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revellers too have a quick perception of that strain only which is
appropriated to the God by whom they are possessed, and have plenty of
dances and words for that, but take no heed of any other. And you,
Ion, when the name of Homer is mentioned have plenty to say, and have
nothing to say of others. You ask, "Why is this?" The answer is that
you praise Homer not by art but by divine inspiration.
Ion. That is good, Socrates; and yet I doubt whether you will ever
have eloquence enough to persuade me that I praise Homer only when I
am mad and possessed; and if you could hear me speak of him I am sure
you would never think this to be the case.
Soc. I should like very much to hear you, but not until you have
answered a question which I have to ask. On what part of Homer do you
speak well?- not surely about every part.
Ion. There is no part, Socrates, about which I do not speak well of
that I can assure you.
Soc. Surely not about things in Homer of which you have no knowledge?
Ion. And what is there in Homer of which I have no knowledge?
Soc. Why, does not Homer speak in many passages about arts? For
example, about driving; if I can only remember the lines I will repeat
Ion. I remember, and will repeat them.
Soc. Tell me then, what Nestor says to Antilochus, his son, where he
bids him be careful of the turn at the horse-race in honour of
Ion. He says:
Bend gently in the polished chariot to the left of them, and urge the
horse on the right hand with whip and voice; and slacken the rein. And
when you are at the goal, let the left horse draw near, yet so that
the nave of the well-wrought wheel may not even seem to touch the
extremity; and avoid catching the stone.
Soc. Enough. Now, Ion, will the charioteer or the physician be the
better judge of the propriety of these lines?
Ion. The charioteer, clearly.
Soc. And will the reason be that this is his art, or will there be any
other reason?
Ion. No, that will be the reason.
Soc. And every art is appointed by God to have knowledge of a certain
work; for that which we know by the art of the pilot we do not know by
the art of medicine?
Ion. Certainly not.
Soc. Nor do we know by the art of the carpenter that which we know by
the art of medicine?
Ion. Certainly not.
Soc. And this is true of all the arts;- that which we know with one
art we do not know with the other? But let me ask a prior question:
You admit that there are differences of arts?
Ion. Yes.
Soc. You would argue, as I should, that when one art is of one kind of
knowledge and another of another, they are different?
Ion. Yes.
Soc. Yes, surely; for if the subject of knowledge were the same, there
would be no meaning in saying that the arts were different,- if they
both gave the same knowledge. For example, I know that here are five
fingers, and you know the same. And if I were to ask whether I and you
became acquainted with this fact by the help of the same art of
arithmetic, you would acknowledge that we did?
Ion. Yes.
Soc. Tell me, then, what I was intending to ask you- whether this
holds universally? Must the same art have the same subject of
knowledge, and different arts other subjects of knowledge?
Ion. That is my opinion, Socrates.
Soc. Then he who has no knowledge of a particular art will have no
right judgment of the sayings and doings of that art?
Ion. Very true.

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