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the next moment? We must move on : I shall steps in all places. I profess to be no weaver of follow the dead bodies, and the benighted driver fine words, no dealer in the plumes of phrascology, of their fantastie bier, close and keen as any hyena. yet every man and every woman I speak to
Plato. Certainly, 0 Diogenes, you excell me understands me. in elucidations and similies : mine was less ob- Plato. Which would not always be the case if vious. Lycaon became against his will, what you the occulter operations of the human mind were become from pure humanity.
the subject. Diogenes. When Humanity is averse to Truth, Diogenes. If what is occult must be occult for a fig for her!
ever, why throw away words about it? Employ Plato. Many, who profess themselves her vo- on every occasion the simplest and easiest, and taries, have made her a less costly offering. range them in the most natural order. Thus they
Diogenes. Thou hast said well, and I will treat will serve thee faithfully, bringing thee many thee gently for it.
hearers and readers from the intellectual and Plato. I may venture then in defence of my uncorrupted. All popular orators, victorious compositions, to argue that neither simple meta- commanders, crowned historians, and poets above physies nor strict logic would be endured long crowning, have done it. Homer, for the glory of together in a dialogue.
whose birthplace none but the greatest cities Diogenes. Few people can endure them any. dared contend, is alike the highest and the easiest where ; but whatever is contradictory to either is in poetry. Herodotus, who brought into Greece intolerable. The business of a good writer is to more knowledge of distant countries than any or make them pervade his works, without obstruc- indeed than all before him, is the plainest and tion to his force or impediment to his facility; to gracefulest in prose. Aristoteles, thy scholar, is divest them of their forms, and to mingle their possessor of a long and lofty treasury, with many potency in every particle. I must acknowledge windings and many vaults at the sides of them, that, in matters of love, thy knowledge is twice as abstruse and dark. He is unambitious of displayextensive as mine is : yet nothing I ever heard is ing his wealth ; and few are strong-wristed enough so whimsical and silly as thy description of its to turn the key of his iron chests. Whenever he effects upon the soul, under the influence of presents to his reader one full-blown thought, beauty. The wings of the soul, thou tellest us, there are several buds about it which are to open are bedewed ; and certain germs of theirs expand in the cool of the study; and he makes you learn from every part of it.
more than he teaches. The only thing I know about the soul is, that Plato. I can never say that I admire his lanit makes the ground slippery under us when we guage. discourse on it, by virtue (I presume) of this be- Diogenes. Thou wilt never say it; but thou dewing; and beauty does not assist us materially dost. His language, where he wishes it to be harin rendering our steps the steadier.
monious, is highly so: and there are many figures Plato. Diogenes ! you are the only man that of speech exquisitely beautiful, but simple and admires not the dignity and stateliness of my unobtrusive. You see what a fine head of hair he expressions.
might have if he would not cut it so short. Is Diogenes. Thou hast many admirers; but either there as much true poetry in all thy works, prose they never have read thee, or do not understand and verse, as in that Scolion of his on Virtue? thee, or are fond of fallacies, or are incapable of Plato. I am less invidious than he is. detecting them. I would rather hear the mur- Diogenes. He may indeed have caught the inmur of insects in the grass than the clatter and fection of malignity, which all who live in the trilling of cymbals and timbrels over-head. The crowd, whether of a court or a school, are liable tiny animals I watch with composure, and guess to contract. We had dismissed that question : their business : the brass awakes me only to we had buried the mortal and corruptible part of weary me: I wish it under ground again, and the him, and were looking into the litter which conparchment on the sheep's back.
tains his true and everlasting effigy: and this Plato. My sentences, it is acknowledged by all effigy the strongest and noblest minds will carry good judges, are well constructed and harmonious. by relays to interminable generations. We were
Diogenes. I admit it: I have also heard it said speaking of his thoughts and what conveys them. that thou art eloquent.
His language then, in good truth, differs as much Plato. If style, without elocution, can be. from that which we find in thy dialogues, as wine
Diogenes. Neither without nor with elocution in the goblet differs from wine spilt upon the is there eloquence, where there is no ardour, no table. With thy leave, I would rather drink impulse, no energy, no concentration. Eloquence than lap. raises the whole man: thou raisest our eyebrows Plato. Methinks such preference is contrary to only. We wonder, we applaud, we walk away, your nature. and we forget. Thy eggs are very prettily speckled; Diogenes. Ah, Plato! I ought to be jealous of but those which men use for their sustenance are thee, finding that two in this audience can smile plain white ones. People do not every day put at thy wit, and not one at mine. on their smartest dresses ; they are not always in Plato. I would rather be serious, but that my trim for dancing, nor are they practising their seriousness is provocative of your moroseness. Detract from me as much as can be detracted by Plato. There may be truth in these words. the most hostile to my philosophy, still it is be- We however know your contempt for religious yond the power of any man to suppress or to con- acts and ceremonies, which, if you do not comply ceal from the admiration of the world the ampli- with them, you should at least respect, by way of tude and grandeur of my language.
an example. Diogenes. Thou remindest me of a cavern I Diogenes. What ! if a man lies to me, should once entered. The mouth was spacious; and many I respect the lie for the sake of an example! dangling weeds and rampant briers caught me Should I be guilty of duplicity, for the sake of an by the hair above, and by the beard below, and example ! Did I ever omit to attend the Thesflapped my face on each side. I found it in some mophoria ? the only religious rite worthy of a places flat and sandy; in some rather miry; in wise man's attendance. It displays the union of others I bruised my shins against little pointed industry and law. Here is no fraud, no fallacy, pinnacles, or larger and smoother round stones. no filching: the gods are worshipped for their Many were the windings, and deep the darkness. best gifts, and do not stand with open palms for Several men came forward with long poles and ours. I neither laugh nor wonder at anyone's lighted torches on them, promising to show in- folly. To laugh at it, is childish or inhuman, ao numerable gems, on the roof and along the sides, cording to its nature; and to wonder at it, would to some ingenuous youths whom they conducted. be a greater folly than itself, whatever it may be. I thought I was lucky, and went on among them. Must I go on with incoherencies and inconMost of the gems turned out to be drops of water; sistencies ? but some were a little more solid. These, how- Plato. I am not urgent with you. ever, in general, gave way and crumbled under Diogenes. Then I will reward thee the rather. the touch : and most of the remainder lost all Thou makest poor Socrates tell us that a beautheir brightness by the smoke of the torches tiful vase is inferior to a beautiful horse; and as underneath. The farther I went in, the fouler a beautiful horse is inferior to a beautiful maiden, grew the air and the dimmer the torchlight. in like manner a beautiful maiden is inferior in Leaving it, and the youths, and the guides, and beauty to the immortal gods. the long poles, I stood a moment in wonder at Plato. No doubt, O Diogenes! the vast number of names and verses graven at Diogenes. Thou hast whimsical ideas of beauty: the opening, and forbore to insert the ignoble one but, understanding the word as all Athenians and of Diogenes.
all inhabitants of Hellas understand it, there is The vulgar indeed and the fashionable do call no analogy between a horse and a vase. Undersuch language as thine the noblest and most standing it as thou perhaps mayest choose to do magnificent: the scholastic bend over it in on the occasion, understanding it as applicable to paleness, and with the right hand upon the the service and utility of man and gods, the vaze breast, at its unfathomable depth: but what would may be applied to more frequent and more noble a man of plain simple sound understanding say purposes than the horse. It may delight men in upon it? what would a metaphysician? what health ; it may administer to them in sickness; would a logician? what would Pericles? Truly, it may pour out before the protectors of families he had taken thee by the arm, and kissed that and of cities the wine of sacrifice. But if it is the broad well-perfumed forehead, for filling up with quality and essence of beauty to gratify the sight, ! light (as thou wouldst say) the dimple in the there are certainly more persons who can receive cheek of Aspasia, and for throwing such a gadfly gratification from the appearance of a beautiful in the current of her conversation. She was of a vase than a beautiful horse. Xerxes brought into different sect from thee both in religion and in love, Hellas with him thousands of beautiful horses and and both her language and her dress were plainer. many beautiful vases. Supposing now that all
Plato. She, like yourself, worshipped no deity the horses which were beautiful seemed so to all in public: and probably both she and Aristoteles good judges of their symmetry, it is probable find the more favour with you from the laxity of that scarcely one man in fifty would fix his eyes their opinions in regard to the Powers above. The attentively on one horse in fifty; but undoubtedly indifference of Aristoteles to religion may perhaps there were vases in the tents of Xerxes which be the reason why king Philip bespoke him so would have attracted all the eyes in the army early for the tuition of his successor ; on whom, and have filled them with admiration. I say destined as he is to pursue the conquests of the nothing of the women, who in Asiatic armies are father, moral and religious obligations might be as numerous as the men, and who would every incommodious.
one admire the vases, while few admired the Diogenes. Kings who kiss the toes of the most horses. Yet women are as good judges of what gods, and the most zealously, never find any such is beautiful as thou art, and for the most part on incommodiousness. In courts, religious ceremo- the same principles. But, repeating that there is nies cover with their embroidery moral obliga- no analogy between the two objects, I must insist tions; and the most dishonest and the most that there can be no just comparison : and I trust libidinous and the most sanguinary kings (to say I have clearly demonstrated that the postulate is nothing of private men) have usually been the not to be conceded. We will nevertheless carry most punctual worshippers.
on the argument and examination, for "the
beautiful virgin is inferior in beauty to the im- Diogenes. I believe thee: but done it thou hast. mortal gods.”_Is not Vulcan an immortal god? The language of Socrates was Attic and simple : are not the Furies and Discord immortal god- he hated the verbosity and refinement of wrangdesses ? Ay, by my troth are they; and there lers and rhetoricians; and never would he have never was any city and scarcely any family on earth attributed to Aspasia, who thought and spoke to which they were long invisible. Wouldst thou like Pericles, and whose elegance and judgment prefer them to a golden cup, or even toʻa cup from thou thyself hast commended, the chaff and litthe potter's ? Would it require one with a dance ter thou hast tossed about with so much wind of Bacchanals under the pouting rim ? would it and wantonness, in thy dialogue of Menexenus. require one foretasted by Agathon ? Let us Now, to omit the other fooleries in it, Aspasia descend from the deities to the horses. Thy dress would have laughed to scorn the most ignorant of is as well adapted to horsemanship as thy words her tire-women, who should have related to her are in general to discourse. Such as thou art, the story thou tellest in her name, about the would run out of the horse's way; and such as march of the Persians round the territory of know thee best, would put the vase out of thine. Eretria. This narrative seems to thee so happy
Plato. So then, I am a thief, it appears, not an attempt at history, that thou betrayest no only of men's notions, but of their vases !
small fear lest the reader should take thee at thy Diogenes. Nay, nay, my good Plato! Thou hast word, and lest Aspasia should in reality rob thee however the frailty of concupiscence for things or Socrates of the glory due for it. tangible and intangible, and thou likest well- Plato. Where lies the fault ? turned vases no less than well-turned sentences : Diogenes. If the Persians had marched, as thou therefore they who know thee would leave no describest them, forming a circle, and from sea temptation in thy way, to the disturbance and to sea, with their hands joined together ; fourscore detriment of thy soul. Away with the horse and shepherds with their dogs, their rams, and their vase ! we will come together to the quarters of the bell-wethers, might have killed them all, coming virgin. Faith! my friend, if we find her only against them from points well-chosen. As howjust as beautiful as some of the goddesses we were ever great part of the Persians were horsemen, naming, her virginity will be as immortal as their which thou appearest to have quite forgotten, divinity.
how could they go in single line with their hands Plato. I have given a reason for my supposition. joined, unless they lay flat upon their backs along Diogenes. What is it?
the backs of their horses, and unless the horses Plato. Because there is a beauty incorruptible, themselves went tail to tail, one pulling on the and for ever the same.
other ? Even then the line would be interrupted, Diogenes. Visible beauty ? beauty cognizable in and only two could join hands. A pretty piece the same sense as of vases and of horses? beauty of net-work is here! and the only defect I can that in degree and in quality can be compared find in it is, that it would help the fish to catch with theirs ? Is there any positive proof that the the fisherman. gods possess it? and all of them ? and all equally? Plato. This is an abuse of wit, if there be any Are there any points of resemblance between wit in it. Jupiter and the daughter of Acrisius? any between Diogenes. I doubt whether there is any; for Hatè and Hebe? whose sex being the same brings the only man that hears it does not smile. We them somewhat nearer. In like manner thou will be serious then. Such nonsense, delivered confoundest the harmony of music with symmetry in a school of philosophy, might be the less in what is visible and tangible : and thou teachest derided; but it is given us as an oration, held the stars how to dance to their own compositions, before an Athenian army, to the honour of those enlivened by fugues and variations from thy who fell in battle. The beginning of the speech master-hand. This, in the opinion of thy boy is cold and languid : the remainder is worse ; it scholars, is sublimity! Truly it is the sublimity is learned and scholastic. which he attains who is hurled into the air from a Plato. Is learning worse in oratory than ballista. Changing my ground, and perhaps to languor ? thy advantage, in the name of Socrates I come Diogenes. Incomparably, in the praises of the forth against thee; not for using him as a wide- dead who died bravely, played off before those mouthed mask, stuffed with gibes and quibbles; who had just been fighting in the same ranks. not for making him the most sophistical of What we most want in this business is sincerity; sophists, or (as thou hast done frequently) the what we want least are things remote from the most improvident of statesmen and the worst of action. Men may be cold by nature, and languid citizens ; my accusation and indictment is, for from exhaustion, from grief itself, from watchfulrepresenting him, who had distinguished himself ness, from pity; but they cannot be idling and on the field of battle above the bravest and most wandering about other times and nations, when experienced of the Athenian leaders (particularly their brothers and sons and bosom-friends are at Delion and Potidea), as more ignorant of war- brought lifeless into the city, and the least inquifare than the worst-fledged crane that fought sitive, the least sensitive, are hanging immovably against the Pygmies.
over their recent wounds. Then burst forth their Plato. I am not conscious of having done it. names from the full heart; their father's names
come next, hallowed with lauds and benedictions mentous man, and formidable to Lacedæmon, but that flow over upon their whole tribe; then are Pelopidas shared his glory. lifted their helmets and turned round to the Diogenes. How ready we all are with our spectators; for the grass is fastened to them by praises when a cake is to be divided ; if it is not their blood, and it is befitting to show the people ours ! how they must have struggled to rise up, and Plato. I acknowledge his magnanimity, his to fight afresh for their country. Without the integrity, his political skill, his military services, virtues of courage and patriotism, the seeds of and, above all, his philosophical turn of mind : such morality as is fruitful and substantial spring but, since his countrymen, who knew him best, up thinly, languidly, and ineffectually. The images have until recently been silent on the transcendof great men should be stationed throughout ency of his merits, I think I may escape from the works of great historians.
obloquy in leaving them unnoticed. His glorious Plato. According to your numeration, the death appears to have excited more enthusiastic great men are scanty: and pray, 0 Diogenes! are acclamation than his patriotic heroism. they always at hand ?
Diogenes. The sun colours the sky most deeply Diogenes. Prominent men always are. Catch and most diffusely when he hath sunk below the them and hold them fast, when thou canst find horizon; and they who never said “ How bene none better. Whoever hath influenced the down- ficently he shines !” say at last, “How brightly fall or decline of a commonwealth, whoever hath he set !” They who believe that their praise gives altered in any degree its social state, should be immortality, and who know that it gives celebrity brought before the high tribunal of history. and distinction, are iniquitous and flagitious in
Plato. Very mean intellects have accomplished withdrawing it from such exemplary men, such these things. Not only battering-rams have self-devoted citizens, as Epaminondas and Thra loosened the walls of cities, but foxes and rabbits sybulus. have done the same. Vulgar and vile men have Great writers are gifted with that golden wand been elevated to power by circumstances : would which neither ages can corrode nor violence rend you introduce the vulgar and vile into the pages asunder, and are commanded to point with it you expect to be immortal ?
toward the head (be it lofty or low) which nations Diogenes. They never can blow out immor- are to contemplate and to revere. tality. Criminals do not deform by their presence Plato. I should rather have conceived from you the strong and stately edifices in which they are that the wand ought to designate those who merit incarcerated. I look above them and see the the hatred of their species. image of Justice: I rest my arm against the plinth Diogenes. This too is another of its offices, no where the protectress of cities raises her spear by less obligatory and sacred. the judgment-seat. Thou art not silent on the Plato. Not only bave I particularized such faults vile; but delightest in bringing them out before as I could investigate and detect, but in that us, and in reducing their betters to the same historical fragment, which I acknowledge to be condition.
mine (although I left it in abeyance between Plato. I am no writer of history.
Socrates and Aspasia), I have lauded the courage Diogenes. Every great writer is a writer of and conduct of our people. history, let him treat on almost what subject he Diogenes. Thou recountest the glorious deeds may. He carries with him for thousands of years of the Athenians by sea and land, staidly and a portion of his times : and indeed if only his circumstantially, as if the Athenians themselves
, own effigy were there, it would be greatly more or any nation of the universe, could doubt them. than a fragment of his country.
Let orators do this when some other shall have In all thy writings I can discover no mention of rivalled them; which, as it never hath happened Epaminondas, who vanquished thy enslavers the in the myriads of generations that have passed Lacedæmonians; nor of Thrasybulus, who expelled away, is never likely to happen in the myriads the murderers of thy preceptor. Whenever thou that will follow. From Asia, from Africa, ffir again displayest a specimen of thy historical nations came forward in a body, and assailed researches, do not utterly overlook the fact that the citizens of one scanty city: fifty nations fied these excellent men were living in thy days; that from before them. All the wealth and power of the they fought against thy enemies; that they rescued world, all the civilisation, all the barbarism, were thee from slavery; that thou art indebted to them leagued against Athens; the ocean was covered for the whole estate of this interminable robe, with their pride and spoils; the earth trembled; with its valleys and hills and wastes; for these mountains were severed, distant coasts united: perfumes that overpower all mine; and moreover Athens gave to Nature her own again ; and equal for thy house, thy grove, thy auditors, thy ad- laws were the unalienable dowry brought by mirers, and thy admired.
Liberty to the only men capable of her defenee Plato. Thrasybulus, with many noble qualities, or her enjoyment. Did Pericles, did Aspasia, had great faults.
did Socrates foresee, that the descendents of those, Diogenes. Great men too often have greater whose heroes and gods were at best but like them, faults than little men can find room for.
should enter into the service of Persian satraps, Plato. Epaminondas was undoubtedly a mo- and become the parasites of Sicilian kings?
Plato. Pythagoras, the most temperate and who have it already, and do not need it, or to retired of mortals, entered the courts of princes. those who have it not, and do need it ?
Diogenes. True ; he entered them and cleansed Plato. To these latter. them : his breath was lustration; his touch puri- Diogenes. Impart it then to the unwise ; and to fied. He persuaded the princes of Italy to those who are wealthy in preference to the rest,
their self-constituted and unlawful as they require it most, and can do most good authority: in effecting which purpose, thou must with it. acknowledge, O Plato! that either he was more Plato. Is not this a contradiction to your own eloquent than thou art, or that he was juster. precepts, 0 Diogenes ! Have you not been cenIf, being in the confidence of a usurper, which suring me, I need not say how severely, for my in itself is among the most heinous of crimes, intercourse with Dionysius ? and yet surely he since they virtually are outlaws, thou never gavest was wealthy, surely be required the advice of a him such counsel at thy ease and leisure, as philospher, surely he could have done much good Pythagoras gave at the peril of his life, thou in with it. this likewise wert wanting to thy duty as an Diogenes. An Athenian is more degraded by Athenian, a republican, a philosopher. If thou becoming the counseller of a king, than a king is offeredst it, and it was rejected, and after the degraded by becoming the schoolmaster of paurejection thou yet tarriedst with him, then wert pers in a free city. Such people as Dionysius are thou, friend Plato! an importunate sycophant to be approached by the brave and honest from and self-bound slave.
two motives only : to convince them of their Plato. I never heard that you blamed Euripides inutility, or to slay them for their iniquity. Our in this manner for frequenting the court of fathers and ourselves have witnessed in more than Archelaus.
one country the curses of kingly power. All naDiogenes. I have heard thee blame him for it; tions, all cities, all communities, should enter into and this brings down on thee my indignation. one great hunt, like that of the Scythians at the Poets, by the constitution of their minds, are approach of winter, and should follow it up neither acute reasoners nor firmly minded. Their unrelentingly to its perdition. The diadem should vocation was allied to sycophancy from the begin- designate the victim : all who wear it, all who ning: they sang at the tables of the rich : and he offer it, all who bow to it, should perish. The who could not make a hero could not make a smallest, the poorest, the least accessible village, dinner. Those who are possessed of enthusiasm whose cottages are indistinguishable from the are fond of everything that excites it: hence poets rocks around, should offer a reward for the heads are fond of festivals, of wine, of beauty, and of of these monsters, as for the wolf's, the kite's, glory. They can not always make their selec- and the viper's. tion; and generally they are little disposed to Thou tellest us, in thy fourth book on Polity, make it, from indolence of character. Theirs that it matters but little whether a state be partakes less than others of the philosophical and governed by many or one, if the one is obedient the heroic. What wonder if Euripides hated those to the laws. Why hast not thou likewise told us, who deprived him of his right, in adjudging the that it little matters whether the sun bring us prize of tragedy to his competitors ? From hating heat or cold, if he ripens the fruits of the earth the arbitrators who committed the injustice, he by cold as perfectly as by heat? Demonstrate that proceeded to hate the people who countenanced it. he does it, and I subscribe to the proposition. The whole frame of government is bad to those Demonstrate that kings, by their nature and who have suffered under any part. Archeläus education, are obedient to the laws; bear them praised Euripides' poetry: he therefore liked patiently; deem them no impediment to their Archeläus : the Athenians bantered his poetry : wishes, designs, lusts, violences ; that a whole therefore he disliked the Athenians. Beside, he series of monarchs hath been of this character could not love those who killed his friend and and condition, wherever a whole series hath been teacher : if thou canst, I hope thy love may be permitted to continue; that under them indepen. for ever without a rival.
dence of spirit, dignity of mind, rectitude of conPlato. He might surely have found, in some duct, energy of character, truth of expression, and republic of Greece, the friend who would have even lower and lighter things, eloquence, poetry, sympathized with him.
sculpture, painting, have flourished more exubeDiogenes. He might: nor have I any more incli- rantly than among the free. On the contrary, nation to commend his choice than thou hast some of the best princes have rescinded the laws right to condemn it. Terpander and Thales and they themselves introduced and sanctioned. ImPherecydes were at Sparta with Lycurgus: and patient of restraint and order are even the quiet thou too, Plato, mightst have found in Greece a and inert of the species. wealthy wise man ready to receive thee, or (where Plato. There is a restlessness in inactivity : we words are more acceptable) an unwise wealthy one. must find occupation for kings. Why dost thou redden and bite thy lip? Wouldst Diogenes. Open the fold to them and they will thou rather give instruction, or not give it? find it themselves: there will be plenty of heads
Plato. I would rather give it, where I could. and shanks on the morrow. I do not see why Diogenes. Wouldst thou rather give it to those those who, directly or indirectly, would promote