction, and voidance, of nutriment; because there can be no secretion nor accretion*."

This indeed is very providential. If things


were otherwise, foul might befall your genii, who are always on active service: a world would not bespatter them so lightly as we mortals are bespattered by a swallow. Whatever is asserted on things tangible, should be asserted from experiment only. Thou shouldst have defended better that which thou hast stolen: a thief should not only have impudence, but courage.

Plato. What do you mean?

Diogenes. I mean that every one of thy whimsies hath been picked up somewhere by thee in thy travels; and each of them hath been rendered more weak and puny by its place of concealment in thy closet. What thou hast written on the immortality of the soul, goes rather to prove the immortality of the body; and applies as well to the body of a weasel or an eel as to the fairer one of Agathon or of Aster. Why not at once introduce a new religion*? since religions keep and are relished in proportion as they are salted with absurdity, inside and out; and all of them must have one great crystal of it for the centre; but Philosophy pines and dies unless she drinks limpid water. When Pherecydes and Pythagoras felt in themselves the majesty of contemplation, they spurned the idea that flesh and bones and arteries should confer it; and that what comprehends the past and the future, should sink in a moment and be annihilated for ever. No, cried they, the power of thinking is no more in the brain than in the hair, although the brain may be the instrument on which plays. It is not corporeal, it is not of this world; its existence is eternity, its residence is infinity. I forbear to discuss the rationality of their belief, and pass on straightway to thine; if indeed I am to consider as one, belief and doctrine.

Plato. As you will.

Diogenes. I should rather then regard these things as mere ornaments; just as many decorate their apartments with lyres and harps, which they themselves look at from the couch, supinely complacent, and leave for visitors to admire and play on.

Plato. I foresee not how you can disprove my argument on the immortality of the soul, which, being contained in the best of my dialogues, and being often asked for among my friends, I carry with me.

Diogenes. At this time?

Plato. Even so.


the other?"
the living?"
dead?" The living." "Then all things alive
spring from the dead."

"What springs then from "The dead." "And what from the

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Diogenes. Why that repetition? but go on. Plato (reads). "Souls therefore exist after death in the infernal regions."

Diogenes. Where is the therefore? where is it even as to existence? As to the infernal regions, there is nothing that points toward a proof, or promises an indication. Death neither springs from life, nor life from death. Although death is the inevitable consequence of life, if the observation and experience of ages go for anything, yet nothing shows us, or ever hath signified, that life comes from death. Thou mightest as well say that a barley-corn dies before the germ of another barley-corn grows up from it: than which nothing is more untrue for it is only the protecting part of the germ that perishes, when its protection is no longer necessary. The consequence, that souls | exist after death, cannot be drawn from the corruption of the body, even if it were demonstrable that out of this corruption a live one could rise up. Thou hast not said that the soul is among those dead things which living things must spring from: thou hast not said that a living soul produces a dead soul, or that a dead soul produces a living one.

Plato. No indeed.

Diogenes. On my conscience, thou hast said however things no less inconsiderate, no less inconsequent, no less unwise; and this very thing must be said and proved, to make thy argument of any value. Do dead men beget children? Plato. I have not said it.

Diogenes. Thy argument implies it. Plato. These are high mysteries, and to be approached with reverence.

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Diogenes. Whatever we can not account for, in the same predicament. We may be gainers by being ignorant, if we can be thought mysterious It is better to shake our heads and to let nothing out of them, than to be plain and explicit in matters of difficulty. I do not mean in confessing our ignorance or our imperfect knowledge of them, but in clearing them up perspicuously: for, if we answer with ease, we may haply be thought goodnatured, quick, communicative; never deep, never │ sagacious; not very defective possibly in our intellectual faculties, yet unequal and chinky, and

Diogenes. Give me then a certain part of it for liable to the probation of every clown's knuckle. my perusal.

Plato. Willingly.

Diogenes. Hermes and Pallas! I wanted but a cubit of it, or at most a fathom, and thou art pulling it out by the plethron.

Plato. This is the place in question.
Diogenes. Read it.

Plato (reads). "Sayest thou not that death is the opposite of life, and that they spring the one from

*He alludes to the various worships of Egypt, and to

what Plato had learned there.

Plato. The brightest of stars appear the most unsteady and tremulous in their light; not from any quality inherent in themselves, but from the vapours that float below, and from the imperfec tion of vision in the surveyor.

Diogenes. To the stars again! Draw thy robe round thee; let the folds fall gracefully, and look majestic. That sentence is an admirable one; but not for me. I want sense, not stars. What then? Do no vapours float below the others? and is there no imperfection in the vision of those who look at them, if they are the same men, and look

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